This past Monday I had a chance to sit down with Vallejo rapper, Moe Green, over Arizmendi pizza and what I thought would be just an interview turned out to be a very interesting conversation of goals, aspirations, and wisdom from an aspiring artist. Born and raised in Vallejo, California, Moe Green has given the bay area quite a buzz. With his debut album “Rocky Maivia: No Title Match”, Green shares to the world his thoughts and makes a statement with his performances. Moe Green has been featured in XXL’s September issue for “Show & Prove” and has been recognized by KMEL’s freshmen 10 for 2010. But he doesn’t stop there, Moe Green wreaks success and if you don’t believe him he will be sure to prove it to you.
Reesa: Where did you come up with the name “Moe Green”?
Moe Green: one day I wanted to paint my S. Carter shoes (when they were hot) so I flipped it around to “G. Carter” which is short for Greg but then I later changed it to Moe Green when I was listening to some God father samples and he was like “I’m Moe Green”. So I ran with it.
Reesa: When did you start wanting to pursue yourself as an artist?
MG: Seriously, when I was 15. That was the first time I went to the studio. I would always write raps in class during SSR (sustained silent reading) and just play around on my computer and one day my friend, this big rapper dude, read them and told me that I should start rapping. He invited me to the studio. And that day we did 17 songs in four hours.
Reesa: Wow. You did all of that? I want to hear some of those.
MG: No you don’t. They were crap (chuckles) I wasn’t rapping on beat, or had any flow, I had words but you can definitely tell that I have evolved as an artist.
Reesa: So I heard your latest project “Rocky Maivia” and I really do like your music and support you as an artist. When I saw you over the summer, I was able to capture a different perspective of bay area artists at the Fresh Steps event in Oakland. I like how you were really serious about what you were doing and you had the audience going.
MG: Really, thanks. I change up my set every show. I take so much pride on the shows because that is an artist’s calling card. So every show I critique myself and make sure it is perfect. The Out Crowd consist of my homies, and whoever supports me they come out and get me hype and make it possible each show.
Reesa: I told you what I think makes you stand out as an artist amongst your peers. But in your own words, what do you think makes you stand out as an out?
MG: I just told somebody that I play off the guilty pleasures. I was recently chillin’ with some people and backstreet boys came on and I knew all that words and it messed them up. They were like “How do you know all the words to backstreet boys?!” I don’t care, I’m just me. I want to represent that REAL human being.
Reesa: What are your influences?
MG: E-40, especially his son Droop-E. I’ve known him since this first day of pre-school. But as a kid I was really into MC Hammer. He’s an entertainer. My mom would not let me buy CD’s with parental advisory labels but E-40 was an exception. That’s where I get my entertaining influence.
Reesa: You remind me of Mase kind of. I remember him in the 90’s really just entertaining his audience. Putting on a show. I saw your interview with XXL in New York. How was that experience for you?
MG: It was dope; I can’t wait to go back. I love it out there. We were staying in the heart of Harlem and I met up with some kats that I knew. I met Dame Dash and had three shows. There were a lot of bay kats showing love out there. The New York crowd likes to post up but I was able to get the crowd moving. After that I performed a dope warehouse party.
Reesa: Now that your project “Rocky Maivia” has been released, what kind of feedback or responses have you been getting thus far?
MG: Surprisingly I’ve been getting a lot of love. Kats in the barbershop were playing my music, and my stuff is not really hood music that they would normally play.
Reesa: Do you put yourself in the category as a Bay Area artist?
MG: I’m an artist first. I don’t want to be just Bay Famous. My patnas and I call it Bay Famous, where you do shows every week and you’re just popular out here. I don’t want to be known as just that. But at the same time I want the Bay Area to notice me and give me that respect as I move forward.
Reesa: Do you feel that you have gained respect out here yet?
MG: Yes. I’ve got a lot of respect for my peers like Erk da Jerk, The Jacka, Mistah Fab, the Locksmith. It’s kats that I listened to that are noticing what I’m doing and now I’m on their level. Cause I definitely used to listen to their music on the radio and now I’m doing shows with them. It’s dope.
Reesa: like the song/video for “KIM” because it really defines you as an artist shows us that you are an every day guy with a hustle to follow your dreams. So, tell me a day in the life of Moe Green?
Moe: I wake up at 2:30 in the morning, throw clothes on and smash to Fairfield and go to work (FedEx) until about 8 am then I come home and yell at the Monique Show for a while. My studio is set up at the house, so when the house gets quiet I vibe out. I might dose off to sleep a few times. But no really, I’m constantly doing things like 24 hours days, working and doing my music. If you ever see me at Monday Soul just know that from there I go straight to work.
Reesa: Your grind does not stop. What your motivation to keep going? A lot of people will hit rock bottom with a hustle like yours. What makes you not give up?
MG: The fact that I don’t want to work at FedEx or sell fried chicken forever. I just don’t want to get caught up in a job; my parents always worked really hard and never really did what they were passionate about. I don’t want to get caught up in that so that what keeps me going. I want to enjoy what I’m doing for a living, and have fun all day.
Reesa: So what are you working on right now? Any Next Steps?
MG: I’ve got some shows lined up. And I’m actually working on this idea of my own TV show. I’m working on a page for video footage and to show my personable side even though I don’t like being in front of the camera and photo shoots.
Reesa: You should get used to all that, cause everyone is going to want to see you. Kudos to your XXL page. You were representing for Vallejo tough!
MG: Yeah, just like Wale put on D.C. I’m putting on for Vallejo!!
Reesa: What words of advice do you have to other aspiring artists who are working to achieve their goals?
MG: Just don’t be afraid to be you. If you work a job don’t be afraid to say it. I really liked what Janelle Monae said during her acceptance speech at the Soul Train Awards, “Don’t be afraid to be who you are”. That was a good speech, artists go through the same stuff. Don’t be afraid to love what makes you unique.
Let him prove it you: