After a few years of figuring out his sound and how he wanted to present it, New Jersey native Angelo Mota is finally ready to embark on his journey to becoming a household name. Since he released his Crystal Avenue project in 2015, Mota, a 21-year-old rapper raised in West Orange, N.J., has gone through his fair share of ups and downs. In recent years, he's played behind the scenes as a producer, providing vibes for fellow Immaculate Taste artist Well$.
However, last year, Mota made waves with his album, House of Diamonds. For 37 minutes and 27 seconds, Angelo's honest lyrics and melodic delivery provide a breath of fresh air plus serve as a listener's personal psychiatrist. His music is meant for healing.
"I put 100 percent of what I do into my music," he says to XXL while in New York. "My dad always told me if you put 100 percent into anything, you’re not going to fail and you’re going to be one of the best at it. This is me really me that I’m putting out there. So if I learn in the future better and tighten my art up more, there’s no doubt [I’ll be great]."
Adding collaborations with budding talents like Kweku Collins, Michael Christmas and Topaz Jones to his resume plus an coming album this fall, Angelo Mota may be a name that you begin to see around more often than you think. Learn more about him here in XXL's The Break.
Name: Angelo Mota
Hometown: Born in Baltimore, raised in West Orange, N.J
I grew up listening to: "I listened to a lot of old school hip-hop. My dad had a lot of old school CDs like Ready to Die, 2Pac albums, Method Man's Tical album. My mom had the world sound, international sound. It was a mix of the two that contributes to the music I make today.
"My earliest memory of me making music was in the third grade, I was in band; I was in drums because I love to hit shit. I played procession, the first time I made music was on a bell kit, and like the little xylophone shits they give you.
"I kind of liked the idea of being able to put my emotions into something and turn it into art or a product I can give to people or to assist people when they are at their low points. The decision came when I realized that this is what I have to do. I wanted to get out my experience with life and try and help other people with how they experience it.
"I was in college, my sophomore year, I went to William Patterson University. Things were crazy and mad shit going on in school and at home and shit wasn’t too great. It was just a hard time for everybody. I stopped going to class for like weeks and I was wasting money going to school. Some days I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get out of bed or go to class or go to class high or drunk on some shit. One night I just broke it down. Even though I’m here, if I don’t go to class, I still make time to go in the studio, because they had a studio on campus. So I said I should just go for it because I didn’t see myself doing anything else. When I was younger I saw myself being like a doctor, lawyer. I was getting depressed and I found out the only thing I can tolerate doing was music. It was the only thing I felt I’m good at and it made me want to throw all my chips into that bad."
My style has been compared to: “I would describe my sound as me. So does everybody, but I feel like what I do is different than what a lot of people do. And everything that I rap about is shit I’ve gone through. I think my sound comes from…I don’t like listening to music when I’m recording. I like to hear what goes on in my head and putting it out. My beats are a bit different because I like the feel of it. So I feel like it gives me my own little pocket. I’ve been compared to a few people. When I was younger people used think I sounded like Earl Sweatshirt. But back then didn’t really have my sound yet until I did House of Diamonds."
Most people don’t know: “I used to do Tae Kwon Do, 13 years; I’m like a third degree black belt. I started when I was young. It kept me active. It was a great way to get out aggression and learn to control it. I also used to skateboard much younger. That was the first thing I really wanted to do, be a professional skateboarder. But that fell through because I broke my foot and the park wasn’t really fuckin’ with me and I couldn’t do anything. I was mad depressed so I just said one day, ‘Let me rap” because everyone was ding it and I wanted to see if I enjoy it. Then it became from that to “This is what I need to do.”
My standout moment to date has been: “Meaningful moment is when I went to North Carolina to perform with my boy Well$ at Hopscotch Music Festival Festival. That was probably one of my favorite music moments. Every time I go to North Carolina with my friends it’s a great moment because we’re not in Jersey anymore. People see us different, we do shit differently, and we’re with Immaculate Taste who holds it down. I think those moments mean more than a song that has over 100,000 plays."
My goal in hip-hop is: “I want to help people that feel similar to the way I feel. That's really what music has become to me. When you’re 15, 16, it’s about yeah, I want to get money and do this and that. But now I feel like it’s more, for me…when I was going though it, I was going through it alone and it was bad that I did it that way. I hope that my music helps people go through whatever they may be going through, giving people an escape or an answer."
I’m going to be the next: “I feel like I’ll be the next great. For what I'm doing and what I'm trying to do in my field, I think I’ll go on to be the next great."
Standouts: House of Diamonds
"Eve" Featuring Topaz Jones
"It Ain't Safe Outside" Featuring Kweku Collins
Produced by Angelo Mota
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