Photo by Glynnis McDaris
M.O.P. are the music industry's biggest bullies, the gun-clapping Ted Nugents of hip-hop, and probably the only artists whose entire discography can be summed up in three words (I kill you). But when Billy Danze and Lil' Fame sing "Handle Ur Business," they're secretly paying tribute to Fox, the only person who's been able to knock some sense into their heads for the last 10 years. She's been working day and night, overseeing their every move, rocking all their shows, schlepping their bags back and forth on transatlantic cruises (because they don't like to fly), and making sure the least amount of people get hurt everywhere they go. Basically, there's no talking to M.O.P. unless you talk to Fox. Finally, after all this hard labor, Billy and Fizzy were like, "Fox, how about some hardcore?" and launched their manager's career as an artist in her own right. Now she's ready to come out on some 1995 Heather B shit, and we're shook.
VICE: How come M.O.P. don't intimidate you?
Fox: Because I am M.O.P. behind the scenes. M.O.P. wouldn't get nowhere if it wasn't for me. I'm like their Mother Goose. They don't got no mothers, no fathers, none of that shit. I can put them in check, and I'm probably the only one that can do that, partly because I'm older than them. I won't say how old, but let me put it to you like this: I used to open up for Salt ‘N' Pepa and Kid ‘N' Play back in the days. I was rhyming with Kid Capri. He had a group called Sly Slick Wicked and Lethal, and I was Lethal. I was like the Flava Flav of the group. We had a song called "Extensions Out." That was when extensions had just came out. People used to have fights, extensions be on the floor and shit, so I had the bad part in the song, I'd be like, "Uh-oh, one of your extensions is missing!" Then the lights would come on, an extension would be on the floor, and a bitch would get mad and want to kick my ass after the show.
But what exactly is your work relationship with M.O.P.?
For a while I was their tour manager. The tour manager basically does everything––sets up the tours, makes sure that everyone gets there on time, makes sure the hotels are good, makes sure you get that paper, makes sure the artist is comfortable and safe. Tour managing is like being a babysitter, practically. You got to make sure everything is tight, because you know the artists are weird and crazy and if they don't have what they want, they bug out. So everything is on you. You don't get yelled at by one person, you get yelled at by the whole team. And you got to know how to deal with that. You have to learn how to suck it up. And a person like me, I don't suck up too much. So most of the time we're arguing. The guys in the group, they know I puts my fists up. I fight. I just kicked one of them dudes in the mouth, I can't say who. So I can't use both my legs and my arms anymore. I just use my arms now, 1-2-3. Really we just be playing, but we play so rough sometimes somebody gets hurt.
And I understand you're involved with the live show as well.
Well, the usual hyping up the crowd, that's me. And then you got the pit thing. I like mosh pits––I start them up. I got that from Rage Against the Machine. The lead singer, we was his favorite act. He used to listen to us before he went on stage, to get amped. So now I jump off the stage and start pushing people until we're just going crazy up in there. I start rolling around until it's focused. It's not easy. See, when you're in the pit, you can't get tired. If you get tired, you're going to get knocked the fuck out. And once you get on the floor everybody's gonna stomp you. You got to stay firm and stay focused on who's pushing you. Because there's always a person out there that wants to push you, knock you down, and make niggas laugh.
Is there any work you're glad you're not doing anymore?
I'm glad I'm not on 125th Street spray-painting those stencils, watching out for the police, putting posters up, and getting arrested. Basically all the nasty, grimy shit of taking care of the group. Right now, they got me doing some joints for my own album. Billy and Fame were like, "Yo, you can rhyme and you're gonna come out." So I'm in the group now. I'm part of M.O.P. but I'm still the one that's got to make sure the business is tight. See, here's the thing with us: We're not animals, we chill. We just nip things in the bud. We don't let it go on and on, and get on the mic and talk about you and waste a whole album on you. We just go up in your face and knock the shit out you. And it's a wrap after that. We're human people.
Look for M.O.P.'s upcoming album on Roc-A-Fella, and for some mixtapes hitting the streets by the time you read this, all featuring appearances by Fox.