Mob*Ill features the talents of (from left) Charod, Mika Nicole and Elijah McCreary Jr. with production by DJ Rodski.
Date: Saturday, April 14, 9:30 p.m.
Venue: Lagnunitas stage, The Merry Widow, 51 S. Conception St., www.themerrywidow.net
Each month, the Elements Hip-Hop Showcase features some of the best and brightest from the Azalea City hip-hop scene. This special SouthSounds installment of Elements will be a chance to catch Mobile’s first hip-hop supergroup, Mob*Ill.
Mob*III unites four of the scene’s most promising notables with legendary local producer DJ Rodski. This group features the verbal expertise of Mika Nicole, Elijah McCreary Jr. and Charod. New meets old on the production side, with Rogest “Rosco” Carstarphen (Hippo Meat Productions) combining his talents with DJ Rodski.
Charod called Rodski the “architect,” which began as a conversation between the vocalist and the producer. Eventually, McCreary joined the duo’s efforts and brought Mika Nicole into the mix.
From there, Charod says, Mob*Ill began to form like “magic.” McCreary says Rodski’s experience and guidance in the studio helped create a style that went “against the grain for what’s going on in the mainstream” while staying true to the hip-hop culture.
“It was just that experience alone of going through and trying to keep it culturally based, which is keeping it strictly hip-hop but at the same time giving it that edge to make it more digestible to the hip-hop head,” McCreary said. “It was a great experience to keep it to the original roots of hip-hop but bringing our own little thing to it.”
“If you know Rodski, he has a passion for hip-hop,” Charod added. “It just bleeds onto us, and we feed off of it. We love hip-hop too, but the way he expresses his love for it made it a fun experience.”
Mob*Ill will be performing cuts from their debut, “N.S.A.” (“No Slaves Allowed”). Mika Nicole likened the group to a “friendly competition” between the artists, adding that each artist brings a different style and perception to each track.
“Everybody brings something different to the table, and we challenge each other,” she explained. “Something that might not be a strong point for me, might be strong for Charod or Elijah or vice-versa. It’s challenging as a person to try something new with their artistry. Working together was very seamless, but it was friendly competition. We pushed each other to be the best on this project.”
“Rosa Parks” was the first single to drop. Accented by dark samples filled with soul, this aggressive revolutionary anthem for change conjures up the spirit of the Civil Rights icon and brings her to the streets of Mobile. Conceptually, this song began with McCreary. After some discussion, the trio began working on lyrics. Ultimately, “Rosa Parks” provides three unique versions of the song’s subject matter.
“The number-one thing [McCreary] wanted to drive home was the aggression and getting his point across,” Charod said. “We all three had different aspects that we were talking about, but it was potent in its own fashion. Everybody did their own thing and had their own message, too.”
Mob*Ill was not afraid to get rowdy on “N.S.A,” perhaps best witnessed on the track “Flame,” a mix of bounce and street philosophy making one of the album’s catchiest tracks. Nicole said it was pure spontaneity.
“As far as ‘Flame’ is concerned, we decided to go ham on that, because the beat was so crazy,” she says. “We didn’t have a concept for that. Everybody just came with it.”