Spotlight: Moe Green
August 16, 2010

Not what you would expect to hear from one of today's Bay Area artists, Moe Green has a sound unlike the majority of his West Coast counterparts.  And that's definitely not a bad thing.   Part of what I feel to be the return of West to Hip-Hop, Moe Green will definitely not disappoint.

Personally, I was shocked to hear a sound like this come out of California.   Alot of times you expect to hear that West Coast twang along with tracks laced with Troutman'esque sounds, which isn't the case with Moe.

Coming out swinging with his debut effort Rocky Maivia: Non Title Match, I definitely have high hopes for Moe Green. Hopefully some of the artists out there on the west coast can take a few notes from this guy.


The rap game is overflowing with aspiring new MCs, all crammed into a single ring fighting for that lone heavyweight title. One particular competitor who has fully dedicated himself to the good fight is 22-year old Moe Green from Vallejo, California. His forthcoming debut album, Rocky Maivia: Non Title Match, is titled after Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson’s first professional ring name and perfectly embodies Moe place in today’s hip-hop circuit – the newcomer who is one day going to hold the championship belt. “The idea behind Rocky Maivia is the come up,” says Moe. “It’s about stepping into the league with the pros and aiming for the stars.”

While his parents spun old school funk, jazz, and, occasionally, hip-hop, Moe's early musical influences stemmed from whatever was popular at the time, not necessarily what hip-hop purists lauded. As part of the TRL generation, Moe incorporates elements of pop music, often draping his impressive verses over the kind of beats most people wouldn’t assume an up-and-coming hip-hop artist would use. Moe’s soundbeds range from sparse and blunted (“Ride”) to jazzy (“KIM”), and he’s just as comfortable singing hooks over driving soul-tinged beats (“Search Party”) as he is rapping over electro-house artist Kavinsky’s 80’s soundtrack-like sounds (bonus track “Lights, Camera, Action”) and a drippy, spacey dubstep version of synthpop duo La Roux’s “In The Kill” (“Going For The Kill”).

But to this day, Moe’s main source of inspiration comes from his hometown of Vallejo. Tucked away in the San Francisco Bay Area, Vallejo is well documented as the birthplace of rap legends E-40 and Mac Dre, but despite the city's recognition as a hip-hop hot spot, Vallejo is suffering its own fair share of hardships. In 2008, Moe’s hometown became the largest city in the state to file for bankruptcy and continues to struggle from financial adversity. The domino effect of these events has directly affected the morale of his community and motivates Moe to speak the truth and create sincere music that inspires his peers. “After hearing my music, I want people to recognize me as somebody they can relate to because I make honest music,” says Moe who cites the track "Day Dreamer" featuring Ragen Fykes as an example of the honest, everyday emotions expressed in his music. “Everybody hates being broke, hates their job, goes through relationship problems, wants dope shoes and clothes, has guilty pleasures and that's what I rap about.”

Like any fighter, years of training, dedication, and discipline are required to claim the top spot. Moe has been training for this his entire life. Having competed in speech and poetry meets growing up, Moe found himself genuinely attracted to the creative freedom music imparts early in his life, even writing rhymes in kindergarten with his childhood best friend and E-40’s son, Droop-E. What initially began as a childhood hobby progressed into a full-blown passion when Moe resolved to making music his life. “I decided to make a career out of music when I realized I wanted to find something to do with my life that didn’t make me hate waking up in the morning,” says Moe who, on the somber "Emerald City," raps about his desire to look back on life happy with his decisions and the conflicts encountered on the road to success. “Growing up, my mom always said she should have been in Hollywood. I don’t want to look back on my life someday and wonder ‘What if’?' I’m ready to fight for my place in hip-hop.” Listeners of Rocky Maiva can expect to hear tales from a young man from a hard hit city trying to find his way in the world the best he can. On growing from Rocky Maivia to one day standing amongst the greats, Moe says, “I need to win a couple belts first. I have to prove that I have the skill to do that and this album is like my wrestling debut.” And so, the journey begins.


TWITTER: @SeanFalyon

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