If there’s a way to win quarantine, it’s…probably by following the CDC’s recommended guidelines for stopping the spread of COVID-19. However, if there’s a silver medal for “winning the lockdown,” it belongs to Chris Mann. The singer and former contestant on The Voice has made the most of his time during the pandemic by releasing COVID-themed parody videos. His latest arrives today, Aug. 13, and it’s a fantastic rendition of The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Mo Money Mo Problems.” Appropriately titled “Mo People Mo Problems,” Chris gets vocalist Kathryn Dean to sing the hook, and rapper iNTell (son of the Wu-Tang Clan’s U-God) to drop a verse about how it’s still not safe to get within six-feet of all your friends.
“Once my videos started going viral, I wanted to make sure there was a responsible, relevant, and, of course, funny message woven into the parody,” Chris tells HollywoodLife. “When I saw so many people out there acting like this pandemic was over, I was like ‘helllllll no! The more people we see, the more cases we’ll have! Wait, I feel a rap coming on about this……ha!’ Then I quickly re-wrote the lyrics to ‘Mo Money, Mo Problems’ into ‘Mo People, Mo Problems.’ ”
“Sometimes, hearing a message in a funny way gets through to people better than harping on them,” adds Chris. “It was the first time I’d done a rap as a parody, and it was a challenge, for sure. I wanted to match Mase and Biggie’s rhyme scheme as closely as I could. It was really fun to break down their rhythmic patterns and flow.
Of course, even if Chris could match Mase and Biggie, beat for beat, he’d still need a powerful voice to deliver the hook. Enter Kathryn Dean, aka KD. The singer – known for her 2014 smash hit “Told You So” — recently released “Friends (Don’t Wanna Be)” earlier, and she’s been making use of her time in quarantine by working on a docuseries called Chart Breakers. Set for a release sometime this fall, the series is about redefining the face of pop music and follows artists on the brink of their career and will feature appearances from chart veterans like Grammy winner 88-Keys, Sandy Vee and Method Man.
“I had heard about an amazing new artist named Kathryn Dean, and we’ve been looking for something to collaborate on,” Chris tells HollywoodLife, adding that he had seen her funny GIFs on Giphy and knew that she would “sound phenomenal on the chorus.” KD also brought iNTeLL onto the project. “Once iNTeLL started rapping, I was like, ‘Ohhhhhh, THAT’s what real rappers sound like!” I was just having fun, but my swag level is low A.F. compared to him.’
“I met KD while working on the Chart Breakers series, and we hit it off right away and knew we wanted to do a music collaboration,” iNTeLL tells HollywoodLife. “She introduced me to Chris, and they invited me to join the parody they had started working on. Not only was it a great creative process working together, but I felt it was important to encourage people to do their part to fight this pandemic.”
The video also features two special cameos – by both Chris and iNTeLL’s kids! “My son Hugo made a cameo in the video–my days consist of juggling making videos and music and keeping my 3-year-old son entertained. It’s a lot. It became easier to just include him in the process than keep him isolated, or in front of the T.V. He definitely steals the scenes and is the star…which, of course, I resent. (kidding.)”
While the video is cute and the song is immensely catchy, at the heart of “Mo People Mo Problem” is a message: the pandemic is still going on, so now’s not the time to party with friends. “Don’t give up on social distancing and masks!” says Chris. “The cases are still rising. We are all tired of this, but we gotta work together to keep it under control. Stay inside (or out at the pool with your social bubble) and just blast music and drink Aperol and enjoy this insane time. And stop going out!”