Interview w/ Jasiri X
By: Justin Rizzio
Edited by: Tom Williams
Jasari X is not your typical rapper. You won't hear him on mainstream
radio. You won't see him on Mtv. Instead, you'll get a social
conscience message with each song you hear. Comparable to Immortal
Technique and reminiscent of Public Enemy, Jasari X is on a mission. A
mission to fill a void left in hip hop. A void left by the absence of
groups like Poor Righteous Teachers & X-Clan. See Jasari's latest
video here - HERE
, and then
read what this Pittsburgh mc has to say about hip hop, politics and
the world around them.
215: Tell us who you are and where you're from.
Jasari X: I'm Jasiri X. An MC, Activist and Entrepreneur originally
from the South Side of Chicago and currently residing in Pittsburgh
215: How difficult is it to get recognition as a political artist?
Jasari X: It's easier now than ever with President Obama in the White
House and the role Hip-Hop played in helping him get elected. Plus
with the economy in the shape that it's in I think it causing more
people to look beyond mindless rap music to something with more
substance. Understand, there's a million and one rappers out here
talking about how much money they get and how "gangster" they are, but
just a few talking about what's going on in the world and it's effect
on our community so it's actually easier to stand out.
215: In your opinion, when do you think was the start of mainstream
hip hop's "downfall"?
Jasari X: When artists stopped making music from the heart and
started trying to "make hits." Now rappers openly talk about how they
have little respect for the art form and are just trying to get money.
It's not about making quality music that touches the soul
it's about manufacturing a product that will sell units. So we
essentially went from home cooked meals to eating McDonald's everyday.
That's why today's music is so unhealthy.
215: If you could have a one on one conversation with a rapper like
Waka Flocka or Soulja Boy, what would you say to them?
Jasari X: I would let them know that I had a high degree of respect
for their intelligence and work ethic. Especially an artist like
Soulja boy who produced and put out records by himself and built his
buzz from the ground up. I would let him know how powerful this
example is to the young people that look up to him and encourage him
to show his audience more of his intellect and business acumen and
less of the flossing and bravado. I would also encourage him to touch
on issues that directly effect his fan base like police brutality,
racial profiling and injustice. Like Tupac he has the ability to go
from being just another artist to an icon.
215: Outside of music, what are some other things you think people
should be aware of right now?
Jasari X: Definitely the mid term elections which are gonna be crazy.
Also the economy which is continuing to fall, plus the rise in racial
driven violence. We definitely need to be wide awake to the fact that
the conditions in our communities are getting worse. We need new ideas
and solutions cause the old one ain't working
215: What is your ultimate goal as an artist?
Jasari X: To raise the consciousness of my audience and build a
sustainable business model for artists/activists
215: Where can people reading this get more familiar with your work?
Jasari X: The best place is www.JasiriX.com
215: Last words?
Jasari X: Peace and One Hood