Community Artist Interview with Branch Off Records

Written by Mel Williams

BOR2

(From left to right: Andre Davis (Scoola Scoola); Terrence Fullwood (Coot Myesta); Jamar Fullwood (Fuji Mo Betta); Lower Front, Casey Fullwood (Mini Mo Betta)

Hailing from the small town of Cedar Grove, NC the group’s humble beginnings started in the 90s. Originally known as Shade Tree Malitia, the team narrowed down to four primary members and gained recognition on the underground music scene until internal conflicts forced them to reinvent themselves, adding more members to create today’s Branch Off Records. Although the group is comprised of various artists, the four primary go by the names of Scoola Scoola, Coot Mysta, Fuji Mo Betta, and Mini Mo Betta. Each member has the capability of running the full spectrum of creating sound, from inking the lyrics to the production and performance of their material.

By the late 90s, the mixtapes they’d been putting out created enough buzz for them to start booking local shows in surrounding areas like Wilmington and Myrtle Beach. A fated connection with DJ Prince took things to the next level garnering a performance at the Underground Summer Jam in Atlanta, GA. Their latest mixtape “Reality Check” dropped earlier this year on January 13th and depicts the (life) struggles of one of the primary members in detail.

Here’s our quick Q&A with members of the group on music and what matters to them.

TM: What motivates you all to create music?

BOR: The passion that we have for music is what keeps us motivated to make good music. Growing up our parents use to listen to different types of music such as blues, R&B, rock, and reggae; those different rhythms and styles keep us passionate about making great music that doesn’t sound like everyone else.

The first time I (Mini Mo Betta) recorded a song around 1998 or 1999 it opened my ears to listen to music differently because the way my voice sounds is nothing like how I talk. It made me hear the tone in my voice to find the right pitch and get the right rhythm going, which helped throughout the years to create great music. The hip hop/rap music you hear today has no guidance and hardly (any) rhythm. That doesn’t keep me passionate. Creating great music that sounds different keeps my passion going.

TM: What message do you want your audiences to take away from your music or after a show?

BOR: The message we try to send is that no matter where you come from if you try your best you can succeed in anything. When you come to a show, you will see the hard work and dedication we put into a performance.

TM: What’s a cause that matters most to you and your group?

BOR: Police violence because it has been overlooked for a long time in communities. We’ve lost friends to this tragedy, and even though they have body cameras now, justice is still not being served. I (Mini Mo Betta) feel that the body cams don’t help because you still see more black victims killed by cops with body cams on and nothing is really being done to the cop except suspension without pay. That’s not justice.

TM: What do you enjoy most about performing?

BOR: The feeling you get being on stage in front of a lot of people. The crowd feeling and singing your music is the best part.

TM: What three traits would you say is most important for aspiring artists to have to succeed?

BOR: I would say always believe in yourself, work hard, and stay focused on what you want to accomplish.

TM: Who are some of your biggest influences when it comes to music/life? Why?

BOR: We influence each other the most in life and with music because we all have the same goal to be successful and provide for our families. Bob Marley is a big influence to our music because you can believe, feel, and understand the music and message he is sending to you.

TM: How do you develop lyrics/new material? What’s your creative process?

BOR: We create new material from the activities and issues that go on with us or in the hood. Our music comes from real situations we’ve faced and the struggles we went through to get to this point in our career. We want our fans to relate to songs like “Lifeline,” losing people close to us from tragic situations. Our latest project “Reality Check” from Mini Mo Betta is self-explanatory. Each song is about a struggle he is or has gone through. The first song on there called “Unchained” is about his family and friends who’ve been incarcerated either for the wrong or right reason. Another is “Freedom” which talks about young people using wisdom to overcome a bad situation such as domestic violence and abuse.

TM: Where can readers go to learn more about you?

BOR: You can learn more about us on all major social media websites and our main website Branchoffrecords.com. Also, check out some of our videos on Youtube/Branchoffrecords and get mixtapes on http://www.spinrilla.com.

Facebook: Branchoffrecords

Twitter: Branchoffrecords

Website: http://www.branchoffrecords.com

Be sure to catch their next performance 22 July at the Underground Summer Jam in the ATL! Visit TALENTS magazine website, under the “Rising Stars Features & Reviews”/Community for more details.

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