Estimated reading time: 10 minute(s)
Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): Please share a little bit about yourself; some of your upbringing and how did it lead you into being a Hip Hop artist?
J Lyric (JL): Peace. I was born and raised in New Orleans, and I had a humble upbringing. I fell in love with music at a young age. My older cousin was in this local group in New Orleans called 39 Posse in the 90’s. I would watch them, and it was motivation for me to one day become a Hip Hop artist. Hip Hop has always been a part of my life, Hip Hop is how you talk, walk, dress.
EM: The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said during a recent Saviours’ Day address, regarding music and entertainment, “The cultural revolution is on”! He was referring to the awakening of various celebrities who are standing up for truth and speaking out against injustice and how their music is beginning to affect the masses. How do you see yourself as part of this cultural revolution?
JL: I’m a huge supporter of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and The NOI (Nation Of Islam). Literally every time I listen to one of his speeches I’m inspired to write music. I think as a Hip Hop artist I have a responsibility to myself, my daughter and everyone else who’s listening to speak the truth to them. You have to have a certain kind of spirit and courage to speak truth to power, especially today in Hip Hop. It’s much easier to get rich by making music about degrading women or selling drugs. The road I’m taking is a much tougher road, but I can sleep at night knowing I didn’t sell out.
EM: As a black man, first and foremost, and then as an artist/activist what thoughts do you wake up with and go to sleep with regarding the time we are living in?
JL: It’s a crucial time we are living in. We’re living in a time where if you are a Black man and even a Black woman you could be unarmed and killed on camera, and the cop/cops who committed the murder will not only walk free, but a Go Fund Me account will pop up out of nowhere and he could get rich. So my main thoughts every morning is to make sure I make it home to my daughter safe.
EM: Minister Farrakhan spoke to a room filled with other Hip Hop artists, producers, and those in the field of entertainment that have a great influence in their artistry. He said to them, “As long as you beef you can never sit down like brothers and pool your resources together to do something economically.” He also stated, “This envy that we have is a sickness”. From your position as an artist, how have beefs been used as a tool against us? How has envy played a role in the division among artists? In what ways can both, beefs and envy, be alleviated so that the bigger picture is at the forefront?
JL: Beefing with your own people is wack! Before my “Justice” video even starts I say, “There’s Strength in numbers, our powers is in our unity”. Most of the beefs and petty differences are simply misunderstandings and a lack of communication. Once a person can get in between the two who are beefing and mediate, you’ll have a chance to find common ground and stop the beef before it escalates.
EM: In your recently released single “Justice” you describe the police killings of Black men and women and how we as a people are treated and seen in the eyes of White America. There is a growing number of artists who are also speaking out against this form of genocide and systemic racism. How can music be used as a liberating tool, to dispel fear from among our people and to empower us to take control over our communities?
JL: The more artists wake up, the better it will be for the black community in general. Hip Hop in the beginning was positive. Somewhere along the way it turned negative, but that’s the “cool” thing. The more artists wake up and speak on real issues and against our real enemy the more the youth will take notice and do their own research.