1. Interview with Akbar from ChicagoHipHopHistory.com

Interview by Marcellous Lovelace

1. What’s good Akbar, I remember you from Mental Giants and Dj 3rd Rail mixes how have you been, what’s new?

I released a new album Planet X on 12.12.12
2.  Ok so how did you get started in Hip Hop / Rap? Give a Brief History?

I wanted to be like my big bro Riheim so I started tagging and emceeing. He helped me get started, gave me a tag to run with.

3. What happened to Mental Giants? Where is Dj Parker Lee?

Mental Giants is the crew name- that’s me and my DJ Parker Lee. Me and P gonna always be crew, P still works for Harpo studios in Chicago.

4. Do you think artist of today show respect to the culture?

There is no culture in hip-hop anymore. Rap music is a meal ticket in the hood. It’s a feeding frenzy right now. Everybody wants to rap.

5.  Raptivism Records?

Raptivism records was started back in ’99 by Rishi Nath a cat from Boston I met in Chicago thru Jamalski. I signed on and did a song for the No More Prisons compilation and then we put out my 1st album in ’01, that was!

6.  I talked to you when we were out in NY last year, what’s your take on record deals now after you’ve been signed to a label?

Record labels are like banks. They provide the artist with a loan to be paid back and keep the artist indebted in a perpetual state of servitude. Record execs aren’t concerned with artistry, it’s all about making the next hit.

7. What type of advice would you give to an up and coming musician today?

The best advice I can give a new artist is develop a sense of self discipline and practice, practice, practice.

8.  What are some of your best memories of being a part of the Chicago Hip Hop scene?

My best Chicago memories would be the graffiti era in the late 80s and all the underground open mic parties in the 90′s. I remember meeting Common free styling at a house party for Fast Eddie way before he put his 1st record out.

  9. What’s more important for you making money or creating a good album, explain?

It’s always more important to make quality music. If the music is good enough to stand the test of time the money will follow.

10. The track “Good Food”, how did this come about?

I just wanted to talk about the importance of eating right. It’s my How to Eat to Live in song form.

11. 12” inch Vinyl or MP3 what’s your choice and why?

I choose wax over digital. There’s something aesthetically pleasing to the ear about the rich sound in the grooves of a well made record you can’t get from mp3.

12. When I say “Big Bang Boogie” what comes to mind?

Big Bang Boogie reminds me of raw lyricism and the power to inspire greatness.
13. What thoughts come to mind when I say paying dues?

Paying dues is waiting ur turn, its walking to the studio, it’s going to work with no sleep driving in from an out of town show. I’m still paying dues.

14. What type of information would you like to add to this interview, is there anything you’d like to say to the readers of ChicagoHipHophistory.com

If we don’t re-define hip-hop and tell our story someone else will
15. Shout outs props gems .. 16 bars etc ..

Thanks to Fred ones TME in the Bronx and Peasant Podium Music for helping put this project out. Also Doc, GANS family and Grindhouse in Chicago for holding me down.

    Interview with Akbar from ChicagoHipHopHistory.com

    Interview by Marcellous Lovelace

    1. What’s good Akbar, I remember you from Mental Giants and Dj 3rd Rail mixes how have you been, what’s new?

    I released a new album Planet X on 12.12.12

    2. Ok so how did you get started in Hip Hop / Rap? Give a Brief History?

    I wanted to be like my big bro Riheim so I started tagging and emceeing. He helped me get started, gave me a tag to run with.

    3. What happened to Mental Giants? Where is Dj Parker Lee?

    Mental Giants is the crew name- that’s me and my DJ Parker Lee. Me and P gonna always be crew, P still works for Harpo studios in Chicago.

    4. Do you think artist of today show respect to the culture?

    There is no culture in hip-hop anymore. Rap music is a meal ticket in the hood. It’s a feeding frenzy right now. Everybody wants to rap.

    5. Raptivism Records?

    Raptivism records was started back in ’99 by Rishi Nath a cat from Boston I met in Chicago thru Jamalski. I signed on and did a song for the No More Prisons compilation and then we put out my 1st album in ’01, that was!

    6. I talked to you when we were out in NY last year, what’s your take on record deals now after you’ve been signed to a label?

    Record labels are like banks. They provide the artist with a loan to be paid back and keep the artist indebted in a perpetual state of servitude. Record execs aren’t concerned with artistry, it’s all about making the next hit.

    7. What type of advice would you give to an up and coming musician today?

    The best advice I can give a new artist is develop a sense of self discipline and practice, practice, practice.

    8. What are some of your best memories of being a part of the Chicago Hip Hop scene?

    My best Chicago memories would be the graffiti era in the late 80s and all the underground open mic parties in the 90′s. I remember meeting Common free styling at a house party for Fast Eddie way before he put his 1st record out.


    9. What’s more important for you making money or creating a good album, explain?

    It’s always more important to make quality music. If the music is good enough to stand the test of time the money will follow.

    10. The track “Good Food”, how did this come about?

    I just wanted to talk about the importance of eating right. It’s my How to Eat to Live in song form.

    11. 12” inch Vinyl or MP3 what’s your choice and why?

    I choose wax over digital. There’s something aesthetically pleasing to the ear about the rich sound in the grooves of a well made record you can’t get from mp3.

    12. When I say “Big Bang Boogie” what comes to mind?

    Big Bang Boogie reminds me of raw lyricism and the power to inspire greatness.

    13. What thoughts come to mind when I say paying dues?

    Paying dues is waiting ur turn, its walking to the studio, it’s going to work with no sleep driving in from an out of town show. I’m still paying dues.

    14. What type of information would you like to add to this interview, is there anything you’d like to say to the readers of ChicagoHipHophistory.com

    If we don’t re-define hip-hop and tell our story someone else will

    15. Shout outs props gems .. 16 bars etc ..

    Thanks to Fred ones TME in the Bronx and Peasant Podium Music for helping put this project out. Also Doc, GANS family and Grindhouse in Chicago for holding me down.

  2. Interview : Nizm from chicagohiphophistory.com

Man what’s going on Nizm? Much respect for adding your interview to Chicagohiphophistory.com

Greetings…I am well. .just working on my companies and getting back to into long term planning for what I want to do with my music the next 5 years.

1. Talk about “Evolution & Ascension”, “ReDFined Xpression”, “Me / This Is”?

In order of release, “Me This Is” “Evolution & Ascension” & “ReDFined Xpression” “Me This Is” was my most emotional project. It took 5yrs to complete. From the beginning of the project when it was named “Free Indeed” to its completion, I had lost my mother, grandmother, fiancé, and had moved out the country and came back so a lot of that project chronicles a boy going to man via music. Emotion poured into that project even looking back now amazes me as it was just honest and raw.

“Evolution & Ascension” was a mixtape that kinda was a quick documentation of my evolution as an MC and as an artist. I started as a Battle MC and had to learn the art of song writing and that project captures that over a time period ranging from 1999-2009. 

“ReDfined Xpression” was the arrival if you will of the grown NIZM with an evolved view of hip-hop. A different sound came from that project which is kind of where I am at now.

2. What was it like coming up in the Chicago Underground Hip Hop scene?

Coming up in the scene at the end of the “Golden Era” was unique in that Chicago at the time was pre-internet so you had to be out and grinding. One wasn’t about making CDs but getting their stripes out in cyphers. In fact you had to be solid just to be hold your own. That era has produced sharp artists such as Pugs Atomz, Prime, Visual and many others. That time frame was more about artistry before commodity of the music in my opinion.

3. What made you name yourself Nizm? Does this name carry any special meaning?

NIZM came about after my senior year of High School. I was at a point where I realized Graffiti wasn’t my calling lol..and I wanted something different. I was playing a game of Scrabble and getting destroyed so I was toying with letters and it just “happened” lol. Years later I found out it mean Discipline in Urdu and New in Japanese (least that’s what I was told lol)

4. Name 5 Hip Hop albums by Chicago artist that you can say you loved?

Common- Resurrection
Twista – Adrenaline Rush
Thaione Davis – Still Here
Common – One Day It’LL All Make Sense
Kanye West – The College Dropout

5. Architecture?

I am a designer by trade, did my undergrad actually at UIC. (2003) Buildings always fascinated me and I liked trying to figure out how they come together and how they work. Buildings are very similar to humans in their intricacies.

6. Columbia College? Why?

I actually never attended Columbia. A lot of folks thought I went there because I was there so much. I went there actually to get my homework done and to vibe with the MC’s there because back then Columbia had a rich culture of MC’s and cyphers were always going on and it was the place where many of our generation went to sharpen themselves. Plus a lot of my peoples went there too.

7. Toronto Canada?

At the time, I wanted to go somewhere different where I didn’t know no one. I liked Toronto because of the diversity. As well when I got there I got to see how intense the hip-hop scene is up there. I owe a lot of my evolution to the Toronto hip-hop scene.

8. Sacrifice?

Sacrifice is something I am well acquainted with. Music suffered because of school. School suffered because of music. Music itself is a about sacrifice. Its one thing to do it for a hobby, it is another thing to invest. To invest involves sacrifice and I have done much for that to evolve a career but it has in essence made me better as a man and as an artist.

9. If you could give any advice to future generations of Chicago Hip Hop artist what would that be and why? Why should they listen to you?

I would say plot your course learn the business and be patient and have a backup. Why should someone listen to me? Good question. Don’t go with your gut…but if someone has no back up option, my words will have a little more merit, but who am I?

10. Is there any up and coming artist that whose music you enjoy?

Right now Kendrick Lamar is what I have been listening too and Danny Brown.

11. Rahm Emanuel?

Great Administrator, horrible Mayor.

12. Gentrification?

Great in theory, horrible in execution.

13. What is one of your favorite experiences being apart of the Hip Hop culture in the city?

Cyphers at the Taste of Chicago back in the day. It was when the best of the best came out and you had to be sharp. Met good friends and great MCs between 1998-2003.

14. South Side or North Side why?

South-side.. Raised out there, White Sox, and more soul.

15. This is Nizm’s time to say anything you want to share with the readers. Vent, Explain or whatever you feel!

Nothing much, enjoy life and do what you love

16. Shout outs etc .. Links upcoming projects …

If you want to hear more of NIZM go to www.refgenmusic.com or http://nizm.bandcamp.com follow @NizmLaverite on Twitter and IG

    Interview : Nizm from chicagohiphophistory.com


    Man what’s going on Nizm? Much respect for adding your interview to Chicagohiphophistory.com

    Greetings…I am well. .just working on my companies and getting back to into long term planning for what I want to do with my music the next 5 years.

    1. Talk about “Evolution & Ascension”, “ReDFined Xpression”, “Me / This Is”?

    In order of release, “Me This Is” “Evolution & Ascension” & “ReDFined Xpression” “Me This Is” was my most emotional project. It took 5yrs to complete. From the beginning of the project when it was named “Free Indeed” to its completion, I had lost my mother, grandmother, fiancé, and had moved out the country and came back so a lot of that project chronicles a boy going to man via music. Emotion poured into that project even looking back now amazes me as it was just honest and raw.

    “Evolution & Ascension” was a mixtape that kinda was a quick documentation of my evolution as an MC and as an artist. I started as a Battle MC and had to learn the art of song writing and that project captures that over a time period ranging from 1999-2009.

    “ReDfined Xpression” was the arrival if you will of the grown NIZM with an evolved view of hip-hop. A different sound came from that project which is kind of where I am at now.

    2. What was it like coming up in the Chicago Underground Hip Hop scene?

    Coming up in the scene at the end of the “Golden Era” was unique in that Chicago at the time was pre-internet so you had to be out and grinding. One wasn’t about making CDs but getting their stripes out in cyphers. In fact you had to be solid just to be hold your own. That era has produced sharp artists such as Pugs Atomz, Prime, Visual and many others. That time frame was more about artistry before commodity of the music in my opinion.

    3. What made you name yourself Nizm? Does this name carry any special meaning?

    NIZM came about after my senior year of High School. I was at a point where I realized Graffiti wasn’t my calling lol..and I wanted something different. I was playing a game of Scrabble and getting destroyed so I was toying with letters and it just “happened” lol. Years later I found out it mean Discipline in Urdu and New in Japanese (least that’s what I was told lol)

    4. Name 5 Hip Hop albums by Chicago artist that you can say you loved?

    Common- Resurrection
    Twista – Adrenaline Rush
    Thaione Davis – Still Here
    Common – One Day It’LL All Make Sense
    Kanye West – The College Dropout

    5. Architecture?

    I am a designer by trade, did my undergrad actually at UIC. (2003) Buildings always fascinated me and I liked trying to figure out how they come together and how they work. Buildings are very similar to humans in their intricacies.

    6. Columbia College? Why?

    I actually never attended Columbia. A lot of folks thought I went there because I was there so much. I went there actually to get my homework done and to vibe with the MC’s there because back then Columbia had a rich culture of MC’s and cyphers were always going on and it was the place where many of our generation went to sharpen themselves. Plus a lot of my peoples went there too.

    7. Toronto Canada?

    At the time, I wanted to go somewhere different where I didn’t know no one. I liked Toronto because of the diversity. As well when I got there I got to see how intense the hip-hop scene is up there. I owe a lot of my evolution to the Toronto hip-hop scene.

    8. Sacrifice?

    Sacrifice is something I am well acquainted with. Music suffered because of school. School suffered because of music. Music itself is a about sacrifice. Its one thing to do it for a hobby, it is another thing to invest. To invest involves sacrifice and I have done much for that to evolve a career but it has in essence made me better as a man and as an artist.

    9. If you could give any advice to future generations of Chicago Hip Hop artist what would that be and why? Why should they listen to you?

    I would say plot your course learn the business and be patient and have a backup. Why should someone listen to me? Good question. Don’t go with your gut…but if someone has no back up option, my words will have a little more merit, but who am I?

    10. Is there any up and coming artist that whose music you enjoy?

    Right now Kendrick Lamar is what I have been listening too and Danny Brown.

    11. Rahm Emanuel?

    Great Administrator, horrible Mayor.

    12. Gentrification?

    Great in theory, horrible in execution.

    13. What is one of your favorite experiences being apart of the Hip Hop culture in the city?

    Cyphers at the Taste of Chicago back in the day. It was when the best of the best came out and you had to be sharp. Met good friends and great MCs between 1998-2003.

    14. South Side or North Side why?

    South-side.. Raised out there, White Sox, and more soul.

    15. This is Nizm’s time to say anything you want to share with the readers. Vent, Explain or whatever you feel!

    Nothing much, enjoy life and do what you love

    16. Shout outs etc .. Links upcoming projects …

    If you want to hear more of NIZM go to www.refgenmusic.com or http://nizm.bandcamp.com follow @NizmLaverite on Twitter and IG

  3. Interview 2012: Grap Luva “I am the one they call the G.R.A.P”

    Grap Luva Interview by D. Jackson:


    Will you be voting in the upcoming presidential election, if so, why?

    No, I am not voting. I am gonna leave it right there because in America, people make it almost taboo to say that you are not voting when it is actually an individual’s choice whether to vote or not. Politics = POLYTRICKS…for me at least.


    As a producer what process do you go through when it comes to making beats?

    I am really not making beats like I used to, but my process was to find my drums first and go from there. I gave away too much right there!! LOL!!


    How did you get the name Grap Luva?

    My twitter name speaks to that! @HEVnamedmeGRAP that’s it. It is a culmination of my first, middle and last name. My cousin Heavy-D gave it to me (miss U much Big Cuz). He solidified it by saying it on “Gyrlz They Love Me” on the BIG TYME album. I added the Luva cuz I am a “Luva” of many things! 


    What is your tool of choice when it comes to making beats: past, present and future?

     The only machine I ever used was the SP1200, past, present and future. I am going to learn the MPC one day soon! I also need to learn a keyboard or two also!


    What are your top three album covers in relation to artwork?

    Public Enemy’s “Fear of a Black Planet”, ATCQ’s Midnight Marauders, and The Wailers’ “Catch A Fire” cover that opens up like a lighter, those are 3 ILL covers for me!!


    As a MC, producer, and just all around hip-hop aficionado what do you see as your commitment pertaining to the progression of the culture?

    I am committed to creating great music, and working with great and like-minded people who share a similar vibe with where I am in the culture and music of Hip-Hop.


    Were you a MC first or producer?

     I wanted to be a producer first because I am super critical with my emceeing. I still consider myself a producer first even though I have not produced a lot of music as of lately.


    I know that your father was some sort of record king, talk about growing up in that kind of environment with that type of influence as well as just the importance of having a father around?

    My dad was an AVID record collector!! As long as I could remember, my Dad came home with records EVERY DAY! I truly believe that I developed my musical ear from the exposure to music that my Dad bestowed upon me. Fathers, be good Dads to your kids and help them manifest their dreams, it is SO IMPORTANT!!! 


    What was the first record you can remember purchasing?

     The first record that I bought was “Pack Jam” by the Jonzun Crew. It was a dope record to pop and boogie to!


    What was the first song you can remember hearing that encouraged you to sample it and make a beat from it?

     It was probably a Dorothy Ashby record, probably something in the jazz genre I’m sure.


    Who are your top five producers of all time?

     Top 5: James Brown, Leon F. Sylvers, J-Dilla, The Bomb Squad, and my brother, PR…gotta add Carl McIntosh , Madlib, OhNo, Primo and Large Professor(I love his name!)!! Jake One is dope too! Ha! I know you said 5 but!!


    If you could rhyme on any beat that’s been created what would it be and why?

    I would probably have to go with one of my brother’s earlier SP1200 beats because they stimulate me to write…also there is a couple of Dilla instrumentals that I would love to lace (humbly speaking)! LOL! 


    What influence did your brother Pete Rock have on you?

     Pete had a VERY HEAVY (pun intended) influence on me mainly because of his passion and work ethic that he showed me through example! When he found out that I was making beats, his influence got heavier because he put me into his “training camp” and that help me hone my skills tremendously, so he had and still has an influence on me! He has been doing music for over 20 years!! A LOT of cats cannot say that!


    Why was there not another album after the classic INI ‘Center of Attention’ album?

    We did not get another deal after the Soul Brother/Elektra deal and cats went their separate ways. Cats did individual projects after but that’s what it was.


    Are there any artists that you would like work with presently whether in the capacity of production and/or rhyming?

    I am trying to get some work in with the Jackson Brothers (Oh No and MadLib), and I wanted to do a track for Joey Bada$$ but that probably won’t happen cuz he makes beats also so no worries ….that is who I can think of for now… I have been in contact with a few cats like El the Sensai, Taraach, and Pumpkin Head on twitter too.

    Thank you for taking the time to come up with good questions and even considering me for an interview, thank you!! Peace!

    Get new music at: http://grapluva.tumblr.com/ or twitter.com/HEVnamedmeGRAP

    http://brothersperspective.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/interview-2012-grap-luva-i-am-the-one-they-call-the-g-r-a-p/

  4. Interview 2012: Ras Ceylon “JAH = LOVE”

    Give the people a brief History Lesson about you?

    Power to the People. This is Ras Ceylon, an eMCee, organizer and educator reporting live and direct from Colombo, Sri Lanka where I am currently based. I was born and raised in California and have been recording and performing music since the late 1990s. I am the first Rapper of Sri Lankan descent from the western hemisphere to put out original music. I have had 5 solo releases since 1999 on everything from cassette tape to vinyl and CDs and mp3s. I am primarily a Hiphop artist but have also recorded many songs on reggae riddims and have collaborated with dance-hall artists and other genres of music while in Jamaica, New York and mostly in California. I have opened up for all kinds of Hip-hop and Reggae artists from Black Star to Capleton and have performed in just about every city in Cali and toured around much of the United States. Since moving here to Sri Lanka a few months ago I have been doing more work on the ground level during this post civil war era here and have made a humble impact on the local music scene. I consider my music Revolutionary Rastafari Hiphop and I am accountable to all the different communities I represent. I am a servant of the People and songs are all lessons.  
     

    Who are some of your major influences?

    My major influence number one has to be His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Sellassie the 1st. As it was His Teachings and Principles that have guided my life thus far. Also I am a student of history so I definitely study the lives of many different people at apply the lessons to my life. Some of the most powerful ones whose words/lessons I often look to for inspiration include The Rt. Hon Marcus Mosiah Garvey, High Priest Emmanuel the 7, El Hajj Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X), Ernesto Che’ Guevarra, Lord Buddha, The Prophet Muhammed (PBUH), Chairman Mao, Huey P. Newton and many others. The influence these individuals have had on me is primarliy in installing certain principles about the way making change in the world should happen.
     

    Who is you Greatest Musical and life inspiration?

    There is so many but if I had to pick 10 of them I would say my greatest musical inspirations would probably be (in no particular order): Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Tupac, Sizzla Kalonji, Public Enemy, Fela Kuti, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Life inspirations have to start with those closest to me: my Mother, Sister and entire family. Also my extended musical/movement family from East Bay Politix to Calafia Zulus, Youth Internationals, Ethiopian World Federation Local 23, Judgment Yard, Black Panther elders, youngstas I have worked with and pretty much any living being I have interacted with while on this planet earth have inspired me to keep doing what I do until we get freedom.
        

    What’s your Favorite City?

    I gotta give love to the cities that embraced me and showed me love. Firstly the Town of Oakland California where I was based for the past 13 years has really adopted me and became my home for real. Also the City of Santa Ana in Orange County Cali is where it all started in terms of my Hiphop career, Rastafari gathering/my original crew (YI’z) coming together. Kingston JA, specifically Judgment Yard in August Town, Kingston 7 was the place where I truly felt the most at home and I gotta say life here in Colombo, Sri Lanka is pretty good too!

         
    Are you a Rasta?

    Yes I am that I am. I added Ras to my handle in 2001 after getting more serious about Rastafari Livity. I have been blessed to interact in depth with every Mansion of the Faith and got nothing but love for all of InI, Bobo Shanti, EWF, Ethiopian Orthodox (Tawehdo), Twelve Tribes of Israel and Nyabinghi. Rastafari has given I salvation from the time i was a very young man and I will always stay loyal to JAH Movement. Next to creating/performing revolutionary music, chanting and drumming at Nyabinghi is when and where I feel the most liberated.
       

    Do you produce music as well as rhyme?

    I co-produce almost all of my beats but don’t actually push the buttons on any machines. Often times I will bring a sample to a producer or sit there with them and create a riddim/instrumental from scratch but I am not a technical producer. I do know what I want to hear from every song I create so I love being a part of the whole production process, include sitting in on mixing and mastering sessions cuz at the end of the day my name is gonna be attached to the song forever and wants its out the studio its a part of history. So its important for me to get each joint sounding right.
     

    Tell us about life outside of music, do you do anything else?

    I have worked for many years as youth worker in such capacities as counselor, mentor, after school program instructor and coordinator, basketball coach, teacher, case manager etc. I enjoy working with young people that are considered “bad” because when I was young I too was treated like this so I can often relate to what they are going through. I also have worked with different organizations on social justice campaigns and always strive to get involved in worthy causes. Since my music speaks so much about the struggle for liberation and freedom fighting I have felt for years that it is essential that I do actual work on the ground so my message is authentic. One must walk the talk or they have no true value to progress in my opinion.
     


    Big up to BrothersPerspective and everyone supporting independent artists and thinkers! Please add me on twitter @rasceylon, like my fb page, subscribe to my YouTube page all that good ish on www.rasceylon.com Also u can get my mix-tapes for free download at www.rasceylon.bandcamp.com! Decolonize your mind and sieze the time. JAH = LOVE
     

    more news at http://www.RasCeylon.com

    http://brothersperspective.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/interview-2012-ras-ceylon-jah-love/

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The power of Soul and Creativity ::: Art ::: Music ::: Our Story ::: Film

For the development of African people through Art, Culture, Music and Self Awareness. The Constant growth of the people through self Awareness and Constant Change. With Brothers Perspective we look forward to bringing you the Greatest from the Africans Worldwide. Constant development through creativity is our goal.