Kewalnam Christ is a creative force with a stunning mind and fervent works. I held an interview with the author last year and had the pleasure of reuniting with him, following up on his current project “The Metamericana Anthology.” and more below.
“The literary world right now is a high hanging fruit. It’s not easy for everyone to get to, not the way music is. But the opportunities that are in that high hanging fruit are great, and can reshape culture for generations to come, so why not rip that fruit the fuck down and give it to the people?”
How are you?
I’m in a real interesting place right now. Things are moving. I’ve spent many moons dancing on the sun, think I discovered a new superpower. The ability not to give a fuck and get work done. Also to practice empathy where entropy exists.
We discussed “Thank God For Drugs” in our initial interview. How is everything going with that installation of “The Metamericana Anthology.”?
It’s completed, currently awaiting release. I’ve just been picking at it while I work on the second book, but it’s finished and just the way I wanted it to be.
Most of the time authors create characters that obtain some personal traits. Which character in Thank God For Drugs do you relate to the most?
To be honest none of them. There was a time I would’ve said that I found some synergy between those characters but as of late, I can’t say that I do. TGFD was a representation of a 4 year mentality, one that I’m happy to no longer be attached to. The book was needed in order for me to shed old skin.
What are your favorite part(s) of the book and why?
This is going to sound corny or whatever, but from beginning to end. I can look at any page in that book and remember exactly where I was when I wrote it and that means a lot to me as an artist. I don’t think I could’ve gotten to where I am as a writer and person today if I didn’t take that time with myself and bleed onto those pages. I love that book.
Let’s talk about ”Women In Black Against the Machine.” Is this book currently in the works? What should readers expect?
That’s a good question. With each project I have a mission, sometimes it’s personal, sometimes it’s a cultural one. For “WOMEN IN BLACK” my mission seems to be both. This story is very personal more so than TGFD. I’m not sure I want to reveal in which ways it is, but as far as what people can expect, I would say this story would be “THE COLDEST WINTER EVER” for a new generation. If it were an album it would be the equivalent of going from “808’s” to MBDTF or “CHANNEL ORANGE” to “BLONDE”. It’s raw, it’s real. It has range in emotion in ways that I didn’t get to with “THANK GOD FOR DRUGS”. I wanted to show that there’s some new blood coming this year, with fresh storytelling and new innovations. A lot of novels these days are corny and the people feel that. When I talk to people in the street and ask what they are reading, 9 out of 10 times they aren’t even enjoying it, just trying to pass time. I want to get people excited about reading novels again, that’s always the mission. We’re turning this literary industry into the rap game this year, which opens up more doors for more writers with newer concepts. I just ranted a bit, I’m sorry. Just expect real storytelling, expect raw hip hop, expect emotion. Or you know be surprised.
“We’re turning this literary industry into the rap game this year, which opens up more doors for more writers with newer concepts.”
It’s interesting that you correlated your work to albums because my next question was if you were to curate a playlist for “The Metamericana Anthology.“, what songs would embody the collective most appropriately?
For TGFD it was an amalgam of sonics. Records from “Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven” definitely would make it. The Weeknd’s “Starboy” album, Earl’s “I don’t like shit, I don’t go outside”, Tyler’s “Cherry Bomb”, Sonic Youth, Suicidal Tendencies, Nirvana, Radiohead, James Blake, Thom Yorke. I listened to a lot of movie scores, Jon Brion “Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind”, Hans Zimmer “Inception”. Then for WIBATM things have more of a 90’s hip hop, punk rock vibe to it. Seeing that the story is based in this futuristic 90’s that my brother Dharam and I built called 2k94, I’d say a lot of 702, En Vogue, Deborah Cox, Toni Braxton, Aaliyah, Destiny’s Child, Wu Tang, Dark Man X, Roc Records, The Notorious and Pac. I was born in Toronto and grew up in both pop culture and hip hop before the two combined into the mega force they are today, so all my stories are going to reflect that medium. We are redoing the 90’s for the new millennium and not in the ways that people do today where it’s so spot on and cut and dry that it has no real depth or purpose to it, but where we take analog and digital, put them together and create in the middle. It’s a mindset.
“I got the flow. I got the juice right now. I feel like the nucleus.”
I find your statement, “We’re turning this literary industry into the rap game” appealing. Elaborate on what you mean by that.
Man, it means so much. It means new opportunities for new writers and new voices. It means new doors being opened. Books are albums. The same amount of time that’s put into making one is the same put into making the other and the affects that literature have on the brain is only akin to music. Words are sounds and can set free an entire generation, if used right. The literary world right now is a high hanging fruit. It’s not easy for everyone to get to, not the way music is. But the opportunities that are in that high hanging fruit are great, and can reshape culture for generations to come, so why not rip that fruit the fuck down and give it to the people? It’s the same thing that Virgil is doing in fashion with OFF—White. Look at what’s happening in music. There are new lanes open that didn’t exist 15-20 years ago, shit even 5 years ago. But now since so many doors are open, hip hop connects with high fashion, film, architecture, but still hasn’t broken through that literary ceiling. Only two have came close and that’s Sista Souljah and Ta Nehisi Coates. I’m the next one. I’m not here to do what anyone else is doing, that’s why you aren’t getting no poetry book about my feelings at 3am from me. I got the flow. I got the juice right now. I feel like the nucleus.
Anticipation for this project is high and we wish you the best in your forthcoming creative endeavors. Any closing remarks, shout outs, etc., that you would like to express?
Thank you so much. METAMERICANA coming this summer man, for real, no push backs. Shouts to my whole BLKK KINGS family, Dharam, Marcii, Von, Jah, Ace, Val, Kawan, Flashy, Tah, Pacman, my bro Visionary Rebellion. My family at THREAD. Nadus whose dropping nothing but smashes this year, please follow him. @PharMarcii has an amazing tape dropping this year. Tah has a classic dropping this year. We got merch coming, and I’m dropping two books on one day. There’s so much we have planned for 2017. #NOLONGTALKIN. Love to the CutxSewn family, shouts to Kennedy for the interview! And to ANY author/writer dropping a book this year, you have less than 5 months to figure your shit out. Good luck.
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