Let’s welcome Indie Hip Hop Artist Meru Muad’Dib Bey!
Shyaam: Tell us a little about yourself?
Meru: I am from St. Louis, Missouri. Born and raised here. I started rapping about 85 or 86. My initiation into Hip Hop was battles. I went into the U.S. Army in 89. Got out in 96 and started doing Christian rap. In 98 I switched to spoken word and achieved recognition locally. At the same time we started a metaphysical lecture series called the Mound City Masters. Mound City is an ancient name for St. Louis because of all the native burial mounds in the area. I Those two roles went hand in hand until 2009 when I went into the hospital because a wisdom tooth got infected with a flesh eating bacteria.
They told me I wouldn’t walk or talk again. I had to learn how to walk again. My mouth still hasn’t returned to normal. In 2010 I got an opportunity to work with Sham of the Trak Starz (Chingy ‘Right Thurr) again. When I was doing Christian rap he was my producer. 3KNGZ was formed and here I am! I belong to a collective called 3KNGZ. We do Spoken Word and Hip Hop.
Shyaam: What are your musical influences?
Meru: Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Pharaoh Sanders, John Coltrane, Lauryn Hill, D’Angelo, Wu Tang, Rakim, Public Enemy, NWA, Geto Boyz, Sun Ra, Dead Can Dance, Portishead, Nirvana, OutKast, BDP, Krs One, injustice, struggle.
Shyaam: What motivates and inspires you to create?
Meru: Struggle. I feel I have been through a lot and have a lot to share. I want to inspire others to think, grow and be better. I see the conditions of my family all around the globe. The darker the skin, the more hell they catch. Heavy lies have been told about my people. Who we are. Where we come from and our contributions. I want to correct some of those errors in my content and subject matter
Shyaam: Does spirituality and consciousness play apart in your musical inspiration?
Meru: Oh yeah. That’s my theme. When I was in the hospital, I had a vision of 3 of my friends who already passed away. They told me I wasn’t supposed to be where they were. My boy told me, “Meru, you have to go back across the river, Allah is not done with you yet.” Consciousness and spirituality is what I’m known for.
Shyaam:Is there a specific sound of music you prefer over others?
Meru: No. I can flow to just about anything. Well I have gained an affinity for trap instrumentals. I really like the energy. Trap music rules Hip Hop now. So I took on the challenge of doing what I do to Trap beats. Which is an interesting dynamic. I also dig East coast joints. That was my preference before the Trap beats. 6. Who are your top 5 MC’s dead or alive? 1. Rakim 2. KRS-ONE 3. Nas 4. Tupac 5. Brother J (X-Clan)
Shyaam: What are your top 5 classic albums of all time?
Meru: 1. It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back 2. Criminal Minded 3. Paid In Full 4. To the East Blackwards 5. Straight Outta Compton
Shyaam: What is your philosophy on producing?
Meru: The producer makes the sound. The producer makes sure the music is along the theme of the project. The producer makes sure every lyric is right and along with the theme. The producer is responsible for the sound and feel of the project. Today, there are a lot of beat makers acting like producers. Most don’t know but those are two different things. You can have 5 beat makers in a project and it could lack a theme. The beats could be banging, but no theme. That may be the way of the future because it’s a single driven market. Hardly anyone is doing entire albums anymore. Folks are dropping singles straight to internet outlets.
Shyaam: Where can we find more of your music?
Shyaam: Which artists would you love to work with and produce songs for?
Meru: Kendrick Lamar ASAP Rocky J. Cole Ludacris The Game.