Moka Only conducted by Hugo Lunny  

Moka Only

May 2000

These are the transcripts of an interview with Moka Only. The interview was conducted by Hugo Lunny on May 28th, 2000. Moka Only is one of Vancouver's most well known and arguably best underground The skin, the drink, the essenceMC's/Producers. He's been putting out loads of material (about 11 releases since '95) and this summer, he'll release his first LP on Battle Axe records; 'Lime Green.'

MVRemix: How did you get into Hip Hop?

Moka Only: I would credit that to my elementary school, called St. Andrews. It was a private school but lunch break was the time that people brought out the cardboard and everybody was breakin' and shit. Like that was my main influence, where I learned at school. Then I'd see shit on TV and shit, this was back in '83. So that's when I got into it. And I went and saw Beat Street when it came out, and after that I was hooked.

Why Moka Only? I have thousands of potential thoughts as to why you're called that, but you explain to me the true reason.

Moka Only: Moka Only interviewThe skin, the drink, the essence. [Moka's face fills with an ear to ear grin]

MVRemix: For those people outside of Canada who aren't as familiar with you as those from Canada, especially Vancouver are, tell us a little about yourself and your history.

Moka Only: Well.... it all started when I climbed out of an egg, nah, I was just jokin'. I started rhymin' about '88 after I'd been doin' some graffiti writin'. I was pretty young back then, so I'd raps as a joke and shit, then I decided I'd get into it, trick my hand, joined a group called Sound Advice from Victoria, BC. And, out of them, that's what really got me into it was my homeboy, Juice-Dub.

MVRemix: You've worked with a lot of dope people in your time, who have you particularly enjoyed working with, and who can we look forward to seeing you working with in the future?

Moka Only: I enjoyed working with Abstract Rude. We're gonna get around to doing a full project at some time called 'Codename: Scorpion,' the latest project was me and Sunspot Jonz from Mystik Journeymen. We just did a little somethin' together, a project...album, you could call it or whatever. So, uh, that's was cool. He's more like me you know...we do the same thing, like the same food, women, fast food, MacDonalds, 6 in the morning.

MVRemix: Your versatility is evident on pretty much all of your releases, do you think versatility in your MC'ing abilities is important? Also, is being dope off the dome important for you?

Moka Only: You know what? [pause] I never thought it was that important, but it is. I like to do it. When me and my man Prevail first hooked up we had a group called Splitsphere and we'd just run out of rhymes, we didn't have any more rhymes to kick to each other. So, we just made them up. And that's where the freestyle came from and it became my forte. I ain't tryin' to be the worlds best freestyler though, I ain't lookin' for battles no more either.

MVRemix: Hip Hop is obviously your life, as you are one of the hardest working mc's on the scene with around 11 solo releases since 1995 (not to mention collaborations). Do you get upset when you see rappers who are obviously only into !hiphop to make money or exploit it?

Moka Only: I know it's a game of chance man and being at the right place at the right time. No, I don't get upset. I'm comin' up, I'm comin' up, the shit's happening.

MVRemix: What would you say is the material that you're most proud of doing?

Moka Only: My latest material for Battle Axe records. It's really bangalicious and flavourful.

MVRemix: Your appearance in the recent LEN videos ('Steal My Sunshine,' etc.) has been something of a talking point, explain the whole concept behind the Cryptic Souls Crew & the link between LEN & Moka Only..

Moka Only: There's no concept really. It's just a bunch of friends from Toronto. Cryptic just means, you know, encoded type of thing. It's just a bunch of friends, we worked together and LEN is a bi-product of that. Those are my friends so they asked me to go in the videos and I did some work on the album on two songs.

[I'm reading the next question]
I've got a crew called the City Planners, we're really nice and handsome...

MVRemix: You've been an important part of Canada's hip hop scene for the past 11 years, what is there for Moka Only after Hip Hop? Is there anything after Hip Hop?

Moka Only: Maybe Jazz. I'm working on other shit. I'm producing right now so I don't think the music is gonna stop anytime soon. Maybe the vocals will someday if I ever ware out, but I don't see ever being too old to rhyme. You grandmother used to rhyme, haha.

MVRemix: Do you have your own clothing line?

Moka Only: Yeah

MVRemix: It's just I've seen at FWUH (Hip Hop store) and some other places 'Moka Only' clothing...

Moka Only: That's Mammal wear, but we're starting Planner wear. So look out for that in the new year.

MVRemix: Tell us about City Planners. Who's in the group, what you have released, what you will release etc...

Moka Only: Basically it's just a bunch of solo artists; me, myself, I. Jeff Spec, Sweet Cheek on production, Ishkan (another emcee), Kirby Dominant, Birdapres, a whole slew of people and a couple of other folks.

MVRemix: What's going on with you and Sunspot? You told me last week you would be working on something with him, so...

Moka Only: It's all love, we just wanted to do one song for my Battle Axe album and we ended up doing a whole album together because we vibed.

MVRemix: So, what's the title of that?

Moka Only: Don't have a title yet. I'm in the process of mixing it.

MVRemix: When's it likely to come out ?

Moka Only: [grins] Anytime...haha.

MVRemix: From what I've seen and heard of're a very eclectic and expressive person. So, if you had an unlimited budget, choose one of your songs and describe how you would have the video for the track look.

Moka Only: I gotta think about that for a minute. [long pause] I don't have an idea for a video for any particular one aside from the one we're about to do. Sunspot is filming my new video for 'Imagine Me,' I'll keep that one disclosed, you'll have to see it.

MVRemix: What's going on with the new LP ? You said Summer to me a little while back, can you give me some more details on it ?

Moka Only: Late Summer/early Fall. Battle Axe records. LMNO's on it, Abstract Rude's on it, Swollen Members, Sunspot, Jeff Spec and a few other little surprises. And I did most of the beats, the album's called 'Lime Green' - it's just my new kick on life for this particular moment. Just being bright and bold, you know what I'm sayin'? Outstanding. Making a statement.

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