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‘In tha Wind’: an interview wit’ Memphis based rapper Powwah

July 12, 2011

by Minister of Information JR

Powwah and his family are some of the people that I check in with when I am in the Memphis area. Besides being one of the most politically educated entrepreneurs that I know, Powwah makes music.

His new album, “In tha Wind,” is Southern conscious rap at its finest with precise lyrical content and the type of production that we traditionally think of when we think of bar-b-cues and Southern Comfort. If people are not selling out to be corporate spokesmen disguised as rappers, most times we don’t get to hear them unless they tour a lot.

That is why I am bringing conscious musicians like Powwah and others to your attention. Check him out in his own words …

M.O.I. JR: You just released a CD, can you tell the people a little bit about your new album?

Powwah: Yeah, the title is “In tha Wind.” Man, this project is just me. It’s full of emotion, consiousness and feeling. I want it to be a voice to our people. We laugh, we cry, we have ups and downs etc. This album is all of that – a look into life.

M.O.I. JR: When I listened to it, it was very Southern, soulful sounding? Who did the production and who inspired that kind of production?

Powwah: My production was done by three different producers, JDAV for Done By John productions, Taylee for Suite 337 productions and Hurrikane. These guys have three different sounds that fit what I was tryin’ to accomplish with this album: flexibility. The sound was inspired by our legends Al Green, Isaac Hayes, Aretha Franklin all the way to 8Ball ‘n MJG, this was everyday listening, yeah.

M.O.I. JR: What are some of the topics that you cover in your songs?

Powwah: I’m speakin about Planned Parenthood, Hurricane Katrina – aka Hurricane FEMA – Haiti, health, love – man, a little of everything. I want my people to feel like “dude know what he talkin’ about” and not feel abused and molested after listening to my music.

M.O.I. JR: What makes your music unique compared to all of the other million rappers around the world?

Powwah: Nobody talks to the people any more, man. Everybody brags and boasts, fake and flodge, like this is hip hop.

I’m talkin’ to the single mother raising that boy in the PJs – projects – that lil sista that might be contemplating abortion, those Black fathers who sick of the police harassment and murder of their children etc. This is what sets me apart from the rest. I’m a servant of the people, not my ego.

M.O.I. JR: How has going back and forth to Africa impacted your music?

Powwah: My trips back and forth to Africa have cultivated me as a man and provided me with testicular fortitude to pour my all into my music and not be afraid to tell the world what I see.

Mother Afrika provides the knowledge and experience; I provide the voice. I have also been collaborating with hella African artists. Cease Fire, to name one; he’s like my brother. We created a group named Holla Blak, which is made up of myself, Cease Fire, my wife Phucha and King Major. It’s real talent in Africa when it comes to music. The experience was priceless to me.

M.O.I. JR: Don’t you have a tour in Africa coming up in May? Can you give our readers the details?

Powwah: Yes, we will be performing at the Africa Unite concert on May 11 and 12 in Accra and Takoradi, both in Ghana. Also at the Bless the Mic Festival towards the end of May, also in Accra.

We happened to meet Rita Marley on a humbug. A good friend of ours in Accra knows Mama Rita personally, so he arranged for us to meet her and deliver about 12 loafs of banana bread to her. So we met and we all seemed as if we were long lost family or something. It was cool. Anyway, she heard the music and invited us to perform. I’m still trying to pick my face up off the floor.

M.O.I. JR: Your wife is a musician. Is that a plus or minus in the relationship realm?

Powwah: Definitely a major plus. Yeah, my wife Phucha is a neo soul singer and a hell of a writer. She opened for Stax recording artist Ndambi last year. She’s a blessing to have, always motivating and overstanding the music rat race fakes.

M.O.I. JR: Besides music, your family owns a barbershop-hair salon. What does independence mean to you?

Powwah: Independence is the key to freedom. No man should have the power to change or alter your destiny. We must work towards that self-reliance, whether you sellin’ sox or CDs, the exchange of goods and services. Not to mention being able to raise your children in an environment where they will see ujima – collective work and responsibility – first hand.

M.O.I. JR: How do people keep up with you? How can they hear or purchase your music?

Powwah: Check me out at nappibynature.com and on Facebook under Powwah Uhuru. For music purchase: iTunes, cdbaby or, if you in the Memphis area, come by Nappi by Nature at 1298 Southland Mall. I will mail order too! Holla.

Email POCC Minister of Information JR, Bay View associate editor, at blockreportradio@gmail.com and visit www.blockreportradio.com.

 

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