BEVERLY — Losing his job at a local moving company might have been the best thing to ever happen to Michael Januario.
It gave Januario, better known to hip-hop fans as M-Dot, the opportunity to concentrate on his music. The rapper, who grew up in Lynn, recently completed a successful European tour and collaborated on esteemed Boston rapper Big Shug’s new album. The Revere native is also spending lots of time on the next M-Dot album, set for a spring release.
“I’ve refocused on my music. It’s a blessing my job situation changed. I have more time to work on it now. And I can be home more for my girl, Nicole (longtime partner Nicole Gargano, a Lynn English grad), and the kids (Makaria, 3, Kadence, 6, and John Michael, 12).”
Januario, relaxing in a window seat at Atomic Cafe, points out his “cambio” tattoo. “In Italian, it means change. Most Italians don’t like change, but my life is better now than it’s ever been,” he said.
“Nicole is my best friend. Everything I do is for her and our family. When I got back from Greece, and learned about my job, she said ‘I love you so much. This is good for you.’ At that moment, I wanted to be the hardest worker ever. I’m in the best place I’ve ever been. I’m motivated and inspired.”
Januario credits his parents, John and Diane, and sister Alicia, for his strong work ethic.
In September, M-Dot performed in front of 10,000 music fans at the Off the Hook Festival at the Technopolis in Athens, Greece. “It was surreal. Me and my EMS crew (Rev, Desco and Kore) performed during the day and were invited by Snowgoons, the headliner from Germany, to join them on stage at night’s end.”
He’s also featured on two cuts on Big Shug’s new album, “The Diamond Report.” Ironically, the legendary Gang Starr, of which Big Shug is affiliated, also released “new” music last week, featuring vocals by Guru, who died of cancer nine years ago.
Coming up in 2020 is new music, two festival appearances in Switzerland, and, he hopes, a performing spot at the Fresh Island Festival in Croatia in July.
Januario said about 40 original songs are being considered for the new M-Dot album. He’s mixing songs now with Brockton-based Protege, Bryce Quiz of Boston, and exchanging files with Sensus in Germany. Producers include M-Phazes, who’s worked with Eminem, Madonna and Demi Lovato, and !llMind, who’s worked with Drake, Kanye West, Jay-Z and Beyonce. Januario eyes a February or March release.
Success is nothing new for Januario. In 2018, he and his crew wowed during a 28-day/10-country tour of Europe that included a featured performing spot in an airline hangar before 80,000 music fans at the Hip Hop Kemp festival in the Czech Republic.
His album “egO anD The eneMy” finished number one in sales at UGHH, the biggest outlet for underground hip-hop. The Boston Herald named it as one of 2017’s best releases. He’s worked with noted producer Pete Rock, Wu Tang, MC Method Man, and other heavyweights. His song “True Lies” was played on the NBC drama, “The Blacklist,” and he earned positive press and praise from fans for his innovative videos, including the 360-degree “Give it to Me” video.
Januario, 36, graduated from Northeast Metro Tech High School in Wakefield, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams and Fitchburg State University. His music focus took root at MCLA.
And to think it all started in the basement of his childhood home behind Lynn Hospital in Lynn, and in a portable closet in an apartment he shared with college roomies Rev and Kore.
“I’m a regular kid from Lynn. A blue collar guy. I don’t have any fancy management. We do it all ourselves,” he said. That includes booking the shows and making travel arrangements. “I’m very excited about 2020.”
For music, videos and more, go to www.mdotboston.com.