When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
It was never my intentions to become a writer. I am a poet by trade. I used to do a lot of driving all over the country; my wife asked how was I able to drive long distance without taking a rest. I told her that I would tell myself a story to pass the time. She asked what the story was about, so I told her about it, and she got excited and said I should write a book.

Where do your ideas come from?
The idea for this book came from my experience as a spoken word artist and the poets in the genre. How long does it take you to write a book? It took three and half years to complete Warm Daddy’s Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? I create a “loose” outline that allows me to see where the idea takes me. Matter of fact, one of the characters in the book was developed in that fashion
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? I think after writing about Warm Daddy’s, it has broaden my ideas as far as topics are concerned

What is the hardest thing about writing?
Developing characters and their personalities. I think it is a difference determining what a character will do in a book and what their personalities will be in the book

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
My schedule was hectic, while writing the book. I would get up in the middle of the night because I had an idea for the book and still have to go to work.

What is your latest release and what's next?
My latest release is Warm Daddy’s, a novel written about the world of spoken words. People have asked was their going to be a sequel to Warm Daddy’s, so I’m playing with the idea of a sequel


 It became painfully obvious to me that the old adage my grandfather used to say was very true, which was, “It’s easy to become number one, but another thing to stay number one.” In the beginning, it seemed very simple to me, but I never expected the complexities of corporate interventions. My name is Infamous; I’m a Spoken Word artist. I released my first album in 1988, and seven years later, things had changed for the worst. The first album, ‘Words from the Street’, was a mega hit, which literally transformed the art into its own music genre. It garnered three Grammys and sold over 10 million copies. I was Spoken Word’s golden boy. As successful as the second album was, its success came with detrimental effects. It was during the ‘Words From a Conqueror’ tour in New York that a riot broke out during my performance of ‘Slavery 2000.’ Philly Sound was totally against the piece being recorded, however, they finally agreed to it. It dealt with the threat of police brutality against Black men motivated by racism in America. ‘Slavery 2000’ was never released as a single, and never incorporated into the tour, but the New York crowd begged me to perform it. After I performed the flow, fans started attacking the police. Several officers and fans were hurt during the raucous. The news media blamed the song, but in my opinion, it was just America’s guilty conscience. Since then, my music had been censored by Philly Sound.

  When I wasn’t performing or touring, I spent most my time at a club called Warm Daddy’s. I’d been going there since I was eighteen. It was kind of a home away from home. I arrived at the club and just wanted to chill with the family. “Hey Carlton, what’s goin’ on Fam?” Carlton was the club doorman at Warm Daddy’s. He always wanted me to read his pieces, and after reading them, it was obvious why Carlton was the doorman. “Hey Inf! We got a full house tonight. Are you gonna spit?” “Naw, I’m just one of the faces in the crowd tonight.” I wasn’t in the mood to spit. I wasn’t sure if I felt like being there, but I guess it was habit for me.

  Everyone was there: my best friend Brownskinpoetic, X-Squared, April, Rocket, Speech, and Queen of Diamonds. These guys were my poetry family, with the exception of the Queen; she was my former girlfriend and there was tension between us since the breakup. I said, “What’s up everybody?” They gave a greeting to me. April asked, “Hey Infamous, what happened to you last night?” I had told her I’d come over her house to work on some audios with her, but I had a lot on my mind, and forgot about it. “April, I apologize. I forgot about it.” “So you forgot about your little sister,” she said with a playful evil eye. “You know it’s not like that April.” Of course, Queen of Diamonds had to put her two cents in: “Infamous has forgotten a lot of people these days.” I ignored her, because one of Queen’s specialties was drama. It’s why we weren’t together anymore; I simply got tired of her bullshit. She added in a sarcastic manner, “And how is Infamous tonight? Are you performing, your highness?” I wanted to ignore her, but it would only escalate the drama that I wanted to avoid, “No, I’m just gonna chill tonight. How about you, Family,” I asked, talking to Brown. “Yeah, I’ma spit a little sumthin’ sumthin’.” “Ok, cool, who’s up there now?” X-Squared responded, “Some young buck named Pep. A little arrogant son of a bitch! I can’t stand him.” I’d never seen him before, so I asked, “Where do you know him from?” “I performed with him a couple of times at the Nuyorican in New York and also at Po’Jazz down on 52nd street,” he explained. Brown knew him too, “Yeah, I did a head-to-head with him at the Poet’s Lounge and blew the niggah out the water; instead of givin’ me my props, he started complaining that he was cheated.” I thought Pep was someone, who I’d only hear about in passing, but our lives would soon become deeply intertwined.

  We all went out back except April and Speech. X-Squared had some killer weed he got from New York. X was from New York. He was 5’10”, with a dark onyx-like complexion and a shadow of a beard. He came to Philly for the poetry scene and to help his aunt, who had multiple sclerosis. The two things I learned about X was he could spit and he kept the best weed in town. Brown acknowledged, “X, you definitely got the best Chronic.” X responded, “Yo dawg, this ain’t even the premium batch.” April came outside, and Queen said to her, “Comin’ to get a hit April?” “(Laughing) Girl, you know I don’t mess around! Brown, J.D. said it’s almost time for you to go on.” I asked, “What you gonna spit, Fam.” “It’s new, so you have to listen to find out.” He grinned. Brown and I had been friends since we were nine years old. We’d been writing since we were in the sixth grade. He was 5’6” and brown skinned, with a stocky build, and a moustache, hence the name. I took one more hit and we headed inside the club.

  J.D. was emceeing that night. “Tonight we have Open Mic, Puff, Puff, Pass and I ain’t talkin’ about a blunt, (Laughing) then, poetic cypher, where the audience picks the topic for the poets to do off the top of their heads. And we end the evening with head-to-head!” J.D. embarrassed me by giving me a shout out, “We have in our midst, the King of Spoken Word, my main man INFAAAMMOUUSS!” I waved to the crowd.

  J.D. introduced Brown, “Ladies and Gentlemen our next poet is a true Warm Daddy’s legend and a true force in the Spoken Word World, let’s give it up for Brownskinpoetic!” Brown went to the mic like the true showman he was, “What up! What up! Warm Daddy’s what up! You feelin’ it tonight! Are you feelin’ it tonight!” “(Crowd yelling) We feelin it!” “I can’t hear you!” “(Crowd yelling) We feelin it!” Then, one chick yelled out, “Brown, I want to feel you tonight baby!” Brown laughed, and continued, “Everyone has heard Devaughn Masters’s killer was acquitted last week.” The audience booed, and some responded with various expletives. Devaughn Masters was an unarmed young Black man who was gunned down by a White Hartford police officer. Brown began preaching, “Due to the injustice in America we need a revolution. It’s time for us to stand up as a people, to stand up for Devaughn! It’s time for a Black Revolution!”
                 The Black Revolution
Yes, it is happening, the black revolution is comin’
Awakening its people with a powerful summons.
No longer, the nigger sayin’ yes – a – boss.
As our supposed ignorance proved only to be false.
The revolt would destroy the black man’s oppressors
For those who were the greater have now become the lesser
This revolution was two hundred years in the making
Moreover, a result of the white man’s constant taking.
Blacks shall overrun the government and fill the streets.
For there will be no more negotiations and no more peace.
We will not politely ask for civil rights to be endorsed,
However, we demand it and if necessary we’ll take it by force.
Our eyes will not be shut to the fallacies of democracy,
But opened wide to acknowledge all of its hypocrisies.
As the blood of our forefathers lay on the hand of the American bureaucracy
While the black revolution rages on against racial aristocracy
No more shall we be locked away in the jails of the ghetto and forgotten
Left there by our white jailer while our corpse becomes rotten
Too late to remind us “that all men are equal” under your constitution
Or that if we work together we can come to a peaceful resolution.
Yet the Klan slaughtered us by the thousands in manners that were so gruesome,
But we were just niggers, throwaways, a race left out of evolution,
But guess what? We evolved and now we are preparing for the black revolution.
No longer will we submit to a slave mentality that tainted our minds so long ago
Nor shall we clean your house, raise your children, or entertain you like Sambo.
The Black Army is growing into innumerable numbers of great magnitude
We will not suffer another day of your negative bantering and racist attitude.
So I am waiting to hear you call me nigger,
As I slowly put this gun to your head and pull the trigger.
The drums are sounding the war cry, as the black warrior begins hummin’
It is the birth of a new era, and the birth of the black revolution that’s a comin’.

The crowd was on its feet clapping and chanting “Justice for Devaughn!”

  I was glad I sat that one out. My man set the place on fire, but that was Brown’s style. He’d been a revolutionist, since we started writing poetry back in elementary school under Mrs. Martin, our sixth grade teacher. Our heroes back in the day were Amiri Baraka, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, and Gil Scott-Heron. They influenced our poetry, and like them, Brown and I wanted to change the world. It was our dream to bring Spoken Word into the music genre. We started doing our poetry with music just like, Sulaiman El-Hadi and Gil Scott-Heron, encouraging other poets to do the same.

  I got my break at 20 years old. At that time, I was the only one Philly Sound wanted, but I couldn’t leave Brown, so I had him produce a couple of pieces for me as a condition of my contract with Philly Sound. Brown got his break two years later, but the executives thought they knew more about Spoken Word than we did, so the tracks they chose were not his best, and we both knew it. They did the same thing with my third album, and in my opinion, it flopped. Brown left Philly Sound for a smaller label that gave him more control over his pieces and arrangements. And If his new album was anything like the piece ‘Black Revolution’, then Spoken Word would be the new Hip-Hop.

  The head-to-head was off the chain. April shook the club. It was between her and Pep, and she put that pup in his corner. Pep came out with this fake Hip-Hop/Spoken Word bullshit, and it was evident he wasn’t true to the art. After the head-to-head, I went to the bathroom, and Pep walked in on me. He was a short, tanned brother who kept his hair short with waves. “So you’re the great Infamous,” he said. “Yeah, that’s what they call me,” I said to him, while I finished pissing. “They call you the King, but all reigns come to an end.” The brother definitely crossed the line, particularly with the way I’d been feeling, so I responded, “Is that right? You came here to end my reign?” He replied laughingly, “Either that or you can relinquish it peacefully.” “(Calmly) That’s why April busted you’re ass in head-to-head. And you wanna talk about endin’ my reign. Niggah at best you’re just a jester in my court.” Brown walked in with Speech, just as Pep snapped back, “Niggah you just a has-been whose ass needs to be kicked.” “And you that man? I don’t think so!” Finally, Speech jumped in, and said, “Hold on, you two chill out!” I screamed, “That niggah got busted in head-to-head and now he wants to jump in my face!” Brown guided Pep away and quietly talked to him. Speech began to talk to me, “Yo Infamous, why are you letting that knucklehead draw you in like that?” I explained with frustration how he jumped on me for no reason at all. In our conversation, Speech made a good point; Pep was just trying to make a name for himself at my expense. I knew he was right, but with the problems I’d been having with my career, Pep just came at me the wrong way—on the wrong day.


Post a Comment