Let’s hop right into this lead single, “The Cypher” — Tell me about this particular track; how did it...
Let’s hop right into this lead single, “The Cypher” — Tell me about this particular track; how did it come to fruition?
The Cypher is a foundational part of Hip Hop Culture. The Cypher is where we unite to test each other’s skills, and a place where THE CULTURE is actively shared. It came about by wanting to display my lyrical superiority, and what better way to remind people than to collaborate with THE BLASTMASTER, who is The Goat to me! If I can stand 2 to 2 with The Teacha, then real heads will know I kept my sword sharp.
Of course “The Cypher” comes courtesy of your latest solo LP, Aubrey — Conceptually, what does that title represent both to and for you?
Aubrey is different in that it’s my authentic self as HIP HOP. It’s not in a box. It is varied in subject matter and delivery. It’s street conscious. Aubrey is my favorite project to date. Even more loved creatively than Station Identification by Channel Live.
As a lyricist, when you sit down to pen your rhymes where do you draw your inspiration from?
As a lyricist, I draw my inspiration from everywhere. Yes, of course, the beat, but I’ve learned to analyze everything in order to draw comparisons, metaphors and similes. The world is mine in that sense.
Reflecting, tell me your whole inception into music — When did you first become interested in it? And, how did it all begin for Hakim Green?
I first started writing rhymes when I was 9, 10 years old, following the local emcees in East Orange, New Jersey, more specifically Rowley Park a.k.a. Bush City. That’s probably where I got my leaning toward MAD IZM! Big up to The Stardust 3, Bush City Boys, Super 6, Mike Cee and, of course, Treach. Hearing Naughty by Nature on the radio for the first time in Dallas, Texas, with “O.P.P.” really put the battery in my back. I was their background dancer when they were The New Style, so when I saw their success I felt I needed to trade in my dance steps for rhymes.
Now you are a native of East Orange, New Jersey, correct? So growing up in ‘The Garden State,’ who all did / do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?
My strongest musical influences were Naughty, BDP, Big Daddy Kane, Chuck D, X Clan, ATCQ, De La Soul, Redman, Wu-Tang… actually too many to name. I was influenced from Cold Crush to Souls of Mischief, and everything in between.
In having said that, how do you classify your overall sound and / or style?
My style is Conscious Boom Bap.
How and when did KRS-One step into the picture, ultimately garnering you all a recording contract with Capitol Records?
I met KRS when I was teaching junior high school from 1990-94. I started an after school program focusing on African-American history. Taking my class to see KRS-One speak at various colleges led me to opening a few for him as an educator. He didn’t know I was making music until after a year of knowing each other.
What eventually caused the group to disband?
Channel Live broke up because one of us lost faith in the group.
Switching gears here…
What do you feel has been the key to your longevity?
The key to my longevity is the love of Hip Hop Culture, and its forum for expression.
What do you want people to get from your music?
I simply want people to feel uplifted and motivated to promote the culture in its purest form.
On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of Hip Hop?
The current state of Hip Hop is AMAZING! Not the rap music business, but THE CULTURE. The dance, battle rap scene, DJ element, graf and visual arts are taking things to a whole other level. the Rap music business isn’t Hip Hop. It just exploits it for profit.
Do you have any other outside / additional aspirations, maybe even completely away from music?
24 HRS OF PEACE is one of my companies. It was created to support Mayor Ras Baraka’s “violence as a public health issue.” For the last 13 years, I’ve produced a 24 hour peace festival called 24 HRS OF PEACE, which we’re looking to take national. You can YouTube my new video, “REAL HIP HOP FOR THE PEOPLE,” which was shot at the last 24HOP, hosted by Queen Latifah, and had performances from Fivio Foreign, Fabolous, CL Smooth, Mister Cee, G Herbo, 2 Rare and others. I’ve also created a Character Development program for ages 12-19 which uses Hip Hop Culture to foster positive imaging through the arts.
To date, what has been your greatest career moment(s), at least thus far anyway?
24 HRS OF PEACE is the epitome of Hakim Green. Education, Arts and Culture. The event is executed precisely to elevate the people, and we do just that every year.
What’s an average day like for you?
An average day for me is the gym, meditation and studio. I take calls while I’m working out.
Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans…
I react to fans by all the current platforms available. I’m active on Facebook and IG primarily, but I do check in on Twitter and Tik Tok. Always looking to having positive engagements with fans and supporters.
What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? And, why?
My favorite aspect of the work I do is that it’s self created. I truly work for myself, and get to manifest my own ideas. There’s no least favorite thing. It all comes with the territory of relying on self.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
The advice I always give is fall in love with the culture and your craft. Keep your business tight, but don’t lose the love for the art form or you’ll soon be at the end.
Lastly, what’s next for Hakim Green?
Right now, I’m working the Aubrey album, and creating the 24 HRS OF PEACE Tour. In this current age, it is imperative that we change the narrative. 24hrsofpeace was created to spread peace, love, unity and safely having fun. Through Hip Hip that’s what I’ve planned to do.
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