Detroit rapper whiterosemoxie is young and in love with the game

A rose by any other name

click to enlarge whiterosemoxie. - Brian Higlesias
Brian Higlesias

The future of hip-hop resides in 18-year-old Detroit rapper, chronic freestyler, and big-time dreamer whiterosemoxie, who literally cannot stop making music.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Detroit, whiterosemoxie, or Moxie, started his musical journey at 8 years old after he suffered an asthma attack that put him in a coma for several days. When he awoke, he had the indescribable urge to start making music. Which takes us to last year, when he released his debut record, white ceilings, while still in high school, as well as its follow-up, grae ceilings, a few months later. Described as embodying the energy of Travis Scott and the vulnerability of the late Juice Wrld, Moxie has, well, moxie among other not-so-secret ingredients like confidence, charisma, as well as bass-heavy bangers like "newty," coming-of-age piano ballads like "go," and a deep-rooted love for IHOP.

"I'm not gonna lie, that's not even a quarter of a quarter of the songs that I've made," Moxie says of white and grae ceilings. "I probably make that many songs a week. Especially after white ceilings because, like, after white ceilings, I hadn't really gotten my vibe or my growth. I was hitting the studio all this time, through quarantine. I was sending my team packs on packs of music, but it was just helping me get better. I probably got like 100 or 200 songs from the past two months. And that's always how it is, you know what I'm saying?"

Uh, no, Moxie, we have no idea what you're saying. We literally cannot relate to churning out hundreds of songs within months because you, Moxie, are a beautiful freak. Anyway, Moxie, who fleshed out his sound while working as a resident artist at Assemble Sound as part of their year-long residency program, says most of his material is spontaneous, and the result of freestyling over other people's rhymes while in the car or spitting bars in the shower.

"When I get into this studio, I feel like some of my best ideas be when I first hear the song," he says. "So if it's at a point where the producer is still working on the beat, I'll turn on a voice memo or I'll go on Instagram Live and I just started rapping. And then I'll save it so I can remember what I had. But then whenever I get on the mic, I literally just figure out the song and within like 30-45 minutes, like, I'll probably have a song just done. I be having Instagram Lives at 6 a.m. or 8 a.m. but from the night before, still up," he says. "My fans rock with that — like, my fans night owls, too, I don't know if they're from other countries or they just up like me, but, ay, they be there, so it's fun."

Though Moxie is having fun, his sights are set on big prizes. For one, he wants to land a No. 1 song in five genres because, he says, that means you reached all the people you possibly could, and, of course, he's gunning for some world tours, major features. But he also wants to pave the way for other artists who might feel like they don't have the same opportunities in Detroit as they would in other major music cities.

"I'm gonna have my fun out there in L.A. and New York, but I'm gonna stay here," Moxie says. "I gotta stay rooted here. I'm gonna always be here. I feel like naturally whatever I do is just gonna represent the city, because I'm actually from here. Like, finding Assemble was not lucky, but it was a once in a lifetime opportunity — but it shouldn't be. Especially where I'm from, because I know the only reason I got how good I am ... like, yeah, Travis [Scott] I be looking at him, but it was people in my city that I was like, damn, I gotta get better than them. It should be a pipeline for other artists in my city. It's too many singers, producers ... there's too many of us. We need an Interscope, we need a 300. If I could get a label like 300 headquartered in Detroit, smack in the center, like, that would be the hardest shit ever."

Though many of us might look back on things we created when we were still in high school and say, holy shit, what the fuck was I thinking, Moxie, like his music, is just looking forward, paying respect where respect is due, and reminding others to stay rooted in love and positivity. As for regrets? There's one space where regrets don't even come into the equation.

"I was still trying to figure out what the fuck I was about to do," he says of white ceilings. "I was going through a lot of shit at the time. And the fact white ceilings even came out like, yeah, and I grinded that shit out. ... If I could go back and change it, I wouldn't change shit," he says. "Because music is the one thing in my life ... if you asked me if I wanted to change some other shit, like maybe I'd have an answer for you. But music? It always happened for a reason. I don't know. I just be trusting."

Part of our cover story, "12 metro Detroit acts we think will do big things in 2021."

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