Whether it's showing the fellas how it's done on the mic, or showing everybody how to speak it real on her own Twitter invention - #RealTalkTuesday's - Psalm One is always somewhere speaking truth about some thing, and she took a few moments to sit down with AllHipHop.com to do more of the same. Check out our interview with the multi-faceted, multi-talented lyricist Psalm One:
AllHipHop.com: Thanks for sitting down with us. Let's just get right to it. For those who are not familiar with your past features etc., can you please tell the people how you got your start?
Psalm One: Hey y'all. I'm just an only child with a nerdy past and two writers for parents. I went to school for chemistry, then became a chemist.
AllHipHop.com: Whoa, a chemist?
Psalm One: Yep, but while I was in school, I met a lot of Rhymesayers artists through my love of Hip-Hop. After I graduated from the University of Illinois, I became a food chemist and was moonlighting as a rapper. Psalm One. Through those efforts, I was able to get placement on Casual of Hieroglyphics' album, Smash Rockwell. I was also presented with the opportunity to sign an artist deal with Rhymesayers. In 2006, we released The Death of Frequent Flyer to critical acclaim. After that album, I traveled the world, ended up moving to the Bay Area of California, and took a rap hiatus. In 2010, I resurfaced and began making music again. Now, I live in Chicago. Child Support is out now! How you doing today?
AllHipHop.com: [laughter] Wow, definitely impressive! Now let's discuss this new effort. What was the inspiration for this project, and who were the producers? Is it feature-heavy?
Psalm One: Kids were the inspiration for this project! While I was living out in California, I was doing a few shows, but I was doing more mentoring and high-end tutoring as well. Through my efforts with the America SCORES program, I was blessed with the opportunity to work with the ASCAP Songwriter Residency. It's basically a three-day intensive program where an ASCAP artist goes to a school in the SCORES network, works on a song, and records it on the third day. I'd done the program in Oakland, Chicago, and ended up wanting to up the ante and do a tour, since I'm a touring musician.
Last fall/winter, I went to nine different U.S. cities and recorded songs with kids in underserved areas. We also got producers and engineers to donate time in order for us to make the album knock. Producers include Alonzo Lee of the TrakStarz, Young Josh of Flosstradamus, Mulatto Patriot, Mike Kush, Optiks, Cache, Massacre Beats, SC, and Jason M. The album features Chicago's jewel, Mikkey Halsted, and of course over 200 students from the America SCORES network! The kids picked most of the beats, too. This was an amazing collaborative effort.
AllHipHop.com: That is amazing. Wow, you really don't hear about artists taking the time like that very often, if at all. What did you learn about yourself during this process?
Psalm One: I learned patience, and how to be more open about songwriting. Doing an album with kids that doesn't sound corny was the true challenge [laughter]. I learned patience, efficiency, and even more variety in concepts. As a writer, generally speaking, it helped me improve tremendously. It's true what they say when they say kids can be the best teachers. I'm an only child, and I have no biological children, so I feel especially blessed to have done this album with so many great souls.
AllHipHop.com: Nice. So, what do you hope the listener takes away from your new project? What did you gain from doing it?
Psalm One: I hope the listener understands how valuable our youth are, and how dangerous it is to be so influential to them, yet not be responsible. This music actually gives back to the youth that are so influential to the financial structure of pop culture. All proceeds from the album go back into after school programs, so that's just an awesome sidebar. Other than that, I hope they enjoy the music. It bangs, it's positive, and it's responsible music. You can play it anywhere!
AllHipHop.com: So, can we expect to see any video coming out soon?
Psalm One: We just dropped a video for the song "Kids Right Now", featuring Mikkey Halsted.
But we have two more videos currently in production for the album, so the answer to this question is a resounding YES! It's been cool to get awesome people working on these videos, too. It has just been an overall amazing experience.
AllHipHop.com: Do you feel that more is expected of you as a female in the industry? If so, how do you deal with the pressures of those expecting you to be a certain way in your career?
Psalm One: I believe there is more pressure because there are so few women, and a lot of women on labels do in fact represent the men that put them on. It's a cold fact, but it's true. I deal with the pressures and the expectations now like I always have. I've always been in high pressure situations. But I just have to always take a deep breath, believe in my abilities, and keep working. I know I can't fail in the grand scheme of things. I remind myself about myself. I trust my gut, as they say. I believe that being myself is what the biggest goal is. The trick is finding out what that is. So, while I care about pressure, I can't let it consume me, or I'd never put out any music. I'd be too afraid.
AllHipHop.com: Very well put. Can you please tell the readers what "Real Talk Tuesdays" are? [laughter]
Psalm One: In its essence, it's a play on the RT, or Retweet. In light of all the stupid Twitter holidays people make up, I wanted to make up one myself. "Real Talk Tuesday" is the day of the week where I tweet so heavy it's not even funny, but I encourage people to tweet interesting, random, and TRUE things. People lie their *sses off online, so I wanted to encourage some genuine posts. This is not to say I lie every other day on Twitter [laughter]. It's just on Tuesdays, there's a party surrounding it. It's taken on a life of its own, and I'm very proud to say I had a hand in that. The hashtag has been bitten, scoffed, embraced, and most importantly, it's been used. People tend to really enjoy it.
AllHipHop.com: Psalm, what will make this first solo experience complete for you?
Psalm One: That's a tough question, because I have achieved a lot of dreams in my life, where I know many people never get to achieve any. I am so blessed, but I also have a lot of new goals. I believe living a full and long life in music will make it complete for me. To be able to keep working and keep helping my community, to keep seeing the world and making new fans. That's completion to me. Living this life.
AllHipHop.com: What five words best describe you as an artist?
Psalm One: Silly, Sexy, Interesting, Different, Emcee.
AllHipHop.com: What's up next for Psalm One?
Psalm One: I'm doing a slew of EPs with some awesome people, including Oh No. I've currently worked with Murs, J-Zone, Bahamadia, Mike Eagle, Jon Connor, and members of Treated Crew and Atmosphere on stuff. I'm waiting for the right opportunities to present this music I've been working on for so long. So a lot is up next for me. Next year, you will look at me as if I never left.
AllHipHop.com: Sheer dopeness! How can people check for you?
Psalm One: The best way to keep up with me daily is on Twitter (@PsalmOne), but I always have new music up at my website, regularblackgirl.com. You can also Facebook me at "PsalmOne." My Instagram be poppin' too...PsalmOne.
Skyyhook is CEO/FOUNDER/General Manager of Skyyhook Radio and a contributing writer for AllHipHop.com. Follow her on Twitter (@SkyyhookRadio).