$64K Questions: Rasheed Chappell

It’s been a hot minute since I did a $64K interview. This is my first one since my time overseas and it is well worth it with this artist. When I posted the blog about Future Before Nostalgia, I gave it a listen and this cat’s wordplay is so well delivered, I had to find this guy. And people say Twitter isn’t good for anything.

Rasheed Chappell is truly an exception to the current rule of click’s and cliche’s. Rasheed is an artist whose music is a sonic backdrop to life as he sees it, lives it and dreams it. Rasheed’s gift is only second to his tireless work ethic and his constant pursuit of elevation, to push himself and the genre to new heights and dimensions.

Rasheed’s words are able to capture and convey cinematic emotion, it’s as if you are watching a movie more than listening to music. His ability to weave street tales of tragedy & triumph into soulful melodies leaves the listener in awe & yearning for more. A poet, prophetic product of his environment, student of the culture, Rasheed Chappell lends his voice to touch topics that embody all that has made him.

Without further ado…

Pinkie: Please introduce yourself…
Rasheed: My name is Rasheed Chappell, no stage name or character. I consider myself a fan first, student second and artist third. I make Hip Hop music that I hope will stand the test of time like the artist I grew up listening to.

Pinkie: What made you fall in love with hip-hop? How did you get your start?
Rasheed: Hip Hop has always been a part of my life I really don’t remember a time without it. I probably fell in love with it when I finally admitted to myself I couldn’t sing ha ha, I initially started out rapping with my friends from school & I just took it a bit more seriously than the others. It became an outlet and sanctuary for me. I have always been a fan of words and no other genre of music manipulates the human language like Hip Hop.

Pinkie: Who were your influences?
Rasheed: My influences are literally everything I’ve ever seem or heard. I draw on all my experiences to create. There are way too many people to list ha ha.

Pinkie: Please tell us more about Future Before Nostalgia. What do you want the listener to capture from this album?
Rasheed: Future Before Nostalgia is my life to music, all my ambitions, my losses it’s Rasheed Chappell. Kenny had a clear vision of where he wanted to go sonically with the album & he allowed me to paint the pictures to the canvass he presented. The album is straight forward in approach & delivery, no Hip Hop artist features, just Kenny & I. We’re blessed to have the legendary DJ Scratch & DJ Mell Starr provide scratches on a few of the tracks. We also have Mishal Moore provide vocals to one of my favorite songs “Theology Of War” I am thoroughly pleased with the outcome of the album. I can’t thank all the sites, magazines, DJ’s & LISTENERS for all the love & accolades the album has received.

Pinkie: Kenny Dope is a 4 time Grammy nominated producer with years of hits under his belt. How did this collaboration come about?
Rasheed: I was working with a producer by the name of Maleet at the same time he & Kenny were working together. The story goes Maleet & Kenny were driving one day & Maleet just got the urge to play Kenny the music. Kenny took a liking to the music and wanted to meet to see how he could help, that initial meeting lead to a studio visit which produced a song with Biz Markie & myself and we’ve been working since that day almost 4 years ago now.

Pinkie: Tell us about working with Raheem DeVaughn for My Plea and the song’s concept.
Rasheed: Raheem is my brother musically, we’ve worked a few times in the past. I consider what he does “Movement Music” in the 60’s & 70’s before Hip Hop the soul singers such as Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, Curtis Mayfield & other sung of change, of struggle, they were the voice of the people. I feel Raheem DeVaughn is that for this generation. Not only does he use his voice for tales of love & romance but he’s also an activist. I got the call to come to the studio after he was released from being arrested along with Cornel West & others during the Occupy D.C. sit in. He wanted to make a song reflective of the times asked me to do it, Kenny laid the track & we knocked it out. Honored, he asked me to be a part of the project.

Pinkie: Anyone you would like to work with in the future?
Rasheed: There are a ton of artist I grew up listening to that I’d LOVE to work with, right now though I wanna focus on defining my sound & creating my own legacy. That being said if Rakim & DJ Premier called and needed me on a track ha ha.

Pinkie: What was your expression when you heard Rosenberg play “The Main Event” on Hot 97? You must have been on top of the world.
Rasheed: I honestly didn’t hear it ha ha, I missed it. I got a bunch of tweets & texts from people telling me they heard it. But yeah, it’s been a very eventful 2 weeks with all the CMJ Week shows, the “Main Event” record & the “My Plea” record it’s been a real fun time. I am blessed to be in this situation and enjoying every second of it. Shouts to Rosenberg, DJ Premier, DJ Eclipse, Tony Touch & ALL the DJ’s that have been giving us spins.

Pinkie: In your opinion, what do you think today’s music? Do you think that it is at its peak or lacking substance and why? When do you remember hip-hop at its best?
Rasheed: I think today’s music is in a GOOD place, I feel that artist are being creative & with the help of so many online resources it allows artist to get their music to the masses without going through major channels. I think music always goes through highs & lows, there is always good music available, people just have to search for it. in 2011 commercial radio may not be the best place to find “new artist’ but it serves it’s purpose. I am a fan of balance, as long as the music has balance it will always be in a good place. My favorite time in Hip Hop varies, parts of me LOVE the late 80’s early 90’s that’s when I was 1st exposed to the music & the mid 90’s were my greatest influence. I’m talking Illmatic, The Infamous, Do You Want More??!!??!!, Jewelz, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 90’s ha ha I love that music those emcees & albums really set the lyrical bar I hope to reach one day.

Pinkie: Any future projects?
Rasheed: Kenny & I are currently working on a few things, looking forward to getting back to work on the next album. We have a few ideas & concepts but the goal is to not force anything, we like to let it happen organically.

Pinkie: Where can fans catch your performances?
Rasheed: I am all over the place ha ha, I have a few NYC & CT dates coming up in November & December. I post everything on my Facebook page as well as Twitter & ReverbNation.

Pinkie: Advice for the aspiring lyricist…
Rasheed: Keep pushing and never change, evolve but never stray from what you believe in your heart. When you reach success on your own terms it’s that much sweeter.

Pinkie: Anything else you would like to add?
Rasheed: Just thank YOU for taking the time out to do this interview and THANK YOU to everyone that has supported me & my music.

You can catch Rasheed at the following: 

Special thanks to Rasheed Chappell and be sure to get Future Before Nostalgia out on iTunes


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