Yesterday on Breakdown FM heard weekly on All Day Play (ADP), we took it there with a nice soul mix.. Many of y’all like to call the music we rocked, Neo-soul, but I’m gonna honor the wishes of artists like Erykah Badu who insists that we not separate what she and others do from the cannon of soul..
So what was rocked yesterday was a retro mix with everyone from Rapahel Saadiq to Q-Tip and Janet Jackson to Mary J Blige w/ Smif & Wessun.. all coming across my turntables.
Do U Wanna Soul-Clap?.. That’s the theme of the mix.. How can you not when what we drop is so funky.. Enjoy
It’s always a pleasure and enlightening to sit down and chop it up w/ Atlanta emcee Killer Mike. He’s never at loss for words and he pulls no punches when speaking on political situations. Our recent sit down w/ Mike was no exception.. We talked at length about his new album R.A.P. Music which was produced by EL-P of Def Jux fame. Many would not associate the pair because on the surface they appear to be on opposite sides of the musical spectrum, but in reality they have lots in common.. The album they created is a hard-hitting masterpiece that seriously bumps and lyrically is a breath of fresh air and a much-needed nourishment shot for the dome.
During our interview we started off talking about the album’s lead single ‘Reagan’. This is an excellent scathing critique of one of the worst presidents this country ever produced who in recent years has seen millions of dollars poured into campaigns to sanitize his image. Killer Mike accurately reminds us that Reagan was a criminal who answered to a powerful cartel who ultimately controlled him. Mike goes in on both the song and interview about Reagan.
He also pulls no punches on other Presidents including Barack Obama who he famously stood up for and supported in 2008. In fact during the 2008 Ozone Awards, Killer Mike sitting on a panel pushed his rap colleagues to clean themselves up, put on their Sunday best and not allow any industry rap BS be the downfall of than candidate Obama.
In our interview, Killer Mike explains that his position on Obama didn’t ‘evolve’, it was part and parcel of what one should do when you elect someone to office. He noted that all politicians need to be pushed and held accountable and his responsibility as someone who is active in voting and helping get folks in office is to speak up, be loud and make sure they understand there will be political consequence fr not doing right by the folks who support him/her. So, yes he supported Obama. In 08 he was the best man for the job, but the nature of the Presidency is to do the bidding of those who push him the hardest, and hence Mike brings heat in challenging Obama and anyone who is in office.
In our interview Killer Mike lays out what he says should be top priorities for any President seeking his vote as well as many within the Black Community. He details a job program in which folks coming into the community must partner with residents. He also talks about expunging the record of those who were incarcerated and returning home. Mike talks about the importance of providing programs and opportunities so one doesn’t return to prison which ultimately impacts the larger community.
During our conversation we talked about standout songs like the melodic ‘Anywhere But Here‘, where Mike gives us a thoughtful and compelling view of New York City and Atlanta. In the first part of the song, he talks about Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Stop and Frisk and the ghost of Sean Bell and others who are victims to police terrorism. He talks about the importance holding police accountable via the Mayor and other politicians who control them. He explained that anyone who allows the police to be out of control don’t politically punish the Mayor for allowing this to happen, has missed the mark in a big way..
New York City is contrasted w/ Killer Mike’s hometown of Atlanta which he describes as a Black male heaven because of its abundance of opportunity, Black office holders and beautiful women. In the song Mike notes how in a city of such abundance, Black blood is still being spilled, with young brothers playing the role of villan vs the good guy who many feel never win.
It’s a powerful cut and during our interview Mike expands upon the political and social dynamics of Atlanta and its relationship to the rest of Georgia. He noted that one day he may actually run for office because he feels that strong about his city and wants to see it improve.
Just is just a short summary and doesn’t do justice to Killer Mike’s passion and love for his community and this music we call Hip Hop.. We divide this interview up in two parts..
Click links below to listen to our interview w/ Killer Mike
Got a chance to build with Hip Hop legendBig Daddy Kane who is on his way to San Francisco this weekend to perform at Yoshi’s Jazz Club.You have to marvel at a guy who’s been putting in work since 1986, when Kane first hit the scene as a member of the Juice Crew and still manages to keep himself and his music relevant 26 years later…
In our interview we talked about his longevity in Hip Hop.. Kane explained it was always his intention to stand the test of time. He noted he never approached his music or any of his performances in a lackluster way. It was always about leaving a lasting impression and having folks one day wanting to mimic everything from his rhyme flow to his overall steeze.
I asked Kane why he never took his music career into acting the same way many of his peers had. Kane was often dubbed the leading man of rap aka Dark Gable, a play upon the famed actor Clark Gable. He also was dubbed Blackanova a play upon Casanova. Kane said he was open to doing more acting, he just hadn’t been offered good roles. At the same time he noted he hadn’t pursued things as hard as he could. Nowadays he’s open and wants to step into the acting arena and really give things a try..Thus far kane has appeared in movies like; Posse, Meteor Man, Dead Heist, Brown Sugar and Gunmen.
In terms of music, Kane explained, that he’s been working with singer Showtyme, who we know for the work he does w/ Pharoah Monch.. They have assembled alive band are currently working on an album. Kane didn’t say when it would drop, but noted they were putting down the finishing touches.
We also talked about the art of freestyling vs writing a good song. Kane explained that a true emcee takes time to create pictures and those pictures get perfected when you write. There’s no getting around it. He noted that the term freestyling initially meant to rap without form, meaning that you may touch upon a variety of subjects in song. he explained that song like Raw was him freestyling. The term ‘coming off the dome’ meant spitting rhymes on the spot. He said its a good when doing a show and you forget a lyric and have to change up for a few bars, but ultimately an emcee takes time to craft vivid pictures. Coming off the dome doesn’t allow that with any sort of regularity
We concluded our interview by talking about Kane’s favorite song.. He went into detail explaining why Set It Off was his best work. He noted he was trying to mimic James Brown‘s sex machine..
Kane will be appearing at Yoshi’s in SF this Saturday August 11th … for more info click this link