Arguably British Columbia’s most successful emcee, Moka Only has been releasing albums throughout the last decade in a career that’s endured over 15 years. The one-time artist in Swollen Members most recently followed up his 2003 release with a sequel, Lowdown Suite 2: The Box.
Speaking with HipHopDX earlier this week, the Juno Award-winning emcee and producer explained, “Honestly, the decision to follow up the original Lowdown Suite came about when I was working on a few songs that I personally felt captured a similar vibe.” He continued, “Plus, I’ve had a lot of people over the years tell me that Lowdown was one of their faves. One of the illest emcees, Planet Asia, once told me that the original Lowdown Suite affected him, and that lead to [us collaborating] for one of his projects, so that was something that stuck with me as well as other accolades. The idea to do the sequel wasnt some sort of epic idea. just something that came about. The original was special to me and I felt good about where I was in life at that time and the album reflected that to me… like a journal.” He did note, after releasing over a dozen solo and joint efforts [click to read], that “I suppose most of my projects fit that description to me.“
Looking specifically at the album, which released May, Moka was asked about “Riverside,” one of the more striking records on the album. “‘Riverside’ came about in 2006. I was recording for a [still unreleased] project called Way West, and I was doing a lot of the writing in outdoor locations as, opposed to my usual studio [and] home writing. I was sitting in New West, near Vancouver, along the Fraser Eiver and watching business and industry and tugboats and trains running around doin their thing and it made me feel a sense of progress and commerce, so I just tried to flip that feeling into the writing. When I returned to the studio, I made the beat for it and somehow it ended up capturing the feeling that I intended with the lyrics.”
Moka also reflected back as one of the flagship artists on the now defunct Battle Axe Records imprint. Based in Canada, the label played home to underground luminaries such as Abstract Rude, Swollen Members and Shabazz The Disciple, as well as industry veterans like Funkdoobiest‘s Son Doobie and Buc Fifty. “I haven’t worked with Battle Axe in five years,” admitted Moka, who released Lowdown Suite 2: The Box through Feelin’ Music. “Sometimes I forget about what a unique little team that we had. I think it could’ve had a longer run as a whole unit, but I keep up with a lot of those cats still and I prefer to go [about my career] alone as opposed to a team. It was pretty intense with a whole lot of touring at the time. As for impact, I am grateful if people feel that way about what we were doing musically. It was a good time. Everything does evolve though, and all one can do is appreciate the past, anticipate the future and do work in the now.”
Lowdown Suite 2: The Box is in stores now.