I’m good, man. I’m good.
Your new album The Talented Timothy Taylor is about to drop. Are you happy with the way it came out?
Oh, yeah. I’m content. I feel that I was able to get everything across that I was trying to get across with this record. It’s hard for me to put everything that I would really like to say into one album, but I definitely put this album where I wanted it to be.
What was the challenge for you in making The Talented Timothy Taylor?
Besides being independent and everything that comes with that, the biggest challenge as an artist was opening up. This is probably the most personal record I’ve ever done. With Poor Righteous Teachers, I kind of shied away from introducing the audience to myself and making them aware of the things that shape my behavior, my way of thinking and my lifestyle, the things that shaped Wise and made me into who I am. With Poor Righteous Teachers, I was like a god with no childhood, like Jesus when he stepped on the scene at 33. That’s what Poor Righteous Teachers were. I was an uncompleted guy.
On this record, I’m going through my steps and showing that I’m a mortal dude and what shaped me. I’m showing what shaped me and what was going on in my life with my parents and my brothers and sisters. This is a more personal record, so the challenge was finding a moment to really open up, finding the courage, I guess, if we could call it that. That’s what this record is. It’s me. It’s an interview.
Did you make The Talented Timothy Taylor for yourself or did you make it for your fans?
I’m never really thinking about what certain people are going to think, really. It’s more so, ‘How am I going to feel after putting it out?’ and ‘What kind of response will I get from the people who know me for who I am?’ I think about if the people who know me will see that it’s on point. I wasn’t really thinking about what those people would say, but rather that they would understand. It’s more about understanding. It’s about if you understand where I’m coming from. And if you don’t understand where I’m coming from now, maybe you will 10 years from now.
This album was more about what I was feeling at the time and what I was going through and what took me so long to put this record out. I’m addressing why I haven’t put a record out in so long. I’m thinking about hip-hop and the way it is today. All of my personal thoughts and trials and tribulations are all there. Trial and error and all those human concepts are in this record. It wasn’t me wondering what other people are going to think when they hear this record, per se. This was more so me being true to me.
What inspired you to write ‘I’m Him’?
The current state of hip-hop and what people expect hip-hop to be and what they think it is. The younger generation is under the impression that hip-hop is either this or that, like a white tee or a button-up. They’re having this debate over what hip-hop is. Is it Timberlands or gators? Is hip-hop a snare or a snap? I’m saying, “That’s all bullshit to me. Hip-hop is neither but it’s all of them at the same time.” I’m saying that I’m everything that hip-hop ever was, good or bad. I’m saying that I’m him.
Who’s going to say that? Is anybody going to come and say that and put things back in perspective? I’m him. I’m that guy. I wear Chucks. I wear Timberlands. And I wear Clarks. I make hip-hop fresh. Hip-hop doesn’t make me fresh because I'm bringing something new to the table. I’m introducing the world to a new talent. I’m telling the world that both the white tee and the button-up are both hip-hop, although hip-hop is neither one.
It’s like Melle Mel and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. They were wearing leather chaps with raccoon tails hanging off of their clothing. Who’s to say that’s not hip-hop? They’re not wearing jeans and Air Force Ones. They were wearing jeans and boots with the spikes and spurs. I dare anyone to say that they’re not hip-hop. The argument is neither here nor there. Hip-hop is a potpourri. It’s a gumbo. That’s what I want to hear from an album when I listen to it.
There’s a lot of images in the background of ‘I’m Him.’ There’s Afrika Bambaataa, Stanley ‘Tookie’ Williams, Mumia Abu Jamal, Dr. Henry Clark…There’s so many guys in the background and I’m saying that I’m all of those dudes. I’m neither a Republican nor Democrat. Sometimes I feel liberal and sometimes I feel conservative, depending on what the issues are. I feel that I’m all things to all men. That’s me. I’m him.
Are fans responding the way you want them to to that record?
I think they’re responding at the level of their exposure to it. There’s no real radio outlet for MCs like me. There are no real outlets and no real outlets to facilitate the socially relevant artists anymore. It makes our path so much more difficult to getting our message out to the people that want it. There are millions of people that want the music, but making them aware of the music is hard. Marketing and promotions cost a lot and when you’re independent, you’re working with a shoestring budget, if any budget. It’s not like we can take the record right to the DJ and he plays it if he likes it. It’s not that era anymore. The program director controls the DJ now. He gives him a list of songs to play and he gets to approve and disapprove any new songs. That’s where we’re at right now. That’s what it is. The response is what I expected.
There are a lot of messages in ‘I’m Him.’ Is it hard to release songs with meaning and messages today?
Not at all, because that’s what I do. I say what I say. I do what I do. That record and what you hear, that’s me on and off the record. In a general conversation, these are the things we talk about. I’m one of those MCs that when I’m not on the record, I’m talking about trying to build infrastructures for people and Darfur. I’m talking about politically relevant events. That’s what I’m talking about and that’s what I’m dealing with. When I talk, that’s what comes out of my mouth. You’ll get it eventually, whether it’s now or five years from now. My music is like a time capsule. You can put it in the ground and then many years from now people will say, ‘Wow. Everything he was saying is now our present condition.’ On ‘I’m Him,’ I’m saying basic things and it’s not really anything that’s over people’s heads. I’m talking about how hip-hop is a culture, not a business. When business influenced and was applied to hip-hop, that’s when hip-hop took a turn for the worse. That’s the way it is in a capitalistic society.
But we have to deal with the fact that hip-hop is a culture and culture will not die. It’s basic. You can’t rid the culture of talent. Talent lasts forever. You can’t say, ‘I wonder if this guy’s still got it. I wonder if he can still spit. He’s old school. I don’t know about him. Is he relevant today?’ Talent will always prevail over market. Every time, talent will always prevail over market. That’s what I deal with. I’m talent. I’m from the era where the best MC was determined by his skill level as opposed to the amount of money that went into his marketing budget. I’m from the era where you had to have skill. That’s where I’m from. That’s why nothing really matters to me today, like the terms they use to compartmentalize the different flows and styles. I’m not into the separation. I know what hip-hop is and that’s what I deal with.
Is the 5% culture represented the right way in hip-hop today?
There’s 5% in every generation, whether it was now or in the times of Jesus Christ. There’s always some that want to travel the path seldom traveled by the multitude. When you consider that, that means that 95% of the population are not dealing with this information and for the most part, are not seeking it. It’s the same as it’s always been. That’s why the 5% doesn’t change to 10% or 15% or 20% or 25%. It’s been at 5% since the days of Jesus. It’s always the few. That’s what we’re pretty much dealing with with the 5%.
It’s not a matter of the 5% being represented in hip-hop. It’s about any message that represents any form of dissent into this culture. They’re not allowing the building of racial pride of the children who hip-hop came out of and that’s what the problem is. The black artists are not allowed to be active and when he takes it upon himself to be an activist and say things that are socially relative and question the society and the structure that we live in, he’s always taken off the radio, off the video shows and he’s denied the acting jobs. That’s just how it is. The society that we’re embedded in, and when I say ‘we,’ I mean African-Americans, this society that we’re embedded in, it does not allow us to be proactive in building infrastructures and building up our people and our heritage. That’s always been the problem and our struggle.
When you look at it, you have Drew Barrymore, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Bono, all these Euro-American artists who are also activists. But when you get the black artist that wants to be that same type of activist, he runs into trouble. Look at Don Cheadle. He’s done Ocean’s 11, Ocean’s 13 and Hotel Rwanda. When he wanted to put out his book on Darfur, they wouldn’t put it out and they said it was ‘unmarketable.’ Why aren’t Angelina Jolie and George Clooney unmarketable? By doing that to the black artist, they make others not be active. Then they don’t do anything because they see that it’s career suicide if they say these things or if they behave in this way, so they choose not to so that they can eek out a living in this particular career that they’re pursuing. That’s what’s happening all the time. That’s what we’re dealing with.
What’s going to have to happen to change that?
It’s going to take some courageous people. What happened is that Don Cheadle’s book got published by an outrageous company that’s not as big as the big ones, but it’s definitely a company that sees the relevance of a Don Cheadle book.
It’s not about marketing. I don’t like when people say that something is ‘unmarketable,’ like a Wise Intelligent, Poor Righteous Teachers or KRS-One record. That’s one of the biggest tricks that have been played on the world by the power structure of the west because they made people believe that the only purpose of putting out books was to make money. That’s blasphemy! That’s an outright lie!
Record companies will spend millions on artists when they know they’re not going to recoup, but they’re putting their money into certain records knowing it’s a calculated loss. They know they’re going to lose that money, but they’re going to offset the losses from the records that do sell. But they will invest in certain artists to preserve European culture. Music is not made for the sole purpose of money. It’s made to preserve life and to preserve humanity. Some companies have to do the same thing to preserve other things and other humanities. That’s where the problem lies. Where’s that company that’s going to put out a KRS-One record for the sole purpose of preserving the culture? Where’s that radio station that will preserve the culture and speak on something relative? The problem is that if they can’t sell ringtones with a song, they won’t put it on the radio. That’s fine, but the crime rate, illiteracy rate and HIV/AIDS rate are astronomical. But there’s no place on the radio for a socially relative message? We need infrastructure.
For example, HipHopGame doing this interview, that’s what’s necessary because you’re facilitating a socially relevant message and bringing it out to the masses, giving the people a chance to see that there are bigger issues than buying out the bar, balling and getting my dick sucked. That’s what it is. In order to get that fixed, we have to realize that music is bigger than making money. Music can affect change.
On ‘Mama Cry,’ you talk about funding programs. What exactly do you do?
We have a music-based program that’s based on giving inner-city youth knowledge on the music industry. We’re teaching them how to know their worth and understand their art. A lot of kids go through the industry without knowing their worth and they end up selling themselves short. We run this program like a record label. They’ll sign the acts, make the records, set up the marketing and the websites, they’ll set up the relationships, performances and touring and they’ll keep the money that’s generated from that. That’s what we’re doing now. It’s really like a college-bound type program that gives kids an idea of the jobs that surround the industry besides the MC.
Most kids want to be Cam’ron, 50 Cent or Nas. What I’m trying to show them is that there is a career behind Nas and behind that camera that’s shooting Nas and the outfit that Nas is wearing. We’re just trying to expose them to the many careers that exist within the music industry so that they’ll leave high school knowing what they want to do in college so that they don’t go to college and end up getting a degree in basket-weaving.
A lot of people in hip-hop have succeeded without a college education. From what you’ve seen, how important is a college education today?
The thing is, with college, college is like money. It has no value if there’s no purpose. Until there’s a purpose behind it, it’s nothing because you can have money. You can get money. The reason that kids are disillusioned with school is because school has been promoted to them in a way that ‘if you don’t get this education, you won’t be able to get this good job.’ They see the guy on the corner getting $50,000 a day. He has money. They say, ‘Why do I have to go to school for 12 years to become a doctor and owe people money when I can just stand on this corner and make money?’ That’s what the problem is. The greatest value in life has been given to making money as opposed to having knowledge of self or knowledge. That’s the biggest problem with convincing kids. You have to take the value off of money and make the value in culture, heritage, legacy and humanity. Once you do that, education will mean a lot more because it’s about building. It’s about building an infrastructure, man. If you become an engineer, they can use you in Africa, India or anywhere in the world to help other people. It’s not always about what you’re going to get out of it. It’s not always about what you are going to receive. We need to teach the children that.
Right now, everybody is on this paper chase and money has no value at all. Money is only valuable to the point where it can be exchanged for real resources. College is important as long as it has purpose behind it. College for an African-American youth in America is only important as long as it’s attached to building infrastructures in African-American communities. That’s what the problem is. The black community has no infrastructure. When we talk about that, people say, ‘That’s reverse racism. That’s separatism!’ Everything is separated already. In this particular setup, we’re failing ourselves because everything that sustains and controls life is being controlled by everyone outside of the African-American community.
We can say there are black colleges, but all of those colleges were set up and funded by white people. It’s not a racist thing. It’s a cultural and hereditary thing. If you go to Chinatown, there are no African-Americans or white Americans working in Chinatown and nobody calls them racist for that. The Amish community deals with others when they have to and when they think they can make things better, but nobody's complaining about the Amish community having their own schools and hospitals. But as soon as the African-American decides to set up and build some sort of infrastructure, they call him a racist. But without this infrastructure, there’s no purpose for our children to go to school and learn anything because all of their talents will be exploited by aliens to their community and all of their talents will never be brought back and used for the benefit of their community.
If me going to college is predicated to me pursuing a career in a place like Texaco where they’re trying to keep the black jellybeans at the bottom of the bag, what’s the point? What is the point if every career I want to pursue, I must go knocking on an alien to my community’s door? That’s the problem. A lot of people assume that a black infrastructure equals reverse racism. It’s not. It’s liberation and equality.
Even affirmative action is on the window now. It’s gone. When you consider that the school with the highest diversity in the country is Duke University with a 7.5% black student body, you have to ask yourself, ‘Is that due to affirmative action?’ Now that affirmative action is gone, how will black children be affected and admitted into schools? This is how college will become relevant. Students need to know that their talents will be used to infiltrate the infrastructure in their community and to help another kid rise up out of ignorance. But until our community is able to use the talented youth, we’re going to always be in this situation because we failed to build an infrastructure. All of the talented kids are going to be siphoned out to the rest of the world to build infrastructures for alien communities.
You know how many black kids are learning languages like Mandarin now because Asian countries are developing and there’s a need for engineers? What they should be doing is going back to the black community to build an infrastructure and they’re not doing that. That’s why school is not attractive to black youth. They’re like, ‘What’s the point? I can make money on the corner. What’s the point of becoming an engineer, doctor, architect or something of that nature? What’s the point of me becoming a judge when there’s only one black judge on the Supreme Court? What’s the point? I’m not trying to go through all that. I’m going to stand on this corner and ball out. I’m going to ride this bitch ‘til the wheels fall off.’ That’s why there aren’t a lot of doctors and why a lot of kids are flipping burgers and managing McDonald’s. Until we get it popping, we’re always going to be losers and others are always going to be able to come into our community and come up off of us.
Koreans are selling soul food now in the inner city. No disrespect to the Koreans. They’re taking advantage of a situation and they see a lack of infrastructure in the inner city and they can go in there and set up stores and restaurants and carry out all our wealth because all the black students come out of college and go and manage the white companies instead of coming out here and buying out these stores and setting up stores. We have one big-ass Shop Rite in the community and everybody goes into that Shop Rite. Why did we need Shop Rite to come into our community to give the kids jobs? Why did we have to beg Shop Rite to come into our community? Where’s the black supermarket? We have to get the black managers to come back to the ‘hood. That’s why the kids don’t see the value of it. They don’t feel that they’re a part of it because of the destruction of their legacy in the white-dominated society. Without them having a culture, they’re saying, ‘Fuck it. I am whatever you say I am. I’m your nigger now.’
Your fans already know what you’re about. They want to hear the messages but they don’t need to hear your message as much as those who aren’t aware of what you’re about. What do you have to do to get your message to the people who know nothing about you and what you’re about?
I have to work hard, man. I have to get on the road and I have to stay on the road. I have to get the interviews. I have to get the music out there. I have to give away a bunch of free music. I’m at the point where it’s not even about me selling the record. If I have to give it away, I will do that. If I have to give away a million records, I’ll do it and I’ll be happy about it. I have to get on the road and promote, promote, promote.
That’s what I mean about infrastructure. Where is the infrastructure to facilitate the existence of socially-relative content? There’s no real structure in hip-hop to facilitate such a thing. They say it’s ‘underground hip-hop,’ but that’s not always socially relative. People in the underground make songs about their bubble gum and how much purple weed they can smoke. There’s a lot of psychobabble in the underground. There are very few heads in the underground that are socially relevant and they get looked at funny by others in the underground. Where is that infrastructure to facilitate the message? Somebody has to say, ‘Look, it’s not about the money at this point. It’s about the message. This should be some of the only shit you hear on the radio and the only shit that you see touring because the state of the world demands that somebody says something!’ Everybody is suffering and it affects people in the world differently based on who they are and their background.
For instance, a white kid going though America’s institute of higher learning will come out with an entirely different view of themselves and the world around them than a black kid would because the world is designed to inflate one’s ego while deflating the other’s. Both kids are being miseducated, but one kid is being miseducated in a way where it boosts his ego and self-esteem and makes him feel superior where the other kid is being miseduacted in a way where it deflates his ego and self-esteem and makes him feel inferior. We need to overhaul the system. Until that happens, we’re going to be sitting around here, putting band-aids on symptoms of a bigger problem. To get it out there, we need to get tours popping off, like this It’s No Longer Smart to be Dumb Tour. That’s something that we’re working on right now. We’re working on getting that popping off. The thing is, the sponsors are afraid. Where are the sponsors to sponsor Immortal Technique? Where are the people in positions of sponsorship that agree with what Immortal Technique is saying? I know there has to be someone that agrees with what he’s saying, but where are they? Are they afraid? People are scared to stand next to artists like Immortal Technique.
People would rather blame rappers for saying “bitches” and that they cause all the problems. Rappers are the symptoms of the problem. If your kitchen sink is overflowing, what do you reach for, the mop or do you turn off the faucet? I would hope you would turn off the faucet. Everybody is reaching for the mop. That’s what the problem is. Nobody is going to the source of these problems. Everybody’s running around, evading it, and they don’t want to listen to the guy that’s pointing out what’s wrong and why there’s a problem. Nobody wants to say that the emperor is butt naked. Nobody wants to say that the emperor doesn’t have new clothes. Everybody is afraid and this fear stops the sponsorships from flowing to the politically-relative MCs.
You say, ‘It’s no longer smart to be dumb.’ What does that mean to you?
It speaks to the idea that we’ve developed in this society that ignorance is profitable. We’re not trying to debate whether that’s true or not, but the repercussions of that idea are very real and they have very adverse effects if you subscribe to that. It’s no longer smart to be dumb! A lot of people are viewing dumbing lyrics down so that you could make a lot of money as a good move. They’re like, ‘Remember he used to rhyme like this? But when he dumbed his rhymes down and dumbed his flow down, he made a lot of money!’ Jay-Z said something like, ‘I dumbed down my lyrics to double my dollars.’ He gave off the idea that to be dumb is to be profitable, so that in this society, everybody is being dumb. They call Oakland, California “Go Dumb USA.”
It’s no longer smart to be dumb because of the consequences. When you dumb down the flow and you dumb down our lyrics, you didn’t just double your dollars. You doubled the crime rate and the HIV rate. You doubled every negative effect in the inner city. That’s where the problem is. Intelligent and politically-conscious MCs are looked at as someone who is foolish. They look at that like it’s career suicide. They look at it like it’s folly to represent anything positive.
You have an anti-theoretical environment and an anti-historical environment that exacerbates all of the problems. It’s a folly to be intelligent. If being intelligent is looked upon as being folly, then that means that being ignorant is looked upon and held in great esteem. That’s why the more broken English you speak, the greater MC you are. It’s a wild situation. That’s what it is. We’ve been dumbed down. The entire hip-hop community and the entire world has been dumbed down. I guess this is what Noam Chomsky would call propaganda and control of the public mind.
We’re dumbing people down to manufacture public consent. That’s where we’re at with it. If any action I do, if it’s making money, then it doesn’t matter how negative it is. But if I don’t make money and my action is positive, then it’s regarded as folly. That’s not smart to me. That’s why it’s no longer smart to be dumb. It’s no longer smart to think that being ignorant is the smart thing to do or that dumbing your lyrics down is the smart thing to do because the effects of this dumbness is the evidence that these things are anti-hip-hop, anti-black and anti-humanity. We have to deal with these things as harshly as we can. We have to be blunt about it and we have to tell the truth about it. We’ll make enemies in the process, but it’s a matter of life and death right now.
Will Poor Righteous Teachers record another album together?
I’m not going to rule it out. We talk about it a lot. It’s just a matter of everybody’s schedules linking up because everybody’s all over the place. Shaheed’s in Brooklyn and Culture’s in Tennessee. But we haven’t really laid down anything or started putting the ideas together, but we definitely have some things in mind. We know what the title is going to be and what the content is going to be based on and what the focus is going to be. We went that far with the project if we end up doing it. It’s just a matter or scheduling.
Have you stayed in touch with Culture Freedom and Father Shaheed?
Definitely. We’re family. We've known each other since we were babies.
What’s the main message you want fans to take away from The Talented Timothy Taylor?
That it’s no longer smart to be dumb and you don’t have to be ignorant to be successful. It’s really basic. And I want you to understand that I’m human too. I went through the same things that you went through. I’ve been that kid on the corner with the package and I took trips as a young kid to New York to cop. I’ve been that kid smoking all kinds of funny weed. I’ve smoked enough weed to make an entire High Times issue. That’s where we get it confused. We hear people trying to reconnect to their heritage and when you hear that kind of information, you feel like he went to college and got a degree. That’s not what it is. I’ve been that kid on the corner and I was that kid that was doing the stick-ups. I’ve been there and done that. Trust me.
What I’m telling you now is that just because you are poor, it doesn’t mean that you have to sin to be successful. I need heads to know that. And just because you do something wrong, it doesn’t mean that you’re a weak individual. In fact, goodness is measured by an individual's propensity to do evil. If there's no strength in a person to do evil or do something wicked, why should we credit him for doing good? I’m not saying that what you’re doing makes you a weak individual or anything of that nature. What I’m saying is that you can manage and you can build your people. You can touch the world without a gun and without a bag of crack. You can do it without gangbanging. You can do it without the black on black crime. That’s my message. My message in The Talented Timothy Taylor is that I’m talented kid on the corner just like you. I just decided to put the weed and Hennessey down and start developing my talents, and not just my talents as an MC. That’s what happens to a lot of inner city kids. That’s what they call ‘dreams deferred.’
We have a lot of talents in the ‘hood, but we don’t have the resources to develop them because this society requires that you pay to develop your talents, whether it’s academic, artistic or athletic. People wonder why black kids are so successful in basketball and football. That’s because you have one ball and 11 or 10 kids playing. Black kids can’t afford to play golf or take piano lessons or get tutors from universities. Their parents don’t have the resources to develop them artistically or athletically. It all costs money.
The things that we’re successful at are the things that we don’t have to pay to develop. Why are we successful at rhyming? Because we don’t have to pay to develop that talent. The game has changed where it’s hard for the poor kid to compete in hip-hop. They have to pay for a street team, marketing, a website, studio time and to get a video shot. They have to pay for all these things that they can’t afford. They’re locked out of hip-hop and it’s relegated to a hobby again. Now they’re back on the corner, spitting and selling drugs because the infrastructure is not there for a poor kid trying to develop his talents.
That’s what I wish to get across with this record, the fact that we need to pursue developing this infrastructure and pursuing every opportunity for developing your talents. Just because you write rhymes, it doesn’t mean that you can’t write a book or a screenplay or become a surgeon or an engineer at the same time. Develop all of your talents and don’t limit yourself. The Talented Timothy Taylor is about developing your talents beyond being the cool kid, fucking all the girls and being a kid who’s cool based on what his community thinks is cool. Develop yourself beyond the expectations in the game. The Talented Timothy Taylor is about developing all of your talents. I'm not just one man and I’m not just one person. You can’t predict what I’m going to do. I’m all things to all men. I like more than just vanilla ice cream. I like chocolate too. It just depends upon how I feel.
That’s what The Talented Timothy Taylor is about – developing yourself beyond what box people would put you in. Develop yourself beyond your white tee. It’s cool to wear your white tee, but sometimes you need to put on a suit and a tie. That’s what The Talented Timothy Taylor is about. You have to know what personality to have at the right time. We’re all more than one feeling and one emotion. That’s the science right there. That’s the idea with The Talented Timothy Taylor.
I’m giving you the perfect merger between substance and style. I’m saying that the conscious MC doesn’t have to be corny, his beats don’t have to be wack and his beats don’t have to be underground. He can have a big, mainstream sound. It doesn’t matter. None of that is relevant. That’s what I’m trying to get across.
Why does medicine have to taste nasty? Why does healthy food have to taste nasty? That’s what I’m saying. The Talented Timothy Taylor is like a bubble-gum or grape or cherry flavor. I’m saying that it’s good for you and at the same time, it tastes good. Why can’t hip-hop be that? That’s what I’m saying. We have to keep it smoothed out with the roughness and keep it balanced. MCs become one thing and they become marginal and boring. The underground and mainstream MCs falls into that category. The mainstream MC thinks he has to be gangster all the time and that limits him because he has to be balanced. But when you balance everything out, you get a greater grasp of reality and you get to see what’s really real and what’s not really real, because now you’re going through the fight that every individual on the face of this planet goes through, the battle between you and you. That’s what this record is about.
It’s about talent and it’s about where I would like to see hip-hop at. I would like to see hip-hop more balanced. I was on tour with Poor Righteous Teachers with Ice-T. Self-proclaimed teachers on tour with self-proclaimed gangsters and self-proclaimed pimps. We were all in the same building! We were all enjoying the music! That’s what made the golden era of hip-hop great. Everyone was well-represented in the genres and it really reflected the black community that it came from. You had the dancing MC, the MC who just thought he was the man, the girl-getter, the self-proclaimed lady-getter…And you had the mediocre MCs and the MCs who didn’t really rhyme about anything.
How deep is, “Milk is chilling, Giz is chilling”? How deep is that? Hip-hop should always have that balance and that’s the way that hip-hop should be today. I need to see 50 Cent on tour with Wise Intelligent or Common Sense on tour with T.I. I need to see these things happen. That’s balance and that’s what hip-hop is. That’s hip-hop. That would help hip-hop because it would bring some social relativism to the mainstream MC and it would bring some much-needed entrepreneurialism to the so-called ‘conscious MC’ or the ‘underground MC.’ That’s the balance that we lack and the balance that we need to have. We need to do everything we can in our power to facilitate hip-hop getting back to that balance, that balance between activism and entrepreneurialism. They go hand in hand and that’s what this record is about and that’s what Intelligent Music is about. Everything that we do is intelligent and everything that we do is centered around balance. You can’t be one way all the time.
Will you be releasing material on a more consistent basis from now on?
Oh, definitely. This album right here, The Talented Timothy Taylor, is the first album from a seven CD boxed set. There will be seven CDs. After this one, we’re going to release Wise Intelligent is the Unconquerable Jesus Jones. The Jesus Jones record, we’re looking to put out in the fall. We’re going to keep it going from there. We’re going to keep throwing records out.
What do you want to say to everybody?
To everybody out there in the hip-hop world, the world would be a much better place if we just listen to more intelligent music. We need to listen to more intelligent music. There’s a proverb that says that it’s not good for the soul to go without knowledge, so more intelligent music is necessary. If we were listening to more intelligent music, there would be no war in Iraq. The President needs to listen to more intelligent music. Paris Hilton would have never gone to jail if she listened to more intelligent music. The homicide rate wouldn’t be what it is if we listened to more intelligent music. The HIV/AIDS rate would not be what it is if we listened to more intelligent music. Listen to more intelligent music and let’s have more intelligent dialogue. Let’s have more intelligent behavior. All of this will be facilitated by listening to more Wise Intelligent and Intelligent Music.