Monroe Williams: Rapper, Business Owner, Entrepreneur
Published 9:40 am Monday, November 27, 2023
Pike County, Alabama isn’t exactly known as a hotbed for Hip Hop music but in the 2000s, local rapper Monroe Williams – and his group Mobstaz Committee – attempted to change that perception. Williams has now taken what he learned in the music world and transitioning into other businesses.
Williams grew up in Brundidge and knew from an early age he wanted to pursue music. While Tupac Shakur was his favorite rapper, he also looked up to child acts like Kriss Kross and The Boys.
“Tupac was my favorite artist, he’s always the one that’s motivated me,” said Williams. “When I was young, though, what made me want to start doing music was a group called The Boys, and then came ABC and Kriss Kross. They were all kids doing music and killing it. I was probably eight or nine years old and I started doing music then.”
Eventually, Williams – known by the stage name Money-Roe – formed a local rap group called Mobstaz Committee with childhood friends and family. One of those group mates, known as T-Dub, is also his cousin Tim Wary and played basketball alongside Williams at Elba High School. Ware would go on to play professionally overseas for a number of years. The group consisting of Mr. Cold Front, Mo-Cash, Bloody Moe, Big Duke and T-Dub started churning out regional favorites among Southern Rap fans.
Mobstaz Committee turned out three albums from 2002 until 2006, earning a distribution deal with Select-O-Hits Records in the process. In 2002, the group released its debut album “Da Untouchables” followed by “Mobstaz 4 Life” in 2003 and “Da Takeover” in 2006.
The group began touring across the South and working with bigger, more known, artists. In the 2000s, Southern Hip Hop blew up nationally and Universal Records looked to the State of Alabama for the next big hit. During that time, the major label signed Montgomery acts Dirty and Small Tyme Ballaz. It just so happens, Mobstaz Committee was managed by the same group that handled those two acts.
“We had the same management as those guys and the stuff we did with Select-O-Hits made Universal want to sign us,” Williams remembered. “You see the big names (at Universal) and just sign the contract not knowing the business.”
At Universal Records, Williams and his group learned what Dirty and Small Tyme Ballaz would learn, the music business could be a cutthroat one and one that is controlled by the labels.
“I saw what happened with them head-on and it happened to us,” Williams said. “You’re just happy to sign and have that record deal but we didn’t know the business part of it and that whole thing made us want to get out of the (music) business completely. When you’re on tours and doing shows and the money isn’t right – there’s no money coming – it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.”
Still, Williams said he learned a lot from his time on a major label.
“After that, I went solo and came up with a hit,” he said. “By the time my solo came out I had already worked with a lot of big artists and was on the road with guys like T.I. and I started owning my own club and a studio and sort of had all those relationships with every part of the game then. I didn’t even want to sign a deal with anyone else at that point because we were making so much money independently.”
Williams released his first solo album, “The Struggle,” in 2004 and released a slew of other solo and group projects under his own imprint B4S Records. He also built a studio in Pike County.
“A lot of people don’t know we actually had the first B4S Studios in Brundidge, across from Pinckard’s,” he said with a smile. “That’s where we recorded that first Money-Roe album. Then, we moved to Troy – on Walnut Street – across form the barber shop and we were there for years doing all the HTH Boyz albums and all of that.”
As his group – and label – grew over the next few years Williams began to expand his business ventures, as well. He owned a number of different nightclubs, restaurants, car lots and other ventures, which now includes a trailer park in Spring Hill.
As Williams got older – and he added more businesses to his resume – he drifted more and more away from the music scene.
“The (music) business is rough, especially after I decided I didn’t want to be an artist anymore,” Williams said. “The business is just nasty. You work with an artist and if the fame – and money – comes you might know them today but once that money comes into play it changes everything.”
While he’s put the music business behind him he still has plenty of fond memories of it.
“The greatest thing is to be able to write something, write something I feel, and then have a crowd of 2,000 people that I’ve never met singing it word for word. That’s a special feeling,” he said. “A city I’ve never been to, knowing my music is something I would never be able to get used to. To be able to go to a whole other state – that I’ve never even been to – and get there and my song comes on and I could put the microphone down and they could recite all the lyrics; that’s a great feeling.”
Williams is also a proud father with his son – Dailvin Williams – attending Troy University and his daughter set to graduate from high school this year. It’s his love for his family that pushes him to continue striving for success in business ventures.
“My thing now is I’m always thinking bout how to be bigger and better and the whole goal for me is generational wealth for my family,” he emphasized. “What happens when I’m not here, that’s what I’m thinking about. I’ve traveled across the world and had the cars and the jewelry and all that but my legacy and building some generational wealth for my family is what I’m working towards. Like having that trailer park, when I’m gone that will be here long after me. I’m working towards things like that.”