M.O.P.: Ground Zero

Since signing with G-Unit Records in June 2005 M.O.P. has been seated comfortably in the biggest crew in Hip-Hop, and also relatively unheard. While Billy Danze, Lil’ Fame, and producer/manager Laze E have released street albums like 2006’s Ghetto Warfare, the Brownsville, Brooklyn veterans have not come close to that “Ante Up” / “Cold As Is” status that they achieved in 2000. Perhaps, in additional to waiting their turn on the G-Unit and Roc rosters, it’s the ever-changing climate of Hip-Hop and the radio DJs who spin it.

Over half a dozen plates of shrimp at Manhattan’s Da Vinci Hotel Restaurant, Billy and Laze tackle the criticism head on, just as you’d expect from the Mash Out Posse. The group reminds readers that they’ve never wavered from the blueprint, and never will. The militant MCs also emphasize that since G-Unit has become the target of some industry hate, they’ve never felt more belonging in the coalition. Just as their classic adlibs say, “Mount up!” M.O.P. is in the building, and if you’ve got a clever title for their next album, you can join the original back street boys.

AllHipHop.com: Realistically, will the album come out this year?

Billy Danze: Yeah, definitely. That’s the truth.

AllHipHop.com: Can you really promise to your fans an album in 2007, honestly?

Billy Danze: I’ll tell you what, [in] 2007, if you don’t get an M.O.P. album, you will get a gang of M.O.P. records. Like, I will give you an M.O.P. record, I don’t care about makin’ money. I just wanna make sure that I give y’all what you want; I give you guys what you want. I don’t care what the situation is. Like there’s a dude, I don’t know this dude’s name, I’ve been seeing this dude for about 10, 11 years at every M.O.P. show on the East Coast. I can’t let that dude down; I love that dude.

AllHipHop.com: Is there a tentative date?

Billy Danze: Not as of right now because we’re still getting situated with the beginning of the assault first, and then we’ll let the public decide when it should come out.

AllHipHop.com: I know a lot of people questioned the move to G-Unit. Are you concerned with people saying “sell out”?

Billy Danze: How you be a sellout? I mean, I’m not on…it’s the same like when I went to Roc-A-Fella; I got the same s**t. But like, I didn’t go to Roc-A-Fella to make records like Jay. I didn’t go to G-Unit to make records like 50 or [Lloyd] Banks or [Young] Buck or none of ‘em. We always do traditional M.O.P. music. Like I’m sure a lot of people, they are wondering, “Is it different? Are they gonna change their style or anything like that?” We’ll never change. The thing about MOP is we made music from the heart ‘cause nobody else was doin’ it. And nobody still ain’t doin it! They can’t do it the way we do it. This is what we provide to the industry, to the listeners and we’re always gonna do the same. We’re always going to do the same thing. It don’t matter where we at. We could be at Turk and Cheese Records. It’s still the same s**t; it’s still M.O.P.

AllHipHop.com: I just think Mobb Deep lost credibility. Many of their long-time fans were scratching their heads.

Billy Danze: We ain’t Mobb Deep. And I don’t think that happened with Mobb Deep. Mobb Deep always made music like that.

Laze: Hold on, let me tell you something: Mobb Deep is one of the most legendary groups that ever touched the microphone in Hip-Hop. The discussion about Mobb Deep, you know, the dudes Prodigy, Havoc, those are two talented dudes… remember these cats were makin’ records in ’91. You know what I’m sayin’? “Peer Pressure” was on 4th & Broadway in ’91, dog. So, like ain’t nobody can tell me anything about Mobb Deep.

AllHipHop.com: I see what you’re saying, but they lost a critical portion of their fanbase with not only the album, but with their behavior.

Billy Danze: How loyal are you, if you got a problem with me putting myself in a winning position? You my man or not? You riding with me or not? I’m trying to win; I’m trying to take care of these kids. You got a f**kin’ problem with that? F**k you. There’s no way you can tell me that you got a problem with me going over here getting some money on this money train. You want me to let this money train pass? You mad at me ‘cause I didn’t let the money train pass?

Laze: That’s the motherf**ckin’ money train. Thirty million records in three years. [Laughs]

Billy Danze: ‘Cause I didn’t let this money train pass? You mad at me? I’m still giving you what I gave you. I’m not bulls**ttin’ you, side stepping, I’m not doin’… what you don’t expect me to do or what you got in your head sayin’ like, “I know when this album come out, it’s gonna be like 50 Cent all over the record. I did two songs, no like one, maybe two songs with 50 on this album.

Laze: I think only one is gonna make the album.

Billy Danze: We recorded like damn near 80 songs. 50’s a dope dude, so f**k, yeah I’d like do a record with him. Half the rappers, that’s in the street that’s influenced by M.O.P., would like to do a f**kin’ record with him too. You not gonna bulls**t me. A spade is a f**kin’ spade and this is a nice money train and I’m on f**king board. Now, y’all can kiss my ass on both sides. So f**k it.

AllHipHop.com: I have to ask this: is Hip-Hop dead?

Laze: Hell no.

Billy Danze: No, Hip-Hop can’t die.

Laze: You talking to n***as that went all around the world, n***as that been to Eastern Europe, n***as that been all over the planet. Hip-Hop is alive and kicking. What y’all feed us in America, the propaganda that is fed in America, you do let a little bulls**t through the cracks because Hip-Hop has turned into what Disco was in the early ‘80s. Hip-Hop, itself, is not dead because the essence of Hip Hop… you talking to, I’m gonna date myself, to a n***a that knows what it is…Hip-Hop is turning something and making something new out of it.

Billy Danze: For those not on the block, you’ve been absent. In the new landscape of rap which includes cocaine rap and snap music, do you think MOP is still relevant?

Billy Danze: Well, see this is the thing about anything in life. Like black and white; you need the wrong shit, so you know what’s right; you need what’s dope, so you know what’s wack; you need what’s wack, so you know what’s dope. So, we’re always going to be relevant. You know what I mean? MOP…We got hard-core…like die hard fans. So, they’re always going to be there and they always need to be supplied with what we got for them. Relevant? Yeah, of course.

Laze: I think the difference with MOP is that MOP makes shit that nobody else can make. You can’t make MOP. Like a Motherf***** can’t fake an MOP record. Motherf**** will look at the MOP record and be like ‘motherf***** fakin it, you tryin’ to be like MOP, stop that sh*t you sound corny’.

Billy Danze: It’s not working [Laughs]

Laze: We the only motherf*ckers that’s making this kind of crack in this store. MOP shit is our own crack. We make our own specific tailor-made crack. We will whip your ass in a special kind of way. It will… You’re a** will be whooped tailor-made a** whooping .You aint gonna get a general ass-whooping, you will get a specific-ass whooping from MOP.

AllHipHop.com: What about New York Hip-Hop?

Laze: Them n***as lost. [Laughs]

Billy Danze: Nah, let me tell you something, New York City is dope. Please make a f**kin’ note of that one. I hate to say it and Laze gon’ try cover my mouth when I say this, but these gay-ass motherf**kin’ radio n***as, like that’s what it is because whatever you fed is what you think is dope. If you don’t hear a Smif-N-Wessun, if you don’t hear Mobb Deep, if you don’t hear Pharaohe Monch, then you believe that whatever you hear is dope. You have no options, you have nothing to…you know what I’m saying? This is New York. I got homies from Down South, from Texas that come to visit me, artists that I work with and they like, “Damn yo, [we] haven’t left home. Dog, we hear everything that we hear on radio.” So what’s happening is they pushing [us] out, they not giving artists from New York a chance. There’s dope dudes in New York. We invent s**t, you know what I mean? And reinvent s**t, and reinvent some s**t. So, you can’t tell me New York Hip-Hop is dead. It’s just them gay-ass n***as on the radio.

Laze: I think the creative process of Hip-Hop is corrupted in New York. You can’t make dope Hip-Hop…

Billy Danze: And them n***as gay. They gay. Sensitive-ass, gay-ass, delicate-ass n***as.

Laze: Here’s your sponsor here. [Laughs]The sponsor here is editing what Billy is saying. Sponsor ignore Billy. [Laughs]

Billy Danze: Let me tell you, what they do is they don’t play their record on the radio but you can pull up on them at the light and they be bangin’ your s**t. That’ll cause me to go to the trunk to get the golf club and smooth them the f**k out. You know what I mean?

Laze: Translation [Laughs]…

Billy Danze: Translation: Kiss my ass on both sides [Laughs]. I don’t knock ‘em for what they do because that’s their job. We did an interview, before, with Miss Jones. And Miss Jones she was like, well… we didn’t get into an argument. But, I wasn’t seeing what she was saying and she wasn’t seeing what I was sayin’.

Laze: Miss Jones! Whew! Miss Jones. I’ll smooth her right out. [Laughs]

Billy Danze: That’s why I couldn’t argue with her real hard. [Laughs] If you feed these kids one thing, that’s all they know. I got a 12 year-old son at home, I’m arguing with him about is Rakim doper than Young Dro. Like, what’s the argument, here? I like Young Dro. I like him, I don’t dislike the man. But, Rakim is incredible, dude. If you listen to Rakim records right now, I’m talking the joints from back you still start hearin’ some s**t [that] I didn’t even know he said that. How he said that then and they just started sayin’ that now. Incredible. He’s incredible.

AllHipHop.com: So you feel Hip-Hop has gone soft?

Billy Danze: I’m not sayin’ that.

AllHipHop.com: You said something about these “gay-ass…”

Billy Danze: Oh, nah, when I say “gay” I mean…

AllHipHop.com: You mean like in terms of politics?

Billy Danze: Yeah, like…I don’t care. There’s politics in every business. I’m like insulting them. I’m f**kin’ insultin’ me.

Laze: Not homosexuality.

AllHipHop.com: Yeah, I know what you mean.

Laze: There’s a lot of gay dudes in Hip-Hop. That’s their business.

Billy Danze: I mean if you’re not a vegetarian, that’s your thing. Like you wanna eat meat twice a week, motherf**ka…[Laughs] My only thing is that you can’t say New York City ain’t dope.

AllHipHop.com: Judging from the Lloyd Banks album, you guys don’t do too much collaboration with fellow G-Unit artists…

Billy Danze: Don’t say it like that, all “fellow G-Unit artists.” We just don’t rap with anybody from [any group]. We don’t wanna… like if you had gotten too much M.O.P., maybe it got to the point where you’re like, you know what, it’s too much. I like doin’ this s**t, like, I like bein’ on the stage, I like being in the studio with the homies creating s**t. I don’t want this s**t to burn out. This is all I got, homie.

AllHipHop.com: The perception is that the G-Unit stock is falling…

Billy Danze: Well, I mean, I don’t know. This is the biggest record label here right now. So, how do we say the stock is falling? Like between you and me, you might feel that way, you’re a little bit more inside than the average consumer.

Laze: We fit in right now. We good. See, we weren’t good with G-unit when they were all popular [Laughs]. Now that there’s an anti-G-unit goin’ on, we in now. Let’s go GGGGG-UNIT! [Laughs].

Billy Danze: We fit in. [Laughs] Big Shout out to my dude [Young] Buck, by the way.

Laze: Love Young Buck.

Billy Danze: Banks, Spider Loc, Olivia, the Infamous Mobb Deep, in case you didn’t hear it before.

AllHipHop.com: Content-wise, what does the album cover since it doesn’t have a title?

Billy Danze: We always…what we give you… It’s real simple. M.O.P. represent that part of society that people try to forget about, so we bring that to you. Like, you don’t have to come to Brownsville to know what’s it like, you get the M.O.P. album we takin’ you on an adventure through Brownsville.

We stay in our lane, we do what we gotta do. As far as the album go, as I said, maybe we need help in terms of titling the album. Like, I wanna make sure everybody…like especially the M.O.P. fans help participate with what we’re doing . Just send me some names. Hit up AllHipHop.com and let ‘em know. So, all M.O.P. fans, anybody that wanna help us out, whatever, and help us title the album.

AllHipHop.com: We should do a contest?

Laze: Nah, we not doing a contest. I’m not giving them any motherf**kin’ money. [Laughs]

Billy Danze: The person…whoever come up with the name that we’ll use, we’ll do something nice for him [or her], have em come hang out with M.O.P., give em mad props. And you know, down in history, you titled that album. We need everybody pullin’ for us.