posted: 10-05-04
interview : tadah
Okay, please introduce yourself.
Hello, I am Verbal Kent.
So where are you from? You gotta rep your hood, as in neighborhood.
Born and raised in Rogers Park. The big R.P. yo.
How is life there?
It's fantastic, let me tell you. The hood is mixed up. That makes for a well rounded beginning.
Chicago seems to have several distinct areas. Can you give us a quick tour?
I'd rather not separate anyone. To define a person by the area they live in does not get you anywhere. I know a bad ass rapper from Skokie, so I'd rather not divide our great city. I will tell you that it has a South, a North, an East and a West.
Would you agree that there's quite a few really good artists in Chicago right now?
Sure. I respect a lot of people making music all over the place. Chicago artists have their own state of mind. It's cool as hell hearing what your peers think about life. Love. Death. This place is full of artists.
How come though hat Chicago has never really blown up like that? Even despite major label successes like Twista, people don't really seem to pay much attention.
I couldn't tell you. If people in our city are waiting around for the magical rap fairy to swoop in and sign you up, that's insane.
What do we need to know about you?
Man, um.. I love hip hop music. I do not make it for myself. I make for a feeling, a cause, a goal, and a focus. Hip hop is my place of mind. I live in it, and it is the best place!
Any fun facts about you?
I'm not sure yo. I'm real smart. Urban smart!!
So, what are you plugging right now?
"What Box". It's my solo joint out on Gravel Records. It's sixteen tracks. Guests include Wordsworth, Qwazaar, Iomos Marad, The Opus, One Man Army and my guy Rusty Chains.
How did that album come about?
It's my first solo effort. I needed to work on a project myself. It was just my time to do that thing you just asked.
Tell us what you hope we'll get out of this record.
Listen to it three times and you'll learn my language. It's how I think. Hopefully this album can set me up to jump higher on the next joint. This is our lives man. If you make music, and you care about it and you happen to have something to? And a way to say it? That's music.
Considering how your music seems to mean a whole lot to you, is it a contradiction that much of your lyrics are pretty much braggadocio battle rhymes and not always personal reflections?
No. I rap the way I think. And they aren't braggadocio rhymes to me. When I spit battle raps, I'm talking shit to ignorant people that ruin your day. I'm venting. You can listen to my album once, and say what you'd like. But I am a thought-out person. I have formulas to what and how I do things. I guess the biggest challenge any artist has is this: being able to be understood. To sum up, my music is a personal reflection.
How did you get into this lil' culture we call hip hop?
It was my first and last music. I dug it before Magic had AIDS. I dug it before shovels. You heard?
Why hip hop?
Why not? It's a brilliant music. It's a little bit of everything out there. It's just the most heady music in the world to me.
What is it about this culture that influences and inspires you?
The freedom. The energy. Expression. It's alive.
What had you start participating, rather than just watching and listening?
The above. I loved to write, and I played drums. So it made sense for me.
What was the last album/showcase/experience that had you go: man, I better step up my skills before I step out with something again?
Well, to be honest, my crew Organic Mind Unit put out a self titled album in '99. I was bad. My guys inspired me, and I tried, but wow. I wrote with out dessert for months after that one.
Is that crew still around? If so who's members and what are you/they up to?
No doubt. We still rock shows, and we are recording something right now. It's not all the original cats, but the feeling is still there. My guy Racecar used to be Mr. Burns. Tyrone King still does his thing. My man Eqwivallent is now Vandell. He's around. Of course Lance Ambu, who used to be Willis Drummond who used to be Infinite Black. We all up in here.
If you weren't an artists, what other job would you like to have?
Third baseman. Chicago Cubs.
What would happen if they decide to tear down Wrigley Field?
I won't even think like that.
Who would you like to work with the most? Dead or living or in between? Why?
That's a hard question. If we get along, we work.
What do you enjoy listening to right now?
Kaz 1 instrumentals.A little bit of everything. God what have I been listening to. Man. Mostly those Cubbies on 720.
When you hang up your superhero artist cape, what else do you do for fun?
The Cubs. Drink. Speak. Listen. Learn. Smoke. Chess.
No video games? Like racing around Chicago in "Project Gotham Racing 2"?
No way. If I did happen to have some time on my hands, I would play Ms. Pac Man all day. I'm rather gifted at that shit.
State of hip hop: good or bad?
It's all good.
Is some bad?
Of course, and no it's not really all good. This country is crazy. And we are in it. And some of us are in pain because of it. Those people will mess everything up for the rest of us. We all don't have a capacity to swim through reality and avoid drowning. The ones who drown make really bad music.
What do you want to achieve before you retire?
Peace with my music.
You must have a website, right? What is it?
Comments or shout outs?
Thanks for the spot. Y'all are doing the thing. Peace and safe travels to the living.
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