Q. Tell us a bit about how and why you got into hip hop?
I got into hip hop in the early 90’s as a young kid. I am a fan first and foremost of this artistry. My mother introduced me to James Brown at a young age and I immediately feel in love with the style, the sound, and the culture that hip hop carried. By the age of 14 I was writing rhymes as often as possible and performing at local talent shows with friends. In high school, I started working at a local radio station in Charleston, South Carolina and began performing very often with my friend DJ Kurfu. He helped me record my first album, Borne Phoenix.
Q. Has hip hop had a significant impact on the way you live your life outside the music?
Yes, hip hop culture is a part of my normal life. I have been utilizing all elements of hip hop from a young age to express myself. The golden era of hip hop (mid-90s) a tremendous positive impact on the way I carry myself, dress and create my art.
Q. In your opinion what makes hip hop so important?
Hip Hop is timeless. Hip Hop has the ability to captivate people of all backgrounds through the use of a pretty simple technique, steady beats and provoking lyrics. Of course, there are several different genres of hip hop today but originally hip hop was about having fun and education.
Q. Tell us a bit about In Full Effect, how did it come about and what are some of your major influences?
My latest album, In Full Effect, was a collaborative effort between iLL Adrenaline producer Confidence and myself. I connected with Confidence through Twitter a couple years back. I really enjoyed his previous material with Rashaad. His sound captures the rawness of the golden era of hip hop. I am a big fan of KRS-ONE, Rakim and through the course of several months he passed me beats and I crafted In Full Effect. I had been planning this album for a few years but it wasn’t until I connected with Confidence that I knew it would be a reality.
Q. When discussing the title track for this album you talk about your “feelings about an awakening in American consciousness which unfortunately seems to be going dormant again”. Which aspects of this awakening are most important to you?
The American awakening I referred to is the realization of us, American citizens, that we must demand full transparency from our government. Unfortunately, the United States political system is an oligarchy not a democracy. It is a system ran by the ultra-élite to benefit the ultra-élite. The lower and middle classes are disenfranchised by this political system. Until, Americans demand changes in the current political system the inherent corruption will continue. The losers are always the lower and middle class of America, who have never been represented.
Q. What are some of the main issues you aim to address in your lyrics?
The main issues I address in my lyrics are my feelings about the life I live and my perspective on the world around me. Whether speaking of frustrations with US political system or reflecting on trials and tribulations, I weave my thoughts into my lyrics for listeners to understand my perspective.
Q. Do you think the intellectual capacity off hip hop is under-appreciated?
The intellectual capacity of hip hop is under appreciated by mainstream America but minority of listeners and fans who know the roots of hip hop are not distracted by commercial nonsense wrapped in the garb of hip hop. Real music and lyrics always stand out.
Q. What can we expect for the future?
I have just started work my 2015 solo project which will feature production from some of the finest beatmakers from Washington DC. I am also working on several more videos to compliment my latest album “In Full Effect”.
Download the album for free now: https://radiorahim.bandcamp.com/album/in-full-effect
By Grant Summers