The name Mohamed Bahdon hardly resonates within every household. His parents are Somalian by way of Djibouti and raised a son that lives a raucous life filled with excursions. Out of Regent Park, Toronto near Sutton Ave., Mo-G does not lack personality or confidence. His loud and direct voice is filled with charisma. Interestingly, he started rapping after dropping out of elementary school at ten years old.
He praises and recognizes Drake out of appreciation for the ways Drake has put Toronto on the map. Certainly, Drake’s influence and impact on the city of Toronto cannot be overlooked. The path Drake has taken to the top has been arduous, without a doubt. That route has always included many strategic shortcuts, though.
Drake’s rise to stardom
Drake acknowledges the different nuances of Toronto, its landscapes, and the various people who identify within different regions of the city.
Drake incorporates aspects of Jamaican/Somalian culture into his widely received body of music. He infuses words and phrases such as, “wagwan” or “walahi” into his vocabulary to showcase his versatility. Toronto provides a convenient proximity that allows access to Somalian culture.
Hawa Mire, a scholar who studies Somali diaspora claims that some Toronto artists’ efforts to popularize traditional terms are, “a riff off of the orality and metaphoric ways of being and speaking.”
As for Drake specifically, Mire states, “Drake’s cultural capital right now is coming from Somali kids, and he doesn’t adequately compensate them for it.” This brings the topic of authenticity to the forefront of discussion.
OVO’s stronghold on Toronto
As a #Toronto artist, Mo-G among others are subject to the “culture vulture.” Drake strategically selects different pieces of culture and music and presents his ‘spin’ to the public.
For example, Drake ran with, “The 6” as a way to reference the city of Toronto. Jimmy Prime was the one who invented this term as a reflection of Toronto’s six distinct municipalities.
Artists like RamRiddlz and D.R.A.M. had their songs, “Sweeterman” and “Cha Cha” picked apart and remade as an original song by Drake. Drake’s keen eye for selecting components of what’s hot to formulate his own “sound” has granted him great success and widespread popularity. With that, Drake’s contribution to hip-hop cannot be undervalued. Yes, he may consult ghostwriters for collaboration, but he has molded himself into a talented artist whose name must be mentioned in a “Top 5” conversation.
Who is Mo-G?
Most people would not know of Mo-G if it weren’t for Drake. The OVO camp first learned of Mo-G from his popular song, “Still (feat. Smoke Dawg)” A prominent R&B member of Mo-G’s Halal Gang used to work at the OVO store and passed along this song to them. Mo-G is also known for his origination of the “Ginobili dance.”
“Then I hit em with the hotline, Mo-G with the dance moves” is a line that Drake uses in his song “Summer Sixteen” which he aptly named his current tour after. Drake can also be seen hitting the “Ginobili” in the video for “Energy” and “Hotline Bling.” Mo-G’s dance moves and flashy signature style are catalysts for his public appeal.
Certainly, you have heard Drake’s song “Jumpman” off of the mixtape “What A Time To Be Alive” with Future. “I hit that Ginobili with my left hand up!” This reference was initially coined by Mo-G in his song, “Still.” Still was made in the Cloud 9 booth. Shortly after its release, Mo-G’s good friend, “Ano” (seen in video smoking and drinking) was murdered in broad daylight. As a result, he took the video down in respect for his religious family.
It’s one thing to piece together attributes discovered from other artists’ songs and release it as original content. It’s another thing to collaborate with an artist and then refuse to appropriately compensate them for their participation and involvement.
Mo-G speaks from the heart
It is important to note that OVO did a few favors for Mo-G as well. His mixtape ‘Ave Boy’ was mixed and mastered by their camp. In return, Drake asked for a vocal sample from Mo-G and the collaboration looked to be going smoothly.
Nothing was the same once Mo-G exposed Drake and the OVO camp on Instagram. This telltale video surfaced toward the end of March and in early April, Bahdon found himself in a hospital bed. The artist quickly transitioned from finding Drake’s presence to be “surreal” into an artist seeking individual success and recognition for his musical ability. *Sidebar: Once Mo-G received a payout from OVO he deleted his Instagram post – – make of this what you will.
Mo-G has dealt with significant loss throughout his life. Just recently, his friend Smoke Dawg was also a victim of homicide.
Mo-G has garnered a fair amount of buzz after releasing his song, ‘Wiggins.’ The video appeared on YouTube a day after assault struck from sources of OVO muscle. Mo-G appeared healthy and in his normal state as the audience became aware of the fact that the video had been recorded at an earlier time.
At the end, Mo-G engulfs his OVO apparel in flames. If Mo-G continues to display relevant timing with his releases, success is bound to find this tenacious Toronto rapper.