Friday, June 5, 2015

Black Music Month: Prince Charles, JFlo, and Big Mike Mic WHOA!! Exclusive Interview

Black Music Month began in 1979 when Kenny Gamble, Ed Wright, and Dyana Williams developed the idea to set aside a month dedicated to celebrating the impact of black music. Created by music business insiders, the group successfully lobbied President Jimmy Carter to host a reception on June 7th, 1979 to formally recognize the cultural and financial contributions of black music. Since 1979, Black Music Month has grown from a commemoration to national proportions with extravaganza across the country.

Hip Hop has continued to be a subculture of the young people. Since it burst onto the scene in the late 1970s it has always been the voice of the young people and a conscious generation. “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugar Hill Gang is noted as the first hip hop record to go Mainstream. Over the years we have enjoyed various artist and groups as Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, Fab Five Freddy, Doug E. Fresh, The Fat Boys, Slick Rick, Run DMC, and the list goes on. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s a subgenre of hip-hop known as gangsta rap came onto the scene. Unlike the melodramatic storylines and upbeat tempos of Hip Hop, Gangsta Rap (Rap) came forth with more raw lyrical content and heavy bass lines for the tracks.

Each year XXL magazine puts out there “Freshmen Class” list. These young Mc’s are viewed as the “Who’s Who” of the new school. Over the years it has featured various new comers like J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, August Alsina, and Chattanooga’s own Isaiah Rashad.

             I am a lover of underground rap and emerging artist. In celebration of not only Black Music Month but celebrating the talent that is right here in Chattanooga I got the chance to sit down with my “Freshman Class” 3 outstanding artist who truly are the NEXT to blow!! They are Prince Charles, JFlo, and Big Mike Mic Whoa!!

                              Prince Charles

                                     J Flo

                       Big Mike Mic WHOA

Check them out in their own words. .

Lorean: Tell me a little about yourself?

Prince Charles: I’ve always been into certain aspects of the arts, specifically music. I sang in the church choir but church is where I was exposed to live instruments. I also used to listen to old school funk with my dad.

J. Flo: I don’t have that story a typical rapper has. I don’t have that “I wanted to rap since I was 3”. My parents actually didn’t condone me trying to do must so I didn’t actually venture into music until I was in college. When I was 18. I am very a typical from what you see in mainstream hip-hop artist.

Mike Mic: I was born here in Chattanooga. At the age of 4 I move to California for about 6 years. My Uncle passed away and my mother felt it was time for us to come back to Chattanooga. In 3rd grade we had a project. All I knew was we had a chance to rap. I had never rapped in front of people before. My teacher called my homeboy Brandon and I to the front to do our project, we got up there and I started rapping. Everyone in the classroom started bobbing their heads and cheering. When it came time for my homeboy to do his part he froze up, so I just then took the lead. I just kept going and following. I knew then that I was supposed to be doing something like this.

Lorean: What does music mean to you?

Prince Charles: Music is an expression of life experiences. A super powerful tool that requires lots of responsibility due to the heavy influence on the masses.

J Flo: Music is a means of an outlet to me. It’s getting out an emotional connection you can’t physically say or do. It’s a way to connect with people that you can’t be face to face with. Music is my true emotions and my feelings that I may not want to divulge to one person but I can relate it to something else so the song may not have anything to do with me but the message will.

Mike Mic: Music means expression. Music means life. It means no boundaries, an energy that is non-stop. It’s filling.

Lorean: From a historical standpoint of our people being rooted in spirituals, jazz, spoken word, the church, and our community what is the Hip Hop generation of now saying versus the eras of the past?

Prince Charles: I think music is showing us the current state of our society and like in society, it’s trying to find it’s way back to the truth.

J Flo: It’s shocking to say the least and I don’t mean that in a good way. We are being hindered in the messages that we here now apart from the few jewels that we have in the rough like J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar. The majority of people are all about outward shine and outward flash. It’s all about the Turn Up. Social issues don’t matter. Relationships don’t matter.

Mike Mic: I truly didn’t understand what Hip Hop was at first. When I first started listening to music I was listening to Master P and Snoop. I was about 5 or 6 and I just knew that was music. When I did mu research my homeboy Brian Billups explained to me the difference between rap and hip-hop. I feel like Hip Hop was more about what was going on then like “Rappers Delight” by the Sugar Hill Gang or “Friends” by Whodini. They were talking about life situations versus now in the music you’re seeing that hip-hop is dead. I agree with Nas, only because Hip Hop got pimped out. When you introduce money into the equation things they only want to promote what sells and that’s money and sex. It’s more of a hustle. It’s not a balance anymore.

Lorean: What struggles and challenges have impacted your music?

Prince Charles: One of the challenges I’ve encountered is making the decision to actually pursue music production as a career choice after graduating college. That always makes for an interesting conversation, especially with my parents, lol! Gotta do what you love.

J Flo: The music game is nothing but struggle. The glitz, the glam, the BET Awards, and the Grammy’s, that is not real life. That is life for a small circle. The biggest struggle is creative originality. True you can rap, true you can write, but do you make music and produce a sound that hasn’t been heard? Can you honestly be yourself to where someone can hear the song and don’t say “That’s just another so and so”. Nobody wants to sign “so and so”. Support. You have to have thick skin and a support system because music is one of the most opinionated forms of artistry ever.

Mike Mic: I would have to say really growing up I moved out to the Westside and seeing the things that were going on out there people (including myself) were trapped in a cycle. Some people had generations out there still living. The same issues continued to plague that part of town drugs, teen pregnancy, killing, government assistance, etc. it was just a new generation of people. So when you get up and try to move from that your mindset has to change if not you will still have that poverty mentality.  That very struggle and those feelings still follow me. Seeing and knowing it first hand allows me to relay a real life message through my music to my people.

Lorean: What is the one thing you want your fans to leave with after hearing your music?
Prince Charles: I want my supporters to leave with positive vibes. I want people to feel good when they listen to my music.

J Flo: People really become a fan after they meet me. There is a certain level of artistry that people can appreciate and that is what I want them to hear when the listen to my music.

Mike Mic: Motivation. Encouragement.  Find who you are in this journey and your purpose in this life. That speaks to the core of who I am and what I am trying to do.

That is only a scratch on the surface to my interview with these three phenomenal men. I appreciate their time and full honesty.

Stay right here for Part 2 of my exclusive interview!!

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It's Black Music Month!!

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