“The Search for Rhyme or Reason”
by Jhonny Russell
(acrylic on wood panel)
Morbski: Hip Hop Inspiring Betterment
As a teen US emcee Morbski a.k.a. Amun Morb/Naja Gemini found himself in Mountview Juvenile Detention Center facing felony weapons charges. After many more years spent in and out of incarceration Morbski started writing once more, purchased a 4-track, found a microphone, borrowed electricity from the neighbors and wrote some jams–hip hop helped change his life. Morbski has since had many releases: The Dandelion, Speech Therapy, Dyspnea, Love, Etc., Limbo’s Mezzanine, Rebel Rouzah. Plus releasing Snake Whisper under moniker Naja Gemini. He is a part of the Revolt Motion Recordings family and is co-creator with Son of Saturn in Akashik Ancestorz.
A Conversation on Def Jam with Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin
I spent this morning watching a live stream of a conversation with Def Jam Recordings founders Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin presented by the New York Public Library and facilitated by Paul Holdengraber the library’s Director of Public Programs. They were there to chat about 25 years of Def Jam and to support the release of book, Def Jam Recordings: The First 25 Years of the Last Great Record Label. Holdengraber praised the impressive tome – a comprehensive history of the label – as “utterly magnificent” and “absolutely outstanding” before adding that he believed the book to be “produced in the most exquisite way… the level of passion… the power of the writers.”
Rick and Russell were introduced to the sold out audience using seven words of their own choosing. Russell offered a haiku: Def Jam showed me power of faith. Rick chose: Rick Rubin is a fan of music—both introductions simple and humble, yet powerful; an apt reflection of both men who have “led the way in transforming hip hop culture from a projects-based art form to a popular phenomenon.”
Proceedings kicked off with (a shoeless) Rick Rubin requesting that they begin in a certain way – he asked that everyone in attendance, including himself and Russell, close their eyes for 3 minutes and focus on breathing – inhaling and exhaling, to focus on the breath – a meditation of sorts. He said that the goal of this exercise was to bring everyone together and to give thanks, to create a space in the room for something new. After the 3 minutes silence was up, there was a big collective breath and stretching, Russell asking the audience “isn’t that much better than angel dust?” continuing by explaining how Rick was the first person he ever meditated with adding, “20 minutes twice a day makes you high as hell.” Rick enlightened that, “there’s a power when a big group meditate together.” They have both been meditation practitioners for well over a decade. You can read Russell’s thoughts on meditation here: Why I Meditate.
US hip hop artist Atma is one of my favourite emcees. I find his pursuit of self, spiritual and ancient knowledge as well as quest for cultivation of peace within inspiring. He believes in and lets the following guide him: love, truth, peace, light, creativity, joy, spiritual, inspire, service, relationship, listen, learn, teach, forgiveness, contentment, courage, integrity, gratitude and acceptance. Follow the link to read an extract from my interview with Atma for my forthcoming book, Hip Hop Insight.
Hip Hop Insight from prolific US emcee and producer APAKALYPSE!
*Plus download Apak’s The Ascension EP for FREE! :)
Awesome lady emcees from Washington D.C. Akoko:
Words of Wisdom:
Words of Wisdom from:
A chat with Australian-based Spanish Filipina emcee: