A couple of years back, an unknown rapper from Baltimore called iAmMoshow uploaded a homemade music video to YouTube. It was for his track "Night Time Love", and the grainy clip amassed just under 2,000 views. Not bad, but not brilliant either – especially not for iAmMoshow, who wanted a taste of real success. He didn't want to be buried among all those other faceless Soundcloud musicians, with their dry tracks about weed and money and butts. He wanted to be different. He wanted to express his true self, and rise to the top like cream.
To that end, he did what any one of us would do if we were an aspiring artist slash entrepreneur in the internet age. He started incorporating cats.
It was subtle at first; just one or two shots of a grey and pink hairless sphinx. But gradually, over time, he started including more cats, and then more cats. By the time a year had passed, he was colloquially known online as "the cat rapper". "Yeah I love my cats / I'M LIKE YEAH I LOVE MY CATS!" he raps in "Love Your Cats", the camera zooming in and out on his extremely chill feline squad, who are all dressed to the nines in jumpers and bandanas. But who is the cat rapper, really? What makes him tick? Where does he get all these cats from? But most importantly: why? We had a lot of questions, obviously, so we rang him up and laid them down.
Hey iAmMoshow! Your first video was uploaded two years ago and it didn't have any cats in it. Why did you decide to incorporate them in what you do?
iAmMoshow the Cat Rapper: It just so happens there were no cats in that music video at the time. But I love cats. I'm a rapper and I'm the cat rapper. I wanted to start showing my love and who I really I am. I could pretend about a life, and rap about things I don't do, or I can actually rap about my life.
Where do all these cats come from? Are they yours?
I have six rescue cats at home, and four cats here in Portland. Their names are Sushi, Megamam, Ravioli and Tally. I love them all equally. You can't have a favourite cat because cats choose you.
Why cats? Why not dogs or rabbits?
I love cats because they use the litter by themselves, which I think is awesome. Also, when you have a cat you have to work for that love. It's not like the cat is going to be all over you 24-7. So if you see that a cat and a human have a close relationship, you just know that is a real strong bond.
I saw that you take your cats for walks sometimes. Where are their favourite spots?
Sushi and Ravioli love to go outside. Ravioli likes going to the park and meeting random ladies and letting them pet him. They love to go on adventures, hiking and hanging out wherever I shoot music videos at.
Are your cats proper into your music then?
They love my music. They're in the studio when I record every day. My music is based off my emotions and feelings, and the cats will lay in my lap or sit on my head as I'm recording, and the energy just comes from them.
That's lovely. Do you think you'll ever branch out from the "cat rap" genre?
Yeah maybe here and there, but mostly, every thing I do is going to have a cat incorporated. This is who I am. This is me as a person. I can't see ever stopping because I'm always going to be around cats, I'm always going to be fighting for cat adoptions, I'm always going to be at humane societies and doing this cat music.
That video of you having a bath with your ginger cat is cute. Do you always bathe with your cats or is that just for artistic purposes?
I have to bathe my cats. They're special breeds and I have to give them a bath once every 2-3 weeks. They don't have fur, and Ravioli only has the first fur of a cat, so they have oil build ups and if I don't clean their skin they get dirty, like humans. I have to clean the bacteria off their skin or it'll get infected. It's one of those things where, I have to give them baths, so I might as well be rapping as well.
Tell me about your shows. Do you perform with your cats?
I just came back from Colorado, I've done some shows in Portland, and you'll see me at some other events this year that I can't talk too much about. I also did a performance for The Decemberists. I usually perform, and then when I get off stage, I do a meet-and-greet for an hour and 30 minutes – and that's when I incorporate the cats. I have a lot of nice fans that really support what I'm doing.
Which musicians do you look up to for inspiration?
Phoebe from Friends. Shout out to Phoebe, man. She's the OG cat lady. I respect what she did. I would also say definitely Sade because I grew up listening to her; my mum played her CDs all the time. Her music is timeless, it transcends through everything. I also love James Taylor. As far as rap goes, you got to give it to Master P and Lil Wayne.
Have you got any upcoming releases we should know about?
I've got two singles out on iTunes right now, and I've got a new single which is dropping this Friday, and something very special that is happening within the next week and half or two, so watch this space.
Would you like to bring cat rap to the mainstream?
I don't know what the future holds, but I'm not going to hold myself back. I'm never going to stop doing what I'm doing. I just hope the world accepts me, and lets me follow my dreams and do what I need to do. I rap about peace, love, positivity and loving your cats, being yourself and never giving up.
That is very inspiring, thanks for chatting iAmMoshow.
You can follow Daisy on Twitter.