“A year from today I see myself doing the same thing I’ve been doing since 2010, using hip hop music to uplift those listeners willing to change their thinking. I plan on having a few more albums out or collaborations, so any producers looking to gain exposure get at me.”
Check out the interview with Iron Sheik Moorish Emcee exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.
Skilly: Where did this all start? Tell us about your journey in the entertainment business.
Iron Sheik Moorish Emcee: I started rhyming in 1989 inspired by Big Daddy Kane and the Juice Crew Emcees. Between 1989 and 1993 I was in a group called Up To No Good with 3 other brothers I went to school with. In 1995 I was recruited to a conscious revolutionary hip hop Group called Henchmenatti.
After the Brotherhood of Henchmenatti stopped rhyming in 2003, I embarked on a solo career and have been a solo artist since. Since 2010 I released 5 independent albums and a few mix cds, a collaboration album with One Oak and with them opened for Ghostface Killah, Capadonna, and Killah Priest.
What would be your biggest piece of advice for the young kids out there trying to do what you do?
First of all don’t let anyone call you kids. You’re not baby goats. Secondly, be independent. Take notes from Tech N9ne, Duck Down Records, Dame Dash, and anyone else that is doing independent music. Too many artists, especially hip hop artists, have come out telling their fans about the corruption in the music industry. Ironically, most of the people talking like this are the artists and labels that aren’t mainstream or commercialized.
What are some of the hardest challenges and tasks in your position?
The hardest task is not listening to people who have opinions that seem to be in your best interest. If you don’t love your own product, you will either be played for it, lose it, or sit on it forever. If you’re going into this industry another challenge you will face is having to compromise your morality even your soul to get signed and get a contract. If you’re going to contract with these demons called record labels, at least protect yourself and your music and reserve your rights.
We all know the entertainment business is very tough, but what do you find is the best way to promote and advertise your music?
Again, use all the independent labels that are in existence right now and follow the pattern they followed. With information at your fingertips, you must be committed to your music and love your own music to be able to promote it.
Tell us about your city. How are the artists and the fans?
Toronto is a very multicultural jurisdiction and teaches you a lot about all cultures if you are open to learning. It’s a great place to live in and grow up. Hip hop artists here for a long time, the ones that make it, are puppets of the fresh arts program. Most artists from this city are a mold from the remnants of that program.
The underground artists are much more versatile and appreciated. The fans in this city support hip hop 100%, but there has always been a lack of support for their own hip hop artists, not rap or commercial rap artists, hip hop artists.
Where do you see yourself a year from today?
A year from today I see myself doing the same thing I’ve been doing since 2010, using hip hop music to uplift those listeners willing to change their thinking. I plan on having a few more albums out or collaborations, so any producers looking to gain exposure get at me.
Who and what were your biggest inspirations? Who do you look up to in today’s world?
My biggest inspiration is hip hop. Hip hop saved my life and kept me grounded and knowledgeable of myself. I owe hip hop an incalculable debt and do my best to promote my inspirations, the golden era hip hop artists. I look up to all independent artists and labels as independence is the key to freedom. Many of these major labels enslave their artists on these label-like plantations.
How do you feel about the music coming out today? Do you like it?
I’m not a fan of today’s hip hop music because the elements of hip hop have been abandoned. Emcees are biters and whack rappers. I can’t even find a DJ using vinyl and producers are the new DJ without instruments and no original sound. Everything sounds the same. B boys are choreographers feminizing young men and graffiti’s been erased for years out here. Many new modern artists need to revisit all hip hop history from 1987-1995.