I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I personally believe that Moe Pope is the most talented rapper in Boston. Now, there are plenty of fantastic artists in Boston, many of whom receive shout-outs from Moe himself below, but there is something so pure about Mr. Pope. He’s brash yet collected; energetic yet composed; intelligent beyond measure and street-savvy. We took the time to talk with Moe about his new record, Life After God, being from Boston, and – you guessed it – chocolate-covered bacon. Hit the skip to read what he had to say.
PIMB: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. How are things in Moe’s world? What have you been up to this summer?
Moe Pope: Things are all good. I’ve just been busy promoting the album and preparing for the next one.
PIMB: You’ve been around the Boston hip-hop scene for years now, and you were a major player in numerous acclaimed groups earlier in the decade, including Mission:, Electric and Project Move. Did you have a particular favorite album to emerge from your time with those groups?
Moe: I would probably say Mission: because it was my first project. I remember doing this album totally knowing nothing about the business or the politics of making a record and getting your album heard. I just wanted to make music above all else – money, ladies, props – I just really wanted to create and get better at whatever it was I was going to create!
PIMB: Boston’s not necessarily known as a hip-hop hotbed. What has made you remain so faithful to the local scene over the years when you could have easily packed up for another city like New York? Where do you see Boston hip-hop heading over the next few years?
Moe: So many talented musicians have come from Boston but the perception is that they have no choice but to leave. Having watched some of our best talent come and go over the years, I feel like really it’s the Boston fan that’s to blame. Atlanta supports their own; New York supports their own; Oakland supports their own. Boston cats are only big-uppin’ their homies or big-uppin’ that Boston artist that resides in New York and comes home every other month trying to act like they still live here.
We as a people need to support our own. I’m not leaving. I love my home, but I understand why so many people leave. It’s almost like self-hate – as soon as something is hot here, another motherf*cker will hate on it until they leave and get love elsewhere.
We should be saying from the jump, “I’ll ride with this because this motherf*cker is from where I’m from, and we are one and the same. I bump Edo G because I am Edo G; I bump Reks because I am Reks; I bump Akrobatic because I am Akrobatic. He is speaking my language, from my block, and there is no place better than were I’m from!
PIMB: Throughout your career, you’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the finest talent in hip-hop, including Headnodic, Edan and Insight. The new album, Life After God, is produced by Rain. How did you and Rain meet, and what drew you to his production style?
Moe: I met Rain because he heard me on a mixtape and got my info so he could shop me his beats. Producers hit me up all the time, and they’re usually less than stellar. I very rarely take these dudes seriously, but for some reason I agreed to meet up with Rain. I think sometimes you just know when something is right! I just knew Rain and I were going to be making music instantly.
PIMB: Your style of rapping often draws comparisons to that of the Native Tongues era. What are some of your biggest musical influences, both in and out of hip-hop?
Moe: I love music, so that’s a hard question. I might be Bad Brains to the death on Monday, and then Run-D.M.C. on Tuesday. I love DOOM because he is not afraid to do something different. I love Edan for the same reason. I’m heavy on Nick Drake; his lyrics are real heavy. And Donnie Hathaway – oh man – Donnie and Mahalia Jackson can make me cry. I just love music.
PIMB: Those who have seen your live set know that you bring a pure energy to the stage that many artists simply can’t match. How do you approach your live shows? What is it that you like most about hip-hop’s live component?
Moe: For some reason, emcees forgot to give the people a show. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone to a hip-hop show and the rapper is screaming and swearing at the audience to get hyped and make some noise, but the performer is bringing nothing to the table. Those guys aren’t taking themselves seriously enough to even work on their own sh*t. Forget them. I’ll stay fly and try my very best to bring it every show. The people that pay to see me deserve at least that much.
PIMB: One of the singles from the upcoming album, “Foolish”, has a chorus that instructs foolish emcees what a true emcee sounds like. Is this track a commentary on how you view hip-hop today? Do you feel that you deserve more attention based on the quality of music you release?
Moe: Yeah, I do. And that’s not being cocky at all. I’m sure a lot of people think I’m given a beat and I just rap over it, because a lot of emcees do just that. There is nothing wrong with that; I’m just saying, we use a lot of live instrumentation on our records and try our best to give you your money’s worth. I take my time to give the listener quality, sonically and lyrically. I mean, I could dish you up a Big Mac and fries, and it would taste good, but wouldn’t a home cooked meal prepared with fresh vegetables and the finest produce taste better and be better for you in the long run?
PIMB: I know we’ve personally been talking about Life After God for some time now. Is it frustrating to be sitting on a truly excellent project and have it pushed back multiple times?
Moe: Yes, but that’s the nature of music nowadays. I’m lucky that I’m on a good label right now because the music industry is slowly going extinct. I really can’t complain too much though because the delay gave me more time to promote this record.
PIMB: Who are some of your own personal favorite artists out right now? Are there any artists out there who you aspire to work with?
Moe: Yes. Drug Rug! I would love to do a song with them. I’m also feeling Tan Vampires, Blu, Edan and many more. Reks is also beast! And one more: Jay Electronica – wow – he’s killing them. I would go bananas if I could get him on an album!
PIMB: Thanks again for taking the time to catch up. Any final words for the fans out there?
Moe: Yes! Chocolate-covered bacon is delicious!
PIMB: Couldn’t agree more.[audio:http://potholesinmyblog.flywheelsites.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/09-Foolish-Feat.-Reks-Explicit.mp3|titles=Moe Pope – Foolish (Feat. Reks)]