Five years ago, MoBo The Great (aka Monique Burrell) took the stage during Jay Z's Blueprint 3 tour at the United Center in Chicago. At 16 years old, she spit a verse in front of her hometown and then, the semi-unthinkable happened: last January, he brought her on stage again during his Magna Carta Holy Grail tour. To get into the show, MoBo sold a pair of Ray Bans and proudly held a sign that read "I was 16 when I rapped on stage with you. Now I'm 19 and ready." Back at Noisey, I interviewed her the day after it happened and she said she was working on a project titled, Fuck the Public.
"In the beginning, I was trying to win the support of others, mainly my city and at the time no one was fucking with me so I began carrying the 'fuck you' mentality because I know how dope i am and I felt overlooked. Overtime, it developed into something deeper," she tells Complex. "A bash to society and it's double standards. If you're a girl, you're expected to act like what society defines as a girl characteristic. With me being a female artist in a male dominated industry, I'm expected to dress like Lil Kim or Nicki and rap like Iggy which I do neither. I know who I am and I know who I'm going to be. This project speaks on that. The title became less of a name and more of a way of living. Fuck what people think you should do. Fuck how people think you should be."
Over the last year and a half, MoBo's put in work on crafting a triumphant 11-track production over production from The Gift, Martin $ky, OG Webbie and more, plus features from Katie Got Bandz and BJ the Chicago Kid. For fans of Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment's Surf and the drill sounds of Katie's Drillary Clinton tape, MoBo effortlessly molds the melting pot of sounds into one solid project. She touches on everything from her day to day ordeals to aiming for more. It's a promising first look for the 21-year-old Chicago MC, who has really just begun her career. Here's to hoping Jay brings her out again down the line.