Mozzy has gained a cult following for his gritty street storytelling, drawing from his experiences to give the listener a window into Sacramento's Oak Park neighborhood. In his new video for "The People Plan," which premieres on The FADER today, Mozzy connects the dots between the harsh realities of his past and the system at large. As he raps, "Mama couldn't save you from the judge, they the Klan," images of young black men killed by police, judges handing out sentences in court, and Donald Trump's inauguration flash on the screen.
The song, taken from his most recent project Fake Famous, finds Mozzy both zooming in on his life, and the lives of the people around him, while stepping back to assess the traumatic damage as a part of something larger than himself. Speaking to The FADER on Tuesday, the Sacramento rapper discussed the inspirations behind the poignant video and explained the role of rappers in the current political climate.
How did "The People Plan" come about?
The song was created naturally but it was on a different beat. Dave-O produced it, it was effortless, and I wasn’t expecting it to become what it is. I was just speaking. I was just talking to my people. He came back with the song with a new twist on it, a more church-like sound to it, a gospel approach. I wasn’t feeling the beat at first. The beat prior to that was more ra-ra, more activated, more turnt up to me. So, I wasn’t really feeling the new sound. It sounded slowed down and more sad than how it originally sounded, and I wasn’t feeling it.
I asked my people in the studio, “Raise your hand if you fuckin’ with this better than this one,” and they was like, “Nah, we fuckin’ with this one.” So, naturally that sound gave it a whole ‘nother spiritual meaning. At first, it was on some gangsta shit, and whatever I said politically, it was like I slipped it in. When he remixed that beat, the political shit stood out more than the gangsta shit. I think this is one of my most political, spiritual songs I have. I can’t wait to show my grandmother, you feel me?
You mention your grandmother trying to steer you towards church in the song, so the story behind the beat is an interesting parallel to that.
Yeah, rest in peace Grandma Lina. She lived on 4th Avenue, and that was her shit. Straight up — gospel music, church goin’. She ran a foster home. She would have 12, 15 kids in one household and everybody was suited and booted for church. Everybody got a pair of church clothes in the closet. It was serious with her. But hell yeah, that’s one my favorite parts of the song: “Had to stay out her way cuz Grandma Lina didn’t play.”
I think a lot of your music is political, but do you feel like it’s important for artists, particularly rappers, to explicitly address the current political situation in their music?
I think it was important before the changes that have occurred. It’s always been important, especially to African-American culture itself. We’ve always been seeking change, seeking betterment, seeking self-improvement. The majority of this rap game is all about materialistic shit. Shout out to the people that do push the politics with the rap. I tap in to them. I’m such a Tupac fan. Rest in peace The Jacka — he was very political.
It’s about insight. It’s about knowledge. It’s about taking something from, you feel me? Your pain, you’re supporting, you’re giving something to, so you need to take something from. And not just anything — something healthy for mind, body, soul. When you go to jail, if you don’t know the law, that’s not their fault. They’re still going to push their issue. If you don’t know your politics, it’s your fault by default.
What do you mean when you say, "Black-on-black crime, it's part of the people's plan"?
It’s a system. In order to keep the jails afloat — in order to run that muhfucka 24 hours a day, 365 days a year — you gotta keep it crowded. They’re not harassing prestigious neighborhoods, they’re harassing the urban neighborhoods. People in those neighborhoods have money to bail out, so they fuck with urban neighborhoods where niggas gotta get public defenders. As long as we’re going to jail, everybody’s Gucci and Gabbana — everybody gon’ eat as far as the system.
I feel like that’s the people’s plan. Black-on-black crime: You shoot him, you go jail. He shoots you, he go to jail. It’s generating income. We live in the cycle, and it’s for us to break in order to get out this shit. When I say us, I mean the people that have voices. I can’t change nothin’ in one day. I don’t feel like I can change the world. But I can give insights. I can give my experience. It ain’t just all, “Catch a body, run up a bag, catch a body.” It’s mandated that we give the youth some nutritious shit to take out of the music.
In 2016, you dropped project after project relentlessly. What’s your plan this year?
Same thing. Just ferocious, you feel me? I’m still foaming out the mouth, still hungry. I ain’t got that bag yet. I heard you can get M’s in this shit, so I need to be fully involved. I need to be part of that M club. I ain’t really trippin’ off the awards and all that. I’m trippin' off the Chicken McNuggets.
I’m gonna pay more attention to pay my squadron. I’m gonna make sure everybody shining like me, I’m gonna make sure everybody’s droppin’ like me, I’m gonna make sure everybody making the same amount of money as me. In 2017, I need my squad to turn it up. So, you’re gonna hear a lot of from Mozzy Records and from Mozzy himself. And we’re gonna touch this M, straight up.
Thumbnail image: Dan Monick for The FADER.