Hip hop is more than just a hobby or music for me. I love the music and I’m a strong believer in keeping the culture alive. I see hip hop as bringing people together, supplying hope and teaching those that need to be taught. A lot of that has been lost over the years with the commercialization of the art form. I’m not going to blame the mainstream for ruling hip hop, there is a reason for everything. But it’s good to hear artists such as today’s spotlight artist, ScholarMan, kick some knowledge and offer food for thought.
Those of you unfamiliar with ScholarMan and our fans of positive and progressive hip hop, will appreciate where he is coming from. He labels himself a “hip hop activist”, a term that he does not take lightly. With his Soganic label, he has dropped 2 critically acclaimed albums (Candy Medicine and Soul Purpose) and is gearing up for this third studio album, Gameshift: The Movement. He has also dropped a couple free EP’s, in which he shows homage to those that have come before him with new twists and old classics. We sat down and talked to ScholarMan, in what is one of my favorite Spotlights that we’ve done…..
The Pull Forward EP Vol. 2 now available!!
The Pull Forward Series pays tribute to hip-hop music made famous during the early to mid-1990’s. On Vol.2, songs by Outkast, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Wu-Tang, The Pharcyde, Biggie and Gangstarr are honored. Volume 2 features Maryland emcees K-Mynez, Chainge, Kahli, ScholarMan and vocalist J. Hill. Check us out on MySpace.
1. Intro ft. Doug E. Fresh (circa 1986)
2. We Reminisce (T.R.O.Y 2008) ft. Kahli
3. Passin’ Me By 2008
4. Cash Rules (C.R.E.A.M. 2008) ft. K-Mynez
5. Warning 2008
7. Everyday Real (Moment of Truth 2008)
Release Date: 2/19/2008
The Pull Forward Series pays tribute to hip-hop music made famous during the early to mid-1990’s. On Vol.1, songs by A Tribe Called Quest, Mobb Deep, Fat Joe, Nas and LL Cool J are honored.
1. Quick Words (Intro)
2. Lyrics To Go 2008
3. Shook Ones 2008 ft. K-Mynez
4. Strife We See (Success 2008)
5. Pull Forward: The Concept ft. Nathaniel Long
6. Reflect I (Life’s A Bitch 2008) ft. Makeshift Deluxe
7. Sensual Ride (Electric Relaxation 2008)
8. No Questions Asked (Pink Cookies 2008) rmx ft. TrueBless
WYDU: Hey, what’s good? Can you give the readers that might not be familiar with your name and music a little background?
ScholarMan: Maintaining Trav. What’s good WYDU fam? My name is ScholarMan, rap activist and producer from the Maryland area. Ive been in the game for a minute but the public eye only recently noticed me with my ’07 release of Candy Medicine, my ’08 release Soul Purpose and The Pull Forward Series. I’ve been producing for over 5 years and been rhyming even longer. I represent Soganic Music, my recently re-established record label. My label mates are TrueBless and recently K-Mynez, both in Maryland as well. We release socially conscious hip-hop music, music that inspires that many can relate to; all while keeping the essence of hip-hop alive.
W: Your music is among some of the more positive and thought provoking music I’ve ran across in a short while, why is it important to you to offer the listener more than the average “bling, bitch, gat” rhymes that run so prevalent in the mainstream realm?
ScholarMan: Thanks, appreciate that homie. I simply want positive change in our world man, there is enough negative things in reach compared to the positive, especially in hip-hop. I’ve experienced the street life and much of what influences “gangsta rhymes;” many of us have, but there comes a time when you must mature and realize that these things arent helping you, your people or your community grow
. Simply upward movement man.
WYDU: You dropped a very intelligent and insightful writing about how the majority of African Americans do not support “real” hip hop, can you deluge into that statement some, and what is your definition of “real” hip hop?
ScholarMan: Appreciate it, cool. I get criticized sometimes about using the term real hip-hop; the whole aspect of “what isn’t real to you may be real to me.” I dig that to some degree. So..let me be clear, real hip-hop to me is soulful hip-hop, music with substance, music that not only is fun, but intelligent, vibrant and organic; music with heart. Trav, you used “bling, bitch, gat” music in the previous question, real hip-hop is the opposite of that, music that doesn’t praise the negative, but addresses it and searches for a solution.
WYDU: As an artist, you seem to still carry a genuine love for the culture and music, something that we don’t always see. Do you think it’s important as an artist to still be a fan of the music? Why or why not?
ScholarMan: Hell yeah homie. I love this music and I think every hip-hop artist should have some level of love and respect (beyond residuals) for it if they are going to say “i am hip-hop.” I think that is a big part of why “underground” cats cant surface, they don’t want to show love to another artist making moves but yet expect that same artist to ride.. – well you get my drift. So many of these artists walk with a chip. I strive to support good music, period. Like Common said, “just because I don’t like it doesn’t meant that I am hating. “
WYDU: Your label, Soganic, and yourself have been releasing the Pull Forward EP’s. What are they exactly and what do you hope to accomplish with them?
ScholarMan: The Pull Forward Series is simply a counter to the term “throwback,” I never really understood/agreed with this term and decided to create my own, “pull forward.” When we reflect, we are pulling previous memories forward to our thoughts of today, so that is what the point of the series is. To look back at classic hip-hop music over the years and create new music using those tracks as inspiration.
WYDU: The first two volumes of the series have been tributes of sorts to the past artists and songs, who were some of the cats you look up to from the “golden ages”? Do you have an all-time favorite album?
ScholarMan: The artists that we paid tribute to on these volumes are some of my favorites. A Tribe Called Quest, Biggie, Outkast and others I have yet to honor, Common, The Roots and some others. An all-time favorite album…man, thats hard homie. There are so many I love equally. I need to get back on that one.
WYDU: They have been available for free on your site and you’ve also hit up various blogs about posting them, why did you decide to release them as a free download?
ScholarMan: Outside of honoring these artists with new remakes, I wanted something free to recruit new fans and followers. The Pull Forward Series is pretty much me saying “thank you hip-hop,” “thank you” to my current fans and “hello, nice to meet you” to newcomers.
WYDU: What is your take on the internet in general and it’s roll in marketing and releasing music?
ScholarMan: The internet can be a double-edged sword; it can be a great tool to boost your career and at the same time could be killing your career. Bootlegging is now digital and its easy to lose money as soon as your album drops, if not before. The best protection is knowledge, studying the game, learn techniques on marking and promoting and keep a handy team of spys to report piracy when they find it.
WYDU: You have a new album dropping in January, what should we expect from it? Why should someone who has never checked your music, check for this one?
ScholarMan: Yeah homie, cant wait for you to hear it. What you can expect on my new joint is a beautiful mix of innovative beats and rhymes, but this time a bit more political than my others. Since I am dropping “GameShift: The Movement” right after the new president is elected, I thought I would I get more in the trenches with my lyrics on this one. Conspiracy theories, world politics, racism, hood life and of course a love for life and hip-hop is on this one.
WYDU: Anything else you and Soganic have on the agenda in the near future?
ScholarMan: Yeah man, my new album “GameShift: The Movement” as stated, new K-Mynez joint next year, another Pull Forward release and much of what you have seen in the past and then some to come as well.
WYDU: Do you have any last words for the readers out there?
ScholarMan: Appreciate the time and attention and thank you for listening. Big ups to WYDU!!!