Those of you interested in the growing LDS hip hop scene will no doubt find something to love in the music of Maurice Dew. Maurice is a witty, smart rapper originally from Colorado, who has been making a name for himself in Phoenix, Arizona. Maurice, a returned missionary who has started his own record label, Pioneer Productions, has an active online presence, and frequently blogs about politics, the music industry, and current events. He is currently promoting his second album, For the People, and has answered a few questions for Linescratchers.
First of all, are you familiar with other Linescratchers Young Sim and Definit in Salt Lake City?
A: I do know about the other rap acts on your web site. I have not worked with them, but I do believe it is important to be a student of what you are doing. Because of this I try and stay up to date on other rappers, LDS or not. In fact, Sim still owes me a phone call!
Do you think rap music has appeal in the LDS community?
A: Rap music has a huge influence on LDS folks. With rap music becoming so watered down and welcome in pop culture now, it is so much more widely accepted than it was 15 years ago. People are so cross-genre-accepting today. They like anything catchy. Listeners are not as picky as they used to be. The problem is that rap music (and some other styles) is far too inappropriate and stupid these days. Mormon parents and leaders don’t realize that their kids are listening to filth. My desire is to create a positive and an appropriate alternative to the stuff they already love and support. My goal has always been to convey real messages to listeners. I’m a writer first, MC second. It’s crazy to me how the church has not embraced what I am trying to do. My aunt is the President and CEO of an LDS publishing company. People always ask me, “Why don’t you send your stuff to her?” (As if I haven’t been doing this since 1999). I have met with retail purchasers for the company, and I am in very good communication with them. For some reason, though, I have received opposition from church people and LDS publishing executives. I have found that the opposition always comes from those who have never heard my music, and the love always comes from those who have heard my music. It’s almost funny to me at this point.
What life experiences do you bring to the table when you write?
A: When I write material I try and make it a reflection and representation of myself or experiences I witness. I draw from my beliefs and experiences and opinions. I draw from the lives of those around me. I try and make my music personable. I may talk about something unique, but the feelings and emotions I portray are universally felt by most everyone. I try and use decent language in my life; therefore, my music will reflect my everyday speech. I just don’t want people to think that because my music does not have cursing that they will be cheated emotionally somehow. Listen and see for yourself!
Tell us about your upcoming album, For the People.
A: So, you want to know about For the People. Good! I love talking about it. Well, to talk about that I need to take you back to my first album, Scrapbook. Scrapbook was a fun project that I made with a friend from Phoenix. We went to his studio and spent about 18 months recording it. He and I mixed it and then I just pressed up copies. It was fun and I learned a great deal. When I started compiling ideas for For the People, I really wanted to do things totally different this time around. I wanted total control over the project. I wanted to oversee things that I felt unable to control with Scrapbook. I decided to record the whole thing at my house. This was a beautiful experience and it quickly became my pattern for creativity. I also wanted to outsource as much as possible, leaving me to just focus on writing and the “big picture” of the album. I only made a few of the beats, where I produced half of them on Scrapbook. I had a professional mixing engineer on For the People, making an extremely notable improvement in overall sound quality. Because I was mainly only focused on writing songs, I was able to really dig deeper with the material and create moving images and topics of importance. I love For the People. People love For the People. I am very happy with it.
Do you play shows or go on tour?
A: I do play live shows often. It’s part of the game. I love it. Now that I am promoting the new album, I am performing a lot. I try and play in all different types of venues and locations. This helps spread my music to a vast group of listeners and fans. I’ve played clubs, churches, Indian reservations, and house parties. I am actually working on tour dates right now with a local Arizona artist. I’m hoping to be in a western state near you very soon. I try and do anything I can for exposure and marketing. I try and have a presence in the real world, as well as online. I have a blog, twitter, Myspace, and Facebook. I am also currently in the process of shooting a video for my song, You Suck. If you’ve seen some of the more popular rap videos in the last year or so, this video will have you rolling. It is hilarious.