My initiative to share more music from outside of the US continues today as I interview Canadian hip-hop artist Morris Ogbawu. We just reviewed his EP, the diverse and talented artist is getting set to perform at RBC’s Bluesfest in Ontario. Take a read below and make sure to stream his EP “This That Mo” while you’re reading through this.
Dead End Hip Hop: For those who don’t know who is Morris Ogbowu?
Morris Ogbowu: I am a Nigerian-Canadian Multi-disciplinary Artist, well versed in several artistic disciplines, from traditional hyperrealism to digital media. My passion for music was founded in the vocal ability to paint worlds with words and I do this through a fusion of Neo-Soul and Contemporary Rap. In summary, I’m a Visual Artist and Emcee. This period in my career is primarily focused on rising into my sound as a Musician. My music is informed by different disciplines of my artistic background and influenced by the ability to create a visual representation of the mind through Imagination and imagery.
DEHH: What was your introduction to music and when did you decide you wanted to create music?
MO: I became exposed to a wide variety of music and found a passion for words and melody. We all experience music differently but not everyone gets to evolve their unique music DNA. I started recording and releasing music professionally in 2014. The freedom in my creative process and evolution is what makes it worth the journey.
DEHH: “This That Mo” what inspired the project?
MO: “This That Mo” is a contemporary sequential narrative. A musical composition of stories illustrated in concept art. You can think of the Album as each track being a chapter of its own theme, or as one non-linear progressive story from start to finish. The creation of the Mo Concept in “This That Mo” also includes some music videos, a live performance and short film adaptations for visual context. This project was inspired by theatrical script-writing for film and musical storytelling. In a conversation with my college professors, we spoke about the importance for multi-disciplinary artists to own and explore all sides of their artistic disciplines. In several ways, “This That Mo” explores what is possible with my sound and music in general.
DEHH: Hip-hop is huge in the US, but I think we oversleep on everything that’s going on in Canada, can you tell me a bit about Canadian Hip Hop culture?
MO: There is a great deal of very diverse music to be discovered in Canada. My first-hand experience comes from releasing and performing music in Ottawa’s music scene. Over the past five years, the local music scene has grown vibrant, just as much as mainstream Canadian music. However, with Hip-hop currently at the forefront of popular music, Canadian Hip-hop culture is gradually attracting more recognition. Yes, we may look to the US for the trendy, but as more platforms take chances on Canadian Hip-hop artists, the results reflect on charts and awards through the discovery of good Hip-hop and great music in general.
DEHH: If you could give me five emcees to listen to from Canada who would they be?
MO: F.printz, Belly, Jazz cartier, and also some Ottawa Emcees who are producers;
Chanksdaddy, jeff sannon.
DEHH: Now you’re headlining at the RBC’s #Bluesfest this year, what was receiving that news like and what are you doing to prepare for it?
MO: It’s a big deal for me because Bluesfest is the second Largest North America’s Music festival and I plan to put together a band for a live performance of certain songs on This That Mo. Leading up to the festival, I will be holding jam sessions for rehearsals, performing live shows and promoting the new project across Ontario.
DEHH: When people are done with “This That Mo” what do you want listeners to walk away with?
MO: I want listeners to be reminded of what real Hip-hop sounds like when inclusive of profound lyrical content perceived as raw, soft or relate-able. Besides being stacked in layers of rap bars, “This That Mo” speaks outside the confines of modern hip-hop, offering a unique blend of contemporary Rap, classic hip-hop, and African folk singing over modern beats. Give the Album a listen then share your favorite tracks with a friend. My career goals include being one of the greatest music makers of inclusive or informative music.
DEHH: So you’ve dropped this EP, you’re headlining at a huge festival, what’s next for Morris Ogbowu?
MO: To keep the momentum of Bluesfest going, my ongoing process will focus on building my audience. I will work on single releases for free listening and radio, while I put together new music for 2019 and future projects.