A certain phrase used by Green Luck Media Group’s marketing team caught my attention: Art In All Forms. Artistic expression can occur through various mediums. A perfect example is GLMG artist Big Mo, a burgeoning rap artist in the Portland, Oregon area making a name for himself by breaking cultural barriers and impressing at live shows. The Arab-American rapper – yes, Mo is short for Mohammed – took a little time out his day to chat with us about his journey.

In addition to the interview, We Out Here Magazine is proud to introduce the first single, Oil Money, from his upcoming upcoming debut, Both Sides of the Sand, which he’s releasing November 23rd at Kelly’s Olympian in Portland.

Big Mo is also working on projects with producers Samarei (Portland), Kaltron Beats (Salt Lake City), and ODC (North Carolina), but hey, lets get into this interview shall we?

Tell the people who you are.

I’m a bilingual Arab-American writer, essentially. My mother’s from Portland and my father’s Kuwaiti. I moved to the US in 2008, but before that I grew up between Oregon and Kuwait; hence, the name of my album, Both Sides of the Sand. I’m a journalist, fiction-writer, poet, songwriter and Hip-Hop artist.

Your heritage is a big part of your music. Would you say that you view hip-hop as a vehicle for cultural expression?

Hip-hop is definitely one of the vehicles I use for cultural expression. BSOS is my effort to connect the Middle East to Western culture and vise-versa, which many people believe lay on opposite spectrums of what culture is. In reality, with the spread of the Internet and corporatism, Both Sides are more similar than ever. My goal for this project is to connect the two cultures, eliminating the mentality of the “other,” while pointing out the negative traits we’ve inherited from new-age colonialism.

I feel that you’ve made a name for yourself as an oft-political rapper with a strong live show. How do you view your presence in the local rap scene?

The support lately has been amazing. I’m reaching new groups of people on a regular basis, and they’ve been supportive. To my advantage: the community in Portland is open-minded, and willing to hear an Arab-American’s perspective on what’s happening on the other side. Despite the nods, it’s been a challenge to get people to come out. People don’t want to pay for music, but I have a feeling BSOS will prove I’m worth the cover.

Tell us about Green Luck Media Group. How is it being a label artist?

Green Luck Media Group invited me to a free 2-hour session, 2-years ago this January, where I recorded Wake Up and a couple other songs and the rest is history.

To go from recording in your bedroom and watching YouTube tutorials on mixing, to recording at Green Luck has been an improvement to say the least. My sound, performance and media coverage have all improved. They’ve also connected me with some of the best talent I could ask for production-wise, while trusting me to be creatively in control of my music and message. I couldn’t ask for a better situation.

Stepping away from music, what is a normal day like for Big Mo?
I’m the Editor-in-Chief of my college paper at Lane Community College, the Torch. I wake up to e-mails, and spend most of my day in the office managing the paper’s operations, look for stories for my reports to cover and write. I can’t think of a day in the past few years where I didn’t write anything. It’s what I do, whether or not it’s related to music, it’s who I am.

How do you feel about living in Portland?

I love Portland, but I currently hang-my-hat in Eugene where I’m going to school. I’ve been around the world and spent most of my life in Kuwait, but I’ve never found a place like the North West. I love the fresh-air, the green, the rain, not being forced to contribute to a system I don’t believe in by paying sales taxes… etc. It’s home.

What’s your favorite thing about being a rapper?

It’s a repeating theme but it has to be the writing. I love performing, the hand-shakes coming off stage, even the recording process, but nowhere near how much I love creating it.
Listening to beats, nodding my head, finding the topic, jotting witty lines and turning it into a song… That has to be my favorite part of being a rapper; the ability to create.