MoLo, The Queens Rap Artist Taking New York City by Storm
By Jamie Lawson
MoLo’s been making a name for himself in the Rap world, and been an active member in his community of Queens. We caught up with him to get the inside scoop.
Many people know this rising artist, Mohammed Diallo, by his stage name ‘MoLo’. MoLo is a SoundCloud rapper who has been dropping tracks on the platform and earned viral attention in return. His songs “A Lot”, “Gone”, and “Henson” have laid the foundation for his career as a rap artist.
Since those uploads, he has been featured in multiple magazines and blogs pertaining to his buzz. Not only has MoLo been making a name for himself in the rap world, but he’s also been an active member in his community of Queens. We caught up with him to get the inside scoop on his new projects!
How did you get started in music? What’s the backstory?
I started taking music seriously about two years ago. I did have a little rap notebook in the fifth grade and I also remember using daily journal assignments in tenth grade English as an excuse to write rhymes.
Other than that, English teachers have always told me that I’m a decent poet and writer, so the interest was always there. Fast forward to 2018 and I got recording equipment with another up and coming artist I grew up with who goes by playpm, also the producer on my third single release – ‘Henson’ and most of the tracks on my upcoming project.
Where does the name MoLo come from?
Back in middle school, one of my friends was into graffiti and that led me to want a nickname for myself that I could write, too. I took the ‘Mo’ from my first name and the ‘Lo’ from my last name and that’s kind of been what I’ve used since like seventh grade.
Which artists influenced you the most?
Akon was the first artist I was introduced to. I remember my mom buying a bootleg version of his first album, Trouble, at the hair braiding salon she worked at and bringing it home to me when I was around nine.
I didn’t grow up around too many other African kids, so seeing Akon do what he did was a huge confidence booster for me at a young age. All through high school, I was mainly bumping Tupac. Definitely was listening to Nas as well. Knowing that someone from my neighborhood has made it as far as he has and is still going is another huge motivator for me.
More recently, I’ve gotten some influence here and there from Tyler, Rocky, Young Thug, Travis, Sheck, Drake, NAV, Don Toliver, Kendrick, Q, Earl, and Vince. I feel like each of these guys brought something new to the table with their craft and made it normal to be abnormal.
Which artists are you listening to right now?
This past summer, I probably spent the most time listening to 88GLAM’s latest project, New Mania. Also spent a lot of time on Gunna, Nav, Travis, Drake, and Don Toliver’s newest releases. Other than that, I’m usually listening to my own unreleased music.
How do you feel about people seeing you as a “SoundCloud Rapper”?
Haha, I mean, I get most of my streams on Spotify. I don’t know if enough people even know about my music to put a label on me, yet. The beauty of the music landscape nowadays is that there are a bunch of different platforms us artists can use to release our music.
Why do you make music?
I see music as an outlet that can unlock a variety of future opportunities for my friends and I. I also enjoy the creative process that comes with making music – spending the day doing whatever and then sitting down, listening to or making a beat, and then coming up with a flow, line, or melody to begin the writing part of the process, which is probably my favorite part. Finishing a single song isn’t always as easy as it may seem – in my opinion – so when we do get a song done, it’s definitely a good feeling.”
If my music can provide motivation for people, even better. Whether I’m making an upbeat song about getting ridiculously rich or a more mood-based song about getting through a tough situation, it’s a plus for me if the listener can gain something from it.
Hip-hop is the most popular genre of music in the world. How do you keep your sound fresh?
I probably spend more time listening to my own unreleased music than I do listening to others’ music. My sound can be influenced by the sounds of other artists sometimes, but for the most part, I feel like it’s hard to really compare me to any specific artist.”
“The hardest questions for me to answer are usually the ones that sound like ‘which artists make music comparable to yours?’. When it’s time to sit down and write, I usually go with whatever comes to mind first and run with it. The end result is usually something I can proudly say sounds original for the most part.
What are your greatest accomplishments?
As of right now, I’ve released 3 singles – ‘A Lot’, ‘Gone’, and ‘Henson’ – with a combined 90K+ streams across all platforms. I see these as small wins compared to what I expect out of myself long term. I still have a long way to go as far as building a solid fan base, releasing more music, and improving the quality of my releases.
If you told 18 year-old MoLo that he’d be full throttle making music in 2020, he’d probably just look at you and then look away – so simply even being here doing this interview is an accomplishment for me.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on releasing a short solo project in December, so hoping to put the finishing touches on that soon. I’m also putting together a collab project with playpm that we hope to have ready for release sometime next year.
Fashion is something I’ve been dabbling in, as well, so getting into modeling would be cool. Down the line, I want to get into curating short films & comedic skits. Definitely also hope to get some sports programs going for inner-city youth at some point in the future. Organized sports, specifically baseball and basketball, played a huge role in my upbringing, so being able to spread those same opportunities to our younger generations would be a blessing.