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Friday, November 27, 2009

NEW Feature: The Kitchen Interview with new artist, Poe Picasso 

Poe Picasso,mixtape

Now this is something new for The Kitchen - our first artist interview! Over the six years I've run this blog, I've studiously avoided doing interviews for a variety of reasons but after I got into a conversation with up-and-coming rapper, Poe Picasso about his recently-released Exhibit B: Manifest Destiny album, a project you should definitely check out, I thought what he had to say might be worth sharing with you, The Kitchen readers. I asked him if he'd consent to answer a few more questions to flesh it out a little and the following was the end-result:

So this conversation originally sparked off when I asked you if Exhibit B was a stealth Christian Hip-Hop Album because of some interesting biblical and overtly Christian ideas expressed throughout the record. So is it?

No it isn't. In actuality its a concept album and the underlying concept of the album is me feeling superior and having some form of God Complex, hence the title Manifest Destiny. I purposely wrote the album that way because I wanted to take a darker introspective route.

I think I asked you originally if you were a "full-on Christian or just deeply fascinated with the Christian/Bible"?

Nah, I'm not fully Christian, but being that I am from the Caribbean most of us were raised in the Church whether Catholic, Christian, Protestant, etc one way or another you were influenced and indoctrinated whether we knew it or not. I'm not fascinated with the Bible per se but more so fascinated with the idea of the unknown. Being that we are Human their are a lot of blinds pots in our existence and I wanted to explore that on this record. The "Human" record wasn't a defense to Creationism.

When I listened to the record it really sounded like you were defending Creationism to me though:

If you're referring to line where I said, "Tried to change my limbs to fins to reverse evolution to prove we never came from them, no big bang and random chain of events." What I was trying to do was illustrate the many different views of "humanity" whether scientific or religious I wasn't taking sides. But since you asked, no I don't believe in Creationism but I do believe evolution and the 7 day theory of the bible worked together in unison to bring us where we at today. The overall theme of the record "Human" was meant to shed light on imperfection. In the hook I said: "See I'm human and I make mistakes you can pierce my flesh and my bones can break" meaning we're not perfect.

Being that we live in a very self-conscious, materialistic, celebrity glorified vain society we are forced to put up a wall and cover our faults by over compensating them with clothes, cars, money, sex, drugs, etc. So what I was basically saying was no matter what you possess or lack you human and we all eat, shit, breathe, bleed, f-ck and sometimes feel the same way emotionally. I'm no better nor lesser than anyone rather were one in the same.

Do you mind if I ask how old you are because you make frequent references to 'younger' and 'new generation' rappers but your influences are kind of 'Old Man' rap references?

You hit the nail on the head. I'm actually 21. I made references to the younger generation because being an artist and a fan of music, I hear and see a lot of criticism towards seasoned artist. This mainly applies to hip-hop music and to me it seems very complacent and corny. It doesn't matter how old or how young you are because your talent and has little to do with your age. Granted age does bring a higher level of consciousness and praise if you're younger & talented, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. It seems like hip-hop is in a place where the older artist are trying to remain relevant and preserve their legacies while the younger artist are shunning them. If you were to look at other genres of music: for example, I don't think a group like Coldplay feels threatened nor bothered by U2.

Also its not that I'm influenced by "Old Man Rap", but it just so happens that the "Old Man Rappers", weren't as cookie cutter with their style of music and they brought a sense of realism to their music that is rarely seen now. At one point hip-hop artist had a voice worth hearing beyond having a hot song. Now everything seems catered so as not to step on any toes and doesn't invoke honesty, nor any substance. So yeah, I'm not influenced by older artist but rather the ones who aren't inhibited regardless of your age.

Switching gears a little, what's it like being an indie artist: what are the challenges or the benefits of being indie from your viewpoint when the major label system seems to be collapsing?

Being an indie artist is extremely challenging but rewarding in its own right. I have full creative control of my musical works and anything related to my music but not the resources to properly execute and fully promote my work. Beyond that I feel the pros and cons of being independent eventually balances itself out depending on the amount of work and effort you as an artist are willing to puts into whatever you're trying to accomplish.

What are you listening to nowadays (when you're not working on your own music, that is) - hip hop or otherwise?

At this point its blend of everything, but I'll forever listen to hip-hop due to the fact that its made and geared immediately to me and people who share similar upbringings to me. But aside from hip-hop I have a lot of different genres in heavy rotation. From Pink Floyd's The Wall to Rage Against The Machine and Radiohead. It mainly depends on how I'm feeling at the moment; what I listen to depends on my mood.

Really, huh? Let's do a most-played songs ipod check then!

The most-played songs on my iPod at the moment? Let me see: 2 pac - Nothing To Lose, The Beatles - A Day In the Life, Jonny Go Figure - Jamba Juice, Coldplay - A Rush Of Blood To The Head, Wale - Shades, Nipsey Hussle - Closer Than Close, Chromeo - Opening Up and Drake - Fear.

That's a pretty eclectic mix. As an artist who appreciates the work of different genres of artists then, is there a hip hop (or any other kind of) record you wished you'd written?

Yeah, absolutely! I wish I'd written: "Concrete Jungle" by Bob Marley, "Can I Live" by Jay-Z, "Street Dreams Remix" By Nas, "Imagine" by John Lennon, "Tomorrow" by Avril Lavigne, "Dope Man" by N.W.A, "Return Of The G" and "Crumblin Erb" by Outkast, "Tear Drops & Closed Caskets & Pain" By 2pac, "You Know How We Do It" by Ice Cube, "Straight Up Menace" by MC Eiht and "Brain Damage" By Pink Floyd.

OK. Focusing back just on hip hop than, where do you see the music going in the next couple years? A couple writers have recently piled on and officially declared it dead after Nas' controversial pronouncement a couple years ago.

I see hip-hop going wherever society goes. The more society advances the more we'll lose the organic aspect of doing things due to such high volumes demand and production. Hip-hop and music as a whole will grow depending on the social conditions surrounding it. The best music tends to blossom under extreme social conditions when things are at their worst time and right now "things are looking f-ckin bad", so maybe that could be a foreshadow of an impending Renaissance in music. Hopefully!

The Kitchen occasionally dabbles in political content: what do you think of how President Obama is doing so far and if you could give him one piece of advice, what would it be?

I think President Obama is doing a wonderful job; and everything in his power to bring about change. Now whether its for the better or worse we'll just have to wait and see what happens. In regards to giving him advice I wouldn't give him any advice!

Plug time! I definitely enjoyed listening to the Exhibit B album. Do you have any plans for touring or shooting some videos to help promote it that we should be looking out for or are you already working on your next

Lord willing I'm alive I'd love to setup a college tour for Exhibit B: Manifest Destiny and I'd love for Exhibit B to be publicly recognized by the wider hip-hop community. Also in regards to other releases, I'm working on a few projects and experimenting with different styles trying to push the line a bit. For the near future be on the look for videos from Exhibit B, new music and lot more of Poe, "get used to me bitches". Stay posted and stay real.

Alright, good lookin', Poe. Thanks for taking the time out to speak with us.

You can check out Poe Picasso's Exhibit B: Manifest Destiny by clicking HERE.


Poe Picasso
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