Donnie Money and MS Mafia are making a comeback on the local hip-hop scene with their new album entitled, "Let the Truth be Told." At the age of 33, Donnie Money—born Donald Ray Quinn—says that he and the rest of the guys that make up MS Mafia were some of the first to create a platform for other Mississippi artists wanting to take a chance at showcasing their lyrical talent to the state as well as to the world.
"I started into this music business in 1990 as a promoter with a guy by the name of Godfather Mellow-T. At the time he was going to Jackson State. Mellow-T and I along with one of the top promoters here now, Calvin Stokes, we all came together in 1990 and started an underground promotional movement called 'The Underground.'"
Money says that the only station that would showcase local artists at that time was 90.1 FM. He tells the story of how he and the other promoters got together local groups such as MS Mafia and also a group known as Renegade, whom he says was one of the first local groups to ever have an album in stores here in Mississippi.
"When we made this music, it was like Mississippi didn't have a platform to display their talent, and in '90 it was gang-banging so bad with Vice Lords and gangsters," he says.
Money and his crew decided to use hip-hop as a way of unifying young men by presenting them with an opportunity to do something right here at home that they probably never believed they could do—create a lucrative and legit career within hip-hop. Money says that he is glad to see that Mississippi has come as far as it has with promoting its talent. He gives shout-outs to new prominent Mississippi artists who are now reaching their goals of making names for themselves outside of the state.
"Now you look at it, 15 years later, you have Kamikaze, David Banner, Boo (da Boss Playa) and 1 Life 1 Love. You have a number of groups here that are really just now beginning to see their success in music."
He describes his own group's new album as sort of a reunion for the "original" MS Mafia. The album produced by Drumma Boi of Traxxtar Records features Smoke D originally of UGK, Kamikaze, Triple Threat, Treasure Troll and the R&B style of Super Dave.
Money says he doesn't consider himself as talented as some other guys on the album, but says that he has a story to tell. Although the album does at times boast about the indulgent "thug life" that hip-hop is most often known and criticized for, Money doesn't regret letting go the street life—he recently got out of prison after serving time for a drug charge—and has a greater desire to encourage young people to stay on the right track.
Having lost his own brother to the streets, he takes full advantage of his opportunity to talk with young people. His affiliation with the MAP Coalition has created, in his opinion, a positive outlet for the youth trying to better their lives.
"The board of the MAP Coalition feels that this is God-sent because you've got a group of black young men that come from all genres of life, coming together sitting and eating at one table for not just themselves but for this whole state. We're dealing with young guys that may have had troubles at one time in their life, and now they can't get a job because they're convicted felons. But they have the love for the music ... and want to change and do better things. The MAP Coalition allows us to touch those dudes and seminar to those people," he expresses.
As for his own career in music, Money says his only purpose is to promote the new album and to try and put the spotlight back on MS Mafia. The album "Let the Truth be Told," will be available at the start of the summer. Also, log on to www.MAPCoalition.com to find out more about MAP, Donnie Money himself, and of course the original MS Mafia.
great article. another way of showing how important it is to support local while thinking global. much respect to D.M. for his positive outlook and ambitions.
- c a webb