Reppin the Pacific Northwest, MOsley WOtta aka MOWO is a fresh talent and an intriguing voice in the muddle formed by the increasing democratization of music (a double edged sword, but we can shine it later). Blending rapping, singing, spoken word, and all manner of sounds and images into his music, MOWO creates tracks reminiscent of those of early Freestyle Fellowship and Busdriver. Peep the interview now and look forward to future collaborations featuring MOWO over some of my beats.
You Must Learn: Yo man.
MOsley WOtta: Hey yo. How is it?
YML: Chillin, how’s shit on your end?
MOWO: Good. I’m still concentrating on music, but I’m rounding the edges of my ignorance, ya know? Been reading more, working the body a bit as well as the page and looking at business steps I can take to stay in stride with my goals.
YML: How did the name MOsely WOtta originate?
MOWO: Its based on the theory that we are composed predominately of water. It means we are made of the same stuff, all of us.
YML: Do you see that as an overlying philosophy of your music? An attempt to find similarity in listeners, artists, etc?
MOWO: That’s a large part of the vision, yeah. The more honest and specific I am with my own situation, the more it seems to connect with others. If I am true to myself, then people get it, but if I am true to what I think people want to hear, it don’t come out as great ‘cuz it’s not from the heart.
YML: How do you think that translates in terms of content and, particularly, style.
MOWO: I mean, we live in a funny nation. Like, the paradox of being united and independent. To be specific: I think more than anything it allows room for growth without feeling the sting of hypocrisy. The MUSE has no boundaries and while it is important to establish a brand in terms of furthering the business of your music, one should feel as though they can still experiment with what intrigues them. Getting back to the name, WOtta/water is allowed to take many forms to adapt to its surroundings.
YML: Word, so you’re willing to follow an idea wherever it will take you? How has that influenced the way you rap in the last few years? Or even from the time you started rapping?
MOWO: Well it means “playing more,” not being afraid of your metaphorical and literal voice. Singing, creating different voices to create other characters and so on. Theater, musical or otherwise! This ain’t always easy, ‘cuz it means exposing a side of yourself that may still be in a budding phase, ya know?
YML: Do you have a background in theater or any other form?
MOWO: Yeah, like in public school and stuff I took some classes, but really its trusting your gut and jumping into it. So many people in the Hip Hop community had to do without a diploma or authorized know how. They trusted the art they were driven to do and showcase themselves outside of their comfort zone to achieve their path to success.
YML: So your education helped in shaping your perspective? Do you think there’s a place in the current Hip Hop market for Hip Hop from “educated” voices?
MOWO: I don’t know if my education did much beyond helping introduce me to possible avenues out there. And yeah, there are tons of people directly or indirectly educating those who listen and watch and maybe even read the works. It’s up to the listener to pull the information out. I think that Hip Hop can’t help but educate. It’s in its nature.
YML: What educated you as a listener? Who were your big influences?
MOWO: There is a prevailing theme in Hip Hop to overcome obstacles and boundaries by means of using what is around you to improve what is around and go further. Artists like Paul Simon, who put out Graceland and taught me about Hip Hop. He introduced vast demographics in and out of his fan base to music that might not otherwise have been heard with such open ears. There are so many artists out there that are very good at listening to their own voice. Its hard to name them all, a lot of them will never make it out of their own homes and ‘hood, but their truth is evident! As far as other artists, specifically Norman Cook, Atmosphere, Miriam Makeba, Muddy Waters, BobbyMcFerrin, Joni Mitchell and then all these world beat and mix tapes that my mom would get in Chicago when we lived there. That’s a few. Coltrane, all of them. It goes on.
YML: Word, did you grow up in Chicago? Where are you from originally?
MOWO: I was born in Rogers Park in Chicago. Then we moved to Oregon in like 92.
YML: And Oregon is where you currently reside?
MOWO: Yeah. It wasn’t until I moved from the city to the country that I really started to listen to Hip Hop beyond like Kris Kross, MC Hammer, LL Cool J, and Run DMC.
YML: Are you in Portland?
MOWO: Portland is above us. I live in Central Oregon, in the Bend.
YML: What’s the scene like in the bend? It always seems like Gabe [aka Amsterdam, a mutual acquaintance of ours] and whatever he’s working on have a pretty sizable audience.
MOWO: Yeah, it’s cool here for sure, but any artist must travel either online or on the road or both.
YML: You’re on the road a lot?
MOWO: Not as much as I would like. I love to be on the road; I would love to work 8 plus months out of the year.
YML: So what are you working on at the moment?
MOWO: My album, which will be released in 2010 for sure. For those that wanna listen to me now, MySpace is cool for the time being. Facebook works too. My lady just made some grub.
YML: Go enjoy, thanks for sitting down with me. Have a good one.
MOWO: You too. Peace.