How about some hardcore? M.O.P.
Last Wednesday The Jazz Café, my favourite London venue, was taken over and owned by hard-core hip hoppers M.O.P. The place was alive with the aural assault of penetrating, jazzy beats and the guys’ signature aggressive rhyme style. The crowd seemed to mostly be loyal fans from the bands early career, everyone getting most hyped for tracks off of the band’s first album To The Death (which I highly recommend to any hip hop head, if you don’t already know). After ending the raucous set with the huge anthem ‘Ante Up!’ Lil’ Fame took a few minutes to catch up with Mint Magazine. We chatted about M.O.P’s current projects, the misrepresentation of hip hop and his favourite hip hop artists, whilst I tried to not be blinded by the guy’s bling smile.
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So, what are M.O.P up to at the moment? You guys recording an album?
Fame: Yeah we’re recording. Yep, we’re recording a new album. Billy’s doing a solo album; it’s called Bi-High Gates. I’m doing a solo album called Fame & Glory. My album is more like a, kind of a compilation, more like ‘Fame and friends’, know what I mean?
So you been working on a lot of collaborations?
Fame: Yeah, collaborations. And I got a joint with my boy Termanology where he’s the headline of the album and I’m doing a little bit of the beats, and then I rhyme on some of the tracks. It’s called Physiology. Termanology’s from Boston, I don’t know if you’ll be familiar with him over here.
I’m a big fan of all the work you guys did with DJ Premier – are you still working with him?
Fame: Yeeeah, yes. Premier’s my brother and he’s one of the best producers. Anytime I get the chance to record with the man – I’m down, down for it. But Premier’s a very busy man too at the same time. But, if I need stuff from Premier, it’s like – on. Oh – and let me say this- Premier mixed a lot of the work I do, cos’ I also do production. So, a lot of the production I do, Premier mixes it. For the cats that don’t know, Premier mixes a lot of cuts. They did a write up in XXL on Lil’ Fame and DJ Premier ( ‘Is Lil’ Fame the New Primo?’) . Premier’s my big brother and I look up to him, know what I mean? Premier – that’s my big brother as far as music and I look up to him in every way. And he gave me a lot of the skills that I know.
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Mash Out Posse are known as being one of, if not the, most hard-core hip hop acts – are there times that you let that down, and get a bit more smooth?
Fame: Well like now – I’m cool.
Yeah – right now?
Fame: Yeah, well see, people overlook our talent. We talented dudes.
Yeah, of course.
Fame: Like, I mean talented, we build songs. When we put songs together we construct the songs. We call each other, we put together our ideas, know what I mean? Concepts. You know, choruses, call and response, for when we’re out there with the crowd. You know, we do songs like that and that takes talent.
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Yeah, some people think it’s all about the hype.
Fame: Exactly, it’s not just about that, no. So when they say hard-core, they overlook, it overshadows talent. We hard-core dudes cos’ we from the fuckin’ streets. Hard-core is not a sound, hard-core is not my Timbalands and my hat. Hard-core is a way of life, I lived a hard-core fuckin’ life – he lived a hardcore fuckin’ like, know what I mean? Kids – no fathers, know what I mean? But, it’s dope though to be labelled as one of the most hard-core.
Yeah, I think it’s generally meant as a tribute. Who are your favourite hip hop artists? Who are you inspired by?
Fame: Kool G Rap, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick, Ice Cube, Scarface, groups like that. There’s a bunch of – Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Gangstarr – there’s a whole bunch more. Like, my whole childhood I could name, my whole childhood is full of my favourite artists, you know, but I can’t go through all of that right now! We cool?
Yeah, we’re cool. Thanks so much.
words Alice Price – Styles