When I started recording my albums, I had the presence of mind to provide written lyrics of my songs. I saw that people only dance to the beat and sing along or nod to the chorus. Hip Hop being edutainment, I wanted everyone to get the message in my verses. I said it back then. For Hip Hop to maintain its social and cultural influence, we should treat our lyrics like scriptures. We have to present them in a written format. I wrote my first book and published it with words from my album. In a few years, this will be standard practice for all emcees. Growing up, it was against the rules to live Hip Hop. I was persecutions for this Kulture. Some of my guardians starved me of food, just to discourage me from rap.
I punish in many ways, but I never gave up on my art. Even when my mom orchestrated prayer vigils and used what I told her about my plans to sabotage my efforts.
I thought the world was against me when in fact, it was merely a few family members discouraging me. As I endured, their many forms of shaming, I realized that they didn’t understand what the Kulture is about. All they heard was mumble, jumbo with a frequent outburst of “f,” “b,” “mf,” “s” bombs in between. They did not understand the sweeping change that was taking place. My critics never realized the idea, so they missed out on a lot of vital information. By the time they figured out what’s happening, I owned a bigger house, drove a bigger car and dated the best women. I had created a body of work that is unrivaled by some of their cherished pastors, politicians or professors. They are dumbfounded how I accomplished all that before my 40th?
I learned from my critics that it’s cool to drop a hot song but how many people will appreciate the words? How many will understand that message when the next hot song hits from a different artist? I wrote my lyrics down, and (shout out to Ken Cowle) published them with explanations (illustrations). Now I try to give this same power to people who have an exciting story to tell. I recognized that an emcee is a poet, a wordsmith, a philosopher, an activist, a spoken word expert who literally induces a change in culture. He or she is more than a musician. The intellectual property and emotions of a song can be misconstrued by some, so the artist has a responsibility to protect his work by writing them down and publishing them.*