Music that makes you stop, think, and, actually feel what is being said doesn’t come around often. That is definitely the case with Mook Tarantino. Known as Sedarius to me, Mook Tarantino is a rapper/songwriter/artist from Stone Mountain, GA. You may recognize his voice from the 2009 club banger “Swag Surfin.” I can remember like it was yesterday, going to Mook Tarantino’s and his group mates (Fast Life Youngstaz) first video shoot at a club on Memorial Drive (now shut down), the energy was crazy because we were all happy that these guys from The Mound (what we call Stone Mountain) had made it.
Since Mook and I have ties to our respectful neighborhood, it is not a problem for us to get together and just hang out or just crack jokes in the studio. Friday, September 18, 2015, Mook and I got a chance to actually talk about things that we never really have. We had a few visitors during the interview, so you will see dialog from a friend of ours, Hugh Adams. Now, I would like for you to Get To Know Mook Tarnatino.
GSW: What hip-hop trend needs to die out?
Mook: What hip-hop trends do I think need to die out, as far as fashion or music?
Mook: The trend that needs to die out is everybody sounding the exact fucking same. As far as musically, that needs to change because I like originality. Art is about being yourself. How are you really being yourself if you’re sounding like the next man out here?
GSW: What was the last movie that really impressed you?
Mook: I actually have two. Straight Out of Compton, because NWA is a classic group, and it was good to see the behind the scenes of everything that happened on their journey. Mainly because a lot of things that happened, I can relate to because a lot of that stuff happened to me as well. The other movie that impressed me, probably even more than Straight Outta Compton, was Dope. The movie is almost like this generation’s rendition of Friday. I liked all the game they gave out in the movie. It showed the way things are for kids now, kind of how we were in high school. How different the world is for them, how for them everything is done through computers. You know everything we did back then was hand in hand.
GSW: Can you recommend a good book?
Mook: The Autobiography of Malcolm X. I have read it two or three times now. For me, the whole struggle and transformation of Malcolm X impressed me the most. It showed his whole transformation of what is considered a thug to a scholar, he taught himself how to read and write. Then, he got on his black power movement and it started off as him hating white people, then he transformed again to becoming a person who was accepting of everybody. So, I think that’s a good book for young black men to read just so they can know it’s more out in the world than what they are currently doing.
GSW: What’s your drink of choice?
Mook: Umm, I have a few because I like to get fucked up. I would say number 1 on the list is Hen and Red Bull. Number 2, a very close second on that list, is Peach Ciroc and Red Bull, and third on my list is Bombay and pineapple.
GSW: What lyric are you most proud of writing?
Mook: I’m proud of all my shit! Since I have to narrow it down, the one that is my favorite is from the song “Rather Be”. It’s actually in the hook, as a matter of fact, the whole hook. That sound kind of explains everything I had been going through for the last 2 or 3 years before it was released. So, if you go back and listen to the hook of “Rather Be”, you will know what I’m talking about.
GSW: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Mook: The best advice, I would have to say I received was during my 9th grade year. Mr. Simpson (Stone Mountain High School’s principal during the time) said, “In order to make it in life, all you have to do is do your work and mind your business.” And, that shit, even through my adult life it reigned truth, even till this day. As long as you are doing what you have to do and not worried about what the next person over there is doing then you will be happier with yourself. Your journey is your journey; you can’t base your journey off of what the next man is doing.
GSW: Where do you go for suits/clothes?
Mook: The last suit I bought was from Jos A. Banks, they got some clean shit. On a regular day, I get all of my shit out the skateboard stores. Stratesphere, Wish Atl, a store in Lenox called Standard. Wherever I can get some Nike SB’s , that’s my shoe of choice right now.
GSW: What’s been your best recent fashion purchase?
Mook: A pair of Dunk’s, they are SB Dunks . The shoes were special edition, but I caught them at a steal because they had a scuff mark on the back of them, so the sales associate took off like 20%. They’re regular leather in the back, and suede in the front, they’re black and gray with the orange bottom.
GSW: That color way sounds super nice.
Mook: Yea, they fresh as fuck. Out of everything I have bought that still is my favorite purchase of the year, so far.
GSW: Let’s talk about the personal evolution of your style.
Mook: I’m more on the west coast steez. I went from the big t-shirts and baggy ass jeans. Really the big t-shirts were from 05-07. And in 08, my whole steez changed, it went from the big shit and we transitioned into the rockstar faze. Then from the rockstar faze to the Polo shit. Went from the Polo shit to the steez I have now, the West Coast, Cali look. My fashion evolves as I evolve.
GSW: What are your thoughts on the lack of diversity in fashion?
Mook: I think it hurts more than it helps the fashion world because fashion and new things are perpetuated by the youth, so when the youth sees that their types of people are not represented, it leads to a disconnection. Personally, I would like to see more than the tall and skinny models. I want to see all types of models. And, I say this because my people come in all different shapes and sizes, so I would like to see everyone represented on the runway. It should not have to be one strict type of body, or color. I think it has a negative effect on the industry.
GSW: What are your thoughts on Yeezy’s new line?
Mook: Season 2 Yeezy? I like the shoes. I can’t say that I’m a big fan of the clothes. The clothes look kind of….slavish to me. I don’t want to say that because I know Yeezy is a great fashion mind. But, I’m just not a fan of the new shit. I love the shoes though.
GSW: Who are your fashion influences?
Mook: It’s funny, I just talked about the nigga, but I like Kanye. My boy got me on the skateboy tip, so I like the way Terry Kennedy put his shit together. I like the way Tyga dress, Tyga be fresh as hell. I like Jay-Z as far as, when it’s time to get suited and booted.
Hugh: What you think about Yung Thug, man?
Mook: I don’t like the way Yung Thug dress, well let me take that back. Cause when he dress like a dude, when he have on regular dude clothes he have some fly shit on. I just can’t get with the skirts and the other shit.
GSW: So, I hear you have a T-shirt line you are working on. Tell me about that?
Mook: The t-shirt line that I’m working on is only starting off as a t-shirt, soon it will be an enterprise. The name of the t-shirt line is Vintage Commotion. We gon’ break it down to the 2 words, vintage meaning classic, fresh, and original. Commotion meaning noises and sounds.
GSW: Do you have a release date for the T-shirt line?
Mook: October 31, 2015, the first prints of the shirts will be released. They will just be t-shirts, but they will have some dope art with them. And, I forgot to mention, Vintage Commotion, the motto for my company is to Create, Innovate, and Inspire. And, basically what that means is when you put on a Vintage Commotion you will feel like you’re doing something with yourself and if you’re not, you will want to do something with yourself, positively. We are trying to keep shit going out here.
GSW: Who would you like to collaborate with, if anyone, on your T-shirt line?
Mook: Pharrell. That BBC shit, I love that BBC shit. So, if I could sit down with Pharrell and Chad, and get a few pointers from them, I think they could help me take my shit to another level.
GSW: I know Ralph Lauren was and is big in Stone Mountain and other parts of the world. Is Ralph someone you admire?
Mook: I have never really researched him as a person, but as a business man and a fashion icon I respect him. Because I like the shit he makes. I feel like whenever I need to get fresh and do something nice, I can go and throw on a Polo shirt and be ready for anything. I can go to a fucking BBQ, or a business meeting. So, I really respect him as a business man and fashion expert.
GSW: Do you think you and your group mates had an impact on the rise of Ralph Lauren in our city?
Mook: I definitely think we did. I wasn’t even the first nigga rocking the Polo, Vee was the first to rock it. When we came out with “Swag Surfin”, I feel like that song took Ralph Lauren to new heights, especially in Stone Mountain, and in surrounding areas. I feel Ralph Lauren sales spiked in 08 and 09. Because my group mates, even during high school, were trend setters. We set the trend for our city, so pretty much however we dressing and whatever we saying, or whatever type of music we making that what everyone else is going to follow. So, I do feel like we helped Ralph out. So, Ralph, if you reading this shit, cut the check my nigga.
GSW: What’s the theme song to your life?
Mook: Ohhh shit! That’s a motherfucking question because it’s a lot of theme songs to my shit.
GSW: Ok name your top three.
Mook: It would have to start with Yeezy, from the Graduation album. I will pick 2 from it, but it can count as one. Flashing Lights and Everything I’m not Made Me Everything I Am. I gotta give Jay-Z his props, cause that “Dead Presidents”, “I’m out for dead presidents to represent me.” And then number 3, I’m just going to give the whole catalog of that fucking Outkast, that whole collection of songs. But, if I have to name one it would be “thatspottieottiedopaliscious “, because of the beat and the story. The song talks about shit we have been through. We have all thrown up before we actually got to the club. So, it would have to be those 3.
Check out Mook’s latest work: