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Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

International Mo B. Raps with Purpose

Mobi Njoku is a senior at Eastern Washington University, where he is an accounting and finance double major. Like many students, Njoku has a side hobby to keep him busy. However, when other kids are out playing disc golf, Njoku is carving out a nice rap career for himself as International Mo B. International Mo B., along with Warm Gun, will be performing in the Reid Campus Center Ballroom at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25. The Pioneer spoke with Mo over the phone to get to know him before his show.

known as International Mo B.  Photos courtesy of
Mobi Njoku, known as International Mo B., rapping at a recent performance. Photos courtesy of Njoku.

Q: How did you come up with the name “International Mo B.”?

Mo: It’s a play on a bunch of different things. Mo B. is a shortening of my original name, Mobi. The “International” part was a nickname given by a good friend because my parents came over from Nigeria in the ‘80s. Also, Jay-Z is my favorite artist, and in a song calls himself “International Hov.” Some people were saying I was “International Mo,” so I just ran with it.

You said your parents are from Nigeria. How important is your cultural background to your music?

It’s everything to me, man. Growing up I listened to a lot of Nigerian music. My dad loved R&B and soul, and we listened to it pretty much every weekend. There are a lot of big ideas I want to try with my music, and one is definitely to try and blend music with African roots with traditional hip-hop music.


When did you know you wanted to pursue hip-hop?

Man, that’s a good question. In 2006 or 2007, I started going to open mic at the University of Washington on Monday nights. I read some poems that I wrote during Hurricane Katrina, and I got some good feedback. Then, my friend got a studio in his house so we recorded a couple and put them on MySpace. Soon enough, I was getting contacted by promoters, so that’s how I got started.

What artists have influenced you, and who are your favorites today?

You will not find a bigger Jay-Z fan than me. I’m a big Kanye fan as well, Kendrick Lamar and André 3000 too. Fela Kuti is an Afrobeat artist that not a lot of people have heard of, but he is absolutely incredible. I don’t like label rappers, like backpack rap and trap rap. Right now, I love Pusha-T and his music. I’m inspired by all of the passion he puts into his work.

So if you dislike label rap, would you consider yourself to be someone who’s trying to transcend labels?

No, not really. Most of all, I want people to listen to my music and know that I have a message. I don’t want to spit clichés. I want to talk about social, political, racial issues, and mix it with everyday “let’s have fun” kinds of stuff.

Could you explain the title of your upcoming album Impeach the President, Long Live the KING?

It’s a play off of a lot of different things. People think it’s literal, but it’s figurative. The original idea was that we are all kings and queens in our own right. It also has to do with [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] and his ideas. It’s about telling people to forget about having others dictate how you feel, like when people criticize the president but they don’t really know what’s going on and what he’s dealing with. It’s pretty intricate, but I think the main idea is that I’m trying to say “Long live the values of our country, individuals and Dr. King.” I’m always adding new layers to its meaning, though. I’m proud of it because it’s a representation of a lot of the things I’m about.

When does your album come out?

Ideally, I’d like to drop it on President’s Day next month. Realistically, sometime in the middle of the year. Possibly my birthday which is July 5th. I just want to make sure its perfect enough to satisfy my liking. One thing about me is I’m a perfectionist, almost to a fault.

What are your goals for your music career?

I’ve always told people that I’ll hang up the mic sooner rather than later. I want to put out a whole body of work that I can be proud of. Also, I want to do a couple more sold-out shows, a documentary and two or three of my own music videos. I definitely recognize that not everyone who is an aspiring rapper is going to become a rapper. For me, education is Plan A, and music is Plan B. When an opportunity like Whitman comes up, I have to take it. It might be a start of a college tour in the state, but we’ll see. I definitely plan on doing a lot in 2013.

You can check out International Mo B. on Twitter (@impeachthepress), Facebook (International Mo B.) and Instagram (internationalmo).

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