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Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Rapper Gives His Fans A Reason To Bark Mojica Buckled Down To Turn Out His Debut CD


May 16, 2003
Copyright © 2003
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. All rights reserved. 

The young rapper was in trouble.

On stage at a local talent show, he made an amateur mistake.

He forgot his place.

The song was nearing the end of a verse, and he was running out of words. Unsure how to fill the rest of the space and growing more desperate by the second, he tightened his lips and let out a mean-sounding bulldog bark to cover any lost phrasing.

"The crowd went wild," says the rapper Syko-Rah.

That was nine years ago, but the rapper, whose birth name is Jason Mojica, still uses the bark, sometimes incorporating it in his name, spitting it out as "Syko-RRRRAHH!"

Mojica, now 22, has just released his debut album as a solo rapper. A CD release party is forthcoming, and the rapper is on tap to play Family Day in the Park on June 14. The disc, "Georgiarican," is 18 tracks of minimalistic rap, rife with phrases inspired by a childhood in the Chattahoochee Valley.

He talks about the river's "muddy waters." He shouts out to the "1040" -- a number derived from adding Columbus' 706 area code with Phenix City's 334. One song's titled "Down 185."

He's got a string of talented guests, including Columbus' former "American Idol" contestant Christopher Aaron. But traditional thug posturing is at a minimum.

In the disc's opener, "Dark Moon Settin'," Mojica spits out, "What you gonna do when I go for that thing on your shoulder? That means your brain. What's that mean, when it's time for you to think? All that flossin', all that flashin', I see right through it. I see it in your eyes, it's all imagination. I don't care how much dope you sold. I don't care how many people you killed. That's all in your rhyme. That's all in your mind."

Indeed, while the disc carries a parental advisory for lyrics, profanity is not flagrant. It's thinking man's music -- "Hard-core with a conscience," Mojica calls it.

Despite the album's name and the Puerto Rican flag on the cover, it's not Latin rap. Mojica drops into Spanish for only short passages on two of the discs tracks.

Local hip-hop fans will know the rapper from time spent in local rap acts Darkside, where he sat in through the mid-to-late '90s, and Southern Triad, of which he was a member through most of 2002. He's opened shows for Mystikal, Goodie Mob, Biggie Smalls and Dru Hill. He's competed in talent shows with a cousin from New York, the two going by the name P.R. Twins (the P.R. standing for Puerto Rico). His look hasn't changed much in that time, though his braids are ever longer.

He recorded 14 of "Georgiarican's" tracks in just four days, from pen to tape. It was almost an act of desperation. Mojica, tired of spending almost a decade in and out of rap groups with nothing to show for his work, simply decided it was time to record.

Armed with a minimum of electronic equipment and some blank paper, he headed for Atlanta, to a friend's apartment. "I locked myself in a room."

The album is the seventh release on Columbus' FlipnFlava records. Other artists include Non-Fiction, Galifea and Pinhead -- the last artist being the stage name of label head Johnnie Wesley, who has known Mojica for years.

"A lot of people in Columbus got the talent," he says, eyeing a copy of Mojica's new disc, "but they don't know how to go to this step right here."

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