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Contrary to the old adage that we’ve all heard a million times, it’s IMpatience that’s the virtue—or at least it is with Bay Area female gangsta rapper Mo Wiley, who’s keeping busy with a ton of exciting entrepreneurial activities as she awaits the upcoming release of “You Can’t Touch It,” the club groove driven first single from her highly anticipated debut Major League Ballin’, due to drop this fall on Kent Entertainment’s First Kut Records.
In August, the multi-talented performer (www.myspace.com/missmowiley) was down in L.A. shooting a video for the track with director Ian Fletcher, whose credits include the clip for DJ Quik’s “Tonight’s The Night.” Building on the momentum of her opening gig in May for Wu-Tang Clan’s Cappadonna at the 24K Lounge, Wiley performed on August 2 at the King of the Streets 2009 Car Show Tour at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park on a bill with Layzie Bone of Bone Thugs N Harmony, The Jacka and Mellow Man Ace. She is planning a tour centered on performances for U.S Troops for later this year and into 2010.
Though she cleaned up her act and went straight a while back now, Wiley brings a gritty vibe and real street cred to Major League Ballin’ and is already a popular club draw in Northern California with a huge fan base in Oakland (where she made Club 17 her home base). She’s matching her lofty ambitions with action, starting her career with big time players in the rap biz. Not only is she working with the “Godfather of Rap” (and Kent owner) Morey Alexander (who launched the careers of rap legends like N.W.A, Easy-E, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre), but her album was produced by one of FirstKut’s most popular artists, Slick (from Slick and the Shock Mob).
Like all the great rappers who develop an incredible business sense to expand their brand, Wiley is already planning an exclusive clothing line with Alexander, appropriately dubbed “Mo Wear.” Her Mo Wear line will feature hip-hop apparel for women, including casual jeans and T-shirts designed with the female in mind.
“When women traditionally shop for hip-hop apparel, they either end up looking like a guy or come home frustrated,” says Wiley. “I’m going to help design items specifically for them.”
Other lines under the Mo Wear brand will include Wiley Wear, which will feature casual athletic clothes, and her high-end Boss Gurl line, which includes fancier jeans, dresses, knee high boots and sexy but not overly risqué clothing geared towards a high spirited night on the town.
Through myspace, Wiley also connected with an online merchant site that allows users to create their own product line for memorabilia type items. She began messing around and getting creative and is now selling a line of U.S. postal stamps with her image on them as well as Mo Wiley Keds and Customized Keds featuring pictures and imagery from her photo shoot for Major League Ballin’. In addition to pics of Wiley in her baseball uniform on the front and sides, the shoes feature a candy stripe on the toes and insole—creating a customized candy cane like effect. Fans can check these out at www.zazzle.com/mowiley.
In 2008, the artist incorporated with several partners the Mo Wiley Children’s Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to feeding, sheltering and educating our youth. While the organization’s ultimate aim is to start an orphanage and a rehab facility for both parents and children to straighten out their lives and be productive members of society, the foundation is currently involved on a local level with several schools in San Leandro. Wiley has contracted with the district to help a choir class at one of the schools write six original songs; she will then donate the original beats and music along with 1,000 CDs of the songs for the school to sell at their annual concert to raise money for the music program.
Inspired by the negative media and blogosphere attention received by Oakland in the wake of the March, 2009 shooting of four OPD police officers by a single assailant, Wiley—believing that the city has many good children and families—recently launched a second community based organization called For The Streets, by The Streets Youth Foundation; its mission is to serve the needs of at risk inner city kids. Wiley and her cohorts are currently putting together a series of block parties to raise money for the foundation which will include barbecues and live musical performances. School supplies and backpacks will be given away at these events.
“Even though the media’s coverage of the tragedy made many people out there think we’re all at war with each other, there are many good things going on in Oakland and the surrounding areas,” says Wiley. “I feel that is important to give back to the community that helped me turn my life around, and from experience I know that if you touch children between 8 and 13 and show them a better way of life, they will be more inclined to pursue that kind of positive, healthy existence in the future. Abraham Lincoln once said something about leaving the earth better for your children than you inherited it, and that starts with responsibility on all of our parts.”