Updated: Jul 7
Written by Jasmin Dixon Photographed by Natasha Magino
“Y'all remember those times riding with your parents, you don't even know where you're going, you look out the window and you just feel good. I feel like my music feels like that.”
We sat and drank tea with rapper Odd Mojo speaking on everything from aliens to DMV artists.
Born and raised in Capitol Heights, MD, Mahogany Pearson, also known as Odd Mojo, has crafted her own lane in the DMV with a nostalgic sound and memorable flow. Growing up in Prince George's County gave this rapper the drive to become a creative. “Kids used to always joan on people...like girl im bout to cut you up! You had to either stay to yourself or you gotta have them jokes,” says Mojo. This gave her the tough skin to take criticism and be more understanding.
As a kid in the burbs, imagination came easy. “Because there was nothing else to do, you had to be creative," says Mojo. “Yo like we really had photo shoots in our backyard with cameras from CVS...it made me creative as fuck.”
Odd Mojo didn't always have rapping in mind. She aspired to be a model, then branched off into photography. Until one day while searching for model openings online, she stumbled on a Drake instrumental and freestyled out of boredom. “I asked my friend can he give me his honest opinion on what I sound like and he’s like, bruh you sound sweet ," laughs Mojo.
From that point on she grew attached and began making more music. “I loved it. What really made me do it is because I realized you really have to have self confidence.That's one thing I'm doing it for is to build self confidence because you gotta be your biggest fan,” says Mojo. Inspiration set in after a friend and member of rap group Kool Klux Klan invited Mojo to a show. “If they really having shows here in this area and they really coming out, that means I can do something like this if I really put my mind to it.” In 2014, she recorded her first song, "The Intro" after venues turned her away for not having released music. “I used that song and pushed it, and got my shows that way,” says Mojo. Since, she has gone on to host her own show. In December 2018 at Songbyrd DC, Mojo put together One Very Odd Show. A celebration of dope artists in the area and an extraterrestrial music experience. Her most recent mixtape Channel Yo Mojo was released in 2018 and is available on all streaming platforms. A collection of nine songs perfectly flow together and invade your speakers. For the cover art, a cartoon version of Mahogany and Odd Mojo are face to face in the mirror, she speaks on the idea behind this: “I used my Odd mojo self to pump up Mahogany like 'C’mon channel your mojo,” she says. “Don’t think about how shitty work is; think about that show on Saturday you about to kill.”
“C’mon channel your mojo.”
Channel Yo Mojo also features familiar DMV artists like Alex Vaughn and Not. Alone. When asked about working with artists outside the area, Mojo feels connected by staying close to home. “I think people from here [DMV] are so talented. If we had a spotlight it would be so many different creative people,” says Mojo. “I'm not trying to be biased but they lit!” This DMV rapper is inspired by artist like Toro Y Moi, Myles Davis and Rico Nasty. One artist , Mick Jenkins, brought her out of a difficult place and gave Odd Mojo the inspiration she needed. On a weekend drive, a friend played Mick Jenkins album Pieces of a Man for Mojo. “It was sunny like this, it was so beautiful – he just made me want to rap again”. At his concert, Mojo took a chance and met him in person. After sharing her experience with Mick Jenkins, the rapper took a step back and asked for her name. “When he said what's [your] name I lost it, I was like Ma-Ma-Mahogany and I just got nervous,” laughs Mojo. “But what if I would have said Im a rapper too..what could have happened,” she says. Mick Jenkins – if you are reading this – hit her up!
Follow Odd Mojo on Instagram and Twitter @oddmojo. And stay on the lookout for upcoming Mojo Monday Vlogs.