If you are unfamiliar with Journalist 103 I suggest you take some time to get to know his raw straight to the point well articulated rhyme set. He stands behind his name with the ability to write and portray his words like a professional journalist, creating realistic views of the world he lives in, and the everyday struggle of the modern man. He provides knowledgeable opinions of current situations, the hardships that we live in today while trying to keep our heads up and stay afloat, by doing what we’ve got to do to survive. Journalist also incorporates his religion through his rhymes without coming across as preachy or pushing his views onto you by saying what is right and what isn’t. He sends a message letting people know that it’s okay to be Muslim and that it’s not something to be feared.
It’s been almost a year since Detroit native who is one third of the trio the left, Journalist 103 dropped his solo album “Reporting Live”, and three years since the The Left released one of the top albums of 2010 ” Gas Mask”, that helped establish their careers to where they are at now. I recently caught up with him through some questions via e-mail about where he’s at now, whats in store for him, what inspires him, his faith and whatever in between. Check out what he had to say.
1. How did it all start for you? what was your first introduction to hip hop?
Well, I’ve always been a music lover as far back as I can remember. The first rap record I purchased was “self destruction” by BDP. When I was about eleven years old I saw a a video by Niki D. It wasn’t “Daddy’s Little Girl” I can’t remember the name of the track.But she was spitting hard. Once I saw that video I knew what I wanted to do with my life.
2.what inspires you?
It all depends. I’ve been told I’m more of an emotional writer so it really depends on what’s going on with me or what’s happening in the world around that time that gets me going. Dope beats and really good music helps fuel that spark sometimes.
3. Were there any artists specifically from Detroit that influenced you the most?
Well my older cousin was very influential in my development as an emcee. He introduced me to beat making, subject matter, freeystyling, I mean the whole essence of what hip-hop was he groomed me for it. Once I got out into the hip-hop scene in Detroit, Rappers like Proof (r.i.p), 5Ela, Eminem and Royce da 5’9 helped me appreciate Detroit hip-hop much more.
4. Its been almost a year since “Reporting Live” dropped. Can we expect any new material to be released anytime soon? If and when you put out a second album will it still be with BabyGrande?
Yes, I’m currently working on a new record now actually and yes it will be released via BabyGrande Records
5. Do you find it difficult to fully express yourself through hip hop without seeming haraam (unlawful)?
That’s an interesting question you pose because I’ve been asked this before and I honestly don’t. Music is not prohibited in Islam so that eliminates any speculation in that regard. And secondly my subject matter is usually decent, and straight forward. I never talk about anything that may seem to be contrary to my beliefs or anything immoral for that matter.
6.Do you think artists coming out of Detroit have certain style to them that sets them apart from those coming out of other cities?
Yeah, I can honestly say I don’t know one Detroit Artist that sounds like another one unlike artist from New York or California You can pretty much tell where they come from based from the style of music. Detroit is a vary unique place. It builds strong character so I guess that’s why the artist from here are so diverse.
7. With Detroit’s economic situation and high poverty levels what do you find Detroit natives do to stay positive and continue to be determined to stand behind their city?
Wow! Well, all Detroit natives aren’t so positive. That’s why a lot of us end up in prison or dead. I’ll say out of every one hundred people in the D eight to ten of those people think outside of the box and move beyond the social ills that plague the city.
8.If you could collaborate with any of the hip hop legends who would it be?
Hmmm, that’s easy. Rakim, Premo, Nas, and Pete Rock! Hands Down!
9.What is the most important message you try to send across through your music?
As we used to say back in the day, “Knowledge of self”. When I became Muslim back in 97 I was blessed to discover what ‘true’ knowledge of self was. One of the main things that plague today’s society is not knowing who we are as a people. What’s our purpose of existence. Malcolm X (r.i.p) had an excellent theory when he made his pilgrimage to Mecca. He believed that if America would study what the real religion of Islam was it could cure the disease of racism here in this country. Practicing Islam for 16 years now I understand what he means because Islam has spread throughout over half of the globe to people of many different nationalities and cultures. And the one thing that binds them all is the worship of One God and one God alone. This is a brotherhood/sisterhood that transcends any social barrier that’s been created due to color or race.
10.) How do you feel you have developed as an artist from ‘K.R.A.M” (Keep Rap Alive Movement), to “Gas Mask”, to “Reporting Live”, and to your current projects?
I think I’m just growing with age. Learning and developing solid work ethic. That all comes with time.
11.) What is your favorite track to perform live?
My favorite track would have to be “3am”. Prolly cause it’s more personal for me. Laying that song relieved a huge burden off my shoulders. So “3am” definitely.
Big Shout out to Journalist 103 for doing the interview. Go cop “Reporting Live” from here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/reporting-live/id564367826