While Sugarhill Gang, Ton Loc, Doug E. Fresh, Will Smith with his Fresh Prince of Bel Air, NWA, Too Short, Ice T, and others brought rap and hip hop to the masses, a growing number of rock and pop artists including Blondie, Bob Dylan, Aerosmith, The Beastie Boys, Madonna, and Anthrax helped bring the ‘crossover’ appeal of rap into other genres of music and to reach more white audiences.
Yet rap’s roots go back to soul and funk, and even earlier – back to the origins of music itself in Africa, where rock and roll and modern contemporary music were born. These brought in the American and British waves of bee bop, rhythm and blues, and jazz.
I grew up on rock music – and when I first started listening to rap as a kid, including Herbie Hancock and others, there was nothing more exciting than friends pulling out the boom box and having a ‘break out.’ This was essentially two rival groups of kids competing in break dancing to see whose side was best – instead of fighting. Break dance was a healthy outlet for kids aggression and energy back then – as it can be now – and rap music, with it’s machine gun fire poetry that knew no bounds, and heavy beats – was its fuel.
Like rock and rock, which also had its roots in African culture and artistic creation, rap music was revolutionary. Rap gave a voice to the once voiceless. With rap, the downtrodden, the poor, the discriminated, the powerless – the hood itself – had a voice, and its mighty power was unstoppable.
During the first Bush invasion of Iraq during the 90’s, I was in the audience for that legendary show for Public Enemy when Chuck D, Flavor Flav, and their Ministers of Information – in Black Panther pride – stood on stage in Chicago and organized the entire crowd of thousands to storm the streets and protest the early stages of the war.
I experienced first hand the amazing power of music and particularly what rap had to offer. Rap stars said what their generation felt – it galvanized a movement, and today, though its dissemination has changed – like the music industry itself – its power need not be less than the day it took hold of the streets of America and the world, like a fire that could not be contained.
Unfortunately, too much of rap today appeals to the lowest common denominator of senseless violence, glorification of murder, and subjugation and degradation of women. There is thankfully still a handful of artists out there whose values emerge in their music to lift culture up off of it’s knees, instead of grinding it down to a base, animal level. fit to be aligned with most so called reality television.
A brave, defiant, and revolutionary rap artist named CHILL E.B. is one such artist who, like Public Enemy did in the 90’s, is creating anthems of freedom, triumph, and truth for the twenty first century.
When I first heard Chill E.B., and his searing, revolutionary song ‘Define Better,’ (with the powerful accompaniment of female rapper Maari and the beautiful backing vocals of Kelly and then the children) about the lies and abuses of the psychiatric and pharmaceutical industry, it had a similar effect on me as when I first heard ‘Public Enemy.’
I knew then that the power of rap was back, and was reminded that people do have the power, and that music – and in this case rap – can make a difference and change the world. Chill E.B. is changing the world for the better.
And so it is my great pleasure to introduce him to you now in this exclusive interview below, and I trust that if you open your heart and mind to the truth, you too will be as moved by his message and music as I am. Rap and freedom has a new superstar, and this is what he sounds like:
Hollywood Sentinel: Please tell us about you and how you began a career in music?
Chill E.B: I first launched my career in 1985 after moving to California from Texas. I began my love for arts while serving in the U.S. Army. After leaving the military I spent some time in college where I was on basketball scholarship. Whenever there was a dance, or any chance for me to get on a microphone I would seize the moment. Only weeks after arriving in California, I formed a crew with two other guys. We became the opening act for Los Angeles based artist, ‘The Egyptian Lover.’ Months later we would be the opening act for ‘Dr. Dre & The World Class Wrecking Crew,’ and ‘Rodney O & Joe Coolie.’ The following year we would perform on a bill with ‘Dr. Dre’ and ‘NWA,’ and ‘MC Hammer.’ In 1992, I kicked off KMEL’s Summer Jam concert at the Shoreline Amphitheater. In 1994 I performed three of my original songs at the Concord Pavilion along with The California Symphony. The following year I performed the same show with The Oakland Youth Symphony. It was called Symphony Under Raps. In 1995 I decided to pack the microphone away. I was acting in several commercials and I was no longer interested in being a rap artist (…)
Hollywood Sentinel: I see, I want to talk about that later, but right now I want to know, what is your main purpose as an artist and as a person?
Chill EB: My main purpose is to help make the world a better place. As an artist my purpose is to promote human rights in an aesthetic way using music. As a person my main purpose is to be the best individual I can be and to be productive as well as proactive in the development of a better world.
Hollywood Sentinel: Very cool. Were you in a supportive environment growing up with your family to pursue music or did you have to fight for that and will you tell us a little bit about that please?
Chill EB: Yes, I grew up in a very supportive family. My parents supported us in everything we did. From sports to music, to, you name it! Often times my father was in the field and could not make it to sports events. My mother would be there supporting us all the way. Even though I didn’t grow up in a musical family we always had some kind of musical instrument in the house. We had a small organ, tambourines, and other little musical instruments. We also had a guitar with broken strings. We would turn it upside down and use it as a drum. LOL!
Hollywood Sentinel: (Laughs) I got heavily into ‘Public Enemy’ back in the day – who I still love the work of. How much has ‘Public Enemy’ influenced you if at all, and how?
Chill EB: In order to answer fairly, I would have to honestly say I was rapping a while before ‘Public Enemy’ came on the scene. When they did, they came with so much power and force it demanded attention. Yes, that did influence me especially around the time of ‘Fight The Power.’ My earlier influences were legends (including) ‘Grand Master Flash & The Furious 5 including Melle Mel,’ ‘Kool Moe Dee,’ ‘Kurtis Blow,’ ‘Run DMC,’ ‘Whodini,’ and others from that era. I have the highest regard for Chuck D of ‘Public Enemy’ too.
Hollywood Sentinel: Cool. What other music or film artists have influenced you and how?
Chill EB: Let me prepare you. I am going all over the place with this answer. ‘James Brown’ because he is James Brown. ‘Michael Jackson’ because of his strong desire to help make the world a better place. Not to mention his meticulous nature and perfectionism related to his art. ‘John Travolta’ because he left the industry for a long while before coming back even stronger. ‘James Earl Jones,’ ‘Dustin Hoffman, ‘and ‘Tom Cruise,’ because in my opinion, they are consummate professionals and are at the top of their game in their field. I have had the honor of meeting Mr. Jones, Mr. Hoffman, and Mr. Travolta and became inspired by their sincerity and love for humanity. They influence and inspire me to pursue the arts. The list goes on but I will end this statement by saying that the two biggest influences in my life have been my parents – who are neither film stars nor musicians.
Hollywood Sentinel: Nice. I have dealt with many musicians, and some problems I see them encounter is that they are either on alcohol and or drugs, or they are flaky. What do you suggest musicians do instead of drugs or alcohol to get the buzz or rush they may look for from drugs?
Chill EB: Be dependable. Be prompt. Be yourself. Be responsible to yourself and those around you. Don’t be flaky. And do not become a liability to yourself or your team.
Hollywood Sentinel: Good. What advice do you have to musicians or other artists with regard to being responsible and professional?
Chill EB: My only advice would be love what you do. Do it for the right reason. Be as professional as you know how to be. Be dependable, responsible, prompt as well as professional. Be willing to be flexible. Always treat others with the same kindness you expect from others. Know that what you do off the stage is equally important as what you do on the stage. Treat everyone with respect. Be genuine and kind, and know that you can change the world.
Hollywood Sentinel: Excellent. Tell me please a bit about your religious views.
Hollywood Sentinel: You are also vocal and public about your support of a group called CCHR (Citizens Commission on Human Rights) that fights against the abuses of psychiatry. Why is this cause of importance to you? Did you ever have any personal experience with psychiatry that was negative and if so what was that please?
Chill EB: This is true. I am pretty vocal about CCHR because it is important. It is important from the standpoint that labeling and drugging kids is not okay. I’ve had the opportunity to mentor many kids of all ages. I have personally mentored or coached hundreds of kids over a span of twenty years. I have supervised other people’s children in an after school program for many years. It is my observation that many kids are on drugs for ADHD. I began to wonder where did this come from, and why does it seem that each year there are more and more cases of ADHD? I could not figure it out. After all, I’ve lived all over the world and I can’t name one person I knew who was diagnosed ADHD. Then, when my youngest son was fourteen or fifteen years old we were told that he had ADHD because he “struggled in school.”
When we took him to see a “specialist” we were given a prescription with three powerful drugs and we were told to “pick one to start your son on.” He said that he wanted to see him again in three weeks to see how he was doing. He warned us that he may have to adjust the dosage, or change the drug altogether and put him on another one. Yet, there was no real test to prove this. To me they were merely subjective questionnaires that seemed ridiculous to me and I was not convinced. We quickly made an appointment to see my son’s pediatrician. When I took him to see his doctor I was asked how he was doing. I told him that my son was recently diagnosed with ADHD and showed him the prescription I was given. His response was that my son does not have ADHD he is an “adolescent teenage boy.” He further insisted that I not fill the prescription or give my son these drugs.
It now appeared to me that either my son had ADHD and with no medication, one month later he somehow no longer had it. Or, the label referred to as ADHD is a hoax and we are being hoodwinked. I feared this might be happening to parents and kids everywhere.
Thirsty for knowledge, I began to do research. My research led me to CCHR. When I saw the video clip of the parent / educator conference on ADHD / ADD, I was thoroughly convinced and decided to address the problem. Parents have the right to know the truth about drugging their little ones. They have the right to consent and they have the right to know there are natural and healthy options that don’t require them to drug their children. So I “borrowed” the video clip without permission from CCHR’s ‘Industry Of Death’ documentary and made it into a piece of art.
Before I make this last statement, let me be fair and very clear in saying I feel the symptoms of ADHD are very real. No doubt about it. And I would never want to invalidate anyone. But it is inappropriate to label symptoms as a disease and then package them for financial gain. When I first saw the video clip from CCHR I thought to myself “thank you Dr. Mark Vonnegut and Dr. David Kupfer for confirming my suspicions that ADHD itself is a hoax.”
Hollywood Sentinel: You have created some powerful songs regarding the abuses of psychiatry. Have you encountered any threats due to this that you want the public to be made aware of?
Hollywood Sentinel: What is the best solution to fight and stop racism?
Chill EB: A great way to start is to simply don’t be racist. I know that sounds ridiculously simple, and easy. But we need to understand that we have more in common than we have in differences. Racism is so embedded in the fiber of our society that some people harbor racist feelings subconsciously. Sometimes it is intentional and can be so covert it is almost unbelievable. Institutionalized racism is one thing that separates some of us from others.
Mainstream media has done more than their fair share in perpetuating this racism. We could also practice racial inclusiveness instead of racial tolerance. Inclusiveness to me infers acceptance by choice. Tolerance seems to infer unwilling acceptance. As a constant reminder to others I say “there’s only one race; peace to the human race.”
Hollywood Sentinel: What new projects are you working on that you would like people to know about?
Chill EB: I am working on several projects simultaneously. A few big projects. I’m sorry I can’t mention them all just yet. But I can announce the launch of my newest venture. My new official website: www.chilleb.com
Hollywood Sentinel: Where can the public hear and buy your work, and see you live?
Chill EB: My work is available on iTunes, Amazon, Youtube, as well as several other online music stores. It is only available digitally at the moment. I will be in a city, town, village, or country near you soon. They can buy it by going to www.chilleb.com
Hollywood Sentinel: What else would you like to tell us, or promote.
Chill EB: I would like to say be good to yourself and to other people. Take care of yourself. Do what you can to help others. Be kind to other people.
Hollywood Sentinel: Thank you.
For information on The Citizens Commission on Human Rights, visit here: www.CCHR.org