In a world where people want or choose to be politically correct because they’re afraid of saying what’s really on their mind, you’ll always find a few people who aren’t opposed to going against the grain. When it comes to media, people tend to always spin and twist every story instead of telling it how it really is or even better, saying what they may think about the situation to stir up an interesting debate. These type of people are highly respected because of how unfiltered they are and if there were ever a club consisting of rising talents who honestly and truly do not care what other people think, Mouse Jones would be the president.
Emerging on to the scene as a guy who kept himself in the mix of what was current, Mouse found himself in multiple circles which contributed to the success that he has been able to see over the course of the last few years. The young media maven continues to build his brand as an outspoken personality along with brutally honest opinions and a firm “IDGAF” attitude.
I had the chance to catch up with Mouse to talk about a lot of things such as his top media inspirations, his brand new BET show, the heated J. Cole debate between him and Styles P, the current state of hip-hop and much more in our interview below.
1 – How did you get in the industry?
A mix of Luck, pissing the right ppl off & other nigga’s girlfriends lmao. No, but seriously I was doing stand up clean from like 2011 when I got out of the NAVY up until 2014 when I just realized it wasn’t for me. Right before I completely gave up, I was talking to my brother and he reminded me that people care about what I say and my opinion, at least the people were always around. He told me “Do something, don’t do nothing.” Around that time is when I discovered “The Read” podcast as well as “Combat Jack” (RIP OG REG) and “The Brilliant Idiots” podcasts. So it only made sense to me to start a podcast, “The He-Man Woman Haters Club” podcast. I also began to utilize my twitter more to voice my opinion. I also started going outside to “cultural” events like the InHouse, Hennypaloozas, and showcases. In 2015 everybody was rapping and performing like 20x a week, which led to me hosting events. Also, shoutout to VH1’s digital team and Blogxilla & GlobalGrind’s Socially Decoded for putting me on camera 1st.
2 – What inspired you to get into media and commentary work?
I’ve always enjoyed having conversation and I’ve always looked up and admired Angie Martinez, Ed Lover & Dr. Dre, Donnie Simpson, Michael Baisden, Martin Payne (the character), Stretch & Bobbito, Petey Greene, Isaac Hayes, Ms. Jones, Starr, Charlamagne, Howard Stern, Big Tigger, AJ & Free, Cousin Jeff, Teen Summit, anyone that could pull something out of a person just through conversation. The way Combat or even Jeff & Eric from ItsTheReal are able to use the words of others’ to tell their own story, it’s always been so dope to me and I’d sit in front of the radio, TV, and youtube just soaking in all the content and just wanting to be able to do that in my own way. I just wanted to be able to leave my mark on the culture that means EVERYTHING to me by using the talents God granted me.
3 – Do you remember the first event that you covered? How did you manage to land that opportunity?
Idk if I’ve ever “covered” an event. I do remember getting an opportunity to interview Kevin Hart in 2016 on the red carpet for What Now? That was dope. Blogxilla called me while I was in Atlanta @ A3C and told me about the opportunity and I JETTED back to the city! Shoutout to Brodie Fresh lmao.
4 – It seems like you dabble in a lot of different professions. What exactly would you consider yourself to be? In other words, if someone were to ask you what do you do, what would be your response?
I’m a personality. Point blank. My brand is my personality. Not a persona cause this is me. But yeah, my personality and my ability to showcase it allows my opportunities. So I’m a personality, I host events, and I’m an on-air host. That’s what I’m most known for, but I’m also an actor. S/O AfterHours on Tidal & Appropriate Culture on youtube. I’m able to do all of these things because of my personality.
5 – Out of everything that you’re currently involved in, is there anything that you enjoy doing the most? Why?
My new show on BET, I’ll Apologize Later by far. I literally have a show on BET, well 2, but this one, in particular, is my brainchild. From the format of the show, the set, the title, it’s like “OH SHIT!” I told everyone this was going to happen in 2015 when I began this journey and it’s here. I love talking a ton of shit and then backing it up. Seeing the guests enjoy themselves and sometimes be on the edge of their seats or even uncomfortable. It’s mad fun. But, I’m also now with a machine, a huge brand. So, I still have to move within certain parameters and be me but a BET friendly me. It’s like a mental exercise. Crafting my skill.
6 – How did you get yourself involved in being an event host?
Well, I always looked up to Bugsy B & Pretty Lou growing up and how they MC’d the culture. I believe it was my first time attending a Hennypalooza at The Well. I really didn’t know anyone outside of who I’d been researching on twitter and I saw the control that Lowkey had over the crowd and said to myself “Oh, I can do some FLY shit with this.” Also, once I came on the scene people would always ask me to host shit without ever seeing me actually host. I believe the 1st event I hosted was “EIM” for Jumz & Terrell Blair, some OG’s from the BX. It was on the LES and Lowkey pulled up and probably realized I had no idea wtf I was doing. Just yelling, the sound system was crap, but Low pulled up and gave me some on the fly coaching. From there I was just committed to making my stamp and making sure that when I’m in front of a crowd I’m keeping them entertained and engaged.
7 – Social media plays a huge role in what you do as a commentator towards anything happening in our culture. Over the years, explain how social media has helped catapult you to where you are today.
I owe EVERYTHING I have to social media, Twitter in particular. I just hopped on in 2015 and started stating my opinion, no matter if I was right, wrong, or ignorant. I was me & unapologetic. I think people connected with that from early on. Twitter has seen pretty much ALL my growth from 2015 until now. Homeless, sleeping on my brother’s couch, hopping turnstiles to host events for free, introspection about dating, being a man, a father, dealing with success. I understand the doors my followers have allowed me to walk through so I do my best to share 90% of everything via social media. It’s the least I could do. Up until a few months ago, Twitter is where people came to find out about this kid who’s pissing people off or talking shit about this. I’ve seen entire email threads from some big media companies discussing my Twitter and how everyone should go follow me. So, shout out to Twitter. I’m still tryna figure out Instagram.
8 – So, you’ve landed this dope show on B.E.T.’s Youtube channel called I’ll Apologize Later. Explain how that opportunity came about.
So, I was working on MTV’s TRL at the top of the year and when that opportunity was over my mgmt was contacted by BET’s digital team who I’d previously worked with on a project called The Double Standard and a few other social pieces. They knew what I was capable of. So, when they decided it was time for them to get a little more edgy and actually lean into some opinions, they reached out to me. I was talking CASH SHIT in that initial meeting. I told them when asked what could they gain from adding me, “I’m the person that’s going to bring BET back!” (WTF is wrong with me?) But they must’ve believed me because that turned into me pitching “I.A.L” and not only them greenlighting that, they also made me the permanent host of their interview series “PULL UP.” which has been going since February. So, I have two shows on a network that I’ve been dreaming about being a part of since I was 12yrs old.
9 – What’s the main purpose of I’ll Apologize Later?
To piss people off. LMAO. No, the purpose is to shake things up @ BET. I think everyone can see that BET is very “safe” right now & has been for some years. I think with me & I.A.L over there, you’ll get to see this artist or celebs challenged on things they usually wouldn’t if I.A.L wouldn’t be there. I also want it to be an example that there’s a space for you to be you. Before Tax (FREE TAXSTONE!) media didn’t have too many “opposing views.” It was just Charlamegne and I guess you could say Flex if you consider him bozo’ing an “opposing view” and then you’d have Ebro just sounding like an angry out of touch old nigga. Outside of that, media was really a contest of who can kiss the artists & labels ass the most. When you do that, you do the audience a disservice and your brand a huge disservice because now no one knows who anyone is. I always want to humanize whomever I’m sitting in front of. Tax showed us with Tax Season and his other platforms that you don’t have to be an ass kisser to these niggas and labels. Fuck them. They gonna have to fuck with your product regardless or be looked at like a bozo for not. So, I just hope I’m keeping that same energy with I.A.L.
10 – How do you think this type of opportunity with B.E.T. measures up to everything else you’ve done over the years?
It’s a culmination. It’s not “THE” payoff but its a payoff for all the work I’ve been putting in over the past 2.5/3yrs. It makes everything else I’ve done before worth it.
11 – The video of you and Styles P arguing about J. Cole on Rosenberg’s Open Late show was spread all over social media. How did you land that opportunity to be on the show? Secondly, what are your honest thoughts on today’s music?
Shout out to Andrew Goldstein & Brian Mann, two decent white men who don’t use N-Word to my knowledge. But yeah, Andrew hired me at TRL so when he began work on Rosenberg’s show, it was this top secret thing he’d only vaguely allude to when asked: “So what do you have going on?” Brian worked with me at TRL as well before joining Andrew and Open Late so a week before the show was announced they invite me up to Complex and let me know what they’ve been working on and that they’d want me to be a recurring panelist. So, I did a test show and I and Rosenberg hit it off immediately (which I didn’t expect because I’ve hated some of his takes on the radio and Twitter and some of his wrestling takes) but yeah. We had great chemistry and they had me on the Terry Crews episode and the clips from that episode went DUMB!!! (Shoutout to Damien & Miss Info) So, they asked me back a week later when Styles was there and of the fuck course, I was gonna do it. I grew up listening to Styles. I met him and rapped like 2-3 verses of his that changed my life. It was dope. I got to argue with SP The fucking Ghost about sleepy ass J.Cole. Nah lmao, let me stop. I actually don’t dislike Cole’s music at all. I’m just very honest about this latest project which I feel is very lazy as he can be sometimes (i.e. Sideline Story, the last half of Born Sinner and we saw pockets of that on his masterpiece FHD) but yeah. That clip definitely got me some mean mugs and eye rolls from his team @ Rolling Loud backstage a few weeks back. I found it hilarious. As far as my opinion on music, it’s in a pretty great place. Everybody has an opportunity to eat, kind of. I mean we need some more real niggas in these offices & some real gatekeepers to filter out all the fuck shit. But, with streaming services and ultimately the internet as a whole, if you looking for a certain message or type of music, you can find it. So overall, its “ight” right now.
12 – Obviously I’ll Apologize Later is something that you’re currently focusing on but are there any other talents of yours that you’ll be expanding on throughout the course of this year?
Well, there will definitely be some more acting and not the typical “say something rude or funny” shit. Like some real acting. Also, still going strong with my independent podcast He-Man Woman Haters Club and just continuing to grow that audience and reach. I just want to do some dope shit and push the culture forward the way I know how. Through conversation and challenging the “norm” through it.
13 – What has been a valuable piece of advice that anyone has given you in regards to your craft?
My brother told me “do something, don’t do nothing.” It just speaks to my work ethic. There’s always something to be done, whether it’s reading up on something, watching another interview, or watching a documentary or whatever. Just do something. I devour content because it keeps me sharp. So, I’m always doing something.
14 – What advice would you give to someone aspiring to be involved in media?
One, I’d tell them to make sure that this is what they want. Cause this shit is a different monster. I’m still learning the ropes. Always be accountable for your words and know what you say, you’ll eventually have to answer for. How will you be able to handle that? If you can’t stay home, be an accountant. But, if you genuinely want to do this then figure out what it is that you want to represent, what stories you want to tell, what conversations are important to you, and then have them BETTER than anyone else because there are a million others trying to do the same thing.
15 – What can we expect from Mouse Jones for the rest of 2018?