Interview iH2 – MobillionaireZ: Sweet Home Alabama

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The “Heart Of Dixie” better known as Alabama, has been synonymous with racial tension dating back to the 1800’s when it was first admitted to the Union.

But over the course of time, the boiling pot of injustice has simmered down enough to let some of its natives go out and show the world that their state isn’t all bad, and filled with ignorant blowhards hiding behind the First Amendment in order to preach hatred.

As for the city of Mobile, Alabama, five of its inhabitants are gearing up for their own crusade that includes the aforementioned, while getting acquainted with their new musical surroundings. The MobillionaireZ are a Hip-Hop quintet consisting of Deuce, Losta-Lo, Mr. Moore, B.A.M. (Bad Ass Man), and Baby-T all hailing from the region made famous by some “Rich Boy” telling people what size rims to put on their cars.

With their debut album Rookiez Of The Year slated for an ’09 release, they’ve been keeping good company in the meantime by hanging out with Southern track star Mannie Fresh, who is featured on their first single ‘Shake It Fast.’

Just like the groups before them, these Southern boys adopt the same formula of teamwork and unity with everyone playing a position to reach an ultimate goal. Now only time will tell if these home grown products from Mobile have what it takes to achieve their mo’ billions. How hard is it to co-exist in a 5-man collective?

Mr. Moore: Well it’s not really hard at all. Sure we have five different personalities that we have to work into one group, but we always work it out. If we have five different approaches or opinions for a song, we usually just sit down and really listen to each other on where we think each person’s opinion will take us, and what’s the vision for the song.

The person with the best vision and with the hottest concept—we usually role with it.  There are also times that we cumulate all five visions in one song.  They say two brains better than one we say five brains is better than two. [Laughs]… How did you all first come together as group?

Mr. Moore:  Well Baby-T, Deuce, Losta-Lo, and me all lived in the same ‘hood, so we grew up together. We started rapping and producing as youngsters. About six years into it, we really started taking the music serious. That’s when we jumped off the porch and started making moves with this game.

As the movement started, B.A.M. added the final piece to the puzzle and moved to our ‘hood. He instantly grew street creditability for his production game, his ability to sing, and his banging rap style. I quickly put him on the team, and finalized the MobillionaireZ. So when did you first start making a name for yourselves?

Mr. Moore: We always had ‘hood love and local love ever since day one, and we really jumped out of the box within the last three years. We started our on indie label called Handz Up Muzic, and then we started getting radio play with our first hit ‘Strike A Pose’ featuring Fabo from D4L.

After that, we moved into the show game and started doing shows with well-known artist like DJ Unk, Rich Boy, Mr. Bigg, Yo Gotti, Sean Paul, Yung Joc, BG, and Lil Webbie, just to name a few. So I’ll say about three years ago is when we really started making a name for ourselves. Before Rich Boy, and now you guys, it’s safe to say that the world didn’t have Mobile, Alabama on their radar Hip-Hop wise. So how would you describe the urban music scene down there now? Is it growing, coming along, budding?

Mr. Moore: Well Mobile, [Alabama] has always been banging with hot talent, it’s just that Mobile was always overlooked. Rich Boy opened the ears and the eyes for Mobile, and he really put us on the map. Now the people, labels, and A&R’s are really paying attention to Mobile right now. Even though Mobile is small, we are full of fire, and everybody down here is hungry and ready to eat, so we’re on the come up for real. Mannie Fresh is behind your first single, ‘Shake It Fast.’ How did you guys hook up with him? Was it a case of you guys reaching out?

Mr. Moore: Well we did ‘Shake It Fast’ here first, and it was hot. Then we forwarded it to Wendy Day, and she forwarded it to a few people she knew in the industry. The feedback was positive, and the vibe was good enough for that to be our first single. Being that we were a new and upcoming group, we knew that if we put a well-known artist or producer on the song; then that would have been a good look for us.

We reached out to Wendy and told her that we needed Mannie Fresh to collaborate with us on this one. She set it up, and then we went to Houston and made history. Mannie felt the song, produce the hot track, and we put it down. Speaking of production, I read that B.A.M. and Baby-T handle the bulk of production. But does it ever get weary having a large percentage of the beats fall on your shoulders, and then having to go back in and write as well?

B.A.M.: Well it doesn’t worry Baby-T too much, because he only produces. But me on other hand, it really doesn’t worry me because it’s something that I love to do, and something that I was born to do. I feel like the good Lord gave me this talent to use, and not to complain about. With the exception of the ‘Shake It Fast,’ do you all plan on remaining an in-house produced group, or do you want to work with other producers outside of your camp?

Mr. Moore: We want to work with everybody. Our production team is an all-star team no doubt, but we want to work with everybody in the game. I mean for the indies, to the majors, and to the kids at home in their basements. Every producer has a different sound that can be used to benefit us, so we’re reaching out to every producer out there to holler at us: Even though the South has clearly been on top for some time now, a lot of people think the majority of Southern artists lack real lyrical talent. What do you say to those people?

Mr. Moore: You know what’s funny? We can agree with those people to a certain extent. We are from the South, and don’t get it twisted, but if you listen to Southern music and then the Northern states—there is different lyrical content. The thing is that there are a lot of Southern artists with crazy lyrics, but there are more that focus on punch lines, banging beats, and club hits—not that reality type of feel.

But you can’t put the whole South in the same category, because a lot of us do have songs with real meaning, and do have a lot of lyrical talent. That’s the great thing about our group, because we are going to give you that South club sh*t, that R&B baby making sh*t, that dancing sh*t, and that real lyrical sh*t. Your first major project is called Rookiez Of The Year. With this being your first official project, was the whole process of making it difficult or relatively easy?

Mr. Moore: Well the music part was easy because that’s what we do. We were all given a gift of making music, and we know how to use that gift to the fullest. The most difficult thing was the business side. Even though the music game is called a “game,” it’s really a business.

We didn’t know anything about publishing, ASCAP, BMI, BDS [spins], media base, etc. There are a lot of business things that you have to know and learn before you can just start rapping, or you will get raped straight up. As of now, you’re all known as “MoBillionaireZ,” but later on down the line, does anybody have plans on doing solo projects?

Mr. Moore: Yes we are all going to do solo projects in the future. Our plan is to drop our first album Rookiez Of The Year in early 2009, then drop another Mobillionairez album, and then start on everyone’s solo projects. So we are hitting at hard full speed, with no stopping.  There are a lot of different things to be looking forward to from the MobillionaireZ and Handz Up Muzic.