“Who’s Next?”… Murda Mook – Ruff Ryder’s Latest Acquisition
A rap battle in front of the Adam Clayton Powell building in Harlem with Jae Millz made the then-18 year old John Ancrum into Murda Mook, now a household name among rap fans lovers. He ran through more such contests with the likes of Serius Jones and Loaded Lux, and today, at 25, Mook plans to take the scars and lessons learned from the battlefield to propel himself through the music industry. A recent deal with Ruff Ryders has given Mook his platform, and he’s just hopped inside of the Spaceship. What’s his background like? How does he plan on transitioning from battle rapping to making music? Mook gave Parlé some time for this discussion.
Parlé: I know you’re from Harlem, but where exactly?
Murda Mook: 116th St., Manhattan Ave, a.k.a. “Money Ave.”
Parlé: Why is it called “Money Ave?”
Mook: It really came from the 80’s, if you was getting bread, you was out there. It was the older hustler that was getting money with Frank Lucas, and Pee Wee Kirkland.
Parlé: Cool cool, how did you get into rap?
Mook: I was always in school coming up with creative little stories. I had won contests and stuff. At 12 years old I started listening to Wu-Tang. I liked Ghostface the most, maybe because of his voice and just how vivid his stories were and how he made you visualize something. He made me see it, and this was a little bit before B.I.G. and all that, Nas and them.
Parlé: What was your method for writing rhymes? Would you listen to these rappers and just try to mimic their flows?
Mook: There really was no method for writing them. I just tried to put words together in a story that rhymed. It was just natural for me. I never took their rhymes and made it mine. The only thing was my vocabulary wasn’t that broad yet, so some of my words was childish, but it was cool.
Parlé: Did you want to be a rapper from jump?
Mook: Naw, I was a basketball dude, I was nice in ball, I was the man. At that point, I’m thinking bout the league, going to the NBA, but at that time I was also running the streets. I was on my own, getting money, at like 12, 13, breaking night, staying out. I wasn’t thinking bout bread with rap, I ain’t see the money in it. I was focused on where the money was. In the league I’m seeing the bread, so I’m thinking I’m gonna try the league.
Parlé: So what changed your mind about it? Going to the NBA that is?
Mook: At 16 or 17, I might be farfetched, but I started weed at 10. I wasn’t aware of what it was doing to me. I would smoke, and go on the court, and dudes that I was better than was better than me! I’m like what the fuck! So it didn’t turn out well for me. My coach Paul Suber heard me rhyme in the locker room. I still did rapping but I wrote rhymes sporadically. Then I got someone to introduce me to a man named Pop, who’s my manager now. At this time he was managing Loon. I was around 17. Pop taught me about the game and rhyme structure, and other things, he had a real good ear, that’s when things with basketball really started folding. Now it was rapping that was the focus. He instilled the confidence in me.
Parlé: And this was around the time when the Millz battle took place?
Mook: Yeah the Millz battle was because of Pop. He was cool with the dude that managed Millz. His name was Nigel. Pop told Nigel that he got $5,000 on me, that I could beat him. After that battle took off, that was when it took off. Millz was used to this, this was my first one, I just went for what I know. Around a couple months later dudes is running up on me like, ‘We just seen u go crazy in that battle’. That’s when it took off.
Parlé: This was the point where people started to really notice you. After that battle, what was your aim, or focus, as far as where you wanted to take the battle thing?
Mook: I wanted to be more known, I wanted to get money. I was attracted to the money. I could get a deal. Even though that was pops vision, when I was young I aint notice it, I was just doing straight battles, I didn’t make music. Mostly I was doing freestyles over beats and stuff. I had no problem with grinding. I was still young, like 18, after the Millz battle, I went in the studio, It wasn’t hard, you just gotta find ya tone. It takes a little time to adjust.