Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
11/10/2004 6:40:25 AM
Tags and topics realted to this article include Public Enemy.
Professor Griff is no stranger to true fans of hip hop. As the leader of the S1W unit of the rap group Public Enemy, Professor Griff exemplified the revolutionary spirit, committed focus and high level of consciousness which existed in hip hop during that time. Often controversial and never one to hold his tongue, Professor Griff spoke with Final Call Online Correspondent Ashahed Muhammad sharing his views on reparations, the current state of the music industry and upcoming projects.
Final Call (FC): First of all, it’s good talking to you after all of this time. What types of things are you involved in right now?
Professor Griff (PG): The one thing that takes precedence is I am involved in the next Sesame Street, but with a hip hop theme. I created a theme called Kid Hoppaz. I designed some characters that actually do rap songs and speak to some of the things that children need in their growing stages. We deal with certain themes in the songs. We wrote stories and we’re trying to bring it to life as far as doing live shows and ultimately a television program.
FC: How did that idea originate?
PG: It originated basically with me driving back and forth from North Carolina to Atlanta with my children in the backseat, listening to them sing songs that they hear on the radio. There’s no real music out there for children. You look for music for children, especially Black children, you would definitely have to go to music that White people make, that’s catered towards and that deals with subjects that their children may deal with, and arrange it in a way that our children would understand these things.
Basically, what I did was, I just put stories and I put lessons to music. We learn in rhythmic patterns anyway, so I just took a subject like “Respect”—“Respect your parents,” “Respect yourself,” you know, “Respect everyone around you” and just put it in a song form on a level in which two to seven-year-olds can understand, but in a real kind of way.
FC: CD and audio tape, or are you going video with it? Is it going to be on television?
PG: I wrote the stories, wrote the songs, recorded them, designed the characters, got a video production that I’m working with, got an illustrator that I’m working with and we’re trying to bring it to life, for ultimately video and DVD.
FC: I heard that you had a new album coming out.
PG: I finished my last album about four months ago. I have an album that’s coming out, called The 7th Degree, with a band I put together called the 7 Octaves. I got tired of rapping over the loops and beats and the drum machines. I just took it live. Not only that, my last album came out in 2001, September 11.
FC: “The Word Became Flesh.”
PG: Right. The album after that was the “Revolverlution” album, with Public Enemy, and that was July 2003. So, there’s material out there. A lot of times, you know, with us, if it ain’t in our face on TV, BET or MTV or on the radio, people will run into you and ask you, “So, what you been doing? I haven’t heard from you in a while.” But it’s actually out there. I’ve done a couple of songs for a couple of movies. I’ve done a couple of songs for some video games.
FC: In your lyrics, you always inject much-needed consciousness into the minds of the listening public. Most music, in general, is lacking any type of material for your brain, and with hip hop in particular, that is also a problem. What has kept you from going the easy commercial route even if it means that the major distributors might stay away from you, resulting in lower record sales?
PG: Having come into the music industry with the knowledge of self and being a Muslim in the Nation, it’s like, there’s just certain things that are already instil
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