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Rhymefest Talks Re-Envisioning James Baldwin & Nikki Giovanni

Rhymefest Talks Re-Envisioning James Baldwin & Nikki Giovanni

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Rhymefest

Supply: Tori “Torsion” Howard / Golden State Leisure

Info and reality are extra necessary now than ever. For Che “Rhymefest” Smith, it is part of the psychological jewels he values essentially the most, standing proper alongside divine forgiveness and love.

“We have now to discern the reality from the lie and everybody thinks they know the reality. However we will solely have a civilized society after we can agree on a standard reality,” Rhymefest tells HipHopWired. Catapulted to stardom roughly 20 years in the past, Smith’s genuine reality helped bolster Kanye West to success, and within the course of, led to a whirlwind of business and financial acclaim. However a lot in the way in which of all the nice griots, it might take him, as he places it, “a lifetime to study a bit of.”

Impressed by the enduring dialogue between Nikki Giovanni and James Baldwin in 1971, Smith, in partnership with Golden State Leisure, is about to drop a composition that takes the spirit of those two literary geniuses and modernizes it. Releasing February 9, 2024, the venture, titled James & Nikki: A Dialog, and led by the one “Creator”, comes on the heels of Smith’s pivotal lecture collection with the College of Chicago, aptly titled Residing Life Like It’s Golden: How Sports activities + Tradition = New Enterprise The Capstone.

Rhymefest

Supply: James & Nikki: A Dialog album cowl / Golden State Leisure

Fueled by the clips of the 2 giants speaking, A Dialog replicates the identical dynamic and delivers the true and lived experiences he’s develop into well-known for. Accompanied by a slew of feminine emcees from Teefa to Saba the Godis, A Dialog is certain to generate future conversations that reach from the ivory towers to the underside flats.

Hip-HopWired: Mr. Smith, what made you resolve to belief Golden State Leisure along with your venture and ship it by means of them the way in which you’re?

Rhymefest: I like that it isn’t a file label, however it’s an leisure firm. So when Cap D, the man who runs it, and I acquired collectively, he requested me the one query that made me wish to roll with them. He requested, “What does success appear to be to you for a venture like this?” He didn’t say we have to get this many streams, or point out any pre-determined outcomes. He requested me what success was. I stated to myself if leisure firms went to artists and allow them to outline what success appeared like for them, we’d have a greater product. You’d have a extra genuine product and artists would really feel extra free to ship issues with out pondering they should subscribe to what n*ggas wish to hear. We might then get artwork that might form our society as a substitute of replicating overused artwork.

So when David requested me what success appeared like with James and Nikki, I informed him if we may make a communal impression and win an NAACP Picture Award, that might imply our group accepted you. It’s not just like the Grammys. If our home accepts us I see it as a hit. If this venture can flip into the brand new model of a e book that may’t be banned, that’s success. That’s what made me belief them. They requested me what success was and allowed me to outline it.

Your feedback have me fascinated with the way you and others work in academia. all the individuals from Bun B, Lupe Fiasco, Naledge and ninth Marvel on the intersection of academia alongside you, what function do you all as rappers play within the subsequent 50 years of rap?

Traditionally, academia created the Harlem Renaissance. With out the College of Chicago, there’d be no Harlem Renaissance. Academia created quite a lot of techniques and establishments that we ascribe as to if we all know or prefer it or not. For many people who by no means graduated faculty, having the ability to have a hand in forming techniques issues. I ran for workplace in 2013 and as an artist, I used to be working on the Institute of Politics for the College of Chicago as a Pritzker Axelrod Fellow instructing seminars concerning the intersection between music and politics and tradition and politics. For one seminar, I introduced in designer Don C and I requested him why Donald Trump’s merchandise out promote’s his.

He gave a superb reply. He stated, “As a result of Trump makes individuals really feel part of the membership. Trump has the most cost effective hats, however he brings individuals in and makes them part of a membership that claims regardless of how unhealthy my life will get, with this hat on, I’m any person.” So I requested Don if he thought he may assist a politician win an election with a clothes model and he replied, “After all I may.” Whoever thought clothes decided elections? It was once buttons, now it’s a hat.

One other instance comes from Stevie Marvel. For years, Congressman John Conyers was attempting to get a Nationwide Martin Luther King Jr. vacation and it might by no means cross. Congressman Conyers referred to as up a man named Stevie Marvel to assist, and Stevie made one thing that we all know at the moment because the Black Birthday tune. The tune grew to become such a success that the following 12 months, Senator Helms and President Reagan handed the invoice. That’s the facility of music in politics and your life. That’s the facility of music to alter the dynamics of laws. Lots of us artists are so busy attempting to promote a product that we don’t understand how highly effective the power of music is to alter communities and coverage. Music has the facility of salvation. It has the facility to avoid wasting the souls of the world if we get out of our means. We gotta cease pimping the present.

If you talked about the phrase salvation, it made me mirror on the opening observe from A Dialog the place you reference the Japanese idea of Kintsugi. Tying that into salvation, how does salvation tie into marriage and your life?

If you stated marriage, it made me assume as a result of I’m on my third marriage and my spouse at the moment helped break the curse of infidelity. I’ve all the time beloved so laborious and all the time been a cheater and will by no means get out of my very own means of loving. My spouse broke that curse with forgiveness. If you take heed to the tune, “Creator,” and also you hear Brittany Carter say, “If I can’t forgive you then I’m not who I say I’m,” it reminds you that if extra households had divine forgiveness, extra kids would develop up with wholesome households and cease repeating generational curses.

With reference to Kintsugi, I say within the tune, “Each time I’m hammered, the scars reveal the sweetness.” In Japan, they’ve an artwork the place they take a bowl and a hammer and crack the bowl with a hammer. They then use golden glue to place the bowl again collectively, and what you discover out is that from all these fragmented items, you get one thing extra stunning than the unique bowl. That’s how we’re as a group. We had been damaged and reshaped, and that reshaping is what I’m attempting to get throughout with this venture.

On the second tune, you talk about your grandmother. What function did your grandmother play in your life and in these instances, what function do they serve?

My grandmother taught me spirituality by means of listening to the Commodores and their tune, “Zoom,” whereas she cleaned the home on Sunday. Earlier than she transitioned we sat collectively and sang the O’Jays tune, “Stairway to Heaven.” Regardless of her dementia, she remembered all of the phrases to all of the songs. I dream of in the future singing so stunning that somebody with dementia can keep in mind the phrases. So once you ask what my grandmother gave me, I consider music, love. She taught me easy methods to love and transcend inside ache. I needed to make a tune about her and let everybody within the black group know that everybody’s grandmother isn’t just like the picture we see in Tyler Perry films. “Everyone grandmother ain’t Tyler Perry, huge and furry, dignitary; Jesus, Mary, she ready me.”

I consider that my grandfather being by my grandmother’s facet as they went by means of issues and me seeing the power of my grandfather enduring knowledgeable my perspective on love. My grandfather was a Vietnam Vet who would have flashbacks, and for my grandmother to endure it and by no means go away him meant one thing to me and the way I view relationships. That’s why I haven’t given up on relationships and love.

On Monitor 4, you converse concerning the challenges of fame and well being. You had a line the place you stated you beat the streets, however couldn’t beat the sweets!

That piece referred to as “What’s In It For Me” is the long run me debating the current me about what I’m doing presently. Freddie Previous Soul, the lady on the observe although, actually got here with it and he or she’s certainly one of my favourite emcees from Chicago and interval. “She stated Netflix and chillin’, I acquired three infants, I ain’t saying that I failed, however I acquired a daughter.” The way in which she addressed being pregnant, her profession, and her worry of not having the ability to go away town as an OG legend who by no means acquired out hit me within the coronary heart. These are issues we undergo daily as a result of we venture the battle as if it’s an out of doors battle with the world when it’s an inside battle. Our largest enemy ain’t the federal government. You got all these weapons and also you by no means gon’ use them! The largest battle is the demon who’ll by no means go away. You aren’t who you thought you was, you’re who you taught you was. And till we reprogram who we taught we was, that’s all it’s.

Mr. Smith, you had some bars that caught out with me that I wished to get your ideas on. “Think about leaning on the reality, but it surely all the time bends.”

Don’t it although! The reality all the time bends as a result of we’re always altering. Who you had been, you aren’t the identical man at the moment. The reality is ever bending and typically we attempt to stand on the reality as if it isn’t one thing that evolves. Take into consideration if Jesus Christ or Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) got here again at the moment. Everyone can be attempting to speak to them concerning the Bible and the Quran as in the event that they knew it higher than they did!

On the identical observe, you converse on the problem of talking to a pal with a god complicated, so to talk. How do you maneuver by means of that area of realizing somebody for 20 years and seeing them play with the concept of them being a god?

No one’s downside is my downside. And I’m not even saying that somebody has a god complicated. To me, after I’m round my pal, it looks like different individuals venture that onto him greater than they do themselves. We blame the particular person however we don’t have a look at how we made that individual that in our thoughts. “Attempt telling Malcolm X bowties ain’t in, attempt telling Mandela to not go to the pen.” These individuals had been being themselves and we made them gods.

What about this quote, “Individuals ain’t the issue, energy is!”

Proper now I’m within the city of Cody, Wyoming, a city of 10,000 individuals who don’t appear to be you and I, and I’ve no downside with any group from the Mormons, Amish, and even the Trump supporters who’re my mates. What I’ve discovered is that the individuals aren’t the issue, and the one time we have now one is after we discuss concerning the information. After they ask me about Chicago and the media, I understand the facility turns us towards each other and tells us tales that aren’t totally true. The ability feeds off our dissent. After we come collectively and evaluate notes we discover so many similarities. America is rotting not due to the individuals, however due to energy.

Rhymefest

Supply: Tori “Torsion” Howard / Golden State Leisure

February makes 20 years because you emerged on the scene engaged on The School Dropout. Your venture, James & Nikki, comes out in February. How do you are feeling about it now?

I really like the early 2000s, however I’m not nostalgic for it. I really like the early ’90s, however I’m not nostalgic for it. It’s laborious for me to stay sooner or later if I’m caught up prior to now. All the things you do this’s nice, any accomplishment, comes with the present of trauma. Now I’ve the instruments to cope with the trauma. Again then I didn’t have the instruments to cope with it so I harm myself rather a lot.

Phonte has this line the place he says, “My biggest lecturers had been masters of self-sabotage.” With that stated, I’m blessed I didn’t kill myself with what I used to be doing. It’s straightforward to speak concerning the harm executed to me, however the actual harm was what I did to myself and the way I handed it round. I’ll spend my life utilizing my instrument package to point out individuals easy methods to love and transcend that. We undergo ache to point out individuals a bit of little bit of how to not expertise it. Baldwin stated, “It takes a lifetime to study a bit of bit.” It took me 20 years to study a bit of bit.

When individuals go to take heed to A Dialog, what’s your biggest hope?

Engagement. I would like individuals to place their telephones down. I pray the venture is a slight inconvenience in individuals’s lives. There’s a quote I exploit on the venture from Baldwin the place he says “God wants us and with out us, there isn’t any God.” Even Cap D requested me to take that half out and I stated I can’t as a result of if we take that half out, we gotta take out different elements individuals could not like. I pray this upsets our psyches as a result of that’s the one means we are going to develop.

James & Nikki drops in February throughout Black Historical past Month proper earlier than Ladies’s Historical past Month so it’s the right time. We acquired Brittney Carter, Helixx C Armageddon, E.P. Da Hellcat, Saba The Godis, Freddie Previous Soul and the Notorious Teefa. I’m blessed that each one of those ladies got here on these tracks and gave their entire spirit to it.

HipHopWired Featured Video

CLOSE

Rhymefest

Supply: Tori “Torsion” Howard / Golden State Leisure

Info and reality are extra necessary now than ever. For Che “Rhymefest” Smith, it is part of the psychological jewels he values essentially the most, standing proper alongside divine forgiveness and love.

“We have now to discern the reality from the lie and everybody thinks they know the reality. However we will solely have a civilized society after we can agree on a standard reality,” Rhymefest tells HipHopWired. Catapulted to stardom roughly 20 years in the past, Smith’s genuine reality helped bolster Kanye West to success, and within the course of, led to a whirlwind of business and financial acclaim. However a lot in the way in which of all the nice griots, it might take him, as he places it, “a lifetime to study a bit of.”

Impressed by the enduring dialogue between Nikki Giovanni and James Baldwin in 1971, Smith, in partnership with Golden State Leisure, is about to drop a composition that takes the spirit of those two literary geniuses and modernizes it. Releasing February 9, 2024, the venture, titled James & Nikki: A Dialog, and led by the one “Creator”, comes on the heels of Smith’s pivotal lecture collection with the College of Chicago, aptly titled Residing Life Like It’s Golden: How Sports activities + Tradition = New Enterprise The Capstone.

Rhymefest

Supply: James & Nikki: A Dialog album cowl / Golden State Leisure

Fueled by the clips of the 2 giants speaking, A Dialog replicates the identical dynamic and delivers the true and lived experiences he’s develop into well-known for. Accompanied by a slew of feminine emcees from Teefa to Saba the Godis, A Dialog is certain to generate future conversations that reach from the ivory towers to the underside flats.

Hip-HopWired: Mr. Smith, what made you resolve to belief Golden State Leisure along with your venture and ship it by means of them the way in which you’re?

Rhymefest: I like that it isn’t a file label, however it’s an leisure firm. So when Cap D, the man who runs it, and I acquired collectively, he requested me the one query that made me wish to roll with them. He requested, “What does success appear to be to you for a venture like this?” He didn’t say we have to get this many streams, or point out any pre-determined outcomes. He requested me what success was. I stated to myself if leisure firms went to artists and allow them to outline what success appeared like for them, we’d have a greater product. You’d have a extra genuine product and artists would really feel extra free to ship issues with out pondering they should subscribe to what n*ggas wish to hear. We might then get artwork that might form our society as a substitute of replicating overused artwork.

So when David requested me what success appeared like with James and Nikki, I informed him if we may make a communal impression and win an NAACP Picture Award, that might imply our group accepted you. It’s not just like the Grammys. If our home accepts us I see it as a hit. If this venture can flip into the brand new model of a e book that may’t be banned, that’s success. That’s what made me belief them. They requested me what success was and allowed me to outline it.

Your feedback have me fascinated with the way you and others work in academia. all the individuals from Bun B, Lupe Fiasco, Naledge and ninth Marvel on the intersection of academia alongside you, what function do you all as rappers play within the subsequent 50 years of rap?

Traditionally, academia created the Harlem Renaissance. With out the College of Chicago, there’d be no Harlem Renaissance. Academia created quite a lot of techniques and establishments that we ascribe as to if we all know or prefer it or not. For many people who by no means graduated faculty, having the ability to have a hand in forming techniques issues. I ran for workplace in 2013 and as an artist, I used to be working on the Institute of Politics for the College of Chicago as a Pritzker Axelrod Fellow instructing seminars concerning the intersection between music and politics and tradition and politics. For one seminar, I introduced in designer Don C and I requested him why Donald Trump’s merchandise out promote’s his.

He gave a superb reply. He stated, “As a result of Trump makes individuals really feel part of the membership. Trump has the most cost effective hats, however he brings individuals in and makes them part of a membership that claims regardless of how unhealthy my life will get, with this hat on, I’m any person.” So I requested Don if he thought he may assist a politician win an election with a clothes model and he replied, “After all I may.” Whoever thought clothes decided elections? It was once buttons, now it’s a hat.

One other instance comes from Stevie Marvel. For years, Congressman John Conyers was attempting to get a Nationwide Martin Luther King Jr. vacation and it might by no means cross. Congressman Conyers referred to as up a man named Stevie Marvel to assist, and Stevie made one thing that we all know at the moment because the Black Birthday tune. The tune grew to become such a success that the following 12 months, Senator Helms and President Reagan handed the invoice. That’s the facility of music in politics and your life. That’s the facility of music to alter the dynamics of laws. Lots of us artists are so busy attempting to promote a product that we don’t understand how highly effective the power of music is to alter communities and coverage. Music has the facility of salvation. It has the facility to avoid wasting the souls of the world if we get out of our means. We gotta cease pimping the present.

If you talked about the phrase salvation, it made me mirror on the opening observe from A Dialog the place you reference the Japanese idea of Kintsugi. Tying that into salvation, how does salvation tie into marriage and your life?

If you stated marriage, it made me assume as a result of I’m on my third marriage and my spouse at the moment helped break the curse of infidelity. I’ve all the time beloved so laborious and all the time been a cheater and will by no means get out of my very own means of loving. My spouse broke that curse with forgiveness. If you take heed to the tune, “Creator,” and also you hear Brittany Carter say, “If I can’t forgive you then I’m not who I say I’m,” it reminds you that if extra households had divine forgiveness, extra kids would develop up with wholesome households and cease repeating generational curses.

With reference to Kintsugi, I say within the tune, “Each time I’m hammered, the scars reveal the sweetness.” In Japan, they’ve an artwork the place they take a bowl and a hammer and crack the bowl with a hammer. They then use golden glue to place the bowl again collectively, and what you discover out is that from all these fragmented items, you get one thing extra stunning than the unique bowl. That’s how we’re as a group. We had been damaged and reshaped, and that reshaping is what I’m attempting to get throughout with this venture.

On the second tune, you talk about your grandmother. What function did your grandmother play in your life and in these instances, what function do they serve?

My grandmother taught me spirituality by means of listening to the Commodores and their tune, “Zoom,” whereas she cleaned the home on Sunday. Earlier than she transitioned we sat collectively and sang the O’Jays tune, “Stairway to Heaven.” Regardless of her dementia, she remembered all of the phrases to all of the songs. I dream of in the future singing so stunning that somebody with dementia can keep in mind the phrases. So once you ask what my grandmother gave me, I consider music, love. She taught me easy methods to love and transcend inside ache. I needed to make a tune about her and let everybody within the black group know that everybody’s grandmother isn’t just like the picture we see in Tyler Perry films. “Everyone grandmother ain’t Tyler Perry, huge and furry, dignitary; Jesus, Mary, she ready me.”

I consider that my grandfather being by my grandmother’s facet as they went by means of issues and me seeing the power of my grandfather enduring knowledgeable my perspective on love. My grandfather was a Vietnam Vet who would have flashbacks, and for my grandmother to endure it and by no means go away him meant one thing to me and the way I view relationships. That’s why I haven’t given up on relationships and love.

On Monitor 4, you converse concerning the challenges of fame and well being. You had a line the place you stated you beat the streets, however couldn’t beat the sweets!

That piece referred to as “What’s In It For Me” is the long run me debating the current me about what I’m doing presently. Freddie Previous Soul, the lady on the observe although, actually got here with it and he or she’s certainly one of my favourite emcees from Chicago and interval. “She stated Netflix and chillin’, I acquired three infants, I ain’t saying that I failed, however I acquired a daughter.” The way in which she addressed being pregnant, her profession, and her worry of not having the ability to go away town as an OG legend who by no means acquired out hit me within the coronary heart. These are issues we undergo daily as a result of we venture the battle as if it’s an out of doors battle with the world when it’s an inside battle. Our largest enemy ain’t the federal government. You got all these weapons and also you by no means gon’ use them! The largest battle is the demon who’ll by no means go away. You aren’t who you thought you was, you’re who you taught you was. And till we reprogram who we taught we was, that’s all it’s.

Mr. Smith, you had some bars that caught out with me that I wished to get your ideas on. “Think about leaning on the reality, but it surely all the time bends.”

Don’t it although! The reality all the time bends as a result of we’re always altering. Who you had been, you aren’t the identical man at the moment. The reality is ever bending and typically we attempt to stand on the reality as if it isn’t one thing that evolves. Take into consideration if Jesus Christ or Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) got here again at the moment. Everyone can be attempting to speak to them concerning the Bible and the Quran as in the event that they knew it higher than they did!

On the identical observe, you converse on the problem of talking to a pal with a god complicated, so to talk. How do you maneuver by means of that area of realizing somebody for 20 years and seeing them play with the concept of them being a god?

No one’s downside is my downside. And I’m not even saying that somebody has a god complicated. To me, after I’m round my pal, it looks like different individuals venture that onto him greater than they do themselves. We blame the particular person however we don’t have a look at how we made that individual that in our thoughts. “Attempt telling Malcolm X bowties ain’t in, attempt telling Mandela to not go to the pen.” These individuals had been being themselves and we made them gods.

What about this quote, “Individuals ain’t the issue, energy is!”

Proper now I’m within the city of Cody, Wyoming, a city of 10,000 individuals who don’t appear to be you and I, and I’ve no downside with any group from the Mormons, Amish, and even the Trump supporters who’re my mates. What I’ve discovered is that the individuals aren’t the issue, and the one time we have now one is after we discuss concerning the information. After they ask me about Chicago and the media, I understand the facility turns us towards each other and tells us tales that aren’t totally true. The ability feeds off our dissent. After we come collectively and evaluate notes we discover so many similarities. America is rotting not due to the individuals, however due to energy.

Rhymefest

Supply: Tori “Torsion” Howard / Golden State Leisure

February makes 20 years because you emerged on the scene engaged on The School Dropout. Your venture, James & Nikki, comes out in February. How do you are feeling about it now?

I really like the early 2000s, however I’m not nostalgic for it. I really like the early ’90s, however I’m not nostalgic for it. It’s laborious for me to stay sooner or later if I’m caught up prior to now. All the things you do this’s nice, any accomplishment, comes with the present of trauma. Now I’ve the instruments to cope with the trauma. Again then I didn’t have the instruments to cope with it so I harm myself rather a lot.

Phonte has this line the place he says, “My biggest lecturers had been masters of self-sabotage.” With that stated, I’m blessed I didn’t kill myself with what I used to be doing. It’s straightforward to speak concerning the harm executed to me, however the actual harm was what I did to myself and the way I handed it round. I’ll spend my life utilizing my instrument package to point out individuals easy methods to love and transcend that. We undergo ache to point out individuals a bit of little bit of how to not expertise it. Baldwin stated, “It takes a lifetime to study a bit of bit.” It took me 20 years to study a bit of bit.

When individuals go to take heed to A Dialog, what’s your biggest hope?

Engagement. I would like individuals to place their telephones down. I pray the venture is a slight inconvenience in individuals’s lives. There’s a quote I exploit on the venture from Baldwin the place he says “God wants us and with out us, there isn’t any God.” Even Cap D requested me to take that half out and I stated I can’t as a result of if we take that half out, we gotta take out different elements individuals could not like. I pray this upsets our psyches as a result of that’s the one means we are going to develop.

James & Nikki drops in February throughout Black Historical past Month proper earlier than Ladies’s Historical past Month so it’s the right time. We acquired Brittney Carter, Helixx C Armageddon, E.P. Da Hellcat, Saba The Godis, Freddie Previous Soul and the Notorious Teefa. I’m blessed that each one of those ladies got here on these tracks and gave their entire spirit to it.

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