Mose The Third
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Mose The Third

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Now, I have to admit, I have a soft spot for Chicago artists. No matter what kind of rap they're doing, from the Twistas to the Commons to the Typical Catses (is that the plural form of Typical Cats?), emcees from the City of Wind can expect nothing but the utmost support and love from this here Hip-Hop head.

Mose the Third is no exception. On his new EP, "Pride and Fear, Vol. II," this AllHipHop.com Breeding Ground alum (who's co-signed by another one of my favorite hometown acts, Pugslee Atomz) shows some lyrical potential over ill production. Just peep his verse on his opening song, "This Music." Generic hook aside, the horn-fueled beat and Mose's charisma on his kickoff verse give you enough to look past that misstep and focus on his sixteens:

"People! You've got this disc in your changer
Pride and Fear Part II, another banger
I'll rearrange your frame of mind, get it anchored
That soundtrack to fight through strife, struggle, and anger
I'm no stranger to pain, it's visual
The dangers of fame in this game is critical
The frame that I bring to your brain is pivotal
Now you can lose, all them thangs that's killin' you"

His guests, however, bring him down a bit, as does his flow. Unfortunately, the latter tends to be the story of the album.

With the exception of a couple of tracks ("Dead or Alive," "Ride Out"), Mose tends to sound about a beat behind the production on each of these songs. And it doesn't help much that some of his subject matter tends to be run-of-the-mill, especially on the sluggishly, poorly-produced "One More Time," and the average political diatribe of "Business." Even the most original concept song on the EP, "How Will I Know?", which follows Mose as he deflowers a young woman, is very poorly-executed and borders on chauvinistic.

To his credit, Mose does sound much more comfortable when talking about his OWN struggles. Peep "Time," which carries an ironic title in that you wish it lasted longer than one verse and one hook:

"Stress is replenishing, I'm behind in rent again
Got pinkeye, but can't afford to call sick again
Stamina's diminishing; plans? Gotta pencil in
Can't slow down, no guarantee that you'll remember him
Swing from life's pendulum, what the fuck's gotten into him?
I'm focused, and notice nobody's spitting as sick as him
Mirror's you can vision him, watchin' his mouth
I'll know I made it when Jigga is screamin', "FUCK YO' COUCH!"
Till then, I go hard, I'm a makeshift model
Put your face on the curb, give you a taste of Chicago"

The EP's outro, "Ride Out," also finds Mose more comfortable on the beats than he is throughout the album.

And that's another thing about this EP: Mose tends to pick solid production (with the exception of the aforementioned "One More Time" and "Dead or Alive," which blatantly sample jacks Beanie Sigel's flip of a Bon Jovi classic), and the seven tracks on the EP are filled with swinging horns, hard drums, and soulful vocal and string samples. It definitely will help him out once he gets his name out there in the underground.

But until then, Mose has to work on two things: how to hit us with more originality in order to captivate our attention, as well as how to consistently flow to his beats. Other than that, I see no reason why Mose the Third shouldn't be somebody to keep an eye out for in Chicago's underground in the next couple of years.

- RapReviews.com


Mose III's story seemingly places him at odds with what people have been programmed to conceive when the hear the word "rapper."

Raised as Mose Vines on the South Side, the child of two teachers, Mose, who stage name is pronounced "Mose the third," is also teacher, in Homewood, where he educates eighth-graders and sometimes joins in if he catches pupils rapping in the hallway.

"Sometimes you'll hear them talking about guns or some nonsense, and you need to jump in to find out what's going on and to let them know what's up," he says.

Mose's path to the microphone wasn't paved in violence, drugs and misogyny. In fact, he concedes, before picking up Black Sheep's "A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" and Tupac's "2Pacalypse Now" on the same day in 1991, you'd have been more likely to catch him listening to Guns N' Roses or Winger.

"Almost everything I listened to was rock," he says.

But something in those two albums stirred something in Mose, something that exploded when he bought Common Sense's "Can I Borrow a Dollar?" as a freshman in high school.

"I loved the confidence Dres [of Black Sheep] had, the political aspect Tupac had and the metaphors Common was bringing, and I thought that if I could combine all three, I would be unstoppable."

Immediately, he set out to accomplish this, but there were challenges. "How do I flip it politically without sounding too angry? How do you do it smoothly? Can you flip the different rhyme styles and be cool about it, and confident?"

One of the first steps was in taking a name. He didn't stray far. Mose is truly a third. His grandfather Mose Vines was a grocery store owner and community leader. His father, Mose Vines, was a teacher and assistant principal and is the man for whom Mose Vines Preparatory Academy on the West Side is named.
From his first raps, Mose says, his voice has also been that of his father and his grandfather.

But his start was humble.

He began experimenting on a friend's karaoke machine that he rented using his lunch money. Then he started making tapes that he'd bring to school.

"I'd say, 'Man, what do you think of this?' and people were always like, 'Man, you got potential.'"

Except for his mother.

"I wasn't allowed to listen to hip-hop in the house. I'd be up in my room listening on my headphones, and she'd come in and say, 'Shut that off!'"

The reason, he explains, is his mother had the same perception of rap music that many people do. "They don't realize its potential as a tool for social change."

Now, almost a decade later, Mose has captured that blend of Dres, Tupac and Common, having a voice that's not raspy or aggressive, nor hurried or over-amplified. It's measured, purposeful and reminiscent of the late Professor X of X-Clan, occasionally going off beat, then back on as he ponders urban ills and deconstructs hip-hop's self- destructive preoccupations.

Mose is preparing to release his third CD, "Pride & Fear," which is due this winter. He is confident it is his best work.

"The idea is that I am hip-hop's future and my strength extends beyond physical pain," he says. "So, I am willing to go against the negative train of thought with nothing but my beliefs."

Even his mother is now fan, he says.

"She came to a show about a year ago and has been listening to rap ever since."

He also continues to teach and to lead, just as his father and his grandfather did.

"The one thing about teaching that is the same as MC-ing, is that when I'm teaching I have the minds of everyone in the room at my disposal," Mose says. "I can do something good with it or I can do something bad with it; whatever I do will affect generations. I don't think a lot of rappers realize that as rappers we are teachers."

David Jakubiak is a local free-lance writer.

- Chicago Sun-Times


Discography

Social Responsibility(2002)
Somewhere Between Church & The Bar Mix(2003)
Declaration Of Independence(2004)
Pride & Fear Mix/EP Vol. I(2006)
Pride & Fear Mix/EP Vol II(2008)

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Bio

SINCE BEING FEATURED AS AN ARTIST ON ALLHIPHOP.COM'S BREEDING GROUND AND DEF POETRY JAM RADIO, MOSE III HAS CONTINUED TO LIVE UP TO THE HIGH EXPECTATIONS OF CREATING THOUGHT PROVOKING SONGS WITH HIS POETIC FLOW. HE IS CURRENTLY FINISHING UP HIS LATEST ALBUM ENTITLED, PRIDE & FEAR...

If "emo/hip hop" existed as a category, Mose III might be one of the first acts to be filed there. Mixing tight, clever, personal rhymes with solid beats, and tastefully visiting political and social themes, while sustaining his appeal to the club-banging, lyrically hungry, artistic audiences, Mose III has something to offer every member of the hip hop audience -Chicago's Hot House