Interview w/ M.O.P.: Steady Mashing


Real music and real artists always stand the test of time. Brownsville, Brooklyn’s Mash Out Posse is no exception.  After penetrating pop culture with their smash hit “Ante Up” more than 10 years ago, the duo of Billy Danze and Lil Fame is still putting out quality music with a new album, Sparta, produced entirely by The Snowgoons, dropping later this month.  M.O.P. sat down with TWV’s Calvin Davis (@TheCalculation)  to discuss the album, their views on the current state of hip hop and what they’re doing to give back to up and coming unsigned artists.

The Well Versed: Let’s get right into the new album. How did you guys hook up with (production team) The Snowgoons?

Billy Danze:  That happened through the label. The Snowgoons have some type of deal withBabygrande Records. The owner of the label called and asked if we would be willing to possibly do a project with them. They sent over a massive amount of beats that were all hot, literally like 100 hundred beats.  So we were like “Fuck it.” They’re great producers so it was easy to put this thing together.

TWV: Fame, did you do any producing on this album?

Fame: Nah, The Snowgoons handled everything on this one. But I’m still doing my thing and after this album I’ll be back in the studio.

TWV: You guys have solo projects coming up, how are those coming along?

Billy: We got a lot of shit coming up. Towards the end of the month were going to start working on the next M.O.P. project. Then we’re going to start launching all the other shit we have from there. Fame has a project he’s working on with Termanology. So in 2012 we’re just going to flood it with M.O.P. shit.

TWV: Hip Hop is in a completely different space artistically than when M.O.P. last dropped, what are your views on the current state of the game?

Fame: I think the game needs a change right now. It needs some more boom bap.  Really I don’t care what the change is, it just needs a change, period. I’m tired of the same songs. Every artist makes the same goddamn songs.

Billy: It needs a change on strength that we’ve been traveling back forth to different cities for years and we know that there’s a ghetto and an underprivileged neighborhood everywhere.  We cater to that. Everybody ain’t dancing and having fun all day long.  We’re not partying all day long. We’re not chasing chicks all day long. So, niggas don’t want to hear that on records all day long. We put out the real and we’ll do that every time.

TWV: Seeing as how the radio is one of the main avenues responsible for giving us that constant party music, we have to go elsewhere to find other music. What artists are you feeling right now?

Billy: I’m fucking with Slaughterhouse

Fame: Yeah, I’m fucking with Royce real heavy right now and a couple of other cats. I can’t really go off the dome right now. But really? I prefer Reggae music, man. I don’t get too much into the hip-hop no more.

Billy: You got dudes saying they’re making music effortlessly right now. M.O.P.? We can do this because this is what we do. As an artist, kids look up to us. When we came up in the game, we looked up to artists and we wanted to do something that they were doing. We didn’t want to do exactly what they were doing though. We wanted to be rappers so we could showcase our skills. Now, everybody’s rapping the same. You go to the party for six hours and do the same dance, same tempo, same style of music and same concept.

Fame: I think these cats nowadays don’t have no shame. They just get on records and blatantly talk about shit they don’t got.

Billy: Like, how do you feel bragging about some shit that you don’t have? Then you get to the point where you’re making a video and you’re renting everything in the video and you still got to go back to the block in that beat up ass Honda Accord with this chick you calling your old lady and this is your real life.

TWV: I would rather see a video of an artist in that Accord…

Fame: (Laughs) But that’s what’s real though. I could fuck with that.

Billy: Those are the types of cats that stay have to stay in their own space.  So just let them stay in their own space and let us do us. We got the world coming to us.  Them niggas got small sections of small areas.

TWV: I noticed you guys were in Montreal and it’s clear that the people recognize what’s real and authentic which allows you to move around the way you do.

Billy: People like real people regardless of what you’re doing whether you’re a ball player, a rapper or even if you’re a fucking barber. People don’t like people talking down to them or like they’re better than them.

TWV: As most folks know, M.O.P. has been involved with some of the hottest labels in the game from Roc-A-Fella Records to G-Unit Records. Talk about your situation with Babygrade.

Billy: Well this is really just a project. We don’t have an actual deal with Babygrande. Right now, we don’t need a label to put out records. We put records out on our own, but since it’s a collaborative record and The Snowgoons do have a deal with them, we put it out over there. We could be on turkey and cheese records and since its real niggas everywhere you go, they’ll go out and get it.

TWV: M.O.P. has achieved a high level of mainstream success and penetrated pop culture in a sense, especially with “Ante Up” and I’ve even heard your ad-libs regularly on Sportscenter. Talk about being able to experience that while still keeping your music rooted in the streets.

Fame: When that “Ante Up” came out they tried to ban it so many places. And they didn’t even know record was about sticking up people. It was cool because we were still able to do us and allow other people to jump on board.

Billy:  It’s a good situation because when we first got in the game we were rapping hardcore around the time when the mayor of New York City was in the street with one of those (steamroller) joints crushing all the hardcore music.  We were like “Fuck that. This is what our people listen to so we gon’ do it.” The reason for M.O.P.’s success is, sadly again, there’s a ghetto everywhere in the world. My father was in the street; my grandfather and the older homies were in the street. The street never dies. They’re able to feel what we do and they appreciate it because we’re speaking for them. Without being able to communicate to our people and for our people we would have never been heard because people don’t want us telling the truth on these records.

TWV: Speaking of records, what can fans expect from this Sparta album?

Billy:  Man, high energy. Sparta is arguably the best project that we’ve put out in the last seven years. We got the title track “Sparta,” “Break Em” “Opium” all with high energy but we also got joints you almost cool out to. Almost. We’re basically in a good music recession so we got to change that. We’re passing a bill now like all the bullshit has to stop.

TWV: Any other projects for us to be on the lookout for?

Billy: Also for all the unsigned artists out there, M.O.P. is definitely giving back. We created the We Build Hits website.  Unsigned artists can work with producers like Fame A.K.A. Fizzy WomackD.R. PeriodPete Rock9th Wonder, Easy Mo BeeHeatMakerz…we got 25 huge producers that’s down to give these unsigned artists a shot and give them the same caliber of production that they gave M.O.P.

TWV: That’s a great look, how did you get started with that?

Billy: Basically just sitting around. We’ve been here for a while and we’ve had the opportunity to be around some people who’ve made a lot of money in this game.

We would sit around and they would all say how they’re going to help somebody when they get their shit together. But the truth of the matter is they haven’t done anything for anybody. So we decided that this is a way to help each other. You know there’s a dude on every corner that could rap circles around some of these rappers but nobody knows so because no one gives them a chance. So what we do is take a dude from Chicago and throw him on a track. Then take a dude from Canada and dude from Germany and throw them all the same track and create three way cross promotion. It’s really like cheating because we’re using a platinum, Grammy winning producer.


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