With the inimitable Tech N9ne at the helm, Strange Music’s roster has been bursting at the seams with explosive talent since its inception. Donnie “Godemis” King and Mike “Ubiquitous” Viglione — better known as the rap duo Ces Cru — have been Strange Music mainstays for 12 years. But over the past few months, there’s been a noticeable change within the group. Ubiquitous has embarked on his own solo tour while Godemis is seemingly laying low.
During Tech’s 2017 Independent Grind Tour, there was some type of incident on the bus that resulted in Godemis leaving the tour.
“It was a long tour,” Ubi says. “It was a 65-date tour and he only made it 50 shows through. So, I did do the last fifteen shows as a soloist. It’s sort of mine to tell, but I feel like it’s my partner’s [story] to tell more than mine. Basically, it was probably physical and mental exhaustion. I think he had some sort of a breakdown.”
“We did show 50 in Buffalo, New York but he had his episode that night after the show,” he continues. “We pushed on to Cleveland the next day at the House of Blues, and he stayed in Buffalo and we all went to Cleveland. It was his decision. We tried to talk about it, tried to discuss it and essentially convince him to keep going on the tour but he refused.”
Ubi was left with two choices — either carry on without Godemis or do all the heavy lifting on his own. He chose the latter.
“I could have just left the tour too, but I was like, ‘Well I’m just gonna go ahead and finish,’” he says. “And that was pretty difficult. Between Buffalo and Cleveland, I didn’t get any sleep. I stayed up all night writing a new set, putting it together and rehearsing it, sort of just revamping everything. I didn’t miss a day. Show 50, he was there. Show 51, he was not and there was no days off in between.”
Unsurprisingly, Tech and the rest of the Strange Music crew on the tour were incredibly supportive of Ubi’s decision.
“Everybody was rallying for me,” he says. “I got lots of support from Tech and from everybody else on the production crew and stuff. Travis O’Guin, the label head, is the one that kind of brain-childed it. He gave me the opportunity to do that – let me choose. It was super cool. I thought it was really nice that he had enough faith in me and confidence in me to be able to pull that off and to even extend that offer to me.”
Although the Denver native admits his relationship with Godemis is “a little distant,” Ubi is laser focused on his burgeoning solo career. He just released a solo EP titled Under Bad Influence, the first in a series of four projects.
“That was actually Travis’ idea,” he explains. “He’s been studying the game and how things have been changing with the advent of streaming, and sort of the physical CDs deteriorating as a medium, so this is his new way that he wants to roll stuff out.
“I was going to be the guinea pig for the record label and kinda go first, but they were like, ‘Maybe you’re not the one to lead the charge,’ so Tech just put out a couple of singles maybe a week or two ago just to test the release format. That’s been pretty good, so I’m second, I went right behind him.”
When asked what “bad influence” he’s under, exactly, Ubi offers a laugh. “What a good question,” he says. “That’s part of the reveal. We’re only on chapter one of my four chapter novel, so you’ll have to find out.”
Ubi’s Under Bad Influence Tour hits The Moxi Theater Sunday, December 2 with The Palmer Squares and True Apollo.