Trey: Tell our readers about Shadow of the Locust â€“ is it a collective of emcees, a state of mind, a movement, or all of the above?
Dirt: If those are the only choices, I’ll pick a state of mind. To study that mind state, read Joel 2 and ask how those scriptures relate to you. You could also read the Locust Papri or even the 7 Tablets story, all to be made available on the upcoming re-release of Locustfist.com
Trey: So the big news is that thereâ€™s a major shift affecting SOTL. Can you tell your fans about it?
Dirt: I hate to be secretive but, no. I can say that there is more forward movement within that group of artist than there has ever been since it’s conception. I can only hope when the dust settles you guys will be blessed.
Trey: Whatâ€™s the connection between Shadow of the Locust and the country of Brazil? A lot of the photographs Iâ€™ve seen of you guys show you spending time in South America, but Iâ€™m not sure everyone understands why.
Dirt: Brazil was a time of closeness to God and to our vision and with each other. Basically, Wut set up the opportunity for us to do ministry down there. A mass of Locust fans contributed to a fund so that we could fly down there and live for a month. I think we all expected to go down and be emcees and a DJ, but truly, after wards, it was much more than that. I’ll never forget walking the favelas and blessing people with food items and helping people fix/build their shanty shacks. I’ll never forget the kids in the orphanage, smiling and laughing as we taught them to throw up the ‘Dubs’ (Westcoast!). I’ll never forget listening to Batista preach in a language I did not understand, but still knew every word in my heart. I’ll never forget the reception we received from people as we belted out our music. People that did not understand our language but still knew every word we said in their heart. And I’ll never forget how vividly green the grass was.
Trey: How has your own sound developed over the course of your career?
Dirt: There is no career. Early in the ’90’s, I went to every b-boy/hip hop show I could because the passion for my culture was deep and it had to be watered. There was no business aspect. We were just addicted to our culture – the sound, the visuals, the attitude. It was life.
In 1994, I began to take my gift in music serious and started really developing my arts with goals of record labels and their deals, in hopes of taking the vision of Joel 2 to the masses. After that, through the course of many years, the passion began to fade as it was replaced with the machine of “business” and materialism. I never made it to that table meeting with the gold-toothed, major record label exec, for a number of rebel reasons. So eventually, I stopped trying. I stopped trying to be what the industry wanted me to be and I went back to being myself: a musician passionate about his culture, in love with his music, in touch with his creativity, inspired by His God.
Whatever career anyone refers to isn’t there anymore. It’s been replaced by my first love… the youth that was bold in his faith in God and passionate for forward movement in His culture.
I’m a self-proclaimed audiophile and music historian. The more I collect and ravage with study, submitting it to my iPod brain, the more I am able to draw from my observations, digest, and deliver it back the people with my own translations. From the way John Lee Hooker plays his guitar riffs off beat, to the way Patsy Cline maintains amazing control over her vocals, to the way Jeru the Damaja raps in syllables, or the way Jacob Miller (original ‘Inner Circle’) sings like his voice is being faded by a DJ… I learn from all those sound artists and apply it to my own music, lyrics and stage presence. The development is constantly evolving and that’s the way I prefer.
Trey: Whatâ€™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?
Dirt: Hip-hop is a cultural way of life. The question seems silly when you are talking about matters of the heart…not physical locale. Or maybe I’m silly because I can’t separate hip hop, my culture, from me to understand how it is different from place to place. I see hip hop wherever I go. I AM hiphop. So in Cali, Texas, Spokane, or Baltimore…hip hop is good to me…because I am good to it.
Musically, I am well received. In San Diego, my hometown, L.A. (Battle Rounds!), and even now that I moved to the Bay Area. However I tend to think that reception is due more to the fact that I seek to respect those I meet no matter what walk of life they come from.
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?
Dirt: I myself will definitely be putting out more albums (being worked on). I lay my heart out, truly and sincerely, on my own projects… so it can take a while for me to have enough life experiences that I can process and share, with you. But there are two projects I am working on for you guys. As for ‘Shadow of the Locust’…. we have come together, recently, and made a pact to deliver many songs to the masses THIS YEAR. If I may end with a well known quote…. “look to the sky, heed the warning…the shadow is coming!”
Trey: Finally, how has your hip hop career challenged you to deepen your relationship with Christ?
Dirt: It hasn’t. However, Christ has challenged my relationship with hip hop.