Mob Royalle is an artist I have known personally since early 2009. And yes, we make the beast with two backs, we have for about four years now. Okay, just had to get that out of the way. But, if you listen for yourself, you will see that has no bearing on my high opinion of his music. It simply gives me a unique perspective on the Mob Royalle and his musical endeavors over the last few years. Let me tell you how it began for me…
I met Mob Royalle when he was 20. I didn’t even know he did music until our third conversation. Even then, he was very humble about it, just mentioned he was a musician. Over time, I learned he made his own beats, played instruments, knew music theory, wrote screenplays, lyrics and was just an overall huge media production nerd. I also realized at this point in his life, he was just beginning to shed the remnants of his somewhat controlled adolescent musical style, and move into his own. For example, the first Mob Royalle song I ever listened to was “How I Do It”. I still enjoy it, the beat is just sick. The lyrics are clean and PG; it could likely be a solid radio hit for a time. That’s cool and all, but I generally want more content from an artist than what I hear on mainstream radio. I came to realize there was more to Mob; he wasn’t like many other local rappers I had seen or met/dated. (Yes, I have a thing for black men and musicians…I know this).
The more I got to know him and his music, the more I realized “How I Do It”, “Grapevine”, and other clean, sometimes gospel-inspired songs weren’t an actual portrayal of what was currently going on in his head. Continuing to make solely those types of songs would be denying part of his true self, or at least only giving fans the cocky, partying, and easily accepted side. Fortunately, Mob Royalle acknowledged and began to explore that darker side that he would say exists in us all; that darkness ignited a fiery wellspring of creativity. Mob unleashed the beast. And from this angry, hellish beast, sprung forth a plethora of epic, movie-score-worthy beats, mixed with meaningful lyrics. Songs like “Tick” or “The Dilemma”, are potential sensory overload for the virgin listener. For those who have been waiting for the next (insert your favorite legitimate rapper here), Mob is the real deal.
He is truly unique, but for the sake of trying to give the reader an idea of what his music is currently like, I will compare him to some well-known artists. Mob Royalle is reminiscent of 2Pac in some of his subject matter, can be socio-politically conscious, and has become quite “power to the people”. His flow at times also shows a Pac influence. Mob also has that darker side mentioned earlier. Those lyrics come at the listener in more of a Strange Music (Tech N9ne) fashion; he would fit well with the production style, fan base, etc. He can rhyme chopper-style, but that definitely doesn’t define him. That’s another thing I appreciate about Mob, he switches up his style. I am easily bored. Three tracks in a row that sounds the same, and the artist usually gets “NEXT”ed. He has epic beats, harmonies, (he does all those himself too), and just ridiculously raw, sinister lyrics. Enough to make you wonder…is this really what he thinks about? (Yes, it is. Think Hulk: “I’m always angry”).
When you meet him, it’s hard to believe. He is humble as far as rappers go, works two part-time slaves with no days off, and works on music the rest of the time basically. All this while he’s booking his own shows, promoting, making his own beats and writing his own lyrics. No bling, no masks, no fangs, no skulls. Not even a tattoo! (He did say he wants a tattoo but it needs to be thought about more). I have never personally met more of a one-man show…he’s like the music savant. Not in a remedial, pushover way, like if the music savant could totally kick your ass. Besides music, Mob also takes his aggressions out through sparring and martial arts. Whether he is training with local UFC fighters, or solo in a park, Rocky style, Mob keeps active. He has a punching bag that gets good use as well as a “strictly decorative” knife collection. Just in case he needs to “grab that knife, stab that guy, hack and slice…” , I guess. (Lyric from “Tick”).
Another huge aspect of Mob Royalle I cannot leave out is his stage presence..mind blowing!! The energy he brings to the room is usually on a completely different level from the other performers. He is way ahead of most other local rapper in the game when it comes to stage presence, but he’s worked for it too. He obviously takes his time with his beats, lyrics, and performance. He leaves it all on the stage, using the entire floor as his canvas, constantly involving and energizing the crowd. Strategically crafted works of art; his performances are a journey through his mind if you’re open to the ride. I don’t even think he needs the mic his voice is so loud, and as long as the sound system is decent enough (the ever-vexing issue of local rappers) you can understand what he is saying, which is rare in my experience.
Again, Mob is capable of producing many genres of music, and playing many instruments. For now, he is choosing to focus on Hip-Hop performing and production. I don’t want to pigeon-hole him as a musician, as I foresee his style evolving and expanding across genres over the years. But hopefully you now have a clearer picture of Mob Royalle. These are the types of artists I intend to bring into awareness; those that are ahead of the rest in content, ability, and overall heart. The New Age, the next wave of kick ass hip-hoppers is here, in the Northwest and around the country and world. I just haven’t discovered them all… yet. My aim is to bring attention to these artists and hope that their stories, lives, and music serve as an inspiration to readers to follow their dreams and never give up!
ARTIST INTERVIEW Q&A SECTION
The following questions from my interview with Mob Royalle are adapted from his Facebook fan page. He asked listeners what they wanted to know, and this is what they said. Then I added a few of my own.
Kristen: Give an example of some of your favorite lyrics. Do you write your own?
Mob: Yes I do. My favorite..hmm..(thinks for about 30 seconds)..It’s part of “I Hope”. It’s all one verse sooo..haha…it’s in there somewhere..it goes, “ This is for the broke mothers of dope runners who smoke brothas, lay ‘em out in lone guttas. Here’s to starving kids when rent’s due, the only rapper who remembers the shit you’ve been through. It’s the MOB and I’m standin right here with you, M-O-B isn’t me, it really is you.”
K: That’s cool..I know that part..very deep, that whole 80+bars is. Ok, If you could collaborate with any signed musician, who would it be?
M: Um..any?..(long pause in Thinker pose)..I’d like to collab with Royce (Da 5’9”) or Kendrick Lamar.
K: If you could choose your record label, who would you choose?
M: Oh! Wow..umm..I honestly don’t know. Whichever one offers the most without taking the most. (Brief pause, then continues) Honestly I don’t think much about getting signed because I think a lot about doing my own thing. (Another brief pause) If I had to choose, Strange (Music) seems like it would be a good fit.
K: If you could punch one artist in the mouth with no repercussions, who would you punch?
M: Van Gogh. Why would you cut off your ear!? That’s not romantic!
K: Hahaha..I think your fan meant a living artist, a fellow musician perhaps..
M: Okay then..Nicki Minaj. She’s not an artist nor a fellow musician..but you know..That bitch fuckin annoys me.
K: And that’s it?
K: Haha. Okay, next question: Would you say more songs reflect childhood experiences or adult experiences?
M: Hmm..probably a blend of both, but more grown up experiences. More the way I am now, or the way I want to be now. But every once in a while going back, and exploring how I got to be this way is helpful.
K: Could you give an example?
M: Tick is a great example, I’d say. Talks about the struggles I have now, then goes back and tells experiences I had as a child that feed into them. Another song, “Message to the world”, where I’m talking about how we need to change the way we’re living, but I also empathize with the way things are, how people can struggle. I mention a suicide attempt at 14 and how I found hope through it, hopefully other people can too, ya know, by me sharing that.
K: For sure…Alright so have you ever regretted a song you wrote or performed live? Do you remember a time where you thought you had a bad show?
M: I’ve never had my own song that I performed that I didn’t like. There’s been a couple collabs that in hindsight, I might have picked other artists..but I won’t mention any names. As far as bad shows..(laughs) I mean I’ve been performing for three years now pretty solid (turning 21 made it much easier)..there’s just gonna be shows sometimes where things don’t work out perfectly, sound system’s wack, everyone’s outside and three people inside, whatever. And I just melt their fuckin’ brains every time. And I love performing..So naw, no such thing as a bad show. I just make the best of every chance I get to perform.
K: Haha. You’re still young though, but I like your passion.
Next question: If you were trapped on an island, which artists would you ask to live with you?
M: Immortal Technique and Wyclef. Mainly because both have heavy ties to community and have pursued ways to give back to their community. That’s the type of person you want if you’re abandoned on an island to build some sort of society with.
K: Okay, my turn. Tell me about a time you felt so criticized, down on your luck, etc about music, maybe to the point you questioned if you wanted to do this? How do you “Rise Above”?
M: I cannot think of a point where criticism itself made me want to quit. I mean I’ve gotten it a lot but I’ve got a pretty thick hide as far as words go. “Sticks and stones” sort of thing, ya know? I have had challenges though – events gone wrong, difficulty getting booked, competing with mainstream, you know what most underground acts have to deal with. When you start out you just gotta know that shit is in store for you. Brace yourself for it, power through it, and when you’re at your lowest you gotta remind yourself of why you started doin’ this music thing in the first place. That’s what gives me strength.
K: Why did you start doing it in the first place?
M: Because I love music and the ability to express myself in ways I normally can’t through it.
K: Cool. Okay, So why the name Mob Royalle? Where did that come from?
M: The name Mob Royalle has a split meaning. Mob is a reference to the Mafia, the streets, the grimy down and dirty ride or die side of this persona. Royalle is a reference to royalty, nobility, sophistication, intelligence, style, and an overall high caliber of quality. A lot of times, people think the two are opposites, and can never coexist. Mob Royalle is an example of the two opposites existing in the same individual. And the existence is not one of dissonance, but of harmony.
K: What is your favorite and least favorite part of being a rapper?
M: Favorite: Rap is more than the music. There is a certain attitude that goes along with it that’s hard to describe. Competitive yet cooperative, arrogant yet introspective. There is an approach of not giving fuck what anyone thinks because you want to do you, while at the same time knowing that if people don’t follow your music you ain’t goin’ nowhere with it. It’s a tight rope walk that is similar to what we deal with in all areas of life. Another reason I like it is because it gives me the platform to bring out the more authentic parts of me that aren’t necessarily accepted in everyday society. The shit talkin, big dick swingin’, bad-to-the-bone animalistic motherfucker that’s inside all of us, and never gets the chance to get out and breathe and flex – that’s what rap music helps to bring out. Most of our education these days discourages this side of us from even existing, or ignores it altogether – and people wonder why so many motherfuckers are dysfunctional. Rap music can speak to this part of you and teach it to no longer be a dumb brutish animal, but rather an intelligent beast.
Least: Rapper’s are pigeon-holed into a narrow range of lifestyles, personas, attitudes, musical taste, and expression. This is not necessarily because this is what being a rapper is all about, but because those who have raped and controlled the music industry thus far have promoted the image of what a rapper is supposed to be. And frankly I don’t like having to fit into any mold, even if it’s one I’ve grown to admire.
K: Understandable. So speaking of not fitting into a mold, what do you feel you bring to hip-hop that sets you apart?
M: I’m not gonna be one of the niggas who says he’s doin something completely new. Everyone knows that’s bullshit – ain’t nothing new under the sun. Every act of creation simply draws from things that have already happened. Take battle for example. Long ago, people knew how to ride horses, they knew how fight with spears and swords and bows and arrows, and they knew about the wheel. All of these things were great advancements individually. But it wasn’t until they combined these elements to create the chariot, that they completely revolutionized the game of war. It wasn’t by inventing something new; it was by combining what they already had in a way they hadn’t done it before, to create a more perfect product. And that’s one of the many things that I bring to the rap game. My goal is simple; I want to master every flow, touch on every topic, flawlessly create every image, and play with every musical subgenre that I feel is worth my time. I mean a lot of people catch the pac influence and the tech influence in my basic style, but they hear something else too. The lyrical content and delivery, the songwriting, the musical composition of the instrumentals, they all draw from a myriad of influences from all over the musical and lyrical spectrum. It’s my “chariot” so to speak. It’s the next great evolution of hip hop and music in general. I think of hip hop as a species; every species comes to a point where it faces the very likely possibility of extinction. Hip hop is at that point – music is at that point. We’ve driven it to that point by either raping it or pimping it out. And when a species is at that point, the only two choices are evolve or die. And I’ll be damned if Ima let music die. So we gotta make it evolve.
K: Cool, I like the chariot and evolution metaphors, I’m feelin that. What do you think you need to work on to achieve your goals, “areas of opportunity” as they say?
M: Right now we’re working on the business and paperwork side of things. It’s boring, painstaking, time consuming, and at times makes music seem less enjoyable and more like a job. I’ll be honest and say that side of the game doesn’t naturally vibe with who I am as a person. So right now what I’m working on is adaptation, learning to move and think in this business realm.
The other thing I’m working on is building an effective team. I’ve worked with a lot of people in the NW, but not everyone is someone to bring into the fold. Soon my label Evil Genius Creations will be in full swing, complete with its roster of ridiculously talented artists, a fully functional street team spanning the entire Pacific North West, managers, promoters, booking agents, the works. It is in the process of being built right now. It’s a slow process, because there are people you work with on a project by project basis, and then there are people you want to be a more permanent part of your team. The latter of the two is few and far between.
Lastly, and this has never changed, I’m working on diversity. Finding new sounds, new metaphors, new musical styles, new topics and lyrical content that I haven’t messed with before, but that people will vibe with.
K: What is the point of Mob music, is there one? Is there anything you hope people feel or think after listening to your mixtape, online, or seeing you perform live?
M: Haha..I just want them to THINK! But, honestly, the first point of the music is the music itself. It seems like popular hits of the day have lost the love for making real music and we need to bring it back. So that’s the first thing I try to accomplish with my music is to make it the best music I can make, every single time.
Next, I want to take people’s minds and begin to free them. It starts with giving them what they want – a hip hop jam to vibe to. But the sound is a little different than most on the radio; not so different where they like “what the fuck is this shit?” but different enough to encourage them to break out of the mold that this industry has encouraged them to be trapped inside. I want people to respond to good music again. Seems like right now, the only thing they respond to is what the big names say is hot – regardless of if it is or not. I want them to start judging music for themselves and not having their opinions given to them by a system that tries to fuck their minds. Then I want that direction to influence the rest of their lives, not just their music tastes. Their entertainment, their jobs, their schools, their governments, every choice they make – I want them to make it, not just sit there and be told what they should do. It’s your damn life why would you settle for someone else running it?
K: That’s wassup. Okay I gotta quit bein’ so serious..Name a few favorite drinks and what music you listen to when you’re chillin..
M: My favorite drinks are Hercules – half glass of Tarantula Tequila, ¼ glass of mango orange passionfruit Rockstar, ¼ glass of lemonade Rockstar. KriStyle invented this drink when we were kickin it with KrossBreed and ThomAhawK. We call it Hercules because all of a sudden you start feeling invincible. This could be a good or bad thing, but it feels amazing. And, at the risk of sounding cliché – Hennessey is up there near the top. I’ve figured out the reason it’s a stereotypical black man drink; because it’s fucking delicious. Music? Wow – a little bit of everything. Lately I have been enjoying instrumental hip hop station on Pandora, producers like Grammatik and The Alchemist.
K: It is delicious. Next question: joints or blunts?
M: Both. Just stick with Swishers and Zig Zags, the old faithfuls …solid for rolling and smoking every single time. Spark it up!
K: Okay. Thanks Mob. That’s all for now.
M: Stay mobbin
Find Mob Royalle’s music and connect with him online at: reverbnation.com/mobroyalle; Facebook.com/MobRoyalle; soundcloud.com/mobroyalle; youtube.com, search “mobroyalle”. Look for his track of the summer, “Summertime”, with video already covered by NWxposure!
Most of his music is available for free download, but you know local artists don’t really get paid, so the support is always appreciated if you are able to purchase a track or CD!
**Here’s a few extra comments since I originally wrote this whole huge ass piece as a 5000 word magazine article that I don’t know was ever published, so I may as well use them! Read! It’s good for your brain! So, I asked for the comments from others via his facebook page, but didn’t get too many responses. I checked his fb fan page for any other comments, as well as youtube and included some of those. I was gonna post whatever I found, staying true to “Column as I see ‘em”, but honestly there were no negative comments except for a couple regarding some of the people in one of his videos..which is irrelevant to his talent as an artist, so I didn’t include that. SO, for the record, this shit ain’t swayed by me…I really couldn’t find someone with something negative to say about Mob Royalle.
OTHER IMPRESSIONS OF MOB ROYALLE
Disclaimer: This first quote is longer than I would usually include, but he took the time to write it and it was all so thoughtful, I included most of what he contributed.
“I first heard Mob when I was just a feature in a metal band, and was amazed by his talent! I’ve only purchased a handful of CDs from strangers, and his was one of ‘em! Mob is one of the most humble men I’ve ever met, and he’s humble with a talent… which is rare. He is a singer, rapper, song writer, producer, promoter, manager, and beat maker! In my book, that’s a hell of a lot of talent. He booked me on my first solo show and will make time for me on any show he’s in charge of! People compare him to Pac because of his sound, which is somewhat true, but the main comparison I see, is his passion for people and music… he’s a visionary who appreciates the gift God has given him, and I know that it will serve him well in his music. If he wasn’t born before Pac’s death, I would swear he’s Tupac Reincarnated.
Mob makes few enemies, partly because “who could hate Mob?” And partly because “who would fuck with Mob?” I’ve been a fan of his music, I’ve been on shows with him, and I’ve been on songs with him… he’s more than a fellow musician and someone I look up to (in life and in music) but a friend as well…
His lyrics in “Heresey”, “Broke Nigga Blues”, “The Dilemma”, and “Rise Above” are some of the most truthful and inspirational lyrics I’ve ever heard from an unsigned (or signed) artist. He deserves to have the chance to be at the top of the charts, putting out multi platinum albums, and playing stadiums… not only because he’s talented, but because I know he will do more for the people of this earth than any celebrity has EVER done!!! If you believe in the American Dream, Underground Hip Hop, or even the simple idea that good people deserve good things…. you’ll believe in Mark “Mob Royalle” Jones!!!”.
–Big Tony, Salem, OR
“Mob performs with a powerful, confident presence on stage, his music is raw and passionate with a diverse style. I can relate with his topics and life, (and) can’t help but to sing along and dance” – Susie, Salem, OR
“Mob Royalle stood out for me because of his amazing style and deep lyricism. You can really tell he loves what he’s doing and when you love what you do it shines through. This man is a genius and should be noticed”. – Malina, Salem, OR
“I really like what you got to say man, it’s the truth and inspirational. Keep it up all of your fans are loving it!” –Justin, Salem, OR
“Dude got skill thumbs up sounds like Spice 1 X Pac”-WILLUSUBSCRIBE 1 year ago
“Your guys shit is sick…idk if these guy took your shit and put it on a burnable cd but i bought you guys mixtape in salem oregon and bumb that shit everday” –TheRallycrossKing (LOL. No worries, that probably was Mob or I who made it ourselves, and he doesn’t give a shit how you got it long as you listen up and share it, homie!)
“You guys are HUGE in Uruguay! There hasn’t been this much buzz here since Gabriel Terra became president in March 1931.” – bdon2 10 months ago (LOL..Okay!!)
“’Ive been through almost all the songs on this channel , I haven’t found one I dislike .
This track is golden shit, my brothers !” – TheNameLess2323 2 months ago in playlist More videos from ThaRealHipHopTV (<<<<<This channel, btw, just randomly found his Rise Above video/slideshow on youtube and decided to post it on their channel! THEN they emailed Mob to let him know – forgiveness, not permission, totally how I operate – and asked him for more videos. That’s cool!)
P.S. – Stay tuned! As this is the first attempt at having this interview be a group effort, please keep in mind, my access for fan and artist quotes is only as large as my current circle of people that actually participate. I hope for this to be a recurring feature, and with reader participation, would include fan quotes or artist quotes from readers. So get at me if you have an artist you want me to cover, or a comment on an artist I have covered!
Once again, Find Mob Royalle’s music and connect with him online at: reverbnation.com/mobroyalle; Facebook.com/MobRoyalle; soundcloud.com/mobroyalle; youtube.com, search “mobroyalle”. Look for his track of the summer, “Summertime”, with video already covered by NWxposure!