Mic Geronimo: The Underrated Influencer in Hip Hop


Mic Geronimo, born Michael Craig McDermon on September 14, 1973, is an American rapper from Queens, New York. Renowned for his streetwise attitude and impactful rap delivery, Mic Geronimo has established himself as a respected figure in the hip-hop community. His affinity for hip-hop began at a young age, as he grew up listening to influential artists like LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane, Stevie Wonder, and Prince.

Discovering his talent as a rapper, Mic Geronimo was introduced to Irv Gotti of Murder Inc. at a Queens high school talent show. This meeting led to Geronimo recording the classic underground single “Shit’s Real,” which caught the attention of the music industry. Following this breakthrough, he signed with Blunt/TVT Records and released his debut album, “The Natural,” in 1995.

Throughout his career, Mic Geronimo continued to release music, navigate the changing hip-hop landscape, and collaborate with various artists in the industry. His body of work reflects his dedication to the art of rap and showcases his unique approach to storytelling and lyricism. As a result, Mic Geronimo has undeniably left an indelible mark on the genre, influencing his peers and newer generations of rappers.

Mic Geronimo: The Artist

Early Life and Inspiration

Mic Geronimo, born Michael Craig McDermon on September 14, 1973, in Queens, New York City, is an American rapper known for his affiliation with Irv Gotti, a co-founder of the popular hip-hop music label Murder Inc. Growing up in Queens, Mic Geronimo’s love for music and hip hop was inspired by artists like LL Cool J and Big Daddy Kane, as well as the soulful sounds of Stevie Wonder.

Talent Discovery and First Steps in the Industry

Mic Geronimo’s talent was discovered during a high school talent show in Queens, where he impressed Irv Gotti and his brother. Following this encounter, Mic agreed to record a single titled “Shit’s Real,” which became a classic underground hit.

His career took off with the release of his debut album, “The Natural,” in 1995, featuring top songs like “Masta I.C.” and “Time to Build.” This success led to collaborations with other renowned artists and the release of successful projects such as “Vendetta” in 1997.

Style and Influences

Mic Geronimo’s style is characterized by a streetwise attitude and his remarkable lyricism. His music showcases his ability to deliver powerful messages and storytelling through his unique brand of hip hop. Drawing from his upbringing in the vibrant New York City borough of Queens, Mic Geronimo proves that the environment you grow up in can have a lasting influence on your art.

His work has had an impact on other artists, and he has collaborated with several prominent names in the industry such as DMX, French Montana, and Moby. The combination of his talent, unique style, and powerful influences makes Mic Geronimo an important figure in the world of hip-hop and a vital part of the New York City music scene.

Career and Achievements

Albums and Singles

Mic Geronimo, born Michael McDermon on September 14, 1973, in Queens, New York, is an American rapper who released his debut album, The Natural, on Blunt/TVT Records in 1995. The album generated the underground hit single “Shit’s Real,” which helped establish Mic Geronimo as a talented lyricist. Following the success of his debut, he released his second studio album, Vendetta, on November 4, 1997. This album included the notable track, “Nothin’ Move But The Money,” featuring Kelly Price.

AlbumRelease Date
The NaturalOctober 17, 1995
VendettaNovember 4, 1997

Throughout his career, Mic Geronimo has released several singles, with the most successful being “Masta I.C.,” which peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart.

Collaborations and Relationships

Throughout his career, Mic Geronimo collaborated with notable artists such as Irv Gotti, Murder Inc, Jay-Z, DMX, Ja Rule, and The LOX. Geronimo’s relationship with Irv Gotti of Murder Inc. began when he was discovered at a Queens high school talent show. They went on to work closely together, ultimately leading to Mic Geronimo’s success in the music industry.

Additionally, Geronimo had ties to Puff Daddy’s pop-rap empire of the late ’90s, collaborating with fellow Queens rapper Big Noyd on “Wherever You Are.”

Underground Hit and Mainstream Success

Mic Geronimo’s rise to prominence came with the release of his underground hit single, “Shit’s Real.” This song helped secure him a record deal with Blunt/TVT Records and introduced him to a wider audience. With his distinct streetwise attitude and unique lyrical style, Geronimo continued to gain attention through songs like “Masta I.C.,” featuring appearances from fellow rappers Jay-Z, DMX, and Ja Rule on the track “Time to Build.”

Throughout his career, Mic Geronimo maintained a strong presence in the world of hip-hop, always staying true to his roots with a focus on authentic storytelling and powerful wordplay. Inspired by artists like LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane, Stevie Wonder, and Prince, Geronimo carved out a unique space for himself within the music industry.

Legacy and Impact

Mic Geronimo, born Michael Craig McDermon on September 14, 1973, started his career in the mid-90s and made a substantial impact on the hip-hop scene during that time. Geronimo’s unique style and raw talent led him to work with renowned hip-hop artists such as DMX, Ja Rule, Tragedy, and The LOX. His influence can still be felt within the industry today.

One notable aspect of his legacy is the way Geronimo helped bridge the gap between the East Coast and West Coast hip-hop scenes. By collaborating with artists from both coasts, he played a key role in fostering unity in the genre during a time when tensions were high. Geronimo’s impact on the industry was especially felt on weekends, with his tracks getting heavy rotation on radio stations across the nation during prime Saturday and Sunday slots.

On April 13, 1996, his debut album, “The Natural,” was released, further solidifying his role in the hip-hop community. This album showcased Geronimo’s storytelling abilities and his ability to create powerful narratives through his music. The album was well-received by both fans and critics, garnering praise for its lyricism and production.

In addition to his musical accomplishments, Geronimo also played a part in launching the careers of several successful hip-hop artists and producers. His connection with Irv Gotti, for example, led to the development of Murder Inc., a prominent record label responsible for the careers of major acts like Ja Rule and Ashanti.

Throughout his career, Geronimo has remained true to his roots and authentic in his craft. His impact on the hip-hop world has been lasting and significant, inspiring a new generation of artists and music lovers alike.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Mic Geronimo from?

Mic Geronimo hails from Queens, New York.

How old is Mic Geronimo?

Born on September 14, 1973, Mic Geronimo is currently 49 years old.

What is Mic Geronimo’s real name?

His real name is Michael Craig McDermon.

Which was Mic Geronimo’s debut album?

Mic Geronimo debuted with the album “The Natural” in 1995.

Which label did Mic Geronimo sign with?

He signed with Blunt/TVT Records.

Who were Mic Geronimo’s collaborators?

Mic Geronimo worked with producer Irv Gotti, who discovered him at a talent show. Other collaborators include artists such as DMX, French Montana, and Moby.

From the archives


The Lost & Found interview series is where we rediscover the ill cats that were holding it down (and continue to) but for whatever reason are now out of the spotlight. It’s much more than a ‘˜where are they now’ as we not only discuss their time on top but also the lessons they’ve learned that can be imparted to up and coming hip hop artists and fans.

In our second installment of the continuing Lost & Found series we connect with a HalftimeOnline favorite, Queens MC Mic Geronimo. Back in 1995 when you mentioned dope Queens’s emcees you had to mention Nas, Mobb Deep, and Mic Geronimo. With his debut, The Natural,’ Geronimo had a couple certified classics,’˜Shit’s Real’ and ‘˜Masta I.C.’, while also showcasing a couple artists coming up including DMX, Ja Rule and Jay-Z on ‘˜Time to Build.’ After enjoying early commercial success Mic caught some criticism for working with Puff and showing up on an MTV documentary during his second album. As time passed the limelight dimmed a bit as Geronimo resurfaced again with his third album, A Long Road Back. Needless to say his career has had its ups and downs but Geronimo is grateful ofr it all. He chats with Halftimeonline about the lessons he learned in the game, acting, school, his relationship with Irv Gotti and of course the new project in the works.

Halftimeonline: You’ve been on the low for crazy long. What’s been going on with you?

Mic Geronimo: I’m just chillin right now. I took some time off, got my business in order and have just been figuring out what I want to do with my next project but everything is cool.

Halftimeonline: What’s been keeping you busy? It’s been at least a few years since you dropped your last project.

Mic: It’s been a couple things. We’re still working on a label called Rebellious and putting out the people we want to get out there and there’s been things like me wanting to get into acting. There are other jobs I do besides rap. I was considering going back to school so there have been a few things on my plate that I thought about doing during my time off. That kept my mind busy just thinking about if I decided to do another project how I would want to do it. That’s enough to keep your mind busy.

Halftimeonline: Since you mentioned school did you have anything in mind that you were going to major in?

Mic: Originally when I first started school my major was going to be Forensics but I don’t think there is much room out here for a rapper that solves murders and shit.

Halftimeonline: Haha

Mic: So I guess I’m gonna change it to English Lit or Business Administration.

Halftimeonline: When were you planning to do that?

Mic: I originally planned to just work on the album and then when everything slows down that I’d go back at whatever semester is convenient. The record shit comes first and once that’s out of the way if that’s still where my thinking is that’s what I’ll do.

Halftimeonline: When you came out you were running in the same circles as the Nas’ and Mobb Deeps. Do you still keep in touch with any of those cats? If so what’s the relationship with them now?

Mic: We all still cool. I was speaking to Hav a lot before they started working on the Blood Money album. Me and Nas is pretty much cool. The last time I got to see him was I believe at his birthday party. So I don’t see everybody as much as I used to because as individuals everybody is busy but none of the relationships have changed. They’re still my peoples the same way they were from day one.

Halftimeonline: I was listening to your first album last week and put on ‘˜Time to Build’ and back then that was the first time I had heard Ja Rule and DMX. With you putting them on, since none of those cats including Jay-Z were that big at the time, why do you think none of them really tried to return the favor once they got into the limelight?

Mic: The public doesn’t get to see everything. I worked with X a couple times since then. Me and X have a close relationship. We actually did a record they were going to put on the Training Day soundtrack but he ending up buying the record from me and putting it on Great Depression as a bonus track. With Rule I’m not going to lie there was some tension at first. Not necessarily tension with him but there was a thing where me and Irv was going through our own issues and I guess that played a part in not allowing us to work together as much as we used too. That was one thing niggas had to get past but we did and he ended up doing something with me on my album Long Road Back. We’re working together now doing stuff so that’s another thing that’s happening. In terms of Jay he’s a busy man. I mean it is what it is to me. I don’t consider him less of a friend because I didn’t do xyz with him or he never stepped to me to do this or that. I don’t hold it against nobody. When I do things with people it’s not with the hopes of them coming back because that would be a selfish reason for me to do anything. It’s either you do or you don’t and if you don’t its not going to prevent me from doing anything. So there’s no love lost with any of them and I’m gonna always be in their corner.

Halftimeonline: At the time these were your rap contemporaries and you were basically on the same level. How did it affect you seeing them blow up while you’re like yea they my peoples but at the same time knowing you could or should be at the same level?

Mic: I’m human so I’d be lying if I said that it’s not times where you sit back like damn all these niggas is poppin what’s up? But the older you get the more mature you get so now I look at it in the sense of that it might not have ever been meant to be for me to have exploded to the extent that they did. God works funny so it might have just been meant for me to be an artist that doesn’t sell two million records. Maybe my records might change somebody’s life rather than sell thru the roof. Maybe my records might make the next Ja Rule or Jay-Z want to rap. Everybody plays their part in this world and not all parts are the same. So I look at it like whatever I was put here to do that’s what the outcome is. I never really looked at it like how come they are popping and I’m not. I came to terms with it. I get hit everyday with people everyday saying I remember this record from that, this changed my life or this record was playing when this happened so I’m thankful for that. On the other side I look at it like I got to do so many things in life I never thought I’d be able to do so who am I to complain about what position I’m in or not in. I gotta be thankful for everything that occurred in my career. That’s how I look at it.

Halftimeonline: You have a pretty unique flow. Who were some of the people that influenced you or helped you to develop your style?

Mic: A lot of people. I look at Large Professor as a big influence. I grew up with him and being able to grow up with him enabled me to meet Nas, Busta, Q-Tip and all these people I looked up to at the time. Even Large himself. He was a good friend but at the same time he was definitely someone I looked up to. Just being around that influenced me a great deal.

Halftimeonline: I remember back when you were doing the MTV documentary joint with you and your girl Milky. How did that come about?

Mic: The way I think it all went down was MTV was doing a special on people and my publicist heard about it. The guys from MTV called her and me and Milk went up there and were talking in front of them. We actually started arguing in front of them and they were just like stop can you do this show? Next thing you know they were with us for like a month. It was a good thing though. People ask me about that all the time, all over the world. Sometimes I feel I’m more known for that then for rapping.

Halftimeonline: Are you still with her?

Mic: Nah we still friends but time passes and everybody might not see things the same way so we split up but we real cool with each other.

Halftimeonline: A lot of people tend to say that the show and working with Puff really hurt your street cred a little bit. I remember cats being mad cuz on the show you were talking about moving to Brooklyn. Did you catch any flak from that?

Mic: You gonna catch flak for everything you do because you can’t please everybody in the world at the same time. I got a little criticism for working with Puff and I got some criticism for doing the special but you have to weigh the good with the bad. I got more of a good response than bad when I did those two things. I’m just the type of person that realizes that someone is always going to have something to say so I could care less about it.

Halftimeonline: So looking back you would make the same decisions?

Mic: Definitely. I would do the same thing over again because whatever I did was meant for me to do, you dig what I’m saying? If it wasn’t meant for me to do that show and work with Puff then it wouldn’t have ever occurred. I don’t regret anything that I ever did. You just look back at things and you either learn from them or get what you can from them but I wouldn’t change what I did.

Halftimeonline: When I spoke with you the other day you said recording the new album was giving you the same feeling as when you did The Natural. What are you feeling now that you were missing on the last couple that has you feeling that way?

Mic: Hip hop is kinda funny because the further you get into it the more at risk you are. As an artist when you come into it you don’t know nothing really. You just know what you do and it’s free of the influences of money, power and all these other things people learn about the further they get into it. When I did The Natural that album was done from the perspective of a kid from Queens that was 19-20 years old who doesn’t know that much about the industry. I wasn’t altered by the things that come with success but as you go about it those things play a part. You have twenty million people in your ear and they all trying to tell you which way to go. Then you have BDS, videos, and all this stuff calling you that you start to analyze because you’re constantly around it and everybody is looking at these numbers. So people start the new album hoping they get the big second week sales, rotation and other shit. When you start thinking about all of that it kinda fucks up the creative part a bit. Now I just came to the point where I decided that’s not what I want to think about. I’m at a point where I let my mind go with flow of the music I’m making and it’s not interrupted by me trying to please everybody.

Halftimeonline: As you mentioned at this point in your career you’re not chasing the spins or the mainstream success. So in your heart right now who are you making music for these days?

Mic: I just make it for the people that always enjoyed hearing from me. I make it for people that enjoy the energy of rap music or a good rhyme. I do it for the people I see everyday, not the Hollywood ass people, the normal people. It could be the old man I see at the store or the chick I see walking down the block. Normal people that are everywhere you go. That’s who I make records for and I don’t expect all of them to give me pay $11.99 to hear my record. Truth be told I don’t care if they do or they don’t. If they hear it and it helps them to keep going and keep getting up everyday then that’s what’s up. You could never put a dollar amount on that anyway.

Halftimeonline: With all the changes going on in the rap game cat’s is always jumping onto the new thing. Ideally, where do you feel a veteran artist like yourself fits in today’s hip hop game and realistically where does the industry try to place you?

Mic: That’s a good question. The Gods have a lesson that tells you to build and destroy and that’s the cycle of life. Things have to be destroyed and then it has to be rebuilt. I think rap always go through cycles where it appears that it’s destroying itself but it’s actually purging itself and after it purges itself it comes into another state of being. I think where it is now is there are a lot of younger dudes coming up. Rap is purging itself from the things it didn’t need and it’s allowing the younger dudes to come up. With that being said you’re always going to need people from that golden era. You’re always going to need those folks that introduce certain things to the next generation and I fit in that sense. In terms of where they try to place me, they are going to try and place me with anyone else who has been rapping for 12-13 years. They gonna place me in the ‘˜you’re nice to hear when I feel nostalgic but I don’t really want to hear you right now’ category. That’s the game but there are certain individuals that have that ability to mesh with what’s going on and I’m glad I have that ability. I can look at it at the end of it all and laugh at where they are trying to put me because that shit doesn’t apply to me. It’s like an imaginary world placed in front of you and you either believe in it or you don’t and I don’t.

Halftimeonline: I was looking over the three albums you put out and to me they kinda reflect the changes in hip hop. Your first one was grimy, people said the second one was a bit jiggy with Puff, and the third one was independent as hip hop was moving in those same directions. Being apart of all of these changes in your career what advice would you have for an up and coming hip hop cat?

Mic: Just do it. That’s all. Life ain’t complicated unless you complicate it. My cousin always tells me that. They’ll try to lead you in different directions and if you’re a new artist coming up whatever the fuck you’ve been doing that got you there keep doing it. Be mindful of everything going on around you and always be on point but don’t be so on point that you lose that ability to be what it was that got you out there. Be true to yourself and as long as you can look back and be happy with what you’ve done stay that way.

Halftimeonline: What inspires you to write?

Mic: A lot of stuff. It’s a combination. I might listen to somebody’s shit and be like wow I wish I could do something like that but on some rap shit. I may watch a movie that inspires me, read something or see something going on around me. I get influence and inspiration from anything in life.

Halftimeonline: You were talking about maturity earlier. Coming up with this new album now what do you feel is the difference maturity wise now versus then with your music?

Mic: Shit I was young, dumb and full of cum when I first came out.

Halftimeonline: Haha

Mic: I was like a bull in a china shop. You can’t give no 18 year old a lot of money and expect shit to be cool. They are going to lose their mind. I was smoking weed everyday. I was just out of control. When I first came in I did all the shit that young niggas do but as time went on I grew into a man and I look at the game like I’m an O.G.

Halftimeonline: I was reading about your first video, ‘˜Shit’s Real,’ where Hype Williams directed it and ya’ll jacked the equipment from K7’s set to do it real quick. Everything came together for that.

Mic: It was a lot of renegade shit. Hype was a real renegade. A lot of the shit we did was very spontaneous that’s why I can say it was meant to happen. We literally had no plan. There was no video treatment. We were just stealing camera equipment like I don’t know nigga tap dance or something. Do anything but it came out to be what it was.

Halftimeonline: That and ‘˜Masta I.C.’ are two of my favorite songs.

Mic: It’s bugged because I just watched that video online. We were up in Murder Inc. and it was ill because everybody was really quiet. I could look in everyone’s faces and see them reflecting on how much time has passed and all the things we went through. In a sense it kinda makes you sad because there are a lot of things about those days you wish you could go back to. You wish it wasn’t so much like it all is now but at the same sense it’s good to go back because you can find what’s missing and where to put it.

Halftimeonline: Yea that takes you back. It was just more flavor. Not to disregard some good hip hop that comes out today, it’s just that certain records had an essence that captured you when the beat dropped. That’s really not there anymore these days.

Mic: Yea we were talking about that the other day. It used to be when a good record was about to drop you heard it out of every car and every kid with a boom box was playing it 3-4 weeks before it came out. Now it’s not like that you just see ipods left and right and there’s no anticipation factor. I have yet to see something drop with the anticipation that Illmatic had or that Ready 2 Die and Cuban Linx had. Those records had real anticipation factors. It was almost like a big movie was coming out. These days it’s not that way anymore. Now it’s like you turn around and be like oh that shit’s out I didn’t even know. Hip Hop has its ups and downs but I’m gonna do my best to not necessarily bring that back but just remind people what they are forgetting about.

Halftimeonline: What does Masta I.C. stand for anyway?

Mic: At the time I was heavy into mathematics and dealing with the Gods so Masta I.C. was the breakdown of what Mic meant in terms of the alphabet. It stands for Masta I Self and C is sight unseen, wisdom understood. I wasn’t gonna go to the extent of making it Masta Islam Self so I just made it Masta I.C. which made sense because I am the only Masta I see in myself so we just left it.

Halftimeonline: I always thought it meant master in control.

Mic: It can stand for that if you want it to. I’ve heard so many breakdowns of what it’s supposed to mean that I’m like yea if that works for you. I’ve had people sit there for hours and explain to me what it meant.

Halftimeonline: What about the Geronimo part since the Mic part was way more in depth than I ever thought?

Mic: I got that part from high school because I used to always get into bullshit and they just started calling me that but it was really Irv. I was djing before I was rapping. I was calling myself Mike Geronimo and spelling it like Mike but he was just like spell it M-i-c. I was like that’s ill cuz it stands out.

Halftimeonline: You mentioned getting into acting and I remember seeing you in that Whiteboyz movie for a brief sec. What other stuff have you been in or working on?

Mic: I went to acting school for like a year and ended up doing voiceovers and stuff. I could have done a lot more with it but at the time I really wasn’t taking it seriously.

Halftimeonline: What voiceovers were you doing?

Mic: I did one for Seagrams. I did one for Harley Davidson, Wachovia, Perrier, and The Gap.

Halftimeonline: What did they have you saying? What did they feel your voice was perfect for?

Mic: They’d just write a script and I’d say it. Sometimes they’d want you to sound professional and mature and sometimes they want you to sound like you just finished smoking one on the corner.

Halftimeonline: Haha

Mic: It depended on what they wanted me to say. I could cover the gamut. It’s cool though you go in for an hour, read the script, leave and you got a check.

Halftimeonline: So tell us about the new album. When is it dropping and what can people expect from it?

Mic: Probably in early fall or late summer. I don’t know what I’m calling it yet. I’ve kicked around a million titles and it will come to me so I’m just leaving it alone. I’m real excited about it. I’ve been working with Scratch, Self, Jimi Kendrix, and Large Professor. I got joints with Ja and Flush so it’s good shit. I’m glad to be here. I’m glad I’m at school today. That’s how I feel about it.

Halftimeonline: You mentioned Irv a couple times and also that you’re working with Ja. I’m assuming things have been mended a bit. What’s the relationship with him now?

Mic: It’s cool. Me and Irv don’t have any beef with each other and there ain’t any bad blood between us. At the end of the day he brought me into the game and I did what I did for him so for life we’ll always be attached. I’m not gonna say it’s 100% what it was because it isn’t because times change and people change but it’s definitely not a situation that we can’t amend and talk to one another. Things happen and you live and you learn but I would never look at him as an enemy and I think it’s the same with him. I just seen him the other day so as far as I know we’re cool.

Halftimeonline: What message do you want to send out to your fans checking this interview?

Mic: Thank you. I don’t see what ya’ll see half the time but I’m very appreciative and grateful. I hope everyone continues to ride with me the way they have done. I could never repay you because each and every one of you changed my life. They’ve done more for me than they would ever know. I’m gonna keep making records as long as I can because I owe it to you.

Magazine: HalftimeOnline

Date: August 13, 2006