Despite a climate thats not accepting of thinking mans hip-hop,
he remain. Even though his views are contrary to the establishment, he remains.
AllHipHop.com took a second chance at picking the human revolution’s brain to
see what makes him, him and what allows him to remain.
Why do you think were still pimping and blinging,
when, as you point out, brown people all over the world are suffering and fighting?
What happened to hip hops political voice? It used to have one.
a multi-pronged reason why it doesnt exist. First of all, hip hop artists,
Ive noticed, tend to gravitate toward whats rewarded. And right
now Ive said it in other interviews and Ill say it again
white corporations dictate Black culture to Black people. Theyre
the ones picking the artists that they choose to give deals to, and they decide
who gets exposure. Theyre the ones who reward particular type of behavior,
and there are a lot of artists who have adjusted to meet those criteria. If
all artists banded together and said were going to move away from the
negativity, then they wouldnt be able to control it.
ALLHIPHOP: Do you
think there will ever be that coming together of hip hop? Things are cyclical,
so there has to be some sort of civil rights struggle that comes about at some
point. Will hip hop be the voice and culture to lead us through that?
definitely possible for hip hop to have a role in bringing that about, but there
has to be balance in hip hop and right now, there isnt. People are beginning
to revolt file-sharing has taken a hit out of the industry because people
dont respect the industry anymore. They dont respect the music,
and they dont respect a lot of todays artists. Those artists dont
even respect it. They dont respect their listeners.
Nine times out
of 10, when theres an opportunity to respect commerce over art, they choose
commerce thats the classic struggle between art and commerce. The
commerce is always going to win, because corporations have control of the outlets
and methods in which artists get exposed. I think that it will take a widespread
rejection of a lot of whats currently being offered to serve as that catalyst,
and to have people gravitate towards it and realize that there are really artists
out there who have more to offer and bring to the table than the gutter hip
hop or rap, I should say, thats on the radio. The sad part
is, because hip hop is now part of pop culture, peoples introduction to
it comes only from video outlets and commercial radio, so theres going
to be an obvious disconnect there. But I think that if theres enough ground
level support for alternatives, then theyll eventually see the light of
you that alternative?
like to be one of the alternatives. And I treat it seriously because nothing
you an angry guy? Are people afraid of you?
Paris: I mean,
Im human. I go through the same range of emotions as other people. Do
I walk around with a scowl on my face everyday? No, not unless I happen to be
angry that particular day. But I do have a lot of anger and frustration. I just
choose to pour it out on records.
you have that platform. And youre an investment banker, you speak intelligently,
lead your own label and website, and have a college education. Wouldnt
some say that already puts you a step ahead of all those brothers who are in
the trenches daily?
in the community. Im from the community we all are from the same
place. But I dont choose to stay and dwell within the negativity. If youre
engaged in the community, then youre still a part of it.
album, Sonic Jihad, comes out on September 23. Its not a traditional,
mainstream sort of album, so how do you plan for its release? It doesnt
seem like the type youd have an album release party for [laughter]
Paris: No, well,
the sad truth is, in this day and age, its not a traditional album. But
I recall an era in hip hop when it was, and the gangster mentality in hip hop
was the odd man out. Again, this is a balance-providing release. There has to
be somebody thats out whos willing to hold the torch.
ALLHIPHOP: So what
are you doing to push the album?
Paris: Record pools
and radio stations, college radio, gift services, the website. AND, I have Dead
Prez, Public Enemy, Kam and Capleton all on the record.
ALLHIPHOP: Do you
difficult right now because I have to judge the climate. The incendiary nature
of this record is enough to make me pause before I commit to going somewhere,
to say Im going to be at a certain place in public and follow through
on that. I have to see whats happening with it, because there were a lot
of people who wrote me initially with threats and stuff like watch my
back and dont release that record. I know I have to
approach this from a no fear perspective when Im speaking
truth, Im fearless. But by the same token, Im not going to do anything
thats stupid, so I want to gauge how its going to be. A lot of times
there will be functions or rallies, places where progressive people congregate,
and Ill just show up and get on the mic. I prefer that type of approach
as opposed to being somewhere and making myself an easy target. Right now
its looking like the early part of next year Id like to hit
the road with Dead Prez and Public Enemy, and hopefully Kam can be a part of
that package. But to just put a cohesive, progressive Black tour together
gonna be powerful. I look forward to seeing some like that come together.
Paris: You and
me both! [laughter] So, well see how it goes. And then I want to be involved
in the production on PEs next record, some writing for them, and maybe
even provide a home for Dead Prez. As you may know, their project is currently
without a home. I just talked with Styx via e-mail yesterday, and theyre
entertaining labels like Bad Boy and what not. But I dont really know
how good of a situation thats going to be for them. Even with Bad Boy,
theyre not the ultimate shot-callers Bad Boys parent company
is that your goal as well, to bring on like-minded people?
Paris: There you
go, there you go! I refuse to put my money on anything that is contrary to what
I believe in, or that is contrary to the well-being of us.
who else are you checking for these days other than the artists featured
on your album?
Paris: Not a lot.
cant name anybody?
Nope, not off the head. I mean there are people like Zion-Eye and Blackalicious
these are all people who are definitely not on the mainstream hip hop
radar, so, no. Hopefully one day. Ive been listening to a lot of music
thats not hip hop. Because hip hop I shouldnt even call it
hip hop anymore. Im just gonna call it rap from now on. It
focuses on a fleeting demographic, and white corporations want nothing more
than the teenaged girls dollar. The majority of the promotion is on them.
As people get older and mature, they want that music to reflect where theyre
coming from. I dont know too many 30-year-old men or women who can relate
to music marketed for 14-year-old girls. You see what Im sayin?
Rap is constantly
being forced to reinvent itself for a temporary audience. Rap is ignorant today,
and thats a very dangerous situation, because in our community, in the
Black community, life imitates art. If you get no direction, and there are no
artists mentorship programs to lend guidance, when theres nothing
to nurture the art form of hip hop, then all the negativity shines through.
Especially when companies reward it. And that hurts our communities.
your message, rightly or wrongly, is different and refreshing. And thats
always good, so we thank you for what youre doing.
Paris: And I appreciate
you guys even providing me a voice, seriously. Nothing is guaranteed because
this is a labor of love, like I said. A lot time, energy and resources have
gone into putting this together in the way its presented. And you can
tell just from the packaging that no expense was spared. Were just going
for the gusto! And there are radio versions of the entire album available
I dont want that to be the reason that people cant get behind it.
But I thank you guys for the voice.