Mike Mosley (Interview)

Devilz Son
AllEyezOnPac.com did an interview with westcoast producer Mike Mosley. In the interview he talks about The Way He Wanted It mixtape, upcoming projects, his career, working with Pac, E-40, TQ etc.


AEOP: You grew up in Fairfield, California. Tell us a little bit about Fairfield, what kind of environment it is to grow up and also about music scene there.

MM: I was born and raised in Fairfield, and back then it was a small laid back town. But times have changed and it can get a lil rough there now days… for such a small town, there have been several big named cats come out of the field. Me, Rick rock, Rhythmx, EZSD, Federation, DJ Pimp, B.C. and many others.

AEOP: Was your family musical or did you pick it up yourself?

MM: I had an uncle that wrote for Motown, but basically I had to teach myself from the ground up. I learned as I went.

AEOP: You started with Djing, where did you get your motivation to also produce or what that a natural thing to move on from Djing?

MM: I started djing at a very early age and started selling mix tapes in school before I even knew what a mix tape was.

AEOP: Did you try rapping at any point?

MM: Yeah I rapped at first, but I was wack,and I knew my true passion was making the music.

AEOP: What equipment and software do you use to produce?

MM: I use just about everything out there. I love the mpc 2000, and several computer based programs as well as various keyboards. I pretty much use anything I can get a nice sound from, but I don’t wanna give a way to many of my secrets.

AEOP: Were there any producers back in the days whose style influenced you in anyway?

MM: I pretty much had to learn it as I went. Hip hop was pretty new at that point, there was no Dr. Dre or Timbaland to learn from when I started getting down with it. If I had to pick a producer I liked back then it would be Teddy Riley and Marley Marl.

AEOP: How'd you get to that point where you hooked up with E-40?

MM: From just being in the streets, he and I hooked up in Vallejo. We were both getting a name back then, so we kinda heard about each other cause the streets were talkin. We got together and history was made. I produced most of his classic tracks.

AEOP: How'd you get to that point where you hooked up with C-BO?

MM: E-40 had a cousin named Freddy who loved what I was doing with 40 and he brought C-Bo to me, because C-Bo was so gangsta they really wanted to get some music that complimented his style. We did Gas Chamber together and it was a ground breaking record.

AEOP: Then you also ended up enjoying great success with TQ with hits like Westside and so on, where did you find him?

MM: TQ and I went platinum with that album “They Never Saw Me Coming”. it’s still one of the greatest records I ever worked on. I actually heard about him from my friend Mike Caren from Atlantic, and together we ended up getting him signed with André Harrell at epic. TQ and I just clicked and made some serious music together. Then we ended up goin on a world tour. That record was a monster.

AEOP: When you are producing, is there ever a feeling when you know that this is going to be surefire hit? For example when you first started working with E-40 and C-Bo, did you have any idea that you would make break for you?

MM: You never really know until after it comes out and people are feeling it, Cause naturally any producer should think all his shit is dope otherwise why would you make it. E-40 and C-Bo were both unknown when we hooked up, but I knew both of them has what it takes to make it, but you never really know at the time.

AEOP: So, how'd you get to that point where you hooked up with Pac?

MM: Pac had heard about me thru C-Bo and Celly Cel, cause he loved their records and was crazy about the beats I was making for them. We hooked up in Atlanta, I was chillin with some homies and I heard this familiar voice behind me yellin “oh shit its Mike Mosley”. I turned around and it was Pac standing there with a big ass smile on his face. He says “yo Mike, you gotta produce some trax for me and I ain't takin no for an answer” we talked for quite some time about the vision he had for his music. Pac was a very deep cat and that’s the way I’ll always remember him. The first record we worked together on was "Me Against The World" which in my opinion is Pac's best record.

AEOP: I agree, that's my favorite too. give us some of your memories from working with Tupac. Everybody has said he was very fast and demanding in the studio, did you have any difficulties keeping up with him?

MM: I couldn’t make the songs fast enough. Before I could even finish it, he would say “yo, that’s dope let me get in the booth” I would say I ain't done yet and he would always say “fuck that, I gotta lay my verse now, you can finish it later”. he was like a man possessed in the studio. To this day I never worked with anyone else like him. He just had a drive to make music. He would walk in with a note pad and 10 minutes later he would have a complete song in front of him. 5 minutes later he would be in the booth rippin the mic. Everything I ever brought him he loved… he told me several times that I was one of his favorite producers and no one can ever take that away from me.

AEOP: You worked with him before and after the jail time, do you think he changed in anyway ?

MM: Yea, he was humble before he went in and angry when he came out. Jail changed him and changed his style, just listen to the records “Me Against The World” then listen to “All Eyez On Me”. he used to call me from jail all the time just to talk. He was a strong brother, but having his freedom taken away was hard on Pac.

AEOP: What's your favorite Tupac song you have produced and also from others?

MM: From Tupac, my favorite song is “Heavy In The Game” or “Tradin War Stories” from others, it would be “Million Dollar Spot” with E-40, B-Legit and Tupac.

AEOP: Are there any unreleased 2pac tracks that you have produced?

MM: there are several that I produced that I’m hoping will resurface soon.

AEOP: Can you name any?

MM: Pac would always change the names depending on the hook he came up with. But there were several that we did that I am always waiting to see the light of day.

AEOP: Speaking about production of Me Against The World, we heard that Moe-z's manager said that for example Temptations was originally a Moe-Z production and not an Eazy Moe Bee. Also that a lot of songs on MATW were not listed correctly in the liner notes, many songs on the record were significantly remixed before it was released from the way Pac recorded them. Did you have different versions of Heavy In The Game and Can U Get Away back then?

MM: Pac has always said that there was really 2 Me Against The World records. I remember him also saying in an interview, how he purposely change it up because Biggie dropped Ready 2 Die and it was to similar to the things Pac was talkin about, so he had some songs redone on that record.

AEOP: When was the last time you have been in contact with Amaru or done something for them?

MM: I did the song called “I'm Gettin' money”. I made that for Afeni and it turned out to be a classic

AEOP: ”I'm Gettin' Money” was on 1997 R U Still Down, so they haven't contacted regarding any of these new albums like Until The End Of Time, Better Dayz or Loyal To The Game?

MM: We were all set do to some production for Loyal 2 The Game, but unfortunately they decided to go another route. I’m hoping they’ll holla at me for the next record, which I’ve heard will be the last.

AEOP: I recall TQ saying saying in one of his interviews that he has done some work for Amaru to use on 2Pac records but they were never used, do you know anything about this?

MM: Just heard the rumors, I’m hoping it’s true cause I think that would be a tight record. They need me to get up in there to make it sound like Pac would have wanted it.

AEOP: That would definately be tight. If Amaru is unable to see this chance and you would be making follow ups to The Way He Wanted, would you bring TQ in with you if it were possible?

MM: Me and TQ are good friends and we are always willing to work together on new projects as long as the powers that be will allow it. I’m proud of his success and I feel like I’m a huge part of that.

AEOP: You are also included on the up-coming 2Pac mix tape The Way He Wanted It with Assassin, Shock G and others? How do you feel about that? What can we expect from it?

MM: Like I said Afeni was gonna reach out to Pac’s original producers for Loyal 2 The Game before Eminem stepped in. I personally like Eminem as a producer, but I feel like he got such bad reviews because he never knew Pac and just didn’t have the feel for what Pac used to spit to, like myself, Assassin, Shock G and Johnny J did. Pac really cared about his beats and who he let spit on his tracks with him. There are so many people who have done verses with Pac after he died that Pac would never have let in his studio. When assassin asked me to be apart of it, I thought it was great idea, since nobody had done it like that since Pac died.

AEOP: What songs did you produce for this project?

MM: I worked on a remix of Gettin' Money with Kyle Riffkin singin a hook on there and I worked on a Ghetto Gospel remix with a producer named Versatyle that I think turned out really hot. I wanna make it clear that this was Assassin’s project and I like his idea of trying to put out a record by Pac that I think he would be proud of. I didn’t make a penny from this record, I did it as a gift for the fans and to Pac. I hope that Afeni will hear the record and if and when she releases his next record she will choose to work closely with those of us who knew Pac and knew his style, his likes and dislikes. I think the fans deserve it and most importantly I think his legacy deserves it. He is the greatest of all time and I want his music to shine forever.

AEOP: What do you think about Tupac's music after his death, do you think it has been handled right? Specially the latest release Loyal To The Game where they altered the speed of Tupac's voice, put words to Tupac's mouth like ”G-unit in this mothafuckin house” and etc. How do you see this?

MM: I don’t like much of the stuff that has been released after he died. Like I said, Eminem is a sick producer, I enjoy his stuff. That kid ain't no joke and I would love to work with him, he’s one of the best in the game right now. The main problem was, they just don’t have that much material to work with, so some tracks sound patched together, and others just don’t feel right to me. They just don’t sound like Pac songs to me. I don’t think Pac would of liked it. He was very passionate about his music, music was his life. But if were to take Pac off that record and listened to the production it’s a very solid record.

AEOP: You have your own label Steady Mobbin Productions nowadays, who you have now signed under it?

MM: I have several artists. I have Cognito who has been putting it down for a long time and his record is off the hook. I have an artist named Savior, who sounds and looks just like Pac. We’re not tryin to do the Guerilla Black thing here where we went and found a cat to spit like Pac, but Savior just happens to sound like him and he looks a lot like him, you would think they were brothers. I predict huge things for savior so write down his name and remember ya’ll heard it here first. I also have an R&B singer named Arron ;ason, who is incredible. One of the guys on my label is bay area legend named Assassin who also worked with Pac in the early days. He has also worked with South Central Cartel, San Quinn, Digital Underground and just about everyone else in the game.

AEOP: For a long time you didn't have an own label, do you think you should have done that earlier?

MM: Yes and no… I first had a label in 94. But I started cats like E-40 and Master P, so I always wonder if I should of started one a little sooner, but I was one of the most in demand producers in the world at the time. Music has always been my passion and making music was always my goal. I’ve learned a lot over the years and I feel my label is very solid right now with the people who run it with me. My right hand man is D-Buck who has been there from day one. My other man who helps me keep shit tight with the label is my homie for over 20 years named do pimp. I also have sick producers who keep steady mobbin poppin like Assassin the OG, Versatyle who is one of the best producers on the planet right now, and I have a producer named Murdock who is only 16 and is bringing the mobb sound that I invented with Sam bostic back to the spotlight.

AEOP: Yeah, like you said, you and Sam Bostic basically created the Mobb sound that would make it the bay area sound, could you describe to someone who's not that much into bay area music what's it all about?

MM: Sam Bostic is a musical legend, shout out to Sam bostic, we’re actually talking about getting together for a instrumental record called Mobbstrumentals. The mobb sound consists of funky bass line, melodic chords, abstract drum programming, and hardcore artist… with one of those ingredients missing, you wont have mobb music.

AEOP: You have some kind of project called Compilation coming out, what can you tell about it?

MM: We have 18 records coming out this year, the one that you’re talking about is our unsigned compilation. We put an ad in Murder Dog magazine asking unsigned artist around the world to send us there demo so we can find the next big star. If you go to the website at www.mikemosley.com you can read all about it. We got demos from unsigned artists all over the world and so far we have discovered some real talent. Now we’re putting out a record with the best of the best who submitted trax to us. We are putting the record out with major distribution and we’re including all the artist contact number on the cd liner so if someone hears the track they can contact that artist directly. I personally listen to every track that comes in. This was really my way of giving back. It is so hard for unsigned artists to get put on now days, so I threw a wrench in the game and decided to help as many cats as I could through this compilation.

AEOP: So what are your plans and goals for Steady Mobbin for the future?

MM: I’m doing the Master P thing. I have spent many years getting my label to where it is today and I am ready to take it to the next level. I’m concentrating on my own acts. They get 95 and I get 5. I have help make lots of cats millionaires in this business, but now it’s my turn to grab a bunch of that paper.

AEOP: What do you think about todays mainstream sound? Is there anything that's moving you?

MM: Not much. Most of the stuff they doing is a lil played out. I keep looking for something more musical, like when cronic album dropped, that was groundbreaking. Live instruments is the wave of the future in hip hop in my opinion.

AEOP: How do you see the future of the bay area?

MM: I really see the bay blowin up again like it did in the past. 5 years ago people in NYC didn’t even know the bay was popping, but now when I go out there to New York them cats in show me mad love. Shout out to my homie Fat Joe ad the Terror Squad, also everyone up at Def Jam.

AEOP: Are we going to see your production elsewhere or are you going to stick with your own artists and label? What we can expect from Mikes Mosley and Steady Mobbin this year, tell me about some projects that are on the table and when they are going to be released?

MM: My label Steady Mobbin is droppin 18 records this year. I still produce for tons of people. I just submitted tracks for e-40’s new record. I’m also in the studio in Texas with 918. Them cats are hot. I have my new record platinum plaques 2 coming in June and that comes with a DVD of Topic in the studio. I also have a book about Topic that I’ll be telling ya’ll about in the next few months. I also have a production company with assassin, and old school legend rob base, so we’re bridging the gap from the bay to NYC. I have the Mac Dre thizzed out DVD.

AEOP: Okay, thanks for your time Mike! Any last words?

MM: First, I wanna thank the greatest Tupac website on earth AllEyezOnPac.com for keeping Pac’s legacy alive. I wanna thank all my fans in Europe for showing me love whenever I come thru. Also all my fans in the USA and around the world. Make sure you stop by my website www.mikemosley.com to see what I’ve been up to. You can check out some exclusive footage of Tupac in the studio, and lots of info about upcoming projects Steady Mobbin and Mike Mosley are doing.