Dawud is best known for creating the Brotherman series with his brother Guy. The comic took off selling more than 750,000 copies worldwide in the early 90s. Brotherman, which showcased a hero of African-American decent, was more Mad magazine than Marvel choosing to satire the average comic rather than emulate. This book set the foundation for Dawud’s multimedia company, Flipbook Productions, as well as opened the door to numerous ventures including work with Cartoon Network, MTV and Nickelodeon. Dawud is currently building up his productions and continuing to develop his “Drawing From The Soul” art direction series aimed at young children. Dawud is an old school head at heart preferring the sounds of PE to the radio of today and dabbles in a little beat making of his own.
What you been up to man?
I’ve been freelancing doing stuff for Cartoon Network and various other jobs here and there as I rebuild my operation. Cartoon Network is based here in Atlanta and all the cable stations like CNN, TNT, TBS etc. are under Turner so I’ve done stuff for Turner Studios. [I’ve done] commercial spots for TNT Thursday Night basketball, a lot of those little spots that you see on Cartoon Network for Dexter’s Laboratory and Powerpuff, and just recently I started working on Harvey Birdman as a storyboard artist. I just completed my first episode about the Jetsons, so if you see a future episode where they meet up with the Jetsons I storyboarded that. I just finished that last week. I have to wait for them to get the scripts before I start up on the next show. So it’s been cool. I learn a lot of things but I’m still trying to build my own empire.
So how did you get started in comics?
I first started airbrushing shirts in Philly where I’m originally from. I used to airbrush in the malls and then after [that] I had my own airbrush shop. Throughout the 80s, we had a few shops in North Philly and Chester, Pa and I was doing that for a while. Brotherman evolved in 1989. I had an airbrush shop in East Orange, NJ. The black expos started up in New York in ‘˜88 and I wanted to be there the following year. I was just trying to think of something different to do and I noticed no one had comic books. I figured comics would be a good avenue to go because a lot of people had the same ole same ole and I started working on the Brotherman comic book. Brotherman was a character in one of my sketchbooks. Me and my brother was running the shop in Jersey and we was like let’s see if we can get this comic running up here. When we came out with the comic book it took off right away. I kinda had all my market research done in the 80s doing airbrush and I felt all a comic book was encapsulating all the [that] stuff in book form. With the growth of Brotherman thru the 90s, we got to the point where we moved over 750,000 books and that was on our own without major distribution. Our distribution consisted of black book stores, comic book stores, black book store distributors, and individuals on the street who had stores under them. We were using our own tactics.
For people that don’t know what is Brotherman?
It started as a parody of comic books because I wasn’t a comic book fanatic. The last time I really collected comic books was when I was in elementary school. By the time I hit like 7th grade, I had burned my comic collection. In 6th grade I recognized how the stereotypical images were in comics, my father hipped me to all of that, and at that point I didn’t know how to draw black people. I had ‘œHow to Draw Comics the Marvel Way’ and copied out of comic books. I didn’t realize I didn’t know how to draw black people. My father kinda challenged me on that. I was angry at myself like I don’t even know how to draw my own mom. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t do it. I would look at the features and I couldn’t figure out why they still looked white. Then finally, when I started recognizing all the stereotypical images it didn’t have any more value to me. My father had the fire going one night and I just threw them all into a fireplace. I was up to about a 1000 comics man. I had Inhumans # 1, Defenders, all that stuff and I just didn’t care. I had Superman vs. Muhammad Ali but it didn’t have any more value to me. I looked at it deeper than the comic book work. By that time hiphop was coming around in ‘˜77-‘˜78 and Parliament Funkadelic’s ‘œFlashlight’ album came out and I saw the Overton Lloyd artwork. That’s how you do a comic book to me. That’s when things change. When I got into high school, I started djin and established my own style. I moved beyond comic books and started getting into fine art illustration and drawing my friends. When we’d go to parties certain things would happen in Philly. Like say you went to a party one weekend and someone had their equipment stolen or it was a wild scene I would remember coming back to school and draw it frame by frame like this is what happened and everybody would just be laughing. That to me was the early stages of how I conceptualized doing comic books because it had nothing to do with super powers it was just telling our stories with pictures. I always like graffiti but it wasn’t really formulated like a story. So basically years later when Brotherman came around I was already doing stuff like that but it was my first time packaging it, printing it and selling it for two dollars each. Over the years, I started to establish the direction of Brotherman. Brotherman is basically about a man battling social apathy in this fictitious city called Big City. When it was started off as a parody we were looking at things like how in comic books you always have your hero and he’s always an upstanding citizen and battling villains and all that. [So we were like] let’s have this guy be so upstanding they don’t even take him seriously but he’s not playing. That’s how it started. It was more human related initially and by the time it got to the 10th and 11th issue the story became more about how Brotherman’s, who’s name is actually Antonio Valor, father was a activist in Big City and he observed his fathers actions. He saw his father get locked up for doing the right thing and stuff like that. His father was a major influence in his life and he wanted to be like him. But in his era times changed and he liked comic books so he was like I’m gonna do what my dad did but I’m going to actually put on a costume and go out there and try to correct the things that are wrong in the city. There’s even more development than that that’s going on now that didn’t come out in issue # 12 where we stopped. #12 was supposed to show the link from when he was a teenager to when he became Brotherman. Those things I can’t disclose yet because we signed an option for a movie deal so I don’t want to disclose it because the movie may be where the final story is told.
What can you tell us about that?
We don’t have any release date or anything yet. We are in the early stages. The deal was pretty much just signed a couple months ago so we are in the story development stages. What we are doing now is translating the concept to film and we’re trying to get a good script for it. That’s a challenge right now because Brotherman has to go Hollywood but still retain the whole concept of the comic book.
Do you have any actors in mind to play any of the characters?
Initially I was always thinking of it as being a lot of unknown people to make it feel surreal but at the same time if a big name actor wants to be involved, I’m not going to say no. I haven’t really thought of who is going to be who [though]. As far as Brotherman is concerned, I can’t think of any actor that can play him. I think he will have to be an unknown the way I picture it.
Can people still get the old issues?
A lot of them are sold out so what I have is 2,5,8,10 and I just sold out of 11. It gets kind of expensive reprinting old books and I’m trying to focus on new product development so I didn’t reprint the books. I’d rather invest in a compilation book that has all the books in one and then resell that with a new illustrated cover and the history of Brotherman, like all the things that was going on [at the time] because we got into a dispute with Toys ‘˜R Us. We got a lot of news clippings on that.
What was the problem with Toys r us?
When we came out with Brotherman it was groundbreaking at the time because no one was doing what we were doing. We weren’t waiting for distributors to get Brotherman in the stores. We were going directly to the major U.S. cities doing all these tours and book signings and selling like thousand of books so the comic industry could never trace our sales because we didn’t sell solely thru Diamond and Capital and all those distributors. We were selling more books at a black expo in a weekend than a major comic distributor would order. After a while, we’d be at the black expos picking up new distributors and Toys ‘˜R Us used to go to the expos. They’d send sales people to look at new products to see if they could carry it in stores. In ‘˜91 we met a rep who dug Brotherman and said they were starting a comic book division in Toys R Us. So they ordered a whole bunch of comics from us and they said sales were brisk and Brotherman was flying off the shelves at Toys ‘˜R Us. Then all of a sudden, there was a freeze put on the sales of Brotherman and they were coming back with some lame excuses. They said someone didn’t like the book or said the book was racist and they were coming with all these different reasons which tells you there was no reason. Someone else said it was violent but I said our book basically has no violence. Someone said it was profane but there was no profanity in the book because it was geared towards families. I was like you guys gotta come up with a real excuse. Once our fans found out what was going on they were protesting around the country about it and radio stations led some of the boycotts. A lot of the same people who were doing press on Brotherman were investigating and calling Toys R Us. Then they tried to say we’ll carry the books in the store but we get to censor your material but there was nothing to censor. I said what about Tales from the crypt? I said you guys have all kinds of stuff in there and the bottom line is it’s a black comic book and a black company owns it. If Marvel or DC owned it, I know it will be a different story. It was one of the cases where it became a big mess but at the same time it didn’t stop us so I don’t harp on things like that. But there were a lot of things like that which were happening. A lot of people were trying to stop our company and slam our product and it was prevailing regardless. One of the main reasons we stopped publishing it is because my parents passed away and it was a family business. Because it was a family business, it was hard to separate that. They passed a year apart from each other so for me I wanted to go on hiatus from working on Brotherman because it was strenuous. A lot of the issues were drawn [in a van]. My brother might be driving and I’d be in the back of the van going thru the Tennessee mountains on the way to an expo working on the next issue. I never drew the book in the atmosphere that I do now. I go into Cartoon Network now [and] nobody bothers me so I can make the drawings real tight. I can clean them up and all that and I always think it would have been nice if I could have worked on Brotherman like this. It was more like guerilla tactics working on Brotherman. That’s why now where I’m at I can’t wait to get back into doing production because I think the re-release of it is going to look totally different. It will still have the original feel but there are so many things I learned that I’m going to apply to the book to make it stand out. But I’m not really focused so much on comic books I’m thinking more in terms of multimedia, internet, animation, music production. We make our own tracks and voiceovers because we are a full-fledged production company. I look at comic books as a vehicle to sell a concept relatively cheap and then after you get people hooked on that you hit them with the merchandising and the multimedia elements later on.
We noticed that book was in black in white was that for financial reasons or were you trying to make a statement?
It was kinda a combination of the two. Brotherman came out on a shoestring budget. I quit my computer graphics job in 1989 to be this entrepreneur. So the money I made from my graphics job I invested and said we are gonna make this thing happened. I didn’t know anybody who did comic books expect this one brother from Philly. His comics were in black and white so I didn’t even know how full color comics were made back then. All I knew about full color was airbrushing and acrylic painting and it was much more costly to do color back then. So we went the black and white route and then I kinda liked the look of black and white because my mindset then was I’d rather be compared to MAD magazine than Marvel comics because their art was more loose but the characters felt more real and that’s what I always admired. I never thought of Brotherman being in the category of Batman, Superman or the Hulk. I think now if I came back with it [now though] I would do it in color.
I noticed a lot of pictures that you drew like the exaggerated high top fades and the huge earrings sold by Gaudy Jewelers. Were you taking shots at materialism in the hood or is that just what you felt was humorous?
I don’t look at it as taking a shot at it. I look at it for what it is. [It’s] the whole concept of being flamboyant. I don’t look at it as something bad. If that’s their thing that’s their thing but I always look at things differently. I would look at things in terms of who’s getting paid on the other end. Like with the earrings it’s a gaudy look its not really taking a shot at it, it’s a play on it and an exaggeration. I didn’t want things to look ordinary so I would over exaggerate everything. I didn’t get a chance to put it in the book but I had cars with sound systems falling out the windows with giant rims and the amps were so fat it may drag the back of the car and the vibration of the bass would make it bounce instead of hydraulics. That’s how I used to think it would look on film. I wanted everything to be exaggerated to the max, like the police drive four to a car because there is not enough money for every officer to have their own car so some of them have to pair up. The city he lived in is supposed to be the epitome of corruption.
A lot of the stuff you did back then is still relevant today and it’s still just as funny. One of the things I remember is the billboard on how you can get credit and then the next billboard was about how creditors are coming to take your stuff. That’s funny but that’s really how it is it seems.
Yea it was a father, mother and kid, they have the car, they’re all happy, and in the next billboard they’re in barrels taking the subway. Me and my brother Guy would just come up with tons of stuff. I think its relevant [now] because we wanted to deal with timeless issues. I remember when we first came out people asked if Farrakhan in the book and I said he doesn’t exist. It has nothing to do with anybody that exists in our world because it’s a fictitious world. There may be somebody like him in there and if there was I wouldn’t be making fun of him it would just be someone that has his persona. Farrakhan is timely because he is real.
Since Brotherman was a family business what were some of the positives and negatives working with family?
I like working with family when you have people who can play the role they are supposed to play and you know that person. My brother Guy and I have been doing stuff for years where he always wrote stuff and I did the pictures. I’ve worked with other writers and it was a bit more of a challenge to get into their head but with my brother when he says something I already know what he is saying. He might be like remember the dude who used to live across the street from us back in the day and [its like] say no more. I know what he is talking about because we have a shared history and that was the plus. [On the other hand] sometimes I wanted to branch out because I had my views on things and a particular direction I’m going and my brother may have a direction he’s going and at a point you have to say you gotta do your thing and I have to do my thing. That might be a downside but those things happen.
What inspired you to develop the ‘œDrawing From the Soul’ instructional art video?
That actually goes back to when I went to Tyler School of Art in Philly. I didn’t finish school for a couple of reasons. One was financial and the other was that I didn’t feel like I vibed with the environment. I learned a lot from dudes that didn’t go to art school. I was a fine arts major all thru high school. But after high school when I started doing the airbrushing I was meeting graffiti writers all over the city and me and this one brother donamecci used to paint denim jackets. I learned a lot about painting from him that I didn’t learn from my art teacher in high school. This brother just learned from painting on walls and he was forcing colors to work that I was told you weren’t supposed to do. He kinda help me strip away those concepts of what you’re supposed to do and what you’re not supposed to do. I always remembered him for that. Other brothers like him used to come along and it started as challenges. Some guys that I’m real cool with now when we met it was like sketchbook challenges. You would go down with your sketchbook and say can you get with this. Then I’d have to go home and meet up with them next week and be like ahh now look. It was all fun and we used to talk about it and say I wish there was an art school where we can be more expressive about who we are as opposed to feeling we have to do the whole traditional way of learning. I remember talking to my father about that and he said you may have to be the one to do it. And I said alright I guess I will and it was a long journey. It was always in my mind and that’s when the seed was planted. In ‘˜95 I had my first art classes where I was teaching kids in the neighborhood and it went over real well because I was teaching them the basics because I understood them. I don’t try to defy perspective, compositions or gesture drawings. I have them do all of that and try to show them the significance of it. At the same time, I tried to get them to be more expressive, dig into their experiences, talk about what they are and what they want to do. When I started getting more into African history, I started understanding why I connected with that brother don amechi. Maybe he did not recognize it at the time but it was really his African self coming out. He was doing what was innately in his soul so I started bringing that aspect into the classroom. They were learning more about African history and how it related to who they are now and the things that they want to produce. They want to draw the baggy jeans and what’s hot [and] I’m telling them understand what you’re drawing underneath the jeans. You have to understand how the human body works because the baggy jeans are a fad. Styles change and you don’t want to focus just on drawing jeans, you want to know how to draw people so that way when styles change all you have to do is draw different styles. I finally got out the ‘œDrawing From the Soul’ video in 2001 and Now after the first episode I’m even more refined in how I teach. [For episode 2] I plan on going to DVD. The responses I am getting is real positive. I have distributors who distribute [the video] to schools all-around country. A lot of individuals get it and call me up and say their children love the video and like the approach saying it is easy to learn and easy to follow which makes me feel good because it is going to be a continuing series. I’m working on the second installment and I have a whole vision statement laid out in terms of the growth of the project
I think it’s very fresh you are doing something for the youth. We were talking to Lesean Thomas and he was saying how in the hood coming up and even now the arts are not encouraged as a career option.
It is kind of amazing when the kids come in. They may like to draw but they don’t understand how to make money [doing it]. I think there is this image of starving artists that is the out there and I think it is so deep in their mind that they think drawing it is just going out to the park and painting. [I’m trying to explain how you can have a career] especially now since I am always invited to school to speak. After doing the comic, I went to New York and I was working in Manhattan doing CD-ROM games. I did a few Pink Panther games and I went out to L.A to Klasky Csupo who do Rugrats and Wild Thornberrys. I was a character designer on the Wild Thornberrys for about two years. Pretty much a lot of characters outside the main characters me and three other guys designed them. They were grooming me to be the art supervisor but I wanted to leave LA I really left LA for the children, I think if I was single I could have stayed and made my money but I wanted to kids to have a yard and all that stuff. What is good [about] having that experience is now when I go and talk to the kids I reel them in by showing them some of the original drawings that they know. If I’m going to speak to a 3rd grade class I may pull out my Wild Thornberry collection with all of these rough drawings from the show and their mouths just drop. Then I pull out some of the characters I designed on Rugrats and then we start talking about different episodes and then I lead them into my stuff and I start teaching them entrepreneurial stuff. I tell them when you draw for all of these other companies its cool because you get the experience but what are you getting your experience for [and they all yell] starting your own thing. You’re gaining knowledge and you have to have a vision in order to apply it to something. Another thing I project in ‘œDrawing From the Soul’ is teaching kids they have power through art because a lot of them may feel they don’t have a voice. When I tell them that, they just start going off. Even when I walk out of the class, they can’t get back to the lesson because they are so hyped. So with ‘œDrawing From the Soul’ I’m trying to encapsulate that excitement because I used to have a lot of parents who wanted me to come teach their kids how to draw. I was in Chicago one time and a woman came up to me and said can you teach my baby how to draw? I was like I don’t live up here and she was like I’ll pay you to come up here but that wasn’t going to work. I always thought about that woman though because she was saying what you are doing would really help inspire my son. So I was like I need to do something that can reach a boy like that.
You mentioned a lot of stuff like with Nickelodeon. A lot of the projects you were doing, like PBS Overboard, were aimed at a younger crowd. Is that coincidence or something you transitioned to on purpose?
I was always reaching for the youth and trying to do positive things. When the PBS things came up that was thru a brother in New York who told me they were doing an anti drug comic strip and they were looking for an artist. Also when people start doing something they are looking for a certain style so they call you up. There are things I want to do now on another level but I didn’t get a chance to sit down and do some new images. Things more personal in terms of where I’m at now. It’s not related to hiphop or anything in the past and I think when I sit down and do those I’ll get a whole new clientele. Montell Jordan has a CD coming out and I did a two-page spread with different caricatures. I [also] did an illustration of Sleepy Brown (from Organized Noise) for his new album. The people at DreamWorks want it to be the cover so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. That should be hitting soon. With that project, I think I’ll be able to show people another dimension. It’s more realism but it’s distorted.
What type of mental adjustments do you have to make going from say a cover to doing things for children?
That’s the only issue I’m having now getting into doing those illustrations reflecting where I am because I have been doing the cartoons for so long you have to think differently. I was glad when the Sleepy Brown thing came along because he was my chance to switch gears. It was still along the lines of what I do but the technique, painting something realistic, was right down the alley where I wanted to go. Especially since they wanted it to look like the old blaxploitation movies and I had just been talking to my man saying that I wanted to do an up to date poster series like those blaxploitation movies. I was going to do it where it was more socially relevant to now. I still plan to do that but when the Sleepy Brown thing came around it was perfect because it kind of gets me into the mode to paint and after I did that I was ready to keep painting. Then say I get something that’s more for children I have to get more simplified so it gets tricky. Sometimes I get an assignment and I’m stuck for a minute and I have to stop drawing and look at references and sit back and try and do nothing and then all of a sudden it will come to me then I can sit down in do it. It’s kind of a challenge.
Out of all of the projects you’ve done which have you enjoyed the most?
Brotherman because it got to the point where I wanted to get it to. It didn’t reach where I think it should reach but it did do what we set out for it to do. We sat down and said its going to sit in a comic book store next to Superman and a black book store next to the autobiography of Malcolm X. It’s kinda funny because we were doing signings at comic stores for the comic book fanatics and then we were going to black book stores doing signings with the revolutionary mindset. It was a completely different crowd but everybody was buying the same book. To me I felt that was the biggest accomplishment. Working on the Thornberry’s was cool but it wasn’t revolutionary to me. I want to do something revolutionary and then follow that up with something else revolutionary because I want the younger kids coming up to be greater than I am.
What were some of the differences between all the shows you’ve worked on?
I used to work on Daria too. When I was in New York, I knew quite a few animators and a lot of people worked on different stuff. At one point I was trying to get onto Doug, I was supposed to be working on the Beavis and Butthead movie, and then I got into the Daria thing. For me it was just getting the experience to animate because I was coming straight from doing my comics and I was just learning then. Every place had a different environment. I noticed on the east coast, especially in New York, I had my hands in everything. When I was working on the Pink Panther CD-ROM game, I was the lead production artist. I storyboarded the game, I was designing game pages, characters, I did the packaging for both games, and a lil bit of animation. It was like wherever they needed you that’s where they put you. But when I went to LA it was more refined. They’re systems were more like you come in and your going to be a specific gear. You had to be specific and it was always hard for me to decide which one I wanted to do everyday. Then when I came to Atlanta I learned more hands on cell by cell frame animation. I started working at some of the smaller studios then eventually I began working directly at Turner Studios and Cartoon Network. The one that seemed most intense was MTV Animation. When I was there you just jumped into it and people were kinda stressing you. I wasn’t crazy about it that’s why I was happy when I got to LA because I could draw and no one’s on my back. Out here the birdman stuff is chill too because I pretty much work from home.
What the significance to your name and why did you change it from David Sims?
The name change was all internal, meaning it was a decision my wife and I made for our children and us. It had nothing to do with my brothers or extended family. We were figuring what direction we were going to go. When my father passed away in 1996, my wife was pregnant with my son so my father never met my second son. So I was thinking about the dichotomy of that where one relative becomes an ancestor and you have a new born baby coming at the same time. I remember when my son was born I was looking at the family tree and where the name Sims came from. All the generations carrying the name just branched off into different plantations and that was it. We were carrying these names all these years and I said I’m not going to give my son a slave name. I want to liberate him. I want him to start his life knowing his name personifies something. I was talking to some brothers in Philly, they both had African names, and they were talking about how their names affected their lives. When they were little, kids made fun of their names because it was hard to pronounce and one of them said he would shorten his name so people didn’t have to say the whole name. Then when he got older he said when he realized what his name personified he was really belittling it by saying just call me this to make it easy for them. He realized his name had purpose and if you wanted to say it, you had to learn how to pronounce it. I told him I had always thought about changing my name but when my son was born, that’s when I made it happen. The name change started with my youngest son who I named Omari, which means the highest, but I didn’t want to give him the last name Sims so we chose the name Anyabwile, which is Tanzanian and means god has unchained me. We took that as the family name, my wife and I changed our name, and we changed our oldest son’s name. It was kind of unorthodox how we did it because we didn’t have an elder to do it so I bestowed the name on my family. I was like I don’t care if people don’t know how to pronounce it they are just gonna have to learn it. At the same time, we just started being vegan. I was just concerned more about health once the children were born.
What do you think are some of the difficulties or hurdles, if any, facing blacks artists in the industry today be it animation or comics or whatever?
Actually when I think about it now the only hurdle is to be yourself. Back in the day the hurdles would be trying to get in, trying to be recognized but now you can sit by your computer get the software burn the DVD, make your own animation, post it on your website, and go out and promote the site. You also have things like For Sisters Only and different conventions related to your product and it seems like people really can’t block you now because technology has changed. I’m not trying to say there are no hurdles its just the main thing that would hold back a black artist now is yourself because there are so many barriers we can jump over now. Of course, you need start up funds and capital but it’s not as much as it used to be. When we first started printing comics, it was two to three thousand dollars to print up a 24 page black and white book and we had to do a print run of 10,000 each time so we had thirty huge boxes we had to store at one time.
You mentioned you djed, how tight are the skills right now?
If you give me some turntables, I’m not Jazzy Jeff but I can rock. My thing in high school was straight two turntables. After high school, I was into multi track production and adding the scratches on it. I always dug a whole lot of old Bambatta shows. I think a lot of stuff people don’t do anymore would be live now if it’s brought back now. I can cut, I can blend and all that stuff and I make tracks. I’m investing now in rebuilding my studio. Where I’m at now I am trying to expand beyond the way I used to do tracks back in the day. My music always reflected my art. I have a lot of music for Brotherman. It just sounded thrown off with the sinister loops and stuff like that. We used to do that stuff in the eighties before it was popular. My cousin would come down with this crazy tight stuff that was a play on sound and he said this is gonna be the future of hiphop. I remember when I used to play it I’d tell people that and then next thing you know Wu Tang came out with their grimy beats. It was something surreal about the sounds and that’s the stuff that used to open me up and inspire me to create a lot of the images. I used to absorb those sounds on a regular basis but just instrumental stuff because the lyrics would put my mind in a different state. That’s where I’m at now rebuilding my studio so I can develop a new sound and a new style to fit the animation.
What kinda stuff are you sampling?
Now I’m more on African culture because a lot of that was purposely stomped out of hiphop. Like when you think of Intelligent Hoodlum, X Clan, Brand Nubian, PE, those were significant lyrics that were talking about the state of black America that inspire a lot of people like me. When I first heard ‘œPublic Enemy #1’ that inspired me to do what I’m doing now and it seems a lot of those elements were taken out of hiphop when it started becoming more corporate. Now the free expression has almost been gutted out of hiphop. Now its like people are telling you what hiphop is and the majority of stuff being pushed is the same thing. I believe a lot of the performers know it’s the same thing but it’s about getting paid as opposed to back in the day it was about lyrical content and fat beats. Lyrics are intricate now but not in terms of mind food. There was more of a concern for the community as opposed to just exploiting it. People don’t have jobs and it’s the worst time to be talking about go out and get your rings because kids cant afford that and if that’s what they see they are gonna be like I gotta get that one way or another. The mind state is all wrong and it has to be changed around. So what I try to do is use my music for power just like my art. I don’t write lyrics I just try to make tracks that I feel are powerful in my mind. If I do sample something, I might sample African drums or rhythms not common in what you hear in popular hiphop.
What do you think about hiphop now?
Half the time I don’t even listen to the radio and if I do it’s because I don’t have my cds on me. Then on top of that there is no good talk radio so sometimes I’ll listen to radio but then I’m usually like that song is so dumb! Then I start thinking is it me and I’m not up on what’s up.
It’s not you yo. The only time I listen to the radio is in someone else’s car. Other than that, I don’t even hear it.
It’s the dumbing down of America. What you’re experiencing is the results of what they set out to do when they snuffed out people like Brand Nubian or people who was just dropping gems. [Corporate America] knew what they were doing. Next thing you know kids come out and say in order for me to be a rapper I have [to talk] about slapping my mom with the mic cord. It ain’t gonna happen at home but they’ll come out and have these fallacies on the mic. My cousins do lyrical stuff and we always talk about the resurrection of lyrics that are going to be real power. I don’t get mad about it I just use that energy to make something tangible. If you get your thing out there it’s gonna create a contrast to the other things and help people see the difference. I just know that when I listen to the stuff we as black people have reached an all time low if we are gonna support that or hang that person on our wall when all they’re doing is bringing us down. It all comes around because I feel a lot of that stuff is being played out now. Then again I look at it as great characters. The other thing is that people are not really educated. If they really understood the diamond cartel and where everything is coming from and how black Africans are dying so they can walk around with this bling bling while all these Europeans are going to the bank. Jacob the Jeweler has to be going home at night saying I got me some fools. A lot of them don’t realize that diamonds are not rare. When the whole race for diamonds started the diamond cartel in South Africa locked it down to keep everyone from selling them so that they can up the price and make it seem like they are rare. They just sell them like they are scarce. People either don’t know or don’t care about the stuff going on.
Aiight this is the final part of the interview the bullets portion.
Which method of discipline works better with children lecture, punish or beat the hell out of them?
If you had to pick a ghetto nickname and these are real actual nicknames from my family which would you choose? Shay-shay, Lump or Pig
Who from your family cooks the best?
If you had to wear a Scottish kilt or something from J-Lo’s clothing line for a whole week which would it be?
Would you wear a brown and pink plaid suit or a lime green and beige polka dot suit?
Lime green and polka dot
If you had to pick an outfit out the closet from Andre of Outkast or Prince which would it be?
Who’s the best singer from the 80’s Lisa Lisa or Chaka Khan?
Who is a better animated singer Fat Albert or Bobby Proud from the proud family?
Better singer Lou Rawls or James Brown?
Who’s more militant Public Enemy or X Clan?
Last question if you had to make a super hero out of either Teddy Pendegrass or Grand Puba who would it be and what powers would he have?
Grand Puba. He would have the power to lyrically destroy sucka MCs. He would just appear out of nowhere [in front of] a lot of the MCs that are killing the whole rap game and destroy their contracts, get em out the game and resurrect some new life into this industry.
The chambers empty.