Caged Bird Songs, an album released earlier this month from the late Maya Angelou, features the revered writer and poet delivering spoken words backed by rap-styled production.
Angelou, who appeared on “The Believer,” a song from Common’s 2011 album, The Dreamer/The Believer, says that rap reflects the times.
“Young people are a little more sophisticated, a little more sarcastic, a little more edgy, and they need something a little more edgy,” Maya Angelou says in a video premiering on HipHopDX. “So what about it? Are you ready? Here it is. So whether that’s Snoop, or Jay Z, doesn’t matter. Common. It’s been my blessing to have a lot of social intercourse with Richard Pryor, Dave Chappell, Common. All of them have been either in this house. I’ve done pieces with them.”
Angelou also says that modern music remains rich, despite its detractors.
“I don’t find anything missing from today’s music,” she says. “It’s music. It’s music of its time. I think Jazz came along when it was necessary. It was needed. It was wanted, and so there it was, the creator said, ‘Okie dokie.’”
Angelou passed away in May. She was 86.
In it, the Chicago rapper detailed his appreciation for Angelou, which began in second grade, when he found her “Still I Rise” poem. He refers to it as “a piece of art that I somehow knew would change and improve my life.”
Common also credited Angelou with providing him with motivation.
“It was through this writer,” he wrote at the time, “that I gained the inspiration to be somebody in life and to be heard.”