M.O.P., short for Mash Out Posse, is an American hip hop duo. The duo, composed of rappers Billy Danze and Lil' Fame, is known for their aggressive lyrical delivery style. Although they maintain a strong underground following, they are mainly known for the song "Ante Up," released on 2000's Warriorz, and with which they have had mainstream success. The group has frequently collaborated with DJ Premier. Fame sometimes produces under the moniker Fizzy Womack, and has produced a significant number of tracks on all M.O.P. releases since 1996's Firing Squad, as well as work for other artists including Big Noyd, Kool G Rap, Teflon and Wu-Tang Clan.
Lil' Fame (Jamal Grinnage) and Billy Danze (Eric Murray) grew up together in the neighborhood of Brownsville, Brooklyn and formed a gang called Mash Out Posse. With a desire to express themselves through rap, they formed a hip-hop group named after their gang. Originally, Fame was the DJ of the group. With encouragement from his older brother, Fame began to write his own rhymes.
After contributing to the 1992 compilation The Hill That's Real, M.O.P. debuted in 1993 with the single "How About Some Hardcore?", which appeared on the soundtrack for the film House Party 3. The underground success of the single, promoted by a low-budget video from then-unknown director Hype Williams, led to their debut album To the Death. It was released in 1994 on the small label Select Records, almost fully produced by DR Period.
In 1996, M.O.P. released their second effort, Firing Squad. Hoping for better promotion, they signed with Relativity Records. Changing record labels and production duties to include Gang Starr's DJ Premier and Lil' Fame himself, the group still kept their energetic style, and gained a slightly larger following this time round. In 1998 M.O.P. released the Handle Ur Bizness EP, which was soon followed by the album First Family 4 Life. Working with the same formula, again with a heavy percentage of the record produced by DJ Premier and Lil' Fame, the album featured guest appearances by Guru of Gang Starr, Treach of Naughty by Nature, OC of Diggin' in the Crates Crew and Jay-Z. The album had the dubious distinction of being the most stolen album from New York City's HMV stores in 1998.
Rise to fame:
M.O.P.'s fan base was loyal but remained rather small until 2000, when they released Warriorz, this time on Loud Records. Mainstream radio began playing the first single, "Ante Up", produced by DR Period, with whom they had not worked with since their debut. The single was a hit and propelled the album to #25 on the Billboard 200 chart. The follow-up single, the self-produced "Cold As Ice" (which featured a sample from "Cold As Ice" by Foreigner), also received radio airplay, although almost half of the song's lyrics had to be censored for the radio version. It was used in the UK on a TV advert for Ice White toothpaste. Both "Ante Up" and "Cold as Ice" reached the top ten on the UK Singles Chart peaking at #7 and #4 respectively.
In 2001, a remix of "Ante Up" was released featuring Busta Rhymes, Remy Ma, and Teflon, which was also very well received. That same year, they collaborated on a song titled "Life is Good" with the pop group LFO. The song reached #40 on Billboard's Hot Singles Sales chart. Both singles continued the Posse's long-awaited mainstream success.
In 2002, Loud Records folded, leaving the group stranded. In 2003, Loud's parent label Sony/Columbia issued a greatest hits album titled 10 Years and Gunnin'. M.O.P. later joined Jay-Z and Damon Dash's Roc-A-Fella Records. Their first recording for the label was a guest appearance on Jay-Z's album The Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse; they were set to release their album titled Ghetto Warfare, but the eagerly anticipated album was shelved. Two other albums were recorded: one titled The Last Generation, and the other titled Kill Nigga Die Slo Bluckka Bluckka Bloaoow Blood Sweat Tears and We Out. A Dash-produced track "It's That Simple" with Spice Girl Victoria Beckham was created, and received a premiere on radio stations in July 2003. This generated mixed reviews and further criticism, with the feeling being that Beckham was far from convincing as an urban act.
During this waiting period, the group kept busy by releasing a slew of mixtapes and appearing on soundtracks to films such as Bad Boys II. They also contributed two songs ("Ground Zero" and "Put it in the Air") to the popular game NFL Street 2, and another ("Fire") to Fight Night 2004 - another video game. They also contributed Ante Up to the third installment of the popular Midnight Club video game series. Also in 2004, M.O.P. joined the successful American rap rock band Linkin Park on the second stage of the Projekt Revolution Tour.
The group also released a mixtape called Marxmen Cinema (under the name The Marxmen), as well as a self-titled rap rock album (under the name Mash Out Posse) recorded as a collaboration with heavy metal group Shiner Massive. In 2004, Damon Dash sold his share of Roc-A-Fella to new Def Jam president, Jay-Z, and kept M.O.P. on his new label, Dame Dash Music Group. The group was left feeling uncomfortable with the situation. They announced their departure from Roc-A-Fella and Dame Dash in May 2005.
In June 2005, M.O.P. officially announced their signing with 50 Cent's G-Unit Records, around the same time as Queens rap duo Mobb Deep. 50 Cent is a big fan of the group, and has stated his plans to gain the group more mainstream success. The duo completed a song with 50 Cent which was featured on the Get Rich or Die Tryin' soundtrack entitled "When Death Becomes You", and also contributed their rap vocals in a remix of "I'll Whip Ya Head Boy". Months after the signing, M.O.P. released a compilation album entitled M.O.P. Salutes the St. Marxmen, consisting of several tracks recorded while the group was signed to Roc-A-Fella. In July 2006, M.O.P released the long-shelved Ghetto Warfare.
As of February 2008, M.O.P. left G-Unit Records, due to creative differences. Billy and Fame plan to release their next album as M.O.P., The Foundation, in 2009 on E1 Music. The album will feature production from DJ Premier, Statik Selektah, The Alchemist, and Jake One, and guest appearances from Heltah Skeltah, Busta Rhymes, Jadakiss, Beanie Sigel, Styles P and Redman. The first single from the album, "Blow the Horns" featuring Busta Rhymes, and another track called "Street Life," which is a collaboration with dancehall artist Demarco, have already been released on the internet. Also, according to one of Billy Danze's recent Facebook statuses, the album is complete and is now awaiting release.
On October 14, 2008, M.O.P. filed suit in a New York Federal Court against the WWE and John Cena. The group claims that Cena and the WWE stole parts of their song "Ante Up" for Cena's theme song "The Time is Now". The theme song is also featured as the first track on Cena's album You Can't See Me. M.O.P. is seeking the destruction of the song and asking for $150,000 in damages. The lawsuit has since been dropped, it is unknown if a settlement was reached outside of court.
In June 2009, with extensive production from Lil' Fame (as Fizzy Womack) and a historic guest-list (Masta Ace, Kool G Rap, Sadat X), the RZA-executive produced "Wu-Tang Chamber Music" debuted in the Top 50 within its first week. M.O.P. themselves appeared on the album cut "Ill Figures" alongside Raekwon and Kool G Rap.
Lil' Fame also produced & executive produced the 2011 Wu-Tang Clan compilation Legendary Weapons alongside Noah Rubin & Andrew Kelley.
In June 2011, the duo appeared, rapping in Swedish on the chorus on Swedish rapper Ken Ring's single "Plocka Han".
In July 2011, the song "Raise Hell" is heard blaring out of Jesse Pinkman's excessive sound system in Breaking Bad's season 4, episode 2.
On October 24, 2011, M.O.P. released their first single, called "Get Yours", from their upcoming album. On November 22, 2011, M.O.P released their collaborative album Sparta with the German production team Snowgoons on Babygrand Records.
The group also plans to release another M.O.P. album in the future, as well as solo albums from Billy Danze titled Behind Gates, and from Lil Fame titled The Fame and the Glory. Lil Fame and Termanology teamed up on a collaborative album titled Fizzyology. The album was released on November 6, 2012 via Brick Records.