Whilst in Athens, Greece earlier this month, we had the pleasure of catching up with Afro-Greek rapper Negros Tou Moria. His parents migrated from Ghana to Athens, where he was born in the Abelokipi district.
Negros Tou Moria is a breath of fresh air for Greek hip hop, with his soulful beat selection, idyllic flow & humbling lyrics, which make him stand out from the others in the Greek hip hop scene. With an ear for detail, a brain filled with knowledge and a dream of equality, Negros Tou Moria searched high and low to find like minded people and has since created his own music collective, known as '307 squad'. The collective is a reflection of his ideology, connecting musicians from different ethnic backgrounds (Greeks, Greek-Ethiopian, Greek-Albanian, Greek-Georgian & Greek-French), and ultimately creating some damn good music. With the arrival of a hot Melbourne summer just around the corner, Thanks to Negros Tou Moria, I'm stoked to say I've got my summer playlist sorted so early.
Anyway, we asked him a few questions, and here's what he had to say. Make sure you check out his latest video after the interview.
What inspires you to create?:
At first, it all started from my pops, he was a DJ and record collector; now what inspires me is my own life - my hometown Athens, its environment and the racism that usually combines with your color, race, your ethnicity & your religion.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?: When I was sofa surfing. Now for what I do, which is music, god has blessed me with gigs, other shows, interviews & etc.
Now that I've got my own apartment, and I face this different challenge, by paying these mothafucking bills. When something bothers me, the way I overcome it is listening to songs that motivate me to never give up!
What’s the last five songs played on your playlist?: To be honest, first I listen to my own songs! Then I give my respects to 'Rebetiko', it’s a traditional Greek music, in its time comparative to rap, due to the nature of it's message and lyrics. There's a whole discussion to be had about 'Rebetiko' because it’s a 500 year old culture already:
1)Εφουμέρναμε ενα βράδυ – Μάρκος Βαμβακάρης
Markos Vamvakaris - We were smoking one night (1933)
2)Χθές το Βράδυ,στο σκοτάδι – Μάρκος Βαμβακάρης
Markos Vamvakaris - Last night, in the darkness (1935)
3)Βάρκα μου μπογιατισμένη – Γιωργός Μπάτης
Giorgos Batis - My painted boat (1934)
4)Το Κορίτσι σου,κυρά μου - Κώστας Τσανάκος(Yo to Thanasimos-Αϊντά)
Kostas Tsanakos - Your girl, my lady (1937)
5)Roots – Bob Marley
If you could collaborate with any other artist who would it be and why?: The Greek rappers or I should say the Greek hip-hop culture must first dignify the fact that this particular genre has come from Black culture since the late 70s/80s from several parties in the Bronx, correspondent with the so called “downfall” of funk and disco, according to the old school DJs. For me to collaborate with an artist the first thing that he has to have is «μπέσα» (besa) & skills.
When you've got the skills, to me, it means that you spend time with music and you stick with it which means you got love. An artist gotta love music for me to love doing a collab with them.
What's the craziest situation you have found yourself in?: Six tits and one dick. The other craziest shit is living in this mothafucking world as a black man.
What's next on the agenda?: My first LP – my new album is called «Ακούγοντας Και Μαθαίνοντας» (Akougondas ke Mathenondas - Listening & Learning)
and it will contain 15 tracks. We're gonna have it in 2 editions: the main body of the album that contains 10 tracks, and a deluxe edition which will contain a further 5 tracks including features from GMFrench, Nicotine P and Elephant Phinix.
The majority of the album has been a collaboration with Evan SBK who is the main beat maker on the record. It also contains 2 beats by Masla.G, cuts by DJ KidKut (DJ) & DJ Xquze (Co producer) .The whole album is coming out under Black Athena Records and other affiliated labels on the mixing and publishing part of the album.
What advice would you have given your younger self?: When somebody tries to tell you something about you or your life, don’t ever ignore it but don’t ever let it you change your mind completely. Build yourself up by using these two opinions (your own & the other) for what you really are, and for what you are capable of.
Check out his latest release on bandcamp:
Negros tou moria bandcamp - D.T.O - Des to O.M.A EP
'Akougondas ke Mathenondas' will be released on the Black Athena label