Nowadays, it seems more than ever has there been an influx of new artists arriving on the rap scene… but only the real prevail. Insert Mozzy, the Sacramento native who’s been deemed one of the frontrunners of West Coast hip-hop of our generation. Hailing from his neighborhood of Oak Park comes with its own obstacles and hardships, and thankfully, music would be Mozzy’s saving grace.
A true definition of an individual who rose from the trenches, someone who came from nothing, sacrificed, and worked his ass off to get to where he is now, Mozzy has remained authentic, compassionate, humble, and full of love since day one. Boasting a devout fanbase that could probably recite every lyrics of his to every song (old or new), it’s Mozzy’s distinct raspy voice, spitfire flow, hard-hitting bars, vivid storytelling, and the fact that he wears his heart on his sleeve with each release that goes unnoticed.
This isn’t just turn up music to bump in the clubs or function, Mozzy spits that real and effortlessly reels in listeners to also engage, share, and confide in those same sentiments. With endless accolades under his belt, and even greater bodies of work — from my personal favorite Beyond Bulletproof to last year’s Occupational Hazard to this year’s joint project with YG called Kommunity Service — Mozzy returns with his news, most impactful project to date: Untreated Trauma. The album title speaks for itself, boasting 10 tracks with features from EST Gee, Babyface Ray, YFN Lucci, and more.
On the 21st episode of Shirley’s Temple, I sat with Mozzy at Matrix Studios in Los Angeles to discuss YG calling him “the closest thing to Tupac,” the making of “Gangsta,” weed preferences, biggest lesson learned behind bars, mental health check-in and music being his therapy, new project Untreated Trauma and why it’s his favorite yet, previous job making sandwiches at Togo’s, collaborating with Fredo Bang, getting his first million from EMPIRE, Nipsey welcoming him when he came to LA, respect for G Herbo, and more!
How you been?
I been good, I’ve been chillin’. I’ve been working. I can tell you have too, triple salute.
Man, ground up. Nah, you one of the first people to roll out the carpet for me. You’re forever in my favor for sure.
Kommunity Service with YG out now!
Mandatory snatch, make sure ya’ll go get that immediately.
I love that YG called you the closest thing to Tupac, how does that feel?
That’s my dawg. That n*gga forever throwing alley oops and compliments, so that ain’t nothing out of the regular. I be hearing that a lot too, but I try not to let it get to my head. I’m lit, fuck it. I was lit. N*gga told me, what? I went home and wrote 100 raps.
How much do you smoke?
If you look at my pictures on Instagram, I keep a doobie in my hand. “She digging in the astray ‘cause she’s a doobie smoker.” I fire up all day.
Whatever occupant of the vehicle at the time it is. [laughs] Shout out all my doobie smokers.
How much is Mozzy smoking a day?
Probably 6 or 7 blunts a day, but you know I be rolling my own blunts. I fire up, put it out, fire back up. I’m moderate, in moderation.
Do you prefer indica or Sativa?
Indica. Someone taught me this early on: indica = in da couch. Sativa is more head high, so I ran with it like that. I function with Indica. Every Sativa I came across wasn’t potent enough for me, so I be functioning with Indica. I really only smoke Cookies. Cook Pack only, I love Cook.
What is it about Cookies?
It got different taste, I think it’s the taste. Everything doesn’t taste the same. You might hit something, it tastes like dirt. I don’t know why Cookies are consistent for me. I could buy a P and run through a whole P without buying any other type of weed. Say if I buy any other type of P, I’m not going to be able to smoke just that.
Do your homies get to smoke that with you?
Nah they get to hit the blunts, or I might give them a couple nugs. But I ain’t selling none. I don’t sell weed…
Did you used to?
When I was a youngin’, running it up. I sold any and everything, however we were going to generate the paper. I like the fact that they turned all of it legal. That’s dope. You can still travel the world, jump off a flight and they’ll take you to jail for smelling like a blunt, a sack of weed, a gram, etc. But you be out here, it’s lit. You can get caught 5 P’s and they’ll let you wiggle off.
I had Freeway Rick Ross on Shirley’s Temple, we talked about people still being locked up for cannabis. How do you feel about that?
They should’ve been cracked the gates, it’s justifiable now. What is it, non-violence offense? Come on, crack the gates for all the real.
I know you were locked up in county, how long were you behind bars for?
Nothing major, I be in and out. We call them turnarounds.
Biggest lesson you learned from behind bars?
Not going to lie, the whole experience itself is a lesson. You leave the institution clean, healthy, more intelligent. You’ve read more books than you’ve done read in your life. You go do 90 days, you read more books in 90 days than you’ve read in your whole life. You become a lot more in tune with your people, what you care about. It’s like detoxing, that’s how I look at it. It really taught me how to program, stay consistent. Find something I love and be able to really zero in and focus on that. If you want to sell all day, 23 hours a day, and you’re trying to figure out something to keep you occupied — whatever it is: arts and crafts, poetry, music, you hone in on it. You really zero in on it and tweak. It’ll teach you how to program, how to wake up every day and knock out 10 verses.
Is that how much you’re doing every day?
Nah, I be light. I do 3 or 4 versus a day, But when I was doing my little jail time, I was shooting 15 verses a day.
You had a lot of shit to say huh?
Yeah, I was going crazy. I was dream-chasing, I had a dream. I was waking up in that cell thinking I was rich, then you’ll wake up like “ohhh, it’s spicy.” [laughs] It’s programming, it teaches people how to program. People come home and they’re programmed. It’ll teach you to become self-sufficient. People who didn’t know how to make a peanut butter jelly sandwich, they come home now all of a sudden they’re spreading. They’re on program, they eat oatmeal.
When you were working at Togo’s, what was your sandwich there?
Shout out Togo’s, that’s where the word ‘mozzarella’ comes from. Of course as African-Americans, we function with pastrami heavy. But you can never go wrong with the little turkey sandwich with the Pepperchinis, heavy on the Pepperchinis. You know what I hate? I hate people who come in and get meatballs. I gotta make you a meatball sandwich, the meatballs were just in the freezer. I wouldn’t eat it, so I’m making you a sandwich that I wouldn’t even try. Crazy.
When you were working there, did you think you’ll be where you are today?
Most definitely, I took that job due to probation stipulations. I was trying to get off of that paperwork and really wiggle. My patna, same probation stipulations. He had to get a job. He locked me in, threw me the alley oop. “I can get you righteous, whoop whoop.” It worked out. When they brought in new management, my partna was the manager. He was platinum, he was a real one. He didn’t have me doing no toilets, no extracurricular. They came with a new manager, he tried to turn up the volume on us as far as what people present. He assigned me to the bathroom, I’m not finna be doing all that. Nah, I quit.
I worked at Baskin Robbins and had to clean toilets once.
Ooh, ain’t that’s the worst job? I’m not functioning with it. I tore up out of there, disappointed granny. The whole 9 yards, but it was good.
A huge part of this show is mental health, how have you been holding up? People don’t talk enough about it.
They don’t. Mental health is such a sensitive subject. You gotta find sources of therapy that fit you. I don’t think a therapist is always the thing. Some people workout, for me it’s to write raps and perform. I don’t just make music, I put what I’m going through in my music. The whole process of creating, performing the music and getting acknowledged for the music, it’s all therapeutic for me. That’s how I deal with mine, so you have to find something that fits you.
What if it is bad for you?
Sometimes that be the case, but we’re adults. We know what’s right and wrong. You weigh out your options. If it’s bad for you but also healthy in a sense, sometimes they prescribe us medicine that’s bad for us. It’ll treat this problem, but fuck us up over here. Life, you have to figure out what’s tailor-made for you.
Statistics say “African-Americans are 20% more likely than the general population to endure a severe mental health disorder, such as major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.”
I agree. I agree because of the location we live and our surroundings. Not to say that we’re the only ones who deal with it, but what race is more destructive towards their race than African-Americans? It’s a natural instinct. I agree, we deal with the most self-inflicted things so that makes sense.
In 2018, I actually interviewed you about kicking the cup. Thoughts on substance abuse and how’re you doing now?
Substance abuse is a high power funk session. It’s internal, it’s internal affairs. It’s a fight with yourself. Even if you find a way to quit, I don’t think the fight with yourself will ever completely be… it’s crazy. You’ll always fight with yourself no matter what. If you accomplish this and knock that out, you’re still going to have to fight with yourself about this. Just inner demons. It’s a beautiful struggle, straight up.
Have you been sipping, or are you clean?
I’m sippin’ this Shirley’s Temple Soda. “At least I don’t promote it on the Gram, it’s my addiction though. It numbs the pain that I be goin’ through, who are you to judge? I miss you, Brenda Usher, without you I been secluded love.” [raps “I Ain’t Perfect”] Oh my goD.
Mozzy, when I tell you I cry to your records.
I appreciate that, that be my intentions. Because you know, it makes me cry. I jump on the freeway: roll up, get high, and I just cry to it.
Does Daveo (manager) cry?
Nah, he don’t be crying in my shit. He’s the manager, he’s like “tighten up n*gga.” [laughs] “Tighten up n*gga, let’s get this money.” I’m performing right now, I could cry and they think it’s sweat. I’ve cried at my shows and let it blend in with the sweat, it be touching me. It’s therapeutic for me, I told you it’s therapy.
What’s your most impactful, meaningful song? I think of “I Ain’t Perfect,” that shit is beautiful.
“I ain’t perfect, but I work on that at least.” That’s one of the ones right there. It’s recent. You right, “I Ain’t Perfect” for sure. I got some unreleased shit, it’s crazy. That motherfucker finna drop. You wouldn’t believe what it’s called: Untreated Trauma. Mental health. Some of the unreleased songs on there I feel are my all-time high quotables.
You have such a platform now, are you doing anything on the mental health front?
I’ma tweak with it, but I want to make sure I tweak with it in a proper manner. I don’t want it to come off corny. I want it to be real heartfelt and I want my audience to look like me. I understand what others don’t, so I want to pinpoint that audience and make sure they find it beneficial.
Bring us back to when you made “Unforgiven.”
“I might not be forgiven, fuck it. I got blood on my hands, I promised to be a man in the circumstances presented. And if they chip me, better kill ’em. Just make sure them n*ggas feel it, that’s all I ask of the killers.” “Unforgiven” is me understanding a lot of shit in my life, people may not forgive me for it. There are things I may never be forgiven for and as a man, I’m okay with that. I’m comfortable with myself. When I look in the mirror: pure, authentic. That’s where that song’s coming from: I know I might not be forgiven and I accept that 100%.
Your unreleased shit must be crazy.
Mmhmm, I’ma black out on ‘em. You know I’m getting up there, I’m calculating my exit plan. Don’t tell nobody!
Before, you said Occupational Hazard was your favorite album.
It was. All my favorite albums are the albums I create most recently. I don’t know why, it naturally happens like that. Right now, Untreated Trauma is my favorite album. I’ve been wearing it out so by the time it drops, I probably won’t even like it.
“Gangsta” with 50 Cent is too hard, what was that studio session like?
“Damn homie! They took yo chain and you ain’t blam homie. What the fuck wrong with you dudes?” That’s my squadron, that’s management. He’s mapping it out: “bruh I think you should knock this out.” I wasn’t really feeling it right? I don’t like remixing people’s stuff, I don’t like tampering with the greats. I try to march in my own lane. He threw me the alley oop and I followed through with it. We sat on it, held it for a minute, doubled back. Put Gizzle on there, it was a perfect fit. Straight up. Shout out 50.
Do you watch Power?
Hell yeah! Now we on that Raising Kanan. It’s lit. It’s Power, it’s just going back in time and it’s dope. How they cook up is dope.
I was on Youtube and the video of you, YG, and Young M.A came on. How was that day on the water, with the jet skis?
In Cabo, lit. That muthafucka was upwards. I had Gangland with me, they were on a segregated boat. I flew about 100 people out. The whole weekend was lit, but that particular day was dope. I was mad I didn’t get to get ski. We had some little delinquents, they’re taking their jet ski out of border. Doubling back, wrecking. Everything you could possibly do on a get ski so they stripped us for that. Outside of that, it was lit. Video shoot, dope. M.A: down-to-earth, regular, real one. Gizzle, naturally. It was one of them days.
How does it feel to be able to travel to these places?
It’s a blessing, I couldn’t visualize my life this way. I couldn’t visualize it. I knew I’d be rich. I knew I’d have a bag and be able to do for my people, but I still couldn’t visualize or pinpoint these moments. It’s dope, overwhelming. I’m grateful, straight up.
Free Fredo Bang, you’re on the closing track to his album, “Amen,” off his new album Murder Made Me.
Immediately, one of them ones. That’s my dawg, function with him. He tapped in: “brudda brudda I need you on this, this sounds like Gangland!” Go tune into that muthafucka.
How did y’all guys tap in?
Celly Ru function with him heavy. He was getting in with Ru, Ru threw me the alley oop. He put me on. My young life been putting me on because I’m an old man. They be keeping me updated on what’s new and improved, like your show. This is new and provide, straight up culture. 100%.
What’re you most excited for next?
I know I’m finna get a new bag. It’s a bag on the way and I’ve already been plotting on spending that. One of them bags where you can look out for your people. One of them bags where you can start splurging, not have to worry about rent and mortgage. I’m excited about that. Other than that, just life in general. My career and turning it up a notch. More entrepreneurship, more investments, more corner stores. Turn it up a notch in every aspect.
How’d it feel getting your first million from EMPIRE?
That million, I still call them and thank them every day for it. Any chance, any opportunity I get, I love them people. Life-changing, I imagined we’d get a bag out of this. I knew we’re doper than a lot, doper than majority, so I felt like we stood the chances. To get a million out of it, I talked to so many other legendary people. People I consider legends from my jurisdiction, they tell me “bro, I got all the fame, recognition. I did everything you did.”
Messy Marv to be exact, he told me “I did everything you did bro, except get the bag. You got the bag.” It touched me because I see a lot of people do that. They’ll get everything, all the perks that come with this music, but they won’t get the bag. The backend of their business be thunder or whatever the case may be. I’m extremely grateful for that, my positioning, my predicament. Shout out to EMPIRE man, because they had a lot to do with that.
You collabed with Nipsey Hussle on “I Do This” off Slauson Boy 2, alongside Young Thug. Bring us back to that.
That’s my dawg. First and foremost, the whole All Money in family. The Marathon Continues, fella. That song alone, we did two songs that day. “Ain’t Hard Enough,” then we got “I DoThis.” We knocked both of them out. He had me go in there, I pulled up. He rolled the carpet out for me. Got me righteous, introduced everybody to me. Made sure I was comfortable, felt at home. Legitimate. He let me do my dougie, he was functioning with it. He pulled up another one, Young Thug ran in there. Did his dougie, it was a gangsta party. This was 2016 or 2017. As soon as I came to LA, he welcomed me with open arms.
How are your daughters?
Platinum, girly face gang. They’re platinum, growing up. I’ve been falling back from the internet, I try to keep them off of the internet now.
Why is that?
Just precautions. They’re going to school now, they’re in the public world. We gotta keep it gangsta, we ain’t finna be doing all that. Girly face, they platinum. Growing at a scary rate, it’s scary. Damn, I be sitting there looking at them like they actually stretched out on me. [laughs] It’s lit.
Favorite thing to do with your daughters?
Just be at the house, chillin’. Wrestling, chasing them around, tickling them, painting. Stuff that you don’t really assign, that’s my favorite.
Anything else you want to plug?
Untreated Trauma out now. Them little titles be lightweight yankin’ huh? Like we’re talking about earlier, find you something that you could tweak on heavy, something you’re interested in or holds your interest. Something you wouldn’t mind doing for free all day, that’s therapy in itself. No matter if you’re running a race course, you’re driving fast, if you go to the gun range, whatever it is where you know after you experienced trauma — when you participate in these activities, it relieves you. You should do that heavy. Versus if you can’t afford a therapist, they be expensive and it’s time-consuming, you could do that to the neck. Me, I find mine in music. Actually writing music, performing music.
Yeah I write my own shit. Shout out to the ghostwriters, we might sneak ‘em in every once in a while. I still scribble majority. Writing, performing, Even if I was broke or even if rap didn’t pay me, no matter how it would’ve played out, I still would’ve participated in the sport because it’s always been a part my life. Once more, it’s therapeutic. For me to go in there, write something come and get it off of my chest — even if I never perform it or even if the world never hears it, it’s a therapy session for me. Hell yeah, Untreated Trauma out now. Tap into that “Unforgiven.”
I remember interviewing G Herbo, he’s telling me he was putting his homies on Mozzy early. How does it feel then to make records with him, and fire fucking records at that?
Shout out Herb, fella. Nothing but love for blood. Naturally a real one if you ask me, that’s my personal opinion. I function with him, always triple salute no matter what I’m doing. Reach out. If I ever needed anything, he doesn’t make it a Boosie session. Some people make it Boosie: you send a song, they never do it. You double back on them: “what’s hannin with the song?” They pump fake again, it makes it weird. Bruh’s always been straight up purified, I function with him heavy. Much continued success.
Were you listening to him?
Yeah I did tap in, he’s drill music. We were tapped into Chicago, that’s what was going on. Naturally like the rest of the world, we tapped into what’s going on. We were functioning with that. He’s one of the few that was kicking that shit, I’m talking about bars. Sliding on the track, that’s the type of lane I be in too. We were on Him and Bibby.
“Body Count” though!
“Body Count,” rest up Von. Fella. I sent the song to Herbo, Von was in his presence. He said “hold on, let me scribble something to that.” He jumped on that, regular. Did the little quarantine video. He made the process super easy. Shout out the whole OTF over there. Durkio going brazy.