AWKWORD Talks ‘Conscious’ Rap, His Biggest Hits with WRAP.fm
On October 6, 2013, rapper, activist and sociologist AWKWORD joined Christian Point Blank Duarte of WRAP.fm for an in-depth and intense one-hour conversation. Produced by Dima of Uni-Fi Records, this episode of The Rundown features Christian and AWKWORD talking on a range of topics, including: the origin of the name “AWKWORD”; the decline of “conscious” rap; the meaning of Protest Music; the Hip Hop industry and record deals; Stop-And-Frisk, gentrification and the state of the nation; AWKWORD’s World View singles “Bars & Hooks“, “Melting Pot (Made In America)“, “Throw Away The Key” and “Imperialism“; AWKWORD’s favorite rappers; and much more.
Christian Point Blank Duarte, WRAP.fm:
Your album is truly an unbeknownst classic in its own right and your cause is as unrelenting as the Hip Hop you embody… Hip Hop heads out there: AWKWORD is the motherfucking truth! World View: Go get it! Make your mark for real with Hip Hop to help at-risk youth in our impoverished inner-city communities. It’s a big deal, as you can plainly see, here in America with all the kids having uncontrolled access to guns; and violence in this culture today; the problems from wars; the criminal justice system; schools and security; government at large acting secretly… Something has got to change and you out there can do something about these issues by talking about and supporting music like AWKWORD’s… World View is as raw as anything you’re ever going to hear, on a positive, mind-altering, conscious approach to music. It is as big of a wake up call to the youth out there. It is truly what the game’s been missing. The beats as well. It’s nothing but hot tracks, features the best emcees and producers from across the globe — you already know! Check it out on DJBooth.net.
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1) First of all, where do you hail from?
2) How did you get your name, AWKWORD?
3) When did you start spitting?
4) What was your first official release?
5) How and when did you link up with Sub-City Records?
You are essentially a rapper/activist and your latest release entitled World View, which is being released through DJBooth.net, is the first-ever 100% non-profit, all-for-charity Hip Hop project to date. It’s a global Hip Hop movement in that it involves artists on every continent, approximately 20 nations and the entire US. The album itself is about 40 tracks, the top 20 being sold as an album through DJ Booth and the remainder will be released for free or for donations afterward. All of the proceeds go to the charity Guns 4 Cameras, an organization working to end gun violence.
6) How did you end up working with this program and how does it work?
7) What role do the New York Civil Liberties Union and Occupy the Hood play in your movement and album World View?
8) How did you get together with DJ Booth to put out the World View project?
9) Are there any other Hip Hop artists you know that are doing what you are doing?
The first track I heard from you, which happened to be off World View, “Melting Pot”, featuring Chaundon, with production by Numomics, was right here on WRAP.fm, during the Certified Fresh Jumpoff with MeenAFresh. I totally fell in love with that track, along with the concept, lyrics and the message in the song. Even though things happen in society that are wrong and unjust there just aren’t enough rappers rapping about it anymore nowadays. There is a total lack of consciousness in the lyrics. Major record companies are no longer supportive of this brand of rap that would otherwise help to encourage and empower the youth of today. It seems Hip Hop music in general today has become a lot less educational and inspirational too… On that note, let’s roll into this joint, which I have on heavy rotation on my iPhone. This is “Melting Pot”, featuring Chaundon, off World View, right here on The Rundown with your boy Point Blank…
10) Why do you think there has been such a steep decline of the conscious genre of rap, which once heavily dominated the airwaves on the radio throughout the 80s, 90s and the earlier part of the 21st century?
11) So, what is Protest Music? I love the term coined.
12) How do you feel about our nation’s current state and all the social ills plaguing our communities?
13) What political views and reservations do you endorse?
14) What is your stance on Stop-and-Frisk and do you feel it’s constitutional or not?
Which brings me to the next song off your album, “Throw Away The Key”, produced by L.Ment. It has a message that is very relevant to the current state of affairs as it pertains to the decline of the justice system and the hotly controversial topic of the Stop-and-Frisk laws in this country and how it it leads to unfair profiling and criminalization of minority youth, which is largely comprised of black and latino youth… So, with no further ado, let’s get into this banger, which more people in the Hip Hop community must listen to to help enlighten them on these policies that are affecting the children we are raising in inner-city neighborhoods. It’s got to stop! Here’s AWKWORD with “Throw Away the Key”…
15) Do you believe that Hip Hop’s biggest and most famous stars in the mainstream today are “corporate slaves” of the record companies they put out records for? If so, how? What’s going on?
16) Do you believe gentrification is good for urban inner-city communities?
“Imperialism”, featuring C-Ray Walz and Reks, is a bold interpretation on the state of worldly events. It touches on technology and it’s degenerative effect on humans, inequality and unjust domination of other countries, the division that comes from class and religious systems, government abuse on it’s citizens and much more. I could go on and on but basically you get the point. We live in a fucked up world and it has to be put out there so that people can make up their own minds about these issues; but they have to have the facts to be able to make these decisions… I love this jump-off. I think it is conceptually at the core of what you stand for and are against at the same time… Let’s expose them! Check it out right here…
17) So, you feature production from all across the world! How did you find the producers that contributed to the rich sound of the World View album?
18) Just to close out, what is the future for AWKWORD?
19) What are all the links to your music?