Patterson Hood (Drive By Truckers) and Talib Kweli both make music to make a difference. On their respective new releases American Band and The Seven (Kweli’s EP in collaboration with Styles P), the lyrics directly address social and political issues. The Southern rocker and NYC rapper sat down for the Talkhouse Podcast last month and covered a lot of ground, including: Kweli’s experiences on the ground in Ferguson; Patterson’s desire to provide a visible alternative to white Southern men as bigots in the media; Dave Chappelle’s planning meeting with Saturday Night Live‘s Lorne Michaels; Harry Belafonte’s attempt to make a “We Are The World”-style song with rappers for Ferguson; and so much more. Check it out, and subscribe now on iTunes or Stitcher to stay in the loop on future Talkhouse Podcasts.
You can listen to the full episode HERE.
QUOTABLE MOMENTS FROM THE PODCAST:
Hood on hip hop as today’s best version of rock:
“I consider hip hop the preeminent form of what rock and roll has evolved into.”
Hood on rock and roll failing to address the socio-political climate in the way hip hop and pop have:
“When we made [American Band] last year … there was a lot of incredible political statements being made in the hip-hop community, and even in the pop music community … and yet the rock and roll community, or the so-called rock and roll community that had always at least historically prided itself on being sometimes political, were being very silent about it, and I was pretty irked by that.”
Kweli on why artists are afraid to be political:
“Once you raise your voice, you become accountable. Once you speak out, you become accountable for what you say and what you do.”
Hood on the role of fear of the other in America:
“A recurring theme on [American Band] is fear of the other. Fear of someone who looks different or prays different or fucks different or something. It’s this inborn fear of the other that drives and that people can use to further their agenda, and further some really bad agendas, whether it’s the NRA, or Trump, or whatever. We’ve got to get past that.”
Hood on changing the perceived voice of white American South:
“We made the record we made partly because to look at us demographically, the people in our band, you’ve got basically a bunch of white Southern males, and you’ve got basically the same demographic as a big part of what put Donald Trump in the White House. You have white Southern middle-aged males who dropped out of college. You can throw all those demographics at us, and yet we feel so strongly otherwise, and feel so opposed to every aspect of the status quo when it comes to that. And I know we’re not the only ones, I know we’re not alone, I know so many likeminded people to the things we believe in. But you weren’t hearing those voices … if you turn on the TV and you see a white Southern male on TV, he’s probably gonna be Jeff Sessions or some asshole like that. And so we wanted to at least just stand and be counted as not being part of that and not condoning any of that and being loudly opposed to it.”
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