Murda Mook has been one of NYC’s upcoming talents for a few years now. Label politics have done their part in limiting his impact, but the type of talent he emits is hard to really contain. Mook has been delivering lyrical punishment since he was a teen, battling since Smack DVDs were trying their best to make battle rap cool. These days after his appearance on this year’s BET Hip-Hop Awards, Mook is clearly one of the most lyrical artists in the industry. After destroying the stage of the Award show Mook has garnered an extended group of new fans and supporters. His latest mixtape, Eazy Doez It, which was released on the heels of the Awards show is a refresher to old listeners who might not remember his prowess and an introduction to listeners that needed a bit of push with the BET look.
We caught up with Mook in NYC to discuss the mixtape, the Hip-Hop Awards and everything in between. Have you heard the legend of Murda Mook?
Parlé Magazine: Last time we spoke, a few years ago, you had just gotten a deal with Ruff Ryders, and you had just released the mixtape Countdown To Murda. Now I know there’s been a number of changes, lets just play a quick game of catch-up, what you been up to?
Murda Mook: Well, I’m not signed to them anymore, I’m basically just doing my own thing independently.
Parlé: So no more Ruff Ryders…
Mook: No. No disrespect, those the homies. It just didn’t work out.
Parlé: Can you elaborate a little bit, was it the music just not coming together or was it not the right situation?
Mook: It was one of those things that had nothing to do with me or them. It just was internal things that they had to get figured out and we just agreed that it wasn’t fair to me and my career to have me in the middle of things I had no business being in the middle of.
Parlé: Let’s take it back a little bit. You started off playing ball and I know you even got a scholarship to ball in college, but it didn’t work out…
Mook: Coming up when you young, you start smoking. We all start smoking at one point. When you young, its something to do. I just happened to get caught in the negative aspects of my environment and not being able to focus as much as I should have. I was just young boy, not going to practice, dumb shit, thinking I was grown. At that time I didn’t really have someone who could steer me. I mean I did have someone but they weren’t aware of what was happening. But I got back on track with playing ball, its just that people got better than me that I was better than and by that point my NBA dreams were shattered.
Parlé: A lot of young cats believe that making it to the NBA or getting into entertainment is there way out. For you that’s proven to be the case, but what was it about you, you think that kept you on track for making it?
Mook: You know like I said, I did have somebody, which was my Aunt Tootsie. You know she was the person in my family that had her shit together. She had a job, she lived on Riverside Drive, nice co-op building. I used to live downtown Harlem, East side. She lived Uptown Harlem, nice part. She was unaware of what was going on with me and my living conditions downtown. When she got wind, and she found out because I missed 96 days of school and it was like the 6th or 7th grade. I just wasn’t going to school, it was crazy. She got wind of that, that’s when she took me and was like, ‘you not gonna end up crazy.’ She moved me in with her and she instilled some values in me. She gave me a lot of discipline and she just kept me in programs, like basketball, she kept me in programs.
Parlé: What did she think about you rapping?
Mook: She didn’t really like me to rap. I remember a funny story with Ruff Ryders, when I was like 14, 15, probably even before than. This was before Eve came out. Eve came to my house to get me to come to the studio. My Auntie was like, ‘No.’
She was like, ‘Naw, he’s 14 years old, 13 years old, he shouldn’t be outside at 12 o’clock at night.’ So she was one of those and she instilled that in me. From me rapping, cause I was rapping on the side. When I was 16 she had a brain aneurysm, she had a stroke, she still stayed alive but she wasn’t able to continue to oversee me, cause it left her incapacitated, she wasn’t really in her right mind. So I was on my own really from then, but the things she taught me helped me stay focused on what I wanted to do, which was rapping. I was still doing both, but ball I wasn’t as good as I should’ve been. It was really my Aunt Tootsie.
Parlé: And with that you still ended up going to college. Did you stay in school?
Mook: Yeah, four years. I got like four credits I gotta get honestly, but I did four years. It was a corky thing, I had to leave college in like April/March of my fourth year. Crazy! That’s another story but I gotta do one of those bullshit classes to finish.
Parlé: Make it happen man.
Parlé: From there, you hit the battle scene heavy, battling dudes on Smack and so on. While you were doing it, did you have any reservations about it? Did you feel like it might prove to be a hindrance from the overall goal like its done to a lot of rappers?
Mook: You know what, no, because in that time when I battled dudes like [Jae] Millz, battle rapping is what you did to get a deal, it’s what you did to get hot. Nobody cared about getting a battle rapper label, because there was no label for being a battle rapper. We created that with the emergence of the DVDs and the visual of the battle, where people started to look at it like its only thing. Before then it was just you battled to get on, you get a deal and life goes on from there. But since the DVDs came people started to look at it like you’re a battle rapper, like that’s all they did. So I didn’t feel like that because I didn’t know there would’ve been a label at all.
Parlé: Do you feel like there’s been any negative effects from the battling?
Mook: Early on there was. It was definitely a thorn in my side cause the labels and people would look at me like ‘oh, you battle rapping, that’s all you know how to do.’ But then I started to embrace it. I decided to stop trying to cater to people and what they like or what they feel I should be doing. I’ma do this battle shit and I’ma make it cool. And I went on a mission. And now I feel like i’ts the coolest thing in the world. So I’m good.
Parlé: Countdown To Murda was one of your first fully cohesive products. Now you got the new joint Eazy Doez It available. People haven’t heard from you in a while, why did you chose this timing?
Mook: Honestly, I just wanted to capitalize off the momentum of the cypher and the Awards. My wonderful publicist, BJ Coleman came up with the idea to drop music to coincide with the Awards, so I just put together these records. I had these records in the works, I just wasn’t sure when I was going to drop them, but it just so happened that the stars aligned that they could drop the Eazy Doez It the next day after the BET Awards. This music is more me. Of course I’m more mature in the kind of music I make, but before I was trying to cater to other people’s thoughts, wants and what they thought I should be doing and the type of music that they thought I should be making. I would try to go towards that, like this the type of music they liking, this the type of music they feeling, aight let me say something like this. This time around I’m like I’ma just do me. I’ma chose the beats I like, I’ma rap how I feel like and however the chips land is how they land. I won’t say shockingly, but I’m pleasantly surprised that the people have been giving it such a nice reception. The music, the new cadence, the new tone, they just like what I’m bringing to the table. And I don’t plan on stopping.
“It was the biggest look in my life. To know you’ve gained new fans, that’s all we want as artists.”
-Mook on Snoop Dogg’s support on the freestyle look at the BET Awards
Parlé: I know you been working on a movie the last few weeks. What can you tell me about it?
Mook: It’s called Too Honorable. Dame Dash is directing it. I can’t really say what its going to become because Dame’s mind be on some different, other shit. It’s kind of a Pulp Fiction mixed with a Godfather. He just entered some different shit. Its dope though, the scenes we shooting are dope. People wouldn’t expect these scenes. The dialogue and the scenery, where we shot. I play a guy with a crew and we do some not too honorable things, which is ironic for it to be called Too Honorable. Cam’ron and Smoke Dza co-star in it with me.
Parlé: How’d you get involved with the film?
Mook: Dame. Dame is from Harlem, I’m from Harlem. I met Dame through Smoke, we been keeping in contact and chilling, soaking up some game. He had this idea like, I wanna shoot movies. We don’t need the studio, I’ll be the studio.’ He putting his bread up and he’s like I wanna shoot some movies, you wanna be in some movies?
I’m like ‘yeah.’ We got together and now I’m in movies. Just a homie providing opportunities, that’s all.
Parlé: You have a lot of things in the works and are continuing to build a brand and a new fan base. What do you hope this Murda Mook legacy looks like going forward?
Mook: At some point, people gonna have to start calling me Mook because this Murda shit is getting me a lot of flack. But, going forward when I’m Mook, movies is definitely something I want to leave an imprint on as far as legacy. I love to act. Even in battle rap, battle rap is like acting. I want to be a mogul, as far as being diligent in business. I want to be innovative, I want to be a creator of things. That’s what I want to be… I want to be an inventor of things. I want to turn into a myth. When you a legend, you a legend and then your die, your still a legend. Over time, when you’re that legendary you become a myth. That’s how deep your legend has to be. That’s what I want to be. I want years upon years upon years for people to be like, ‘ yo, did you ever hear the story of Murda Mook.’
Parlé: When we did the last interview, you talked about your desire to be as big of a business man as you were an artist. Have you made progress to that end?
Mook: Me and Snoop Dogg have Gladiator School. We did the first event in Atlanta, the day before the BET Awards, it was a huge success, great turn out. Me and Snoop also hosted it. And we plan on doing more around Award shows, All-Star Weekend, just events.
I’m also starting a battle rapper management company. I feel like my fellow battle rappers need someone that’s going to be on their side as far as the business end. And to push out as many as possible because the more it expands, the more the culture expands, the greater it is for everybody involved in it, particularly the artists who should be compensated appropriately for it.
Parlé: On the mixtape, Eazy Doez It, you have some skits on there featuring dudes that run up to you and just try to battle…
Mook: Yeah, rest in peace to my man O’Neal, that’s my dude. He’s the mad battle rapper.
Parlé: Do dudes really run up on you trying to battle in these streets?
Mook: Yeah. It’s inspired by true events. Everywhere I go, people run down on me like, ‘yo, lets battle.’ Or ‘yo, I got some bars.’ Or might even say ‘Hello’ and rhyme it with ‘Jello’ so I just hit my man O’Neal and I was like I got this idea to take the Mad Rapper and put him in battle rap form. He was already a funny dude so he was like, lets do it. He passed away recently, but I would’ve liked to continue those because a lot of people were entertained by those skits.
Parlé: How can people keep in touch with you via social media?
Mook: Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @MurdaMookEZ
website: www.Murda Mook.com
Thanks for the time…