Trey: Wut Metaphysical, the last time I saw you was in 2007 at the Vintage Clothing Limited launch party. How have you been preparing to take yourself to the next level over the past two years?
Wut Metaphysical: The past two years have proven to be years of change for me. Since then I moved to the Bay Area, California and became a public school teacher in a very rough neighborhood. The new career has taken a lot of my time and energy and I had to put the mic down for a little bit. But, music is no idol to me. I love hip-hop but I love the Lord more; I love people more. God decided to put me in a position where I minister to kids every day, all day. I did not argue.
My creative drive is still there though. Recently I’ve had the opportunity to pick the mic back up and I’m happy to do so. SOTL is on the move again with some things in 2010, keep your ear to the ground.
Trey: Tell our readers about Shadow of the Locust – is it a collective of emcees, a state of mind, a movement, or all of the above?
Wut Metaphysical: Man, I don’t know. Sometimes when you are part of something different it’s hard to describe. It’s definitely emcees (and DJs, painters, b-people), but it’s also a lot more. It’s moving so it is a movement and you have to be in the state of mind to be used by Jah. So really it’s all of that. But beyond that, it’s the realization that you have become a part of the ministry that built you up so long. I grew up on Shadow of the Locust (SOTL) and now I make SOTL. All of it aims to Jesus.
Trey: So the big news is that there’s a major shift affecting SOTL. Can you tell your fans about it?
Wut Metaphysical: I can say a little bit. SOTL is about unity and uplifting, even for those in the darkest hour of their faith: even for those without faith. But the shift has a lot to do with re-centering on the vision and letting go of things that were picked up along the way but are irrelevant. My Pastor TC in St. Louis used to always say, “We’re not here to play church, we need to recenter,” and we would take a night out to let everything go and let God recenter us in His will and the vision of our fellowship. That’s kinda what is going on. There is a document floating around we call the “Locust Papri.” If you find it somewhere give it a read and it will explain of lot of the mystery behind SOTL. It’s hard to come by though.
Trey: What’s the connection between Shadow of the Locust and the country of Brazil? A lot of the photographs I’ve seen of you guys show you spending time in South America, but I’m not sure everyone understands why.
Wut Metaphysical: In 2005, SOTL toured Brazil. While there, we made a lot of great friends and connected to a sister culture that in a way, helped us understand who we are and what Jah was up to.
I first got connected with Brazil through missions work that Jah was orchestrating personally through my life. He led me to Pastor Batista (from the band Antidemon) in Sao Paulo, who had a dream where the Lord told him people from other nations would be uniting with him for ministry. In his dream, God showed him a ring of fire (no not the Johnny Cash kind) that was burning around the world. The ring represented Christians, underground, not in a “hiding from the government” way but in an “outcast from society” way. These Christians were involved in ministries all over the world that were under the mainstream radar used to lead people to salvation that are mainly unreached because society has rejected them. Batista’s congregation was just that. They were a grimy underground army of Christians leading all sorts of people to the Lord. They minister to everyone from Neo-Nazis to hip-hop heads to satanic death metal kids.
Through a divine appointment, Jah led me literally to the church’s doorstep a few weeks after the pastor had that dream. Needless to say, we were both in awe. Later SOTL came out to do some evangelism. We mostly stayed with the church but also visited some ministry schools, orphanages, and favelas (hardcore Brazilian ghettos). God did some amazing things. So when you hear us talking about Brazil, we are really talking about our family from down south and the ring of fire, which includes SOTL. Big ups to all our friends in Brasil including Pregador Luo and Vision of Terror.
Trey: How has your own sound developed over the course of your career?
Wut Metaphysical: Ha ha! Well, I don’t really consider music my career, not to dodge the question. I consider it one of my arts. Jah is a creator and since we are in His image we are also creative by nature. I don’t like using the word career because it seems to imply doing something for money. I don’t do music for money like a lot of emcees out there; I couldn’t care less about money. I think that keeps it pure.
But, the question was about sound. Really, it’s hard to define my own style without giving away my creative secrets and trademarks. I can tell you this. I’ve become more creative, more outgoing in my message, and more intense on the roads I take in songs. My influences have changed from hip-hop and rock groups to folk songwriters and poets. The beats are just beats. I pick what ones sound good to me. I don’t care about what sounds retro or what “style” of hip hop they are. I just do what I feel compelled to do.
Trey: What’s the hip hop scene like in California and how kind has it been for an underground emcee who pops bibles instead of bottles? How is your music connecting with people who are new to conscious hip hop?
Wut Metaphysical: The hip-hop scene is California is just like the scene everywhere. When I moved here, I spent some time in L.A. and went to a Technicali show featuring LMNO. It was in a small venue on the fun side of town and about 100 people showed up. Everybody was chillin’ and having a good time. Being from the Midwest you’d think things were huge in California. The fact is the shows in St. Louis were bigger than the shows for California artists we all looked up to. I remember looking around and thinking, this looks so familiar, but smaller. Dudes in St. Louis like DJ Mahf, Earthworms, 932, Alleyes, Noiz, would pack shows out in the Lou doing live art and emceeing. I even went to a KRS1 and Mista Fab show in Berkeley that was super small. It’s surprising really.
Beyond that though, everyone loves hip-hop. All my students love it; a lot of teachers love it. They are just now riding out of hyped stuff here it seems. The pop sound out here is basically really clean and fast beats with some grimy, slurred, high-pitched vocals. Nerd rap is getting up too. It’s fun, but then you always have the underground- what Mos Def would call “that raw skill.” There is always a demand from it, and so long as it’s true and skilled, the message gets through.
Trey: Fans are going to want to know what you guys are putting out in the near future. So are there any albums, singles, collaborations you want to plug?
Early this summer, I will release a digital EP titled “Lay Down the Law.” I’ve been sitting on some pretty dope songs that I want to publish before I really sit down and work on my next full length. I want to create a clean break from my old material when I sit down to write. My first album “Last of the Metaphysical Poets” was a little dark and thoughtful. This next release will be just as thoughtful but more upbeat, a little battle style. It will feature Theory Hazit, Wordsmith, Remnant, Pinnacle Rhythms, and some others. Look for it!
Also, look for a new song/video out by Calmplex, Prefekt and I, filmed at the 2010 Walk for Life rally in San Francisco. It’s called “Inheritance” and is basically a tribute to women who don’t abort.
As far as SOTL, things are still underground right now and I can’t say much. I can just say that momentum is up and things are happening soon. If people really want to know about what’s going on I’d just suggest keep looking around and soon it will all make sense.
Trey: Finally, how has your hip hop career challenged you to deepen your relationship with Christ?
Wut Metaphysical: I’d say Christ challenges me to know Him. The scriptures say that every step you take towards Jah, He steps towards you. And that is true. Really my relationship with Christ is what makes me deeper. It’s exponential. The music that I produce isn’t even really purposeful in “reppin’ Christ” or “preaching.” I just write what’s on my heart and that’s usually Jesus.
Trey: Great speaking with you!
Wut Metaphysical: Bless you my friend!
To stay up on SOTL information, check out: www.locustfist.com
Read the Dirt portion of this interview.