Rhymefest: Resume before Rap

“That’s what makes me different from every other rapper. When rappers be like, ‘What’choo want me to do, work at Mickey D’s?’ I’m the rapper that’s like, ‘Hell yeah, muthaf**ka. Then you know what it’s like. It teaches you to be a man so you can take care of your business. If you don’t never experience no pain or struggle, how can you understand the heights of success?”

Spend some time with 28-year old Rhymefest, whose debut album Blue Collar dropped this month, and you’ll quickly realize his hard-working, “man of the people” ethic isn’t from the mind of a suit or some clever marketing scheme. At the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival last month, the Chicago native was the first to arrive at soundcheck and, having taken on more than 40 jobs in his life, admits that he’s “able to eat s**t ‘cause I know what s**t tastes like, and eating s**t makes you stronger.”

By his first job, as a 12-year old movie theatre usher in Chicago, he had already been writing rhymes and as the years went on, would use writing to alleviate the countless hours of boredom at various positions. What kept him going back to jobs he hated? “I was too scared,” he tells AllHipHop.com. “I was scared of really going out and maybe not winning. Once I conquered fear, I started to conquer the world.”

That statement applies to Rhymefest conquering his way onto J Records, and into the ears of the mainstream Hip-Hop listener. As one of Chicago’s brightest gears up to perform at AllHipHop Week’s Breeding Ground Showcase on August Tuesday, August 8th. Support Blue Collar as well as a plethora of blue collar MCs anxiously awaiting their chance to rock on SOB’s stage before breaking further into the industry.

Meanwhile, Rhymefest revisits his resume to show some of the degrading and dirty dues he’s paid just to be here…

Delivery Guy, Flower Shop

Duration: One Year.

“Delivering flowers was the worst job I’ve ever had. I had to go to rich peoples’ homes, like Oprah Winfrey, and see how they live. I had to deliver to people who looked at me like of piece of s**t, and they had everything and I had nothing. And I had to take their tips, their little scraps. I don’t want scraps. I was about 19 or 20 and that’s what made me realize I needed something better. I didn’t know what but that’s when I started to wake up.”

Peanut Vendor, Comiskey Park

Duration: One Month.

“It was hot and racist. It was white men going to see baseball and they see you selling peanuts and yell, ‘Hey boy!’ It was horrible. I didn’t even enjoy baseball all that much, let alone selling peanuts.”

Court Reporter/Bailiff, Environmental Court

Duration: One Year.

“Environmental Court is when peoples’ homes are in conditions where they not even livable, like landlords who have f**ked up tenants. Being a bailiff was worse than court reporter because you had to play hard all the time, like ‘All rise, the Honorable blank is now taking a the bench. And people would be talking and you’re like, ‘Shut the f**k up! This is court, b*tch.’”

It was pretty easy though. You had cats who were like, ‘Help me, I’m dying in court.’ I was just like, ‘Hey baby, meet me after court, I’ll see what I can do about those warrants.’ I could never do anything about it, but I could play like I did.”

Grill Cook, KFC/McDonald’s/Checkers

Duration: Four Years (combined).

“This was the best job. You sit back there, cook up some burgers, flip ‘em, throw ‘em in my mouth, and write raps.”

Janitor, Purdue University

Duration: Three Years.

“When I was a janitor, somebody had smeared s**t all over the stalls, floor, and toilet. They told me to clean it. I guess I’d been slacking off a few days before. I’m in there cleaning the s**t and look back and my supervisor is standing over me. She’s like, ‘Y’know, lately I feel like your heart hasn’t been into the work.’ I looked at her, I looked back at the dookie, then I looked at her [again], and said ‘You’re right. I f**kin’ quit.’ I’m gonna rap and would rather eat s**t in the world than eat s**t here.”

Substitute Teacher, Elementary School

Duration: Six Months.

“I hated it. I loved the kids but I hated being in one room with four walls for eight hours with birds and s**t on the walls. Being trapped, especially when you’re a free spirit like me, is prison. When I saw how dumb as rocks those f**kin’ kids were, that’s when I realized I loved children and the best way I could teach them is through music.

With my music, my message is from God and I’m using it as a vessel to deliver it. There is no method to the madness. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m not trying to play with your emotions. I’m just delivering the message I was given. However you take it, it’s what it is. If you don’t like me, don’t be mad at me, be mad at God.”

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