Doomtree (read our interview here) premiered the official music video for “Team The Best Team” over on Absolute Punk. The video features an abundance of footage from their feature full-length documentary of the same name, which is now available to rent, stream, and download via watch.doomtree.net starting right now.
In Team The Best Team director Chris Hadland brings you on an all-access behind the scenes journey through Doomtree’s 2012 international tour in support of their critically acclaimed and best selling album to date, No Kings. Take an unprecedented glimpse inside the family, crew, business, and lives of the Minneapolis hip-hop collective, and see how they’ve spent the last decade working side by side to create some of the most cutting edge music in the world. You can rent, stream, or download the entire film digitally at watch.doomtree.net.
In celebration of the documentary’s digital release, Doomtree would like you to join them for a special Team The Best Team Movie Night, Wednesday, December 11th at 9pm CST. Duck out on your bridge club and stock up on the Velveeta. At 9 pm Central on Wednesday, December 11th, the night before Doomtree’s annual multiple day, all-crew live Blowout performance (tickets still available for Sunday!), we’ll all press ‘play’ on Team The Best Team. If you’re the type to talk through movies, use the hashtag #BlowoutEve during the viewing, as various members of Doomtree will be chiming in throughout.
Where: Middle East Downstairs (Cambridge, MA) When: November 22, 2013 Highlight: Hungry MC returns to mixtape form.
(SCROLL FOR PHOTOS)
Taking a brief pause between songs, Lloyd Banks boldly challenged the sold-out crowd to prove that they’d been loyal to Banko for the past decade. To punctuate his point, Banks requested all the lights turned up so he could see who claimed true love for the Punch Line King. Given the line-for-line recitation on his unreleased gem “Fly Like the Wind,” this was a room full of believers.
Recently, Banks has given good reason to hope, delivering a strong DJ Drama produced mixtape (Failure’s No Option) on Halloween. It has a more sparse sound than on previous Banks albums, and it plays to his strength as a live MC. The deeper tone matches how Banks delivered his bars on stage, showcased on the new track “Drop A Diamond.” And previously smooth album cuts, like “Any Girl,” were deconstructed as Banks sprayed the crowd with bottled water for a frenetic ”go shorty, go shorty, go!” chorus.
Sweat dripping from his face, Banks stated that since he had exceeded his contractual set time; the past 15 minutes were a gift. But the MC also wanted to provide some public service announcements, urging us to “cut that molly out; it’s crack,” and “use condoms; seriously, use condoms.” It was a genuinely compassionate moment, one that was followed up by Banks taking out his cell phone and pulling up a photo for the front row: cover art for Cold Corner 3, which he claimed could be released in two weeks.
Grinding and grinning the whole night, Lloyd Banks proved why Kanye once tweeted, “[he’s] the most underrated MC in the game.”
On Producing in the Right Environment & Injecting His Live Show with Rock & Roll
Intrinsically motivated, quick-witted, Boston-based rapper Moe Pope has been in the game for the better part of the last decade, and is now releasing what is arguably his best work. It’s no surprise he just won the Boston Music Award for Best Hip-Hop Artist. Pope, who is known for his lyrical social commentary and casual persona, is creating old-school hip-hop in a new voice. Laying down rhymes on unique tracks of his own composition, Pope it upping the ante for up and coming hip-hop artists to not only talk about real issues, but to do it in an distinctive way. This month, we got the chance to talk with Pope about his upcoming album, his hometown influence, the music industry, and his creative process.
What drew you to music?
I come from a musical family. My dad is a drummer, and my mom is a singer. My first love was the records that they would play when I was growing up. I’m a lucky dude, my mom’s family is from the suburbs, and my dad’s family is from the city. My uncles listened to new wave and punk stuff. I don’t know a lot of black families who did that. And my mom listens to soul, jazz, and my grandmother listened to country and gospel music. I was exposed to all of this very young, and I was a quiet kid, so I just soaked all of it in.
But as far as hip-hop goes, I really don’t feel like you can grow up in the city and not be influenced by hip-hop. I heard an interview with Jack White. He grew up in the hood, and said that even though he tried as much as he could to not be influenced by his surroundings, how could he not be influenced by the beats and the sounds, and how a man carries himself in the inner city?
I lived in the projects, and then when I was thirteen, my mom bought my grandparents’ house and moved us out to the suburbs. It was a huge culture shock, but I got used to the music. Like Nirvana. There were certain things about all of it that really made sense, and shaped how I listened to music.
How do you write music lyrically, and how do you approach your studio time?
As far as studio time, I mean, we’ve done some songs in my living room, we’ve done songs in a closet. It’s really wherever the acoustics can be right.
Honestly I feel like you can make music anywhere, as long as you have the right ear and a really good engineer…and the right vibe. You can be in a million dollar studio and the vibe just isn’t right, so you are never going to get the song right.
As for my writing process, I go through an ebb and flow. Sometimes I can write a song in 15 minutes; sometimes it will take me weeks. I try, as much as possible, to talk about important aspects of my life, as well as have fun. I just try to tell the truth to people. I think that’s a huge thing that’s not in hip-hop right now. There is a lot of fun in hip-hop. And I’m not like one of those old-school rapper dudes who doesn’t like the new stuff. I feel like you can find an influence in anything. It’s just that the stuff that’s on the radio right now, the new hip-hop…it’s vastly superficial.
You’ve got the gangster rappers and they are really only talking about the negatives. They are only talking about the shootings and getting their money, selling drugs, you know? And that’s one part of it…when they’re talking about ladies shaking their asses, and that’s a part of it, too. But that’s not the whole story; there are mothers and fathers, there are children playing in the park, there are huge success stories of kids who have come out of tragedies. There are flowers that grow in the city. So I don’t feel like the whole story is being told. Whereas a rock band can really talk about anything they want. And because of that, I feel like there is a huge double standard within writing in hip-hop. Like I can’t say that I want to shoot somebody in the face, but Martin Scorsese can make a movie [about] that.
The video for “Rock Me” was shot all around Boston; are you trying to represent Boston/Roxbury?
I’m not trying. I AM Boston. I went out to the Bay when I was younger, and when I was out there, I wore a Boston t-shirt everywhere that I went. I am vastly Boston, but Boston doesn’t define me. I don’t make records to represent Boston. I make records because I love hip-hop, I love rock and roll. I love music. It just happens that I was born in a fuckin’ crazy city.
You have partnered with producer Rain on your previous and forthcoming album; what does he bring to your projects?
My first group was called Mission, which was a band actually. That was my first anything. My first song, my first record, my first tour, the first time I left the country was with this group. Then they became a group in their own right, without me, and that group was the Crown City Rockers. So I decided to leave and move back to Boston to take care of my daughter and figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I tried different beats, and different styles of producers, and different groups. And nothing really clicked…nothing really felt like home until I was working with Rain.
When I was in all those groups, I would write a song and they would be like, “This really isn’t you…you’re more like a Common guy.” And it’s just not true. I have these thoughts as well, so I write them. If it wasn’t in me, I wouldn’t write it. Or they’d be like, “You cant say this word because I don’t want to offend anybody,” and I just always hated that. So when I met Rain, he was young, and I had been in the game for a while, but it allowed me to start over and do what I wanted. I could be me, and not be judged on wanting to try things. Because he was kind of green, he had no idea how to make a record. So it was like learning how to be myself, and do what I wanted to do, that’s what Rain allowed me to do. And within that, I think I’ve taught Rain how to make records. And he has grown…before he was a good producer and I think right now he’s an amazing producer. He’s a goddamn genius to me.
Has Rain been doing the backbeats while you are strictly the lyricist, or do you have a hand in construction of the track as well?
I would say 75% of things that I rap on, Rain has created. Within that, there are songs that I have co-produced. And there are things that I have played for him, that he has built something around what I wrote. But the vast majority is him.
Having been in a few groups, and now making music on your own, do you enjoy working as a solo artist? Or do you miss the group dynamic?
I loved the group aspect of it. There is nothing like having your brothers and your sisters there to talk to about stuff, to travel with and see the world together. That’s definitely something that I miss about having the full on group. But there’s nothing like being able to express yourself fully. Like in a group, you have to compromise yourself drastically sometimes. I feel like I’ve done that over the years – compromising who I was, and what I wanted to achieve.
Right, you are just showing that you are human…
Exactly, and I don’t think a lot of people realize that hip-hop can be that way. I mean, shit, if Dylan can write about his fucking feelings, why can’t I, and have it be hip-hop? Just because there’s a thunderous beat there, or something people can shake to doesn’t mean that it can’t be good and have quality. It also doesn’t mean that somebody who wants to write a song that’s serious, can’t write a song that he just wants people to dance to.
It’s a double-edged sword, wanting to be creative and wanting to do something that’s different. People will put you in a box no matter what.
How do your albums translate to a live performance?
The onstage show, people tell me all the time, is the best show that they’ve ever seen for hip-hop. Because the worst thing, for me, is going to see a dude walk back and forth rapping and grabbing his dick. Hip-hop is really a testosterone-filled environment. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve knocked a few people out, but at a certain point you’ve got to talk about something different, you’ve got to be creative, and I feel like that’s something that hasn’t happened in this genre. And that’s why people haven’t gravitated towards it like they used to.
We work really hard on the live show; we try to bring a very live, rock and roll feel to hip-hop, without it being rap-rock. Because I hate rap-rock.
What does your touring schedule look like?
Everything is just starting now. And the record comes out [this month]. So between the two, we will be going out to New York and doing something for Converse. But we are just starting booking now. The record just got mixed; we are doing press and just doing all the final stuff. Everything had to be designed, fixed up and made to look pretty for people. We have crazy packaging for the CD cover that I think people are going to bug-out about when they see it.
I am trying to be! We did six videos for this project and still are going to do two more. We are just trying to make sure that people hear this record. If there is any record that I have worked my ass off for, it’s this one.
There is good hip-hop out there, palatable hip-hop that is really hard to make, that would bring people back to loving hip-hop. Without it being cheesy and old. I just feel like our time is now. So many young people are listening to rock, and R&B and hip-hop. I don’t know if a lot of my friends know that I have a Radiohead record and that I’m bumpin’ Frank Ocean right now. And that I have A Tribe Called Quest record and I listen to A$AP. I just feel like the time is now for people to shed those boundaries and those little groupings.
Manipulating Track Ideas in Cubase Before Hitting the Studio
Chicago hip-hop has never been this smooth. Sorry Kanye, the WHOevers have found that feeling that A Tribe Called Quest imbibed and put their own kiss on it. They’re confident, “far from the regular” and are focused on making feel-good music to which listeners can bop their heads, as evidenced on the group’s debut album Renovations and their upcoming mixtape, due out this month. Continue reading →
Tapeheads is probably the best music movie you’re not totally obsessed with yet. And shame on you.
It’s got everything you could possibly want in a motion picture -’60s soul legends, a phantom Menudo concert, early music video technology, John Cusack with a pedo-stache, and a full-blown rap song about chicken and waffles. Not to mention Fishbone as a country bar band…
So technically this isn’t “funk” in the strictest sense of the word (or any sense, really), but we hope you’ll forgive us and have fun with it anyway.
Pioneering MC on Lyrical Craftsmanship, His Upcoming Album, and a New Approach to Songwriting
photos by Maria Grace Abuzman
The voice behind the expedited rhymes of Blackalicious and Bay Area rap collective Quannum Projects, Gift of Gab carries 20 years experience and, as a buttress of insightful hip-hop, casts his loquacious Jeet Kune Do, a blend of funk, farsightedness and fun, upon all eager and open ears.
His latest full-length, Next Logical Progression,allocates his mastery in the form of hyperbolic quips and syllabic swirls that dip, dive and cut through ideas of enlightenment, elation and “The Underground” sound.
In addition to releasing Next Logical Progression, what are you looking to accomplish in the next year?
Well, me and “X” [Chief Xcel] are currently working on a new Blackalicious record. I’m working on a couple of mix tapes, and I plan on touring like crazy. This almost feels like a new beginning. With the way that I feel about the Next Logical Progression and the way that I feel about this new Blackalicious album, it’s almost like a second wind.
I wanna hit Europe this fall and I still wanna hit Australia, and Japan as well. Always international. The world is an important place.
“This time around I took a recorder with me and any time I would hear a bass line or a piano riff or a guitar riff in my head, I would put it down with my voice.”
Would you describe your songwriting process?
The process for this record was different, as I played a part in crafting some of the music. This time around I took a recorder with me and any time I would hear a bass line or a piano riff or a guitar riff in my head, I would put it down with my voice.
G Koop is a producer who people go to replay samples, as well as, or even better than the original sample – and I’ve known G Koop for a minute. So, I would record stuff on my Dictaphone and I would go to G Koop’s crib and I would just hum the melody, hum the bass line. I would hum a piano riff or whatever and I’d have him play it. And from there we just added on.
This was a very organic process. I’ve never created like this. I think I have only just begun making songs like this. There is so much freedom to it and so much limitlessness to it.
“Art is infinite. It has no end to it. To me, that is intriguing because I am always curious as to what’s gonna come next.”
Who else was involved in the production of Next Logical Progression and what are some of the programs and instruments that are used on the record?
Everything from horns, guitars and Moogs to 808 drums – you name it, it’s there. I am always very blessed to work with very talented artists in all the projects that I’ve been on. This time I worked with George Clinton for the second time. There is a song with him and Latyrx, “Everything Is Fine;” we are real, real juiced about that. I did a song with Zumbi from Zion I, as well as with Raashan Ahmad from Crown City Rockers and a song with Martin Luther, an incredible singer from the Bay Area – the list goes on. I’m extremely excited about all the guests on this record.
You mentioned you would carry around the Dictaphone and record ideas that you had. Would you typically get a decent stockpile of ideas before you hit the studio?
Everything came from the mind. I have always envisioned the type of music I wanted to rhyme over, but my whole problem was: #1- I couldn’t play anything, and #2- I didn’t carry a recorder around. So in my mind it was a matter of humming it as precisely as I could, and then once in the studio, telling Koop how I wanted it to be played. This has been a whole new way of making songs for me.
Was it a difficult process to translate what you were humming?
Not really, because it’s all in your head. The talent is humming it right. There would be times I would get notes off key and say ‘Nah, that’s not how I heard it,’ and I would have to go back and replay the tape. The trick is to initially get it down correctly.
Describe the collaboration with George Clinton that appears on NLP.
Obviously, it is extremely funky, extremely lyrical. George is doing his thing on the hooks, he is doing his thing all over it – his presence is definitely there. It’s the funk! What else can I say? It was a great learning experience and a pleasure to be able to see a master at work. I just watched.
Who are some musical influences of yours that might surprise people?
Lambert, Hendricks and Ross – an old jazz trio. I like some bluegrass. I like anything that is ‘out there’ as far as vocal styling is concerned. I am into style, not just hip-hop, but as far as any kind of music is concerned. I am into anything that goes left of where the norm is.
What are some of your influences outside of music that influenced NLP?
Family, friends, movies, books, relationships, interactions – really just being an observer. I really liked Miles Davis’ book, Neale Donald Walsch, Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino. I am an observer. I really just like to watch creative people do their thing.
How would you say that Next Logical Progression differs from any of your previous projects?
Each one is different; each project represents a place in time and a space where any of the involved members may be at, be it musically or otherwise. With NLP it was a real free process and my new creative approach is what made it feel different.
In the sense of being an artist, how would you say that you have changed since coming on the scene?
I think I have just grown. I listen to everything that comes out. I take in everything from everybody that comes out and I think it helps me to grow.
What is it about you that sets you apart from the rest of today’s rappers?
I’ve seen it all, man. I have seen hip-hop in its early stages, in its growing stages; I’ve seen rappers come, and I’ve seen rappers go. And I have studied it all. Especially when it comes to the lyrical side, I am a very intense student when it comes to the art form called ‘rapping.’ I absorb and take everything in, and it becomes a part of what I do.
What is it about what you do that keeps you from doing something else?
I love it. I love what I do and I don’t see any limit to it and I don’t see any end to it. You can never create so many styles that there are no styles to be made up anymore; you can never tell so many stories that there are no more stories to be told. Art is infinite. It has no end to it. To me, that is intriguing because I am always curious as to what’s gonna come next.
Hip-hop has been benefiting from the music of Doomtree’s seven members since 2001, but a new decade has brought a new spirit of collaboration and focus that has them pushing new musical ground and finding more fans at every tour stop. Performer got in touch with Doomtree members Lazerbeak and Dessa to talk about the making of the Minneapolis based crew’s new album No Kings and how seven individual artists find success as a collective.
Performer Magazine: When putting together an all-crew album, does everyone bring several songs and then you work to pick the right ones, or is it a group project from the very beginning?
Lazerbeak: We initially started out doing it the “everyone contributing individual songs” way, because I don’t think any of us really knew how to fully make songs together in the beginning. Making No Kings was the first time we all got together and made a conscious decision upfront to really work together from start to finish and worry less about the individual aspect. I think knowing each other for over a decade and playing so many shows together made that all possible.
PM: How do you decide what songs make it and what don’t?
Lazerbeak: I feel like we generally aren’t the type to make like 60 songs for a record and pick the best 15. We’re pretty aware while making a song if it’s gonna be good or not, so a lot of stuff doesn’t ever even get finished if it’s not cutting it upfront. For No Kings, we wrote 12 songs and that’s what made the record.
PM: Is it a democratic process or does someone have the final say?
Lazerbeak: Nah, no one person has the final say. It’s always pretty democratic and usually not even that difficult when it comes to picking songs. We also have so many other outlets as far as solo records and whatnot, that if a song is good but doesn’t fit the vibe of this particular record, it still has a good shot of showing up somewhere else.
PM: Has the process changed since putting out the first all-crew record?
Lazerbeak: Yeah, I think the first self-titled album took us about five years to compile, because we were all just solo artists trying to make a crew record to showcase our individual talents. No Kings was produced, written, tracked, mixed, and released in less than nine months. That shit was crazy!
PM: How do you handle artistic disagreements?
Lazerbeak: I don’t know if we’ve totally figured it out yet, to be honest. Luckily we’re at a point now where we’ve all known each other for over a decade, and we’re much more capable of talking things out and working through our problems than ever before. I think we’ve also learned to pick our battles and not scrutinize every little detail.
PM: So many of your lyrics are introspective and personal, has it gotten easier to open on record as the crew has become tighter?
Dessa: I think writing collaboratively has proven tougher than writing candidly. To write about personal experiences demands a bit of mustered courage, while writing collaboratively demands a share of trust. But there’s an extra trick to the collaborative stuff – you’ve got to figure out how to fit it all together, how to devise a cohesive project, like riding one bicycle with half a dozen of your closest friends.
“To write about personal experiences demands a bit of mustered courage, while writing collaboratively demands a share of trust”
“No Kings was produced, written, tracked, mixed, and released in less than nine months. That shit was crazy!”
PM: Does much Doomtree still live together? If so, how does that help (or hinder) the process of writing and keeping your careers on track?
Lazerbeak: In the beginning there was definitely a Doomtree house that almost everyone lived at. We pretty much made both the self-titled crew record and the False Hopes record there. Living together sounds like a great idea in theory, but I think we got way more done once people moved out on their own.
PM:No Kings includes live musicians in the mix of beats and synths, giving it a feel different from much of Doomtree’s catalogue. Was this a conscious decision or did it just feel like that’s what it needed?
Lazerbeak: The beats kind of evolved into this really dense soundscape right off the bat. We figured, ‘Why not just go way over the top and bring in a bunch of players to make it even more dynamic?’ There are definitely over 150 recorded tracks on some of these songs. Our engineer was actually pretty annoyed with us.
PM: What were some of the challenges of mixing the live instruments with the programmed instruments and samples?
Lazerbeak: It ended up being way easier than I thought it would be, actually. People would come in and play all over the whole record and then we would go in and edit their parts down, so that the live instruments would come in and out throughout the record. The main musical foundation was already laid down in the original beats, so it was more of just accentuating the work that had already been put in.
PM: What’s the onstage dynamic like with all of you on stage at this point in your career? Do you have any tricks for keeping your head on straight with so many bodies on stage?
Lazerbeak: We pretty much built Doomtree’s following off of our live show reputation, so we really pride ourselves on the live set. It’s sweaty and inclusive and pretty much just really awesome. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and when we perform I think people really get a chance to see each of our individual personalities shine onstage as we interact with one another. It’s a blast.
PM: Is Doomtree actively discussing who has what release on the horizon and how they should be spaced or promoted for the benefit of the group?
Lazerbeak: At this point, once you turn in the audio master for your record, we spring into action and figure out how best to place it in the release schedule. We are definitely always focused on building up each solo artist with every release, while boosting the crew every chance we can get. It’s a lot of constant planning and checking in with one another, but making and putting out records is the fun part, so it never gets too stressful. We are all dedicated to make each other as successful as possible.
From first glance at Canadian hip-hop dynamic duo Philly Moves, it’s clear that there’s something different about these artists. MC/lyricist Tynan “Tragic” Phelan was born with writing in his blood, as his grandmother, a published poet, nurtured his writing from a young age. Hype man/producer Jonathan “Rockwell” Desilva fell in love with music riding in the back seat of his father’s car, as he blared The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac. Together, the two are like musical dynamite, and their passion for the craft emanates from every word. Their respect for each other is palpable. “I never really considered music as an option and to be honest, let my skills as a writer go to waste until Jonathan and I started collaborating,” says Tragic. “His soundscapes speak to me, and really bring out the best in my abilities.”
Producing a unique sound characterized by thoughtful wordplay, rhythmic breakbeats and a cunning use of samples, Philly Moves pays homage to the true spirit of hip-hop. “At our core we are soulful and old school, sampling directly off of vinyl with heavy drum beats and thoughtful, charismatic lyrics,” says Tragic. And the duo shows no signs of slowing down. In just two short years, Philly Moves has embarked on a self-booked tour across Canada, played Canadian Music Week and has been named Ottawa’s Favorite Band by Faces Magazine. Along the way, Tragic and Rockwell have rocked stages with Del the Funky Homosapien, Lupe Fiasco and a host of other talented acts.
Their second full-length album, How to Drink Yourself Famous, just dropped last month. Tragic says the duo wants nothing more than “to keep doing us. To be able to have done what we’ve done already, making tons of people happy, performing with legends in front of huge crowds; in my mind we have already become a success.”
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.