On the latest episode of "On The Come Up," we speak to Morray about his rise to fame, being co-signed by J. Cole, and dropping his first project, all within the span of a year.
In the age of social media, it has become the norm for artists to blow up seemingly overnight. This sort of success is a double-edged sword. On one end, you have the money and the fame that comes with such success. However, this doesn't happen without the constant questioning of your merits. In the hip-hop world, a term like "industry plant" is used to tear down an artist and minimize their success. If a song goes viral and the artist is able to maintain notoriety, you can be sure that somebody somewhere is going to accuse them of having some inside connections, and masterplan, within the music industry.
When it comes to Fayetteville, North Carolina, artist Morray, it's quite obvious that he is anything but an "industry plant." Last year, Morray was a struggling artist who only wanted to be heard. He was working at a call center to provide for his wife and kids, all while trying to get his music career off the ground. From filming impromptu music videos to performing at small, local venues, Morray was doing everything he could do to get his talents recognized. This drive for musical success eventually led to him losing his job at the call center.
Image via Artist
While his situation seemed bleak, little did he know what was about to happen. His breakout single "Quicksand" began to gain traction on YouTube and it eventually garnered the attention of none other than fellow North Carolina artist, J. Cole, who gave Morray a co-sign on Instagram. With fans taking note of Cole's recommendation, Morray continued to see viral success, which led to a plethora of new singles, as well as a debut mixtape called Street Sermons. He was even featured on J. Cole's latest album, which goes to show much your life can change in the span of a year.
Recently, Morray came through and chopped it up with HotNewHipHop for our latest episode of On The Come Up. In this interview, Morray talks to us about his humble beginnings in North Carolina and the music that would eventually shape him into the artist he is today. He also touches on what it's like to blow up so quickly, and what kind of legacy he hopes to leave on the music world.
You can check out our interview with Morray in the video below, and you can also read the full transcript which has been edited for clarity.
Stay tuned for new episodes of On The Come Up on Wednesdays.
WATCH: Morray's episode of On The Come Up
HNHH: Who is Morray?
Morray: Who is Morray? Morray is an artist, he’s a dad, a husband, a friend. He’s a hard worker and he’s someone who just wants to be the best person he can be.
What was life like growing up in North Carolina, in Fayetteville specifically?
Growing up in Fayetteville was smooth. It was what I made it. Everybody has struggles and stuff that they’ve gone through. Of course, I’ve had jobs, I’ve lost jobs, I’ve tried to do stuff the wrong way -- got locked up so that kind of stuff happens. But Fayetteville really taught me how to be a man. That’s why I love my city. It taught me some things that I probably wouldn’t have learned in a faster city or probably wouldn’t have learned in a bigger city. It really taught me how to humble myself, realize what I want, and go get it.
At one point you and your family moved to Pennsylvania -- what kind of prompted that move and how did you adjust to your new surroundings?
What prompted the move to Pennsylvania was the fact that we didn’t really have a place to stay. We were staying with a lot of family, a lot of friends, and we needed a level of stability. So my aunt actually gave my mom a phone call like, “Yo we gotta go to P.A. Yall can come to P.A. and live with us.” The transition was crazy difficult. Coming from the city and going to the city… and the city we moved to was mainly Spanish, so I had to learn how to speak fast like them, understand as fast as them, and there’s another language involved, and on top of that it’s some street sh*t that I ain’t never seen before. I’m like, “What is going on?” It was just a lot man, a lot to catch on to when you first move to P.A.
So when you were young, what kind of music was being played in your household?
My mom played a lot of gospel music. Especially on Saturdays when it’s time to clean up, Sundays before church, Sunday after Church. And even during the weekdays, it was Gospel music as well man. That’s what she played all day. I wish she would’ve played something else, so I can know what everybody be singing in these clubs, you feel me? I be feeling so left out. It be these hot R&B songs that I never heard before, and I’m like, “What is this? I’m missing out bro.”
Was there another kind of music that you wanted to listen to or seek out specifically -- just because of your friends and everything?
Oh yeah, because of my uncles, my cousins and my and my homies, I listened to a lot of Three 6 Mafia, a lot of Drake, a lot of Breezy [Chris Brown], a lot of R&B artist -- Trey Songz. I listened to Tyrese a lot. It was a multitude of singers I listened to compared to rap -- I only listened to a little bit of rap growing up.
I read that when you were four years old you were singing in the Church. Was that something that you wanted to do or was that something your mom pushed you to at first?
The first time I sang in church, it was something my mom wanted me to do. I definitely didn’t want to sing in front of everybody -- but her and my grandmama thought it was the best idea so I did it. Honestly, it turned out to be something I didn’t know I needed. At the age of four years old I felt a sense of acceptance. People were happy to see me do something that made them feel good and I wanted to bring that out as a part of my life. And even now, I really just enjoy making people laugh, feel happy and smile.
"The first time I sang in church, it was something my mom wanted me to do. I definitely didn’t want to sing in front of everybody -- but her and my grandmama thought it was the best idea so I did it. Honestly, it turned out to be something I didn’t know I needed."
How did those early days in the church choir shape your voice into what it is today?
Singing in the church definitely helped my vocals as far as understanding what my range is -- and where I can and cannot go. ‘Cause in church if you try and hit a note that you can’t hit, they gone definitely let you know, “That ain’t it my boi. Don’t ever hit that note again or practice it.” Church really got me knowing, “Okay this is my pocket, this is my lane -- I can jump out but I know where I can’t go.” One of the main things it taught me was to have structure and stability in my vocals. I’m glad I went to church or I would have never figured that out.
How did that style of music shape, not just your voice, but your music itself?
Gospel is the ultimate pain music. If you listen to gospel music it’s so much that people talk about, that they go through every day that they’re singing, bellowing out, and letting you know how they feel. That aspect really helped me get myself right in order to write the music I write. I like making people feel good, but I also like to teach people lessons, and also let people know real sh*t happens, you feel me? Ultimately, I try and take the gospel in me and make it … accessible to everyone.
Were there any other sort of outlets that you were expressing yourself through musically? Were there other groups -- or were you making music at that time?
Back when I was sixteen I was in a group called “Spit Game Serious” -- S.G.S. They was doing a lot of rappin’ and shows in the city. At that time, I wasn’t at the level I should’ve been at to be rappin’ -- so I was just part of the street teams. I was just fighting. If we had beef with another group, that’s pretty much how I come in you feel me? That was my role. I didn’t get into my own music until I was about 21. Around that time I was thinking I need to figure out who I am and what my sound is like.
Who were some of your biggest musical influences growing up? Obviously you said you listened to a lot of Three 6 Mafia so maybe expand on that a little bit.
The first song I heard from Three 6 Mafia was raunchy as hell. It was “Still Gettin My D*ck Sucked”. I was like 10, my uncle played it for me, and I was like, “Yo this song is crazy, like, what is going on here?” So Three 6, I listened to a lot of them, I heard a lot of Busta Rhymes because of my dad, a lot of Method Man, Redman. He played a lot of 90’s hip-hop for the longest. That’s the only time I heard it. When he wasn’t it was just gospel.
"The first song I heard from Three 6 Mafia was raunchy as hell. It was “Still Gettin My D*ck Sucked”. I was like 10, my uncle played it for me, and I was like, 'Yo this song is crazy, like, what is going on here?'"
Were there any sort of local artists that you listened to in Fayetteville growing up?
Somebody I listened to locally was Yung Cakes. He was a poppin’ rapper in Fayetteville. I don’t exactly know what happened but that was someone growing up, I was like I wanna be exactly like that. He got that city love, you know the hood love so I admired that. He was fire.
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What’s the one hip-hop album that you listened to when you were younger that made you fall in love with the genre? And why?
So Far Gone by Drake because he utilized his singing and rapping together. He featured on his own songs, he sang his own hooks, and he rapped his own verses. At the time I was struggling with whether I wanted to be a rapper or a singer and that album put everything in perspective. My favorite song on that album was "Say What’s Real" and it makes so much sense now that I’m actually rapping… It's weird.
Growing up, what type of kid would you describe yourself as?
Growing up I was always a class-clown, out-going kid, like I always tried to make my day as fun as it possibly could be. Even if I had some stuff going on, like fights, or people not liking me, or not being as fly as other kids, I still tried to make my day fun. I was definitely the class clown, I was definitely trying to make other people laugh; it got me into a lot of stuff but I love being that person.
If you don’t mind talking about this -- you were in a Juvenile Detention Center as a kid growing up. What were some of the situations that led to stuff like that?
I aint trying to get into that too much because that’s the past. It was a lot of following, trying to be someone I wasn’t, and making bad decisions. I’m glad that I made those decisions to know that’s not who I am. Morray is his own person. Nobody is my boss and I like to move that way. So every decision I make, everything that I do is off of my own cognizance, it’s off my own mind, it’s my own doing because I am my own being.
How did those experiences shape you into the person you are today?
When I first came back out I thought I was tougher. I had to go back again for a year for me to understand. This is not it. I don’t like being in this place where I don’t have no control over my life. Coming home I just realized I can really stay free if I just chill out. I can do the same thing I’m doing, but be a little smarter, be a little bit more careful, don’t be so loud, don’t be so obnoxious, so blatant. Sometimes, moving smoother is definitely the way to go. It really taught me to relax and take my time with everything.
In your early adult years, you became a father, what were some of the jobs you took on in order to shoulder responsibilities in your early-adult years?
The early adult years when I first had my kid, the types of jobs I had were: Wendy’s, McDonald’s -- a lot of fast-food restaurants. A lot of plant jobs - hog plants, chicken plants, food line distribution. I really took any job I could in order to make sure that the money was coming in. At one point I had like four jobs just to be able to pay the bills. I really worked whatever I could. The last job I had was a call-center job that paid me more than almost all the jobs I had.
We’re actually going to get to that a little bit later but when did you decide to start rapping in the midst of doing these odd jobs here and there?
I always wanted to get my creativity up. I wasn’t so sure I wanted to tell my story, but I always knew I wanted to do music. Like for instance, you hear a song on the radio about a girl and whatnot, I always used to think to myself, “Okay, I can make a song like that.” That was my music for a while - just reiterating what I’m hearing on the radio, or iTunes, or whatever it was. It wasn’t until I said, none of this music is working. I’m working these odd jobs, spending my real money on studio time and it ain’t getting me nowhere. Either I change my direction and make something that’s worth making or I quit this music forever. That’s when I decided to write Quicksand and speak up about who I really am as a person and things just started going. When I started being genuine and true to myself things started working.
I read that your first song was recorded for your wife’s birthday? So was that timing intentional, was the song directed at her, or was it just a complete coincidence that happened?
The song that you’re referring to, that I wrote for my wife’s birthday-- I had wrote a song to some YouTube beat. It was just telling her how much I love her, how much I want to celebrate her, that was five years ago. I put it on Facebook and people liked it. I was thinking, “Yo people like this song.” You know what I mean, I didn’t even try to make a song, it was all for my girl. I was trying to be sweet and be nice and people enjoyed it. I said to myself, “Okay it’s time for me to do music forreal again. I got to get back into it."
Is that song still on the internet somewhere?
I think it’s on my wife’s Facebook, I’m not sure though.
Okay moving into "Quicksand" -- that was at the time you had lost your job at the call center. If you could explain what ended up leading up to you being let go from that job?
The call center job that I worked at and ended letting me go was ‘cause I had a show in Atlanta. It was my first time actually paying for a gig. It sucked that I paid for it but I had a slot. The decision was, either I go to work today or I do this. I was already in trouble, I already had write-ups from calling out for studio-time and trying to shoot videos, you know what I’m saying? It was a lot going on already. But still, it was either go to Atlanta and perform at this show I paid $200 dollars for or say forget it, lose my money, and go to work. I was juggling whether I wanted this dream or do I want this job?
My wife was like, “Listen bro, if you want to do it, I’ll hold it down. You feel me? Go do it. But just know, I’m expecting a return.” I was like, “Bet, that’s too easy.” I ended up going to the show. I had work the next day. I called and let them know I was going to be a little late because I was running late and they was like, “Nah you ain’t gotta come in because you fired.” And that was that.
What was sort of going through your mind at the time? "Quicksand" had not come out at the time and you hadn’t experienced that quick success...How did that influence your hustle moving forward?
Actually, "Quicksand" was out. It just wasn’t doing nothing. The video was already out. It just had 1,000 views or 2,000 views. But when they told me I was let go from the job I wasn’t sad about it. I really said to myself, “I’m going to let God take over and do what he supposed to do. I can find another job if I have to. But let me try this for a couple of months and work as hard as I ever did.” And, it ended up working out for me. And I'm talking to you and I’m loving it.
What exactly led to "Quicksand" becoming a huge success? What was going through your mind when it started to blow up?
What led "Quicksand" to becoming a success was being part of a team that really has my back and really cares about me. That’s what makes me successful. Even if I didn’t pop. I was planning on popping like, three, four, five years from now. I wasn’t expecting it to be this fast. Me and Mo always talked and said it’s going to take time. It just happened faster than we thought. But having somebody that has my back the way my team does, the way Interscope does, the way PickSix does, the way my management team does, that’s what led me to my success. And I’m still having trouble grasping where I’m at and I don’t know how to feel right now because it’s all happening so fast but I know once it hits me, it’s gonna blow my mind. But right now, I feel like I’m floating. Like I’m not even here talking to you, it’s like I’m watching myself sit here and have this interview and I’m just like… you know what I mean?
It’s crazy how things change so quickly you know? Life is just crazy like that and obviously, after releasing "Quicksand" you took a lot of your old songs off the internet -- what prompted you to do that?
When "Quicksand" came out and it started doing numbers I was like, "Yo, I think they ‘bout to find out the music I used to make and it’s dirt.” I said, “Yo they can’t jump you off the path bro. Y’all met me at "Quicksand." This where y’all gone know me at -- I’m so sorry.” I went through and did a clean sweep. Then my manager hit me talmbout, “One of the songs on your SoundCloud I like, let’s see if we can re-do it and put it out." I was like, “Yoooo I took all that away, man it’s gone.”
Is that something you might regret later on down the line or are you completely at peace with that decision?
Not at all. I had about 100 songs on my SoundCloud, now I have 163 so I made it up, so I'm good.
When you mention "Quicksand," there’s obviously the J. Cole co-sign right? He commented on your Instagram post and that kind of snowballed from there. What was your reaction to that?
I forgot who told me, but somebody told me, “Check your instagram Bro! J. Cole commented.” I was like, “Bro ain’t no way J. Cole commented, he doesn't even write on Instagram. It was probably one of his fan pages or somebody that follows him, or uses his picture.” I didn’t know what was going on, but when I checked, and I seen that blue check. I was lit. I was super hyped.
What were you in the middle of doing at the time?
I was smoking weed bro, just chilling. I wasn’t expecting none of this. I was chilling with my squad, chilling with my homies, and then somebody said, “Check Instagram.”
Had you had any interactions with Cole before that or was it completely out of the blue?
That’s why I was so shocked. I guess that was him reaching out saying it was amazing. That was the first time and he said it was "amazing." I was like, “Yessir!” After that and we got connected I was like, “He’s amazing.”
Who was the first person you told about the news of the J. Cole co-sign?
As soon as somebody told me, I told my whole team immediately. My wife, my homies, EBF, my label manager, I told everybody. I said, “Listen bro we ‘bout to go up because Mr. 910 said I could be “Mr. 910” for a little bit man we lit.”
Then a few months later you’re on "m y. l i f e" on J. Cole's new album, so how did that feature come about?
He FaceTimed me. He was like, “Yo bro, I got a song. If you want to hop on it and do the hook if that’s cool with you?” And I’m like, "Brother all you had to say was do this song and I would’ve did that sh*t.” I was waiting for a chance to get a song, but I ain’t want to ask him because I ain’t on that level yet so I’ll wait ‘till he hits me up. But once he said it I went to his crib immediately bro and we did the song. He let me really do my thing and have my way with it, which I think is so dope ‘cause most artists you get in the studio with -- if it’s their song they have a specific way they want you to do it. But he really let me explore my creative flow and he’s the G.O.A.T. for that.
Was that song one that you got to record in the studio or was it remote?
I went to the studio. We went through the song together.
What was some of the advice that J. Cole was dropping throughout that recording process?
He didn’t just give me advice throughout the recording process. He’s like a big bro. He’s always willing to help. If you hit him up and ask him for something or him how to do something, he gone drop knowledge on you regardless. Whether you like it or not he gone give you real good advice and that’s why I rock with him to the fullest. I even sent him a song before and said, “What you think?” He was like, “Bro I aint gone lie to you, it may not be for you, but if you sell it off or ghostwrite for somebody it’ll be fire.” It’s that type of advice where I’m like, “Yo I can’t believe you took time out of your day to write back.” You could’ve said my song was fire and I put it out and now my song is trash. He really took the time to be honest with me and that’s why I rock with him. It’s not even certain stuff he says, it’s his whole personality man, it’s fire.
"[J. Cole] is like a big bro. He’s always willing to help. If you hit him up and ask him for something or him how to do something, he gone drop knowledge on you regardless."
What’s the difference between recording a song for yourself and for someone else in terms of the creative process?
The difference in the creative process in terms of working with somebody else instead of by myself is, I’m trying to put myself in the lane they need me to be in for their song. When it’s somebody else's song or art -- you have to hold your creativity back until you know their path. In terms of my own songs, I just like to play the beat and let myself go.
What was your reaction when you heard the song on the album for the first time? That must have been a huge moment for you.
What?! Bruh I was ready to die with that thang. I said, “Bruh I can’t wait to hear this song.” Bruh, you don’t understand like … I heard 21 Savage's verse before the song came out and I was like, “Yoo what is this??” I knew Cole was gone slide and 21 slides on everything but the delivery he gave was so different.
Following "Quicksand"'s success, you dropped a lot of songs very quickly. You had "Switched Up," "Low Key," "DreamLand," "Big Decision," all great songs with huge hooks and great story-telling. How quickly did you start recording those songs after you dropped "Quicksand" and that song blew up?
I think I dropped "Quicksand" around June? "Switched Up" and "Low Key" I already had recorded. I had a video for "Switched Up" as well. We just put it back out there. It wasn’t until I got back out to L.A. in October. I think my first week in L.A. - In my first 30 days, I made 26 songs. It didn’t matter where I was in L.A. I was able to give you 15-20 songs because that’s what I like to do. That’s how I get everything out. Making the songs is fast for me because it’s true. So when it’s true you don’t gotta take three hours to make a song. If it’s true you take 30 minutes to write your song. Then you take 30 minutes to record and it’s an hour total. That’s my process.
You have this natural knack for storytelling, every song feels like it has this overarching narrative to it, you even see that in your music videos too, is storytelling something that came natural to you as a kid, or is that something you sort of grew into and developed over the years?
I just started approaching rap with story-telling. I always did the regular, “I got money, I got hoes” all that extra stuff that wasn’t true. It wasn’t ‘till I started sharing my own stories where I was like, “Oh snap, this is the approach I'm looking for because I’m telling my story.” I just recently started doing the story-telling thing where I can tell you my life story without it being boring. I’ve always enjoyed telling people about my life, but now I can execute in a way where people are intrigued now. I’ve always wanted to be able to adapt my style of rap, and I’m glad that I’ve found that gift.
Stories like "DreamLand" and "Big Decision" have a distinct story-telling arc. What are some of the experiences that you’ve gone through that have helped shape those songs?
Those songs were written in truth. In "DreamLand," everything you hear about is all true. Whether it was going through it with my parents, dealing with the law, it’s true. Everything on "Big Decisions," for example, me stealing all that money from selling candy ‘cause I wanted to do my own thing, me having a family to feed, my internal struggle of trying to stay out of the wrong and in with the right it’s all true. Like I said before, it’s easier to write what you’re actually going through.
Your songs are filled with a lot of pain, and a lot of stuff that’s shaped you, and a lot of negative situations at times, but in interviews and in terms of your personality your energy is always so full of positivity and it’s always so upbeat; so how do you keep that positive mentality even when things may have been negative or when you’ve experienced negative situations?
When you’ve been through a lot of negatives, that’s what you want -- is positive. You want to smile, you want to be happy, you want to the best of your ability, especially when you didn’t before. This is just me. I’ve been through enough in my life to know me being upset all the time, me not liking people, me beefing, that sh*t is old. I done did that already. I’m over that sh*t. Like bro, I’m a whole dad now my n*gga. I’m just tryna chill bro. You feel me? I try to make music, tell my life story, and take care of my family.
"When you’ve been through a lot of negatives, that’s what you want -- is positive. You want to smile, you want to be happy, you want to the best of your ability, especially when you didn’t before. This is just me. I’ve been through enough in my life to know me being upset all the time, me not liking people, me beefing, that sh*t is old. I done did that already. I’m over that sh*t."
Just a few months ago. Congratulations. You dropped your first project Street Sermons. What was it like recording your first mixtape?
We had a plethora of songs already finished. However, for my album I wanted to have a direction, I wanted to have a story, I wanted it to make sense. So, it wasn’t so much about making the album it was more so about putting it together that was the best part to me. For example, going through all the songs and hearing my own story through the whole project. And picking and choosing which songs make sense where that was fun.
From start to finish how long did it take for you to create the project?
Like I said I already had the songs made. We really sat down in the studio. Me and my manager Tony, and Moe Shalizi, we sat and talked about what songs we were going to use and it took us about two to three days to come up with a full track-list. Then it took a couple more days to name the songs. ‘Cause I never name my songs, I just name them whatever the beat is. I’d say all together -- like six, seven days.
Was there a song in particular that you resonated with and you can say is your favorite?
Other than "Quicksand," I would say "Bigger Things." That song was for my fans. It was supposed to say, "I really want to thank y’all for rocking with me and showing me so much love." I didn’t care what this song did in terms of numbers, I just want people who really love me to hear this song and know I love them back.
In Street Sermons you don’t have any features. What made you wanna go the solo route for the entire tape?
I wanted people to know who I was first, that's why I had no features on my first tape. I wanted people to understand who Morray is and get to know Morray personally. For example, if you go on a date with somebody, you don’t bring your friend. Nah, I want you to get to know who I am and then we can double-date and do everything extra.
"Now, my album I’ll have some features. But my first mixtape I wanted everybody to understand Morray has talent, Morray can carry his own songs, and Morray can do it himself."
Now, my album I’ll have some features. But my first mixtape I wanted everybody to understand Morray has talent, Morray can carry his own songs, and Morray can do it himself. So when I go do features it’s not Morray lacking for anything. You know who I am already.
Recently you dropped "Trenches." You dropped the remix with Polo G. What made you want to have Polo on the song specifically?
Polo G on the remix makes so much sense to me. He’s younger than me so he can really pull from a different perspective. I’m somebody who’s done that and I'm trying to become somebody different. He’s somebody who probably just came out of that. You feel me? It’s from the past and the present and I felt like both of us would add so much to the song together. And he did. I really appreciate him coming through and doing his thing and giving it a great verse.
How did he submit his verse? Was it virtual or did you get to link up with him in the studio?
It was virtual. I wish it was in the studio. But I live in North Carolina. I only be in L.A. when I record so it was virtual.
Moving forward do you have other plans to work with Polo G in the future?
Hell! Yeah! That’d be fye. Polo lit bro. Anybody who say he not lit, you lying to yourself. Look in the mirror and call yourself a liar. I would definitely rock with bul that’s a fact.
Recently you did a song "In My Blood" with Mo3. His passing is something that hit a lot of the hip-hop community. For you, how important was it for you to get on this song and help carry on his legacy?
The fact that I was able to be on a Mo3 song is a blessing cause he’s literally one of my favorite artists. So when they gave me the opportunity I jumped at it. I wrote the verse the same day and tried to send it the same day. ‘Cause at the end of the day it’s the three baby. If he was alive I would’ve wanted to do a whole mixtape with bul, like real rap. He’s fire. I learned so much from his side of the lane. His singing. His pain. He taught me a lot about music that he doesn’t even know I took from him and I'll never be able to tell him. So the fact that I can get on a song with him and let him know what I learned through music is so fire.
There were also stories that were like, you gave all the publishing to his family. How -- were you able to discuss that with his family and how did that conversation come about?
I didn’t want that to come out. It would have been cool for it to be just ‘off the strength’ but I mean, I talked to his brother and told him whatever I got to do, I don’t want no bread from the song. I want his son and his family's legacy to live forever so whatever bread comes from this song, give it to his people’s. I felt like me being on a song with my favorite rapper was enough of a gift. You feel me? Like, we lit. I don’t even need nothing else.
Speaking of the publishing front, you’re currently signed to Pick Six Records. You’ve talked about them throughout the interview. So Moe Shalizi [PickSix founder] and everybody else at PickSix kind of reached out to you when "Quicksand" had first sort of gained traction. How was that sort of process of them reaching out to you and then eventually signing you to a deal?
When PickSix-- when Moe-- hit me up the label didn’t even have a name. [Moe] hit my director up from "Quicksand," Jax North, and Jax was like, he hit me through Instagram, “Your phone is off. People trying to call you. What’s going on. Check your messages. Somebody trying to reach you and sign you.” I thought, “Ain't nobody trying to sign me. They're probably throwing you gas or whatever the case may be.” I told Jax to give them my wife’s number. He FaceTimed her and that was history. He played no games with me. He was like, “Bro I want to sign you, it ain’t gone be milk and cookies, you gone have to work hard, you might not pop for the next couple three or four years, but I believe in this song, I believe you can go crazy, if you willing to work hard I’m willing to work hard with you.” He sent me the contract and we started working together that day.
Over the last few months how’s the label helped you navigate through your career and everything because it’s gotta be a lot to deal with kind of off the jump?
I’mma keep it a whole band. Without my label navigating me through this I wouldn’t be going nowhere. They really helped me understand both the big picture and the finer details of how the rap industry works. I appreciate them forreal.
What are some --- when you’re making a body of work and the label wants to steer you in a certain direction but you have your own sort of artist direction you want to take-- what are some of the compromises that take place between yourself and the label?
I aint gone lie, me and my label don’t have that problem. They let me be creative. If they feel as though there’s a way I should do things, they’re going to present it. But if I say, “Nah I don’t really like that.” They aren’t going to force things. We really work together. I know for a fact that my label f*ck with me and PickSix I f*ck with them ‘till the end it’s some for life sh*t.
A lot of artists talk about owning their own music and owning their own masters. What does it mean for an artist to have control over their music and also have the support of their label behind them?
Everything. Owning at least 50% or owning your masters is amazing because it helps you have leverage. It helps you have control over your own destiny.
Moving forward with your music you wanted to show the world what you could on Street Sermons — if you could pick any artist in the world right now to do a feature with who would it be and why?
No cap. Only because that’s my other favorite rapper: Drake. I just feel like a song with Drake would go crazy ‘cause I know Drake’s music. You feel me? I know Drake’s cadences. I know Drake’s music so I would love to get on a song and just compliment his swag, you feel me? So both of us would go crazy. It would be so fye. N*ggas don’t understand, that’s where I get my hook sh*t from. Drake is the hook God bro! I’m telling you!
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In the future, do you have plans to release music soon? And what can we expect from you in maybe the immediate future or long term?
I’m definitely about to drop more music. I’m just in the process of figuring out when is the next best time to drop. I’m definitely doing Rolling Loud New York. Rolling Loud L.A. I’m starting the J. Cole tour. I’m definitely going to start working on an album as well, trying to put these songs together, and keep making more songs, and adding more elements to my sound. Overall man, I'm just working. That’s all I know. I just want to let everyone know soon I’ll give you everything y’all need. It’s happening.
Have you already started planning out your next project?
Yessir! Already! As soon as Street Sermons dropped I was working on my new album. It’s in the oven, I'm just waiting to pull it out, you feel me?
Without giving too much away, who are some artists and producers you’re looking forward to working with?
I would love to work with Southside, London On Da Track, Cash Money AP, Hit-Boy … like it’s so many talented producers in the game that I would love to work with because they all go crazy. They go crazy. As far artist, anybody that’s trying to work with Morray, is who I'm trying to work with. I’m trying to make as much noise as possible. You feel me?
You mentioned festivals and doing more performances, how has that sort of been for you now getting to perform in front of so many people? It must bring a different energy to your music.
Nah, I ain’t gonna lie to you. It’s the best feeling in the world when you see five, ten, fifteen, twenty-thousand people singing your song and looking at you and just watching your movements. It’s amazing. I ain't never felt nothing like that in my life and it always gives me crazy butterflies and sh*t in my stomach. Not nerves… but it’s like, “Yo the f*cking love me bro, I like that.”
Now you have your wife, you have your three kids, all of this success, right? What did you originally envision for yourself ten years ago when you first started to work and you were taking on jobs and what…. What did you envision for yourself during that time…compared to what you have now?
Back then before rap, before I called myself a rapper — I really envisioned just a normal life. Having a regular job, paying my bills, and being a good dad and just being a good man. Back in those days, I was just searching for happiness and stability bro. That’s it.
Lastly, what do you want your legacy to be like in hip-hop? Like, when all is said and done what do you want people to go back and remember you for?
For being a genuinely good dude. It sounds so cliche but that’s all I want. You ain’t gotta say I was the best rapper, the best singer, the best anything, just say, “Yo when I met Morray he was a good dude. Straight genuine dude when I met him. He ain’t have no ill will. He ain’t rub me the wrong way. He was a solid brother.” That’s it.
"You ain’t gotta say I was the best rapper, the best singer, the best anything, just say, “Yo when I met Morray he was a good dude. Straight genuine dude when I met him. He ain’t have no ill will. He ain’t rub me the wrong way. He was a solid brother.” That’s it."