We connected with Knoxville based rap artist Jeremiah Ali for an exclusive interview to discuss his new video “Bring Me Down”, as well as the importance of addressing social issues in his music, what he looks for in beats, and much more.
After reading our Q&A with Jeremiah Ali, be sure to connect with him on IG and stay tuned for much more dope music like “Bring Me Down” from this talented emcee.
Congratulations on the release of your new music video "Bring Me Down". What specifically motivated you to write the song and shoot the video?
The concept of “Bring Me Down” is basically showing that their are many forces that are designed to bring black and brown people down. These institutions include the prison industrial complex, the government, the police force, and the leaders of certain corporations that back all these forces. I just felt inspired one day sitting in my car about to go to the store to write a song that was relevant for today and contain a message that would inspire the youth to think outside the box. I met up with a talented video producer by the name of Bryan Cook, who directed and edited the video; make sure to check out his company, it’s called The Red Five Crew. The concept I gave to him was that we take these clips of different historical events and figures and incorporate them with shots of me and my homies in different locations throughout Knoxville. I added the Angela Davis speech in the song because she is a huge inspiration to me. I feel its time for a revolution of the mind and a complete revolution from this unjust system.
What do you look for in beats that you select for new songs?
My style of production is very sample and boom bap inspired. I look for beats that sound like a mix of J Dilla and Alchemist sounding style of beats. I would also like to work with Just Blaze one day. My production has to have that jazzy or soul sample influence. Those beats really bring out my best bars.
Do you think rap artists do enough to bring attention to the social issues that actually affect them and people like them everyday?
I think there is a select few hip hop artist that still bring the relevant social issues in their music. I think a lot of kids gravitate to the trendy or mumble rap because it’s easy to consume; it doesn’t take a lot of skill level as far as rapping ability.
The youth feel like its an easy opportunity to make money if they come out with something that’s catchy but doesn’t have any type of message in it. I feel the artist that will be remembered for many decades are those that can tackle those social issues and continue to reinvent the art form of rap.
You've mentioned that artists like Nas, Common, Jay Electronica, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, and Black Thought have cultivated your revolutionary sound. What about them planted the seed in you to pick up the pen and pad and start recording?
The first album that ever made me want to rap was Common’s “Be” album. I remember my mom letting me buy that album when I was thirteen; ironically, I wanted to get Lil Jon’s album “Crunk Juice” but I couldn’t get it because my mom said it had to much cursing in it, but as soon as I played “Be”, my life changed.
The poetic rhymes of Common laced with the soulful sounds of Kanye West and J Dilla, it was an amazing experience. It was great to see someone so humble and inspirational with a desire to motivate the people that’s the energy I got from Common’s music.
Jay Electronica’s “Exhibit C” is one my favorite hip hop tracks of all time and Black Thought to me is one of the greatest voices in hip hop. I would hear albums from Talib Kweli and Mos Def’s the “Black Star” album and be inspired by the lyricism and amount of integrity they have in their music. Dead Prez’s “Lets Get Free” is another classic album I would to play in my ipod they covered everything from the prison industrial complex to how we need better diets to live a better life.
The artists I mentioned laid the foundation that cultivated my rap style. In the future I want hip hop to be the vessel that can bring me to a place were I can do more bigger activism projects within the black community.
With 2018 winding down, what would you say has been your biggest accomplishment musically this year so far?
I would say so far my biggest accomplishments musically is creating this video and performing at many local showcases in my city to increase my exposure. I plan in 2019 to create more videos and do even more shows in different areas.
If you could collaborate with any artist (dead or alive) who would you select? What would the topic of the song and what would you name it?
I think if I could work with any artist it would be Nas. Nas is the greatest rapper of all time; I think working with the GOAT would help me improve as an artist. The name of the track I would do with Nas would be called “Kushite Kings” and we would break down the untold African history. It would be an honor to work with one of the greatest writers of our time, which is Nas.
Connect with Jeremiah Ali: Instagram