To say Brownsville, New York duo M.O.P. are hip hop legends is an understatement. Lil' Fame and Bill Danze have been keepin’ it hardcore since 1994’s To The Death, when they introduced the world to their brand of headbangin’ hip hop. Since then they have released three more full-lengths, three rarities collections, a heavy metal album, a greatest hits collection, several bangin’ mixtapes, and the Handle Ur Bizness EP, plus racked up a slew of classic singles like “Ante Up,” “Cold As Ice,” “Put It in the Air” and “Downtown Swinga.” So to have Lil’ Fame stop by Freestyle 101 was beyond an honor.
Yet music industry bullsh*t and record label runarounds have plagued the dynamic duo since day one, sometimes preventing them from capitalizing on their intense buzz and massive street cred (they are your favorite rapper’s favorite rappers, no doubt). First, the group's longtime label Loud Records folded in 2002. The following year they signed Jay-Z's Roc-A-Fella Records, leading fans to believe that a Hova-orchestrated album was to follow and catapult them to major success. But said album never materialized and when Jay-Z moved to becomes president of Def Jam, the group was released from their contract. Meanwhile, the band headed out with Linkin Park on the Projekt Revolution Tour as their songs got licensed in NFL Street 2 and Fight Night 2004. They even cut a metal album under the name Mash Out Posse while they waited for the lawyers to do their thing.
In 2005, M.O.P. announced their signing with 50 Cent's G-Unit Records, news that was met with excitement and trepidation within the hip hop community. Would this finally lead to M.O.P.’s breakthrough, or was the group jumping the shark by signing with Fiddy? Yet despite mixtape appearance with G-Unit and the M.O.P. track “When Death Becomes You” appearing on the Get Rich or Die Tryin' soundtrack, the group’s G-Unit album never materialized and they left the label last winter.
So here we are in 2008 and still no new M.O.P. album. But have no fear, ‘cause Fame assures us they are working hard on new material and that the next CD will be as bangin’ as ever. In the meantime, Billy has unleashed a few solo mixtape tracks to critical raves, and Fame has moved into producing, taking what he’s learned from longtime M.O.P. producers DJ Premier and D.R. Period and applying it to rappers like Rakim, Big Noyd and Termanology. In fact, upon picking the R.N.S. beat to freestyle over at Play Studios in New York, Lil’ Fame (aka Fizzy Womack) jumped on Pro-Tools and chopped it to his liking right on the spot before heading into the stairwell under the studio to cut his freestyle in one take with homie Teflon (coming soon to FS101, fyi) by his side! The man is a pro, dammit!
Webby Award winning Freestyle 101 goes up at 9 a.m. PST (that’s noon over on the east) every Tuesday. Make sure to dig our behind the scenes photos, visit us on MySpace and rant in our Forums. Next week we bring you super-producer Dame Grease and his latest discovery Meeno, followed by Blaze Ya Dead Homie, Immortal Technique, Heltah Skeltah, Kool Keith, YTCracker, Saafir, Custom Made, and many more. And if you dig these MCs, check out New York’s Buckshot, Smoothe da Hustler, Termanology, Sean Price, Big Noyd, Ali Vegas, and Trife da God.