The art of lyricism seems to be fading away in today’s Hip-Hop scene. Artists are more reliant on beats and hooks to carry them over instead of their ability to manipulate words and verbs. Luckily for Hip-Hop heads, true lyricism is still breathing throughout the underground. Nestled in the streets of Greenville, NC is emcee extraordinaire Rudolph Lyrics. Amped Sounds takes a trip south of the Mason-Dixon line to politic with a lyrical genius.
You are from Greenville, NC what was it like growing up in that particular area?
RL: Well, my exposure to Hip-Hop was thru BET, which was no way near as bad as it is today, in the 80s. BET, rap magazines, and the radio.
What influences drew you toward Hip Hop music?
RL: My cousins took me to see Breakin’ in ’84 when I was in elementary school. Back then, I was heavy into Michael Jackson ha-ha [as everyone else was], but I’d say Breakin’ along with videos by Whodini, U.T.F.O., and things like that. But when I heard Yo! Bum Rush the Show, it was on.
Were you immediately drawn to emceeing, or was there something else that lead you to the art of word manipulation?
RL: I used to try and break a lot and so I didn’t start writing rhymes until about ‘88. Wow that was 21 years ago and no one still knows me! (laughs)
RL: Well we were always into whatever was hot. Greenville was never a fad area. We listened to Geto boys, Too Short, Death Row, Ice T, Wu-Tang, K-Solo, Tribe, etc. Whatever was hot.
Many issues have been brought up against the state of Hip Hop music. Many feel the music aspect is dead. Do you feel the same?
RL: Music is heading in a bad direction, [but] not just Hip-Hop music though. Nowadays, artists are sampling and remaking music from the 50s thru the 90s, I just don’t see anyone 20 or 30 years from now sampling the trash that’s being forced on us today. It’s gotten worst just the last 4 years.
Some Conspiracy Theorists say, “Music is being controlled by a higher power, to influence their own form of movement through brain washing.” Do you agree?
RL: I definitely agree. The best way to manipulate people is through music. When I was growing up, they didn’t teach us about Malcolm x and the black panthers. I found all that out thru Chuck D. Seriously. This was years before Spike had made his great film in 92. You have to look at who’s controlling the music industry and what they are doing. I’m a bit bright skinned myself, but why are there no dark skinned females with videos in rotation on BET. BET Jazz, the stepchild network, plays the hot music and “neo soul” hits (as they call it) 24/7 but not on BET. Nothing but light skinned girls and stupid acting blacks promoting drug use/selling, rim spinning, stripper tipping, and violence. I don’t condone violence at all. I think ALL violence is bad, but how is it that black rappers on major labels can talk all day about killing other black rappers and black people, but if they would do the same towards someone of the Jewish or Caucasian race, their album could possibly lead to being shelved?
Let’s talk about your music. The song, “Rudy and Pav Intro” you show no remorse flashing your lyrical gifts over a smooth beat produced by Segundo. Please share your influence for creating the song, and your relationship with the producer.
RL: Ahhh, Segundo(rip). I’ve known that dude most of my life. I knew his brother first because we were in school together before Gunnie. We grew close over the years and I just told him one day, “I’m gon be the mc and you’re gonna be the producer”. Unfortunately, he passed away on March 8th of this year. Messed me up pretty bad then and it still does to think about it. About the song, I went to the studio with the beat and Pav just got on it. We did everything in one take. Now we didn’t write it in our heads as most emcees claim they do (scoffs), but we definitely got that in one take pretty easy.
As an emcee, you can’t be afraid to step out of your element, but if you step too far you become the subject of ridicule. In today’s music many artists have stepped out of their element just to make a profit. In the past, this was the ultimate disrespect to the fans of Hip-Hop, but today it is socially accepted. In your opinion why is it so acceptable today?
RL: It’s acceptable cuz it’s been one big plot to destroy Hip-Hop. The powers that be finally got their hands on it and can do whatever they want with it. Artists I used to listen to daily in high school are now doing songs with the Jonas Brothers. We got so called great battle emcees refusing to battle other great battle emcees but will go all out on Pop singers. We got albums with nothing but Autotune influenced singing being called Hip-Hop. It’s just bad man.
Let’s say you are caught in a dilemma. You are signed to a major record label, and their idea of marketing you is to change your whole persona. Their idea has been successful with other label mates, but you are not comfortable with the whole idea. Would you still go through with the change?
RL: No I wouldn’t. There isn’t enough money in the world to keep me from telling the truth and being who I REALLY am.
You can only be a Hip Hop artist for so long. Do you see yourself venturing out of music, and doing something else with in the music industry?
Most definitely. I’m not one concerned with fame. I’d rather be Steve Rifkin than puff daddy. Also, there are so many movies to be made about Hip-Hop and the music industry in general that haven’t been done.
Do you have any live shows coming up?
RL: Yeah, quite a few lined up here in NC throughout the rest of the year and hopefully will be going back to Miami soon too.
For those who want to keep in contact with you, where can they reach you? myspace.com/ihatesambos
Is there anything you want to share with the reader that wasn’t discussed in this interview?
RL: Yes, God is great but the devil is a liar and don’t you believe him. The devil knows the truth and he wants to keep you from knowing the truth. My words are mirrors. If people don’t like what I say, then they don’t like their own reflection. Peace 2 fingaz.