El Che is the name of Rhymefest’s new album. But it’s more than an album, it’s a revolution. Fest hung out with Parlé to discuss the revolution, its inspiration, and its aim.
Parlé: What inspired the El Che movement?
Rhymefest: My name. When you have a name like Che, and you grow up and they call you the little rebel, your name has a part to play, a role to play. And if the Black youth of America today don’t need a revolution, I don’t know who does.
Parlé: What’s your real name?
Rhymefest: Che Smith
Parlé: What do you see when you look at the Black youth of America?
Rhymefest: I see the music, and music today is now a bashing of ignorance and anti-intellectualism. There should be someone to speak up and make things people like, and talk about the lifestyles of people. I’m talking about a spectrum of life and free thoughts. They are told to be who they are.
Parlé: Do you see this issue coming from the lifestyles of artists that the youth listen to and see on TV therefore making them want to emulate their “pop bottles” lifestyle to an extent? And if not, what do you think is to blame?
Rhymefest: Artists are scared to express ourselves truly, instead of being who we are, its money. An artist gets some money and sees, ‘This is how you do it,’ and you sell yourself short. There’s nothing wrong with fun, but a good time is fun, I don’t think they’re trying to emulate it, but that’s the only thing that exists. Its ignorance in general, not just reality TV, not just music, but you don’t have to do anything anymore. Everything is made for dummies. So I think we need a revolution. Every day you should wake up, and ask yourself ‘How can you fight ignorance today. What can we do today to fight ignorance, within in the world and in ourselves.’
Parlé: Do you think the revolution will be difficult?
Rhymefest: Hell yeah! Is it hard not to be a nigga. That’s what we’re raised to be. It’s hard for the country to survive unless the country is spending money. How does a person stay in school without being a nerd, trying to act like you’re white. We still got to fight ignorance, nothing works is easy, growth painful
El Che is dropping on May 18th, 2010..he’s dropping a mixtape before that named El Che: The Manual Mixtape
Parlé: What inspired the cover art of the album?
Rhymefest: That’s the revolution, that’s fighting ignorance, that’s knowledge; preparing yourself. With Frederick Douglass, this is a man who couldn’t read or write, but he brought himself up from being a slave, and taught himself how to be one of the most prolific orators in history.
Parlé: Familiar Faces off of Dangerous 5:18 is a deep song, what was the main thing you wanted to get across to your fans through it?
Rhymefest: That’s a song about suicide, but that’s just a vehicle, and my music is my vehicle. My music is God using me to deliver a message. This is what God told me to say, and I said it…
Parlé: Who produced the tracks on the album?
Rhymefest: S1, he did a lot of joints. I’d like to call him the new J Dilla. Also Scram Jones, and Best Kept Secret from DC.
Parlé: Has lyricism lost its prominence in the last couple of years? And as a pure bred lyricist, how do you feel about the state of lyricism today?
Rhymefest: Nah, not at all, people at the top are always the best. There are people really good, and just as always there are people that are bad. But you have good dudes, like B.o.B., Tyga, Eminem, its good competition.
Parlé: Any last words for your fans, and new fans for the album?
Rhymefest: If you want real hip hop this is it. Sometimes you just have to dig for a diamond if it aint in your face. And when you find that diamond at the bottom, that might be the brightest diamond.