Q. Your lyrics are full of factuality. Where do you get your knowledge? Was there a particular person in your life, event or book that inspired you to read and educate yourself further on these truths?
My mother first and foremost because she named me Jasiri, which is Swahili and means brave warrior. She raised me in a conscious household and encouraged me to read at a very young age. Today I’ve been blessed to be mentored by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and Harry Belafonte. Both are incredible artists that are known more thought the world for their activism. I’m trying hard to follow in their footsteps
Q. Your music and videos have spread awareness and spoken for the injustices that are occurring today. ‘Justice For Trayvon’ became a track that spoke out for a lot of people that were fighting for justice for Trayvon Martin, and to date the video has opened up debates around race in America today. What were your thoughts after hearing the verdict? And what can we do now as a community to make sure it doesn’t happen again?
I honestly was not surprised by the Zimmerman verdict. I never expected our injustice system to convict him. My thoughts after the verdict were its business as usual in America. I told people in the Trayvon song that, “only white life is protected in America ” but I don’t think they really understood until after the verdict. What we have to do is first stop killing one another. We need to take those guns we pull on one another and use them to defend our communities. We have to truly be 1Hood, only we can make sure it never happens again.
Q. What lead you to join Nation Of Islam and how did it help shape you as a Hip Hop artist? What are your thoughts in the rise of Islamaphobia across the world is there a solution, a matter of educating? Or is it a politically driven motive?
I needed guidance and direction in my life. I had reached a point where the decision I made on my own lead me to a very bad position and my lifestyle was destructive to me and those around me. The Nation gave me knowledge of self and discipline and is one of the main reasons I’m the person I am today. There is definitely a political motive to the rise of Islamaphobia. The people in power see Islam as a threat because when practiced properly it’s a force that unites people to do good and uphold and defend what’s right.
Q. Your track ’21 Forever’ is an attack on the commercial Hip Hop Culture. Why do you think Hip Hop took that direction? What are your thoughts on the prison industrial complex and Hip Hop today?
Corporations took Hip-Hop in the direction it’s in now. The reason Hip-Hop is so one-sided is because there are certain images of Black men and people of color in general that these old white men are comfortable with. Many of these companies also invest in prisons, so it’s not a coincidence that mainstream corporate rap music reinforces a lifestyle that will lead you straight to prison if you follow it.
Q. You have been featured on such a diverse range of platforms, from Russia Today and Huffington Post to the more music orientated BET. What have the advantages of this been? Does the response to your music vary from the different audiences?
It’s been great for me to have fans from various platforms and backgrounds. It’s helped me to be able to spread my message from political conferences, to universities, to shows in the hood. Good music is good music, so if it’s good people like it and share it no matter who they are
Q. Tell us a bit about your organisation ‘One Hood Media’?
One Hood Media came of the success we had creating songs and a video that dealt creatively with a variety of issues. Organization and campaigns began to hire us to do videos for them. Recently we started the One Hood Media Academy to teach young African-American boys how to analyze and create media for themselves.
Q. Tell us a bit about your 2013 album ‘Ascension’? What issues did you cover on it? Were there any tracks in particular that are a favourite of yours?
Ascension was a very personal album for me, that’s why it’s more spiritual than political, although I do have songs that deal with income inequality, police brutality, oppression, and censorship. The concept behind Ascension is, if Hip-Hop is dead then where does it go, heaven or hell? So me and the album’s producer Religion were trying to take Hip-Hop to a higher spiritual level. My favorite song is called “We the Changers”. The vibe of the beat and my flow combined puts it on a higher vibration than most songs
Q. What are you currently working on that you can share with us?
The project I’m working on now is called P.O.W.E.R. which stands for People Oppressed Will Eventually Rise. It will be more of a collaboration than my first project, and a majority of the production will be done by London’s own Agent of Change.
For more info on Jasiri X and his projects Like his Facebook page.