But please explain the concept behind your album some more…
I created this album to be a musical blueprint for my son Kingston Noah Parker. I wrote it in a fashion that he will be able to gain something new out of it, as he gets older and has more life experiences. Still, I wrote this album so the average music listener will love and remember it very quickly based on the lyrics, catchy hooks and high level production. I don't feel like a lot of artists today care to put messages in their music, so I would like to fill in the gap on that tip for this generation.
So how hard is it to put parental advice in your lyrics?
It was actually very easy because this was a project that was close to my heart and I followed my instincts on creating it.
What's the three main life lessons you wanna give through to your son?
Great question. I would say to remain humble in the light of adversity, give and get respect and be a leader not a follower in this world.
You’re a single father. How do you combine parenthood with rapperhood?
It’s really tough at times, because I kick off each day at either 4:30 or 5:30 AM if I workout and proceed to travel an hour and a half dropping the kids off at day care/school before I even head to my part time job. When I'm off work at 5 PM I do the same thing over and we usually don't get home until 7:30 at night. I do homework, cook and do activities with my kids until their bedtime at 9:30 PM.
Only after that time I work on music, rehearse and do some business. Overall, I have about 3 days every other week to do shows, record and maybe spend time with friends while my kids are with their mothers. So I gradually learned to change my schedule and make this all work. The days of being a studio rat are gone, but it has made me a better musician due to the time constraints and just experiencing life through the eyes of a single father on a daily basis.
In the press note you said: 'Life isn’t easy, so please expect the good and the bad about life on this album, but know both sides mould us into the people we become' If you had to make the balance of your life, which side would weigh through heavier: the bad or the good side?
I would say the bad. Because I have seen people who have it easy all their life and when something remotely bad throws them off course, they fold up, disappear, get depressed and never return to form. I mean, think about someone always getting what they want and then that day comes when they don't. Some people may go most of their lives before serious failure or heartbreak hits them and they just fold. If you experience pitfalls throughout your life you will handle obstacles a lot better and be humble to the blessings you get throughout your life.
What advice would you give your son to cope with the bad things?
I would tell my son rather than complain about something bad, accept it and know God has a plan for you. Know God is putting you through a problem for something better in the future. We teach our kids a lot, but I think we forget God tests us daily to see how we will react and if our faith in him will lessen.
Your parents have been married for twenty-five years. What's their secret?
Whoooo, the secret is they compromise for one another and still seek to keep the sparks in their marriage alive by taking trips, going to dinner, vacations or even watching a movie together. Marriage evolves through time and we change as humans, so I think a lot of marriages end because the men and women don't adapt over the years or they just forget to keep sparks burning bright.
You're the son of a US army soldier who was stationed in Germany. Did you see your father a lot?
Yup, I was definitely blessed to have my father around most of the time. There were months here and there or when he was in Desert Storm or stationed in NY where I didn't see him for a period of time, but for the most part I have great memories of my father as a kid. He didn't let my brother or me down and shaped us into some great men.
How did you fill your youth days?
It was filled with playing baseball, basketball and football in the streets and organized athletics. Yeah, I liked video games too, but I was a kid that tried to stay outside all day if I could.
Did living in Germany have any impact on your life today, except from eating sauerkraut maybe?
(laughs) Being born and living in Germany made me the universal artist and person I am today. I don't have a racist bone in my body and I very much enjoy people of various cultures and lifestyles. I think moving around a lot and living overseas made me the free spirit I am today. I'm kind of weird in a good way, but it’s due to all the culture I got growing up.
Do you remember when you fell in love with hip-hop?
I fell in love with hip-hop the second time my father was stationed in Germany. I was 8 years old this time. A kid I went to school with used to have shoe boxes of rap tapes and would let my brother and I borrow them a few days at a time. Once we ran through a few, we would give them back and get more. That turned into me buying and collecting my own tapes, which I still have on display in my studio today to remind me of how far hip-hop has come.
What turned you into a rapper?
I didn't decide to become a rapper seriously until 2006 after over a decade of listening to some great ‘golden era’ artists like EPMD, A Tribe Called Quest, Run DMC, Biz Markie, Redman, etc. Overall, I think I became a rapper because I truly love the art form and felt I could contribute to it in a positive way. I grew up on hip-hop that had a message and actually stood for something culturally, so I fit right in.
Would you see yourself living in Germany again?
I would love to visit Germany again, but I couldn't see myself living there at this present time. I have dual citizenship, so Germany will always be a second home to me.
You’re currently representing Baltimore. 'Baltimore is missing a sound', you said before. How do you hope to help moulding that sound?
I would definitely like to be the artist to represent Baltimore because my sound can do the area some justice I believe. I think one thing fans know about me is I make music that sounds like me, not like another artist. One of the biggest problems in Baltimore is everyone is trying to sound like someone else out right now. Hip-hop is based on being unique and being fresh with your own style and not jocking the next man's skills. Somehow that has been lost over years and MC's don't even call you wack for taking another artist’s style today.
What's your next career move?
I think there will be some TV work in my future and I want to raise my profile to the level that I can really lend my name to a great charity. One of my main reasons for doing music beside it being my dream is that I will be in a much better place to help others. I feel it’s our civic duty to lend a hand to those less fortunate or creating a path of opportunity for people that would never receive one. Philanthropy is high on my list as an artist, so I'll be out with open arms ladies and gentlemen.
One of the essential hip-hop songs when it comes down to fatherhood and responsibility is Edo G's 'Be a father to your child', can you relate to it?
Awww! I loved that video and song back in the day! Shout to ‘Yo! MTV Raps’ for putting it on blast in the 90's. You know, I'm glad you brought that song up because I think unconsciously it helped my mind frame for creating the ‘King Noah’ LP. That goes back to what I said earlier with artists today; most don't make songs like Edo G's ‘Be a Father To Your Child’ just because you can't dance to it or bump it in a club. Man! You made me miss the 90's even more bringing this up (laughs) But thanks to the pioneers for teaching me how to be a man along with my parents.
One of those pioneers is Chubb Rock. You recorded the album ‘Bridging The Gap’ with him a few years back, was he a father figure to you?
I pride myself on being truthful. But without going into too much details he was everything a mentor and collaborator shouldn't be in regards to helping an up-and-coming artist. I'll leave it at that.
So did you learn anything from him?
I learned from him that celebrities, artists, actors, etc. are no different then the average person you see walking around daily. They have the same problems, character defaults and bad habits someone who isn't a celebrity has, if not worse. I think we put entertainers on too high of a pedestal and that's why when they turn out to be a jerk or something you feel so let down.
It was 12 years since Chubb Rock released a record at that time, so how did you convince him to do an album with you?
I actually didn't convince Chubb to do the ‘Bridging the Gap’ album. He sought me out and it was totally his idea.
You bridged the gap between the new and old school, please name four albums from the old school that influenced you a lot.
A Tribe Called Quest – ‘The Low End Theory’, Das EFX – ‘They Want EFX’, Eric B & Rakim – ‘Follow the Leader’ and Redman ‘Whut! Thee Album’.
What's next for you?
But before you turn into a superstar, just this: 'King Noah' is dedicated to your son, so to you personally ‘King Noah’ is gonna be your most precious LP right?
‘King Noah’ drops June 19, 2012.