The son of a local rap artist, LA native and rap artist MoThoro credits his father with influencing him to start writing raps at a young age. Surrounded by the sounds of everything from hip hop to jazz to soul music and R&B, music has always been a part of his life. Towards the end of the 4th grade, his passion and interest in music really began upon starting school at Sherman Oaks Elementary and wowing his fellow students while performing a rhyme he wrote for a talent show. He and his best friend Rasul, whom he’s been friends with since pre-k, formed the rap duo B.O.M. (later changed to MnR) in the 8th grade, which really began his music career. Having been making music together and cultivating their sound from an early age, he started making beats, rather than writing verses over other artist’s beats, and started gaining traction in high school. After high school, he attended the HBCU Hampton University, the same college his father had attended. College was a turning point for him with regards to his music, inspiring him to overall make better sounding music that he could perform. While at Hampton, he released the critically well-received ThoroLyfe Trilogy of albums: Transition
, and Graduation
, in which he aimed to show people what it is like for a young man to leave the experimental phase of life and enter a phase where you are starting to become one with yourself, your wants, and your passions, and in 2019, he collaborated with singer-songwriter and fellow Hampton graduate Heather for a 5 song EP entitled “Sesh
“. Since graduating, he has helped to co-found the record label LFTFLD with his friends, helping fellow artists to achieve their passions. Earlier this year, MoThoro released his latest album Now or Never
, which explores themes of perseverance, self doubt, and vulnerability, as well as about the balance he’s tried to keep throughout his life. Between shooting more content off the album, working on a tape with two producers, and dropping freestyles on TikTok every week, MoThoro has plenty more in store for us so make sure to follow him and stay tuned for more! You can connect to MoThoro and purchase/stream his music via the following links:
You are an LA native and the son of a local rapper and have been actively writing and performing music since grade school. What can you tell me about the LA music scene when you were growing up and pursuing music and the influence your dad had on your love for and desire to pursue music?
Growing up, my pops definitely had an immense influence on me. He had already stopped rapping and began pursuing his entrepreneurial passions by the time I was born, but music was always at the forefront. My dad would put me up on everything from hip-hop to jazz to soul music and R&B. I think this foundation has a lot to do with how deep and sincere my passion is. The fact that my pops was rapping back in the day influenced me to start writing raps at an earlier age and it just continued on from there.
You have said that towards the end of the 4th grade, you started attending Sherman Oaks Elementary and that although you had always gone to school with a majority Black and Hispanic students, Sherman Oaks was majority white. What was that experience like and in what ways did your passion for and interest in music arise during this time?
So when I moved to the valley it was totally different than what I was used to for real. Once the opportunity to participate in the talent show arose in 4th grade, I decided to write a rhyme and perform it..mind you I’m like 9 years old so I never performed before this. The talent show came around and I spit my lil verse and the crowd went crazy. Ever since then I never looked back! That defining moment gave me the confidence to keep perfecting my craft.
You formed the rap duo The B.O.M. with your friend Rasul in the 8th grade, which you have said really began your music career. What can you tell me about the duo and your sound and influences at that time and your ever changing influences and growth in sound as you progressed in your music?
That’s crazy! How do you know that? Lol yah that was a terrible name we started off as The B.O.M. (beasts on the mic) and later transitioned into MnR. Maan, Rasul is really my brother. I’ve known bro since pre-k, so naturally we both began cultivating our sound in music together. In our earlier years of making music we definitely used to write verses over other people’s beats and freestyle all day. As we started getting better and I started making beats, MnR songs started to become fire and we began getting traction in high school. We still make music together today and I think we both influence each other in certain ways.
After high school, you attended the HBCU Hampton University and decided to keep pursuing music along with your studies in an effort to not become stagnant. What was your college experience like, which you have said was a turning point for you and inspired you to focus your energy on just overall making better sounding music that you could perform?
So I knew I wanted to go to a HBCU (like my dad lol) for the experience, so when I got into Hampton I was stoked! MY college experience was everything…I met people from around the world, pledged Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc, performed songs that everybody on campus knew the words to and overall gained a new perspective being in Virginia and away from LA. I think the turning point for me was my Freshman year performing at Hampton Idol. I was in my “lyrical miracle I’m the hardest rapper” phase performing for a crowd that wasn’t too receptive to that. I ended up losing to somebody who had an overall better sounding song (song structure wise) and stage presence. I took that experience and developed my skill set and it made me a better artist overall.
While at Hampton, you released 3 albums, the ThoroLyfe trilogy- “Transition“, “Execution“, and “Graduation“. What was it like for you to make that first album, which you have said was the first album you had ever made without your friend Rasul? In what ways were these albums a defining moment in your career?
Man the ThoroLyfe trilogy is so classic. I can’t wait till I’m world renowned and people go back and listen in awe! Transition was indeed my first solo album and it was literally as raw and authentic as it gets. My music is very introspective, so everything I was going through at the time of recording each album in the trilogy was in the music! Transition was about me transitioning from LA to VA, being in college, and what my experience was like. Execution was about me finding my new sound and honing in on it without losing my roots. Graduation was based on the feelings I was having upon graduating and going into the real world. I think what made the trilogy so defining is it related to a lot of my fan base!
You have said that your trilogy project showed people what it is like for a young man to leave the experimental phase of life and enter a phase where you are starting to become one with yourself, your wants, and your passions. What has that journey been like for you? Do you feel that you had a solid grasp on what you wanted upon graduation or do you feel like you are still trying to figure that out?
This is a great question…and to be honest I think I’ll continuously be figuring it out and finding new qualities and passions within myself. Right after college I went through a little post grad depression because I was comparing myself to my peers who seemed to have everything figured out. All in all, the journey has been great and I’m thankful for the ups and downs. At this point in my life I’m in a good spot and feel inspired to keep creating and coming up with creative ideas to get the music out.
You have also said that the trilogy touched on the “pipe dream” stigma that plagues young hip-hop hopefuls. What can you tell me about that stigma?
I think young hip-hop hopefuls get jaded, especially as life continues and responsibility increases. All the life stuff gets in the way of that burning desire and passion to be a star. Either that or they get too comfortable where they’re at and don’t aspire for more.
You have talked about how putting making music with Rasul on hold while attending college was probably for the best so that you could develop your own styles individually to avoid crashing and burning. In what ways do you feel like that break helped you both and what was it like to reunite with him for a track on ThoroLyfe: Graduation? How do your styles compare?
Us spending time apart was pivotal for both of our sounds and music making styles. When we were making music together it pretty much consisted of me making the beat, putting a verse or a hook on it and then sending it to Rasul to write to. When I went to Hampton I didn’t have to consult with anybody about the music I was making. My music definitely began to become more personable fasho. Rasul also had to cultivate his style and learn how to make songs without my help, which is pivotal in how he creates now. He makes his own beats and records himself – he may not have developed those skills had I not left. Our styles are the same in some areas, like concepts and content in our music, because we’re both super introspective. I’d say our individual styles differ in how we construct songs and albums. Plus I’m a lot more melodic in my music. He will bar yo ass up!
In 2019, you collaborated with singer-songwriter and fellow Hampton graduate Heather for a 5 song EP entitled Sesh. What can you tell me about that collaboration and do you hope/plan to do more collaborations going forward? Who would your dream collaboration be with?
Recording SESH was such a great period of time. We literally recorded it in like a month…everything happened naturally. To this day it’s my most streamed project. I think Me and Heather compliment each other well I hope we’ll be able to do another one in the future. My dream collaboration would be with Kedrick Lamar fasho!
What can you tell me about LFTFLD, the record label you co-founded, and what led you to want to start your own label and provide assistance to fellow artists in pursuit of their passions? Having a degree in business, what can you tell me about the importance for you in being well-versed in the business side of the music industry? Was that always something you were interested in?
LFTFLD was already an idea before I graduated from Hampton and I jumped onboard to help the summer right before graduation. Honestly, LFTFLD is all of my friends! We’re all creative and like minded and have been making music since we were young so it made sense to put everybody under one umbrella. I’ve always sought out to understand the business side of the music industry, but I think my degree helped with me being with organization to LFTFLD as it relates to getting shit done efficiently. It’s easy to throw ideas at the wall but the hard part is figuring out a plan and then following through with the plan. School definitely helped me cultivate that.
You recently released your new album Now or Never, which explores themes of perseverance, self doubt, and vulnerability, as well as the balance you’ve tried to keep throughout your life. What can you tell me about the album and the message you hope people take away from it? In what ways do you feel the phrase “Now or Never” fits your current perspective on life and your musical aspirations?
Now Or Never came about from me feeling like I’m in a state of duality right now in my life. Between being on the west coast with most my fanbase on the east coast. Singing and rapping. Working a job and pursuing my passion. I feel like Now or Never has a sense of urgency that to it. Either imma do this shit to the fullest now or not at all. Also, I was reading a book called The Power of Now while recording this album, so the idea of living in the now as opposed to the past and present, helped with my feelings of doubt and being in between concepts in fear of choosing. Now or Never has something for everybody on there and that’s what I like about it the most -it’s very diverse!
The album shows a more mature side to you as an artist and was the first time you took a more hands-on approach with mixing and mastering the album. What can you tell me about the recording process? What did you learn throughout the process?
So I’ve actually mixed all my projects and this album was mastered by Walt Mansa. BUT, I definitely think I’ve executed some of my better mixes on here so thank you for noticing that. The recording process took me a lot longer than my other projects. It took me a little while longer to figure out where I wanted to go with it. I learned to not rush the process… let is run its course and have faith it’ll do what it do.
You also released a music video for “Body Language”. What was the idea/inspiration behind the video and do you have more music videos planned?
“Body Language” came about because my dawg Josh Vincent hit me up after seeing the crowdfunding campaign I launched to raise capital for the album. Josh is a film director but he told me he wanted to venture into music videos and I was down! He listened to the song and got a crew together and we made it happen. I really like that video because it tells a story and I think it comes across well on camera. We’re shooting a couple more songs off the album as well so stay tuned!
What’s next for you?
Right now we’re focused on shooting content off the album. I’m working on a tape with two producers as well as dropping freestyles on TikTok every week. Everybody feel free to stay tuned in with me via social media @MoThoro every social media outlet. Also, this has been one of the best / in depth interviews I’ve done. Thank you for your research and careful consideration! Love!