The most common image of rappers is that of the modern thug. Tattoos, gold jewelry, and a scowl are ubiquitous in the world of hip hop, and the artists work to keep it that way. Whether they’re hardened by life on the streets or not, the image of being a poor urbanite who has risen above their station to enjoy all of the fruits that wealth can offer is one that the rap artists have cultivated.
Sometimes they then break away.
IAmMoShow is the stage name of Dwayne Molock, a child of the Baltimore projects who has been performing on the microphone since his teen years. Initially, his songs were all about the typical things… threatening others, proclaiming his toughness, adoring money and hating authority. It was truly a performance; Dwayne was actually interested in things like reading and theater.
In college, he began dating a young woman, and discovered she owned a cat, Queenie. Initially diffident to each other, the cat eventually started trusting him enough to be close enough to reach, then close enough to pet, and finally to sit in his lap. Dwayne, for his part, discovered that he liked the animal. Never having had the opportunity to have pets, he formed a bond with the trusting, affectionate creature.
Tiring of life in Baltimore and the social expectations from all sides of the economic spectrum, Dwayne convinced his girlfriend to move with him across the country to Oregon, where they began carving out a new life together. Dwayne even got some cats himself, and learned to take care of them.
Then came the video.
Under his IAmMoShow name, he filmed himself giving one of his cats, DJ Ravioli, a bath. The part-Sphinx has very short hair that knots easily and needs a bath every week or two. What struck people’s interest, though, was the fact that IAmMoShow was rapping smoothly and affectionately about his pet. The video went viral, being passed around the internet. Interviews with local media followed, then appearances on places like Ellen and features in national newspapers and magazines.
He’s since followed it up with a variety of cat raps, including some more of him washing his cats.
He’s also got some cat-themed coloring books out, and advocates for two things: pet shelter adoptions (unsurprisingly) and de-stigmatizing the notion of the “cat lady”. He regularly tours the Pacific Northwest and has traveled across the country for shows.
But it’s not just about his new favorite animals. It’s really about refuting the entirely of what rap music often pretends to be about. No hate, no threats, no materialism. In the words of his site intro:
Welcome to the world of iAmMoshow The Cat Rapper, a place where love and freedom of expression reigns. I love my cat ladies, my cat family, music and writing books. I’m just a regular guy that raps with his cats, that’s spreading peace, love and positivity and telling people to follow their dreams. That’s it. Watch me as I follow my dreams.”
Not a bad message at all.
Question of the night: What’s a dream you’ve followed?