We spoke w/ former Jurassic 5 rapperCharli 2Na on Breakdown FMwho is now rolling solo in the aftermath of the group’s breakup.
We covered a number of topics including:
1-Charli 2Na speaks on his popping and strutting abilities. Breakdancing/ BBoying is what first attracted him to Hip Hop. We spoke to Charli about this because during his live shows its not unusual to see the brother bust a few moves.
2-We spoke about his Chi-Town (Chicago) upbringing and the influence house music had on him and his music. He noted that House was always an present to the point that he eventually sought out different types of music to explore including Hip Hop.
3-We talked about his Curtis Mayfield inspired song ‘Righteous Way’. He talks about how he wanted to write a song that connected various generations of his family. He sampled Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Making of You’
4-We spoke about today’s hip hop audience and whether or not they will accept and appreciate history, complexity and depth. Charli 2Na explained that reaching today’s audience can be abit of a challnge but he only knows how to speak to his audience in a mature way and refuses to dumb himself down. Its important that Hip Hop have a variety of voices and artists find lanes that allow their art to truly shine.
5-We spoke about Charli about parenting which is an increasingly engaged topic amongst those in the Hip Hop generation. 2na now has a son who is in college and he talked about the types of adjustments he’s had to make. Currently his son is one of his best friends who acts as a de facto A& R guy by keeping his dad on top of things. If his son likes it.. then Charli knows he’s in the pocket. We talked about Jurassic 5’s landmark song which dealt with this issue of parenting called ‘Contribution’ .
2na explained that he learned how to parent from seeing and experiencing what his absente dad did not do. He was determined not to repeat that pattern with his own son. He talked about how he and pops eventually reconciled. He also talked about the close relationship he had with his grandmother who picked up the slack while both his mom and dad dealt with their own demons.
6-Also along the family tip we with Charli 2Na about his younger brother Semaj who now travels with him, is an incredible rapper in his own right and is part of the band. 2Na explained that his younger brother who is 11 years younger has his own group called Live Radio and for years did not tell him about his rapping abilities nor come to 2na for help when he and his group got things rolling. Charli spoke about how proud he his of his brother because he made his own path and in many ways has surpassed 2na in the things they accomplished when compared to what Charli was doing at that same stage in his career. For example he noted that Semaj and Live Radio has already opened for KRS on several occassions and have done quite a few shows around LA.
Eventually 2Na pulled his brother and the group aside and spoke to them forthrrightly about the pitfalls they should avoid as a group. He noted he gave to them the same advice that Hip Hop pioneer Grandmaster Caz gave to the than young members of J5. He told them the steps to take and outlook to have to avoid jealousy and petty rivalries within the group. He talked to them about communicating etc. 2na admitted that unfortunately what Caz talked about was not fully heeded and J5 fell apart.
7-Lastly we spoke to 2na about the tragic and painful death of his cousin who was like a sister to him. They grew up in the same household. Her name was BB and she was trampled to death during an infamous nightclub fire that took place in Chicago a few years ago. She went to get her coat when all hell broke loose and people panicked inside the club. BB fell and was crushed by hundreds of club goers. 2na immortalized his cousin and the incident in the last song on his album. Its a heartwrenching touching song that includes BB herself speaking to her cousin on one the last times they saw each other. For 2Na to open himself up like that is one of the reasons we will always like and appreciate what he means and brings to Hip Hop.
8-Joining us in this interview is Charli’s good friend Supernatural. the two share with us the influence eacha have on one another. Supernat talks shares with us some insight to 2na’s writing style and overall process for recording and eventually releasing songs.