Big Moe Biography
Over the years, the great state of Texas has produced a number of underground rap acts who have gone on to national prominence. It is the land that produced the legendary Scarface, the Geto Boys, the DOC, UGK, and the late great DJ Screw. All of these artists help put Southern hip-hop on the national stage at a time when rap music was dominated by acts from the East and West Coast.
As a founding member of the Screwed Up Click, an elite group of Houston based rappers who free-styled on DJ Screw's famous mix tapes, Wreckshop/Priority Recording artist Big Moe is a vital part of Houston's thriving underground. His patented combination of rap/singing has made him one of the most popular independent recording artists in the Deep South. In addition to having one of the region's most successful independent albums, entitled City of Syrup, which sold a whopping 200,000 units and counting, when it comes to recording features and hooks, Big Moe is one of Texas' most sought after artists. In fact, according to many of the artists he's worked with, a Big Moe feature can garner an independent artist as many as 20,000 additional sales in Houston alone.
Now with the release of Purple World, Big Moe is taking his unique blend of southern hip-hop and R&B to a thirsty nation of music fans.
Born and raised in South Houston's notoriously impoverished third ward, a place Big Moe describes as a "typical ghetto," the MC says he experienced more than his share of lean years.
"I grew up kinda hard," recalls Moe. "At the place where I once lived we used to use the kitchen stove to keep the whole house warm. I remember one time when the stove broke and we didn't have no heaters so we got together in one room and used two or three space heaters so we could keep warm. It was real hard back then, man, real hard."
But Moe was able to escape many of the pitfalls that trap so many young men of color in the ghetto through his love of music, which he pursued with a passion and began his career as a singer.
"Before I really got into the solo rap thing, I was in a straight R&B group called Second Verse. We met up in 1990 and fell apart in 98. We were signed to this dude Chris Morris who played with the New Jersey Nets. Everything was going good at first, but then something happened and the whole thing went down the drain."
After seeing his group disband due to internal strife, Moe thought that his career in music was virtually over. Moe took a job as a bouncer at a popular Houston nightclub where he met Houston's mix tape king DJ Screw, who put him back into the spotlight.
"I had a cousin who DJ'ed every Thursday at this club where I was a bouncer. DJ Screw started working there also and we used to hang out with him, help him bring his boxes in and stuff like that. So one day, he let me hear a demo of his album that was going to come out commercially. I was playing an instrumental from the tape and started singing and rapping some lyrics I made up. Screw heard me singing and said "I'm going to take care of you if you hop on the album. So I hopped on the album and the album did real good and everybody wanted know who was that dude singing?"
The song that Big Moe did was called "Sipping on Codeine," from Screw's classic debut LP 3 in the Mornin'. It was the first time Moe's voice was heard on tape and soon after he was a regular on Screw mix tapes kicking his lethal combination of rap and song.
In addition to blazing mix tapes Moe paid his dues to the hip-hop chitlin' circuit, doing shows for as little as $150.00 a night. While many of his fellow Houstonites were making far more money, Moe wasn't complaining. He was doing something that he loved to do and building a loyal fan base to boot -- a fact of which many Houston labels took strong notice.
After being bombarded with offers from labels all over Houston, Big Mo remained steadfast and loyal to DJ Screw, with whom he had hope to sign, but after Screw informed him that he wasn't interested in running a label, so Big Moe pushed on with Screw's full blessings, eventually inking a deal with the hot new Houston crew at Wreckshop Records.
"I used to hang with Noke D over at Wreckshop all the time. I used to hop on ESG albums. D-Reck knew I was real with it. After I did a few songs with ESG, people started feeling me, so I winded up doing shows with ESG and I'd have it crunk. D-Reck used to be at some of the shows and he saw how I had it crunk like ESG and that's when D-Reck started to see the big picture."
Moe signed with Wreckshop in 1999 and the following year he dropped his solo debut City of Syrup, which sold over 200,000 units and created the biggest buzz Texas has seen since the arrival of the Geto Boys' 1990 classic Grip It On That Other Level.
The success of City of Syrup, in addition to a number of other successful Wreckshop releases, ignited a firestorm of interest amongst the majors to snap up D-Reck's burgeoning independent label. But of all of the labels that came to the table Priority, who had such phenomenal success with Master P's No Limit label in the '90s, was the one that walked away with the deal.
Purple World is Big Moe's national debut LP on Wreckshop/Priority and, based on the sound of it, it promises to be his biggest record to date. Produced by Wreckshop's in-house production team Platinum Soul, which consist of Noke D and Salih, Purple World illustrates the Texas lifestyle better than any other record. For example the lead single "Purple Stuff" is a light-hearted, laid back, bass laden jam celebrating the joys of sipping on sizzzurp. "Purple is my favorite color. That's the color of the car I drive. Plus I'm from the City of Syrup· This is where it comes from so I feel like I have to represent it. That's what 'Purple Stuff' is really about." Another song that reeks with good old fashion Texas flavor is "Cash," featuring UGK's Pimp C. Built around a choppy intoxicating beat and a pulverizing bass line, Cash is guaranteed to keep heads bobbing for years to come. "Thug Thang," a slightly amped up club anthem about being true to self, while "Confidential Playa" a smooth pimped out ballad featuring
Ronnie Spencer that shows off Moe's R&B roots.
Big Moe's Purple World is an extremely sweet punch spiked with a healthy dose of good old fashion, down home Texas hip-hop funk. So satisfying.
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