MLB is …
M Josie b/k/a MEGA was born in Chesapeake, VA. Despite the rough neighborhood, of Harbour North, that forced MEGA to develop a “predator or prey” mentality, as a child, he was raised in a Christian home, where his exposure to musical genres was limited to jazz, gospel and occasionally funk, R&B &/ or reggae, at least, until his endeavors, moving through the Chesapeake Public School System. His interactions, with the children, from surrounding neighborhoods, led to his exposure to Hip Hop, which, later, sparked curiosity, in him, about the art form, the artists it gave birth to, as well as the process of producing and or writing it. With the exception of minor class projects, in his 5th grade year of school, MEGA had only dabbled in the various aspects of the art form & never considered making a career, let alone a hobby, out of it, until he met his cousin, from San Francisco, CA, Ill3gal b/k/a Leon Black, who astounded him within the 1st few lines, of a freestyle that Leon recited for MEGA within the first weeks of becoming acquainted. Leon’s confidence &, seemingly flawless lyrics inspired MEGA to again dabble into the art, this time, with more sincerity & focus. MEGA practiced in lunch room, church & drug spot cyphers, until he became confident enough to present a style of his own. MEGA & Leon then formed the duo, which, today is known as “MLB”- “Megaphors & Leon Black”. Through many trials & turmoil, the duo remains just as close knit today as they did in their teens.
Ill3gal b/k/a Leon Black was born in San Francisco, CA. Leon Black, one half of the duo known as MLB, was born in San Francisco and raised in Oakland, where he learned about hip hop at a young age from the tough neighborhoods he lived in as a child. A city known for its crime rate and poverty, Oakland was the paint that gave colors to the blank canvas of his mind from a very young age. At the age of 15 his mother moved to VA in an attempt to get him away from the street life, where he linked up w his cousin, Mega the first year of high school. They discovered that they had a mutual love of hip-hop/rap music and soon became a rap duo. As the years moved along and life pulled them down very different paths, they always remained in connected by their love of the music; at one point one of them was in Europe, the other doing shows on the east coast. Leon’s seemingly effortless moniker was mastered under pressure; he gained content and complexity from the trials and hardships of his own life.
1. Cool to meet you guys. For starts what inspired each of your solo names and the group name?
ILL3gaL: Great to meet you, too. As far as the names; Leon, which means “Lion”, and Black, which is the combination of all colors, also the original state of being before all other things. Thus, the Black Lion or the Dark King. ILL3gaL…comes from my view of how the image of the black man is often portrayed as the perpetual criminal in popular media outlets and has been used in both a negative and positive light. Especially in hip hop music…it’s quite interesting. The contrast between the two is what inspires me creatively…that place right between where one wants to be and where one finds oneself. The “LB” from “MLB” is Leon Black.
MEGA: MY name, “Megaphors”, PARTIALLY, came from a place, of vanity (lol): In conjunction with many telling me that my punchlines were formulated in a crafty, manner, jokingly, I said the name, one night, when referencing the punchlines I had written, in a rhyme, that I had just finished reciting, back, to myself. So, in a nutt-shell, handin out work, on dat mic, inspired my name (lol). The “M”, in “MLB”, represents my alias, as well.
2. How old are you guys?
MEGA: I am a plethora of lifetimes, old, hence the reason WE are “INFINITE”. I’ll reveal the age of this, particular, earthly, shell, one day (lol)
ILL3gaL: Older than yesterday….younger than tomorrow. It’s crazy how that works.
3. When did you guys seriously decide to form a group? What was the turning point?
MEGA: From what I recall, 2 years, after the time we met & had been exchanging ideas, between one another, was when we, finally, decided to make things official…pause. We were going by another name, initially, but we adopted the alias, that you all are aware of, in effort to suit the, current, movement.
ILL3gaL: Yeah, I think that’s about right…we always used make music together and we’ve both been in other groups at different points, but we always knew that our musical sound was going to be the wining combination. It was just a matter of timing. I think the last 4 years have been the most definitive for our development as individual artists and as a duo. Life has been so ill, we were just like “let’s do this music… life’s too short, bruh”. (laughs)
4. Mega it’s pretty interesting that growing up in a Christian household your musical experience was limited. Was it because your parents thought censoring the music was the Christian thing to do?
MEGA: EXACTLY. In the eyes of my mother, who, ’til this very day, is a DEVOUT believer, follower, as well as minister, within the Christian faith, if it didn’t teach you nor encourage Christian ethics, it wasn’t beneficial to your soul. My father was a little, more, relaxed, however, hence the reason I, AT LEAST, became exposed to jazz, SOME funk, R&B & reggae. He, still, out of fear that I could become “corrupted” & for the benefit of not having to hear my mother complain, tried to shield me from any scenario or media that had potential to influence me, in a manner they didn’t stand in favor of.
5. In 2015 how do you feel about Christianity and organized religion as a whole, Mega?
MEGA: I can’t speak for organized religion, in totality, due to the fact that I haven’t learned about, EVERY, organized religious sect, & I’m, MOSTLY, familiar with Christianity & Islam. From what I HAVE experienced, being a part of the religions, that I AM familiar with, however, I feel that the education of “culture”, isn’t encouraged, enough, meaning that judgement, by these particular religions, is placed upon other religions, before, fully, understanding what those religions are about & WHY they operate in the manners they display. If “TRUE love accepts ALL aspects of existence, whether negative or positive”, & these churches/ temples are, supposedly, promoting “true/ unconditional love”, in their sermons, why is there still shunning, of other belief systems and ideas?
ILL3gaL: I would have to agree…I think too many people become dependent on religion out of fear of the unknown and when someone disagrees or doesn’t accept their beliefs, they feel threatened and take it very personally. Almost like politics if you think about it…
6. Ill3gal coming from California and seeing when the West Coast dominated Hip Hop, why do you think the South stole the thunder of the west, and east actually. Do you think the music the South is making is diluted like a lot of people say or are you happy with it?
ILL3gaL: I think the south had been building momentum for a while and really got its break at the tail end of the East vs. West beef. I think people were really open to the new sound after groups like UGK, Outkast, and Goodie Mob laid the groundwork that opened the door for mainstream artists from No limit and Cash money. Though their content was different, people’s ears were open to their music because the south had developed its own sound. I think that the music from the south is going through the same growth and decline cycles as the West and the East have done…admittedly, I like a lot of southern artists, but I recognize that not all southern rap is created equal…there are some southern artists I don’t enjoy listening to.
7. Are you guys currently in the same state? If not, is it hard to be in a group and make music happen?
ILL3gaL: We do live in different states; I’m near DC and he’s in VA. But we’re doing fine, musically. At one point, I was in the Iraq living that life and he was doing a bid…so it’s like we both lived ill but on different sides of the spectrum. We were both still writing, coming up with ideas. We both had to fight our way out of bad situations and deal with crazy levels of violence and etc., but neither of complained about it. It was just what we were doing at the time. Those experiences sharpened our focus and resilience, so now when it’s time to get something done…. it just gets done. Whether it’s a recording session or performance or whatever. No sweat
MEGA: To me, it’s not a task to remain in a group, under these conditions, thanks to technology. Even when the Internet wasn’t as popularized as it is, today, & we were in 2, totally, different countries, we remained in, FREQUENT, communication, continuing to bounce musical ideas, off of one another. When things come up, where we need to be in the same place, at the same time, we just make it happen…no if, ands or buts.
8. Josie we caught your video for “Mean Nuttin”. Its fresh as hell. What project is that song off of and are there anymore videos in the works?
MEGA: Thank you VERY much! That is the first single to “Forever Saturday Nights” – the sequel to “Forever Saturdays”. Both are droppin on September 20th, 2015. The video for the 2nd single, “Chillin’ “, off of “Forever Saturday Nights”, will be dropping this Fall. Viewers can also go listen to/ download “Gucci Belt”, on the Digital Dynasty 37 album, hosted by DJ Advo Jerz. “Gucci Belt” is, also, a single, from “Forever Saturdays”, with Ill3gal, Jasonn from Chicago, & myself.
ILL3gaL: yeah, videos coming in 2016 off our upcoming Digital Drugz project. Y’all look out for that, its’ gonna be MAJOR dope.
9. Do you guys have any group videos as of yet?
MEGA: Unfortunately, no, due to extreme paths that life took us. Videos will be dropping, soon, however, & Ill3gal is featured in the “Mean Nuttin’ ” video.
10. So we listened to come of your music and your tracks on a few of the Digital Dynasty mixtapes. All of them have a great sound and high intensity to them. Just to let us know what projects have you guys released to date ?
MEGA: Thank you! You can find the majority, of my projects, on YouTube. With the exception of mixtapes, recorded, prior to 2012, download links will be attached to those projects:
Megaphors Presents Collection ’05
Megaphors Presents: Grime Time vol. 1
Diary Of A Hitt-man The Prelude: New Blood
M Josie b.k.a. MEGA Presents “Diary of a Hitt Man”
Diary Of A Hitt Man Chapter II The Cold Cases
Ill3gal can be heard on these projects, as well.
11. What is coming next from you guys for the rest of 2015?
ILL3gaL : I’m working on a project called “The Empire of dirt” and Mega mentioned his projects…”Forever Saturday” and “Forever Saturday Night”..
Who were your top 5 favorite rappers that influenced you to get into music?
MEGA: My influences & my top 5 are, COMPLETELY, different (lol) Sticky Finguz of Onyx, AZ & Tribe Called Quest INFLUENCED me to embark upon my journey of becoming an emcee. TOTALLY different types of artists…I know (lol) Top 5 emcees to me, though, have to be Big L, Kxng Crooked, Elzhi, King Los, & Cihi da Prynce. I wish there was a top 6, b/c I’d throw Cory Gunz in there, too (lol) I rocks wit’em, ALL, the same.
- Black: Top 5 influential rappers….Ceelo Greene for his creative content, the Gnarles Barkley project was genius and I was a huge fan of the lady killer album as well as his spoken word poetry. Eminem for his clarity of expression and rhyme patterns…the rap god joint was dumb ill. Ghostface killa for his originality and his crazy storytelling ability. Mega for the wordplay and and the CRAZY rhyme patterns. And our other homeboy Sonday 9.5…his shit is bananas! He makes the kind of songs that you listen to while you smoke and think about life.
12. What’s the 5 year plan for MLB?
In addition to the Digital Drugz project I mentioned, we have about 4 new music projects we’re planning to get done in the next 18 months. We’re also about to launch Infinite Ent., which is going to solidify our independence as artists and as a business brand and we’re looking to have that up and running in the next 2 years. By 2017, we’ll be putting out projects from the crew under out logo, so y’all be on the lookout for a lot of very talented artist coming out of VA very soon!
13. It was good chopping up with you guys, the floor is yours plug any social media links, links to your music, whatever’s clever!
MEGA: The pleasure is, ALL, ours! Thank you for having us! Fans can find me, on Twitter, under @MJ0sie ( https://twitter.com/MJ0sie?s=01), on Instagram, under @mjosie777 ( https://instagram.com/mjosie777/), on Soundcloud, under “M. Josie b.k.a. MEGA” ( https://m.soundcloud.com/m-josie-bka-mega), Facebook is “M Josie Bka MEGA” ( https://m.facebook.com/kevin.josie.9?_rdr), & MySpace, under “M. Josie b.k.a. MEGA ( https://myspace.com/hisimage06/music/songs). Stop through & say wutup to ya boy! I fucks wit’ errbody!
ILL3gaL: Check me at on soundcloud at :