Steven Moses fits neatly into the category of emo-rap. His accent is somewhere between the suburbs and the hip hop that had influenced him heavily. He wears his influences on his sleeve, literally, his tattoos include “Heaven, Knows I’m Miserable Now” and “Boys Don’t Cry.”
“I just fuck with their (The Smiths) music. I have a lot of lyrics tatted on me. I have my own lyrics tatted to me. Whatever I relate to. I hear it, I see it and I want to remember it.”
He’s not fond of his hometown, and he had a lot of resistance to authority and structure growing up. He was a self-confessed truant and spent most of his time off school watching videos or playing instruments.
“There’s a lot of Trump supporters and a lot of Amish people (back home). I feel like it’s 20 years behind everywhere else in the world. It’s backwards and everyone plays sports or does drugs. I didn’t like growing up there. It’s cool if you play football and love that shit. I just did music – figuring out sounds that I thought was cool and other people thought was cool.”
Drugs were, and obviously still are, a huge part of his life. It caused friction during his upbringing. When his parents found out he was dealing drugs he was kicked out of his home. He moved to Pennsylvania and would crash at different friend’s houses. He doesn’t bear any ill will to them though.
“We’re chill now. I love my parents. Without them where would I be? Shit.”
But one constant remained the whole time, music. Moses is a prodigious talent – being able to play over 19 instruments – claiming the oddest one is mandolin or the tuba – although listening back to his answer we can’t be sure.
“I really just do anything with strings bruh. Mandolin’s weird. I don’t know. Tuba. I don’t know. I never have. Man, I gotta get a tuba.”
His diverse choices on instruments filtered down to and got him exploring new bits of music. His introduction to rap came at 14 when he listened to Nas’s ‘Illmatic’ for the first time. It was a seminal album for hip hop and a seminal moment for Moses. It introduced him to a whole new world and gave him inputs to create a more versatile sound.
His records to date are filled full of emotion and detail issues that he fights with Throughout his most recent LP release 99 we hear Moses discuss personal issues – including drugs, money and relationships.
“In all my music I’m making exactly what I want to make. Exactly how I want to make it. I’m evolving in that sense every day.”
He’s terse on his plans for the future. “Drop some music and when COVID’s gone go on a tour. Fuck 2020. So glad that shit’s over.”
Press play on Steven Moses’ new track, ‘Sober Up’, below now.
This feature is taken from tmrw #39, The Evolution Issue.