“A Reflection of Hip-Hop” appeared on Representin’ 4 Life EP by Adrian H. Molina aka Mo Brown (2007), CHiTT Productions
I’ve been using this acapella piece as a crowd pleaser since 2005. I spit the rhyme for the first time at an open mic night at Coal Creek Coffee House in Laramie, WY. I recorded this track in 2006 with Will Ross of CHiTT Productions. We recorded in my bedroom, turned the room upside down and inside out: makeshift studio, mattresses pushed up against the windows and the walls. Borrowed mic, laptop setup, homemade pop filter.
We were very meticulous about the details. Everything had to be right. Unplugged the refrigerator and the other appliances in the kitchen even though they were all the way down the hall. We didn’t want the reverberation of the machines’ lull fuckin’ with our energy or our soundwaves. We paused when trucks drove by and scrapped the takes when we felt that minor noises outside might cloud the sound quality of the recording.
CHiTT Productions released this track on Representin’ 4 Life EP (March 2007), beats supplied by “Mannequin Rituals” (Stop the Police State, Save the Mannequins). The cover read “Adrian H. Molina” aka Mo Brown. I was flirting with the idea of keeping Mo Brown as my emcee name, but I wasn’t sure so I released the EP with my full-name on it just in case. Had BIG plans for the EP…
It was soon to reach the ears of tens of thousands of Hip-Hop heads coast-to-coast. Didn’t happen like that, but that adds to the richness of the story. You learn that your failures are your successes if you keep going.
The moniker “Mo Brown” had been with me since high school. I shortened it from MomoBrown, which I decided sounded childish for a 17-year-old rapper. I eventually scrapped Mo Brown after I realized how many emcees (male and female) claimed to be Mo Brown. Adrian H. Molina became Molina Soleil (sometimes you choose your name, sometimes it chooses you), and now it’s somewhere in the middle, but I think I know where it’s going…
I sit back with my cheap glass of red wine and smile at the recording of this track. So serious… and rightfully so. It was the beginning of a movement.
I have more fun with the piece now, more playful with the delivery.. I reach into the box of Molina classics and pull it out every now and then. I’m always in front of new people who have never heard it. Sometimes I do it for the history, or for a familiar face in the crowd. You gotta keep things fresh and mix it up, for yourself as much as for your fans and supporters.
It’s a good moment to be here in Denver, CO, listening to this track and blogging it, marinating on my life as an artist, soaking it all up into my skin… preparing for a fresh MOLINA push.
I was brave enough to call my music a movement from day one. I knew it was much bigger than me, that I was a filter. But over the years I’ve realized that it doesn’t move without me. You gotta be the engine. If not you, than who? For yourself, and the community…
Now’s the time, now’s the place, fight, now’s the time, one love for your rights. Now’s the time, now’s the place, right, now’s the time, one love people unite…
A.M. Soleil, Retrospectively is a weekly blog in 2010 focusing on 5 years of independent music by Adrian H. Molina, breaking down the history, insight, reflections and relevance one song at a time.
Circa Dec. 2007, Ed Auditorium, University of Wyoming