Joe Moses

Joe Moses

Photo credit: David Morrison

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Joe Moses is deeply rooted in L.A., and his priorities are resolutely community oriented. He realized he had talent during a bit when he battled everyday, but, when he came home he found that talent isn't the only thing you need to make it in the music industry. Since then, he's diversified his businesses, and comments his own as a thoughtful lyricist, which might surprise people who'd previously associated him with party music or latter day gangsta rap.

As most of us know but don't often say out loud, gang culture underpins a fair amount of hip hop, especially the music that's made in California, and we asked Joe to tell us some of the musical manifestations of the affiliations and the pressures happening withing that world. Yeah, basically we're looking for the real reasons why we as listeners get to hear what we hear, or don't get to hear anything. Thanks to Joe for going there with us, and being so generous with his time and insight.

JOE MOSES: And it's your boy, Joe Moses.

ALI SHAHEED MUHAMMAD: JM in the house.

JOE MOSES: Yeah, yeah.

ALI: What's happening, Joe?

JOE MOSES: Man, blessed, man.

ALI: Yeah.

JOE MOSES: Blessed to be here.

ALI: We're happy to have you.

JOE MOSES: Definitely. Definitely.

ALI: Frannie's a big fan.

FRANNIE KELLEY: I am a big fan.

JOE MOSES: I appreciate it. Appreciate it.

FRANNIE: Since Whoop!

JOE MOSES: Since Whoop!?

FRANNIE: That was my tape.

JOE MOSES: Me and Ty Dolla $ign?

FRANNIE: Yeah. I loved that.

JOE MOSES: Man, I've been on him so heavy about putting Whoop 2.

FRANNIE: Oh my god. I would be so happy.

JOE MOSES: We've been in the studio everyday.

FRANNIE: C'mon.

JOE MOSES: Yeah, you gotta tell him.

FRANNIE: OK. I'll call him. But yeah, I don't know. I've always just responded to your voice and the production that you chose, especially the way that your voice would sort of compliment and contrast with people that you were with.

JOE MOSE: Yeah. Definitely.

FRANNIE: Is that something that you cultivated consciously?

JOE MOSES: That's something I had to learn. Once people started telling me that, I had to go back and, like, really listen to it and say, "OK. I'ma need to start rapping like this more."

FRANNIE: Wait. Once they started telling you what?

JOE MOSES: People started telling me, like, how your voice sound on the beat. I used to rap a little different. And once they started telling me, "Oh, you got a nice voice." Radio even came to me before and was like, "We want you to be a radio" – you know what I mean?

FRANNIE: Oh, I bet.

JOE MOSES: And I'm like, "What you talking about?" They're like, "Your voice." So I just started using my voice more and going at it like that, and then everybody just started gravitating to it. And it is what it is.

FRANNIE: I read an interview that you did with UndergroundHipHop like a year ago. Marisa Mendez I think did it.

JOE MOSES: Yeah, yeah.

FRANNIE: And you were saying that when you were in jail, you would battle sometimes.

JOE MOSES: Everyday.

FRANNIE: And that there's a lot of raw talent in jail.

JOE MOSES: Definitely. Definitely. You know, jail is a place of opportunity. It's just, it's a lot of broken opportunity in jail. It's a lot of men that got a lot of opportunity that really never challenged theyself on the streets, cause they didn't – I can't make an excuse and say they didn't know how, but they just never challenged theyself on the streets.

It's a lot of people that – you can do stuff in jail that – people do tattoos. They do all type of stuff in jail. They make things. They make lighters. I'm talking about all type of stuff that people come up with in jail. It's a lot of genius in jail. But I'm talking about just on the rap level, it's a lot of great talent in jail.

And I used to battle everybody, because all you got to do – sometimes you're locked down 23 hours a day, and I used to battle just about every time we came to yard. I just used to battle, battle, battle. Anybody was with me in Soledad Prison, they'll tell you, 2006, 2007, 2008, I didn't lose a battle. I'm talking about no cap. Never lost a battle in jail. Never ever lost a battle. That's how I knew I had talent myself. Because I knew it was great talent there, and I just kept it going.

When I was in jail, I kind of made the jail more fun. It was kind of more relaxed in jail. Jail is tough and I used to be on the yard. I used to go past everybody and anybody and they used to be like, "Man, JM, kick one for us." And I promise you: I shut the whole yard down, and everybody come from their little sections – cause jail is structured off and sectioned off. You can't go through this way. You can't walk through this way. If I walk through a certain type of way, it might set off a whole riot. And when we used to rap, it used to just bring everybody around us, and we used to have groups of like 50 and 60 people.

I used to just go back and forth, and I was kind of in the Bay Area. I was in Soledad, California up north. So it was a lot of Bay Area guys I used to battle. A lot of dudes from San Diego I used to battle. From Richmond, from Fresno, from, like, just different places like that, man. I never lost a battle once. Probably like over 70, 70 times.

FRANNIE: Wow. What did you learn from performing for that audience?

JOE MOSES: Patience. Patience.

FRANNIE: OK. Like, how? Can you explain?

JOE MOSES: Patience is learning from just performing in front of an audience that's already in negativity. It's already negative. The first reaction in jail is not to be so cool and so – you just can't be cool in jail, so nobody really gon' give you they props.

FRANNIE: It's like Twitter.

JOE MOSES: It's like Instagram. It's like social media trolling. In jail, that's what it is. It's like everybody just watching you. You mess up, something might happen to you. That's how jail is. So, you know, battling in jail and receiving the audience that I received and receiving the props that I got, it was like, "OK." I knew I got it. So when I came home, it wasn't nothing. It wasn't nothing that I couldn't do or nothing that I – if I put my mind to, that I couldn't be great.

Being here right now, I was in the cell for three years, and I used to tell my cellie like, "I'ma be famous." You know what I mean? "I'ma go home. I'ma be a famous rapper." And he used to be like, "Man, you just gotta stay focused." And I think that was the hardest thing to do, was not being able to rap, was to stay focused when I touched down on the streets. Going through probation like Meek is talking about, everything he's talking about right now. Just the whole nine. It's a blessing just to even be here.

FRANNIE: So yeah, part of what I would love to talk to you about is the influence of gang culture in hip-hop.

JOE MOSES: Definitely. Yeah.

FRANNIE: But sort of as it relates to your story. Like, representing in any way could imperil your career, especially if you're on probation. How do you stay focused and navigate both of those kind of responsibilities?

JOE MOSES: You know what? It's a responsibility of just the surroundings and the people around you. Coming from where I come from, I'm just like them. I'm no different. I'm the same as them, but if the people around you really know where you going, they gon' sacrifice that to make sure you alright. It was hard, three years. I mean, my right hand man took a gun case for me. He's my manager now, but he took a gun case for me.

A lot of things that transpired over the years that people knew I was gon' be the one so they kind of sheltered me through every situation that I went through. Anything that ever happened they like, "Joe, you get out of here." So that's how I got through it. It's basically based in the people that was around me, surrounding myself.

And it's hard to be – I'm not gon' say a black man, but I'ma say it's hard to be a man going through the structure that you going through on probation as a gang member. I was a gang member coming straight out the streets so – straight out of prison, so they put me on top notch parole where I had to check in twice a month. So in order for my career to be successful, I gotta travel. And you gotta have a permit to travel. You gotta have that in a month and a half before, damn near three weeks before you could even get to where you going.

FRANNIE: Wow. OK.

JOE MOSES: If you get caught with, say – my little brothers, they both in my hood. I got three little brothers. They from where I'm from. If I get caught with them, in a car with them, police pull us over, that's a violation. I don't care, family or not. If we all on gang – you know what I mean? That's a violation. If I get caught in my hood – my grandmother still stay there to this day – if I get caught over there and I get caught with more than one gang member, that's a violation. It don't matter if it's a family reunion or anything. So the stipulations was pretty much it's either you do or you don't. So either you going to go straight forward and do it, or you not.

And what's so crazy is I've been out of jail since 2008. I caught another case, and I did my parole back over. They ended up not sending me to prison. They ended up putting me back on probation. I caught another gun case, and I just got off parole yesterday, parole and probation yesterday. So it's been since 2008. I've been back and forth on parole and probation since 2008.

ALI: Wow.

FRANNIE: That's awful. But also congratulations.

ALI: Yeah.

JOE MOSES: Yeah, so my career, there's been ups and downs, because a lot of people like, "Oh, Joe Moses, he's just local." And it's like, I'm only local, because I can't really go nowhere. I can't do nothing. In order for me to go on tour, I gotta have – say if Ty be like, "OK. Are you gon' go on tour?" And it's happened plenty of times where it's like, you gon' go on tour, but we don't know that till the last minute. I can't go, unless they give me – they let me go, unless my probation officer is cool.

This last three years, I've had a great probation officer, and he let me go anywhere that I needed to go. Like, "Man, you got a job. You got a job." To the point where it was like, "Man, I appreciate you so much. You just don't know." But before that, it was awful. I couldn't do anything. I couldn't go nowhere. I had to check in twice a month. They had to come to my house. It just was awful. So, you know.

FRANNIE: We've been talking a lot lately about how, yeah, that people assume things and they ascribe them to somebody's character or personality, when really it's, like, limitations imposed by the government.

JOE MOSES: Definitely.

FRANNIE: But also by anybody's sort of affiliation or whatever.

JOE MOSES: Yeah, yeah.

FRANNIE: So sometimes people will work with somebody because they kind of have to or won't work with somebody even though they would like to. And I don't know. We haven't landed on a way to really have that conversation in a way that's super transparent and accurate, while also respecting people's privacy and safety. I mean, if you could speak to it kind of maybe big picture? Are there things that happened sort of below the surface in Los Angeles in the past ten years maybe that have had a big effect on the music that people hear?

JOE MOSES: There's a lot of things that impact – just being an L.A. artist, it's kind of harder than any artist around the world, period. Because me being a real gang member, born and raised, my father, my grandfather was, my brother, I'm talking about my whole family. It's a gang culture. Growing up to it, you have artists around the world that really it's not on the same level as me or anything like that.

It's like, the labels will say Joe Moses is too real. And these artists are just doing it for TV or – you know what I mean? And it becomes a problem. It changed the whole outlook of the way we think now. Now I don't wear a lot of red. Now I can't – I don't go to the club where 50 guys and 50 – you know what I'm saying? Even though I'm only going to the club 50 deep to protect myself, I'm not trying to hurt nobody.

So it changes the way we think, and it's kind of hard for us being L.A. artists. YG 400 one of the best artists out here, and can't even get shows in California because he's banned. And not because he's banned because he started anything, because people come to the club and start something with us.

It's a hard situation where I'm from a hood where it's – we most hated. And you know where my whereabouts is but I don't know where your whereabouts is. I can post and say, "I'ma be at this club tonight." And you can be basically prepared to come get me, and I will not have no idea. And you know me. I don't know you. And that's just the everything that we gotta deal with far as L.A. being where we from and how it transpires in the game. And a lot of people don't understand that and never will see that, and they don't know what we go through, and they don't know why we still talk about gang-banging.

Because it's real. It's a real culture. It's not nothing to be played with. A lot of people done died for it. A lot of people are still dying for it. I got a little cousin that just got killed two days ago, 14-year-old kid. Wasn't a gang member or nothing, but got killed by gang members. And he has a family, and if that family retaliates, people will look at them like they crazy or something. But that kid has a family also. So it'll never stop.

Gang-banging is so big and influential, because a lot of people don't have nothing. This is all they have. This is all they have is the block. They don't know how to go to Spotify. They don't how to go to – they just know about the gang. This what they grew up to. They don't have no money. This the only place where they can be cool at. You know what I mean? Having no money, having no family, this the only family that you have.

So a lot of people like, "Man, y'all still promote this?" Nah, it's not that I'm promoting it. I'm just giving you my story. I'm just giving you what I grew up to. This is basically what I grew up to. I had people that told me don't do it. I had people that told me, yeah, do it. I made the choices that I made. I didn't join a gang because everybody was doing it. I joined a gang cause my uncle got killed, and I jumped off the porch and was like, "This where I'm from." I was a top – everybody will tell you, in L.A., I was one of the top-of-the-line football players, quarterbacks and everything. And that just was down the hill after that happened.

So, you know, it's just a different way of how we think about it. It's a different way how we feel about it. You might not know. You wouldn't understand why I come to club 25 deep and all these dudes around me look like they want to fuck the club up. It's so much going on in my hood. My hood might – there's something that has nothing to do with Joe Moses, but I'm the face of it. So these people are now trying to get me. "Ah, Joe has something to do with it." Man, I'm doing an interview with y'all. I know nothing about what's going on. But now they want to get me. "Man, we gon' go the club and get him."

So I always gotta fully prepare myself, and if you see any artist that's how they roll, that's how they gotta roll, especially in Los Angeles, California. So.

ALI: What do you think – cause you said that it will never change.

JOE MOSES: It will never change.

ALI: And it's like, hearing that is heartbreaking –

JOE MOSES: Definitely.

ALI: – when you know that in some way we're all related to each other.

JOE MOSES: Definitely.

ALI: If we do a severe and deep family tree, you'll find out like, "Oh wow, I had no idea," the relationship and connection just through DNA. But when you say that – and someone who's gone through everything that you've gone through, and for an example if you say like, in Los Angeles, it's hard for Los Angeles artists to be able to go and get a show, because there's already a stigma like, "No. You going to come here and something's going to jump off. We don't want that for our environment."

So if enough artists are getting doors closed like that – and one thing I know from gang culture is you guys can organize – so I'm wondering how then do you not organize in a way that's like, "We have to be the change if we're going to want to be able to not have these restrictions," and not only just performing, but just everything? Like you say, you were about to embark on football, and one incident just changed your life and it took –

JOE MOSES: Another path, yeah.

ALI: – another turn. So if you have someone else's youngin in the same position, what is the thing that will make them go a different – to say, "You know what? I'ma change this by not jumping in, by pursuing whatever other opportunity?"

JOE MOSES: I think what it is is a lot of rappers – and I'm not going to even say from California, I'm just going to say a lot of rappers – just a lot of rappers that is a part of gang-banging culture is really telling a story from another person's view. Like, the difference between me and a lot of rappers, I'm telling my own view. This come from me. So I will never have a problem – nobody can't tell me what to do. I'm a man first before anything. And I think a lot of rappers don't want to change it because they homies might ex them. You might be exed out. And they afraid of that.

See, me, I'm not afraid to say I get along with Nipsey or I get along with these artists, or ScHoolboy Q. Those my boys. You understand what I'm saying? And a lot of artists will come up here and be afraid to say, "I fuck with Joe Moses" because where I come from, and our hoods probably don't get along or something like that. Me? I've always been the type of person – and, just speaking in general, I've always been the type of person that try to bring everybody together. But it's not the people. It's not me. It's not YG. It's not Nipsey. It's not ScHoolboy. It's not BG Perico. It's probably the people that's around.

ALI: Around them. Yeah, I get that.

JOE MOSES: And that's the hard part. So it starts within us. We all cool. We all get along fine, perfectly fine. But now once we mixing the crowds up, these people might not like these people, and it makes the environment a different situation.

So coming up what I did for my youth is it was hard for me to go tell a 14-, 15-year-old to stop doing it, because growing up they watching me and I was doing it, but I still do it. I still do it everyday. This is a battle that me personally I fight everyday. "Go to school. Go get an education. Go do this." Same thing my homies did. Just now it's I'm the big homie on the scene, and now I'm not there everyday like my big homies was, and now the big homies that was there, up there before us, they have they families. They done with this shit.

This shit is not even the same no more. Excuse my language.

ALI: No, it's OK.

JOE MOSES: But they done with it. They don't even want to come around no more, because it's watered down. It's not the same no more. So me personally, telling a 17-year-old, 16-year-old, they think I'm soft if I go tell them, "Stop gang-banging." But I do it. They be like, "Oh, Joe!" I be like, "Man, I'm just gon' tell you the real." I argue with my homies everyday, cause I really don't care. I'm a man first. Nobody gon' check me. Nobody gon' say nothing to me. That's just me personally.

But a lot of people are afraid to do that. A lot of people are afraid to say, "Hey, we need to all use our standpoints and say, hey, we all need to come together and do this." A lot of people are afraid to say that. Me? I'm not. I'll say, "Hey, you know what? We need to use our standpoint and use our influences and say, hey, let's do this and come together, and maybe it'll change." And we gon' figure out who our real friends are, and some people that we thought was our real friends might talk about us behind our back like, "Ah, this dude trying to do a peace treaty." Nah, it's just trying to save the youth.

So what I created is, I got my own football team.

ALI: What's it called?

JOE MOSES: I did my own football – we got the L.A. Chiefs. I created the L.A. Chiefs, and it's a lot of inner-city kids that come from my neighborhood, and I let them play for free.

ALI: What's the age group?

JOE MOSES: 5 to 13 for boys and cheerleaders. And some of my homies that on a positive level, they bring their kids. And this is just the opportunity – everybody can't go with me to the club. Everybody can't be around for the interviews. If I can bring all my homies out to show them something different, I would, because a lot want to do something different. They just can't. And this is a way to keep us closer.

You might not be able to go to the club with me every Friday, go out of town with me, but hey, our kids is more important than anything. Bring your kid around, and I created a football league where our kids will grow up and do something different together. And this creates a bond between us, just showing them to do something different within the kids.

Cause I can't really hang around a person that don't love their kids and be around their kids. I can't hang with deadbeat fathers. You could be a full-time gang member and shoot a person that wears a different color, but won't take care of your kid. I can't hang around people like that. That's like – psychologically, that's a problem to me. You know what I mean? So I really preach that with the people around me.

Like, "Man, listen. Regardless of whatever you do" – cause I used to be that kid. I used to be that kid. My mama saying she need money for this and that, I'm like, "Man, I'm going to the block." Then I had to grow up and say, "The block don't even love me like my mama do." When I went to jail, the block never gave me a dollar. Just being totally honest with you. I speak nothing but facts, and I don't care who don't like it. The block never gave me a dollar. My mama was there! Burnout phones, used her phones up, her own credit. Fifty dollars here, $40 there. I got nothing from the block. I got not one cent. I bullshit you not.

ALI: Nah, I believe you.

JOE MOSES: I went to jail. I did three years, eight months. I got not one dollar. And this is not just me. This when you grow up. You go to jail and you figure out, "Damn. People don't love me." You know what I mean? Or maybe they just don't got it. But it makes you become a man where you don't have to ask nobody for nothing no more. But nobody should ask you for nothing either.

ALI: So are you articulating that part in a way that people, they get it?

JOE MOSES: Definitely. Definitely. See me, I'm the type of person I do stuff for people just to see them fuck up. So I don't have to do it no more. I did it. So if you ever have something bad to say about me and I did something for you, you fucked that up. That's you. I love to do stuff for people. "Hey, you want this? Man, I'll give it to you." Fast, in a hurry. You fuck it up? That's you. I don't have to never come your way no more and do nothing for you no more. You never did anything for me? I'm not petty. I'm not gon' never say I'm not gon' do nothing for you. Oh, I'll do it for you. You fuck that up. That's you.

You don't gotta come around me. I don't need friends. I don't need people around me. I don't need nothing like that. I built myself. I built Joe Moses, but it's a lot of people in my hood that supported that. It's a lot of people – my hood is small. I'm telling you, my hood come out. They been coming out since the first day. I don't have a hood like that. The same dudes that's been supporting me is still around me to this day. I don't go through them type of problems.

I just brung Future to my hood. Not one person said anything or asked for a picture. Just being honest, facts. No cap. I don't go through that type of stuff. The same people I got around been around since 2008, 2009 when I got out of jail and I was doing Stevie's On The Strip On Ventura, doing shows over there. And they was coming with AOB shirts on. That was NWB. And they been doing it consistently, so I really don't have them problems.

Now what I do have a problem now is I might not talk to you for three weeks, and I might post a show and you call me the day of the show. Now that's the problem that I have now. So I don't have a problem with telling people the real, "Hey, you ain't call me in a week and a half, two weeks. You ain't talk to me! You ain't even ask me, 'Hey, brother, you OK?' So you can't go to a show with me." My lil homies'll tell you that. They'll laugh when they see this interview. Like, "He ain't lying. We'll call him like, 'Joe, what's up for the show?'" And I'll go off on them. I ain't afraid of you, and I ain't saying you afraid of me. I'm just being real honest with cause I'm a man. You ain't call me, brother.

I'm very persistent. I'm very articulate about that. You ain't call me and check on me and say, "Hey, your mama good?" Cause I check on my homies. I check on my friends. I send them group texts. You ain't call me in a week or five days. "You good?" We're supposed to be able to talk to each other everyday and just pick each other brain and just, "Hey, man, what's up with this?" Or just talk to each other! If you ain't did that, you can't go out with me.

ALI: I get it.

FRANNIE: Have you always felt this confident?

JOE MOSES: Yeah. Now I just stop playing it back. I had no pride issues, so I always knew I was gon' be who I was. Even when me and Ty dropped Whoop! too, I knew I was going to be who I was. It was a point in my time where I was bigger than Ty in my career. "I Do It For The Ratchets." Ty had no records, but he was the best artist of our time. And I knew that. So that's why our relationship is, because we never have no pride issues, me and him. So I always play the background, and I always big him up and he always big me up. And it was a point in my career where I had nothing, and he had everything, and he always threw me on records, even when stuff didn't make sense to other people. He always did that.

Even to this day, Ty got his own security, where anybody know in this movement thing, I'm a general, and I play Ty security. Anywhere we go, we go around the world. If he jump in the crowd, I'm jumping in the crowd, with my chains on, and the guys I'm with gotta watch me, but I watch him. I can't go back home – regardless of wherever we at in the world, I can't go back home and tell his mama something happened to him without it happening to me. You know what I mean?

So definitely I always felt I was gon' be as big as I'm becoming right now. I knew that. I knew the vision. I always seen it. I just had to get my mind clear and tell myself, "You know what? You just gotta focus. It's not my fault that I'm not as big as Ty Dolla $ign, DJ Mustard, YG 400. I wasn't focused." So when you put that responsibility on your heart like, "You're not focused. That's why you're not as big as them. You don't have your business together. That's not nobody's fault but your own."

ALI: I wish a lot of people had that real conversation with themselves.

JOE MOSES: Definitely. I had to have that. But it's hard though! It's hard. I backbite it. I did a lot myself. Like, "Wow, they don't care about me. Nobody" – and I had to think to myself like, "Brother, you ain't signed because you ain't going to the studio! You not working! You get 5,000" –

FRANNIE: Why weren't you though?

JOE MOSES: Huh?

FRANNIE: Why weren't you going to the studio?

JOE MOSES: Man, I was getting money for shows, and I was having fun. I was being a local jocal. I was being a local hero. I just thought it was cool. I was hanging out. I was getting money for shows. I would go to Seattle, get booked. I would go to New Mexico, get booked. I would come back with that money, come back and we'd blow it with my homies. We just having fun.

So they keep working. They like, "Man, Joe, you working like you done already blew up." I'm thinking I'm Drake! You know what I mean? Just being real. And I had to sit down and get my priorities right. Anybody would tell you, man, I used to be a strip club junkie. I used to go blow stupid money in the strip club. Every strip club will tell you in – that's why I can do anything in any strip club in California.

FRANNIE: Cause you paid up front?

JOE MOSES: I paid bills! For years and years at a time. I laugh about it now, and I'm just so focused now you hardly see me going to the club. I pushed my numbers all the way up. If you don't got it, then I don't need to be there. Cause I don't want nobody trying to hurt me, and I ain't trying to hurt nobody. So I stay away from all that. I'm cool.

ALI: Man, it's a huge lesson in there. People often ask me how to be successful, and I often say, "You really gotta hone in on your craft and focus."

JOE MOSES: Definitely.

ALI: And it's a simple thing, but you would think that people get that but they really don't understand. And some people who get it, and they get quiet.

JOE MOSES: They listen.

ALI: They get in line and do the work. And you would think that if you're doing show after show after show, you're working, but there's so much more that comes with it.

JOE MOSES: Definitely. It's too much more. I wish – if my homies – if you could go call them and tell them to come in here, and they'll say, "He works harder than anybody." Like, I get on them. "Why – I'm already Joe Moses. I'm already established. Why do I work harder than you guys and y'all not established? Y'all supposed to be working harder than me." I work like – as of right now, they can't get me out of the studio. I went – after I got signed to Atlantic, I probably did 290 songs and that was like the first five months. No cap.

ALI: Wow.

JOE MOSES: Like, 290. Albums y'all done heard, and I probably got like 15 of those ready to go. Just, this what it is. This my lifestyle. This is what I'm doing. I call Ty now. "Man, get up! Let's work out first. Let's record." Everyday. "You working, I see." Yeah, let's work. It's all I want to do, and I feel funny when I don't get to go to the studio. I feel fidgety like, "I ain't in the studio. My life – what is my life coming to?"

ALI: Mhmm.

FRANNIE: He gets that.

ALI: Yeah, I do.

JOE MOSES: Yeah.

ALI: I get like that for two occasions: for praying, when I miss a prayer, and when I can't get to the studio.

JOE MOSES: Definitely.

ALI: I'm like, "Gotta get to the studio."

JOE MOSES: Definitely.

ALI: First flight out. I'm not hanging around partying.

FRANNIE: First flight out.

ALI: If I could get, like, a flight scheduled at the end of an appointment, which is rare, but if I could get off a DJ set at two in the morning, get right on a plane to get back here, I would, but.

JOE MOSES: I love the studio. For me, it's seeing all the progress that I've been doing and seeing all the hard work. I just see it transpire right in front me, and just seeing everything blossom.

ALI: Well, yeah. It sounds like – especially when you speak of even your football league for an example, it sounds like you have a big vision of where you want things to be and it's only going to get there if you doing your part.

JOE MOSES: Definitely. You see I never took time to really sit down and really explain to the people about really what Joe Moses is doing, because I wasn't doing it for the people to give me a pat on the back. And that's what I think the industry has come to now, is you showing people all your accolades and what you doing to get a pat on the back.

Like, I want y'all to just – slowly but surely you see – it just come across your desk or come across your page like, "Damn. Joe got a league? He got his own league. We didn't know that about him." Or, "We didn't know he owned eyelash businesses." Or, "We didn't know he got a dispensary." Or, "We didn't know this about this guy. Damn. We want to tap into this guy more." And it's like an organic feel. It's more of that – I want more of that than just going to Baller Alert and say, "Hey, listen y'all. I want y'all to put this story on me and we do this and we do that." Or, "Shade Room, I'm doing this." It's like, it's not an organic feel.

So if it take me longer to get to where I need to go, I ain't got nothing put patience. That's where I'm at in my career. That's where I'm at in my life. A lot of people come at me with stuff that I don't want to do, and I'm like, "I don't want to do that." And if it takes me longer to get where I need to be, then I'll be patient and wait my turn. Let's talk about the music.

I don't want to be on Akademiks beefing with somebody. That's just not me. I don't want to do all that type of stuff. Because I don't know how to beef with nobody. My beefing is real. You know what I'm saying? I don't want to take out of nobody's pocket if I'm dissing you or something like that. That's taking away from my kids getting money.

We come in this game – everybody's not like this, but sitting down talking to my brother Future, it's like, "Don't make your expectations so high. We come in the game to get money. This game changed our life and changed our family. So think about that. Don't come out all swinging for the" – man, listen. We come in this game to get money, and long as we can get money, get money. That's it."

Now, if anything comes after that, I got platinum plaques. I got gold plaques. Three of them. I'm good with that. If I get plaques down the line, I'm great with that. But all I want is my numbers to go up. Yesterday I was 10,000 a show. Today I want to be 20,000 a show. Tomorrow I want to be doing numbers like Drake. That's my whole way of thinking now. That's my process of thinking.

I only care about – the money is never gon' change me, but I only care about the money, making money. Everything else is just a blessing and a plus. If I drop an album and it go whatever it does and it does great, that's a plus for me. I only care about making money.

FRANNIE: Yeah, but I kind of don't believe you, because I don't feel like you would compromise your artistic or storytelling vision just to make money.

JOE MOSES: I'm not compromising. I'm giving you great bodies of work to get paid for my vision that I'm putting out there.

FRANNIE: OK. So you believe that the audience will reward quality.

JOE MOSES: Great quality. I'm not gon' just put out anything and just be like, "Man, I just want to get paid for this and do shows." I'ma really sit there and really give you everything that I got. And you going to see the influences. You going to see the vision that I have through my music. And definitely the audience should be grateful and pay for that, and that's all I want. Like, I do want to go from the little clubs to the Staples Center one day. That's all still getting paid though.

FRANNIE: Yeah.

JOE MOSES: I do want to go from a little studio to my own compound. That's still getting paid. I do want to do my own Joe Moses film, and that's still getting paid. But I'm not going to set myself up – this is how labels fails, setting theyself up doing the Kendrick Lamar numbers and everybody's not like Kendrick Lamar.

FRANNIE: Right. So the big difference is, like, comparisons to other people.

JOE MOSES: Comparisons. I'm not Lil Pump, so I'm not a great streaming artist. He's a great streaming artist. So use your tools to help me get to that point, but now you gotta get down in the nitty-gritty with me and help build. See, a lot of labels – and I don't want to jump to different subjects – they don't know that. They just want to throw you out there.

FRANNIE: He knows that.

ALI: Yeah.

JOE MOSES: Yeah. They just want to throw you out there and say, "Hey. Joe, we want you to just do this and when you do 2 million streams we'll throw you the radio." It's like, "I'm not that. I'm not him." These kids don't listen to my story like they'll listen to another artist story, and I don't even want to say some of these artists' names, cause I don't even speak people names in interviews.

ALI: You don't have to.

FRANNIE: No, it's fine. We get it.

JOE MOSES: I don't want to be that. I'm not that. I'm authentic. I'm real. And I'm not saying that they not real in whatever they doing, but I'm just not that. I don't want to be a fly-by-night. I want you to gradually build with me, and I build with you and then we just got it going. And then if the opportunity come, it just comes. If it doesn't come, then it wasn't meant to be.

Everything I felt that I'm doing right now is meant to be. I envisioned and I empowered this dream. I knew this was gon' happen. I knew that I was gon' be signed once I set myself down and said, "You have to do the right things. If you don't do the right things, it's not gon' work for you." I had to really talk to myself, and I had to talk to other people, cause I was out here fucking up.

I know I'ma be a great. This is just something that I know, because I know the hard work that I put in. And he could've let me be this, and then I come back down. But he just let me sell and just do this, and I just been selling. I'd rather do this than do this and come right back down. I'm just selling.

And every situation – when I didn't have a deal, every situation, "Damn, Joe got French Montana on his album. He got Blac Youngsta. He got YG. Damn! This time he got Future. He got Tory Lanez. He got this person. He got this person." You like – I always just been selling up. I just been selling up. I never went back down. So that's how I think I believe in my career and stuff like that.

FRANNIE: Well, let's talk about the album because it seems to kind of exemplify all of that.

JOE MOSES: SuWop. Yeah.

FRANNIE: Or maybe I should ask you. How do you see this album, which interestingly has you with people like Q and Snoop and whatnot, so that's demonstrating what you were talking about. But also what do you want this album to achieve for you? Or this EP I guess. I'm sorry.

JOE MOSES: The EP. I want the EP – I want the fans to really listen.

FRANNIE: Yeah.

JOE MOSES: I'm not trying to change music. I just want you to listen. Listen to my story. Listen to the – I've grown so much. I can use the same type of beats and different – I always was a rapper. I was a rapper first. I was a hip-hop – I listen to every artist. I changed up, because that wasn't getting me nowhere. So I wanted to get paid. Like I said, I wanted to get paid. So I switched up and switched my whole style up, but I always was an artist.

I listened to Nas, Jay-Z, Big, Kurupt. I'm talking about lyrical artists. Even DMX. The Juveniles, the Lil Waynes, and stuff like that. Busta Rhymes, Fabolous, and, you know, just different artists. So I just want my audience to just listen to the growth. It's going to be people that's going to be like, "Man, this ain't the old Joe."

FRANNIE: Cause you got a downtempo on there.

JOE MOSES: Yeah. Yeah, the old Joe is not popping no more. This the new Joe. The old Joe not bracking. It's not bracking.

ALI: Well, what's behind like, well, "I Am Legend."

JOE MOSES: Fire.

ALI: Yeah, it is fire.

JOE MOSES: Fire. "I Am Legend" is the intro. Fire. I want to go down in history as a great. I don't want to just be a regular West Coast rapper no more. I want to be a great, so I gotta start putting my stories together and putting that shit on the record that'll make you want to ride. I'm talking about ride all the way to Texas and listen to that shit front to back. That's what I want my music to be. Not like, it's here today and it's gone tomorrow.

Like, this shit that's coming out, it's not bracking. I want to be bracking. I want you to hear my shit and be like – "I Am Legend," "Did you hear – every bar on that was crazy." That's what I want. I want to hear, "Oooh!" That type of music to come back. We don't get that no more. We just getting like regular, "OK. It's cool." I want you to be like, "Ooh. Now run that back. Oh, I didn't even hear what he said right there. Run that back." I want to bring that type of music back.

ALI: I don't think that there was a title on the last song that was –

FRANNIE: Yeah, it was confused. I think we got it in a different order too, when we downloaded it.

JOE MOSES: What did it sound like?

ALI: I think lyrically everything you do, you have layers and there's depths, but this one it sounds like – it would be a great closer, because you definitely giving it up to god, and you talking about just the new direction.

FRANNIE: Oh, "16s."

ALI: "16s."

JOE MOSES: Oh, "16s." Yeah.

ALI: Yes.

FRANNIE: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

JOE MOSES: It's one of my favorites. Shawn brung the beat in. Shawn Barron. Shout out to Shawn Barron, man. He believed in me. He been believing in me for some years, so I just had to step back from the scene and let him do him. And then when I finally came with that music, he was like, "Wow. You got it. It's different."

ALI: So when you came, when you worked on that song in particular, speak on just the entire process from beginning to –

JOE MOSES: Shawn brung me the beat. No cap. I swear. I wish we could get him on the phone. He played the beat. Fifteen seconds of the beat. I said, "Put the beat in." It took me 25 minutes to do that song. Ask him. "16s." And I freestyled. No pen, no pad, no nothing.

ALI: Wow.

JOE MOSES: I freestyled. I went in back to back. "OK. Bring me back in. Alright. Bring me back in. Bring me back in." But I freestyled the whole thing, no pen, no pad. No cap. I promise you. And it's one of the best songs, because it's a different Joe Moses. That Joe Moses is bracking. I'm not afraid to tell people to do the right thing, and I'm giving you my story too on that song. "I'm not trying to contradict myself. If you want change, we should all want to help. That's speaking for self." I'm giving you the whole thing.

I don't want to be a contradictor on one song you hear, and I'm saying, "This what it is and this what it's not." I'm telling you, "This is what it is. Hey, I fuck up too. We all fuck up. We all human." But I'm not afraid to tell you that. I'm not afraid to give you my fuck ups and my downfalls. And tell you, "Yeah, this what it is." That song is that. That song is a – if J. Cole did that song right now, that song would be crazy. But I'm not J. Cole. But you going to feel that song coming from me and coming from him too.

ALI: Definitely.

JOE MOSES: That's what that is right now. That song put me in the category to where it's like, "That guy can spit with those dudes." That's all I wanted, and if I get people to think like that, then I won. That's what I wanted on that song. Like, "Hold on. He just made a song called 'Back Going Brazy.' They red everything."

Mind you, that idea was not even mines, cause I try to shy away from that. That was my brother's idea, and it was a hell of a idea, because he's a great person knowing where to go in a career, and it's moments in a career. He's a great person at that. Future's a great person at that. That was his idea. He wanted to do that. We did that. It was perfect.

"16s," Shawn beat, my idea, my video, and I'm talking about Taj. The video was so graphic, and it's so, like, everything that I want in a video. I'm like, "My god. This is everything that I wanted." I want to show you that I'm so versatile that you be like, "Man, he can spit with those dudes. Until we hear something else, we ain't gon' compare him to those guys, but he can spit with those guys though." And that's historic, and I've done everything.

FRANNIE: Yeah, it's also because there's some sense in which people could understand you as making, like, party songs in the past, that when you contrast it with something like that, it's like, it hits extra hard.

ALI: Yeah.

JOE MOSES: It hits you right in the heart. If you look at my comments when I just dropped the video clipping of that song, so many people was like, "This what we want from Joe." And I'm like, "Wow. I didn't know it was gon' be that big." And I played it for my mom, and she – that's how I used to rap. I used to spit those conscious raps like that. And she like, "You getting back" – this was on Mother's Day.

Cause I got the type of mom that's like, "Play me some shit." My mom ghetto, very intelligent, smart. But she's real and she's hood, and that's what I respect about my mom. Never judge, never pass judgement on the next, gave me everything that I wanted-type shit. And a great mother. And she like – this is Mother's Day. My biggest fan, biggest supporter. I'm talking about my whole family is though. Yeah, she's been around my family so she know. My family, "Play that shit!"

It's on Mother's Day. You would think she want to hear some Betty Wright or some – "No. Son, play that shit. What you been working on? What's that video Cheyenne showed me?" That's my little sister. "Cheyenne showed me on that Instagram shit. Let me hear that shit. Son, you spit that shit." This my – I'm talking about no cap this my mom. You met her. She's the funniest lady ever, but a real person.

And once I get chills from her, she like, "N****, you on your" – this how she talk to me. "N****, you on your way." When she say that, I just looked at her. This is Mother's Day. She like, "N****, you on your way." She like, "You ain't been coming over playing me nothing." Usually I used to my mom coming to the studio, or I play – I've been so busy on back and forth.

I played her damn near the whole album. I played music for like three hours. I'm talking about my mom sit there for three hours, drinking, on Mother's Day. And we just sat around, the whole family, and ate. I'm talking about my whole family, and listened to – "I love that one! Damn, every song is better than the next." Those are – I'm talking about my nephews too. This is my fanbase right here. You know what I mean? And my family's so big. This is my fanbase right here. This is who I start with.

ALI: So when you turn a direction like that and that you working so diligently, with the reception you getting already, how is that structuring the next step?

JOE MOSES: That helps me build my brand. I couldn't do that on "Back Going Brazy." Vans ain't gon' sponsor me. "Oh, '16s?' You hear that message he spitting in that?" We can go get a sponsorship for that. That helps me build. That shows just different character in me. It helps me restore youth. It is something different. When you hear Nip speak, he showed you Crenshaw. He showed you that. Now when you hear some of the lyrics in this shit, you like, "That's crazy."

We can show you both. I can do both. I can be a black revolutionary. I can be totally different from what you thought I was, because this is what I started out doing. You just don't know that. You fell in love with the Joe Moses "I Do It For The Ratchets," "Burn Rubber," "Go Bitch," "Wavy," "Paranoid." You fell in love with that guy. Really the guy that's been really putting in all the work is that other guy. But everybody know that rapper guy that spit a conscious 16 and you'll be like –

And it's from self. It's from me. It's what I've been through. "16s" is only anything that I've been through. You get three choices growing up as a kid. Either you gon' sell dope, you gon' be a football player, or you gon' be a game member. And with that being a football player, that means going to college, getting an education. You gon' hustle. You gon' be a famous hustler. You gon' go to prison. Gang member, you gon' be dead or you gon' be in prison. Hustling is the same thing. So that one choice, I just wanted to show people on all two of them verses, them three choices, that's what these kids is getting. And I'm showing you that. Like, man, it's only so much that you can do, and that's what "16s" is.

"16s is like a birthday I surprise myself." I surprised myself when I wrote this song. Like, damn. "Black man, black man, why you hate your skin? See every time that you kill you killing off your kin. Don't want to contradict myself. Who am I to repent? But if you gotta hear the truth, you should hear it from me. See, I started with the gang cause this is all I know. But I never joined no gang for no fame or no wealth. So when I call these n***** brothers, n***** all I know, cause if we want to make a change, we should all want to help."

I didn't have to be that. I didn't have to go that way. It's choices. It's my choices. Nobody put a gun to my head. I didn't have to be a gang-banger. I didn't have to – I was a football player first, a young black man first, and something happened, and I made that choice. My daddy or my mother never wanted that for me. My daddy was a gang member, hustler. Big time hustler. Never wanted that for me. It fucked me up, had people beat me up, all type of shit. I still done that. It was my choice. "16s" is choices. You know what I'm saying?

FRANNIE: Can you talk a little bit about what loss – loss is what kind of prompted you to make the choice that you did.

JOE MOSES: Yeah.

FRANNIE: And I know that you've had a lot of loss –

JOE MOSES: Definitely.

FRANNIE: – in your life, and that you've also had times in your life when all of the compounded loss would make it hard for you to take advantage of the opportunities that you did have.

JOE MOSES: Definitely.

FRANNIE: Especially given the platform that you have now and that you're making for yourself to be even bigger, how do you advise people to just get through that time? Cause it just takes time.

JOE MOSES: Definitely. I don't even know where to start and what to say, cause honestly some of them losses, I went through mild depressions. Dumb depressions. My brother being killed. Leaving the studio, going out to get something to eat, having a drink, coming back home, and before he got to home, he got killed. Right after that, my daddy so sick from that situation he died. Right after that my uncle have a heart attack. He stressed out behind that situation. Right after that my little cousin getting killed in a fucking robbery.

It's so much that I went through, and some of my friends tell me this day like, "How do you battle all that?" I don't know. I just keep myself going. I don't even have an answer for that, cause I really don't know. But I know I have so much boiling inside of me, if you get on my bad side or you do something that I don't like, you gon' see it. And that's my problem. Even with me being signed, I watch what I say, cause I might be going through something personally. You might say the wrong thing that I don't even like, and I might just go off on you. So I have to work out damn near twice a day now.

FRANNIE: Yeah, I get that.

JOE MOSES: I don't know how I battle with the pain, cause I still got pain. My father's not here. All he wanted to see me do is be successful. Now it's like I'm the man of the family, and I have older brothers and siblings, but I'm still one of the strongest person in my family. I don't know how I cope with the pain. Like, definitely. I definitely don't know. That's an answer that I can't even answer. I don't how I get through it. I just get through it.

FRANNIE: Yeah, I mean, you can almost feel it in the music.

JOE MOSES: Definitely. You definitely can.

FRANNIE: You can almost touch it.

ALI: Yeah.

FRANNIE: And I think that's something that gets lost in sort of the glorification of gang culture, like what you're talking about. People who play act it. It's a character.

JOE MOSES: Yeah, they playing.

FRANNIE: But then also it's in Hollywood. It is – it's in action movies. It's in drama. It's in, like, Scarface. So I just think that people need reminders sometimes that –

JOE MOSES: And that's what we go through. So it's like, I see a lot of people want to be a Blood, and I remember when you couldn't even be a Blood. My family is both Bloods and Crips. I remember when it was hard to be a Blood. I done been in the penitentiary in the county where I fight everyday. You think I'm joking. Go do an investigation on Los Angeles County jail.

If us three put our minds together and go do a movie on L.A. County jail, we'd probably have a fucking Nobel Prize or something like that, of the shit that you would capture with this situation. That's probably a great idea too.

FRANNIE: We actually should do that.

JOE MOSES: Yeah, that's probably a great idea too, that I would definitely want to be a part of that. But it's nothing that you will want to see.

FRANNIE: Right.

JOE MOSES: It's barbaric. It's, like, animals, animals caged in a jail. And you putting me, Joe Moses, a Blood, in a cell with 15, 16 Crips, and you know that we don't get along. And I have to fight my way to stay in this dorm, and they going to make me fight three or four times. It don't matter if I'm tired or not. And for a person to fucking get on Instagram and say, "I'm a Blood and I'm this," and never know none of this shit, it's definitely mind-blowing. Like I tell you before, I just watch my words, cause I don't know how to beef.

I've actually been through these situations where young black men, young Hispanics, young whites go through the same thing. We just more hard on ourself as a culture, as a black culture. We take it serious. This gang shit is serious. See, it's different for Hispanics when they go to jail. Even though they beef on the streets, they have to get along. We don't get along at all. We're still going to chew each other's head off. And that's something that I went through as a kid, and I done got my lip busted, broken nose.

A n**** that can tell you that he went to jail and just won every fight, you must've been a fucking boxer. You must've trained with Tyson. I was 104 pounds, soaking wet. You know what I mean? It just – it is what it is.

ALI: That's probably one of the most heaviest things that you've said in terms of just laying out the harsh reality of being black.

JOE MOSES: Definitely.

ALI: And it doesn't get any more crazy, for lack of a better word, than to be in prison and to realize that your blackness is still somewhat compromised. I mean, just hearing you say that, it's super heavy. I don't know.

JOE MOSES: Nah, definitely.

ALI: And to be able to really have that weigh upon people, that you could be of any other race and there's going to be unity, but –

JOE MOSES: But with us, it's – and not to cut you off, I just see it on both sides. I see it as no unity, and I watch people glorify us coming together for kids getting killed by the police. But can't nobody bring black people together. We killing each other everyday. I see it on both sides.

ALI: I hate to put this on you, but you kind of come off a little on the Malcolm X kind of level. Because, you know, you've been on the inside, and you've seen – and it's like, what I hear on "16s" is you just laying it out.

JOE MOSES: I just know real from real. A lot of people do shit for the Gram and we repost and we have marches and we do all this. But we can't even stop these gang members killing each other right here or around the world. We can't even stop that, so how can we stop these police to respect us if we can't stop ourself from respecting each other. That's big facts. Right now.

It's kids shooting kids right now. They trained to not like each other right now, and they don't even know what this shit is over. So when I started gang-banging, and I created NWB. It's not my hood. My hood already had a gang who we beefed it. NWB, we control our own future. We control – we got our own presence. When I joined a gang, I knew I had to beef with these guys over here, these guys, because it was already set in stone. And if I didn't go with that, then I'm just food on the table, and you gon' be eaten.

NWB, we control that. We control who we beef with and who we not cool with. Long as it don't conflict with what I got going on in my section, then it's fine. I can have a relationship with anybody outside of my hood, cause I'm a man first. But in order to do that, I had to beat them young guys. I had to put in work. I had put myself on that, you know what I'm saying? And we can go to my hood any day, and any young dude speak about me, they gon' tell you the real. Like, ain't any of my interviews I'm not gon' sugarcoat.

Say the real about me. Don't get TV, don't get on this camera shit and be like, "Joe was a real," and then I don't do something you like, and then you call me a bitch and now he can't come back over here. Say the real. I want you to say the real. "That's a real homie." That's all you gon' hear. "He's a real one." But I had to stop trying to be too real and focus on what the fuck I need to focus on. That's my passion now. I don't got – I don't got to prove nothing to you. I did that shit already. Look at my past. I should go platinum just off that, if you really want to be for real.

FRANNIE: If it was fair.

JOE  MOSES: If the battles was fair as this industry shit and if it was real from fake – that's what they should be talking about in the industry, real from fake. Who really did this. If you ask a person right now, "Hey, young brother. You a rapper. When you start rapping?" "Oh, I start rapping this time." "When you start gang-banging." "Oh, I start gang-banging this time." "Oh, you was gang-banging before you was rapping?" "Oh yeah." "Show me your gang pictures." Can you show me that?

If you had money before this rap shit, show me you had money. Don't rap about it. We want to see it. I do. That's what I look at in an artist. I look for the organic. I don't listen to everybody. Show me that you had a million dollars before this shit. Show me you was hustling before this shit. I can't listen to you if you not.

FRANNIE: What's extra fucked up about it is that people are anxious to fall for it. You know what I mean?

JOE MOSES: They fall for anything.

FRANNIE: Like, are thirsty for these concepts, which to my mind is – it's a sickness in the society as a whole.

JOE MOSES: Definitely.

FRANNIE: This attraction to violence and getting over on other people and also – but this inability to tell the difference between a fake version, a cynical version, and a version that exists for a multitude reasons that are real.

JOE MOSES: Exactly. These people are starting to believe it, and they – "Yeah, I'm a real. I'm real. I'm a real Blood. I'm a real Crip." They starting to believe that in they head. Me personally, I just sit back and be laughing like, "Damn. That's what you want to do?" Cause real n***** is trying to get out.

FRANNIE: So that's exactly where I was headed. Was this idea that people who – you know that thing about old money doesn't dress fancy basically? That's how you can tell. It's kind of like that.

JOE MOSES: Real people want to get out. They don't want it. They don't want this lifestyle no more. They want to raise their kids and be successful at whatever they doing. Real n***** ain't trying to get back in the gang. We just splitting an image. We just giving you an image of where we come from. So when I give you an image of "Back Going Brazy," that's not – I'm not trying to join a gang, and I'm not pumping the gang up to go do nothing violent. I'm telling you this is what happens if you come around here. It's something gon' – you know what I mean?

But I'm giving you that image. I'm giving you that realistically of this is what it is. Regardless of me being over here or not, this gon' still be this right here. But it's authentic and it's real. Like, I could've had a million Bloods in my video shoot, but the flyer that I sent out said, "No busters allowed." That means no busters can come. So if you just a video Blood for the day, I don't want you to come to my video. If you come to my video – I swear to god. If you come to my video, you going to get beat up. I swear to god. My word is law. I promise you.

My hood is based on damn near family. In my hood, I have a big family. I got about 14 little cousins from my hood, and they run shit. I'm not trying to run shit no more. This y'all. I had that time in my life where I had a say-so. My say-so still counts, because I am them. I'm still a lion at any day. If I hear you talking about me, it might sound stupid, but I'm still going to pull up, and I'm still going to beat you up. Facts. I can call somebody right now. They going to tell you this whole story that I'm setting up. They'll be like, "He's not lying to you. He's still going to pull up."

FRANNIE: I think also a difference in a way that people interpret is like, you say your first fanbase is your family.

JOE MOSES: Definitely.

FRANNIE: A lot of people would assume that your fanbase is people who may get you money, which is, like, young white dudes from elsewhere.

JOE MOSES: Nah, my biggest fanbase is my family. Been these same little cousins that I'm telling you about that look up to me because I made it. I'm one of them, and I made it. And everybody don't get to make it.

Watch this. I'm just gon' make a phone call right quick. Here we go. I want y'all to hear this. We gon' change the interview up. This gon' be funny. They probably over there right now.

RELLY: Hello?

JOE MOSES: Relly.

RELLY: What's up with it?

JOE MOSES: Where you at?

RELLY: Shit. What's going on?

JOE MOSES: I'm doing an interview, man. I want you to talk to these people.

RELLY: Alright. What you want me to tell them?

JOE MOSES: Man, you tell them me. What's up with me?

RELLY: They know what's up with you, man. You the streets.

JOE MOSES: If a n**** play with me in the hood, what I'm gon' do.

RELLY: C'mon, man. They already know. We gon' slide through like a drive through.

BAE WOP: We gon' put it together, man.

JOE MOSES: Who's that? Nutcase?

RELLY: That's Bae Wop.

JOE MOSES: That's Bae Wop, my little – these, like, my relatives, but they like – I'm talking about my youngs though. They run shit.

RELLY: Yeah.

FRANNIE: OK. I have a question.

JOE MOSES: Yeah.

FRANNIE: What would it mean for you for this project, for SuWop, to become a big deal and for Joe to be on another level?

BAE WOP: Man, it's gon' be like – basically, it's gon' be a blessing to the streets and a blessing to the hood. Cause, like, he the inspiration right now. You feel me? He's something to look up to as far – as far as us. Cause we ain't got shit. We came from nothing, just like him, but he made it out the block. So it's sick. That'd be a blessing.

JOE MOSES: We on the set. I just wanted to call you up, man.

FRANNIE: Thank you.

ALI: Thank you.

JOE MOSES: I'm talking about them real gang-bang babies right there. I'm talking about both just did six, seven years though.

FRANNIE: Oh, Jesus.

JOE MOSES: Both just did six years eight months. Now they both out on the streets. And them both my little cousins, terrorizing.

FRANNIE: They sound happy.

JOE MOSES: They happy because I inspire them.

FRANNIE: Well, thank you so much for giving us so much insight and so much of your time.

ALI: Yeah.

JOE MOSES: Nah, thank you guys, man. This has been one of my best interviews to be so comfortable.

FRANNIE: Good.

JOE MOSES: And to give you guys the real. I always want to give people the real. I never want to sugarcoat it. I want to be able to leave this interview, and you'll be like, "Man, this guy told me something that I didn't know, and I'ma use it for my life." My grandfather always say you can learn a lot from a dummy. You just got to pick what you want to listen to and what you don't want to listen to. So, you know how that go.

FRANNIE: Well, we're happy about you got new music out.

JOE MOSES: Definitely.

ALI: Yeah. Word. Thank you.

JOE MOSES: Thank you guys.

Tunji Balogun

Tunji Balogun

Ivan Ave

Ivan Ave