Exclusive Interview With Stic of Dead Prez

Q. Thank you for the chance to inter­view you. What where the main factors that lead you to pick up a mic and start rapping?

My older broth­er Troy intro­duced me to hip hop and told me I was going to be a rap­per. I fell in love with break dan­cing and listen­ing to the dif­fer­ent emcees like Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, Kool G Rap and LL Cool J, Too Short and oth­ers. Even­tu­ally I star­ted writ­ing my own verses and win­ning loc­al battles and con­tests and my mom and gen­er­al com­munity encour­aged me to keep it up, telling me I had some poten­tial to be really good if I kept at it. I wrote a rap for a black his­tory month pro­gram that got me kicked out of school and ulti­mately really helped me to see the import­ance of the mes­sage and lyr­ic­al con­tent of my music. It influ­enced me to always strive to express what’s really going on in the hood from a pos­it­ive per­spect­ive. So I been on it ever since.

Q. If you had to use a par­tic­u­lar name to describe your style of rap what name would you give it and why?

I do not believe in styles. I would say I strive to artic­u­late the concept of my songs in any way that is relat­able, real­ist­ic and in some way inspir­ing. I value ver­sat­il­ity. I explained my approach to song writ­ing in much detail in my book The Art of Emcee­ing. It has been used in many school and com­munity pro­grams teach­ing the art form of song writ­ing. My approach is to be flu­id so that one can adapt to the music in a way that is not stiff and rigid but fresh and interesting.

Q. How power­ful do you think Hip Hop can be in edu­cat­ing and empower­ing people?

It is only as power­ful as the level of con­scious­ness that cre­ates it as well that absorbs and inter­prets it. Hip hop is a world­wide phe­nomen­on now and has giv­en live­li­hoods to so many. It will be what we make it be. I value not only the music but the cul­ture and life­style of cre­at­ive self-expres­sion it has giv­en me. It is per­haps our gen­er­a­tion’s strongest media plat­form. A weapon of pro­gress in the right hands.

Q. Who have been your main influ­ences thought out your music career?

I’ve had many. Bruce Lee, Mal­colm X, 2 PAC, Will Smith, Assata Shak­ur , Out­kast, Good­ie Mob, Snoop, Mob Deep, Bob Mar­ley, Mike Tyson, my mom, my wife Afya, my whole fam­ily, my friends, my part­ner m1, all of hip hop con­tin­ues to stim­u­late my cre­at­ive juices. I read a lot. I work out reg­u­larly. I’m inspired by life all the time.

Q. You song No way as the way from the Inform­a­tion Age Album con­tac­ted with me on a very per­son­al level. How import­ant to you is it that we as a people learn to grow and expect people of all believes and faiths?

It’s a beau­ti­ful space to be when u can accept your­self and oth­ers with appre­ci­ation and less con­dem­na­tion. To see what we have in com­mon and not only focus on the dif­fer­ences. We do not have to all be identic­al twins to know we are con­nec­ted. Diversity is strength. I’m thank­ful to be a part of the tribe of life and to have so many great teach­ers in nature as well as the human fam­ily. The more we can learn our true nature and recog­nize its reflec­tion from each oth­er I think the bet­ter our lives will be.

Q. You have writ­ten two books the first, entitled War­ri­or Names from Afrika, and your second book, The Art of Emcee­ing. What lead you to write these two books and what do they each cover?

War­ri­or names is a col­lec­tion of names that I gathered in Afrika search­ing for a strong name for my son back in 1999. It was my first book and I just explained the why’s and how of Afric­an nam­ing tra­di­tions and how it applies to our psy­cho­lo­gic­al well-being.

The Art of emcee­ing was my way to doc­u­ment my 20+ years of exper­i­ence as an emcee and a song­writer in a step by step guide for oth­er aspir­ing hip hop artists. It comes with a free cd of beats I pro­duced as well.

Q. To people that have not heard of the RBG fit club could you explain to us what it is and what lead you to set it up?

RBG fit club is a health and fit­ness move­ment aimed at inspir­ing and empower­ing people through pro­mot­ing hol­ist­ic­ally healthy life­style choices in a man­ner that people can relate to and aspire to in real life. We cur­rently are work­ing towards 1 mil­lion miles of com­munity exer­cise via run­ning cyc­ling or walk­ing in our cam­paign called the mil­lion miles move­ment. There are workouts recipes music and merch and much more at the site.

I made a 180 life­style shift that has taken me from a life­style of poor diet sedent­ary activ­ity and marijuana and alco­hol abuse to one of mar­tial arts and yoga stu­dent, mara­thon­ing, daily med­it­a­tion, way health­i­er eat­ing via a mostly plant based whole food diet and I no longer drink or smoke.

So RBG FITCLUB shares my enthu­si­asm with as many folks as I can reach. We have thou­sands of mem­bers world­wide and grow­ing. My wife Afya Ibomu CEO of nattral.com and author of the vegan Soul­food guide to the galaxy has been a huge inspir­a­tion for my pas­sion for health and fit­ness as well. We are cur­rently tour­ing doing RBG FIT CLUB /Nattral work­shops together.

Q. What can we expect from Stic of Dead Prez in the near future?

My next album is The Workout part 2. I am train­ing and plan­ning for film­ing a fea­ture length doc­u­ment­ary on my pas­sion for run­ning and doing a mara­thon in Ethiopia. Also fin­ish­ing anoth­er book with my wife. More tour­ing and per­form­ing with dead prez. More smiles and much more pro­ductiv­ity and much more pro­ductiv­ity at RBG Fit Club


Arash Shari­fi

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Arash Sharifi

Arash has been pas­sion­ate about Hip hop for many years. He believes through hip hop you can teach, edu­cate and empower people to become bet­ter ver­sions of them­selves and help and sup­port their com­munity and oth­ers. Hip hop is more than just music, it can be a teach­er to us all.

About Arash Sharifi

Arash has been passionate about Hip hop for many years. He believes through hip hop you can teach, educate and empower people to become better versions of themselves and help and support their community and others. Hip hop is more than just music, it can be a teacher to us all.

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