Toni Blackman

Toni Blackman

Toni Blackman

Toni Blackman is the first Hip Hop artist selected to work as a Cultural Ambassador with the US Department of State.She is an Echoing Green Fellow, an alum of Soros Foundation’s OSI fellowship, creator of Freestyle Union Cipher Workshop and Rhyme Like A Girl. Toni is both highly respected as an artist and social entrepreneur having performed at a host of festivals and legendary venues including the Roxy in L.A. and with her band at Apollo in NYC.  This influence led to Toni being honored by DOVE soap’s 2012 Real Woman campaign.  Toni has performed, led workshops and spoken in 34 different countries including ASPEN Institute’s World Summit on Creativity in Oman, the Pio Manzu Conference in Italy, the World Social Forum in Barcelona, a featured speaker at Chicago Ideas Week, TEDx UMass at Amherst and most recently at Brooklyn Museum’s First Saturdays. She has shared stages with the likes of Erykah Badu, Mos Def, KRS One, Vernon Reid, Meshell, Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, Gokh Bi System and Youssou Ndour. Toni’s next book, “Wisdom of the Cipher” will be released Spring 2014 along with music from her Hip Hop Meditation project, and a memoir of her work in Hip Hop diplomacy, “Travels of a Lyrical Ambassador”, later in 2014. “Inner-Course”, her first book was released in 2003 (Villard/Random House). Toni earned her B.A. and M.A. at Howard University. She was recently featured in Forbes Magazine and on the Tom Joyner Morning Show.  Toni leads workshops, lectures, consults and performs.

Rhymes: Eric B. & Rakim “Eric B. is President,” Goodie Mob “Cell Therapy,” The Fugees “Ready or Not”

Reasons:

Click here to download Toni’s interview

More Info on Toni:

ToniBlackman.com

@ToniBlackman

Toni Blackman on Soundcloud

Article on Toni in Forbes

Songs from this Interview:











Che “Rhymefest” Smith

Rhymefest

Che “Rhymefest” Smith

Che “Rhymefest” Smith is the quintessential renaissance man as a father, husband, entrepreneur and raptivist. Inspired by his life experiences in a single-parent, working class household, Che has blazed a new trail in art, music and social activism. In 2005, Che won a Grammy for co-writing the historic record “Jesus Walks,” performed by his childhood friend Kanye West. He has served as co-writer on many of Kanye’s albums including Late Registration, Graduation, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Yeezus. He is currently nominated for a grammy for co-writing 2013’s hit, “New Slaves.”

In 2011, Che was the first rapper to ever run for city council in Chicago. After successfully defeating 3 other candidates, he lost to the incumbent in a run-off race by a mere 200 votes. He continues to be active in local and national elections.

Che has supported countless community organizations as a mentor and motivational speaker. In 2013, Rhymefest along with Kanye West launched Donda’s House, Inc.  to honor the educational legacy of Dr. Donda West (Kanye’s mother) by implementing arts and literature experiences that transform youth. Currently, he is finalizing his third major music release and first book release Violence Is Sexy, with an expected release in the Fall of 2014. Che “Rhymefest” Smith believes “the only true power is the power to empower others.”

Rhymes: Biz Markie “The Vapors,” Dan Reeder “Havana’s Burning,” and the Commodores “Zoom.”

Reasons:

Click here to download Rhymefest’s Interview

More Info on Rhymefest:

Official Site

Donda’s House

@Rhymefest

Songs from this Interview:













Psalm One

PsalmOne

Psalm One

Psalm One, a.k.a Hologram Kizzie, is a multitalented musician, rapper, chemist, mentor, and philanthropist whose diverse, robust sound and wide-ranging content reflects her multitude of skills and life experiences. A native Chicagoan, Psalm One released her debut CD, Bio:Chemistry, while studying chemistry at the University of Illinois in 2002. In 2006, Psalm One became the first woman to sign and release an album, The Death of Frequent Flyer, with independent record label Rhymesayers Entertainment. In 2011 Psalm One made her national television debut on MTV’s Emmy Award-winning series, MADE, where she was cast as a rap coach for one of the participants. In 2012 she released a children’s album, aptly titled Child Support, in conjunction with ASCAP and America SCORES, a non-profit after-school program, to help raise money for underprivileged youths. She most recently released Free Hugs EP under her Hologram Kizzie pseudonym with Bonafyde Records, and is set to release the follow up Hug Life LP in early 2014.

Rhymes: Stevie Wonder “Don’t You Worry ‘Bbout A Thing,” George Michael “Kissing a Fool,” and Aaliyah “One in a Million”

Reasons:

Click here to download Psalm’s Interview

More Info on Psalm:

Psalm One on Facebook

@PsalmOne

Rhymesayers.com/PsalmOne

Songs from this Interview:









Life After Champaign County (Album version) from Psalm One on Myspace.


Jesse Childs

JesseChilds

Jesse “Nap Nat the Napi Natural” Childs

Jesse Childs (pka Nap Nat the Napi Natural) is a Hip Hop artist, author and youth educator living in Oakland, CA.  Originally from Monterey, CA and raised in New Mexico he graduated from the University of Chicago and published two novels, Isaiah Eleven (2008) and Kam Remembered (2011).  The Afromerican Project was formed circa 2006 in Chicago when emcees Nap Nat and aKWErius released the “A Future Now” mixtape.  Since then, other artists have entered the scene including The ReMINDers, ADD-2 and The Mastrs.  Their sounds cross paths so audiences of each can hear the music of the others. The Afromerican Project is spreading a creative message, developing solutions for identifying and fixing problems in our community while delivering top quality Hip Hop through your speakers.  Learn more at www.afromerican.org.

Rhymes: Black Star “Thieves in the Night,” The Roots “75 Bars (Black Reconstruction),” Kendrick Lamar “HiiiPoWer”

Reasons:

Click here to download Jesse’s interview

More Info on Jesse:

@NapNat

Afromerican Project

Afromerican Project on Tumblr

Songs from this Interview:











YP

YP

YP

YP is a rapper from Chicago’s Eastside.

Rhymes: Jay Z “Lucky Me,” T.I. “Doin’ My Job,” and Nas “Watch Dem Niggas”

Reasons:

Click here to download YP’s interview

More Info on YP:

@YP27

YP on Facebook

YP27.com

Songs from this Interview:













Queen GodIs

Queen GodIs

Queen GodIs

Queen GodIs – an international (Poet, Performance Artist, Artistic Director & Performance Art Therapist) whose work serves a host of communities seeking transformation through art. With a holistic approach to content & development, her inter-disciplinary work engages audiences in dialogue and activism that extend beyond the page and stage. As An Artist, Queen is a provocative lyricist with a penchant for Spirited Spoken Word, Hip Hop, Story-Telling, Movement and Soul. She has written and performed three off-Broadway shows including Birth of Power U (2007), directed by Tamilla Woodard of Launch Worldwide, Untitled #69: To Huemen (2008) directed by Una Osato & presented in conjunction with the Hip Hop Theater Festival, and Project Power U Revisited: A Choreopoem (2009) choreographed by director Nicco Annan & commissioned by New York Live Artsʼ Studio Residency Series. Queen’s celebrated debut album Power U! highlights her distinct vocal style and marries musical abstractions with straightforward social commentary. Her poetry is published in several international anthologies including a book-cd entitled Echos: Nubian Voyager, produced by Grammy-nominated duo, Les Nubians and the most recent CHORUS : A Literary Mixtape curated by Saul Williams.

Rhymes: Method Man ft. Mary J. Blige “All I Need,” Janet Jackson “Rhythm Nation,” and Stop the Violence (Various Artists) “Self Destruction,”

Reasons:

Click here to download Queen’s Interview

More Info on Queen:

@QueenGodIs

QueenGodIsUniversity.com

Queen GodIs on Facebook

Songs from this Interview: