Rhymefest’s recent visit to the UK has caused quite a stir. His ‘tea’ meeting with Tory Party Leader David Cameron made headlines; the Grammy award winning rapper had challenged the politician to a sit down to discuss his controversial comments made about Hip Hop and its’ link to gun crime.
Despite the fact that Rhymefest is known for his inspiring, thought provoking and challenging lyrics, certain tabloid newspapers labelled him a ‘gangster rapper’ and refuted his credentials to speak on the subject matter.
However Rhymefest, who co wrote and won a Grammy for the inspiring hit, ‘Jesus Walks’ in 2005, didn’t seem too pissed off with the British press. In fact when we went along to see him he seemed quite amused with the whole thing (when we walked in he was reading his press cuttings).
The hype around the David Cameron meeting (or Dave as ‘Fest likes to call him) seemed to obscure the other important reason the rapper was in the UK. Rhymefest is supporting the Rhyme4Respect UK Lyrics Challenge, which is a nationwide lyrics competition searching for positive lyrics that encourage self respect. The competition has now closed and those winning lyrics have been found, so BritishHipHop.co.uk went along to meet the man who no one seems to know a lot about.
So who is Rhymefest? Well, here’s a brief summary for all those who don’t know.
Fact One: He is from Chicago and is good friends with Kanye West.
Fact Two: he is a battle MC who famously beat Eminem.
Fact Three: his album is probably the most slept on album of 2006 and finally,
Fact Four: he says that David Cameron, yes David Cameron (you heard right) is a ‘genuine guy’!
Hmm. BritishHipHop.co.uk decided to pick his brain on a few subjects.
Rhymefest on the reason why he chose to get involved with the Rhyme4Respect competition…
‘Well it’s got rhyme in it and that’s why my name is Rhymefest ‘cause I’m about the rhymes. You know I understand the problems arising, teen pregnancies, STIs, crime etc, these are worldwide issues and artists need to be entertainers and informers as well as rappers. That’s why the song we (Rhymefest and Rhyme4Respect winner Eugene) did called Click is so important. The song is about a boy and a girl who meet and start seeing each other, then click I take a picture of that. Then they start kissing and fooling around and then click, we take that picture. Then the boy wants to go further and the girls not too sure but I’m not gonna tell you the rest of the story, you’ll have to wait for the CD to hear the ending. I just wonna thank Rhyme4Respect for this opportunity. If anyone wants any further information check out http://www.rhyme4respect.com.
Rhymefest on meeting David Cameron…
‘You know what I think he is one of the most genuine guys in his line of work. You know what we talked; we drank tea, I probably drank more tea than he did! One thing about him is, he really listens and you can tell a lot about someone who listens. I genuinely do think he cares. He says his favourite Hip Hop song is Eminem Stan’.
‘Chicago is the home of a lot of things, it’s the home of House music, Minister Farrakhan is from Chicago. We got Lupe, Twista, Common, Kanye, myself. Chicago is the home of black pride but not a lot of people realise that Chicago is extremely segregated. Did you know that when Martin Luther King came to Chicago he said it (the segregation) was worse than Alabama! Alabama- that’s saying something.’
On the reception to his album ‘Blue Collar’
‘The album had two different kinds of reception. There were the people that have the album and who were like this is hot- the album of the year. And then there were the people who just hadn’t heard of it but people would say to me that the album was slept on. I don’t know why, it was a number of factors.’
On British HipHop
‘I like Estelle and The Streets. Not many black people like The Streets but I like him (Mike Skinner). If you listen to it, his whole album is like one long story. I think this is the tenth time I’ve been to the UK, I love it over here. I’m only here for three days this time, last time I was touring with Dizzee Rascal. I will definitely be back early next year with a tour in the UK and I got a new album coming out sometime in March’.
By: Michelle Adabra