You’re just walking down the beach board walk when a laughing crowd grabs your attention. You head over to the courts to see what everything is all about and you too become captivated by the Voice of Venice Beach AKA Mouthpiece. Witty, clairvoyant, & a natural talent, Mouthpiece easily keeps the crowd entertained by his radiating charisma and of course his very own style.
He arguably is the best and most entertaining MC in the game. Whether he’s keeping the crowd entertained or calling player’s out, Mouthpiece is a guy you want to get to know during this Summer’s Venice Basketball League. For his birthday, we decided to turn the tables and call him out to discuss basketball, the VBL, what it means to him, & how he stays so sharp on the mic.
VeniceBall reporter Janay (VBL): So Mouthpiece, let’s jump right in it. Where did the name come from? What’s the history?
Mouth Piece (MP): “In my early days, I was just known as JC, which is my first and middle initial. Then one day, I figured I would need a good name to build my brand; I started thinking about it. My favorite rapper is E40 and he said a verse in one of his songs that said, “I get money by my mouth piece.” Then all of a sudden I was like, ‘Mouth Piece’, that’s how I get paid and from that verse is how Mouth Piece came to be.”
VBL: What’s the connection with the world of basketball and the VBL?
MP: “Like so many others, I used to play ball in Venice all the time at the regular courts and players respected me on another level. When I first came to the league I was apart of a team called ‘The Mean Ones,’ which consisted of a lot of dudes that were Venice Beach regulars like I was.”
VBL: Was that in the early stages of the VBL?
MP: “Yes, that was the early stages. It was one of the original teams. I played with them for 2 years, then that’s when I was discovered for announcing. Nick Ansom asked if I would like to become the announcer for the VBL because I had done a lot of previous work in the game. For instance, I commentated for Kobe’s shoe release, Lisa Leslie’s retirement dedication, & the 3 on 3 tournaments in Downtown LA. So, I joined the VBL team and people began to love how I did my thing as far as calling the names and calling the game. From there, I elevated by doing a lot of different shows and tours being known all over the country as Mouthpiece AKA the Voice of Venice Beach.”
VBL: The Voice of Venice Beach has impeccable style. Where does Mouthpiece get his swag/style?
MP: “It is all from my Pops. He is real dope when it comes to matching. He always had his gators with his matching shirt, pants, and belt. So, me growing up in the hip-hop era, everything had to match, but in a different style. My shoes match with my shirt & my pants coincide with the whole fit even down to the socks. Now, I have a company that makes clothes for me. I just have to match, I have to have my swag out here.”
VBL: You’re pretty clever on the mic & sharp on your feet when it comes to commentating. You keep the crowd laughing. One time you deemed a guy ‘Sign Up’. Where do you draw your creativity?
MP: “I call it like I see it because the next person doesn’t see what I see, so when I explain why I call a person what I call them, it goes together. That guy wanted to sign up for the game and for me, I don’t care to learn your name if you haven’t done anything on the court yet. So, I started calling him ‘Sign Up.’ I just go off of what I observe. Another guy walked up to me and asked, “Where is the dressing room?” So, I called him Dressing Room all day.”
VBL: Wait, did he ever earn his actual name?
MP: “Haha, yea he earned a regular name because he made a couple of buckets. You have to score 2-3 buckets or make plays then I’m good with you. So, when it comes to certain things, I go off of what I see and feel. I’m in to reading, watching TV, and staying current, so I may compare a guy to something everyone is familiar with.”
VBL: I see your son JoJo AKA Baby Mouth around the courts following in your footsteps. In that aspect, what is the importance of the VBL to you?
MP: “It’s important for my son to see that if you’re going to do something, you need to go into it with all your heart and the VBL gives him something to connect to because he loves basketball. It’s amazing to watch him grow up in something that I helped build and for him to actually love it is even better. The VBL has given my son a fun, positive environment to grow up in and I want that not only for my son but for all the kids here in the VBL.”
VBL: Can you explain to the people what the VBL is? What is the heart & soul of this league and why is the league so important to the community?
MP: “Well I’ll put it like this, the VBL is a place where a community of people can come together for one cause, which is the love of the game. Venice Beach is known for being one of the well-known places to play ball. It’s a place where anybody from all levels can come out and play and what better place to have a league than Venice. I believe the love of the game, spreading knowledge, and supporting the youth is the heart & soul of this league. From that, it brings a lot of enrichment to the community because it brings the community together while supporting a good cause, building courts and not walls.”
VBL: What is one thing about Mouthpiece that the people should know?
MP: “When it comes to keeping it 100, I’m always real. Plain and simple.”
VBL: Ok, last question. If there is one thing you can tell the kids, what would it be?
MP: “If you’re not going to come play with all of your heart, all of your soul then don’t come out here. Don’t give half the effort because you’re only going to get half the results. I believe if you go into it with a full mindset of wanting to win and compete, you’ll make a name for yourself that you’ll live past your lifetime.”
VBL: Well, thank you Mouthpiece for spending time with us today and Happy Birthday!
Be sure to come hear Mouthpiece AKA the Voice of Venice Beach Sundays @ 12 pm as we go into our playoff weeks. Meet us at the courts.