For Bay Area MC MondreM.A.N., his break’s been a decade in the making. From his early recordings with Mayhem Music to the underground “cloud rap” of his duo Main Attrakionz, he’s maintained a single, unifying vision. Beyond the grills and foreign whips, Mondre wants rap immortality, as well as the opportunity to travel and see the world. His forthcoming album, They Say I Struggle Rap, is a kushed-out mix of big dreaming and hard living, and comes out November 12.—Peter Marrack
Also check out: “Fresh”
And: “So Deep”
Name: Damondre Grice a.k.a. MondreM.A.N.
Hometown: Oakland, California born and raised. It started on 43rd and Market. I was like 10, 11. Then we moved the studio to 63rd and Idaho.
I grew up listening to: My first two CDs I ever bought were Big Tymers’ I Got That Work and B.G.’s Checkmate. I was living in Mississippi at the time. I bought them because of the cover. I started watching music videos, and them niggas had the Lamborghinis, iced-out teeth. I had never seen that. I thought that shit was cool. Later on my ear expanded to music. I fuck with East Coast, West Coast, down south, even overseas. I fuck with Tommy Kruise, up in Montreal.
Most people don’t know I: They don’t know we’re about to blow, and take over this game. We ain’t going to be no face that’s going to be here, then gone in the next ten years. I’m still going to be here doing my thing in ten years. I want to take Green Ova to the next level. We got that dream.
My style’s been compared to: Ask one of my Green Ova people. It’s that Main Attrakionz shit.
My big cousin Karus told us from the beginning. Me and Squadda [of Main Attrakionz] had to write raps because he had a label. He was on some independent Bay Area shit. The label was Mayhem Music. It still is to this day. I was just writing raps, sitting in the back of his whip. We had to spit our raps we wrote before we could even get in the studio. This is when Bow Wow and Romeo were popping. He was trying to compare us to them, but like he said, “Ya’ll cussin’ and shit. How we going to promote ya’ll, in the industry? Ya’ll got to clean up the raps.” He was wildin. He told us, it will probably take ten years, don’t stop and you’ll be happy.
My standout records and/or moments to date have been: Zombies On Tha Turf. That’s a Main Attrakionz project, one of our first ones we ever did, up in our room. That was ’09. “Surprise” and “So Deep.” That’s some treasure shit. I think I was 18. I’m on that DMX “Slippin’” beat. “I’m slippin’, I’m fallin’, I can’t get up.” I hopped on that beat. Dope Since 91 project. The whole project. That was my first one I ever dropped, that I feel like was an official album.
“Intro Shit.” We just dropped the video for that one, off They Say I Struggle Rap. It came out how it was supposed to. You seen how the clown was there. Niggas wear any type of mask to get the job done. If you don’t want your face to be shown, and you don’t got nothing to put on, you’re going to see that mask there. You’re going to put that mask on and get the job done. But nah, it just represents the struggle. When I take the mask off, mission done. Shout out to Tim Jieh for directing it.
My goal in Hip-Hop is: When I leave, when I die, I’ll still be in the hip-hop game. I’ll still be here with ya’ll. I’m still be with the younger generations. I just want to complete my personal legend. My personal legend is to be the best I can be while I’m on this Earth. I don’t really want too much. I just want a nice amount. But the world is yours, the world is ours. I just want to see tomorrow, who’s around the world. I want to see the world before I get up out of here, man.
I’m gonna be the next: Stephen King. He’s real legendary. He’s still behind-the-scenes. I been seeing those books since I was in elementary.
To check out more of my music go to: The Internet. Bandcamp. Google Main Attrakionz. We started out with DatPiff, LiveMixtapes, but just BandCamp for the recent ones. We got Green Ova BandCamp, Shady Blaze BandCamp, my BandCamp Green Ova Chapter 2. Bossalinis & Fooliyones is on iTunes.