Watch my interview with Cory Mo here at Culture73.com.
I had the pleasure of interviewing recording artist, producer, and engineer Cory Mo at his Atlanta studio location. I received a call from Culture73.com asking me to interview him in Atlanta later that week. Naturally I say, “Ok cool. I think I heard some of his music. I know he’s on tour with Talib Kweli. Let’s get to work.”
For me, work involves a mandate to listen to new hip-hop daily. Sucks right? I start watching Cory Mo’s YouTube videos and say to myself “Oh, that was him?” realizing that I was indeed familiar with his music. His sound peaked my interest even further. It was time to read the bio.
I saw his credits and I realized I had been listening to his music for years. And so have you. Cory Mo has worked with several recording artists, including Lil’ Wayne, UGK, Mya, Raheem Devaughn, and Z-Ro.
So now I’m like “WTF?…… THIS is who I’m interviewing???” I had heard the CountryRapTunes.com mixtapes for years. The Midwest loves South music, and they have no idea that this man touched so much of it. I got question-prepped, like a journalist does, and had Debi GlamStarr pretty me up to ensure my make-up’s flawless victory on camera. I’m going over notes the whole ride because I’m still digesting who the f**k I’m about to go interview.
We arrive at M.A.D. Studios in Atlanta and and he welcomes us wearing a CountryRapTunes.com T-shirt. He gave us a tour of the studio, where each room hosted recording artists and engineers working diligently on their respective crafts. Ricky Fontaine, one of the artists I met at A3C, was in the B Room. Thanks to Twitter, I knew he had been at TreeSound Studios a few consecutive days prior, which made me respect his grind even more. I remembered being impressed by his project on the return trip from the festival, so when I saw him again in the studio I made sure to let him know.
As I finished the tour, a wave of energy paused me. I had never felt so comfortable in a new setting. I had only been there for twenty minutes but the energy felt so familiar.
I sat on the couch in the lounge area, once again reviewing my prepped notes before the interview. Then after a while I said to myself “Eff it.” I scrapped most of my interview questions realizing I didn’t really care about those answers. I sought more of a personal conversation. I became more interested in his development as a creative artist than his career accomplishments. During the interview I asked him questions about his early career working with Scarface, his personal favorite track on the album Take It or Leave It, and his favorite place to perform live.
The #REV in me is always interested in hearing how successful recording artists and producers made the decision to choose their craft over everything else. Cory Mo wanted to make music, so he made music a career. He and his brother Mike Mo organized a studio in Houston, which allowed more of the South’s music to be recorded. He created a successful platform that gave artists such as Bun B, Pimp C, Lil’ Keke, Z-Ro, and many other rappers from the South a place to produce music.
Blogs and magazines across the web discuss how the South took over hip-hop, but how did they do it? By creating their own platforms for production and distribution, then using their collective creative power to solidify their place in hip-hop. Those who had extensive publishing and distribution connections endorsed the ones who didn’t. Successful recording artists, production companies, and studios in the South booked stages year-round throughout the country for underground artists to perform. Now Atlanta music sets the standard for radio airplay all over the country. Complain about Atlanta hip-hop all you want, but they are consistently making music and distributing it on their own platforms, maintaining interest in the city’s creative community.
I later realized the energy I felt was creativity manifesting on different levels. The energy overwhelmed me, because for the first time I was able to visualize the piece that is missing back at home– Multiple production atmospheres with positive energy for creating music successfully. And I was immediately upset.
Artists in the Midwest rarely know their worth. They cannot visualize themselves being financially sustained by a creative platform, let alone pave the way for the next generation to record. It is one thing to create a platform for artists, it’s another to maintain productive energy in that atmosphere. The Midwest is segmented, separated, and clicked up, not willing to admit our own flaws in communication. Independent artists often hop on the most successful train rolling whether or not it is on the right track, or even headed where the artist intends to go. I have seen many ties broken over publishing splits, failed payments, and stolen files. And these people train their interns to behave in the same manner. I visualized how successful the Midwest Music Movement would be if each creative artist could get over themselves and make music.
What would happen if we each invested in our own crafts? Then we could invest in each other. Go to each other’s studios and record. Pay each other for hooks and verses. Pay each other for audio production and engineering like our lives depended on it. Like our lives revolve around the booth and the hobby is from 9-5. Then, Midwest writers could write reviews of Midwest artists, further distributing the music. Then the world will see the Midwest’s underground talent. We would create more than music. We would create jobs. We would disrupt poverty. We would build the Midwest’s creative economy.