Krip-Hop Nation: Why the title Cripple Threat?
I chose that title for several reasons. 1. I wanted the title track of the project to directly confront the fact that people often feel threatened or afraid of what is different, and that this discomfort is a large part of what leads many able-bodied people to shy away from, and underestimate disabled individuals. 2. I wanted a title that expressly highlighted the fact that I was not afraid to identify myself as a disabled individual. 3. I wanted to make a defiant statement of strength by using a word that was originally used to associate the disabled community with weakness in a new way, that speaks to our collective power, resilience, and determination to rise above the stereotypes by which we are all too often defined. 4. I wanted the title to reflect that I am a highly capable and tenacious MC, and that I will not be shying away from any lyrical challenge that might come my way. I am determined to leave a respected stamp on Hip-Hop, and I have no interest in being seen as a novelty act.
2) KHN: What can the disabled & general public take away from this song?
I hope that the disabled community feels a sense of empowerment when they listen to this track. I hope it inspires those who have been underestimated and stereotyped throughout their lives to keep fighting for the respect and dignity they deserve, and to expose the world to all of their uniqueness and creativity.
I hope that the general public listen to this and are driven to examine the way they view people with physical differences (and differences in general). I also hope this song prompts people to take a long, hard look at the state of the commercial hip-hop industry, and the values and rationales that drive it. Finally, I hope people get to the end of the track and go…MAN, now that’s a powerful emcee!
3) KHN: You are a poet tell me how does your poetry mix your your Hip-Hop
I try to approach every song I write as though it is a poem. Each one has to have a unique momentum and voice to it, and plenty of colorful imagery and emotion within it. To a certain extent, I want the words within my songs to stand out in bold against the musical backdrop, in a way that allows the listener to physically feel them. To me…that’s what poetry is…writing that you can FEEL.
4) KHN: On this CD what is it different from the other album?
There are a few things in particular that set this project apart. 1. First off, the songs are more focused and refined. While there are a few freestyles on the album, most of the material has been designed to fit a specific flow that I wanted the album to possess. 2. There are also a larger variety of songs. Some are calls to action, some are feel good tracks, and some are introspective, reflective and emotional pieces. 3. The beat selection is also different. This time around, in addition to rhyming over instrumentals I’ve taken a liking to, I will also be rapping over several of my own beats. These will be designated on the track list of the album. There will of course be other differences, but I don’t want to give too much away.
5) KHN: Give us some titles of the others songs on this new CD & what do they mean to you?
1. “Jackson Pollock”: This title means a lot to me. I’ve always admired Mr. Pollock’s artistic vision, and his determination to follow his own path, regardless of what his skeptics and critics said. That song is about my quest to define my own character, voice, and future.
2. “Musings of a Nomad”: I went through a four year period where I moved around a lot, and I began to scribble down my thoughts regarding my nomadic lifestyle. The song that emerged deals with the physical and emotional impact of moving from place to place, and speaks about the process by which I came to understand the value of stability and permanence.
6) KHN: For me I see the song Cripple Threat is a speak back to the Hip-Hop industry and with all of this ableism in Hip-Hop it is needed. Your thoughts.
I think you hit the nail on the head. I wrote that song because I wanted to confront a mainstream Hip-Hop industry that only lends the spotlight to artists who are content to follow the same record selling formula…a formula that has long been defined by materialism, chauvinism, and indeed ableism. Certain rappers, who I will not name at this juncture, have joked about the speech difficulties that many disabled individuals face in their songs since the early 90’s. I felt I needed to issue the followers of this troubling mainstream model a wake-up call.
7) KHN: In the chorus you mention intellect, do you think that is missing in todays’ Hip-Hop
It is there if you know where to look (i.e. in the underground hip-hop community, and in the works of certain highly visible groups such as The Roots), but I feel that today’s mainstream Hip-Hop scene, and the “Hit-Record” model that dominates it, actively discourages artists from putting out music that displays their intellect. If a song like “Versace” sells, that is what the major labels want to hear, and that is what they will pay for. To be clear, I am not saying that today’s hip-hop artists lack intellect. I’m simply saying that the business side of the industry often prevents them from tapping into and displaying that intellect.
8) KHN: How do you think this CD will talk back to mainstream Hip-Hop especially Kanye West incident
My hope is that it will illustrate the frustration felt by the disabled, and hip-hop communities when they are saddled with the hollow, and often insensitive products that today’s mainstream hip-hop industry produces. I hope that it will serve as one of many catalysts that prompt that same industry to bring lyrical, socially conscious and inclusive hip-hop back into the spotlight.
As far as the Kanye West incident is concerned…that was a case of what happens when hubris meets insensitivity and a lack of understanding. I hope that, should my CD fall into Kanye’s hands, it will cause him to reflect on and his behavior, and modify it moving forward. Most of all however, I hope that this album serves as an educational tool that prevents future Kanye-style incidents from occurring.
9) KHN: With Cripple Threat explain the beginning of the song.
In essence, I’m saying that the mainstream Hip-Hop industry is lined with artists who are known more for their endorsement deals than their lyrics. I am asserting that I am determined to break from that mold, and as the Breaking Bad intro suggests, make myself and my affiliates known in the process.
10) KHN: Which song on this CD which one you really like and why?
At this point, “Jackson Pollock” is probably my favorite, because of the way the message, flow and instrumental fit together…you’ll see