TheBlackManCan is back in the city of Pittsburgh and ready to bring you another feature in the League of EXTRAordinary Black Men. We bring you a Black Man today who truly has embraced and embodied the fact that Hip Hop is the CNN of the ghetto. We have the distinct honor and pleasure of introducing Jasiri X. Jasiri X is an MC, Activist and Entrepreneur. Brother Jasiri X was able to sit down with TheBlackManCan to discuss Real Talk Xpress, Hip Hop Scholarship and how his work has been received around the world.
TheBlackManCan: Jasiri X, Can you tell us about your website Real Talk Xpress?
JX: It’s my blog and a place where I can show my videos and talk about things that interest me. I saw how blogs helped my videos get views but some blogs wouldn’t post my videos because they felt I wasn’t a popular enough artist, so instead of being mad at them I made my own.
TheBlackManCan: Tell the meaning behind the meaning of your name Jasiri X.
JX: Jasiri is my given name it’s Swahili and means brave warrior. The X is what I received when I became a registered member of the Nation of Islam
TheBlackManCan: What inspired “This Week with Jasiri X”? What do you intend on covering with the Hip Hop News Series? Did you start out as an MC who addressed important and controversial issues?
JX: I was inspired by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News actually. I saw how they would frame the news and lie to fit how they wanted people to see the news. Instead of just being angry at them I thought, why don’t I put out the real truth in Hip-Hop form, so I started to rap the news. I started off as a conscious rapper because I was inspired by artists like KRS-ONE, Public Enemy and X-Clan, but as Hip-Hop got more street and my personal life got more negative I rapped from that perspective. As my life began to change for the better and I got more involved with helping my community my songs began to reflect that.
TheBlackManCan: Chuck D of Public Enemy declared Hip Hop to be the CNN of the ghetto. How have you embraced this thought?
JX: 100% especially as I became more successful. I believe people want to be entertained and informed.
TheBlackManCan: What has the response been to your videos and music in your own community and nationally?
JX: I’ve had an incredible response! Not only have I been embraced all over the world but when I travel and meet the people who love my music they become like family.
TheBlackManCan: You currently serve as President of Lyrics Inc. What is the mission and vision of this company?
JX: Using Hip-Hop and media to empower youth and teach them life skills. Also to mentor younger rappers creatively and business wise. You always hear people complain about how children can memorize a rap song but can’t read or write. Then why not use Hip-Hop to teach these skills? It makes sense right? Also people complain about young rappers but who is there to mentor them or teach them about their history and culture? I strive to fill those gaps.
TheBlackManCan: You became the first Hip Hop Artist to receive the August Wilson Center for African American Culture Fellowship. What is this fellowship about and how did it feel to receive it?
JX: My fellowship was in Media Arts. It’s significant because of who August Wilson is and that this is Pittsburgh’s first African American Museum. I received it because I applied lol. But also because of the success of my work and my community involvement. I’m better known as an activist in Pittsburgh than I am as an artist.
TheBlackManCan: How important is Hip Hop Scholarship for today’s society?
JX: Very important because I believe it’s a key to new approaches to help us solve some very old problems.
TheBlackManCan: Who are some artists that have influenced your work?
JX: Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson
TheBlackManCan: Can you share some information on your upcoming sophomore album “The Ascension”?
JX: It’s different from This Week With Jasiri X cause it’s more personal and because I do much political stuff I saw the album as an opportunity to show more range as an artist. It’s very good though and the production by Rel!g!on is phenomenal.
TheBlackManCan: You are a founding member of One Hood. Tell us more about this organization.
JX: We came together to help stop the violence and youth incarceration in our community. We chose the name One Hood cause we saw our youth divided by neighborhoods and blocks and we wanted to unify them. We use Hip-Hop as a way of bringing the different hoods together in a safe place to interact with one another.
Our mission is to actively promote a positive black male image. Welcome to the Spotlight: League of EXTRAordinary Black Men. Here, we spotlight black men weekly who are having a positive impact in communities across the country. These men are actively promoting a positive black male image each and every day. If you know a man that should be spotlighted please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org In that email please state who you are and why you are nominating this individual. Please leave your contact information and the contact information of the individual you are nominating