Stepping away from all things typical, George Moss is setting the Grand Rapids hip-hop scene on fire, proving that you don’t always need a gimmick and the performance doesn’t have to be about hype. His current single, “Hands Up,” reached Number 28 on the Billboard Chart last month. He is hoping to reach out from a positive, uplifting place. Recoil had the opportunity to ask the lyricist a few questions about his upcoming performance at The Pyramid Scheme Feb. 7, and where Moss’ drive comes from.
Recoil: What sets you apart from other hip-hop artists?
George Moss: Everyone has something about them that makes them unique. Often times what sets me apart from other artists is simply the fact that I don’t try to emulate other people. This isn’t something that happened overnight though – finding out who you are as a person takes time. When I first started out, I looked up to my favorite rappers and tried to do what they did. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that when you’re first starting out. That’s just the natural way of learning. Just like a child learns how to be an adult by watching and emulating adults, artists also watch and emulate other artists. But as a child grows, he learns how to become his own man. He learns to think his own way and make his own decisions. In the same way, after doing this for over fifteen years now, I’ve come to have an understanding of who I am as an artist, and probably what’s even more important is that I’ve learn who I am not. Just simply understanding who I am, and being who I am automatically sets me apart from other artists, because there is only one me.
R: Do you think it’s harder to make it as a clean, spiritual-based performer?
GM: ‘Making it’ is pretty subjective. For some people, ‘making it’ means lucrative financial gains, fame, or power; while for other people that may mean being able to finish a CD, or hear their song on the radio. But whatever definition someone has for success, the route you choose to get there will most always be difficult. The way I personally define ‘making it’ is by making an eternal impact on peoples life, and that’s something I’ve been doing since day one… even when at times I’ve felt that impact is only for myself. So no, ‘making it’ for me has not been that difficult because I don’t base my success on money, fame or accolades. I’ve been blessed to experience all of those things to a degree, but I try not to allow any of that to have an effect on my sense of fulfillment as an artist. I make music for a much larger purpose than that.
R: What message are you trying to convey with your music?
GM: Ultimately the message I want to convey with my music is hope. A hope that there is a greater purpose in our lives far beyond what we can see. Not only hope for a better future beyond this life, but also hope for the lives we live in the here and now.
R: Are you excited to play at The Pyramid Scheme?
GM: Very. It seems to be one of the hottest venues in the city right now, so it’s an honor to be able to have that local platform. I’m still pretty new to the local hip-hop scene, so I’m excited to be able to share these songs with a new audience.
R: What has been your favorite place to perform?
GM: In 2011 I had the opportunity to perform with KJ52 on a tour called WinterJam. That year it was the most-attended tours in the world according to Pollstar, so it was extremely fun to play to sold out arenas all over the country including 18,000 at Phillips Arena in Atlanta 22,000 at the American Airlines Center. But my favorite place I’ve played was actually the sold out show at the Van Andel Arena here in Grand Rapids on that tour. It wasn’t the biggest show of the tour, but there is nothing like the feeling of being able to perform in front of a sold out crowd in your own hometown.
R: How important has your fan base been?
GM: My fans are extremely important in everything I do. I’ve never been signed to a record label, or have had million-dollar budgets to do any sort of mass media campaign to get exposure for my music. My fanbase has grown almost exclusively through word of mouth. By my fans sharing my music with their friends. And honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because when your fanbase is based on real people sharing songs that are important to them with other people, it feels way more like friends than it does fans. I personally answer every facebook message, e-mail, Twitter comment, etc. I know I may not always be able to realistically keep up with that, but for right now it’s a priority of mine. My ‘marketing strategy,’ if you really want to call it that, is to pour out everything I’ve got into the people who already support me. My goal is to make music that is important to the people that already embrace who I am and what I do. If I serve them well, they will spread the word on their own, and I believe that’s how true fans are made.-Naomi Goedert February 2013