Speaking to Audible for an interview published on Friday (July 7), the artist formerly known as Mos Def explained how he was looking for things that demonstrated the reality of the world around him, but that it wasn’t easy to find until he spotted other like-minded souls like the aforementioned trio.
“Watching the world just be on fire, you know,” he began. “Or at least, my community, with the crime and the drugs. And there was a very indifferent attitude towards what was happening to us, too — there was no telethons for crack babies. So I was like, this popular cultural narrative isn’t working for anybody, you know?
“So much got lost getting the game that it wasn’t working. So I started writing, just about what I was seeing, and about what I felt. And my brother, God bless him […] we used to watch TV. Video Music Box. And Common‘s ‘Easy’ came on from Can I Borrow A Dollar? And my brother was like, ‘We can do this!’ So he just started making connects with local talent shows. And a year or two later, lo and behold, I got the deal.”
He continued: “As a teenager, though, it was a lot for me. Because at the time I was listening to just as much Miles Davis as I was Rakim and De La Soul. I was even interested in Jimi Hendrix, and Bad Brains, and all that shit. […] But thank God for De La Soul. Because, apart from them […] I just had a different expression, something different that I wanted to see that I wasn’t seeing.”
Check out the interview below:
Snoop’s From Tha Streets To The Suites kicked things off last month, where the rapper discussed his journey from Long Beach to the rest of the world and his decision to pursue love and life over death and destruction.
Following that, Kim offered her own Words + Music, where she described how she became an integral part of Hip Hop’s evolution and an inspiration for female rappers. yasiin bey’s show, A Dynamic Career in Communications, will explore the Black Star rapper’s Brooklyn roots, faith and spirituality, as well as his creative inspirations.
Last but not least, on August 10, one day before Hip Hop’s birthday, Chuck D’s Can You Dig It? will take listeners back to when the genre was only in its infancy during the 1970s in the South Bronx of New York.