North Carolina is known for its barbecue, an epic college basketball rivalry and its great weather.

The state’s hip-hop scene is solid too, boasting such talent as the well-established Little Brother trio and leading emcee J. Cole. Morris Rick, better known by his rap name ‘King Mez,’ is hoping there’s room for him too.

After garnering great reviews for his summer mixtape, My Everlasting Zeal, Mez will open up for Pusha-T and Fabolous’ “The Life Is So Exciting” tour this spring. The gig is a true blessing for a kid who lost his mother while attending North Carolina A&T State University and was left to raise his younger brother on his own.

The 22-year-old Raleigh native is aware of his state’s short but significant time on the hip-hop scene.

In 2001, Petey Pablo put Carolina hip-hop on the map with his Timbaland-produced state anthem ‘Raise Up.’ For King Mez, hip-hop’s roots in his home state began with another group.

“Little Brother is definitely where North Carolina hip-hop began for me,” said Mez.

Although they are no longer together, Little Brother featured rappers Big Pooh and Phonte and producer 9th Wonder.

Aside from Little Brother, Mez also looks up to RocNation rapper and fellow Carolinian, J.Cole. On the craft of becoming a true emcee, J.Cole is quick to give advice to King Mez:

“Rather than talk or rap to the people, rap for the people. Sometimes you’ll hear J.Cole rap from the perspective of a female, who’s going through problems with her man. That verse sounds better because you felt it. It makes you want to recite it.” recalls King Mez.

Check out what else King Mez had to say about J.Cole and North Carolina’s soulful roots in the video and let us know what you think in the comments below.

Check out Kyle’s musical coverage on theGrio music page, and follow Kyle on Twitter at@HarveyWins.