Only a select handful of artists get to be signed to Boosie Badazz’ label, and Mo3 is one of them. The Dallas native is here to create heartfelt anthems for the streets, with lyrics about real-life experiences, obstacles, and getting it on his own coming from the mud. His ability to switch from spitfire rapper to melodic singer is proof alone of his innate talent to create music that not only sounds good, but resonates with audiences.
The crazy part is Boosie was Mo3’s favorite artist growing up, but Mo3 quickly became Boosie’s favorite rapper as soon as he caught wind of the movement. Following his most recent solo album Osama, his previous nickname in the streets, real name Melvin Noble returns with a collaborative project with the New Orleans legend. BadAzz Mo3 is equipped with emotion, bangers, wisdom, and of course, that legendary Boosie Badazz flare.
In addition, he’s a father to three beautiful children. Mo3 describes himself as a “gang member turned rapper,” with music being his saving grace when it came to surviving the trenches. We caught up with Mo3 to discuss collaborating with Boosie Badazz, the inspiration behind “Errybody,”
What does it mean to be dubbed the Boosie of Dallas?
It feels good. That’s an accomplishment. That means I’m destined to be legendary. I’m holding all that weight right now. I’m this generation’s Boosie.
When did that first come about?
2 mixtapes ago, when they finally felt the message of what I was trying to do. I seen the whole movement strong.
What’s your message?
The black community and the Hispanic community, we deal with a lot of poverty and struggle. I’m giving a message, I’m giving hope. Me, I’ve been a rapper, but you could do whatever you want. You ain’t limited to one thing. I preach that. Whether it’s my story or the next person’s story, they’re going to feel me. They can relate.
What sets you apart from other street rappers?
I’m trying to give a message. I ain’t trying to rap to make it sound good, I want you to feel it. Of course, it has to sound good. That’s the only way they’re going to listen. If it sounds good and you’re talking about something, you don’t just get them to listen — you give them a follow. There’s a difference from listening to following. I could listen to you but if somebody follows you, they’re going to do more than listen to you.
At what point did you realize this music thing was for real?
Long long time ago. Basically the first project [Shottaz], that’s when I knew it was real. When you get your first person to walk up to you and say “can I take a picture with you?” You’re still looking at yourself like somebody regular, then somebody asks for a picture. That means this rapping is working. We’re doing something, they’re looking up to you.
How did you get your name? What does the 3 signify?
It’s a family name. My daddy’s name is Third. On my mama’s side, they call me Lil Mo. Lil 3, Lil Mo, I put them together.
“Errybody” has over 44 million on Youtube alone. Did you think it’d blow up like this?
Nah, I never thought it was going to blow up. I don’t remember looking at the song and saying “it’s gon’ blow up.” Because you can say that, then it doesn’t blow up.
How was the vibe of that studio session?
It was me and the producer, that’s it. I was 17, I lost all my partners. It was official, all my partners went against me. Started doing interviews about me, they started doing all types of shit. “He got famous and left us in the hood. He didn’t put us on.” But the same partners who said all this, I gave them somewhere to stay. They stole money. They stole a lot.
I didn’t say “everybody ain’t yo friend” because somebody said they’re not my friend anymore. I’m saying “everybody ain’t yo friend” because I did a lot, after you even crossed me. You still went against me like I did something. So no, they ain’t your friend. I thought it was my friend the whole time.
Best memory from the video shoot?
In Downtown Dallas, there’s this thing I had to stand on. We weren’t supposed to be up there. One of my partners, he’s dead now, he was putting me up there. I was finna fly.
When did you and Boosie first cross paths?
3 years ago, in a mall. He’s doing a signing or walkthrough at a shoe store. I had pulled up, we chopped it up. He put me on his show that night. After that, he flew me to his house. We made 2 songs for my album. I had a mixtape called 4 Indictments with Gangsta Grillz and DJ Drama. It’s been love ever since.
Boosie was your favorite right?
That’s my favorite. I don’t have any other favorites. Because he rapped my life. He helped me get through my days. Before I was rapping, I was 14 listening to him. I did jail time off Boosie. I did struggle time off Boosie. I did family violences off Boosie. I’ve dealt with drug abuse with family off Boosie. I lost a family off Boosie. Everything I did, off the music of Boosie. I grew up with him.
Everything came full circle?
Yeah, that’s crazy!
What’s your favorite Boosie song?
My favorite Boosie song used to be “why they Hatin’ on me?” “What Goes Up.” “Still Happy.” “Baby Momma,” because now I have 3 of them. I have a lot of Boosie songs man, I could keep going on. I’ll start going in the trenches.
At what point did you guys decide to do a whole tape together?
2 months ago, he called me like “where you at?” I don’t remember where I was. He’s like “man come to my house, so we can record.” We dropped a whole tape. After that, everybody went stupid. It was a long time coming. 2 Nineteen, all that. He did his interview with Vlad, he’s like “we got an album coming.” He didn’t even tell me at the time, he said it on VladTV. [chuckles] I didn’t know anything about it so when I saw it, I’m like “what?” He called me like “let’s go get it.”
Damn, how did that make you feel?
Shit, I was lit. An album?! That n*gga said we got an album! I was at a show in another state. He said “come to Atlanta! Come to my house.” He ended up shooting me some shit, I shot him some shit. We went back and forth all night. We recorded the whole album in Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston.
What’s the energy like in the studio? Do you freestyle everything?
We freestyle everything, we don’t write nothing. If you listen to the album, you can tell. If he starts the song off, then I’ll go in there and finish it. Or I’ll start the song, he’ll go in there and finish it. If he puts something down for us, I’m wiping it down. I’m zoning in, I’m listening. Vice versa, he does the same thing.
The energy, we’re in there turnt up. We’re working! I’ma feed off him, he feeds off me. We’re in that shit rocking. “Come on. Let’s get it.” Boom, “go in there.” He’ll drop something, “go in there and sing this part right here.” Vice versa, I do the same shit. If we’re in there, it’s up. You might be up till 6 in the morning. No sleeping, start at 8pm and end at 6am.
How was recruiting Desi Banks for the “Apartment” visual?
That shit was smooth man. See, Boosie didn’t know I was gon’ do that. I snuck and did that. Boosie had a show, he came to the city and I took him to my hood. We shot the video, that was it. He thought everything was done. Desi Banks had to come to the city too. He’s always talking about “parlaying apartments,” my video’s called “Apartments.“ When he came out here, [phone ring sound].
Desi was just in Dallas?
He had a show out there already. I hit his people up and we linked up. Desi’s cool too, he’s the homie. He’s real funny. I told you, I relate to Boosie. In a comedian’s world, it’s the same thing as Desi. There’s a difference when you have a comedian there who’s just telling jokes, saying anything to make you laugh. That’s cool. But when you have Desi Banks willing to tell you what’s going on and make it a joke — how we struggled, he made it a joke.
So it’s extra funny. It hits different like “man, we really over here doing it.” He makes it a joke. That’s why I fuck with him, I had to. Before the song even came out, I already had the video in my head. The song wasn’t even out yet. I replayed the beat like, “I’ma put Boosie on there. Then when we shoot the video, I’m going to get Desi Banks.” I was saying that on the sprinter.
How did you build your Instagram following?
From the ground up. From the concrete, no internet. I tell all artists, don’t build your brand off the internet. I built it publicly. I had no followers on Instagram. People used to think my numbers were fake. They’d say “how’d you get 2 to 3 million views on a video, but only got 12K followers on Instagram?” I didn’t even know how to work IG. All I cared about was YouTube and Facebook.
I was actually in the streets touching the people. I’d come to your hood and hang out for 2 days, look up again and I’m in a whole other state. In their hood, hanging out. By the time I come back around, the song will be hot. They say “look, I got pictures. He was over here, he was over here!” Bloods, Crips, all that. I was going to every neighborhood. “Hey I’m 3, here’s my CD. I’ma shoot dice with ya’ll. Ya’ll barbequing? I’ma eat food with ya’ll.” Do all that. When ya’ll don’t see me anymore… now you see me on the Billboards. They always say “he came over here.”
I remember I went to this little hood called Hooverland, out in West Texas. I had a show, the promoter’s like “nah, you don’t want to go over there man. You don’t need to go over there. You wore the opposite color, there’s a lot of Crips over there.” My daddy was a Crip. I got cousins that are Crips. I got people who wore blue and it’s all love. If you’re a real one, you’re respected either way it goes. Every city. That was one of the first cities I did where I went against what the promoters said. He wanted us to do the industry thing: just be a rapper and come to the show. I didn’t go to the show only, I went to the hood. Pulled up, it was nighttime too.
Where did you pull up?
It was a Crip neighborhood. I got out and I was on the block. I’m like “what’s poppin’!”
They’re saying “who’s that?!” I’m Osama, I said “what’s poppin’!” “Nah, what’s crackin’ cuz? Who’s that?” “Man, it’s Mo3!” “Who?! Mo3, Mo3?!” They’re walking in the street with their flashlights. “Bro! Cuz! Mo3 in here! What you doing in our hood?”
These were my first stops though, my first time being in these places. It turned from 4 people on the street to 50. Everybody calling like “oh, he’s really here. That dude we’ve been seeing on YouTube is really right here, right now. No bodyguard, no nothing! He’s here.” I do that in every city now, go to different hoods in different cities. I pull up in Memphis or I’ll pull up in Arkansas. Louisiana. “I’m on the block, what’s up?”
You don’t travel with security?
No, I don’t travel with security. Do they provide security at the venues? They do. You don’t see any security around now, do you ?
With the recent passing of Pop Smoke, I feel like every rapper’s feeling targeted in a sense.
That’s how it’s always been. Security or no security, you’re always targeted. Your level of success makes you a target. You have people looking at you who are less fortunate, so you’re automatically a target. You’re looking at nobody, you don’t know these people, but you’re automatically a target.
What are some goals for yourself as an artist at this point in your career?
Trying to cement my sound, let music be the gateway. Trying to get into these movies. I’m trying to make a place in the game like Hov and Diddy. This is the start, that’s what gets you in the door.
Anything else you want to let us know?
Gangsta Love Pt. 2 is on the way. I know my fans think I’m not going to do it anymore, but I am. A whole R&B album is coming. “Gangsta Love Pt. 1,” I was just playing with it. We did the whole album and it did 20 million streams, so now we’re doing Pt. 2. At the shows, it’s going to be all females at the front.