I met MCO on a very busy Saturday afternoon on Oxford street where he handed me his album entitled, ‘Full Circle’, he told me prior to this he had 3 mixtapes and has been selling CDs on road for 5 years, having sold over 25,000 units independently, he told me, ‘the struggle is real, especially for UK artists trying to break in the Capital’. I could see he was very passionate about his art so I wanted to know more about his musical journey.
What’s up MCO, please tell me about yourself and how you found hip hop?
I first discovered Hip Hop when I was at secondary school as a teenager going to discos! I grew up near a US Air Force base and used to go discos on the base! The likes of Kriss Kross & Vanilla Ice, dancing trying to get with older American girls!
So, you grew up in the US?
No, I was born in London but I lived out of the city. I used to live near Fairford Airforce Base like a mile away I practically grew up on base in pre teen days. Well up until 17 was when I moved to the states! NJ & the Florida.
Ah that explains it! What about your name where did MCO come from?
I was inspired by the Beastie Boys, I liked MCA. I used to write and call myself, ‘Twistkid in Rhymes’ but then I decided that wasn’t good enough. I’ve been writing as, ‘MCO’ since 2006, it’s meaning is, ‘Master Communications Odyssey’, which to me means our spiritual life journey.
My real name is, ‘Oliver’ so people call me, ‘O’ and take the piss call me, ‘MC Oli’.
Nice! So how long have you been rapping and how did you develop your style?
I’ve been rapping over 20 years, I used to play drums & sing with bands I was in during secondary school, it was more Rock & Blues then! I really didn’t get heavily into Hip Hop until the age of 16 when I regularly started smoking weed.
I see, so during this time who has been your musical influences?
My musical influences, there are so many to name a few, Dire Straits, Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, Roxette, Poison, Guns n’ Roses. On a Hip Hop note though, De La Soul, Jungle Brothers, Black Sheep, Guru, Talib Kweli, DMX, Pete Rock & CL, I’ve also met everyone of those Hip Hop artists I just gave you.
Wow, you’ve met DMX, I’m a huge fan what was that like?
I met DMX in ’99 in Tampa Bay was around the time he was getting mega hype with the movie, ‘Belly’. It was surreal there were limo’s & hummers and entourage of the Ruff Ryders crew!! He was due to be performing in the club but it got cancelled over an alleged knife incident back stage so he boycotted the gig & they all hit the road.I met him as he was coming back out the club, it was a long time ago now.
You met DMX in his prime, I’m jealous! To me he is one of the best of the golden eras of rap, and talking about pioneers, I really respected your track – ‘Pioneers’, it’s nice to see an artist giving props to those who came before him.
Pioneers was due to be signed and didn’t actually get picked up, however it’s not to late for any remixes to be done! We had fun making that video I paid for the spray paint & had some friends work with me on that video.
Yeah, we have been blessed by a lot of pioneers who have paved the way, but who is your favourite artist at the moment and why?
Confession — I listen to a lot of Capital radio and I have a thing for Dua Lipa right now I think she’s super hot!. Although I can’t say she’s my favourite artist, that would probably be Kendrick Lamar for his lyrical tongue & pure genius, plus he’s from the Dre & Eminem family.
Thank you for your time MCO, all the best with your music!
You can find his album, ‘Full Circle’ on iTunes.