This morning, former President Barack Obama published his annual year-end playlist of favorite songs on Twitter. This year’s edition includes plenty of Billboard hits: Lizzo and Cardi B’s “Rumors” and Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” and Nas and Lauryn Hill’s “Nobody.”
There was a surprise, however. The former president is a fan of the late Mo3. Obama added Mo3 & Murray’s “In My Blood,” the posthumous single on Mo3’s Shottaz 4Eva, thereby acknowledging the late Dallas rapper’s legacy in a big way.
In March 2020, I had the privilege to interview Mo3 for the website Passion of the Weiss. When I asked him about the impact he wanted to have as one of the city’s most visible musicians, he replied with an aura of grace and humility.
“I’m trying to be like Pac. You can play (“Dear Momma”) today and feel it, even though he’s dead and gone. My game plan is to stay in my lane, keep it silent, and preach my message through music.”
Seven months after our interview, where Mo3 jokingly tested me about my knowledge about the city’s hip-hop scene, he was murdered on Interstate 35.
It’s been an over year since his passing, and I still remember the news of his death. At the time, his fans took to social media—Twitter, Clubhouse, Instagram, and Facebook—to commemorate a musician who reflected not only their lived experiences as people of color in Dallas, but an individual who exemplified an ideal that a young Black man from Nawfghanistan could accomplish a career that would connect him with millions of people far beyond Dallas.
When I talked to Mo3, I was reminded of my former campers at St. Anthony on Myrtle St. in South Dallas. They were young Black and Brown boys who admired their favorite rappers, men who achieved The American Dream, men who provided for their family through music, men who invested in their hometown neighborhoods like Memphis’ Young Dolph. (Dolph was also shot and killed in his hometown, earlier this year.)
Since his death, Mo3’s legacy has continued to live on. “Outside,” his posthumous track with local rapper OG Bobby Billions, reached the No. 1 spot on YouTube’s Top 100 songs this summer. The song earned placements on Apple Music and Spotify’s City Charts for Dallas and Atlanta rapper Lil Baby performed the track at his latest tour stop in Dallas.
Although Mo3 is not physically alive, his music is omnipresent, not only in the streets of Dallas, but in the playlist of America’s first Black president.