I caught up with B Moni – rapper, comedian and campaigner
I caught up with B Moni, a young London-based rapper who also does comedy. In our interview he gives us some insight into what he does.
Helen Success: B Moni Boy, tell us a little bit about yourself.
B Moni: I hate that question! It’s so vague.
Helen Success: So you’re kind of multifaceted, what are your talents?
B Moni: I don’t really regard anything I do as a talent; it’s just a part of me. I’ve always told jokes, I’ve always been funny and that’s why I do comedy. I rap and my uncles used to rap and I’ve always liked rap music. If I like something I try to do it but I try to do it good. I do everything, I draw. I can’t really sing but I can hold a note. I help with hosting shows and I do anti-knife crime workshops. So it’s not really a talent, it’s just experience. If you can get the hang of something then you can do it. I’d say I’m kind of like a jack of all trades but my cousin says ‘master of none’.
Helen Success: You don’t define them as talents, so which part of you is your favourite?
B Moni: My favourite thing I do is music because it’s rewarding to listen to my music. I think the best feeling is when someone else knows my lyrics. If I can rap and even take a break and someone can carry on my lyrics, I think that’s the best feeling. When I rap and someone can relate to it and they say it’s emotional or someone enjoys my music and can say ‘yeah, I was dancing to that’ and it reminds them of a time in their life, I think that’s rewarding, very rewarding.
Helen Success: So is that what you take most seriously or are all aspects of you of equal importance?
B Moni: I don’t take anything most seriously. I mean, I’m a comedian, I get paid to do comedy but I still don’t take that as seriously as music. I try not to take any of them seriously at the moment, even though I would like to pursue a carer in music or possibly acting in the future, I try not to take it to serious because we have to be a bit realistic about what we’re doing in life. I do want to get my grades, even though I’m only doing two A levels [laughs]. I would like to get the grades and qualifications even if I don’t make it to uni, just for me to be able to say ‘I did’. I’m one of those people who likes to do things so I can say I’ve done them. So one day when I look back on my life I can say; ‘have you made a mixtape? Yes I did!’ ‘Have you done comedy? Yes I did! I went on tour.’ ‘Did you pass school? Yes I did!’
Helen Success: Have you ever intentionally or unintentionally upset anyone with your jokes or has anyone ever taken them to heart?
B Moni: Oh yeah, all the time, of course. Ghanaians get annoyed all the time. Obviously I make fun of Ghanaians, I do it to everyone but Ghanaians take it personally. They’re like ‘tell him to relax bruv.’ Even when I say ‘I’m about to make jokes about you lot, don’t get offended,’ they still get offended. On my Twitter I’ve been cussing Ghanaian girls’ noses for a while now, they’re all getting a bit pissed of with me. I don’t think I’m going to have a date with a Ghanaian girl for a while.
Helen Success: There are a lot of people trying to get into the music industry of late, how would you say you vary from the rest?
B Moni: Well, there are a lot of drug dealers and gangsters trying to get into the industry. Then you have people like Jedward, who are gimmicks. Then you have people like Master Shortie who are not relatable to people from their area but have loads of fans. They have loads of fans but they don’t apply, I’m different from many in my genre, my category; ‘the hood’ as you’d say. I don’t want to do what they’re doing, promoting drug dealings and clientele, I’m just trying to rap. I will talk about things that go on but at the same time I’m not looking to make pop. The industry is a lot different now; you’ve got to be smart, talk for yourself. I think your image helps, if you’re articulate and can present yourself well it contributes greatly. I think I’d be one of those celebrities, you know them ones you see coming out the range rover looking suave. I’d have a good image, be a good role model [laughs].
Helen Success: So you think that anyone who sells drugs, is a gangster or feels rap is associated with their image will attempt to enter the music industry?
B Moni: A lot of rap music is about that, I’m not saying everyone rapping is a drug dealer but there’s always that element of street culture. The problem is people have lost the definition of real; a lot of people think real rap means you’re real because you’ve murdered someone.You’re not real. You’re just snitching on yourself on your mixtape and you said I shouldn’t snitch but you’re doing it to yourself. Telling everyone names of people and where you sell drugs; it doesn’t really make any sense.
Helen Success: What have you done so far and what work do you feel is your best to date?
B Moni: I wouldn’t say any of my work is best. I can say in comedy I have achieved because I’ve been on tour. With music I’ve had recognition locally; I’m still working on it. Hopefully by summer more people will know me and recognise me for my music. When it comes to the anti-knife crime workshops and that whole aspect of things I’ve been on news and radio interviews with BBC1 Xtra a couple of times, done newspaper articles, the observer magazine. I’ve been on T.V; in a show involving helping school kids and another show asking my opinion on knife crime.
Helen Success: What’s the story behind the uniquely titled ‘Where’s the Mixtape’ and would you say it got a good reception?
B Moni: Not really. The reason I called it that is because when I was younger, for years, I used to say ‘I’m going to make a mixtape.’ People were always like ‘where’s your mixtape?’ So I thought cool, ‘where’s the mixtape?’ I made it in two weeks, just banged it out. When I’m on something, I’m on it properly. If only I was on college revision like that [laughs]. My next mixtape is scheduled for release in summer, July. So expect some big things!
Helen Success: How do you manage your time between education, music, comedy and your various campaigns? Does it get hectic?
B Moni: I’m not as busy as I sound. Everything I do is kind of like a hobby, except education and the anti-knife crime workshops. Everything else is spontaneous, sometimes ideas, shows or studio time pops up and I utilise it. After college is completed I plan on taking things more seriously
Helen Success: Why are you so passionate about anti-knife crime campaigns?
B Moni: I’m not “passionate” about anti-knife crime in particular. I just look at our communities today and I’m unhappy with the way things are, especially issues like violence and crime. The most influential event that made me serious about these issues was the murder of my best friend, Kodjo Yenga back in 2007. Ever since then I’ve just wanted to help the people I relate with the most.
Helen Success: What are your plans for the future? Do you hope to make a solid career out of any of your talents?
B Moni: Realistically I have to prepare for the 9-5 life; otherwise I would like to pursue a career in music. If it happens with comedy or anything else then I’ll just do it.
Helen Success: What’s your relationship status at the moment?
B Moni: Single.com
Helen Success: What can we expect from you in the near future?
B Moni: To still be single.com.
Helen Success: And how can everybody keep up with your recent activity?