Getting to know Mvüko when he is not Nagaland’s star rapper Moko Koza

Kohima: Koza says he used to perform in the college events by giving his name to his seniors “joborjosti”

BY | Thursday, 15 June, 2023

“Naga Manu…Naga Manu…” these are the words of an iconic song which is in every “Naga manu” playlist, old and young humming to this tune and all credit goes to our very own Hip-Hop rapper, songwriter Moko Koza.

One of the most popular Hip-hop artist Nagaland has ever produced, a 27-year-old, Moko Koza has now become a household name in Nagaland and has also won recognition for his catchy lyrics and beats across the entire North-east region and beyond.

He is a true path breaker because of his courage and willingness to fearlessly highlight the hypocrisy, corruptions and day to day life struggles attached to the Naga society and promoting Naga culture by using local dialects in his music.

Significantly, in April 2023 Koza also won the Radio City Freedom Award for best Hip-hop/Rap artist for his song “Naga Manu”.

Nagaland Tribune caught up with this super talented artist and we want you to come along for the ride as we take a peek into the life of our very own superstar.

Mvüko Koza aka Moko Koza grew up in a very regular Naga family with five siblings in the state capital Kohima.He did his schooling from Ministers’ Hill Higher Secondary School and did his Bachelor of Science and Masters in Anthropology from Kohima Science College, Jotsoma.

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Behind the big curtains, he is actually a shy, calm, humble and a low-key person. When he is not doing music, he likes to be himself and stay at home playing his favourite play station games. And he is great cook too! One local dish he excels at cooking and eating is bamboo shoot with fresh pork.

Koza, in his own words, fell in love with Hip-hop at a very early age during his high school days (2003-2004) and the first artist he was introduced to was Eminem. He said, “It was more like, started as a fascination and with the western gang culture. I used to rap along with them, sing their lyrics and I didn’t know that I would take music professionally in the future. It was more like a hobby, following their lifestyle, keeping up with their music and gradually as I entered college, I started writing my own songs for my hobby but gradually the attachment grew.”

Koza uploaded his first audio original remix composed song “Listen to your heart” on YouTube in the year 2011. He had composed and recorded the audio on mobile phone while he was at his granny’s. Sadly, the song was removed. “It was cringy, so I removed it,” said Koza.

His first music video was released in the year 2018 the song titled “Heal” featuring T.K Lemtur and prior to that all his original songs were audio clips.

Like any other artist struggles, Koza too had his own share of struggles reaching out to the masses with his music. He says, being a musician has its own perks and downside.

“Getting my music out didn’t happen overnight. It took me almost 10 years,” says the rapper who started off with one fan on his face book page to ten fans and the rest is history now.

“What I really found hard along the way was trying to get my music out in the market being from NE side of India and since majority of the music is dominated by Hindi music, trying to find the right market is a major struggle.”

Meanwhile, recollecting his early days, Koza said he used to perform in the college events and sometimes give his name “joborjosti” to his seniors to experience what it is like to be on stage and interact with the crowd. Well, the “joborjosti” did do him good as people gradually started recognising him and he was also busy learning how to write and create songs.

According to the rapper, money was not really a factor as he never thought about it, all that mattered to him was Music. However, with time he says, “I did a lot of free shows for charity also but if you are going to do full time you need to provide food on the table also. That’s how I learnt money is also important and even for the passion it costs.”


Here is a candid interview with Moko Koza

NT: Why is it important for you to use Nagamese and other Naga tribe dialects in your songs?

MK: Using the language Nagamese, it’s where majority of the people can understand especially the older people, they can’t understand English. So, I found the way where I can communicate with the people and Nagamese was the medium.

NT: Your favourite song?

MK: I have a song called ‘Keep on’ released in 2015, it’s a very personal song. It still keeps me inspired. It talks about wanting to make it out, following a dream and passion, never giving up but just keep going on.

NT: It is very common in Naga society where one’s family stops their children from pursuing career outside government job. What is it in your case?

MK: My family never stopped me from doing music, but they would also tell me to try for government job, but they would never stop me. From college days I made sure that my music life and education is balanced. I never flunked or had back papers so based on that they would never.

NT: If given the opportunity for a govt job?

MK: Doing a job I can still do music. I am always open to working. I can do both.

NT: What was your aim in life?

MK: I always wanted to be an army doctor. If given a chance in alternate universe or another life I think I would want to be an army doctor. Going to war and experiencing what war is like.

NT: What do you do in your leisure time? Hobbies?

MK: I follow a lot of comic movies. I like giving my own movie critic. I follow movie directors and watch their movies and compare. I have never read a novel so reading is not on my list. Well, gardening I would like to try, growing local vegetables but not flowers.

NT: Have you thought about trying Hindi songs and singing?

MK: I tried but I don’t have a very good Hindi diction but if given a chance and they provide me the lyrics then I could try.

I don’t have a singing voice. I can rap and speak in rhythm but not sing.

NT: Share something your fans don’t know?

MK: Since I am staying in Dimapur and it is very hot, I compose songs almost naked.

NT: Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?

MK: I still see myself making music.

Moko Koza performing at Matchbox Pub, Hauz Khaz Village, New Delhi on 9 June 2023

NT: You have become a household name how does it feel?

MK: It feels good, through music getting people’s attention. When I step out of Nagaland, people, they know me. I get shocked! It’s all because of music. Also, it is very important to know where we come from, started off. I always make sure that when I meet people I return the favour, it’s because of them, they are helping me with my music. Without them I will be nothing.

NT: Is your family proud of you?

MK: I am sure they feel proud, but they don’t show it to me. My relationship with my family is very healthy, they don’t take advantage of me and vice versa.

NT: Do you do household chores when you are at home in Kohima?

MK: I fetch water, I clean but my room not the house, do the dishes and I still go for grocery shopping and run errands for my mom.

NT: Favourite colour and why?

MK: Black and bloody maroon. I am more into dark colours I feel it catches the eye.

NT: Any message to your fellow musicians and fans?

MK: To my fellow musicians keep doing what you are doing not everybody can do what you do. Keep promoting yourself and representing the Nagas.

To the fans, continue to support the local artists.


Nagaland Tribune wishes MOKO KOZA a very Happy Birthday!! We wish you the best in all your future endeavours.

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