Let’s hop right into this long overdue solo EP, A Thought Weapon — Conceptually, what does that title represent...
Let’s hop right into this long overdue solo EP, A Thought Weapon — Conceptually, what does that title represent both to and for you?
Well, I always thought of the brain or the mind as the ultimate weapon. And, I always thought of thoughts as ammunition, and like any weapon it could be used as a negative or positive.
How then does this new material(s) either differ and / or compare to what the masses already both know and love you for?
Well, I’ve always done a lot of recording stuff, and I just want to do it the right way instead of rushing it. Also, I went to Organized Noize to produce it. Much as quality beats (over) quantity, I’d rather wait than rush something I wasn’t satisfied with.
Why has it taken you this long to drop a solo project? And, what was it about now, in 20-22 specifically, that made you feel that the timing was just right?
They just added a Grammy category for spoken word, and I saw this as a sign that it was time.
As a spoken word poet, when you sit down to pen your lyrics where do you draw your inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from everything. He says if the lyrics present themselves. Michelangelo says that when he looks at a block of granite the sculpture is already there. He just strips away the unnecessary part so that everyone can see.
Reflecting, tell me your whole inception into music — When did you first become interested in it? And, how did it all begin for Ruben Bailey?
When I was 12 I saw a Run-DMC video that really made me want to rap. By the time I was 15, I had become a serious emcee. And when I was 18, we had started forming the beginnings of The Dungeon. I actually had recorded an entire solo album back in 1990 called Welcome To Atlanta.
Now you are a native of Atlanta, GA, correct? So growing up in ‘The SWATS,’ who all did / do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?
Yes, I’m from Atlanta. But my strongest musical influences were Run-DMC, KRS-One, Public Enemy, Rakim and N.W.A..
In having said that, how do you classify your overall sound and / or style?
I tell people that my style is whatever’s dope. I don’t like to box it in.
What particular string of events actually led up to your initial linking with Dungeon Family and later forming Society of Soul?
I got into some legal trouble coming out of high school, and I felt that I needed to change my situation. I also felt the responsibility to let my brothers know that they could change theirs.
Ultimately, what caused the dissolution of the group?
I don’t feel that we ever dissolved, I just feel that growing up as men you have families, responsibilities and things that you want to do from the outside. May appear as growing apart, but we’ve always supported each other‘s efforts.
Is there anyone who you haven’t already worked with that you’d definitely like to futuristically speaking?
Really, I just want to do another Dungeon Family album more than to work with anyone else.
Switching gears here…
What do you feel has been the key to your longevity?
I think the longevity is due to just a love for the music, and a refusal to compromise who I am for any reason.
Do you have any other outside / additional aspirations, maybe even completely away from music?
I want to get into voiceover acting.
To date, what has been your greatest career moment(s), at least thus far anyway?
To me, the greatest moments are when people walk up to me and thank me for being a positive influence in their life.
What’s an average day like for you?
My average days just like anyone else’s; I get up, check my schedule and then I just allow myself to be open to whatever creative juices flow.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
My only advice is to always be true to yourself; don’t let anyone hold you back. If you’re coming from your heart, it will be dope.
Lastly, what’s next for you, Rube?
I’m going to put out the spoken word LP, which is the other half of A Thought Weapon. The title will be Rise Up Be Extraordinary, which is an acronym for my name.
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