Columbia, South Carolina-based rapper Moon Man Dox presents “My Life Is Lit”, the new single from his forthcoming album Westworld. Born in Florida, Dox lived in cities across the state before settling in Columbia, joining rap group 2Deep before going solo in 2016. In 2018 he dropped first solo project Moon Man Dox (Spotify). Dox says the new single “was written and recorded in NYC and was inspired by the view of the skyline seen from the view I was standing at in Queens; a random kid born in Florida, who grew up in Columbia, South Carolina, and now in New York.”
What’s the rap scene like in Columbia? And South Carolina in general?
The rap scene in Columbia is mostly trap. It’s the struggle. If you’re rapping in the Met (Columbia) you probably really do come from the bottom, really know killers, and absolutely really robbed or sold dope if you said you did (or do). Why? Because this city won’t give you a pass if you not real. Big enough to have a music scene, small enough to be touched anywhere you go, because everybody know somebody who know somebody that know you. You can’t get away with “clever marketing” here. You gotta be authentic and eventually someone is gonna test out the image you portray. It’s a blessing and a curse because it seems we can never support and celebrate someone making it big because the city gonna try you a million times before the rest of the world even gets a chance. Either way I’m still waiting to see who’s gonna be next up for real, whether its Renni Rucci, Smoke Gambino, Deezy McDuffie… that’s just a few off top.
What was it like moving around so much? How do you think it affected you as a person and an artist?
Traveling has broaden my perspective a lot. I think now that I’ve done it, it’s really important for people who come less privilege to leave their city, state, and if possible country. You need to know that the world is big but also small. It’s big in that whatever is normal where you’re from is maybe just your own ignorance, and that there are so many ways to live, but that it’s small because seeing the world is an obtainable goal in 2019 with the right financial priorities. I can’t explain it but my song “My Life is Lit” is definitely inspired by it.
What do you think the old school can learn from the new school and vice versa?
The old school can learn that these new guys are hungry too. They are not destroying the art, they just have a different opinion on it. Their revolution is different from yours and just like when you did it, the old guard thought it was some bullshit. New school needs to just leave Tupac out they damn vocabulary period. I never wanna hear “I’m better than Pac” again by somone who was born after he died.
What’s your favorite verse in hiphop history and why?
Fav verse is super tough… I can say my fav in recent history is “Perfect Imperfection” by Kevin Gates. “All you other niggas rap about is bullshit / Hit the studio on drugs when you get all in your feelings / Look into your eyes nigga you ain’t ever lived it / But always talking cooking dope nigga ever had heart ache / Ever lost money learned how to cook oil based / Ever grind hard tryna pay for your lawyer? / Get him payed off and you still go to jail / And that bitch that you love don’t pick up when you call her / Fuckin’ with your nigga when you get out and you dog her / Going with your mood with a nigga you don’t argue / Came here to die in the game I’m retarded / Know it’s got a name I ain’t knowing what to call it.” I always turn up that part. You have to have been there at some point for it to stand out, I think. Def been there…
Artists gain inspiration from unlikely sources sometimes. What are who is one source of inspiration for you that we might not expect?
The most usual source I can think of off the cuff would be the murder of XXXTentacion, and let me be clear I was not a fan. But the way his death was treated like a fly by TMZ moment in this new internet culture really did something to me, made me question if I even wanna be in this industry at all. I wrote a song “Wats it Mean” which isn’t out yet, bout it. I thought he was gonna become a martyr for this generation and start being called the new Tupac (which made me facepalm) but to my surprise what happen was even worse… He was monetized, publicized, and capitalized on strategically by opportunists in the industry and the same by normal internet civilians chasing their online clout tokens in comments, posts, and videos. His life and death seemed to be just a fad that came and went. It was something sad, unexpected, and never something I thought would impact me that way and move me to express it musically. I feel like music is where I go when I can find the right way to describe something in real life. That was definitely one of those moments.