Jeffrey Fortunato, more commonly known as Moufy
Roxbury-native Moufy takes pride in revealing the rap talent hiding within New England to the rest of the nation. The local rapper released a new mix tape in June, “The Preparation,” marking his third over the span of a year and a half (“City Dreamin’ ” hit the scene in early 2011, and “Boston Lights” came on the charts shortly after.) It’s a quick succession, but the 20-year-old rapper isn’t planning on slowing down. Moufy is currently on his third tour and putting work into an EP, set to release late fall. www.moufy.com
Q. How’d you get your start rapping?
A. I started rapping late into my high school career, and I used the Web and social media and street promoting to build a platform of fans who really related to the music. “Star Gang” is what me and my team call ourselves, and all my fans are part of Star Gang, too. It’s growing as we speak. I have fans from Nevada to California to Miami; we’re fortunate enough to spread this code around the country.
Q. You call yourself Moufy, why?
A. Growing up, that was my neighborhood name because I would always have something to say, especially to the older guys. They started calling me Moufy and it stuck. I’ve always stood my ground and articulated exactly how I felt, all the time.
Q. What’s it like as a rap artist trying to make it big in Boston?
A. In hip-hop, the name Boston doesn’t have the strongest reputation. But I wanted to go against the grain and say I’m from here and I’m proud to be from here. We can make music just as good as anyone. We can compete with the best. “Boston Lights” was me holding it down for my city and region; it was me coming in as a New Englander. My city needed me; hip-hop in Boston needed a boost. Being from New England means the world to me, and I really wanted to express that. I was letting people know where I was coming from, and I was letting my region know that I’m here and I’m going to stay here.
Q. What’s the reaction been like?
A. When I first started, I received more naysayers. Now, people listen to my music and they can have their opinions, but they have to admit, the kid comes correct when he makes music. I’ve earned respect.
Q. “The Preparation” is your third mix tape. How’s it different from your first, “City Dreamin’ ”?
A. “City Dreamin’ ” was more of me getting my feet wet. I had no fans, people didn’t know me and most of the beats weren’t mine. But I was showing the world that I could rap. It was to let people know I could spit, and be catchy — I was showing off.
Q. Tell me about “The Preparation.”
A. “The Preparation” is to show people that we’re just taking the music to another level and maturing with the brand. It’s about giving people music they can vibe out to. Full, full songs with three verses, two hooks, and a bridge. Our brand appreciates the music we make and we put in a lot of time. It’s called “The Preparation” to prepare people for “Humble Season.”
Q. What are you working on right now?
A. The Preparation Tour [started] Aug. 2, up and down the East Coast. I’m currently working on my EP, “Humble Season,” which is the story of a Latino kid growing up in the inner city of Boston and the people around me. I’m just really telling the truth about my story, with humility and honesty, from the bottom up.
Q. What’s the most rewarding part about this job?
A. When kids contact me letting me know how much my music means to them. I didn’t have much growing up, so I looked to music to get me through the tough days. Times when I got suspended, or one of my friends got locked up, or so-and-so got shot, music was my escape. Now, kids from all over hit me up and say, ‘man, your music spoke to me,’ and that means the most. Also, since I’m fully Dominican, it’s huge that people in the Dominican Republic have gravitated toward my music and use it to get them through the day. I’m able to give to my heritage.
Interview was edited and condensed. Jessica Teich can be reached at jessica.teich@ globe.com.