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Friday, March 09, 2007
CONVERSATIONS EXCLUSIVE: Def Poetry Jam Poet C-Bone Jones
30's the new 20
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California.
When did your love for the written and spoken word begin?
I think my love for the written word came before my love for the spoken word. The reason I say that is because I always wanted to be a writer. I don't remeber growing up with dreams of being a poet. It just kinda happened that way.
Can you tell us some of the earlier influences for you?
I was influenced by people who changed the game. People like Marcus Garvey, Nikki Giovanni and perhaps my biggest influence was the work of Ice Cube.
We talk to artists alot about the support they received before and after the success hit. Tell us about your experience with this.
My family has never told me that I couldn't accomplish what I wanted to. They've always been so supportive in that way. They push me and inspire me to be as successful as possible. I come from a family of people who tell you like it is. It's hard to be a bad entertainer in my family because I have aunts, uncles and cousins who would come snatch me off stage and let me know the post office is hiring. But seriously, my family has been my number 1 support system throughout my entire career and one day when my work produces six figure dividends I'll show them how much I appreciate all the love and support.
Being someone who is used to fighting back from trials and difficult situations, tell us about the car accident you were in and how it changed your outlook on life.
People ask me all the time, "How did you get that scar on your face?" I was asleep in the passenger seat of my cousins two week old Nissan Sentra and a drunk driver hit us head on. I wasn't wearing a seat belt at the time, so I the impact through me into the windshield and I've been scared for life every since that day. The doctor told me that had I been awake at the time of the accident, I would not be here today. Hearing that made me realize just how fortunate I am to wake up everyday. After the accident I felt like I was walking with a shield around me. Not because I felt invinscible, but because I felt protected. I just felt like God was strolling with me and it gave me courage to share my life story with the world. I know I'm only breathing because God has a plan for me.
I was first introduced to you through your cd FEEL THE PASSION and I was struck at how you seem to create the perfect relationship of spoken word and hiphop. Do you think that has contributed to your "crossover" appeal with music lovers as well as those who love spoken word?
Feel The Pa$$ion was actually my fourth spoken word C.D. and it was certainally me getting closer to the hip-hop side, but you have to understand something. At the end of the day my music is still considered spoken word because I'm a so called Spoken Word artist. I walk a thin line between spoken word and hip-hop as do many poets and for me it's because HIp-Hop is what I identify with. The only problem with that is people want to put you in a certain category and if you're talented at what you do but don't fit into any of the categories, the decision makers fear introducing a new category for you to shine in. We just have to continue to penatrate their ears with quality material until they see the light.
I know you had the privilege to be a part of Russell Simmons DEF POETRY JAM. Can you tell us about that and how it opened doors for you?
When the Def Poetry Jam call came I was very suprised, because I never even sent them my audition tape for consideration. I just figured there would be Poets from all over the world sending in tapes so I didn't bother. They actually saw me on a tape someone else submitted. They call me and said something like, Russell Simmons and H.B.O. would like to invite you to tape season III of Def Poetry Jam. I was like, "I'm there. When do we tape? Two days later I was headed to N.Y.C.
I'll never forget the love people were displaying for Poets. The fans treated us like rock stars. I mean I was hanging out in VIP admiring beautiful women with Smokey Robinson he told me my pen was lethal and that it was nice to meet me. I think one of my favorite moments was when Jill Scott told me I was handsome. (laughs)
Do you think you write more for yourself as a form of therapy or for the masses?
Writing is very theraputic and it relaxes me. I guess it's safe to say I write for therapy and hope the masses benefit from it.
There are some powerful messages in your poetry, one of the more important ones being how men should treat women. Do you think that hiphop has done much to change the way females are perceived and treated?
Before we sit back and judge Hip-Hop for calling women Bs, we should first sit back and question where the inspiration comes from. My message is not so much about how men should treat women, it's more to do with how women should respect and treat themselves. How do I start a campaign requesting that the B word be erased from the Hip-Hop dictionary when Too Short is one of my favorites? How do I start that same campaign when I turn on Maury and see 22 year old Kiesha from Kansas testing 5 men to find out who's the father of her child. Mine is a message of self esteem, self pride and self knowledge.
As an artist, how much responsibility do you feel to include a real message in your poetry?
Sometimes I feel it's important to include a message in my work, because I've reached a level in my career where people pay attention to what I'm saying, but then there are those times when I'm not writing for the masses. There are times when I just write to relax and when that's the case, I'm just allowing my pen to have some fun.
You had such critical acclaim with the first project. Tell us about the new project and what inspired it?
I am currently working on my 5th c.d.
I have recorded 25 songs for the new project and from that I'll select 10 or 15 of the best and then it's a wrap. I haven't titled the project yet, but this one was mostly inspired by the feedback from Feel The Pa$$ion. People who heard Feel The Pa$$ion heard me get closer to my Hip-Hop roots and they loved it. I'm still walking that thin line but this time I concentrated more on making timeless music. I'm gonna come back to Jackson, MS to promote the new project this summer. Look for me.
You will be in Mississippi Friday, April 13th and Saturday, April 14th as part of events celebrating National Poetry Month. This is your second trip to Mississippi, the first being two years ago. Are you surprised at how universal and widely received your poetry seems to be no matter where you go?
No not really. People love C-Bone Jones. The ladies especially. I think they like that i'm crazy, sexy, cool. (laughs)
What can we expect from you later this year?
Expect to hear a Word Play mix-tape, expect to see the C-Bone Jones Live D.V.D. and expect to see me opening my own recording studio.
Just expect to see me SHINE.
Thank you for your time, C-Bone. If our readers want to get more information about you or would like to purchase your cd, how can they reach you?
For booking or to order c.d.'s you can reach me @ www.myspace.com/wwwmyspacecomcbonejones or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.