THe Whole 9 w/ Da Foundation

We return with our newest installment of The Whole 9, and this time we chop it up with East Orange, NJ-bred, Greensboro, NC-based rap group Da Foundation. The group formed in 2009, and consists of brothers Mustaiin and Malcolm Lawrence, aka Mu Smoova and Mile Casso. They most recently dropped a single titled Chu Knoo (You Know), produced by Hellz Yea. Check out the interview below, and for more info on this duo, check them out their website.

the9elements: You are two talented brothers with a big vision for your hiphop career. How do you manage to keep up with the pressure in the industry while remaining true to your identity?

Mu Smoova: The pressure of the industry can affect those who let it. With constant shifts in momentum & different sounds that come out on a day bases. You can find yourself trying to keep up and one may lose themselves and what he/she brings. The key is to stay true to yourself and what you bring, not being concern about what everyone else is doing or how they sound. We’re confident. You do to have to be confident. We find ourselves keeping substance alive. Grounded in what works for us, we don’t shy away different sounds as long as it doesn’t jeopardize who Da Foundation is.

T9E: Where do you think you excel: in the studio or onstage? And why?

Mile Casso: We really don’t try to limit ourselves in where we excel. We put our best foot forward both in the studio and on stage due to the preparation we exhibit. So when we book studio time we come with verses ready hooks ready because time is money. That 3 or 4-hour studio block our time is spend on delivery rather than writing in the studio. We’re able to get more done that way.

On stage as far as being ready for shows. Rehearsal is key. We pride ourselves on being live and so by rehearing our show we make sure every key aspect of the stage performance is on point. As far as movement and delivery. This has less room what error because some time you get the one chance for a good impression. We love making ours a big one. Far from us just getting check

T9E: What would it take for you to sign a record deal?

Mile Casso: In the right situation a record deal would be ideal. A deal that does not limit us, that’s us be how we are. A deal that would bring us out of our current conditions we face nowadays. A record that we can communicate with the signer or a team of people that assigned to us from the label to insure our success. Communication is key in all business dwellings.

Trust also is a key fact in a game where we are told you can’t trust anyone. We follow the money as it comes in as it goes out. Far from us just being cut a check. The expensive are just as important as the profits. We all know the differences in what net and what we gross. The label track record is also key. we wouldn’t like to put ourselves in a situation where the margin for failure is greater than success.

T9E: How did you guys decide to link up with Hellz Yea and was the experience of working with him on Chu Knoo?

Mu Smoova: Working with Hellz Yea has been a blessing. He’s a expert in what he does as a producer and engineer. He’s that extra ear that most of the time heard things in the music that we can’t and won’t acknowledge. As far as “Chu Knoo” the track is produced by Andre Porter also known as Dreez of Global Sound Corp and engineered by Hellz Yea. But the mixture of these two ingredients lay the foundation for a polished product before it goes out. That we take pride in because it’s what we do, it’s our life, it’s how we want to make a living moving forward.

T9E: How do you think the New Jersey state of mind differs from the NYC state of mind?

Mu Smoova: We can’t really speak on the New York state of mind given the fact that we are not from there and have spent that much time in New York growing in New Jersey. But we think the common denominator is that if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. The New Jersey state of mind, by any means, does not take no for an answer given the circumstances. There’s also the emphasis on family and sticking together.

We question/questioned those outsiders coming in because you can never be too careful in the regard. We hustle to get where we are because no one else is going to do it for you nor just give it to you. There’s no fear in our risk taking… only strategic placement in positioning one for the far best outcome. So much wave and a lots of the trends come out of New Jersey even though our brothers and sisters are right across the river and we see you but we do it a little differently out here. Pride to call this place home, East Orange, New Jersey Essex County South Maple Ave. Home of the Braves.

Fan Reviews


        It is safe to say that all the hard work and long hours from writing and studio time is doing some good to Da Foundation. The rap duo Mile Cassoa and Mu Smoova still have tons of work to do if they are considering pleasing the world as a whole. Lately, Da Foundation decided to put their music to the test. They are trying to expand throughout the social media including Instagram, twitter, Facebook and much more. They came across TuneCore, a site where they can provide music of their choice and receive reviews such as ratings and comments from fans and commentators.

        TuneCore is a Brooklyn, New York-based independent digital music distribution service, founded in 2005. TuneCore principally offers musicians and other rights-holders the opportunity to distribute and sell or stream their music through online retailers such as iTunesDeezerSpotifyAmazon MusicGoogle PlayTidal, and others. TuneCore also offers music publishing administration services, helping songwriters register their compositions and collect royalties internationally.

        The company currently operates out of its Brooklyn, United States headquarters with offices in Austin, Burbank, Boston, Nashville, Atlanta, Australia, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.

        As mentioned before there were good reviews and of course there were bad reviews. It’s a start for them, allowing them to know what they need to work on most and how they should approach the studio when they are recording. With in mind they want all good reviews, so paying close attention to the bad reviews will help.

      One thing the duo has to keep in mind is who are the target audiences. Do they want to rap for everyone or one specific group. TuneCore categorize specific age groups and genders and it helps a great deal as to what they may be looking for.

       There are people who love them and people who do not. There people who think they can do better and has what it takes and there are people who feel they should give up. It is all motivation to them. This group is not one minded, they will venture out of their element to challenge themselves. They feel the love from fans and they know the fans want more. They will give the fans what they want and that is more.

Dafoundation EPK 2-page-003

Have Mercy on Da Foundation

        Doors left unlocked and Da Foundation is just walking right through. As they proceed with their tour in March, they are dressed comfortably, doing photo shoots with their newest collaboration of clothing line, Mercy Clothing, by Rakeem Kelly, of Newark, New Jersey. Da Foundation have been looking for a clothing line to represent in their process and one finally fell in their lap, in the perfect of timing.  One thing about this duo is they do not mind supporting other independent businesses. They understand it is a process and the only way up is through networking and supporting other industries. This is a big step for the group now that they are not only representing themselves they are representing another business.

        Rakeem Kelly is the founder and C.E.O of Mercy Clothing since 2013. MERCY means Make Every Road Count YOLO (you only live once). Rakeem has over 19 years in entrepreneurship, rightfully earning his nick name (Preneur) in the city of Newark. Rakeem owned businesses in Plainfield Nj, Newark Nj, Bloomfield Nj, and Long Beach California, the businesses he owned were restaurants, beauty salons, clothing stores, and 1 barbershop. His passion for clothing comes from Hip Hop. Under Rakeem’s leadership MERCY has grown from just t-shirts & hats, to coats, jackets, sweatshirts, sweat suits, socks, leather Varsity coats, kids apparel, women apparel, and more to come. Rakeem (Mercy) also donates shirts to some of the high school basketball teams in the city of Newark, Rakeem & the Mercy family voluntarily supports cancer & lupus associations in the city every year, Mercy also has an AAU boys basketball team, the name MERCY comes from not just his, but people he knows life experiences,

        Da Foundation is Making Every Road Count.  The MoneyNevaSleepz Promotour is just around the corner as the month of March takes off. Ripping up the streets of Orlando Florida and again in Tampa, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Jacksonville.  It’s time the deep south finally get an ear full of Da Foundation.

          Dafoundation EPK 2-page-003