Posted on April 20, 2009 ·
He goes by the name of Silent Knight
Silent Knight emerged from the New Jersey Underground Rap scene. Brooklyn-born him & Tri-State raised him. And its evident in his music that his environment while growing up has played an influence on him. Not only does he make great music, but he does so while having the ability to engage a youth with political and social issues, during a time that is fixed on strictly club and dance-inspired music. With his edgy, yet sublte, calm, yet explosive lyrics & style, you cant help but to be engaged in a non-stob throbbing, bobbing, and nodding to the beat as he flows with a steady pace, alarming rate. I was first introduced to him at a NYC revenue- The Knitting Factory- which sadly is no longer in existence. It was his song “Hunger Strike” that captured my heart and my soul, and I’ve been rocking to him since. Below is an interview I presented to him (in a very untraditional manner), but still I was surprised by the honesty and effort in responses that I received:::
What’s your name?:
Silent Knight. real name? Jason.
What’s your ethnicity?:
When did you get into hiphop?:
I can’t even remember exactly, I would listen to it and enjoy it at an early age….like 5 or 6 But when I was around 9 or 10 it was more serious and I loved it. That was in 92-93. When I first really GOT into creating and performing was almost 10 years ago.
Did you find any difficulty, or resentment from the hiphop community? why or why not?:
Not at all. Honestly, It was nothing but love from everyone I was around. Whether my age or older. Some who had been doing it for a longer amount of time than me or fellow up-and-comers. The only difficulty was getting some people to listen or book me for a show. I personally think the reason why there was no resentment was because I was being me….being real. And also even though I wasn’t where I am today, I still had skills, so people respected that. And the reason why there was that difficulty is because there are so many emcees and artists, that it’s hard for people to give something a chance.
Who are your influences?:
I have so many influences I don’t think I can list them all. Here is a SMALL amount; Within hip-hop some of my influences would include: Wu-Tang, Mos Def, Common, Mobb Deep, Rakim, Kane, G rap, KRS, Bustah Rhymes, The Fugees, Nas, Pac, Biggie, Public Enemy, Jay-Z, Black Moon, Snoop, Dr. Dre, Talib Kweli, my brother Arcane, KON, my old partner-in-rhyme Drunken Monk aka GSL, Immortal Technique, Sage Francis, The Roots, Gangstarr, Killarmy, Gravediggas, and much more. Seriously. haha.
Outside of hiphop, some would be: Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Hector Lavoe, Ella Fitzgerald, Bob Marley, James Brown, Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, Quincey Jones, Michael Jackson, The Beetles, Citizen Cope, Nirvana, Rage Against The Machine, and much more.
Outside of music: My mom, my dad, both sets of grandparents, the rest of family, immediate or otherwise, my friends and people I meet, books and more books, Richard Wright and JD Salinger(the authors), the I-Ching, The 5% Nation, and ofcourse….MUCH MORE ; )
How long have you been rapping?
Well I wrote my first song when I was 10. It was only 2 verses (8 bars each) and a repetitive hook. lol. But yeah since before then even technically……but seriously for about 10 years.
Nope. I’m 100% MC. I used to write up a little bit….but I was never that good. And I have DJ’ed just messin around. I’m ok with song selection and stuff…never practiced cutting and scratching and all that. I’ve never made a beat before either. Though I’ve helped in a (very) few. And I’ve beatboxed in some cyphers back in the day. MCing is the only one I’ve ever pursued seriously, or even do on a constant basis.
Do you do any other hip hop related things?:
Do you consider yourself an underground artist because you want to be? Or would you prefer to cross over into mainstream? Why/why not?:
I don’t even like using the terms “underground” and “commercial” anymore. Mostly because everyone has such different opinions on what is what. I would say Independent and mainstream. Let’s put it like this…..I want to reach as many people as possible, while staying true to myself and being free to create the music I want to create. No one wants to be broke and struggling. Some, including myself, arent too fond of the mainstream spotlight and the microscope they put you under. I would definitely not want to be a “superstar” on that level. But I am certainly pursuing it and seeing where it takes me. I’ve been blessed so far, and each year I feel more grateful. I was just in a contest where the winner won a record deal on SRC/Universal Motown. So that would have been my first major label deal. Truthfully….not saying I wouldn’t sign to a major, but I’m kinda glad I didn’t win that particular deal/contest. I got out at the end on some technicality. Part of the prize was also money so that was more of the motivation honestly.
Do you find it harder to attract fans with your material? Why/Not?:
I find it easy honestly. lol. I’m not being cocky or anything…but I honestly see first hand that I can attract a wide range of fans. I always seems to say this in interviews….but my fans seriously span from little kids, to older grandparents from the suburbs who never listen to hiphop…..from people who only listen to the radio or only listen to more street or “gangster” rap, to people who like rock and folk, etc etc. I’ve rocked the strangest crowds before…and that’s a wonderful feeling to me, that still feels odd at times. I think the main thing needed at this point to draw even more fans is just exposure.
Do you enjoy any mainstream artists?:
I do enjoy some mainstream artists, most definitely. Not many…but some. lol
Kanye, Jay-Z, John Legend, Coldplay, Andre3000, Common(haha thats mainstream right?) and more
Who are your favorite underground artists?:
Cymarshall Law, Homeboy Sandman, East, Kaze, Emilio Rojas, Hasan Salaam, Jay Electronica, Little Brother(if that counts), Brother Ali, the whole AOK Collective actually, Outasight, Tanya Morgan, Eternia, ahh there’s too many. And I know most of them personally so I don’t wanna leave anyone out(which I did)! haha Once again I shall say; AND MANY MORE!
What is your opinion on the state of hip hop right now?:
For my opinion on the state of hip hop, listen to the Intro on Mos Def’s debut album “Black on Both Sides”. The album is 10 years old now which is crazy for me to believe, but it’s still true. He says that “people talk about hip hop like it’s some giant that lives up in the hills”, and that “we are hip hop, me, you, him, her, everyone” something like that. He says that however we are doing, is how hip hop is doing. So right now you can say that hiphip is generally good, but going through some things, regime changes, a recession, bailouts, wars, etc. And as technology keeps advancing and also more and more people are exposed to the music, or start making the music….there is going to be more and more wack/bad music out there, BUT also more good music.
I think there’s without a doubt an inbalance of what gets played on mainstream radio and tv compared to all the great music thats under a lot of people’s radars. But I do think it’s slowly been changing. I think it’s all cycles, and I’m not one to complain about the bad music. A lot of people within hiphop complain all the time about how the golden era is gone, and rap/hiphop all sucks now, blah blah blah. So I’m not one to do that, I just keep doing my part in making good music as well as listening to and SUPPORTING the artists that I enjoy
You DEFINITELY need to check him out and support!
Silent Knight is BUBBLING!!!