justLISTEN! Moka Only x Ron Contour

Interview by Jenkin Au and Alan Ng
Words by Jenkin Au
Photography by Jenkin Au

MOKA ONLY WEBSITE

Moka Only – How Do You Feel Today

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Ron Contour – Rontario

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The justalilhype! Crew had a rare opportunity to sit down with cousins Moka Only and Ron Contour. With all the conspiracy and confusion on the internet, many identity questions arose due to the speculation of the likeliness of these two family members. Left and right, there were people accusing Moka to be Ron, and vice versa. However, the justalilhype! Crew is here to prove it all wrong. We sat down with both of these hip-hop artists and we asked them some general questions and many personal questions.

Moka Only is an international hip-hop star, most known world wide to be a part of the hit group, Swollen Members. While it may not be openly known, Moka was part of founding group and even came up with the name. He tells us that he left the group only because of his urge for individuality, not because of an argument between him and front man Madchild. Moka also talks to us about the importance of his trips down to California which shaped him to be who he is today.

Because Ron Contour had some French-Canadian background, he spoke a little bit of French to play around with us. However, for the most part, Ron was quite shy and kept quiet. We asked Ron many questions about his background and his reservations, and he tells us about his ever changing background and many reservations downtown. Today, he tells us his background is Tim Hortons.

Also joining us for the interview was June Ten, a good friend of theirs, helping Ron with his shyness. June Ten’s music had caught the ear of Moka Only and from there, a strong friendship ensued.

Continue reading below as Moka Only and Ron Contour sat down with us and had a two hour long chat about theirs, and Vancouver’s, hip-hop history.

Can you please tell us a little more about yourselves?

M: Well, my name is Moka. I’m an MC but I feel, first and foremost, that I’m more instrumentally inclined. I like to do beats and vocals comes second.

R: Mon nom est Ron Contour. Je suis un DJ et MC du rap musique. Je suis un rectangle. In English, my name is Ron Contour. That’s all. I’ve come a long way, now… no that’s for jokes. I do raps and sometimes beats, but not as much beats as raps. And girls tolerate me.

“Moka Only” is a stage name. Can you tell us about the startings of this name and how “Moka Only” came to be?

M: “Only” is because I wanted to be the only one. The name was a nickname, and it came to be because everyone called me “Moka” back in the day, because I drank so much coffee. I was a graffiti writer so I changed it to “Moka 1” because no one else had it and I was the only one – anyone else that was calling themselves “Moka” would be “Moka 2” or whatever. On the real! It became evident that every rapper wanted to put a “1” after their name just to copy the graffiti writers, because that’s where it all came from. I got tired of it so I changed it to “Moka Only”, which is basically the same thing – “Only” is pretty much a variation of “1”. I had so many people come up to me over the years asking me what it meant. “Do you only like dark skin girls”? Nah, any kind of girl will do.

And Ron, is that your real name?

R : I’m sorry but I’m sort of old fashioned. I stick to my artist name and that’s what people care about. They don’t care about a Jason Smith. It looks like there’s going to be a wee bit of a thunderstorm with lighting and thunder.

Moka, can you tell us about the early stages of your career? You have been raised to fame during the golden hip-hop era and furthermore, you have a large reputation within the hip-hop scene. Can you tell us about the origins of Moka Only?

M: Well, originally, I’m not even from the scene – I spent my childhood on Vancouver Island, where I met Prevail and my homeboy Ishcan, also from Vancouver Island. In the late ‘80s, I had a group called “Sound Advice”. I swear that this was the only rap group, or the first rap group, in Victoria. It was me, MC Juice Dub, DJ T-Double, and MC Degree and it didn’t last that long, but it taught me a lot. From there on, 1992 hit, right in the middle of the golden era. I thought, “Well, Victoria is pretty limited,” so me and Prevail moved over here in Vancouver. Prevail and I had our own group, kind of like a split sphere and for the first few years, I lived in Vancouver and California and we just rocked shows – freestyle stuff. We were the only cats that I knew of spitting things off the top of our heads. We didn’t have demos or mixtapes, nothing. We just made up freestyles wherever we went and that’s how it began.

And after that? How has it been from ’92 until now?

M: A rollercoaster. Some not as good, but mostly good. Between ’93 and ’94, Prevail and I moved to California and spent a lot of time in San Diego and Los Angeles and that’s where we really earned our stripes. We hung out with a lot of the OG’s and they really put us in our place. They basically told us “This flies and this doesn’t, but it’s your opinion. We’ll just give you some suggestions to help you get better.” We hung out with quite a few members of the West Coast Rock Steady Crew chapter. To be hanging out with anybody that was with the Rock Steady Crew was like, “Ahhh!” It was the nuttiest shit ever. We were living in San Diego with a bunch of graffiti writers and a couple that represented Rock Steady Crew, my man Quasar in particular. Man, those guys showed us so much love and showed us so much shit. California had a lot to do with my career – I wasn’t immediately embraced in Vancouver. It’s funny how being in my home area, people would shun it, yet when I go to California, I’d get major love. We met so many nutty and crazy people.

The hip-hop scene was just way more accepted in California.

M: Yeah, it was. Vancouver wasn’t really on the map for much except for Expo ’86 and Bryan Adams, at least that’s what it seemed like. We met up with Dilated (Pupils) when they were just starting and when they just put a 12 inch together, you know what I’m saying? I’m friends with Evidence still, from 16 years ago. Matter of fact, he was up here a little while ago recording a new album so I made a contribution to that.

Solid.

M: Yeah man, that’s all I can say. I don’t think I’ve talked much about it that much in interviews, about the impact of California on my career. The graciousness of and the acceptance of the west coast American hip-hop scene was just astounding.

It’s at these times and ages which make the biggest impact on an individual the most.

M: Another thing about that is that your mind is very emotional too. That’s why we always look back at our teenage years and just think that it’s so pivotal. It’s what shapes us as to what career you go into, what music you listen to, what kind of girls you’re into, it all happens at that age. I was 19 to 20 at that time. I was 20 years old in the Golden Era! That’s no joke! That’s so emotional! Even in Vancouver, when things were popping off, there were so many events popping off and early rap contests. We even had the DJ Sound Wars that lasted until ’95. It was just a rap and DJ contest and even graffiti and it was held out at UBC. There were people that would come as far away as Chicago and it was a big deal. It is a part of the Vancouver hip-hop scene that hasn’t stayed documented, you know what I mean?

Yeah, DJ Flipout told us a bit about it.

M: Yeah, I remember seeing Flipout way before was even Flipout or before What The Hell or before him and Madchild had their group, you know what I’m saying? Yeah, Madchild was in the Rascals then.

J: Yeah, that’s history right there.

M: I remember when Craig Mac came out with the “flavor in your ears, 1000 degrees” and then I had “big mac and chesse, you’ll be on your knees with the ecoli disease”. I flipped it into this food shit and the crowd went nuts. It was so crazy back then. It really wasn’t about money. It was about making a living, of course, but the creativity meant everything. When Puffy started coming out with his own stuff, people here were like, “Ugh,” and only the girls liked it. All the guys in the real hip-hop scene were interested in the styles a rapper had. Breaking was huge too. It was just so much more integrated in the scene.

Now, each of the scenes are quite dispersed. DJ’s have their own stuff, the breakers have their own stuff and everything is very commercialized now.

M: It is and I’m happy that dancers can make a living now.  The big break dancing wave came and gone from the ‘80s to the ‘90s.

M: One thing that I noticed was that graffiti writers always existed without hip hop. I remember seeing all these graffiti on the walls and I imagined them to be bboys and listening to hip hop with cargo pants and everything. But I met them and they’re into rock and roll and they’re into Guns N’Roses. Hip-hop is founded based on nuts and bolts and putting things together like you’re MacGyver and being original. Now, it seems like commercialization has flipped everything on the ends and made it OK to bite and cool to pretend to be somebody else and it’s accepted. If you’re doing something really abstract or left field, it gets pushed under. The only thing that has done is that it has created a fertile ground to bring the underground back up from ground zero.

Yeah, for sure. One of our biggest fears is listening to really dope underground rap artists and then seeing them change as they need to accommodate to commercialization and then what we love them for disappears.

M: Well, here’s the thing. Our hero’s, we wish them success and we want to see them survive, but we don’t want to see them change their music to do so. Where I’m at, at 36 years old, I’ve seen some highs and lows. I’ve had some really good and well off years and in the past, I’ve had some really low years. I definitely want to be rich and be rich off my creative soul but I will never change my sound to do so. I’ll build it and let them come, and I believe in that. I believe that any one can make a vital living off what they do – they just have to keep hammering it out and people will come and check it out. It’s funny because a lot of guys my age that used to be in the rap game, they came and went as if it was a fun kid thing to do. I have no intention to slow down – I might even speed up, more than anything. Imagine me saying the same lines when I’m 60! As for beats, you can keep doing it. Look at the jazz community! That genre of music contributed heavily to hip-hop. If they can do it, why can’t we? How come people are saying that someone who is 35 is too old? Hip-hop is too young for anyone to put those “you’re too old” kind of rules on it. It never mattered before. You know Guru, rest in peace to him, but when Guru and the gang stuff started, he was already an older cat, and Public Enemy for instance.

J: Even from an outsiders point of view, even for all these other cats here, Moke’s is still relevant. Not relevant as in the time, but more like it’s timeless. He can’t stop, even if he wanted to. You can see people in their careers and they’re trying to work with younger cats to stay with the crowd –

M: The guy’s are trying too hard!

J: Yeah. What [Moka Only] has done is beyond what the normal rap artist has done and this dude needs to be documented. I’m telling you. Preserve this dude’s work. I don’t think the same cats who have come up the same time as he has is working as hard as he is. They’re all like, “Oh, my skills have diminished. I might as well fill this in and do this and do the quota.” Moka is abundant with material and that’s hard when you get older and have bills and responsibilities.

M: Here’s my thing, check it out. For instance, when a man gets older, the general consensus is that he gets wiser so he gets better with his words. So why is it that in hip-hop, when some dudes gets older, they get worse with their words, when rap music is just an extension of rap which comes from conversation. Does that mean that when you get older, you start speaking more juvenile or stupid? I really want to name names right now but I don’t want to call anyone out.

J: I got a few right now off the top of my head but I don’t want to say it.

M: There were some guys that were just on top of it in the ‘90s and they were the flow masters. I don’t know if they got lazy or they didn’t recognize the world is still revolving around them, but their rap flows got so basic. Sometimes, I’m wondering if they feel the need to cater to a “stupider youth”, so to say. Are you supposed to get dumber? I’m just saying, how is it possible for somebody to run out of words in ways to express their life just because they’ve gotten to an older age? Perfect example, Master Ace. That guy is on fire and he’s legitimately old school. That guy is still thriving and he’s so sharp and he’s got to be in his mid 40’s.

M: Right now, rap is so accepted. Kids here, they were born with hip-hop being accepted. Back in the day, we would walk around and people would look at us. It wasn’t because we were black guys or asian or Hispanic guys. It was just that we were like martians, the way we dressed and the way we carried ourselves. We would pop up anywhere and cipher. It was just this exclusive club and if you ever saw someone that fit the hip-hop description, then you could just kick it with them and chances are, it’d be cool, unless it was some territorial and gangster stuff – that stuff is different.

R: I like turtles.

Going back to you introducing Ron in the hip-hop scene, not only do people often criticize him as being your shadow, people are saying you two are the same person. What is your take on that?

M: This has happened so many times with artists who have siblings. Take a look at the Jackson siblings. People were actually like, “Why don’t Michael and Janet ever appear at the same place? They are the same person!” Just let ‘em. I let people guess whatever they want to but they’ll know the truth. All I can do is paint a picture and people can perceive it however they want to. And you know what? If that’s what people want then that’s fine too. I think there are a lot of mysteries in music that make it more fun. If people don’t believe it, all I can say to them is to enjoy it, regardless, because it adds to the mystique, or hate it with a passion.

And what about you, Ron? We heard you were discovered at a family reunion by Moka. I think there’s some confusion about that and maybe some magazines didn’t do their homework.

R: That’s not true. I always rhymed with my cousin but I wasn’t discovered. I just started to build and he said he wanted to help me out. I’ve heard the same things that you’re referring to as far as, you know, the family barbeque or get together, and that sort of stuff is not true. It is lies and fabrication. As Moka was saying, it just adds to the mystique.

J: That is propaganda. That is just pure slander material. Ron Contour freestyling at a family reunion? That doesn’t even happen. Who made that up?

Ron, your look is very European, from the scarves to the coats. What is your direction with that?

R: You picked up on that. I have this sort of fascination with the UK, you know, which is evident in my speech and everything. It’s just something that more interesting when you pretend like you are from somewhere else, not that I want to be somebody else. It’s all shits and giggles. I’m not Moka, though. I like doughnuts.

What’s your fave?

R: Honey crullers.

Nice. And can you tell us a little more about some similarities and differences between you and Moka that people should know about?

R: I’m interested in insects. Or sex. Just sex, drop the “in”. I was doing bee keeping for a while and it got boring after a while. You paint yourself in a box sometimes and you got to break free of the box. I’ve never taken much to Christina Aguilera. In ways we’re similar is that we both like food. It’s a theme we have in our music, separately and together. Pause. I would say he’s just more outgoing than I am and he’s not that outgoing. I always have my dreams and wishes and hopes to be someone who’s a world play and on constant adventure. I’m more of an author in my rhymes where Moka is more about regular stuff. Mine include dreams and boats that I like to own.

J: He’s got catelogues of boats of different sizes and everything. Boats and boots.

R: Timberlands. I’m very influenced by the ‘90s.

M: I’m influenced too, but just less.

R: Sometimes, I think it’s still the ‘90s and have these flashbacks. HATCHEW!

J: Boats and boots, Ron Contour, that’s it. Boats because if you think about it, you’re floating on water which is basically walking on water. Miraculous in so many ways. And boots, you need something to walk on water with and what better than a nice pair of Timberlands? Ron Contour.

Hey, Moka, can you tell us about your involvement with Swollen Members back in 1996 to the prime times of 2002 to 2005? How did you influence the hip-hop group’s direction?

M: Swollen was interesting. It really happened by accident – it didn’t have this master plan. Prev and I were still doing this split sphere thing and Madchild had just come back from The Bay area and he was trying to make some noise for us and stuff and we just kept running into each other at places. He knew who we were and we knew who he was. We started having rhyme sessions and ciphers and stuff and one day, we were sitting around and we just wanted to make this super group. It was actually Madchild’s idea to have us three and DJ Kilocee to DJ and “It’d be like the craziest Vancouver shit,” – those were Madchild’s words. I was with it but I was kind of hesitant in the way that I haven’t made much noise with the split sphere and I wanted to build it up more, but I thought this was the way to do it. That never really happened. We recorded a few songs, Swollen Members the early incarnation around ’96 or whatever, and people heard them around the way. I made up the name, too, for Swollen Members.

Oh really? How did it come about?

M: We were really drunk. We drank alcohol and we were like, “What should we call our group?” and Madchild was like, “’The Fat Dicks’,” and he had something there. I said, “How about ‘Swollen Members’?” and we laughed about it but we kept it. It’s always a running joke now. There would be people just saying fat dicks all over the radio and all it means is just fat cock. We made meaning to it. Like, “Swollen Members, Extended Crew”, and that was what we said for safety. I think I was more inclined to do things on my own so about half a year or a year I just said, “Hey guys, I’m going to do my own thing, but let’s still crew up.” We continued to work together but from a distance, while Swollen kept building their name as a duo. ’99 came around and we started to work together a little more because Mad had built up the label, very meager but he was able to put together some 12 inches. I didn’t rejoin the group again, officially, until 2002. It was kind of a tough go and I had success with some of my own stuff, like “Lime Green”. The balance between two was difficult. I always looked at Swollen as a temporary thing, always in and out, but it was all love. Towards the end of it, I wasn’t satisfied with the direction that it was going in. I thought it was good and it definitely showcased musical talent, but I just wasn’t satisfied with it. I was interested in dipping in other stuff and it was nothing personal – in fact, we still kick it. Madchild just moved in next door to me and I see him all the time. What else can I say? I guess I don’t want to risk being one of those people that are like, “Hey check me out, check out all that I’ve done,” but there are a couple things that I’m proud about. We sold more records than any other Canadian hip-hop artist at that time and obviously Drake is now sneaking up on us. We made our mark and got Junos and stuff. It’s cool to win an award and stuff, but it doesn’t measure you as a person.

Moka, Madchild went through some serious drug addiction, recently.

M: Yeah, but he’s done with that.

How did that affect you personally?

M: It was very sad. We had grown apart and barely talked, but it wasn’t a negative thing. They were just busy doing their own thing and it was a difference of lifestyle. They continued to do things with Swollen but then I would hear things about [the addiction] and it couldn’t have been true. When I was around Mad and the group, he was very anti drug and very outspoken against it. It was me and him that would hang out while everyone else got drunk and partied. He didn’t smoke weed or anything, and I didn’t do drugs all my life. Well, with the exception of some tokey-toke. But to hear that, it saddened my heart when I saw him do a video blog confirming it. Then I heard through other mutual friends how bad it had gotten and I didn’t know until I started seeing him again. He’s clean now and he’s got his shit together and you should hear some of his new stuff now – it’s right back on the hip-hop stuff. I’m not trying to put him on blast but he told me recently that he just wanted to be an artist. He said, “I’m not worried about money, I’m not worried about all that other stuff. I just want to be an artist. I’m really inspired and I’m listening to all these cats. I just want to come off and flip rap,” so that’s really good to hear that. When I met Mad, it was just hip-hop, hip-hop, hip-hop and that’s where we came from. For him, someone who’s officially inducted into Rock Steady Crew, it’s crazy now. A lot of respect to him, for short. People say that we don’t like each other but me and Mad are similar in a lot of ways. Our music may be vastly apart but it’s still a brotherhood.

Do you see yourself being more involved with Swollen over the years?

M: Yeah, I see that happening. It may or may not be with Swollen but it will be with the individual members of the group or it could be with both him and Prev. It could be just some other collabos. I was talking to Mad and we were thinking of some rhymes – just raw rhymes over beats. It could happen. This year, I’m excited to hear a lot of the new things coming out, like Kanye’s album being produced by Q-Tip and Madlib. It’s a testament that things happen in cycles and the underground is going to shine again. People are going to remember what skill was, what character was and what personality was. Not to say that rappers haven’t exhibited that over the past few years but it’s been more on the back burner, you know what I mean? Making money has been the theme, making money and V.I.P. If you’re going to rap, you got to really rap now.

Has your experience with Swollen Members glimpsed you the difference between money and fame with the true love of music.

M: I honestly think that it’s going to get better or at least go through a cycle where it appears to get a lot more interesting. You see it happening more now – you see some of the indie rock and someone is playing the lutes and the recorders too. I think we’re going to see more of that in hip-hop, transisting from an over capitalist era to an era where it’s just bringing good music to people. The old industry model with the record companies and all that, it’s falling in on itself, through a number of reasons and I don’t even want to name them. The people that really care about music, they are going to keep doing music and the ones that weren’t in it so much for the love of music, they’ll find other things to do, like real estate or some shit.

Speaking of making music with weird instruments, we saw the video of you using a whole bunch of weird machines to make music.

M: Oh yeah!

Which one makes the most unique sound and which one was the hardest to find?

M: That’s me, man, I just want to make some freaky stuff. It’s not so much the hardest to find, it’s more the most money I spend on it. The Mini Mo Keyboard and I had to put in $5000 to buy that one keyboard. I could have bought a used car or put a down payment on a car or some smart shit, but of course I put it into music. All the money I make, I just put it back into musical instrument because I like music that much. I don’t buy clothes, although that’s important too. I would say the Mini Mo is my most important piece of equipment because you can make any sound with it. It’s an original keyboard and it’s got all these kinds of oscillators and switches on it. From one hum, you can mold or shape the sound to create anything from raindrops falling to radio static and drums even.

And Ron, have you used any of Moka’s many instruments?

R: He’s more experimental. I like it simple, like the ‘90s. It just suits me more. Things like that.

Ron, tell us about the collaborations between you and Moka.

R: I usually tell Moka to do my beats because I like them. I’m a product of the ‘90s so I like to carry that essence, back with PM Dawn and malarkey. What was the question?

The collaborations…

R: Oh right. I just get beats. That’s it. Pause. I get music from him. He also taught me how to make beats.

M: He actually produced a song on my Lime Green album and it was recorded in ’99.

R: Sort of nervous right now. June might have to help me answer a few. And I want to clear it up right now. The moustache is artificial. The moustache and glasses is something I wear that makes me feel comfortable. I’m not like my cousin who can just talk to anyone. I just get nervous in situations like this. “Why are you asking me questions and all this?”

In the past, Moka, you’ve done a lot of collaborations with artists such as Jeff Spec and Prevail, etc. How do you think collaborations spark the creativity?

M: Man, most of the people you mentioned happened because of the deep friendships that we had. I don’t reach out to many people, most of the time, they reach out to me. I reached out to June Ten because I was so intrigued by his music but other people, like MCs, I don’t reach out. I love the art of MCing but I seem apprehensive to reach out to other MCs to work with. I like doing collabs best when there’s money involved – that’s how I make my living. I highly encourage people to pay me to rap because when you put out an album, people put it up on torrents and they can get it for free. It makes it tough for people like me to pay the bills and eat food and not die. When people reach out to me for collabs, that’s one of the things I count on. I will do the best job, regardless of who the artist is. I still do some collabs for snakes and giggles and then I do my collabs to not die. That’s crazy! I haven’t had a day job since 1993!

What was it?

M: I was serving coffee, oddly enough. I was serving snacks and coffee at a bingo hall. It was very undesirable and I thought, “Well, I might as well take the plunge.” I knew I could do it. That goes back to what I was saying before about the peers that were talented and then quit. I don’t think they thought it was real and thought it was a dream. “Oh, the dream is over, time to get back to reality.” Why couldn’t you believe in art being your career? I don’t understand.

Why hasn’t there been a full Ron Contour x Moka Only?

J: Just stop. Stop pressing the envelope on that one.

OK. What do you think your music styles are?

M: OK, as for getting inspiration, I would say jazz has been the most instrumental, pardon the pun. I’ve been listening to jazz ever since I was a kid. I was the weird kid – while everyone else was listening to Bon Jovi, I listened to people like Eddie Harris. I was a loner but it didn’t matter as long as I had my jazz, jazz and rap. Jazz was most important because it’s complexity is never ending. If you were to get into jazz, it’s some difficult stuff – you don’t know where to start but it’s infinite. It has such a rich history, even in Vancouver. It taught me a lot about how to flow on a rap. It has spontaneity and intricacy – it has two can have two different time structures – that’s crazy!

M: Here’s what I like about hip-hop. A lot of times, in pop music or other genres, it takes a hundred people to screw in a light bulb – you got the instrumentalist, the artist, the writer… I only need me. It’s exciting and it’s grassroots to be able to make something from nothing. That’s what I like about hip-hop. The rules aren’t the same. People tries to impose rules on hip-hop but nothing really sticks. You just do what you want to do or you just be a beesh and listen to somebody else. I have to be my own promoter and everything – who else is going to work for me? I reached out to you guys, remember? I don’t have somebody doing it for me.

R: It’s just rap. I like the boom and the bap. That’s it. I like jazz also, but I like the boom bap. I like the boom and the bap. I’m stuck in my ways, I guess you can say.

And Ron, in terms of your album art, we’ve been through a lot and many of them look like they are straight out of a porno. Have you been approached by any producers to make a porn?

R: I’m going to put it out there right now. I have every interest in doing porno work. None of the acting stuff, I just want to fuck. I don’t mean to curse, but that’s all I want to do. If there is anyone out there reading this interview and they want to consider it… the name is a sexy name. I just want to bone and I want to be paid for it on film.

For you newest album, Saffron, can you tell us a bit more about it?

R: It’s trash. I liked to do it because it was out of my element. When Moka introduced me to Factor, I instantly took a like to his music because it’s so far different from what I was doing before. Madonna. He was using folk music samples and I thought it would be a new texture. I think Factor and I make a good team. There will probably be a follow up album sometime soon. Duhhhhh…

And the music video for your single, Glad, has a Sasquatch in it with a paper bag on it. Can you tell us a bit more about this one?

R: I want June Ten to answer this one.

J: Ron really believes in some weird shit. Some really out there stuff. People are always looking for the Sasquatch and stuff but if you put a paper bag over top of him, you can mistake him for any North American man. Putting that over his face enabled him to blend in with the normal crowd, including Ron and the two ladies in the video.

Throughout the interview, you’ve mentioned a lot about your desire for women. How has this affected your music?

R: Everything is libido based. My boom and my bap, they come together because it’s this fire in my loins. I hate to say it like that because it sounds disgusting but it’s true, you know. I have a big penis, what can I say? I don’t even know how to say it. I have this huge sexual drive and it’s been the base of a lot of things. It’s unfortunate that women have found me only tolerable and to think I don’t have any qualities. I read that, you know? That’s not saying bad things, that’s good. That’s a step above denial. My family jewels caused me to produce family jewels.

Through Ron Contour’s eyes, what is the perfect woman?

R: One that doesn’t talk so much. What I mean in that is that we’re so in sync that it’s just a quiet understanding. It’s just all quietness and submissi… just an understanding.

What is the future for both of you?

M: Future of Moka Only? I’m just going to keep making music. I don’t know, I don’t have a master plan. I don’t have this plan and have my own things. I just want to do music and I want to do jingles for commercial. The other night, I made a Doritos commercial just for fun. I’m just going to keep doing music.

R: I’m psyching up my nerves up so I can perform. I just want to make money. I want to remain a quiet lifestyle but still reap the benefits of the Booty Tree, so to speak. It’s really simple: I’m really simple. I like stuff. All these rap MCs and they want these things. I just want to sit in a fishing boat in my Timberlands and just fish.

Ron, how has your background changed you over the time?

R: My background… it changes depending on where I am. I change depending on where I am and it always looks different.

J: Right now, his background is Tim Hortons.

M: Yes, it’s true.

R: But, you know, my background could change at any given moment.

How is it like to live in Vancouver right now?

R: I spent seven years in the Prairies in Canadia, and it was an eye opener for a while, but then it got sleepy. I took all those years off music because I was so disenchanted with the results of the first album. I don’t want to talk about the first album.

M: And me putting my picture on the first album.

R: Yeah, that didn’t make it easy.

J: I don’t know how he did it, but he got into the art department and put his own picture instead of Ron’s on the first album. Sheer disrespect. I don’t know how this family operates.

M: It served a purpose, though. I’ll be literal about it and it is because we needed an easy way to break him in. We thought that we could pretend that it was an alias of mine, but as you can see it’s been a bit of a sticky situation.

R: It’s all been improving. It’s so vibrant back in Vancouver and I’m closer to my cousin. I’m near the ocean again, which is really important because I bathe in it all year round.

What side of the family are you on?

R: His mothers… you know what? Moka, if it’s alright with you, I’d rather not talk about family stuff so much because I’m opening myself up and I’m nervous. There are more chances of flight… you know “fight or flight” and I choose flight. I’m not much of a fighter, I’m a lover. With all due respect, I do respect this chance to talk, but that’s just one I don’t like stuff.

Now, you being so shy, it’s weird because you being in music, you’re supposed to be up and out there performing and talking about your music.

R: Moka, you understand? You’re the same way.

M: Yeah, man.

R: That’s our similarity. I guess I just have more reservations than he does. For instance, I have this reservation downtown at this restaurant and I’m not going to say which one it is. Next week, I have a reservation for a flight to Toronto. You know the rapper Danny-O? We have an album coming out soon. He’s on my new Rontario project. I mean his cousin is. Stomach Dog’s got the heat! He says he’s dangling dolphins in fecal matter to all men. So, yeah, I have many reservations. I have made lots in the past and I’ll make more, guaranteed. Janet Jackson. In the first album, I talked more about fancy stuff but give me McDonalds and I’ll be satisfied.

What is HYPE?

M: One word answer: overblown. Let me see, how about this? You know how someone HYPEs up another artist and it doesn’t live up to the HYPE, it’s just a frenzy. HYPE can be a great thing. To me, it’s Michael [Jackson]. HYPE is simply energy and I’ve used it many times. HYPE is just the essence and if you are HYPE in hip-hop, you’ll always be able to make a good flow and be good. The antithesis of that of course is, “HYPE is equal to propaganda.” I ignore that aspect, HYPE is an energy to me, HYPE is a positive.

R: HYPE to me is a machine that’s behind the person that allows the person to gain exposure. I guess, more or less, Moka said propaganda, and that’s more up my alley. As a business, you need some sort of structure to promote your business. To me, that’s HYPE. It’s an avenue just to get known. Just like me sitting here doing this interview. Big up. Big up to all the “Yay” sayers and big down to all the “Nay” sayers. Downs to all the confusionalists and big ups to the sensationalists. It’s just interesting to make new things from old things and to design… to design… a motif or something that shows who you are. Just keep your body situated, eat well, and guts operating.

Moka, in terms of your personal life, you’ve dated a girl named Shauna Baker. All relationships are important, whether they involve people in the public or not. How has the media affected this past relationship?

M: I don’t know if I can talk about that one, man. It’s really touchy and it’s a whole world hurt. I’m sorry.

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