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G&B: Apologies to Sting

It's been a blast, folks. The Worlds Most Popular Podcast is signing off. Truth to be told, there's not enough hours in the day for ...

Monday, December 21, 2009

exclusive: hip hop can have its normacy back. - a chat with moka only pt. 2

I've always felt lucky to be a Hip Hop head living in Toronto. It's like being a Hip Hop head living in New York. Toronto is Canada's Hip Hop New York to the States. We're the place in Canada where the emcee's go to get heard. We're the ones where people go to check out the scene. It took a while for me to get it but it was years of being told by others - especially other emcees from Canada and American friends. During my exclusive interview with Moka Only, I was reminded once again. Toronto "was always a focal point for cats like me that was living in Vancouver or out west" Moka relates when asked about how he met up with his longtime homeboy and partner in his latest independent project, The Nope. He met Psy, formally of The Oddities, through "my homeboy Planet Pea. That's who introduced us. then gradually I met his whole crew, The Oddities and also linked with Circle Research and a couple of the Monolith cats. The Toronto shit at that time had so many flavors," as he looked back to his earlier days in Toronto. However, his friendship with Psy has spawned many projects together that the group thing kinda just evolved. "It just happened so natural. We share the same quirks pretty much. Dude, I think Psy is one of the greatest lyricists ever." Moka confided. "Plus he be rapping in all kinda different tones and voices. His cadences are wild, too." He continued, "It happened so natural. It was never a focused thing where we had to try and be a group. It's just that we see eye to eye and admire each other's musical capability. We had just been recording songs together since to top of the 2000's and after a while we had amassed enough stuff for a full project and came up with the name for us" And what was born was, The Nope.

Listening to the debut project from the group, it's amazing how the duo have such versatile verses and styles while also being able to be so connected while bringing so much individuality to the project. The two emcee's voices also connect greatly over some experimental tripped out beats that only gifted rappers can spit over. And yes. Moka and Psy are gifted. The debut (I say this in hopes of seeing more from these two together in a group environment) album, Melba proves that. Some tracks of note? Let's Do Lunch, Yeah!, Rain All Day, and Gas.

Sometimes, I under appreciate the talent we have in Canada. Then again, I remember we have people like Moka and Psy on our side of the ocean and I feel proud to be a Canuk Hip Hop fan.

Moka, however doesn't think of himself as a Canadian emcee. There's no hate there - it's just that he's a "nomadic type of guy", he shared. "In some senses so I never put myself in the box of canadian rapper. I'm a North American if anything. I feel proud of my successes, regardless." When asked about if he finds being it harder to succeed as a Northern emcee, he simply stated, "I could be from Mars or Pluto or New York and the challenges would've probably been the same".

The challenges, however have made him stronger which have caused him to work on some projects that are there. In the studio but haven't been heard from the public. Much like the mysterious album he did in 2003 with former Brassmunk member, S-Roc. "It was such a busy time in 2003 and 2004 when we were doing that and I felt I was too scatterbrained at the time so when I listen back to it, now I feel like there's only a few of the tracks I would even want the world to hear". Moka recollects. "But ya never know. Maybe someday we will start a new, proper one and release the old shit as a leak or whatever. It's all love. Peace to S-Rock!" How about that track he did with the legendary MF Doom? "Working with Doom was just business." Moka said "Obviously I've admired his work. I don't really know how he felt about working with me. Maybe it was just business, too. And that's OK because I like how the track came out. I've wanted to do a song with him since 1992." Moka recollected, "Sometimes collabs are more personal. Sometimes not. Me and Bootie Brown of the Pharcyde have a new group together called The Googlenaires and it's not just business. We are having a blast with it!" The emcee states excitingly. "Bootie Brown is a very unique emcee. A real emcee and I feel he deserves lots more credit to come. Him and his group ,The Pharcyde made huge contributions to the culture and none of that can just be swept under the rug, you dig?"

We dig, Moka.

To keep your ear to the beat system of the music of Moka Only you can catch him on the interweb you can check him here or here or here or even on Twitter right here. But one thing don't expect is to see him on Facebook. "I don't do Facebook. It's like a bad high school scene and no privacy. I don't like it. It gives me negative vibes. Cats get all pissy and mad if ya don't add em".

I'm sure fans won't have to worry about not being to get a hold of Moka or hearing any of his future work as one thing I learned from this interview and checking out his latest two albums is this. There's no stopping genius. Therefore, Moka is not going to stop any time soon. He's a Hip Hop treasure that will be throwing down as long as there's a beat machine and some type of object that resonates music. But just Hip Hop? Moka shares, "Tons of new music and art on the way" Moka relays before ending our chat. "And also, I am now a Jazz musician. Hip-hop can have its normacy back now. Peace"