Talib Kweli

"Talib Kweli And Supernatural Talk Freestyle, Rap Battles & New York Hip-Hop History"

[Intro]
Talib Kweli: What's up party people, it's Talib Kweli, the BK MC, the MCEO. I love the fact that y'all are checking out the People's Party, showing us all the love. You know what we do, we're bringing all the guests, we're bringing the best podcast on the internet. Just make sure you subscribe and leave a review. People's Party, Talib Kweli, let's go!

[music]

Talib Kweli: What's up party people in the place to be. You are now rocking with Talib Kweli, I am the host of the People's Party and today we have another wonderful episode of the People's Party, featuring my home girl, Jasmin Leigh.

Jasmin Leigh: Oh, hello!

Talib Kweli: Give it up for Jasmin Leigh!

Yeah, myself, Talib Kweli, how you doing Jasmin Leigh? I like your business suit.

Jasmin Leigh: You do? It's business on the front but sexy underneath.

Talib Kweli: Your belt looks like you're buckled in on a flight.

Jasmin Leigh: I am, I'm ready to go.

Talib Kweli: Okay, we ready to take off. Yeah, we're gonna fly
through the stratosphere today.

Today's guest is a very special guest, he's not just a guest at a People's
Party because he's a outstanding artist, he's also an outstanding individual, an outstanding human being. He's one of my
best friends in this music business. I consider him a mentor. He is the king of freestyle, Hip-Hop freestyle, you know. It's like Phife Dawg said, in the mortal words of Phife Dawg; "freestyle fanatic
probably the best around". A Guinness Book of World Records holder for longest freestyle rap, a battle rap champion, a Hip-Hop historian, a gentleman and a scholar. We got Supernatural in the place to be.

[Music]

Jasmin Leigh: I loving that jacket.

Talib Kweli: Looking good, brother!

Supernatural: Trying, trying, trying to stay in shape, physically fit, mind, mind right.

Talib Kweli: Yeah man, you and me, in case people don't
know, Supernet is one of my good, good friends, one of my best friends definitely in this business. We've been on the phone lately and you've been your workout regimen has been crazy, you can see
the results.

Supernatural: Yeah, that's one of the things that I thought you know
sometimes people don't realize; the one thing you could take control of is your body first.

Talib Kweli: No doubt

Supernatural: If you can control that, then I think you can balance everything out. You know, I used to be like two hundred twenty pounds, almost two seventy-five. You know, I just started eating right, changing my diet and really just got dedicated to the jump rope. I was telling Pharoah, I was talking to Pharaoh one day and he said, "how did you get nice on the rope?" and I told him it's the Hip-Hop routine, that's all. You take three songs that you love; your three favourite hip hop joints and you jump on the verses and rest on the hooks.
So you know, everybody loves their favourite music, you know the lyrics and if you really want to practice on your birth-control, do that every morning.

Talib Kweli: You do that every morning?

Supernatural: I do that at least four or five days out of the week I take a couple days off to let the body recoup but I do that with a combination other stuff.

Jasmin Leigh: Music is the soul of a lot of people, a lot of people's workouts because sometimes counting doesn't get you through that
but listening to that song gives you that motivation and if you start singing the lyrics you forget that you're working out.

Supernatural: Exactly! Like, three songs probably come out to like 15 minutes and if you add on to one and you've got a 30-minute workout with your favorite joints.

Talib Kweli: Um, so far in the show we've had some great guests we had Robert Glasper here and on that day we had asked him a question of if you had to pick, what was it, what was it, the top five?

Jasmin Leigh: Yeah!

Talib Kweli: It's like a top-five of your, your battle rap, you know, all-stars. Like, your, your starting five battle rap line-up and you made everybody's list.

Supernatural: Wow! Wow, that's dope.

Talib Kweli: How does that make you feel?

Supernatural: That makes me feel good. Honestly like, sometimes I still, I stay off in the corner a little too much so you know to hear things like that, just to know that I'm still on the minds of people for my contribution; that makes me feel wonderful you know. I think that's superdope, you see the smile on my face, you know. It's very hard for me to fake a smile so yeah good-looking out, family. You know, Asia, Glasper all of y'all. If you put me on your team that's dope. Got to be in the top five.

Talib Kweli: Now you're from Marion, Indiana

Supernatural: Yes indeed!

Talib Kweli: Right um, Freddie Gibbs he's from Marion?

Supernatural: No, Freddie Gibbs is from Gary, Gary Indiana. He's a little, a few, few, few minutes away. Just as rough and just as f*cked up.

Talib Kweli: Okay! You f*ck with Gibbs music?

Supernatural: Oh yeah! I love Gibbs, actually, my cousin brought Freddie Gibbs to my house for... I went home to visit my mother for Christmas one time and I have a cousin he called himself Daddy Rich and he was just one of the young cats, he was really ambitious that was just like... He had the wrapped car first, he, you know, like the whole Master P... Where everything looked... Yeah, you know. So he told me about this kid named Freddie Gibbs, brought him to my house and I reminded Gibbs about that like I was just home visiting Ma Dukes and that's how I met him. And then like three or four years from that day Gibbs became that guy.

Talib Kweli: No doubt, shout out to Freddie Gibbs.

Supernatural: Shout out to Freddie Gibbs, man. Incredible
artists.

Talib Kweli: Is there anybody else Hip-Hop wise from Indiana that we should be checking for that we don't know about.

Supernatural: My son.

Talib Kweli: Okay

Jasmin Leigh: Okay! Keep it in the family.

Supernatural: Yeah, my son, Haji.

Talib Kweli: Shout out to Haji

Supernatural: You know how, Kwe' watched him grow up.

Talib Kweli: No doubt.

Supernatural: I think one thing that's very unique about Marion that a lot of people don't ever really get to know, and this is a reference to Chuck D, is that there was a... and you know, this is the sad part
about that place is that there was an
album cover or at least a single cover
for a hazy shaded criminal when Chuck
did the whole Arizona when he was doing
that whole thing.

Talib Kweli: Right!

Supernatural: And there's a hanging, the pictures of a lynching.

Talib Kweli: It's one of the most famous pictures.

Supernatural: Like, iconic lynching pictures in history,
that's Marion Indiana.

Talib Kweli: Hmm!

Supernatural: so when I chose to embark on a conscious path, you know, at least to try to say something in my music that was always my catalyst, you know. Still to this day when I see that picture my body gets a particular feeling because my grandmother went to school with those people that are actually hanging from that. And then like 20 years later to be in Hip-Hop and to see an iconic figure like Chuck use that. You know, Marion plays a significant role in changing the dynamic of how I thought as a young black man and saying yo I can't
just get on the mic and talk about bullsh*t.

Talib Kweli: Hmmm, yeah!

Supernatural: you know I have a responsibility to those people as
well as around the world, you know, that pictures it's haunting still to this day.

Talib Kweli: Now when you, um, first got press, local press in Marion and local, local newspaper talking about your album deal, on that same day there was a KKK rally in your town right?

Supernatural: Yep!

Talib Kweli: Can you walk us through that day; what exactly happened?

Supernatural: Um, you know, a lecture it was it was my
drop week you know it was a big deal for me because we used to always cop all of our records from a black man named Gus
Dorsey and he had a record shop called Big D records and you know, he made it his business to order all of the newest hip-hop stuff that was coming out. 'Cause we had a couple of DJ's that threw, you know,
house parties and parties in the town that they went into whatever was anything hip-hop that came out. So yeah, the day that my record was released the week after if you... I posted a picture recently where you see my album on one side of the newspaper and you see the Ku
Klux Klan rally on the other side of the paper. And my mother just recently showed me this, I... you know, in my haste moving around in the world you forget about those things and my mom, you know, she's
always been like the stickler for keeping things and she was like yeah
"look at this, look what mama got" and then she folded it out. When she folded out the other side she said "don't forget why you do this, don't forget why you do this". And that's why Brooklyn and you and everybody else that I met along the way plays a very significant role in
this story

Talib Kweli: Right!

Supernatural: You know.

Talib Kweli: Now what made you want to come to Brooklyn? And how did you, how did you transition from Marion to Brooklyn New York, what age was that?

Supernatural: okay well I knew I was ready to go to New
York at probably about 14, 15 years old. One of the reasons being so is that we had a group of individuals that lived in our city that were called the Butlers. You know, Bill Butler, Charles Butler, Jimmy Butler Shirley Butler and Joe Butler. You know, the butler family and they were from the Bronx. They were from Webster Avenue houses and Eddie Red, you know, during the crack era you know was one of the big homies he would make the moves from this is all just true story
sometimes just gotta tell the truth. He would make the moves from the Bronx to Indiana and in that moment I got in contact and in touch with all of the tapes Red Alert, the WBLS you know woodchucks chill out you know every Saturday. And I would tell him "look, when you bring those tapes, record everything. I want commercials I want everything". I go to Moe's... I wanted all that, I wanted all that, right. So I would tell him to bring those home and those tapes became iconic in our neighborhood.

Talib Kweli: Hold on, ain't no more Modell's?

Jasmin Leigh: I don't think so, I feel like I've been o three different clearance sales. Modell's is the sh*t.

Talib Kweli: Modell's, got you look in hot, Modell's, got you feeling good.

Supernatural: And then you had VIMs...

Talib Kweli: V-I-M

Supernatural: You know I mean these old New York stuff. So, I would tell them to record the commercials so that I I was already familiar with the city so that's was my catalyst. But I remember the summer of me coming to New York City was just like... everywhere I went that summer and I rapped, people were like: "Why are you here?" "You need to get out of here".

Jasmin Leigh: Out of New York?

Supernatural: Out of Indiana, like: "You don't need to be here, you got talent you know, like even when I tried to quote-unquote try to hustle it was like: "get your ass off the block,

Talib Kweli: Right

Supernatural: "You got talent", you know, go, so Jimmy, you know, shout out to Jimmy Butler. He just always he was this very flamboyant uptown Bronx cat, played ball he was a basketball fanatic. And so he always eloquated my rhyme style to whooping. He was like you like a raw hoopla that comes to the court with the rock and just does amazing sh*t on the court and then you know, you just go back home and live your normal life. And he was like you know if... He wanted to bring me to New York that was the ultimate plan, but he
got knocked that summer, you know. And he was a type of dude even though he hustled he wasn't one of those dudes he had that, that thing you know what I mean. That, that that energy where you just
loved him for him.

Talib Kweli: Right

Supernatural: And everybody loved him he was a type of cat and he got knocked that summer. And I remember my cousin's came from Long Island, you know, the Marrows the Marrows, right. Long Island, New York and my cousin, Sean and she was a female and my cousin
Yolanda and there was two twins and so they came and they stayed the summer for about five or six weeks and they were like: "Yo you should come back with us". And I'm like: "my mama's not gonna let me to just bounce to New York just like this". And they was like: "You
graduated school", you know. They was making logical sense, they like it's time, so I was like you know what? I'm gonna do that and I hustled up five hundred dollars, I think, but I got five hundred I got three hundred from my mom's ex-boyfriend I had $800 in a green duffel bag and I got on Amtrak and I said you know what I'ma go to New York and I'm gonna blow up. [Laughter] But that was, that's how it happened, you know, it was just like being around Jimmy all the time, and listening to those tapes. Like, I was the first dude to roll a blunt in my city. Like, I was the first dude to do a lot of sh*t. To roll a blunt and listening and then... I mean I was like okay get a cigar.

Talib Kweli: Right

Supernatural: I probably f*cked up like seven or eight of em, before I finally got it. You know, I did a lot of firsts there you know. Like, I was really one of the first MCs, there was only like three other dudes that rhymed in the town, you know. There was one dude named yogi, he was like the pimp stylish rapper, you know.

Talib Kweli: Every iteration of a rapper.

Supernatural: Yeah and then we had this other guy named Doc Rock and that was like my arch-nemesis like we battled each other
that he couldn't battle anymore you know
like we just beat each other up for
sport. And that's how you know they told
me to get out of here yes that's how I
got to New York

Jasmin Leigh: When did you realize you had the gift of freestyling.

Supernatural: Not to sound crazy or none but from the first time I ever said a rhyme.

Jasmin Leigh: How old were you.

Supernatural: 14 and I remember vividly. Rapper's Delight' was the first
rap record I ever heard for a lot of people and I would play the hell out of the record. It's just like any kid, you get bored it was almost like a toy, you know. Just that, hearing that like it was magic to my ears almost. What I didn't know is that this is funny to always say this, when you turned the record over, it was an instrumental. So, I turned the record over and for about a month I rapped their lyrics. Not,
you know, just once again I got bored. So I was like, I wonder if I give myself like this name, you know, it's almost like comedy at this point 'cause you laughing at yourself going: "Am I gonna do this?" So I gave myself like a little name Doctor Rap or something like that, you know what I mean? Was something really cool.

Talib Kweli: Mine was Genesis. I had a song called, uh, "Words Become Flesh" comes from the book of Genesis

Supernatural: You see what I mean? But see he was already heavy for us.

Jasmin Leigh: My rap name was fishtank.

Supernatural: Yeah okay, you have to warn me, I was sipping... So yeah that's, that's how that, that particular thing took place. I was
like, you know, when I turned that record over, I got bored. And I started spitting those bars just off the top of the head and making that up, it was addictive, it became such a part of me like that. I was, we were forbidden to touch this stereo in the house you know.

Jasmin Leigh: Black parents!

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