Wise Intelligent: Heavy Mental

Knowledge is not something that can be bought, but rather attained. Over the years, Hip-Hop music has grown from a young cry of escaping the ghetto, to the booming voice of million-dollar-a-year money making industry. Through this growth and progression, the question, “Has Hip-Hop forgotten where it came?” has become a major issue. In honor […]

Knowledge is not something that can be bought, but rather attained. Over the years, Hip-Hop music has grown from a young cry of escaping the ghetto, to the booming voice of million-dollar-a-year money making industry. Through this growth and progression, the question, “Has Hip-Hop forgotten where it came?” has become a major issue.

In honor of Hip-Hop Appreciation Week, AllHipHop.com spoke with a true educator and survivor of the game. While Public Enemy seems to be the only “Conscious Rap group” to get any major media reverence, let us never forget the tracks laid by Wise Intelligent and The Poor Righteous Teachers.

Wise talks about his soon to be released solo album, Wise Intelligent is the Talented Timothy Taylor. He also comments on the lacking mental-nutritition in today’s Hip-Hop diet. Are we sending the wrong messages? To know you future is to know your past, so listen closely as present knowledge from the past brings it back.

AllHipHop.com: What have you been up to since the last Poor Righteous Teachers?

Wise Intelligent: I’ve been working on m independent project. I also went back to school. The teacher became a student again. I’ve also been working on a program called Intelligent Muzik, in Trenton. It was established to help facilitate the youth in the music industry. We teach them how to get a leg up in the business; how to own their talents.

AllHipHop.com: For all of those that don’t know, what is the name of your new album?

Wise: Wise Intelligent is the Talented Timothy Taylor. It’s the first period in a five CD box-set that I’m working on called, “Back to School.” It’s what Hip-Hop is seriously lacking right now. The album will be out in middle to late August.

AllHipHop.com: Who’s on it? Will Culture Freedom make an appearance?

Wise: No, he’s not going to appear on it. There’s a new vibe it than what I have previously done. I believe in always bringing something new to the table. That’s why I’ve got some cats from around the way doing production on it. It’s a crew called The Havknotz. It’s P.J., Masada and Madlib’s little brother, Oh No.

AllHipHop.com: What’s up with the Timothy Taylor reference?

Wise: With Wise Intelligent as The Talented Timothy Taylor, it’s more personal. It’s real. In the past, I had never really spoke about my personal life on a record, especially on this level. I wrestled with a lot of demons. [The album] speaks about the talent within me. I’m taking it back to my talents, the old school. It was a time when Hip-Hop was about talent and not marketing.

AllHipHop.com: Do you feel that Hip-Hop is sending the right messages to today’s youth?

Wise: All kids see today is materialism. You didn’t shoot your way out of the ghetto, you rhymed your way out. You made a transition. Now you do big deals, you’re a business man. They should help and guide the youth. Rappers and athletes make a lot of money. Everybody wants to be, “King of the Negroes.” The youth thinks that rims on an Escalade’s important. They should be focused on teaching the youth how they became successful.

AllHipHop.com: Do you feel that hip-hop that speaks consciously about the Pro-Black Movement? If so, who are some of the artists, still holding it down?

Wise: Definitely. You have the Roots, Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, and Dead Prez to name a few. I don’t know what they’re doing out side of the music to reach out to the community, but that’s my ignorance. It’s like Prez said, “It’s bigger than Hip-Hop.” A lot of artists could be doing more than what they presently are. I’ve lived in just about every shelter there is in Trenton. I make it my mission to help the youth that are presently in the same situation.

AllHipHop.com: It is more than just Hip-Hop, it’s about society and the world.

Wise: Bush ain’t doing s**t, but cutting programs. Today’s rappers need to give back. It’s like a net at the bottom of the ocean. When it gets pulled up, a few fish wiggle free, but the ones that get caught… the youth are thirsty for knowledge. It’s sad because the inner-city introduces things like drug dealing first. Again, poverty and ignorance – they need to be eradicated.

AllHipHop.com: I agree, but what are the pro’s and con’s of the music?

Wise: Within the music, there are pro’s and con’s. The pro’s are that Hip-Hop has sparked an entrepreneurial spirit in the youth. They have become more aware of the value of their culture. At first it was only the wealthy White business men seeing the profits. Now the youth are taking it upon themselves to learn and progress. That’s good.

The con’s are the negative images being shown. Right now they’re at an all-time high – no, I take that back, an all time low. They’re bringing the culture down. Little girls are trying to, “pop it like it’s hot.” Just today I saw a little girl wearing a pair of “daisy dukes” and a pair of “f**k me boots.” They don’t know. A lot of kids don’t have parents. A lot of rappers came up the same way. We are their parents, and we’re their influence. An artist can make whatever they want, but they and their companies need to find a proper way to market it. If you want to make stripper music to be played in the club, then do so, but right now it’s getting going to the kids. They need to listen to the more positive. Listening is an art. It unlocks doors. It needs to be about the realization of knowledge and the practice of observing. We need the proper people to lead and teach.

AllHipHop.com: This is so true. Right now you’re dropping some serious science.

Wise: Yeah, it’s ghetto political! As the first inner-city Black youth, we must combat poverty and ignorance against society as a whole. I’m anti-ignorance and anti-poverty. Where I come from, the youth live 50% bellow the poverty level. They don’t have a chance and that affects me personally. Whether it’s friends, friend’s kids, [or whoever], we need to help them before the gangs get to them. Here, programs are cut. The youth work hard, but have so little. My personal mission is to guide the youth in the right direction. That is what Poor Righteous Teachers was about.

AllHipHop.com: You once said, “You don’t have to sin to be successful…” Expand.

Wise: Down here in “Ghetto America,” we do the wrong things in how we come up. I argue that we can do the right things, but people need to know how to do them. We need people who will do the right things and lead. Some people say, “Conscious Rap doesn’t sell.” Public Enemy and The Fugees sold millions. They didn’t kill anyone or talk a bunch of mess like, “My gun clap.” “You don’t have to sin to be successful,” is about getting knowledge. What you build will become your reality. We are the product of our thoughts. If all you see is poverty and destruction, then that’s all you’ll be. See past your block or hood and succeed.

AllHipHop.com: Why isn’t the “conscious movement” still considered important?

Wise: It’s because of the industry being commercial. It’s capitalism, the American way. It’s like my block in the early eighties, originally every one sold weed. When crack hit, everyone followed. When conscious Hip-Hop came out, all the labels started practicing capitalism. It’s sad to say, but PRT was signed on it. Every label wanted a conscious rapper. They thought artists like PRT, X-Clan, Boogie Down Productions, and Public Enemy were a gimmick. When Gangsta Rap came out, all the labels followed. If the industry dealt with conscious rappers then it would get played and everyone would jump on.

Markets figure that they can sell anything. Liquor, cell phones, jewelry, it’s all become a consumer oriented world. I believe the term, “globalization” [which] comes into play here. It’s the new religion of the world. “Product placement” has become Hip-Hop’s new logo. It’s good for a lot of artists and companies. Hell, even video girls are getting awards and movie roles for shaking their a#### on camera for five minutes. Marketers feel that they can’t get through to people on a conscious level. Education is the last thing on the youth’s minds. Kids drop out because they never learn to equate education with success. They’re escape is not to deal with theses issues. Right now, all the bling-bling diamonds are popular. What most people don’t know is that kids in South Africa lose their hands and other limbs just so that over here, people can look good. I want to teach the youth about putting the proper aim on the common enemy. The war against the poor has been waged for a minute. We need to teach the youth how to wage war back. That’s revolutionary to me.

AllHipHop.com: How did Poor Righteous Teachers deal in the aftermath of that?

Wise: We were just babies in the game back then. We were still learning, you’re always learning. We parted with our management and requested to be released from our label. Profile Records became a graveyard for a bunch of rappers. We understood that “Rock this Funky Joint” was a party song. And we wouldn’t have been put on if it wasn’t for that. It got us in the door, but we became frustrated with the label. Personally, I can’t work like that. We understood it for what it was and learned from the situation.

AllHipHop.com: If you can’t wake up in the morning and know why you do what you do, then it’s time to find something new. Where can fans find old music and videos? Few DJ’s or VJ’s pay proper respect.

Wise: Nowhere at the moment, but we’re going to re-issue the whole catalog of CD’s and videos in the future. People can find out more information on my website, Intelligentmuzik.com

AllHipHop.com: Who do you feel about Flavor Flav’s new appearance in the media? Do you feel that it tarnishes his past accomplishments with Public Enemy?

Wise: No, he was always doing it. He’s the reason why Public Enemy was accepted by “White America.” He had a comical personality. Chuck brought the message, and Flav took the edge off, so they didn’t put fear into the White public as much.

AllHipHop.com: What’s the one thing that is not being addressed in Hip-Hop that should?

Wise: Wow, there’s so much that needs to be addressed. There’s a lot of issues dealing with the community that really hit home for me. Black people make up 12% of America’s population. We also make up 48-49% of AIDS cases. 80% of first timers in the penal system are illiterate. This mirrors the same number of third graders that can’t read. Nowadays, they build prisons based on that statistic. If 100 third graders fail, then 100 prisons are built. TWA, Victoria Secret and Chevron all “out-source” prisoners to make their products. It’s one giant p**sy and everyone is f**king it except the ones getting f**ked over. This should all be discussed in Hip-Hop. We need someone more than Bill Cosby. We need someone to represent “us.”