AWKWORD Talks ‘New Found Home’ Africa, Being an American Jew
After providing a glowing review of his international Hip Hop collaboration “I Am“, supporting the effort to produce a music video shot across the nine countries represented on the song (please help – every $ counts), and crowning him the king of co-signs for his discovery of newcomer Chisom, AllAroundAfrica sat down with AWKWORD to discuss a greater variety of topics than the Protest Music rapper ever has in an interview before.
In the exclusive one-on-one from Africa, AWKWORD fields questions from AllAroundAfrica on being a Jewish American and experiencing anti-Semitism; getting arrested; transitioning from graffiti writer to rapper; the difference between him and other rappers; receiving co-signs from “Hip Hop greats”; juggling music, marriage and fatherhood; artists he’s listening to, and the ones he’d pay to quit rapping; collaborating with Slug, and making “Bars & Hooks” with Sean Price and Harry Fraud; the best business advice for independent artists; the meaning of Protest Music; the state of Hip Hop today; touring worldwide and traveling to Africa; managing his daughters as young musicians; and more.
Now that you’ve mentioned it, tell us how Protest Music came about.
I coined the term to mean both (a) the records I’ve created that are explicitly political, the ones played at protests and used in classrooms, as well as (b) the records that are inherently political and controversial only by their very creation. I believe my survival and perseverance, my refusal to be a typical White man, my insistence on standing in solidarity with the oppressed, as so many Jews have done before me (like U.S. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders during the Civil Rights Movement), is a form of Protest. So, while I highlight certain songs/videos (e.g., “The People’s Champ” or “Whose Streets?“) as clearly representative of my brand of Protest Music, I also consider my very existence a form of Protest.
“THE PEOPLE’S CHAMP” VIDEO
“WHOSE STREETS?” AUDIO