February 2012 Cover Story: MOUFY
Using the Beat to Construct His Unique Flow
photos by Alan Medvinsky, exclusively for Performer Magazine
“Now you really have to watch what you say, because it has influence. It’s a ‘you can’t say something if you don’t mean it’ kind of thing. People are going to tear apart everything.”
“If the beat gets you, whatever words come from that or whatever’s on your mind just comes out. It’s like you’re snatching words from the beat.”
“Keeping it real is the most important thing. This is just me being me.”
“Luckily for us, we have widespread fans, at least culturally speaking. We got hood people, we got rock fans. It balances out – our shows are always very diverse.”
Many rappers would kill for the spotlight that Moufy has been swimming in as of late, which has encompassed sold-out local shows, a 2011 Boston Music Award win for Best New Artist, and a borderline cult following in New England. Decked out in his Star Gang’s finest (and naturally a crew to match), the Roxbury native with Dominican heritage doesn’t seemed phased by the success that he has worked so hard to achieve – or at least, that’s how he comes across in this interview. Instead, he is sweet, sincere, and full of passion regarding his craft. He is also very reflective of all of his amazing happenings last year.
“2011 was a great year for me, for my team, and the business as a whole. We made great music that all types of people can feel: black, white, young, old.” When prompted to elaborate on the types of people he wants his music to catch the attention of, he is quick to respond. “Music lovers, people who just love music. Luckily for us, we have widespread fans, at least culturally speaking. We got hood people, we got rock fans. It balances out – our shows are always very diverse.”
And his appeal is entirely understandable. His rapturous sophomore mix tape, entitled Boston Lights, makes constructing meaningful hip-hop look like child’s play. On it, Moufy is a musical chameleon; he is completely ride-or-die for his city on the title track, disturbingly inward on “Maybe I Lied,” and a dance floor Don on the exultant “Pick It Up.” And somehow, all of it sounds incredibly fresh because of one very poignant (and crucial) reason: there are absolutely no MCs around that sound like Moufy, not even in the slightest. His flow, phrasing and delivery are unlike anything that has come from the Boston hip-hop scene before.
Turns out, his method for writing such powerful songs is entirely contingent on the music. “A lot of it is really with the beat, you know what I mean?” He becomes noticeably stoic when trying to get this notion across. “If the beat gets you, whatever words come from that or whatever’s on your mind just comes out. It’s like you’re snatching words from the beat. That’s my process, and most of the time I do it alone.”
And while the man prefers solitude when it comes to channeling his creativity, he understands how important it is to make yourself a palpable part of your community, and being a Roxbury native plays a huge role in why he feels so strongly about it. “[Star Gang] gives back when we can. I don’t want to front, though, cause we’re all busy. But as a team we try to do things for the community.” Whether it’s through his Athletes Program, volunteering around the city (most recently at a Boys and Girls club in Roxbury on Thanksgiving Day) or keeping his Star Gang soldiers close by his side, he realizes how togetherness only incites stronger music. “For me, personally, that’s who I do this for. [Star Gang] is like my family, and that’s everything.” A smile slowly starts to illuminate his face. “Especially when you can’t make things happen by yourself – that’s what we stand for.”
Building a successful career, balancing his support system, and maintaining relationships with fans and naysayers alike is a lot to handle. Fortunately, Moufy is picking up on the rules of media etiquette quite nicely. “You really can’t always tell somebody how it is. You can’t always speak to people [rudely] even though sometimes it has to be like that. Now, especially in public, I can’t speak like that because my management will be pissed.” But Moufy is starting to really delve deep into the scope of his agency. “That aspect of media is important – now you really have to watch what you say, because it has influence. It’s a ‘you can’t say something if you don’t mean it’ kind of thing. These people are going to tear apart everything.” Although the conversation has turned slightly negative, the mood returns to a more jovial atmosphere as the talk shifts to past shows, local venues, and mainstream influences (“the Jay-zs, the Kanyes”).
At the end of the day, there is a certain message Moufy wants listeners to take away from his music. “Just be yourself. Keeping it real is the most important thing. This is just me being me. And it’s like, ‘What do you want people to take you as?’” Currently, Moufy is prepping for more recording, more live shows, and of course, reaching as many more fans as possible. But, especially in the music industry, everything is a huge hustle, and Moufy is extremely ready to get his grind on. “Follow me at Moufy617. Moufy.com, go and subscribe. Follow us on Facebook. Go to Facebook and search Moufy. Buy shirts, buy hoodies, buy hats.” Of course, there’s a lot of love behind all of this self-advertising, and Moufy couldn’t make it sound more endearing. “Shout out to Woodsum Music Group. Shout out to Performer Magazine.” And, as expected, he is again grinning from ear to ear. “Hopefully one day I can get my own consistent slot – just have my own column that I write, called the Star Gang Page.” Moufy is a hustler, indeed.