Gilead 7 (2010)
Seit über 10 Jahren ist Gilead 7 als Rapper nun schon aktiv, doch selbst eingefleischte Chi-Rap-Hörer zucken erst mal mit den Schultern, wenn sie nach seinem Namen gefragt werden. Gilead weiß das und empfindet die Situation als genauso frustrierend wie sie ist. Die nächsten Projekte sollen den Durchbruch bringen: mit “ADVENT” steht ein neues Soloalbum in den Startlöchern auch von der neunköpfigen neuen Crew Tomorrow Kings werden wir schon bald mehr hören. Aber lest selbst…[hr]
It’s been five years since our last interview. Which experience that the biggest impact on your life during this time?
It surely has been 5 years since out last interview. And a lot and then some has happened. Done went through a few girls. Released some records. Joined a 9 man supercrew in Chicago called Tomorrow Kings (http://www.myspace.com/tomorrowkingschicago). Moved to California. Have a really good girl in my life now, and forever. Fantastic to be exact. All of things that I have mentioned converge into one event and experience that has had the biggest impact on my life. It’s pretty overwhelming when big impacts occur in the life of a small person like me.
I know that you were pursuing a master’s degree in theological studies back then. Did you make that happen? And do you have a favourite theological subject?
I was pursuing a master’s degree in theology. I did receive it. I also got an advanced masters in theology, and will have a PhD from California’s Claremont Graduate University in May of 2011 if I stay on schedule. Which reminds me. My girlfriend was supposed to help me with the schedule. But she’s watching television. So much for that. Umm… fav theological subject? I would have to say that it is process theology. Its ability to logically synchronize the idea of God as relating to and dependent on the universe is pretty cool. On a broader scale, I’m really into philosophy of religion and western philosophy as it relates to questions of the ultimate.
You told me that you’re going to release a new album entitled “ADVENT” on a label called The Secret Life Of Sound. How was the recording process?
The recording process for this record was great. My friend and musical colleague, I.B. Fokuz, did all the production for it. He does a good deal of MCeing on it also. It’s actually both of our record. “ADVENT” was recorded in about the space of a year. I wrote some and I.B. wrote some. We also recorded some of it in spurts. I.B. went in and was happy with many of his verses right off the bat. I wasn’t. So I went and redid some of the tracks on the record. Hence the recording time was longer. I enjoyed recording it. There is always an adventure in the recording of a record. And this one has its own. From the need of the engineer having to auto tune a singing part that I couldn’t get right to the same engineer flashing porn pictures on the studio monitor while I was spitting, it was spine tingling to say the least. You should try recording to nipples that grow long as pencils when I apply lips to suck. The Secret Life of Sound has been more than gracious to put it out for us.
I always found your lyrics extraordinary well-thought out and also challenging for the listener. So please give us a deeper insight into the concept of the new album.
You found them well-thought out, huh? I fooled you too? Man, I’m getting good at this cloaking device type rhyme style…*laughs* Seriously, thank you for that compliment. The concept of “ADVENT”. It’s a bit of a story. I.B. Fokuz (http://www.ibfokuz.com) heard my album, “The Darkroom”. He told me that he immensely enjoyed it, and he wanted to produce my next full-length. I was honored, ‘cus the man has skills. He asked me what I wanted to call the record. And after a few minutes of silent thought, I said, “ADVENT.” Advent in the Christian calendar is the time of year that both the birth and resurrection of Christ is celebrated. It symbolizes a renewal or coming of age. I felt that I needed to evolve into a rebirth of some sort artistically and conceptually. So, the title represents a rebirth of me (I say this on the first track, “ADVENT”). For those who have heard my “Darkroom” record, they know that I waged war with classical conceptions of christianity. In “Death Penalty Shots,” I waged war with substandard MCs (and with myself). “ADVENT” is a doorway into me just being creative, apart from the war. “ADVENT: A Modern Bible,” so it’s more than just an artistic rebirth. “ADVENT” is also about a reconstruction of how the idea of God is viewed and used. The “modern bible” is an open space and structure that includes theists to atheists, with justice as its only mandate. As long as you’re working toward peace and unity, you follow the “text” of the “modern bible.” In other words, in my sense, anyone can be “religious,” and a pastor may be the most “non-religious” person in a society. Well, Nietzsche used to think so, anyway. I.B. and I present the beginnings of a philosophy of life that provides humanity a means of responding to the current ecological crisis, the perils of the urban United States and abroad, human colleagueships, and the reconciliation of some strands of religion with evolution (for some strands have reconciled already). Some of these issues are issued in this album, but there are more ADVENT projects to come. It’s more than a CD. It’s a way to live.
You’re also part of a new group, the Tomorrow Kings. Who stands behind this name?
TK until the world blows. There are nine of us. Skech185 (he’s dropping a record on ReServed, the label that did a lot of my older stuff), Lamon Manuel, Malakh El, Jyroscope (I.B. Fokuz, Collasoul Structure, and DJ Seanile), IL. Subliminal, 2nd Thought (media promotions), and myself. Tomorrow Kings is also a philosophy of life that we believe helps you to exist in the rugged times in which we live. This group is full of rhyme killers en masse, as GZA/Genius would say. TK contains the MCs you should have heard about from Chicago but heard about some other rappers from Chicago who probably doesn’t come close to our squad. I’m not really talking about me now. My crew members are some of the illest artists on this planet, and I feel small as hell and inadequate every time I work with them. On some real shit, these are people that I have admired for years, and it’s more than honor to make music and save lives and ideas with them.
Do you plan to release a group album?
We are working on a group album right now. For the time being, download the “On The Throne Since Yesterday” mixtape at http://www.tomorrowkingdom.com. We’re doing a part two where we rhyme to industry beats. I have one that I did to Elzhi’s “Love It Here,” which came out pretty good. I kinda came at Elzhi, too. But you’ll hear it soon. Go to http://www.myspace.com/tomorrowkingschicago to learn more, and become Facebook friends with us. And yes. We’re inspired by Ashley Wood. Respect to that man, but we have a storyline in the mix that will give him a run for his money.
You’ve been making music for over 10 years now, yet your name is still relatively unknown over here. Do you feel frustrated about that?
You know what? I actually do. You heard my “Death Penalty Shots” record. I was pissed as hell that I’m relatively unknown there, or anywhere. There have been a few glimpses of light from ugrap.de (thank you) and some other people in Europe. But then again, I’m really not frustrated. I can go to Berlin and walk around unnoticed. Friends of mine like Qwazaar and Qwel can’t. It’s not like they’ll be attacked by a large amount of people, but I can simply just sit on a park bench without having to give autographs. It’s some plusses to that, ya know…”laughs*. This is not to say that I don’t get the occasional overseas email with someone saying that they have my record and appreciate/dig what I do. But I would like to get myself a bit more well-known there. And I think that this will happen with “ADVENT”. There are some steps that I’m taking to broaden my range. The Secret Life of Sound ([url=http://www.tslos.com][/url]) has a good range, and I’m confident that their push of the record will get I.B. and I some German and European attention. And also, I have had some decent press overseas, and my records have been distributed there, too. Take the “Movers and Shakas” vinyl I did with Thaione Davis with Skech185 and Tall Black Guy on the Bside (all my production). I look on the German sites, and am proud to see that it’s there. It’s even sold out more than once in some stores.
Who is the most interesting artist you ever worked with?
That’s a hard question. And it’s a question that could get me in trouble if I don’t answer correctly. *laughs*. I usually don’t deal in “mosts” or “leasts,” but I would have to say that people in my very circle interest me the most. The way Tomorrow Kings come up with concepts and record are nothing less than immaculate. We can sit in a room, shout out a concept, put a beat on, and have a song within 20 minutes, And I haven’t even said anything about the freestyle sessions. Go to our myspace page and see. I ain’t just making this up. I would have to say that Thaione Davis and Listener would go for a close second. Vast Aire would have to be a third. I have a 7inch coming out with Vast on ReServed in the fall, produced by Maker. The b-side is a Tomorrow Kings track produced by ATD (a sick ass producer…if you need beats, go to
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Analogue-Tape-Dispenser/276520992836?ref=ts and hear some dope shit.
Where can european listeners buy your music?
I’m glad you asked about buying my material in Europe. http://www.hhv.de carries both my “Darkroom” record and my 7inch vinyl with Thaione. http://www.Deejay.de has the 7inch, too. And there are others. Just look around. You can even get these records on Ebay I found. So, the Europe heads have shown me love.
What are your plans for the future?
Well, there is going to be a second “ADVENT”. But after the record comes out on The Secret Life of Sound, I.B. and I are about to to an “ADVENT” EP with Lokua, a producer from Chicago (http://www.momentsound.com). I’m doing a lot of production now. If you need good sounding instrumentals influenced by everything from jazz to Celtic, look to me. I just produced and rhymed on the free b-side of the new Offwhyte digital single. It’s called “Grasp The Wind.” Grab it up at http://www.galapagos4.com. There is talk of Offwhyte and I doing an EP with him rhyming over my production. I’m working on an instrumental EP called “Dark David” right now. It will be brooding synths, hard drums, and purple to black melodies oozing from my witch’s cauldron. On the flip side, I’ll be student teaching in theology in the fall and writing my dissertation on underground hip-hop and models of God via the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. I just finished writing a book chapter for a text on racial identity and theology for Chalice Press’s “Where’s the Faith” series, and am in the process of sending other articles out for publication in scholarly journals. I’m one of two keynote speakers for a conference on theology and the arts. Finally, I’m presenting a paper on Walter Benjamin and Erich Auerbach’s literary philosophy as I use it to consider Tori Amos and Illogic’s creative writing as theology at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion. To learn more about my academic side, go to http://jonivangill.com.
What’s the first thing you’ll be doing after having answered all these questions?
Probably kiss my wonderful and beautiful girlfriend, who’s sitting right next to me. A good night. As always, thanks so much for your time, Ben!
Check out the promo mixtape for the “ADVENT” album: http://www.podcastdirectory.com/podshows/5664606