Vagabond Maurice Brings Eclectic Knowledge To His Musical Journey

Vagabond Maurice Brings Eclectic Knowledge To His Musical Journey

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Chicago’s underground hip hop scene is as vibrant as any city’s in the country and that is thanks in part to artists such as Vagabond Maurice. The Slumpgang777 affiliate has been making a name for himself through reflective music that has been inspired by the likes of Nujabes and J Dilla and he considers himself a part of that family tree. His influences span beyond music as well and he has incorporated fiction writing knowledge as well as some of his favorite pop culture into his artistry, making for a complete and robust style that sets him apart from the crowd. From building a relationship with Lunxch Raps to how his anime influenced aesthetic came to be, we got to ask Maurice a little bit about his musical journey and what to expect as he continues to be one of the leaders in Chicago’s underground.

 


How did you first connect with Slumpgang777?

I connected through Lunxch AGES ago, actually, back in college. I was performing a lot of Slam Poetry and hitting up Open Mics and such, and I’d see him often at events thrown by student organizations. I can’t pinpoint how a dialogue sparked up between the two of us, but we became homies real quick. He’d send me some of his work to critique, and we just built from there. Truth be told, Lunxch was one of the main reasons I even started rapping seriously, even. I was in college for Fiction Writing, was performing Poetry, being an emcee wasn’t something I thought I’d be capable of. But yeah, college. We were known as Terra 5 back then, too. Rest is history.

Your music is full of dope old school influences that have helped you develop a signature sound. What inspired you to cultivate that old school sound?

Honestly you’re a product of your inspirations and a reflection of your influences, so the sound and old school vibe, for me anyway, was just the things I grew up around and listened to. I was the first generation born here in America, so when my parents came from Liberia my Pops was a DJ for awhile, and he’d spin funk, Hip Hop, Jazz and plenty of other type of records. 

So, for me, I’m not necessarily aiming to cultivate an old school sound, it’s just me making the music I’ve liked for such a long time. Shoutout to the Nujabes and J Dilla and Native Tongue Posse and Soulquarian schools of music, I’m from the same family tree.

A lot of your cover art is also inspired by anime. Can you tell us a little about how that influence took hold?

I became a Fiction Writer because I wanted to write worlds I saw through film, television, literature and comics. I like the combination of a well written story and amazing artwork, so naturally I gravitated to Pop Culture because that’s what was around when I was growing up, and I embraced it. Funny, for my last two albums, the cover artwork – done by The Kao – was definitely inspired from the Studio Ghibli / Hayao Miyazaki style of art. Or, at least, that was my inspiration when pitching the concept to The Kao.
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You’re now in Chicago after starting your musical endeavors in Minnesota. Are there any big differences between making music in Chicago vs. Minnesota? If so what are they?

To be honest my musical endeavors started in Chicago, my transition from Minnesota to Chicago was me being a Fiction Writer and Poet. But, with the handful of shows I’ve done in Minnesota, there isn’t really much of a difference for me, personally. It’s all about where an artist feels comfortable to create, and creating/writing for me has become more of a habit, if anything. I enjoy the process of constructing songs and writing personal lyrics and narratives, so, any space I’m comfortable in works for me.
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Is there anything you’re working on right now that we should be on the lookout for?

Dropping singles and visuals and a whole lot of more raw shit this year. Last year I only dropped one song, gotta play catch up. Maybe an EP will form soon, but my focus is to stay consistent, so that’s my plan of action.
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Anything else you want to add?

Keep an ear out for the rest of the crew and collective. Pay attention. The presence will be inspiring.


Big thanks to Vagabond Maurice for taking the time to answer these questions! Hopefully you got to know a little more about this Chicago MC and what he brings to the table. Give him a follow on Twitter here and be on the lookout for more new music from the Slumpgang777 member.

 

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