Ceno, born Maurice Larry in North Lawndale, has been a Chicago music legend since 2013. By then, he was one of the originators of a whole new Chicago music genre: bop music. Alongside Lil Trav (Delon Sneed) in the group Sicko Mobb, Ceno helped forge a new sound that combined fast, almost footwork-like tempos, high-pitched synthesizers, and endlessly replayable melodies to create some of the best party music ever invented. But Ceno doesn’t want to talk about any of that. He only wants to look to the future, and justifiably so. Ceno is still making great rap music, such as the recent singles “Trench Babies” and “From the Raq,” which reflect on struggling through poverty and violence while growing up in Chicago, with lines like “coming out that jungle, all my n****s had to hustle / remember days I couldn’t sleep, my stomach royal rumble” and “I’m tryna make it so lil sis don’t grow up in these streets / its like you can’t get on Facebook without no Rest In Peace.” Ceno’s also got plans to release multiple tapes this summer. He agreed to a conversation with the Weekly to talk about the new music and his plans for 2022 and beyond.
Would you rather talk a little bit about Sicko Mobb or would you rather talk about the new stuff that you’ve been doing and what you’ve got for this year?
I’d really rather talk about the new stuff cause the Sicko Mobb stuff…that shit like ten years ago so I ain’t really trying to dwell on the past. I got a lot of new music and shit finna drop though.
That’s fair. Two of my favorite [newer] songs…are “Goin Insane” and then “Trench Babies.”
Good lookin bro. That’s what’s up.
I’ve seen the couple videos you’ve released in the past couple of months [for songs like From the Raq, In My Bag, and Know Dat]. Those have been great. So are you planning a new tape or anything for this year? What are your plans for this year?
Yeah, I’ma drop like two more tapes. I’ma prolly drop one in like July or August.
That’s exciting. Are there any like producers or people that you’re excited to be working with for that?
Yeah. Pronto Spazzout…you heard of Pronto?
Oh yeah, I’ve heard of him. He’s great.
Yeah Pronto Spazzout, you heard of JR007 [from] TrenchMobb?
Yeah, for sure.
We got a song, we’re going to drop the shit. We’re gonna shoot the video on Monday. I’m finna drop a song with bro ’nem. I got some shit coming with 10k Kobee, you familiar with him?
Yeah, 10k, for sure.
Yeah, I’m just working right now. This new project, you know, I’m just trying to bring the city together on some shit.
That’s awesome. That’s really important to bring different people together and show it can be done, for sure. So I know you’re from the West Side, from North Lawndale, are you still living out there or where are you located now?
Nah, I don’t live over there no more, but, you know, I still rotate through the city.
Yeah, for sure. Are there any shows that you’re going to be playing in the city or anything?
Not right now that I know of. I got like two upcoming shows but ain’t nothing been confirmed yet so I don’t even want to put that out there.
Okay. I’m excited for the new music. Can you explain a little more like what you mean though, just by trying to bring people together and stuff?
Like, how Chicago is…it’s fucked up. A lot of people don’t like working together because everybody from different areas and different hoods or whatever. So I feel like I got mutual respect to a lot of people. So I just really just be trying to put certain people on tracks together and just bring all this shit together because a lot of people look at me like a legend in Chicago music, so…I’m just trying to play my part and just bring certain people together on tracks that I think will sound good. Just so our city…like certain [people], I feel more comfortable bringing people together on tracks. A lot of people be selfish and just like…I won’t even call them selfish, because it’s just like a lot of people, how the city is, people can’t really kick it with each other like that. Too much going on. You’ll get caught up in some other shit that you ain’t really got nothing to do with it, fucking with the wrong people.
I had another article in South Side Weekly where I was talking with this professor Forrest Stuart and he wrote this book on rap music in Chicago and how it gets policed really heavily. As a rapper, do you get extra attention from police?
Yeah, from the police? Hell yeah. I’m fighting a case right now cause they know my face. So like no matter, any time I get pulled over, no matter what area I’m in, I don’t gotta be in my area, the police see me, they already know me because of the music shit. That shit definitely draws a lot of attention.
That’s horrible… I’m not a fan of CPD either. I work for, actually, First Defense Legal Aid, which is a civil rights legal aid place where we just sue CPD all the time. So if you ever think your rights have been violated…
Yeah, I need to sue they ass right now!
Well…that’s a separate conversation. We can have that conversation. But is there anything else that you wanna discuss or that I didn’t cover?
I got a new Instagram. My instagram been hacked, so I got a new Instagram. @cenoselfmade1. For all my fans looking for me, tell them it is no longer…Sicko Mobb is not a group no more. We don’t kick it. For the people that was wondering, we don’t talk, none of that shit. We both solo.
What’s the YouTube?
I just got a new YouTube, [it’s] Ceno Bugass.
Okay. Got it. And that’s where you’ll be dropping stuff?
Yeah. That’s where I’ve been dropping a lot of new music that I’ve been doing. I’m finna start dropping a lot more music on there though. It’s a brand new YouTube.
Okay, awesome. Sounds good. I just subscribed.
And for anybody looking up my new music, tell they ass don’t type Sicko Mobb at all, like, no affiliation…Type Ceno, that’s it.
For sure, I respect that. I’m just a big fan of both [Sicko Mobb and Ceno]. So yeah, like you are definitely a Chicago legend, so I appreciate your time, and I appreciate you speaking [with me].
Alright, bet. Thanks a lot bro, thanks for your time too.
You can check out Ceno’s upcoming music on his Youtube, Ceno Bugass, and updates from his Instagram which can be found at @cenoselfmade1.