By Jim Shelton- September 10 2009
MILFORD -- Mike Morazzini may be the only rap singer in the world with a bucket of live eels chillin' in the basement. They're right next to his rods, reels, plugs, chum and spear gun. "I couldn't rap about anything that wasn't true, so I rap about fishing," Morazzini, a 25-year-old biology teacher at Jonathan Law High School, explains. "I do it. I live it. Hey, I'm a kid from Woodmont."
This is a guy torn between his beat box and his tackle box. He tosses out mad rhymes while he tosses out 10-pound test line from the deck of his 18-foot power boat, the Blood Vessel. With his boyish face and close-cropped hair, Morazzini even looks a bit like a young Eminem.
"One of my goals is to have my music played as a soundtrack to a fishing show on TV," he says. "I watch them all the time, and they just play random music. I've sent some of my songs to ESPN." Indeed, Morazzini recently released a 12-track CD, "Angler Talk," filled with witty anthems to people who worship the Ugly Stick. He recorded the songs at East Rock Studio in New Haven.
"There were lures and fishing hooks hanging over the music stand," laughs East Rock Studio owner Jef Wilson. "Mike has a sense of humor enough to know how ridiculously funny some of his stuff is." Consider these fish tales from the new CD:
"Angler Talk," the title track, takes a humorous look at fishing terminology such as "Ugly Stick," which means a fishing rod; "Angler Anxiety" is an a cappella song about how sad Morazzini gets when he hasn't fished in weeks; "I'm Leaving" tells of a disgruntled girlfriend who wants her boyfriend to spend less time with his lures. Morazzini's stepsister, Jessica Olderman of Fairfield, sings on two tracks; Morazzini's uncle, Noel Luth of Milford, performs briefly on the first track, "Carp Don't Talk." The pairing of fishing and rap music is oddly appealing, according to Wilson, but any musical genre would have worked. "He could have done it in Sinatra style and it would be entertaining," Wilson says. For Morazzini's part, he says he's fully aware that the merging of his two hobbies sounds more like a "Saturday Night Live" skit than serious music. "It's rap about fishing, so I know it's got to be funny," he says. "At first, when I tell people about it, they laugh. They think it's nuts. But when I show them the CD, they understand I really put effort into this. It's cool. It's different."
Plus, he's confident there's an audience. His love of fishing began in childhood, casting off the piers in Milford. He's since moved on to fishing for mako shark off Montauk, tarpon in Florida and blue shark near Block Island.
"It's the rush you get from the unpredictability of fishing in saltwater," he says. "You don't know what you've hooked when a fish first bites."
Rap music got Morazzini's attention in high school. He took to the melodies and rhyming of Eminem and Tupac Shakur.
A couple of years ago, for fun, Morazzini did a homemade recording of original rap songs about fishing and gave copies to his family and friends. Within months, Morazzini's relatives were handing out copies at fishing tournaments. "People were coming up to me, people I didn't know, saying how much they loved the songs," he says.
Now that he's a professional rapper -- his CD sells for $11 at Frenchy's Bait & Tackle in West Haven and $13.60 at Morazzinis Web site, www.anglersmusic.com -- he's trying his hand at live performance. He's appeared at a couple of karaoke clubs and open-mic nights, where he says the crowds are appropriately hooked by his material.
"We get the place rocking," he says. "It's not as good as reeling in a tuna, but it's fun."
Jim Shelton can be reached at (203) 789-5664 or firstname.lastname@example.org.