T-Mo From Goodie Mob Talks About Music & Legacy
Updated: Apr 2, 2020
While the Unsung Hero’s sway in the background during this era of rap music, very few acknowledge the plights of those same way makers who contributed to the stitching of this magnificent thing, the fabric of what hip hop is today.
Goodie Mob [T-Mo, Khujo, Big Gipp, and Cee-Lo] stroke fame in the early 90’s with records like Soul Food (1995), Still Standing (1998), World Party (1999), One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show (2004), and Age Against Machine (2013).
Although Goodie Mob dropped many dope singles like They Don’t Dance , and Beautiful Skin , founding member, T-Mo said that Cell Therapy is his favorite out of all the projects… “I would say Cell Therapy because that was our humble beginnings and introduction into the industry. We found ourselves on that record, and people began to know us by that. We got a buzz going, and we started showing up in places, while people sang our lyrics. That was the spearhead of the movement, so I got to say that was my favorite one. That started my whole journey and excitement into the industry, and everything began with that one song.”
The breakout record Soul Food included guest vocals from OutKast, Cool Breeze and Witchdoctor-- the track appeared on the movie score with the same name in 1996. Soul Food went certified gold with 500,000 album sales throughout the United States. It’s dubbed as one of the albums that delivered southern hip hop to mainstream from Atlanta, Georgia, with consciousness and contagious lyricism.
T -Mo released a charring single called “The South Is Sayin Something" about two years ago… “I have other singles that I’m going to follow up with called Dedicated, and In the Club,” he shares. “With those three singles, I’ll be ready for the world if everybody hears it. It’s the best collaboration songs that I’ve ever put together in my life. I’m very proud of them, and I’m ready to let the world hear them.”
T-Mo doesn’t want to compromise the integrity of Goodie Mob by switching things up. He’s still dropping conscious music the same as he did in the early 90’s.
“I started rapping when I was a freshman in college,” says T-Mo when asked how he got into the rap game. “Up until then, I was deeply interested in becoming a DJ because it was around me, and I had big brothers, who were DJ’s that raised me, a lot of legendary DJ’s around Atlanta. I didn’t even think that I was talented enough to rap. During my freshman year in college, I was listening to some hip-hop songs and thought it was too easy and simple—just the cadence, it was like dope nursery rhymes. That got me interested in trying it. At that time, it was different signs on all the telephone poles in the neighborhood, saying they were giving studio time for this place on Martin Luther King Drive. I bought me some studio time because I believed I could do it. At that time, nobody was doing it, because rapping wasn’t fashionable. People told me I couldn’t do it, and that was gas to my fire.”
T-Mo got help from his uncle, Charles Disco, who was a club owner that let T-Mo play his first record in front of an audience. “I asked my cousin, GG, who was the DJ, to play my song. He played it. When he played it, it wasn’t a whole lot of people in the club, but they stayed there and kept dancing. That was motivation and inspiration for me because someone danced to my song and they didn’t know it was my song. I felt good and liberated as though I accomplished something. I felt like I could give them more.”
T-Mo wanted to give the listeners something fierier so he connected with fellow schoolmate, Kujo, to take his vision to the next level. Already established as a rapper, Kujo obliged with T Moe. They recorded an album, “It was hot,” says T Moe.
T-Mo continued to talk about that as well as the group name, Goodie Mob, which was given to him by a man from his neighborhood named Big Liam. “He named us, so me and Kujo kept that going and ended up getting a management situation with some guys so we could earn some money. They invested more into us, and we kept recording and growing. Our music kept getting better and more solid. We got an opportunity to perform on the BET stage at Daytona Beach. Daytona was hot during spring break. That was it. After that, we hooked up with Organized Noise. We only hooked up with them at that time, to try to get them to produce us a couple tracks. From there, we met the group member, Andre 3000 and Big Boi from Outkast, who were newly signed to Organized Noise. We met up at The Dungeon and eventually we became friends that recorded together, we freestyled together in the studio, and we vibed together in the studio, and the relationship began to grow.”
Another fact about T-Mo is that he wanted to box professionally when he was younger… “I was inspired by boxing because of Mike Tyson. I had all these Mike Tyson posters around my room. I felt like I was the quickest, and that I could be the champion. I really believed that. I still believe that I could be legendary if I would’ve stayed with it. I was trying to focus on one thing. I stopped boxing and went hard on my music, and it paid off.”
T-Mo is competitive, which contributes to his consistency and drive, to get music out in this era where mumble rap has taken center stage. T-Mo enjoys a good game of golf as well. “I named myself the number one hip hop golfer in the world, until someone else says they can beat me, and we can get out on the green and get it done; I don’t think that can happen. My goal is to be the first hip hop artist to get on the PGA tour.”
Along with that, T-Mo is working on his acting chops just a little, and doing something like a Vegas residency that portrays the life of Red Fox… “I’m up and still high on the whole opportunity. We’re doing a new Goodie Mob album, and I’m completing my T-Mo album. We got a cartoon in the making for Goodie Mob. We have other opportunities coming. It’s a lot of good things on the table for us this year. We got many shows coming this year. I’m excited,” he says.
2020 is surely going down in history as the year of tests and rebel, starting with the death of NBA great, Kobe Bryant. Bryant left a void in the sports community, one that’s felt even across the world. T-Mo got to meet the Black Mumba, who he describes as the coolest brother in the business. He shared a few words about Kobe’s impact on his life… “I can definitely say that I had extreme love and respect for him as a man. I respected his work ethic in the game of basketball, and I respected him as a human being.
‘It really hurt [his death], almost like a family member died in that tragic accident. As soon as I heard it, I was like Shaq [Shaquille O’Neal], I did not want to believe it.”
The death of Kobe Bryant gives him gaping perspective to be a man that loves, and a man of standard for his family as well as his community. “I have a great purpose in this world, and whatever that is, I want to fulfill it. I really want to fulfill my purpose. I tell those stories to my kids and I tell them about that kind of stuff because I want them to be inspired about living and inspired about life. I want them to know that they can achieve anything in this world through hard work. I tell my kids that whenever they are around a bunch of people that don’t believe they can get something done, get away from them. I had to separate myself from even the cool people when I was younger because they didn’t believe in me. I didn’t even argue with them, I showed them, and that’s what we did.”
In recent interviews, T-Mo mentioned that he wanted to be like Jack the Rapper, a well-known artist from his neighborhood who kept his humility even when he made it big. “The one thing that I’m learning through time and life’s journey, is that God has an amazing way of humbling you just when you get to large for your britches. I have seen the living proof every day.”
Even though Jack the Rapper influenced him, it was Tupac that inspired him more than anything. If you sit around T-Mo long enough, he can tell you visual playbacks about the time he met Tupac Shakur.
As for now, he is focusing on the music until he’s given all that he can give to the hip hop culture… “I don’t want to spread myself so thin that I can’t be great at something. I don’t want to jump around. I have a good relationship with a guy by the name of Will Packer. I’m sure you’ve heard of him with all the urban movies he’s done. He connected me with a good acting coach. Now, I’m getting coached. I’m learning how to do it [act]. It’s more detailed than I thought, but I enjoy the journey and I enjoy the work.
‘You should focus on being great at whatever you do, “he exclaimed. “Don’t let money be the motivation. Be great and be the best at whatever it is you’re passionate about. The legacy part of your life will come.”
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