Friday, January 28, 2011

Money, cars, clothes & hoes… that’s the image of success that mainstream Hip-Hop gives us. A lot of cats play this game just to get all that but how many of them would give it up in order to win the right to change the game instead of being changed by it?
Daniel “Motown Pride” Jefferson is the living proof that there’s thin line between being a “dreamer” & a “believer” and this line is drawn by courage, unique vision, hard work and burning desire to live ya dreams. How can you possibly know that you can’t fly if you never even tried… crawling your whole life? 

Q: Who is Motown Pride? Introduce yourself to those who don’t know you.
Daniel: Well, the name Motown Pride pays tribute to having been born in one of the most influential cities in musical history. My family was good friends with Barry Gordy, the founder of Motown in Detroit. I grew up surrounded by musical history as my uncle used to do hair for all of the Motown greats: The Temptations, The Supremes, Smokey Robinson, etc... As many know, Detroit has had a troubled financial history with high crime, unemployment rates and a depleted economy. But like most Detroiters, I still find pride in being born in a challenging environment. And I would not change my hometown for anything. I've used that to inspire my music and my business career in entertainment. That's Motown Pride in a nutshell.

Q: You are a man of many talents; I’m afraid I might miss one of ya talents enumerating them…So what exactly do you do?
Daniel: Foremost, I classify myself as a spoken word artist. However, my origins are deeply rooted in Hip Hop. As a child I managed to attend many of the Fresh Fest in Detroit that showcased greats like LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane, The Fat Boys and RUN DMC. I've been an emcee for as long as I remember. As an artist, I think that more than many… I do a good job of bridging both of the styles together to create something unique. When I am not acting as a performer, I am the owner of my own entertainment company called Got Jokes? Entertainment.
We specialize in doing unconventional events that bring together diverse artists in a harmonious manner. Most of our notoriety has come from our nationally touring improv troupe, the Got Jokes? Improv All-Stars which is a blend of Who's Line Is That Anyway meets In Living Color / SNL. So, to summarize… I am a full fledge entertainer whose goal is to unite the masses through thought provoking music, creativity and the universal language of laughter
Q: As I know, you’d come a long way before you found ya passion for performance poetry… at least professionally? What was that “journey” like?
Daniel: It was tough. I grew up poor in inner city Detroit having moved over 14 times as a child
For a long time my mission in life was simply to get out of my financial situation and live a life that my family had never experienced… one where my family would never have to want for basic needs… to that end, I worked hard, went to school and had a successful six figure career in the computer industry. Unfortunately, I realized that it wasn't all about the money. It was about being true to myself and sharing my spiritual gifts with the world, which is to connect with people. So after the death of my real life hero, my grandfather, I decided it was time to move away from being comfortable and follow my dreams. I became a full-time artist. Humbled my lifestyle and rebuilt myself from scratch. Two toned jaguar became a used car that required a lot of work to still function. Big house became an affordable apartment. And I had to become a budgeting wiz just to make ends meet. After 4 years of hard work it is all starting to pay off now
Proof that if you work hard and pursue your passion anything is possible and we can rise above our financial struggles more than once

Q: Originally you are from Detroit but reside in Tampa, FL. Which city influenced you more & why?
 Daniel: Hmmm... Well, my immediate answer is that Detroit has had the biggest influence on me. It's where I grew up and built my foundation. It's where I learned the art of hustling to survive. It's where my fashion sense and sense of humility stem from. And when I close my eyes and think of home, I see Detroit in my heart. But if you are really living life then you are always searching for knowledge and growing. And as an artist, your art should grow as well. So with new experiences shaping all of my work from day to day most of the artistic motivation you see today is going to be influenced by the Tampa, FL culture. It is here where I became a father, had my most meaningful relationship with a woman and discovered myself as an artist and an entrepreneur. So, let's go with it being a tie. (Laughing)

Q: Tell me more about “Got Jokes?”
Daniel: Got Jokes was born because during my journey as a spoken word/hip hop artist I was not really happy with the opportunities that existed for indies. I knew that people were making money of art, but the young underground artists typically did not reap the benefits. So I explored different ways to bring what I do to a bigger audience after meeting a traveling comic, Rahn Hortman. I was brainstorming ideas for us to work together and I came up with Got Jokes? 
Got Jokes? is an interactive experience where I've taken performers from all genres: poets, actors, comedians, radio personalities and by taking suggestions from the audience we play games that showcase our quick wit and ability to make people laugh… completely unscripted so no show is the same. The response for it was so great in a short period of time  we were doing sold out shows of 350 plus at the top comedy venue in the Tampa, FL area that expanded into a comedy tour and that morphed into me creating a full fledged entertainment company where we do unique events and I work as a booking agent for over 14 different performers.

Q: How did you become involved in Hip-Hop?
Daniel: I fell in love with Hip Hop after seeing RUN DMC for the first time in concert. My godmother worked for the radio station so she would give me tickets even though I was underaged I would battle people every day in the school yard and when I was in high school I competed in various different talent shows. I worked with many legendary Detroit Hip Hop influencers like DJ House Shoes and Benny from a group called A.W.O.L that had one of the hottest singles out in the city at the time. I took a break from Hip Hop but came back to it when I started working with different producers from all over the country who had the opportunity to hear some of my spoken word. I feel really blessed to have worked with such a diverse landscape of real Hip Hop heads throughout the world and I'm very excited about my new projects on the horizon.

Q: What do you love most about hip-hop & why?
Daniel: I think what I love the most about Hip Hop is its story and its affect on people. Watching Hip-Hop develop from what some thought was a passing fad to worldwide phenomenon it is today is breathtaking. As emcees, we truly have the ability to move the crowd at a level so high that it leaves chills in my spine. And the art continues to grow to morph and shows no signs of slowing down. Till' this day, I can't think of a better feeling than hearing a beat that moves your soul and spittin' just right where the crowd can't help but nod their head and say the words with you. Best time I've ever experienced that was when I opened for Little Brother magical moment.

Q: If you could change one thing about Hip-Hop what would it be?
Daniel: If I could change one thing, it would probably be who has owned Hip Hop historically. I think that it's tragic that many of the pioneers have not experienced the financial security they deserve and that many of the decisions that affect how profitable an artist becomes in this industry are controlled by those who don't have a spiritual connection with the culture.
But such, is the development of any genre, I guess. As popularity increases, it becomes less about originality/genius and more about shock and awe/simplicity

Q: Old school or new school, where goes your preference?
Daniel: Old School all day long. Although I do enjoy many of today's artists… there is something about the nostalgia of hearing Big Daddy Kane's “Ain't No Half Steppin” or Rakim's “Microphone Fiend” or even K-Solo's Your Mom's In my Business that just takes me to a special place though

Q: I know that you influenced/inspired “Femcee” by Dynasty… This song is a true anthem of all the Ladies of Hip-Hop & esp femcees so I gotta say it was a big surprise to me. How did it happen? Tell lil some about it.
Daniel: First off, I love Dynasty! Let me say that. DY is something special and I look forward to releasing our first single together soon. As far as the femcee moniker is concerned… at one of my Got Jokes shows where we typically showcase different local performers every show in a pure improvised moment I just threw the two names together while introducing her the name stuck, and she decided to write a song about it. She made a point to say that not only was she one of the baddest female emcees in the game but one of the baddest emcees period regardless of gender and you know what... I have to agree with her.

Q: Who are your favorite up-and-coming artists?
Daniel: I'm a bit biased but two artists come to mind… Dynasty, for obvious reasons and my good friend, Laws, who recently signed with the Justice League last year. Not only am I big fans of their work but I find there growth to be inspiring. When I saw Laws performing on the BET Cypher at the BET Hip Hop Awards it was great to watch a fellow performer that I respect getting his shot what could be more inspiring than that?

Q: Are there any people whom you consider to be your mentors?
Daniel: Yes, but ironically most of them are not artists. They are street philosophers, political activists, inventors and teachers. I am inspired by knowledge and revolutionary thought
I had the opportunity to meet 2 Pac's dad when I was touring the prison system for Black History Month. I was able to spend some time with him and left incredibly impressed. I also was blessed to meet and have an incredible discussion with Maya Angelou. My conversation with her has shaped my life dramatically. Biggest mentor would have to be my deceased grandfather though… so much so I named my first album “Joe Strut” to honor his memory

Q: What do you think makes you different as an artist?
Daniel: So many things... (Laughing) I would probably say the way that I attack subject matter really makes me stand out. My lyrics typically have multiple meanings that reveal themselves after the 10th and 12th listen, so it makes for great replay value as a lyricist. But above all, I think it's really my life experiences, my ability to connect with others and my willingness to let people in to personal feelings that most would not feel comfortable sharing with others. I'm also not afraid to experiment and I completely create music for the love of the art and for self therapy.

Q: What song by Motown Pride is the most significant to you & why?
Daniel: I have a song called "The Best" that talks about my relationship with my son. It's hard for me to perform it without getting emotional because he is my best friend in the universe. He makes a cameo appearance at the end. I think I will always hold that song close to my heart because it will always feel relevant to me and take me back to the feeling I had when he entered this world.

Q: How do you see the future of the Hip-Hop culture? What it’s gonna be in maybe like 10 years?
Daniel: Unrecognizable. As time goes on and it continues to get more diverse, I see international influence having a bigger impact on global Hip Hop culture. It doesn't scare me though because the type of Hip Hop music that we enjoy will always exist. Where there is a need, there will be a voice.

Q: What’s the difference between Rap & Hip-Hop in your book?
Daniel: Outside of Rap only being one of the elements of Hip Hop... the simplest way to distinguish the two is that Hip Hop is a way of life and Rap is simply a form of expression.
Hip Hop is so diverse that it can sound any way it wants as long as it is authentic, real and comes from a place of free expression.

Q: What is it that most people would be surprised to know about you?
Daniel: They would be surprised to know how diverse my musical tastes are. I love classic TV theme songs from the 80's. Best of Queen is on steady rotation. I'm a former Tetris Champion 
Umm... I think Elizabeth Montgomery from that old TV Show Bewitched is sexy. Oh yeah,
I've never had a drink before in my life.

Q: What are your upcoming projects? What should we expect from you in the near future?
Daniel: Well, I just had one of my singles released internationally, "Elevator Music" on Sci-Fi Stu's debut album can be picked up everywhere. So, I'm excited about that. I am working on new projects with Rieces Pieces, Dynasty and many up-and-coming producers that will make your head spin. I will also be releasing my first music video, a milestone for me, this summer. I hope for my second album to be released by the end of the year and I will be making cameo appearances on over a dozen albums from some high profile artists that should help bring my music to new listeners everywhere. On the Got Jokes front, I am scheduled to open 4 new comedy clubs before the end of the year and we are finalizing our first national college tour. 
I am also working on some TV pilots that have an excellent chance of being picked up. Stay tuned!

Q: Any shout outs?
Daniel: I want to shout out my girl, Eugenia. Also want to thank my son for being an inspiration
And last, I'd like to dedicate all I accomplish this year to the memory of my father who just lost his bout with cancer 3 months ago. Love you Dad. Superheroes never die.

 Special thanks to Motown Pride for taking time out for this interview!

I used 2 ♥ him

Common used to love H.E.R. & I used to love H.I.M. (Hip-hop Is My Muse) ... but true love never dies ... this is my L.O.V.E. S.T.O.R.Y.


About Me

They call me Janus cuz I’m a little bit of every opposition. I’m quiet & loud, happy & sad, cocky and shy, rough & ladylike… but most of all I’m hip-hop. I started this blog to share my thoughts and ideas with the world, so feel free to leave your comments and to holla at me. Welcome to my world! Follow me on Twitter