Last month, the city of Houston officially feted Big Moe with it’s most rarest of feats for a rapper: it gave him his own official day. For context purposes, he is the eighth Houston rapper to receive such an honor, joining Screwed Up Click brothers Lil Keke and Z-Ro; Trae Tha Truth; Paul Wall; Slim Thug; Bun B and Sun. It’s a crowning achievement that comes 17 years after his debut album (City of Syrup), 15 years after his most celebrated commercial release (Purple World) and a decade removed from his tragic death following a heart attack.
Kenneth Moore did not own the name Big Moe as a misnomer; he was christened with the perfect rap name to suit him. He was a man-child placed in the body of someone who could have passed for an NFL offensive lineman. If the Screwed Up Click was a galaxy of rappers from various Southside blocks that ranging from gangly-voiced and affable (Yungstar) to rapping-like-he-had-an-important-story-to-tell-you-before-people-walked-back-inside (early Z-Ro) to possessing a silky, perfect rap baritone (Fat Pat), Big Moe was the outlier. He rapped with a noticeable baritone but also sung with velvety smoothness. Houston’s longstanding belief that anything could be made into a song or remixed purposefully to fit current nomenclature was birthed within the voice of Big Moe.
Recently, Wreckshop Nation commissioned a documentary about the life of Moe. It is called Big Moe 4 Ever, a 24-minute arc that somehow attempts to pack 33 years of life into it. Here are the 22 best quotes from beginning to end.
22. “He was potty training at 18 months” Grandma Mildred Because of course your grandmother knows of your ridiculous feats. While most kids are pointing out fruit snacks and growing up to be tiny kneecapping terrors, Moe apparently wanted to keep his pampers clean. Now I can only imagine Big Moe talking baby gibberish but championing Huggies the same way he did FUBU over Hilfiger.
21. “I’ma show you why they call me Disco Dan!” Big Moe
Moe, a dancing machine.
20. “Bitch you trippin’, yo’ son can sang and you been ‘round here stuck on stupid.” Mama Moe
Big Moe’s mother is one of the main people keeping his legacy alive and serves as the executive producer of Big Moe 4 Ever. A gem and a half, it took her son singing the a capella version of Jodeci covering Stevie Wonder’s “Lately” to convince her that he was destined for something. Which only serves to remind us that a Jodeci biopic need be made, preferably by VH1 or BET.
19. “Ain’t no lazy point to our life, we gotta get out and make it happen.” Big Moe
There’s a noticeable tic in Moe’s speaking voice whenever he gets excited in the documentary. His mind immediately goes to fast-forward to get everything out and he blurts out everything, including sage advice at a mile a minute. No wonder he was mostly brought down to a slow pitch.
18. “Moe had a natural voice. He could give it to you at any pitch. Some people won’t acknowledge or say it but they got the singing-rap game from him.” K-Love
The chronology for singing rappers goes as follows: Moe; Z-Ro; Ja Rule; Phonte; Drake. Nate Dogg doesn’t belong on this list because he was primarily a singer and never actually rapped. Ja Rule did sing but only for corny, thug-love pop hits. Phonte mastered this feat and then became an honest to God singer with The Foreign Exchange and his 50-11 other side gigs and hustles. Drake is the current standard, but most of this style points back to the big man who stayed off Tampa in Yellowstone.
17. “He said, ‘I’ma be a ghetto superstar.’ He was not only my son, he was my best friend.” Mama Moe
This is correct. Being the biggest rapper or entertainer in the world holds certain distinctions, none of them carry the same amount of respect and reverence as being a neighborhood God. See any Houston rapper from either the Screwed Up Click or Swishahouse during their respective peaks.
16. “Ideal, they stayed cater-corner from our house, Beyonce stayed two streets over...” Ceddy Weddy Big Moe 4 Ever reminds us that Third Ward, Houston, Texas is a beautiful, magical place where Big Pokey, Big Moe, Ideal and Beyonce can all stay within walking distance of one another. It’s also a reminder that we never did get the Big Moe / Beyonce collaboration the world truly deserved.
15. “In high school, going through the hallways he was always singing. His favorite song was, ‘Whoever Name Smell Like Booty’” Big Toon
In the high-school ecosystem, funny big dudes were always high on the totem pole of popularity. Come up with a remix to Deborah Cox’s “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here” or Carlos Santana’s “Maria Maria” and you earned currency for at least a few weeks. Now imagine Moe’s overly talented ass doing this at Jack Yates. For four years.
14. “One day Screw pulled up on Tampa and he picked Moe up. Next thing you know a week later, we jammin’ the tape playing NBA Live.” Pat
From 1995 until 2007, NBA Live was one of EA Sports’ most cherished properties. Hours and days of childhoods across the globe have been lost to Live 95 and Live 96, respectively. I had Live 97 with Mitch Richmond on the cover for PC; that’s how dedicated I was. Also, Player 99 for the Chicago Bulls was a cheat code that made everyone wonder why the Bulls never signed Player 99 in real life.
13. “You didn’t have a tape unless you had Big Moe.” Mike D
Mike is referring to Screw tapes, those grey tapes that doubled as the key to a codeine-driven version of Oz. To properly deconstruct the hierarchy of the Screwed Up Click, one must merely work from top to bottom. The Click’s best two rappers were Fat Pat and Lil Keke; its last wunderkind was Lil Flip. Within that period others had their star-making turns, including Yungstar on “June 27th.” Moe is credited as the most featured guest on Screw tapes, the most constant of presence solely because you cannot replicate what he does or did.
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