Mndsgn is pronounced mind design. The law calls him Ringgo. His album Yawn Zen will be released August 26 on Stones Throw Records.
Ringgo Ancheta is an anomaly among hip-hop producers – not raised in the suburbs on a steady diet of video games and hip-hop, but in the forest like a beast. His parents were members of the Philippine arm of the Aum Supreme Truth Cult, whose venture into terrorist activity caused them to flee the group in the late 1980s. They were granted political asylum in the U.S. and settled in rural New Jersey, where Ancheta was raised on the outskirts of a commune without electricity while his father worked as a researcher at Princeton Neuroscience Institute.
Ancheta describes one of his earliest excursions of his own into the modern world, when he hitchhiked to Philadelphia. "The first guy I met on the street introduced me to the world of music and beat making. Within a day I was making my own beats on his sampler."
As his trips into the city became more frequent, he began using the name Mndsgn (pronounced "mind design"), inspired by the Nas lyric, "my mind is seeing through your design like blind fury," and a not-so-subtle nod to his father's work in neuroscience.
His transformation complete, Mndsgn headed west. He now resides in Los Angeles and is signed to Stones Throw Records, who will release his debut album Yawn Zen on August 26, 2014.
He's carved himself an unusually calm-sounding place in the Los Angeles beat scene. Songs on Yawn Zen were recorded "in a state of bliss," as the producer explains. "I've allowed myself to study the absence of daily struggle and it's effects, and began to subconsciously paint that vibe in the music. Yawn Zen comes from a very neutral place that we, sometimes, are too busy to realize is there."