Chill Moody discusses his Independence Day gig, his nicethings brand and his new craft beer with Dock Street.
Not every national holiday can boast of having Philadelphia’s Chill Moody – personable rapper, producer, label owner, lifestyle entrepreneur – at the forefront of its entertainment schedule. Then again, not every thought-provoking musician/craft beer designer has bragging rights to curating his own eponymous music stage on Ben Franklin Parkway for the official Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert Pre-Show, from noon until 7 p.m.
Moody has both scenarios on lockdown.
Beyond curation on this July 4th, the West Philadelphia multi-hyphenate has plenty to celebrate, as along with playing some much anticipated, long-awaited new music during the concert on the 4th, Moody just released nicethings Cream Ale, his second collaboration with Dock Street Brewery after their first craft brew, 2016′s nicethings IPA, sold out several times over.
dosage MAGAZINE caught up with Moody on a ten-minute break while rehearsing his set for the WaWa 4th.
A.D. Amorosi: I dig the level of responsibility you’ve taken on, curating a stage during this holiday. What does your set look like?
Chill Moody: It’s looking great. I’m performing a whole new album that’s not even released yet. This is the first time period where I’ll be doing a majority of its songs. “Horns at the Funeral” is an album I have been working on for at least three years, at least since our NFL Draft. And this is the year that I’m finally putting it out in the mid-to-late third quarter of 2019. I’ve been holding onto it too long, especially since it is so personal, and that I think that this is the one.
A.D. Amorosi: As the WaWa jam is a big public and patriotic event, do you find a need to do or say things different from your normal set up… get more or less socio-conscious?
Chill Moody: I’m the same regardless of venue/atmosphere. All my music is clean and an overall positive message/energy. So I never change anything depending on the venue.
A.D. Amorosi: All the things under your nicethings banner which includes a record label, a clothing line, a consulting firm, and a craft beer collaboration. What are you looking for within this level of branching out?
Chill Moody: My dream has always been to create a lifestyle brand. I love to cosign and put people onto things, just create and curate a vibe.
A.D. Amorosi: Is this about stretching out as an entrepreneur or making sure that all of your artistic and waking life curiosities are satisfied?
Chill Moody: For me, that’s one and the same. It’s me stretching out as an entrepreneur, but, doing it in a natural way. There will never be anything under the nicethings brand that Chill Moody doesn’t himself enjoy. I enjoy craft beer. I enjoy helping people build themselves and their brands. Ralph Lauren has Polo. He didn’t make it all under his own name.
A.D. Amorosi: The beer thing. You’ve got a new one with Dock Street that is a cream ale with some blackberry puree for a mellow malt flavor. Why Dock Street?
Chill Moody: Their beer is amazing, first and foremost. The vibe is cool there – I grew up in the same neighborhood. My grandfather grew up there. My aunt still lives there. They were gracious enough to give me the opportunity, when I mentioned wanting to be in the beer scene, to learn how the process goes, to brew alongside of them. I had been part of that scene by hosting beer award shows and such, but, I needed to find a way to make my mark. I wanted to be more than the rapper at beer shows.
A.D. Amorosi: I have spoken to the Mountain Goats and Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne about their beers through Dogfish, and each mentioned somewhat of a hands-on thing when it came to flavoring. How about you? Were you in the brew trenches mixing up the tastes?
Chill Moody: One hundred percent. I picked the flavors. I developed the flavor profile. I helped with the recipe — everything down to brewing the beer itself. The first batch we made, my lawyer even helped chop the pineapples for it. I was super hands on. I even looked at spreadsheets, seeing what fruit was in season, what was cost-effective, designing the can. When you take a sip of my beers and say ‘Hmmm, that’s good,’ I want you to feel the same way as when you listen to my record. I put the same amount of effort and energy into that, and I want that to show. Plus, I know the worth of my name. I’m not going to just slap my name on something just to say I did. I have to be fully involved. I’m even on the canning line.
A.D. Amorosi: Plus, you are certainly in on the marketing.
Chill Moody: If there is a venue I am playing, I will do all that I can to make sure nicethings is on tap that night and beyond. Everybody eats that way. I’d eventually like my own nicethings brewpub – a space where you have craft beer, a solid menu, a space for up-and-coming entrepreneurial merch, and a small stage for performances.
A.D. Amorosi: How much of this beer collaboration is not just about you or Dock Street, but, rather, giving craft beer an entrée into hip hop culture – which it has not up until this point? In the last two years, we have heard that craft beer sales have plateaued.
Chill Moody: Because the same guys are drinking it (laughs). That’s what happens when I walk into a room where I’m hosting beer scene awards, and I’m the only black guy in the room. It’s not uncomfortable. It’s America. I’m used to that. When I see that, I think that, well, maybe it is not as inclusive as it could be, and, understand that a lot of money is being missed because it is not inclusive. If I have the power to use my influence to bring money to the situation, I’m going to do something about it. Plus, craft beer and its lifestyle is a healthier alternative than what my culture is privy to. Most of what you find in my hood is malt liquor — just drinking to get drunk. There’s no Olde English Beer fest or Battles of the Bands – nothing good or nice. I want to better what my community is usually used to.