C-MOEZ

QUEENS, NEW YORK | C-MOEZ

QUEENS, NEW YORK | C-MOEZ

INTERVIEW: TERRELL “REALIFE” BLACK [@REALIFEVMG]

VALIDATED: BORN AND RAISED IN THE SOUTH JAMAICA SECTION OF QUEENS, NEW YORK, WHAT'S YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF HIP-HOP CULTURE?

C-MOEZ: THE BLOCK PARTIES, JAMAICA AVENUE AND THE BACK TO SCHOOL PARTIES IN THE PARK. THAT'S THE FIRST THING I SEEN AS A KID COMING UP, ALL THAT IS HIP HOP, EVERYWHERE YOU GO IT'S SOMEONE BLASTING MUSIC OUT THEY BENZ OR OUT THEY CRIB. I WATCHED THE OLDER DUDES IN MY HOOD WITH THE FLY CARS, DIAMOND CHAINS AND AIR FORCE ONES ON THEY FEET. THEY'LL BE RIDING DOWN THE STREET, YOU CAN HEAR THEM BEFORE YOU SEE THEM, AND WHEN THEY POP OUT THEY BUMPING THE LATEST BLEND TAPE, ROCKING THE LATEST GEAR, THATS HIP HOP, THE VOICE OF THE STREETS YOU FEEL ME.


VALIDATED: GROWING UP YOUR WERE A PRODUCT OF A HARSH REALITY, HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO USE THE THINGS YOU WITNESSED AND WERE INFLUENCED BY AS INSPIRATION PERTAINING TO THE MUSIC YOU CREATE?

C-MOEZ: AS A KID, I FELT LIKE RUNNING AROUND CAUSING MAYHEM WAS COOL. WE AIN'T HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO DO BUT GO TO SCHOOL, IF WE ACTUALLY WENT TO SCHOOL AND ROAM THE STREETS. AS I GOT OLDER THINGS GOT ADVANCED REAL QUICK, INSTEAD OF TAKING THE BUS, WE DRIVING OUR OWN CARS, MOVING AROUND WITH REAL MONEY IN OUR POCKETS. WE WEREN'T KIDS ANYMORE, S*** GOT REAL FOR US. THE "REAL WORLD" AS SOME WOULD SAY KICKED IN. I'VE WATCHED MY FRIENDS GET LOCKED UP, SOME LOST THEY LIFE. GONE FOR MULTIPLE SUMMERS, MULTIPLE BIRTHDAYS AND FAMILIES BROKEN. SEEING ALL THAT MADE ME MOVE DIFFERENT, MADE ME BETTER CHOICES THAT KEPT ME OFF THE RADAR. I CAN'T BE THERE FOR MY FAM IF I'M DEAD OR UNDER THE JAIL. I USE THE MUSIC AS A WAY TO CHANNEL ALL I'VE BEEN THROUGH TO CONNECT WITH THE WORLD. I KNOW SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE OUT THERE GON' FEEL WHAT I'M SAYING CAUSE THEY BEEN THROUGH IT TOO.


VALIDATED: YOUR MUSIC CAREER STARTED AT AGE 12, WHAT WAS IT AT THE TIME THAT PUSHED YOU TO DO MUSIC?

C-MOEZ: I WAS A SIMPLE KID YOU FEEL ME. SPORTS WAS COOL, I PLAYED FOOTBALL, BASKETBALL, AND BASEBALL ONLY 'CAUSE IT'S WHAT MY FRIENDS WAS DOING AT THE TIME, BUT I NEVER REALLY HAD MY OWN "THING". I WAS JUST UP IN THE AIR DURING THOSE DAYS GOING WITH THE FLOW. ONE DAY IT JUST POPPED IN MY HEAD LIKE, I WOKE UP AND TOLD MYSELF IMA RAP. I HAD ALREADY BEEN WRITING POETRY FOR ENGLISH ASSIGNMENTS IN SCHOOL. IT WAS MANDATORY TO PRESENT THEM IN CLASS, AFTER MY PRESENTATION I'D GET POSITIVE RESPONSES. SO I FIGURED IF I CAN DO THAT I CAN DEFINITELY RAP, I JUST GOTTA PUT A BEAT TO IT. THIS IS WHEN I LEARNED HOW TO COUNT MY BARS.


VALIDATED: WHO WERE SOME OF YOUR MAJOR INFLUENCES MUSICALLY AT THAT TIME?

C-MOEZ: "THE MASSACRE" HAD JUST DROPPED, BLEW MY MIND. I'M WALKING OUT MY DOOR AND I GOT "IN MY HOOD" BUMPING ON MY CD PLAYER. I REMEMBER LOOKING AROUND AND FEELING THUGGED OUT. I'M IN QUEENS AND HE RAPPING ABOUT QUEENS. I CAN FEEL AND SEE WHAT THIS DUDE IS SAYING. I SEE IT EVERYDAY, IF IT WASN'T ME AND MY FRIENDS DOING TOUGH GUY S***, I WAS WATCHING THE OLDER KIDS DO IT. 50 CENT WAS A BIG INFLUENCE AT THAT TIME. 2PAC WAS ALWAYS A BIG FIGURE FOR ME. "ALL EYEZ ON ME" WAS THE FIRST ALBUM I HEARD FROM PAC AS A KID. I'M NOT SURE WHO THE CD BELONGED TO IN MY CRIB, BUT IT WAS IN MY CRIB THAT'S HOW I FOUND IT. I'D BUMP DISC 1 THEN SWITCH TO DISC 2 AND JUST ZONE OUT. I GOT TURNED ON TO STACK BUNDLES IN BAISLEY PARK IN QUEENS ONE DAY AFTER SCHOOL. ONE OF THE OLDER DUDES WAS PLAYING A RECORD THAT SOUNDED LIKE 50, BUT IT WASN'T 50. I'VE HEARD THE INSTRUMENTAL BEFORE, IT WAS A 50 BEAT BUT IT WASN'T 50 RAPPING TO IT. IT WAS "FULLY LOADED GLOCK", THAT'S THE FIRST TIME I HEARD STACK. 50, PAC AND STACK MAINLY INFLUENCED ME BACK THEN, LATER ON I DISCOVERED TECH N9NE, WENT THROUGH A WU-TANG PHASE AND ETC.


VALIDATED: IS IT TRUE YOU DEVELOPED YOUR OWN STYLE FROM POPULAR RAP DVD'S AND LOCAL MIXTAPES? EXPLAIN.

C-MOEZ: BACK THEN MY MOM WOULD GIVE ME A FEW DOLLARS EVERYDAY TO GET LUNCH AND A SNACK AFTER SCHOOL. I'D SAVE THAT MONEY EVERYDAY SHE GAVE IT TO ME AND WOULD GO BUY INSTRUMENTAL CD'S OFF JAMAICA AVE. THIS IS WHEN J.ARMZ HAD "HOW TO BE AN MC", THOSE WERE THE ONLY BEAT TAPES I WOULD COP. IF I HAD MONEY LEFT OVER I'D GET A ROB-E-ROB BLEND TAPE OR WHATEVER THEY HAD THAT WAS NEW. SOMEDAYS WHEN THEY DIDN'T HAVE ANY NEW TAPES I'D JUST COP A DVD, "THE COME UP", "SMACK", "SUB 0", "ACCESS GRANTED", ETC. I WAS DEFINITELY TOO YOUNG TO BE WATCHING THE S*** AND LISTENING TO THE STUFF ON THOSE DVDS AND TAPES BUT I WOULD STUDY ALL OF IT. IT CAME TO A POINT WHERE I KNEW ALL THE WORDS TO EVERYTHING ON THEM. I WOULD WATCH MURDA MOOK, GRAVY, CORY GUNZ, RANSOM, GILLIE DA KID AND TRY TO MIMIC THEY FLOW AND THEY STYLE. I'D TRY TO MAKE PUNCHLINES LIKE MURDA MOOK, BE RAW LIKE RANSOM AND ETC. ALL THAT MIXED WITH MY PRIOR INFLUENCES TURNED INTO THE WAY I DELIVER MY FLOW TODAY.


VALIDATED: YOU FOCUSED ON BATTLE RAP FOR 5 YEARS, FROM '05 TO '10. WHAT WAS IT ABOUT BATTLE RAP THE PULLED YOU INTO THE ARENA?

C-MOEZ: I WAS ALREADY WATCHING THE SMACK BATTLES, SO LIKE ANY KID WHO SEES SOMETHING COOL, THEY GONNA TRY TO IMITATE IT. THERE JUST SO HAPPENED TO BE OTHER KIDS IN THE AREA AT THE TIME WHO ALSO RAPPED. AFTER SCHOOL WE'D MEET UP IN FRONT OF THE BURGER KING OFF OF MERRICK BLVD AND SPRINGFIELD AND WE'D ALL BATTLE. I'D WRITE A BUNCH OF STUFF DOWN AND MEMORIZE IT BEFORE SCHOOL ENDS, SO I WOULDN'T HAVE TO READ IT OUT OF MY NOTEBOOK. THIS WAS BEFORE ANYBODY HAD PHONES SO THE BATTLES I DID BACK THEN AREN'T RECORDED. I GOT TO HIGH SCHOOL AND STILL WAS GOING IN WITH IT, A FEW OF THOSE ARE ON YOUTUBE FLOATING AROUND.


VALIDATED: EVENTUALLY YOU STOPPED PARTICIPATING IN BATTLE RAP AND MOVE ON TO DEVOTE MORE TIME INTO WRITING AND RECORDING SONGS. WHAT WAS THE MOTIVATION TO SWITCH FROM BATTLE RAP TO MAKING RECORDS?

C-MOEZ: THE BATTLES WEREN'T AS EXCITING TO ME ANYMORE. EVERY OTHER DAY WAS A NEW JOKER IN MY FACE TRYING TO RAP AND THEY WAS TRASH, AT LEAST THAT'S HOW I FELT ABOUT THEM. I WAS ALREADY RECORDING MUSIC AND HAD A FEW SONGS IN MY CATALOG. I WANTED TO START DROPPING MIXTAPES AND REALLY PUSH MY MUSIC LIKE THE DUDES I WAS LOOKING UP TO. NO ONE AROUND ME AT THAT TIME HAD A MIXTAPE, YET A SONG OR MORE THAN ONE SONG THEY COULD PLAY, I WANTED TO BE THAT GUY. I HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON ON BATTLING AND SPENT MORE TIME IN THE STUDIO, FINDING BEATS AND WRITING TO THE BEST ONES.


VALIDATED: YOU DROPPED YOUR FIRST MIXTAPE IN 2008, "INSTRUMENTAL SLAUGHTER 1", HOW MANY MIXTAPES HAVE YOU RELEASED SINCE THEN?

C-MOEZ: IT'S HARD TO COUNT, THE MUSIC I'VE RELEASED IS JUST A TINY PORTION OF WHAT I ACTUALLY STILL HAVE IN THE VAULT. BUT IF I HAD TO PICK A NUMBER, BETWEEN MY OWN MUSIC AND PROJECTS I'M FEATURED ON I'D SAY THERE'S PROBABLY 20 - 30 PROJECTS ONLINE I'M ASSOCIATED WITH. "INSTRUMENTAL SLAUGHTER 1" STARTED IT ALL. I DROPPED THAT JOINT AND I JUST KEPT GOING AND GOING. I PLAN TO KEEP THAT STREAK ALIVE. IT'S A LEGACY I'M BUILDING, WITH EVERY PROJECT THERE'S GROWTH, DIFFERENT PAIN, NEW FLOWS, NEW WORDS I'VE LEARNED AND HOW TO USE THEM. YOU CAN HEAR IT WITH EVERY VERSE.


VALIDATED: YOU'VE BEEN FEATURED ON NUMEROUS HIP-HOP BLOGS, WEBSITES AND RADIO, HOW DOES IT FEEL TO SEE YOUR MUSIC ON SO MANY PLATFORMS?

C-MOEZ: IT FEELS GOOD, ALMOST DOESN'T FEEL REAL. I REMEMBER STARTING AND NO ONE KNOWING WHO I WAS, FAST FORWARD TO NOW AND YOU CAN GOOGLE MY NAME AND MY VIDEOS AND MIXTAPES POP UP. NOT JUST A FEW LINKS, MULTIPLE PAGES OF MY MUSIC FROM THROUGHOUT THE YEARS. DEFINITELY WAS INTENTIONAL, I SEEN WHEN THE MIXTAPE AND DVD GAME STARTED TO NOSE DIVE OUT THE STREETS AND TO TRANSFER ONLINE. THAT'S WHEN I KNEW I HAD TO GET MY MUSIC ONLINE, BACK THEN I WAS USING MYSPACE AND SOUNDCLICK TO PUSH THAT AGENDA. NOW WHEN SOMEONE LOOKS ME UP THEY CAN SEE WHAT I BEEN UP TO SINCE FAR BACK AS 2008. A BIG PART OF MY ONLINE PRESENCE IS DUE TO MY MENTOR THE LATE DJ WHITEOWL. HIM TAKING THE TIME TO HEAR ME AND FEATURING ME ON HIS TAPES IS SOMETHING I'LL FOREVER BE GRATEFUL FOR. CAN'T EXPLAIN THE FEELING WHEN A NEW "WHITEOWL DROP THAT TAPE" GOT RELEASED AND I CAN HEAR MY VOICE COMING FROM RANDOM PEOPLE CARS. EVERYTHING I DO NOW IS TO KEEP HIS NAME ALIVE AND BRING TO LIFE WHAT HE SEEN IN ME.  


VALIDATED: WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT "NEW GANG CITY"?

C-MOEZ: NEW GANG CITY IS A COLLATION OF ARTISTS AND GOOD FRIENDS OF MINE. WE ALL SHARE SIMILAR IDEAS WHEN IT COMES TO MUSIC, FASHION AND HOW WE THINK THE RAP SCENE FOR NEW YORK SHOULD BE. DUDES LIKE THA KIDD ACE WHO'S BEEN THERE SINCE THE BEGINNING, LITERALLY, WE PICKED UP THE PEN AND PAD AROUND THE SAME TIME. LIKE A GAME OF PING-PONG, WE GET ON A RECORD AND JUST THROW HOT FIRE BACK AND FORTH. CHIZEL BEATS, ONE OF THE PRODUCERS WE BEEN WORKING REALLY CLOSE WITH BEEN GIVING US THAT GRITTY BOOM BAP SOUND TO SPIT OUR 16'S ON. GOTTI, ANOTHER ARTIST PART OF THE TRIANGLE, GIVING US THAT PUNCHLINE EFFECT. ALSO WITH ECBC, A NEW PART OF THE REGIME WHOSE BEEN ASSISTING US IN PUSHING THE NEW GANG AGENDA, TAKING IT PAST NEW YORK. OUR ONLY GOAL IS TO MAKE GOOD MUSIC, CHALLENGE THE MIND AND KEEP IT SOLID. NOT THAT WATERED DOWN HIP-HOP YOU SEE ON TELEVISION.


VALIDATED: IN JUNE 2011 YOU PARTICIPATED IN HOT 97'S SUMMER JAM, WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THE EXPERIENCE?

C-MOEZ: I SEEN A LOT THAT DAY, DIDN'T HAVE A REAL CHANCE TO PROCESS EVERYTHING I WAS SEEING, BACK STAGE OR ON STAGE. THAT WAS MY FIRST "INDUSTRY" EXPERIENCE SO I WAS LEARNING AS I WAS GOING ALONG. FROM THAT EXPERIENCE I LEARNED WHERE MY VOICE CAN TAKE ME WHEN THE TIMING IS RIGHT. CONDITIONS IS EVERYTHING, YOU CAN BE THE DOPEST WRITER, THE BEST PRODUCER BUT IF THE TIMING ISN'T RIGHT THINGS DON'T TAKE OFF AS SMOOTH. I DIDN'T GET THERE BY LUCK OR SOMEONE DOING ME A FAVOR. WATCHING ALL THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE SCENES RUNNING AROUND WITH PUTTING THE SHOW TOGETHER, IT DEFINITELY GAVE ME A BETTER OUTLOOK ON WHAT IT TAKES TO PUT ON A SHOW OF THAT MAGNITUDE.


VALIDATED: IS IT TRUE YOU WERE THE FIRST ARTIST TO TOUCH THE SUMMER JAM FESTIVAL STAGE WITHOUT A RECORD DEAL?

C-MOEZ: IT IS TRUE, MOST UNSIGNED ARTISTS PARTICIPATE IN MORE LOCAL EVENTS WHERE THEY OPENING FOR BIGGER ACTS. THEY HAD ME IN THE MEADOWLANDS OPENING FOR BIG KRIT AND YELAWOLF. I WASN'T SIGNED TO ANYONE. I WAS UP THERE REPRESENTING ME AND EVERYONE RIDING WITH ME. IT WAS A DOPE OPPORTUNITY, NEVER BEEN TO THE MEADOWLANDS AND YET I'M PERFORMING ON THE BIGGEST STAGE OF THE EAST COAST, DEF A HIGHLIGHT OF MY CAREER.


VALIDATED: HOW DID THE OPPORTUNITY COME ABOUT?

C-MOEZ: I ALMOST DIDN'T GET THAT CHANCE. IN MY SENIOR YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL A TEACHER OF MINE AT THE TIME INVITED ME TO PACE UNIVERSITY IN MANHATTAN TO A MUSIC PANEL. SHE HEARD I MADE MUSIC, NEVER HEARD MY STUFF BUT SHE INVITED ME TO COME ALONG. I WAS TOO BUSY RUNNING THE STREET, I WASN'T GOING TO GO, FIGURED IT WAS JUST ANOTHER BORING SCHOOL TRIP. I WENT DESPITE MY FEELINGS TOWARDS IT AND MET A TON OF INDUSTRY FIGURES, AUDIO ENGINEERS AND WRITERS. DURING THE TRIP, I WAS PLACED IN THE PERFORMANCE WORKSHOP, WHERE I HAD A CHANCE TO PERFORM FOR RIGGS MORALES AND THE LATE CHRIS NADLER. LEAVING THEM IMPRESSED THAT LEAD ME TO MEETING WITH THEM AT THE SHADY OFFICE, WHICH LEAD ME TO PERFORMING AT SUMMER JAM. INITIALLY I WAS SCHEDULED TO OPEN FOR YELAWOLF SINCE HE WAS THE LATEST SIGNEE TO THE ROSTER AT THAT TIME (2011), HIS BUS WAS LATE GETTING TO THE STADIUM THAT DAY SO I ENDED UP OPENING FOR BIG KRIT, FOLLOWED BY PUSHA T, BIG SEAN, GUNPLAY FROM MMG AND LATER ON YELAWOLF.


VALIDATED: WHAT CAN FANS EXPECT FROM C-MOEZ FOR THE REMAINDER OF 2019?

C-MOEZ: NEW EP DROPPING APRIL 22ND "YOU MADE A MISTAKE" VOL. 1. SPENT A LOT OF TIME PUTTING THIS PROJECT TOGETHER. EVERYTHING I BEEN GOING THROUGH PERSONALLY AND ETC WILL BE VOICED ON THAT JOINT. ALSO BE ON THE LOOK OUT FOR ME AND DJ DES. WE BEEN WORKING THE BEHIND THE SCENES PIECING THINGS TOGETHER FOR 2019. NEW GANG CITY WILL BE DROPPING A EP TOWARDS THE END OF THE YEAR. GOT A FEW OTHER TRICKS UP THE SLEEVE, INK HASN'T DRIED YET ON THOSE SITUATIONS BUT I'M DEF COMING FOR THE HEAD THIS GO AROUND.

VALIDATED: WHERE CAN OUR READERS FIND YOU ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

C-MOEZ: CMOEZGZUP ON TWITTER, FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM AND YOUTUBE.