Billy Danze acknowledges that there’s definitely a gap between he and some of the social media generation. On “187,” one of the singles for their brand new EP Street Certified, a few young upstarts had a few things to say to Billy about a line he dropped referring to dragging a young woman by her red bottoms. A lyric from Rap’s (and New York City itself for that matter) hyper violent past, a few brief replies took place.
That encounter is a metaphor for this EP, which is a throwback to classic M.O.P. material featuring A-listers of times past and legendary emcees Busta Rhymes and Mobb Deep. It’s mosh pit rap that features a sound that some from the Golden Age generation should find nostalgic, but with joints in “Hustle” and “No Shame” that delve into the deeper parts of relationships and interactions.
Never one’s to waste their time behind the mic, HipHopDX carved out some time with the Mash Out Posse to ask them the stories behind each track, as well as pointed questions about this current generation of Rap, and even who’s in their all time top 5.
“Welcome To Brooklyn” feat. Maino
Billy Danze: To me, it’s just the feeling of the record. Chaka Khan’s nephew did the beat on this by the way. He also sung the hook as well. When he sent the record over, it was just about the feeling of it. The baseline and the beat is dope alone but then the feelings of those drums… Those Hip Hop drums, and with that chorus on there… We also have some other things in store for that record that will be coming soon so look out for that. We got a lot going on, yo [Laughs]. There’s been a lot of Brooklyn records, a lot of “Welcome To Brooklyn” or Brooklyn this or Brooklyn that, but never before has something like this been done by somebody like M.O.P and Maino who kind of represent the same thing, but maybe in different ways when it comes to Brooklyn.
Lil’ Fame: I knew Maino when he came home from jail. Some of my family, some of my niggas was locked up with him. We stayed connected from there. Soon as Maino came out, I was one of the first dudes who did a track with him. Before he got a deal and everything. And then on a street level Maino just my nigga like that. My man Billy worked that out, so I don’t know exactly how it happened, but I heard the beat and fell in love with it.
“Broad Daylight” feat. Busta Rhymes
Billy Danze: You know, produced by the homie A Fresh, and you know Busta heard it and went ape-shit on it. Fame had the idea to put that track together and I love it. Busta was like, “Yo, I gotta get to this right now.” My verse, though, is more about comments that were mentioned online about “187,” and I kind of mentioned “I’ll drag a chick by her red bottoms” and all of that. Of course, I’m never gonna hurt a woman unless I absolutely have to. There’s gotta be a reason, I’m not just gonna put my hands on a chick. So I kind of need dudes to understand that that’s just music, man. Putting lines together for “oohs and ahhs.” Especially when it comes to a woman. I’m not trying to hurt a woman. So, a lot of dudes were getting a little rude with the comments, of course. That’s why I kind of geared my verse towards those dudes that wanted to comment from behind a computer. I’m not that kind of dude. I’m a reasonable dude, but if you felt a way about me saying that you could have said, “Yo, Bill, that was kind of harsh.” And I would have explained it. But don’t say, “Only sucka’ niggas do that” because I will shoot you in your motherfuckin’ face for free, nigga. Don’t fuck with me. So, I mean, just bottom line, like, don’t take me for no rapper because I’ve never actually been a rapper. I’m just a dude that knows how to do it better than most.
Lil’ Fame: Busta is a good friend of M.O.P. We was recording upstairs from him in Quad studio. We invited him to join, and he was already like “Yo, I wanna be on a song.” So that’s always a good opportunity for us whenever we work with Busta. It’s a part to “187;” it’s a new song called “Broad Daylight,” but it kinda’ bounced off the “187” joint that we dropped before that.
He wrote it right there (in the studio). Busta is an incredible artist, man. He’s dope all the time. You always can expect some excitement when you fuck with Busta. You know he’s gonna come with it. He’s gonna hit you with that shit. With Bus’, it’s always an honor working with him. It’s an honor on so many fuckin’ levels. He’s one of my favorites. He gives you visuals and he give you the verse. Bus’ is one of them dudes man.
DX: What Do You Think Busta Rhymes Really Means to Hip Hop?
Billy Danze: What Busta Rhymes means to Hip Hop… It’s longevity with him. Regardless of the climate in the business, he knows how to reinvent himself. And God forbid that you have to do a show with him. Even if you get on and you’re amazing, no one will remember you after he’s done. I swear to God. Dude ain’t nothing to play with, yo. Busta’s a workaholic. He goes hard. He could live in the studio. He’s an animal, yo.
Billy Danze: I like “Hustle” because of the hook, of course. You know, we always have these records with these high-energy hooks and people are always like, “M.O.P. always knocks. M.O.P. is always yellin’ and…” You know it’s always that boom-bap, boom-bap. So this was another joint that Fame had found and the beats, and the rhythm to it, you know, it grooves. And, I mean, it’s what we do, dog. It’s all a hustle for us. We’re doin’ [our thing] real, real hard; we’re not doin’ it for cats to play with. A lot of cats play with it. You can tell just by the way they deliver their vocals or the lyrics that they’re writing… Maybe you ain’t serious or you just not dope [Laughs]. I would like to take it that you’re not serious if you’re in there sounding like you’re playing around but you’re trying your hardest… You really shouldn’t be in the game, son. It’s a very strong record, and we’re just trying to give different looks from M.O.P. because people look at us like we’re almost not human. We’re human, dog.
Lil’ Fame: My boy played me some beats, and he has an artist that does hooks and shit named Mr. Probz. He’s from Eastern Europe, from Rotterdam. And my boy Beat Butcha, he do beats and shit, and every time we come out we stay and just make music over there. I stop by every now and then and he played that joint for me, and that was one of the joints I picked out.
“Shake Em’ Up”
Billy Danze: “Shake Em’ Up” was actually a track that I had for some time, and it was sent to me by home-girl out in California named Jazzy Moto. And dude, when I say she’s a beast on that drum machine, man. She’s hard, man. With the track, I’m just hearing’ the hits, the chorus, and it’s just so hard. So, I just went ahead and put the idea together and collaborated with Fame on it. Fame thought it was great. We laid it down in Europe, and it’s driven, traditional M.O.P. record. People are going to be up on their toes on that one. And that’s one of the greatest performance records [for us] ever. I can’t wait to get on stage and do that one. Because I know that we’re gonna wile out and the audience is gonna wile out on that one, man.
Lil’ Fame: My home girl Jazzy Moto, she from the West Coast, she from LA [and] she comes up every now and then. Same situation, her and Billy have more of a connection. But Billy sent some beats up and we picked that joint out. Billy came up with that whole hook, and it just came together. We went to the studio and knocked that joint out.
Billy Danze: You know, that’s traditional M.O.P. We want to make sure we keep everybody in tune even though we’ve come of age now and we’re getting a little bit older in the game, that’s our background. That’s how we ate for years. Like, we literally had to go out and take it to eat. So that’s what we did. It’s that M.O.P. thing, man. It’s that “Ante Up.” And a lot of times it’s not about take like “take what you have off.” It’s about “Ante Up,” like, ante up those props. Give us what we deserve.
Lil’ Fame: I went to my boy’s crib (DJ Skid) to do some other shit and he wound up playing that beat. What I like about walking in my boy Skid’s crib, he always got something on the machine that he just made. I always just press a button and that joint was playing. Heist Masters was just a story about what we used to do before we started rapping, about robbery and shit like that. I put the story together and we ran with that shit.
Billy Danze: Fame produced that joint, and, again, it’s that Hip Hop feel. I don’t want to say we’re bringin’ it back… I’m never gonna say that. And I’m mentioning that right now because I said before there were some posts going around where people were being a little disrespectful. And saying, “How you gonna say ‘bringin’ it back to Hip Hop.” I never said bringin’ it back or takin’ it back to nothing. We’re doing what we’re doing. Like I said before earlier in our conversation, we need all of that music. Even the music that I don’t like, we need it all. So it has that Hip Hop bounce to it, which people love. And, in just a few days, I think the video was over 100,000 views. People are paying attention to that record because there are people all over the world that loves that traditional Hip Hop and we’re always going to have to give it to them.
Lil’ Fame: I did that beat. I copied the beat. It was from an old school group called Cash Money and Marvelous and they had like a 12 second skit on the album on a song. So when the joint came on it had voices in it that I couldn’t get out. So I had to copy the beat, because I love the beat. And everybody loved that beat so much that they just played it over and over. Yeah, that one was dedicated to the old DJ’s.
“Street Certified” feat. Mobb Deep
Billy Danze: M.O.P. and Mobb Deep on the same record. It could have been called “Shits and Giggles” who gives a fuck. It’s M.O.P. and Mobb Deep! So you already know you’re going to get a bangin’ record. And to call it ‘Street Certified’ was very appropriate. Very, very appropriate. You got two legendary groups from New York with many people comparing the two throughout the years. “Which one is better,” “which one has a better show…” We always got that and M.O.P. and Mobb Deep never had any kind of conflict amongst each other, it was just the fans. And it was always friendly competition if there was competition at all. So to come together to wake New York up it took two legendary groups, four incredible emcees and an amazing track. I listen to that record everyday. I love all the records on the EP but I listen to “Street Certified” everyday.
Lil’ Fame: Mobb was the homie’s, man, but we never got to a collab’. My boy Fresh sent me that beat and it was crazy. So we sent it over and got it back same day. Shout out them. Hip Hop is a culture. It’s what you live, how you live. What you eat, how you eat. It’s everything. Mobb understands that.
DX: We did a list of classic 90s records that never went platinum and Mobb Deep’s The Infamous was on there. Why do you think that never went platinum?
Billy Danze: Well, here’s the thing. The music industry now just the music industry then has always been about proper promo. If people don’t know that the music is there then it ain’t gonna sell. It could be one of the dopest albums ever… And not just in Hip Hop or in the last 5 years, either. So it’s more about the backing of whoever is supposed to be backing you.
Billy Danze: Very dope record. That’s about people seeing that people are actually human in my neighborhood and not just beastly all the time. That particular record was more about you see a lot of young guys trying and trying to get into the music industry, and I love that. At their age most of us was on the corner not doing anything positive. So it’s about whoever that backing is; whoever is supporting them. Also, a producer named Fatboy from the UK produced it.
Lil’ Fame: It’s basically about a guy a bustin’ his ass on everything he does for his family, but from his point of view, his lady is not appreciative of what he’s doing. He’s just begging for some respect and a thank you.
Billy Danze: That’s pretty self-explanatory. America ain’t just the birthplace of this Hip Hop but our strength [goes] in all directions, America is all about strength. We have all the dynamics to do what we want to do. We [also] think 50 Cent would be great for this record. So what I’ll possibly do is when I head down to New York I’ll pass him the record and see if he likes it. If he like’s it then we’ll give him the record.
Lil’ Fame: That’s another one that was Billy’s idea. We’re just American made, man.
DX: What do you have to say to the younger generation who don’t necessarily understand the sound?
Lil’ Fame: I do shows everywhere and it seems like the crowd is going younger and younger. They get into the new stuff quicker because they don’t have to think as hard. It’s more about fashion and stuff like that, but they end up vibin’ with us at the end of the show. And whatever they think about us, it doesn’t change what we did or that Golden Era that we come from.
DX: How do you feel about Rap’s current sound?
Lil’ Fame: I think it’s just overexposed music, and there’s no…this is just my personal opinion, I’m not mad at nobody. But I feel like the internet has a lot to do with it. Anybody and everybody own a studio now, so nobody putting effort into their music. Whatever is the popular sound, everyone is trying to make, and we got too much of it. I really don’t know the answer, but the Internet changed the whole process of us going to the find the music that we appreciate. The whole process of going to a record store, buying the CDs that you love, purchasing the CD package, reading the back of the credits, all that shit gave you more of the artist. Know there’s so much of it, nobody appreciate it. We wind up copying whatever’s the popular sound because we don’t have a various amount of good music that get played. We’re gonna follow whatever’s poppin’. That’s what’s going on now.
Billy Danze: Right. We need it all. All the music, even the one’s that I don’t like. We need it, and it needs to continue to evolve so that this artform will continue to grow.
DX: Okay, last question. Who’s in your top 5?
Lil’ Fame: I hate answering this question ‘cause I always feel like I’m leaving somebody off but I’ll say: Rakim; Kool G Rap; Big Daddy Kane; Ice Cube and Scarface. Nowadays, as well, I love Nas. I love Eminem.