In September of 2019, Mooke Da God (MDG) and longtime collaborator Broken Keys started working on what would become MDG’s first full-length solo release. For some reason around March of 2020, production slowed down a bit.
The duo’s original idea was to put out an EP. This plan would help maintain momentum following the success of MDG’s singles, while creating a new sound with Broken Keys producing all the instrumentals on the album. Due to the unplanned break this spring, what was originally an EP turned into a full-length that now includes a number of brand new songs. According to MDG, two of the songs were essentially written on the spot.
“Every song I write is just how I’m feeling that day,” MDG says. “I might have a theme going in, but most of it just comes to me. That’s how I like to do it.”
MDG has been freestyling professionally for more than a decade. That history is present on track four on Twenty Thirty, as “Damn BK” is a full first-listen freestyle.
While MDG and Broken Keys have collaborated together in the past, Twenty Thirty is the first time the two have assume the roles of producer and solo artist together. The duo have performed as Smoke Screen since 2007, but are quick to note that Twenty Thirty is not another Smoke Screen release.
“Smoke Screen is more of a hip-hop duo, we are both featured on every track,” explains Broken Keys. “It gets confusing.”
The pair knew that Twenty Thirty was going to be something completely different from the first recording session.
“It has a whole different energy, what he does as Broken Keys and as Chemist,” MDG adds, referencing another alias of Broken Keys.”
In addition to the album, MDG and BK love to make music videos. Twenty Thirty was teased by the music video for the album’s first single, “Bubble Tea.” Low budget and homegrown, the video personifies MDG’s approach toward his career. It’s simple, precise, and all about the wildly imaginative freestyles flowing over futuristic beats. The track also invites people to dance in loud sweaty clubs and cracks smiles on the faces of production junkies and hip-hop purists.
After 13 years of working together, Mooke Da God and Broken Keys show absolutely no signs of slowing down. Their career has shot them in many directions, and the duo always sticks by its personal motto – “We’re never not working.”
Photo Cred: Sean O Day