The Sacramento Slangster king of our times.
Sacramento and the Bay Area in general have probably the most insular musical culture in America, but Mozzy has quietly been one of the best for a while. He’s like the ultimate gangster rapper who’s settled, content, respected in the community and financially comfortable enough that he can experiment with his sound and let his guard down. Got a lotta heart for someone so heartless.
This is the first in a series about Therapy Raps. Where you can feel a rapper airing out their demons in a a way that feels urgent, cathartic and provides a bit of therapy to others. I’m trying to cover my favourites from last decade. We gotta good ol’ fashion scrap heap.
Mozzy is just purging his pain across across this tape, through a series of spiritual conversations with God, himself and his people both gone and still here. It has smooth, almost cloud-rap-like production but all still with the satisfying thump of most modern production. The best song is the original ‘In My Prayers’ which sadly was a changed to a less-good beat on streaming services. So the real deal is on YouTube and an mp3 you can reach if you you click the photo of him & his daughter Dooterz above. Just let’s it all out over a Porter Robinson from a song Conor loves, so shout out Donor.
Damn fourf I just hate it was you
We from a place they don’t play by the rules
You gotta stay by a tool, much rather spend my day in the shoe
Verse the whole gangland in a suit, we missin’ you foolMozzy, ‘In My Prayers’
He puts out about 5 albums a year and I don’t listen to half of them. You can tell the difference between his albums and the messy collaborative bores that Mozzy allowed to be used instead of left on the hard drive. 1 Up Top Ahk is probably the high point of his albums.
The O.G. ‘In My Prayers’ may be the best Mozzy song of the decade. My most played is definitely Perkys Callin. It’s a common trope for great street rappers to fill most of their sea of mixtapes with harder cuts that are more straightforward; about killing, trappin’ and making money. These rappers are committed to a certain subject matter so they can jump in the booth immediately with the dopest thing they can think of and play more with their flows and voice as opposed to thinking about what the song is gonna be about. Because the music isn’t really made with an ethos of perfectionism/quality control. It’s about flooding the streets, powered by hunger and a drive to top yourself. The joy of the hunt is digging through the no-less-enjoyable flexy, posturing scraps for these nuggets of truth and vulnerability. That’s not to say that many don’t have more conceptual, thought-out songs – and some of these are their best – but for some artists this means going the Kanye-inspired route which can be shallow aesthetic in exchange for anything meaningful.
His playful use of language is so enjoyable and musical. It’s what I was talking about in that post the other day. Saying a lot with a little. Speaking your own language. He talks like a military general with swag. He calls guns ‘yoppas’ or ‘yeekies’, raps about the clothing ‘Feragato’. I don’t even know what that is. It’s the little things. He captions IG posts promoting his or his rappers friends’ albums with ‘Heavy on da tweakage’, ‘Mandatory Snatch’ and ‘Tap Inwardly’. It doesn’t always make you more sympathetic of a killer (doesn’t need to), but more understanding of the pressures that could lead someone to that life. Also covered is the pain, fear, paranoia, and the non-violent joys of the gang community that includes his grandmother. The flow switch and beat drop on the outro Nobody Knows at 0:50 is a magically perfect moment to me. So satisfying.
It requires a good faith listening of music you would’ve turned your nose up at, just as I would have. The core aesthetic sensibilities can be unfamiliar. I definitely understand being put off by the vulgarity or the offensive stuff. It’s hard for me to recommend a song which starts with “Eyes real chinky” if you don’t know who Redman is. Or you could just not listen to it. I’m not trying to convert. Too many in it anyway.
Rammellzee said “If you think too hard, the culture dies” and sometimes I think I’m doing too much with these analyses, but I think sometimes you have to do a lot to contextualise something very different for maximum appreciation.
This is the Dog Scraps ethos.
This will be continued with a piece on Sada Baby, a similar but totally different street rapper who’s completely heartless except when he squeezes devastating little lines like :
Fuck they bitch and ruin they lives
Pop two Perc 10’s and break spines
Eat that monka donk if they fine
I been laughing the middle of me crying
My heart broke from Jobina dyingSada Baby, ‘Back End’.