moppressphoto_phixr21For every generation, people always have an opinion on when their “golden era” occurred.

For Hip-Hop, mostly all individuals agree that the genre shined its brightest during the 90’s.

Filled with no two acts that sounded alike, (completely opposite from today’s Hip-Hop) going to music store on Tuesdays was actually an exciting adventure, versus the dreadful trek it is now.

Even though the people who lived through that time are probably parents now, watching their children do whacky  dance steps they learned on YouTube, a lot of the 30-somethings can still seek a little solace in knowing that some of their favorite groups from their teenage years are still relevant to this day.

Brooklyn’s own M.O.P. happens to be one of those legendary groups that has managed to survive every transition Hip-Hop has gone through; while maintaining fan base who’s just as loyal as they first were when songs like ‘How About Some Hardcore’ flooded their battery-operated walkmans.

Despite brief stints at Roc-A-Fella and G-Unit Records, where nothing really materialized, the duo from Brownsville still remain just as hungry, as they get ready to release their latest project, The Foundation.

And on a hot summer night in downtown Manhattan at the E1 Music office, you’ll find Lil Fame and Billy Danze loosening up by drinking a bottle of Hennessy straight, (Hennessy and Red Bull for this writer) and talking about everything from their new album, all the way down to how the game needs Soulja Boy

iHipHop.com: Okay, so The Foundation will be reaching your fans soon, what are they going to hear from it? You guys trying anything different?

Billy Danze: Now why would we do that?! [Laughing]

iHipHop.com: [Laughing]… You never know, some people might try something different…

Billy Danze: [Laughs]… This is some traditional M.O.P. sh*t, from a current point of view… This is coming from a grown man’s status, and a grown man’s plateau…

We can’t change what we do, and this is the reason why we’re sitting up here [E1 Music] having this conversation now… It got us this far, and you don’t fix some sh*t that ain’t broke…

iHipHop.com: Who did you guys work with this time around?

Billy Danze: I worked with [Lil] Fame

Lil Fame: [Laughing]…

Billy Danze: All I had to say is, “Lets put the band back together!”

press-photo-2iHipHop.com: [Laughing]… Besides you two working with each other, who else came through to lend a hand?

Billy Danze: Production-wise: DJ Premier, DR Period, Nottz, Statik Selektah, Redman [Click for Redman video interview] came in and got busy, and so did Styles P

We usually don’t flood our records with a whole bunch dudes—you know what I’m saying?

When you buy an M.O.P. record, we want you buying anM.O.P. RECORD.” You ain’t buying no f*cking mixtape, you’re buying an M.O.P. record…

iHipHop.com: So [Lil] Fame, did you do some beats on the album too?

Lil Fame: Yeah, I did a couple on there too…

iHipHop.com: Do you ever have dilemmas about the beats you want to keep for you guys versus the beats you want to sell/pitch to other artists?

Lil Fame: Nah…

Billy Danze: Yeah he do, but he’s going to lie to you…

iHipHop.com: [Laughing]…

Lil Fame: [Laughs]… Honestly, it’s easier for me to rock on somebody else’s sh*t… By the time I make a beat, I have an idea for it already…

But it really depends on the moment, and how we’re working… I don’t give a f*ck who makes the beat, as long as that sh*t is banging… [Laughs]

iHipHop.com: [Laughing]…

Billy Danze: [Laughs]… It don’t make a difference… A lot of producer/rappers do that sh*t… They don’t let anybody else do any production on their sh*t, and that’s being a little too cocky and too much on your own d*ck… You got to give somebody else room too…

Lil Fame: You already know where you can take it, but if you don’t try anything else, then you’re limiting yourself… That’s how I feel, I feel like if I did that, I would be limiting myself…

iHipHop.com: Speaking of having dope beats, what was your favorite record to make on the album?

Billy Danze: ‘Blow The Horns.’

iHipHop.com: You too [Lil] Fame? ‘Blow The Horns’?

Lil Fame: Mine was ‘Foundation.’

Billy Danze: ‘Foundation’ is dope…

Lil Fame: And we had fun that night making it…

iHipHop.com: Why’s that? You guys had a lot of this going on that night? [Pointing to the bottle of Hennessy]…

M.O.P.: [Laughing collectively]…

Billy Danze: We roll with that, n*gga! [Laughs]

press-photo-3iHipHop.com: [Laughing]…

Billy Danze: [Laughs]… It’s dope though and people don’t know it… We actually took our time to make that record, and the time we took to make it, we had already recorded half the album…

Every time we got ready to put that next verse or hook on it, that magic was in the room… There’s always magic in the room, but that song took a certain kind of magic…

iHipHop.com: Plus I wanted to talk to you two about your affiliations with Roc-A-Fella and G-Unit… Those big time companies wanted you guys, but why didn’t either of those situations work out?

Billy Danze: Basically both labels were broke… We were in a position to get deals from these labels, and also from LOUD Records too…

All three of those labels were the biggest East Coast urban labels at the time, but every time we got to one of them, they started declining… It was just a timing issue, and if we would have gotten to either label a year before—it would have worked out…

iHipHop.com: Did any frustration set in when all those opportunities started dissolving?

Billy Danze: Nah, because if you look at the label that you’re on for you to have any meaning in the game, then you will be frustrated… But we were in the game when the Roc was a pebble, and before G-Unit got put on…

As long as we were able to make music, and put albums out, we were still happy because we don’t have those fans like everyone else has… The fans that we have are more like family members because they’ve been around for our whole career…

We don’t share fans, everybody does except for M.O.P. Our fans want us to be in a good position, and they don’t want us to be on a label that’s crumbling…

iHipHop.com: So how did you guys eventually end up over here at E1 Music?

Lil Fame: We been dealing with them since Relativity [Records]

Billy Danze: The people that run this company basically ran Relativity Records, and we always had a good relationship with them…

mopcoveriHipHop.com: Throughout your whole career, you guys have always been true to yourself and your music, but do you think that trueness has hindered you from gaining a wider fan base?

Lil Fame: It could, but it depends on what you’re looking for and what makes you happy… Networking makes me uncomfortable sometimes…

Billy Danze: That’s because most of the n*ggas we have to network with are full of sh*t… That’s why you get uncomfortable… [Laughs] Now you have to actually work…

There are kids in Africa that love M.O.P., but I never been to Africa, and I didn’t know my music could reach over there…

We can have the same effect in Africa that we can have in Boston, but we have to get to Africa, and present ourselves to these people…

So anything that you gained or didn’t gain from this game is because of you, and the position that you put yourself in… That’s it…

iHipHop.com: Any worries about ever getting lost in the shuffle?

Billy Danze: No because the shuffle always happens, but it happens over there, and we were always over here… We were always in a class by ourselves…

iHipHop.com: How do you feel about the plight of the artist in today’s industry?

Billy Danze: I think it’s better for the artist now… Especially with the different kinds of rap and the different kinds of music… I had said it before and I’ll say it again: How can I actually look Kool Herc in the face, and say, “This was all I was able to do with what you created.” So now you got Soulja Boy, ‘Satnky Leg,’ you got the kids doing the and you got all the other stuff… We need this!

iHipHop.com: So you guys don’t agree with the whole, “Soulja Boy is killing Hip-Hop” thing that was going and somewhat is still going on now?

Billy Danze: He ain’t killing Hip-Hop, and I don’t want to be too rude, but someone else is killing Hip-Hop… You got to do what Big Shug [Click for Shug interview]said, and you have to let all of the music play…

The reason why people think he’s killing Hip-Hop is because they can’t hear what they believe is Hip-Hop… Somebody’s not playing it, and I ain’t saying who, but they’re not playing it…

iHipHop.com: Take a couple more drinks of this Henny, and then tell me… [Laughs]

Billy Danze: [Laughing]…

(photo credit: Chad Griffith)