“Rapper Moka Blast, also known as Ladies Love Moka, was born in Arima Trinidad & Tobago and BRED in Southside Queens.”
As Queens-bred hip-hop artist Moka Blast prepares to release his latest album “Sorry I Took So Long”, he reminisces on the memories from his difficult upbringing, traumatic struggles, unbelievable triumphs, and surreal successes throughout his life, including his 20+ years of involvement within the music industry. He is proud to dedicate the album to the fans that stuck around through the lowest of moments that almost granted the rapper a life-altering reality.
Lydell Birch– AKA Moka Blast and Ladies Love Moka– was born in Trinidad & Tobago to a Caribbean mother and a Latin father. Due to a toxic home environment, at age 11, he and his mother fled to South Jamaica Queens, New York in hopes of attaining a better lifestyle and endless opportunity, but what awaited them on the other side was a harsh reality of the crack era in New York City. Times were at their most dangerous peak in Southside during Moka’s childhood. He thinks back to his early teen years as he watched his friends get heavily involved in selling and using drugs, along with some traumatic images of dead bodies laid out on the pavement as a result of the occasional drive-by shooting. Trouble was the norm, and for a young boy growing up in the hood, there was nowhere to go but where the money was– even if that meant getting involved with the dope boys.
As a result, Moka was continuously in and out of prison in his 20s. Well-knowing he would not be able to pursue a regular career due to a criminal track record, he began working on his craft of writing music as he realized it became the best viable option for sustainable employment. He also worked part-time at his local barbershop, where he first how to cut hair under the wing of a mentor. Eventually, he made the decision to go back to college and obtain his Bachelor’s degree at Buffalo State College. But the pivotal moment of Moka’s life didn’t happen until he had reached 25; the moment he welcomed his daughter into his life. It was then that he understood he was no longer another dope boy in Queens – he was a father. And he was whole-heartedly committed to establishing a new life for himself and his baby girl.
Fast forward a few years of hard work and persistence (along with a couple of mixtapes), and Moka was performing alongside headliners like Rick Ross in 2006. His music career began to take off after music legend Jadakiss decided to endorse his unique talents and place him alongside similar up-and-coming artists. Not long after, at an open-mic event in 2007, Moka was noticed by a few reputable executives in the industry who became fans of his work, and eventually offered to sign him onto his first label.
Since then, the rapper has been on the up and up of success. He tells us it’s been quite the wild ride to fame, and in the process, he’s gotten to record with groundbreaking artists like Joell Ortiz, Chinx, Casanova, Fred The Godson, and Styles P. His music is often compared to that of classic artists like 50 Cent and LL Cool J, both of which were music inspirations to Moka growing up. Today, he is the owner of two personally-established recording studios in Las Vegas and New York City titled Forever Getting Cash, as well as the owner of a national barbershop franchise named 2 Hansum Barbershop. And despite his grand levels of success, one thing he will forever stand true to is never forgetting where he came from. As a memorandum to his difficult past, he has founded a nonprofit organization named “The Little Dipper Foundation” which benefits prison felons with 1-2 years left of their sentence and provides them with the opportunity to obtain formal barber training at Moka’s shops in hopes to provide them with experience and confidence as they move on into their new lives after their release.
His new album, “Sorry I Took So Long”, is set to release in late May 2021. Its headlining featured track, “On The Go”, consists of the first official collaboration the artist has ever done with legendary rapper and long-time friend, Rick Ross. He tells us that the track unlocks an achievement of one of his biggest life goals to date. The rest of the tracks will also feature hit artists like Doeboy and Lil Rari Skrt, along with a few others. It is said to be the most groundbreaking album the artist has ever created. But aside from the incredible music, the album also holds another heartfelt message directly from the artist to his fans. “This is strictly for my fans and nobody else. For the people that have been with me in this lifelong journey and the demographic that cared about me when no one else did. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have made it here,” Moka shares.
In honor of the real ones, Moka has assured it’ll be one of the biggest releases of the year.