Veteran Sacramento rapper Timothy “Mozzy” Patterson launched his career back in 1999, at age 12, when his uncle, local rapper Genaro “GP the Beast” Patterson, featured him on the track “I Heard”, from his mixtape Finally. Rapping as “Lil Tim,” he became a fixture around the way. After years of grinding, Mozzy, who changed names in 2012, finally gained wider recognition in hip-hop with his 2015 mixtape Bladadah.
As promising as his path looks now, don’t get it twisted: Mozzy walked a tough and trying road before relocating to Los Angeles earlier this year to tap into the music market. The son of a drug-addicted mother and incarcerated father, he was raised in the Oak Park neighborhood by his grandmother and got into gangbanging in his teens. After repeatedly running into trouble with the law and rival neighborhood gangs throughout the earlier part of his career, Mozzy ended up serving time at the Sacramento County Jail in 2014 for a conviction on charges of gun possession and possession of a controlled substance.
He came out hungrier and more focused than ever and flooded the streets with releases, including Bladadah and his 2016 mixtape with Oakland rapper Philthy Rich, Political Ties. His unrelenting and brutally honest rhymes about his life experiences transformed Mozzy into a fan favorite in the Bay Area and beyond.
MERRY JANE recently sat down with the gritty gangster rapper to talk about his West Coast expansion, how Los Angeles changed his worldview, and the effects that both lock-up and marijuana have had on his music.
MERRY JANE: Before appearing on GP’s mixtape, how did you get started rapping?
Mozzy: I’ve been rapping forever—I’m talking about 7 or 8 years old. The first time I ever got on a CD was when I was 12, on my uncle’s CD. They put me on that and I went around school pushing that motherfucker, telling everybody, “Listen to this CD, track 14, the last verse.” Then I started selling my shit out of the trunk of my car, and as I progressed I put videos on YouTube.
I was a sensation in Sacramento but no one had heard of me outside of there. In Sacramento I was poppin’ but I’d go down the street to Modesto and niggas didn’t know me, so we just kept pushing.
When did you notice more people recognizing and checking for you?
I went to jail and I started poppin’. I did “I’m Just Being Honest” with Philthy Rich [in 2014]—that motherfucker was the first video I was featured on to do a million views, and the bread just started picking up from there. The Bay Area market was opening up. So now, instead of just being known in Sacramento, when I go to Fairfield, Vallejo, San Jose, or wherever in the Bay Area, they’re starting to recognize me. I’m fucking with notoriety, but then I go to jail, when I got out I was as hungry as ever.
How did your time in prison affect you as an artist?
I felt like I wasted a whole year, so I went full throttle [when I got out]. I dropped, like, 10 projects after that, including collab projects. My squad went full throttle, we did the numbers, and it’s just been progressing from there. Now, when I say the numbers, I don’t calculate streams or CD sales, I just weigh the numbers by the check, and that motherfucker has just been shooting up lately. It’s bigger than I ever thought it would be, but we’re deserving of this shit. We worked forever, we worked endlessly, and we’re sincere about this shit. We don’t take this shit lightly, it’s not a little hobby. We breathe this shit.
How do you keep your music fresh while putting out so much over the last two years?
Just by growing with my fans. A majority of my fans is the youth, so you gotta stay refreshing, you gotta stay talking about and utilizing words that they function with, so that they feel attached. We gotta keep them attached. People are interested by the reality and sincerity of it. I’m talking about current events, about shit that’s happening now, not past tense.
How did your Political Ties project with Philthy Rich come about?
That shit came naturally. The title came naturally. Philthy Rich is from a political atmosphere, I’m from a political atmosphere, the gang underworld is a political world and we both just came together on that project. Democrats and Republicans, man—it’s all politics. He put his political input on, I displayed mine, and that shit’s pretty dope.
Why did you leave Sacramento for Los Angeles earlier this year?
L.A., L.A., L.A.—it’s where you gotta be! You wanna make professional music, that’s it. I wanted to tap in—I know that it’s Hollywood. As soon as I got here I knew it was the place I belonged. I was running into celebrities like I would run into gangbangers at home. All those people I saw on TV were right there with me on the street the whole time. I’m playing in the same field they’re playing in, so I feel at home.
How has your worldview changed since you left Sacramento?
My outlook on life is totally different. You get to see the world and you realize that this little gang shit I was doing in my neighborhood was minute. All those little hustles that I was participating in, that shit is minute to this big-ass world. Now I see the opportunity that presents itself in traveling—you get more genuine love from fans. It’s crazy to go somewhere and they know your name, they fuckin’ with you, they have a connection with you before you even know who they are. It’s crazy and it’s really affected my life and how I look at shit now.
When did you start smoking weed?
That shit has always been a part of my life. My uncles, auntie, mom, and dad smoked that shit. I was doing that shit since I was stealing doobies from my auntie at, like, 13 or 14 in the backyard and smoking that shit. So, when I grew of age to be able to find it, twist it, and smoke it, that’s what I did. The only time I took a break was when I was in jail. It don’t matter what it is, indica or sativa, I need it.
What role does it play in your music?
I’m a hyperactive type of person, so when I smoke dope it kinda calms me down and puts me in a more relaxed and mature mode. That’s why I fuck with that shit. It takes me to a place where I’m able to express myself with this music. If I didn’t have marijuana, but I had the right music, it wouldn’t be as potent. Marijuana takes me back to the places I’m writing about. It brings back vivid memories when I smoke that shit.
What’s your favorite kind of high right now?
I fuck with them Cookies heavy. They be having me on that Gorilla Glue and all that OG shit out in L.A. but I fuck with Cookies heavy. I’m still an OG Grape [Ape] smoker, too. I’m talking about that real purple, man. I love that dope.
For more of Mozzy’s music, check out his iTunes catalog or look for him on all major streaming platforms.