Home Team • theMIND

Photo by Bryan Allen Lamb

Age: 26  Neighborhood: Pilsen • Follow: Twitter // Soundcloud


Few have impressed us as much in recent years from the position of a featured artist as theMIND. Prior to this year, theMIND had really only provided flashes of his talent while contributing to the larger works of his close collaborators. As he begins to step more and more into the spotlight with the release of his first single, the revealing of identity and a solo project seeming eminent, we felt theMIND was a perfect candidate for our Home Team series.

Originally from uptown Philadelphia, Zarif Wilder moved to Chicago after high school to attend Columbia College. During that time, he connected with three other talented transplants on a similar musical pursuit - LBoogie, Sean Deaux and Michael Anthony. The four would go on to become the founding members of the powerhouse production collective THEMpeople. Without the advantage of relationships dating back to adolescence that much of Chicago's blossoming music community had, THEMpeople had to earn their place. And that they did. In the years since, they've worked closely with just about all the young talent of the city's notable hip-hop and R&B community - assisting on many projects as well as guiding the general growth and development of every artists' music that they touched.

Our introduction to theMIND specifically came during that time as well, as he was featured extensively on THEMpeople albums Smokebreaks (Dope Inspires Dope), Smokebreaks II (The Re-Fix), and Smokebreaks IV (The New Mecca). Eventually, theMIND would become a vital part Mick Jenkins projects The Water[s] and Wave[s]. In fact, such a significant part of Mick's discography that he's incorporated into Mick's live show - which just traveled halfway across the world to South Africa for the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Further collaborations include a pair of songs alongside Stefan Ponce, a handful of tracks with Pro Era member Kirk Knight and, most recently, TheseDays favorite Trapo. Each song undoubtedly provides further insight into the musical capabilities of theMIND.

This January, theMIND began a new chapter of his career. Preceded only by a cover of Post Malone's "White Iverson", the vocalist delivered his first original song entitled "Mercury Rising". The offering featured assistance from Donnie Trumpet and Slyvie Grace, and was anchored by a heartfelt performance from the Philly native. In an interview with Vashtie, he opened about the songs emotional manifestation:

When I first started writing it, it was cool. But I was in the booth and my engineer and member of THEMpeople (who produced Mercury Rising), L-Boog, was like “I can’t connect with you bro, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” So I damn near cried, because it was cry for help, almost a warrior’s cry to my sisters and to myself and anyone who has come out of my predicament.

"Mecury Rising" would eventually receive an amazing claymation video by Kid Super, undoubtedly one of the best music videos we've seen this year, as well as an impressive remix courtesy of Fwdslxsh. Though no details have yet been confirmed, we gather that theMIND is working towards his own introductory body of work. Until then, fans can expect to hear him alongside Mick Jenkins, both live and on his upcoming album.