First off, I want to state that Silent Knight has been one of the most consistent artists over the past 12 years when it comes to releasing high quality music. The genre doesn’t make a difference either, the artistic integrity of the music has never changed. Even at a time when content became king for most artists, Silent Knight seems to approach every bar and every verse as if it is his last. While the content may have changed a bit over the years and according to the times, the delivery and detail always feels genuine to who Silent Knight is as an artist and being. Recently we had the pleasure of speaking to Silent Knight about various topics such as rituals, crushed reality, Justin Bieber and his classic project Hunger Strike.
When did you first start writing ? Do you remember what inspired you at the moment ?
These are the very first words I’ve ever written. These words you are reading right now. Nah um, I’ve been writing raps since I was 10 years old. Kind of on and off, but then steadily since the first year or 2 of high school. That first thing that inspired my first “song” at 10 years old was two things: Rap and Basketball.
Being an independent artist you have all the creative control over your projects, do you ever go back to an older project and wish you had went in a different direction?
I’m a very strong believer in not letting perfect(or the want of perfection) be the enemy of good. I’m really vocal about that too. Keep it moving, make the next thing even greater, and so on. But even with that said there’s definitely small things here and there that I could nitpick on. What’s the origin of that word anyway, “nitpicking”? So many words are rooted in hate and violence, I’m tryna be mindful. But I digress…
What is your favorite thing about being an independent artist?
Definitely the freedom. Like you said, the creative control. Being able to think of something and start to put it into action. There’s still a lot of waiting in being an independent artist, and sometimes the things I love about it can be the same things I get frustrated about, but all in all it’s a blessing.
What is your approach when selecting production for a project ?
FIRE EMOJI. Lol. It really honestly just has to grab me and speak to my core…like whatever type of vibe, tempo, sound, it just has to grab me. I don’t know if that’s cliche but it’s the truth. Sometimes there’s other factors like who I’m personally vibing with at the time, or if someone pitches something, but still gotta be the best quality, not just a “name” or whatever.
Do you have a favorite go to food or new ritual before a live performance ?
Hah, I have a few in general, but before a show…I pretty much do one or more of these things: pace, go for a walk, have a drink, pray, meditate, mess with my new Fidget Cube, scroll on my phone, and go over my set in my head. Foods I try to keep at light fare, nothing too heavy or daring, and not right before. And never wine. I can’t do wine before performing. Or weed.
You have a unique ability to connect with people of different ethnicities, cultures, ideological views, religious beliefs, genders, socioeconomic backgrounds all while making everyone feel inclusive. How important is that to you and how do you believe artists can get involved more with facilitating unity.
Wow, well thank you. I feel that’s extremely important. I think artists, and people in general, can just try to be open and learn about other people and other cultures. Not pretend we’re all 1 million percent the same in every way, because we all have our own unique experiences and struggles. As individuals and as cultures and religions, and races, and sexual orientation and identity and everything else. Even though of course we are all connected and all one, we still need to be mindful of each other’s unique experiences. Knowing we’re all one is even MORE reason not to downplay the next persons experience or struggle, and not to try and oversimplify it. I’m still learning every day. In my humble opinion that’s what it comes down to.
Do you see yourself getting into politics anytime in the near future?
Haaaa. Lol nah, but you mean like running for an elected office/position? Absolutely not. There are artists that have done it, are currently doing it, and will do it in the future….and I commend and salute them. But it’s not for me. I have helped out with some campaigns and some elections though, and I would be open to that again in a heartbeat.
What is the most influential book you have read in the past 2 years and how has it influenced you?
Man, I really really really need to get back into reading. I don’t know what happened, I feel like I can’t get through a book anymore. I mean I do kinda know what happened. Smart phone, laptop, BIMBF, and piling things onto my plate and schedule.
I’ll say this though, since I’m horrible at “favorites” or picking one thing, these are some of the books I’ve actually finished, OR that have stuck with me even if I’ve yet to finish them.
In no particular order:
“The life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo.
“Don’t Drown Her in the Baptism” by Ramya Ramana
“Poems for My Namesake” by K. Desiree Millwood
And “The Beautiful Struggle” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
They are all different but have influenced me in similar ways. Basically calming me, allowing me to get more organized and centered, and helping me to know I’m not alone and in great company.
If you could create a band with musicians from any era with you as the frontman, who would the be and why?
Wowzers. Off the top of the head Ima say it would consist of Jimi, Stevie, Miles, Coltrane, Jaco Pastorius or Bootsy Collins, Tito Puente, and Clyde Stubblefield. And Nina and Ella co-fronting the band with me. Cuz why not?! Amy Winehouse and Freddie Mercury too, or they’d be special guests. Oh and DiViNCi on the mpc’s, and Boogie Blind and DP-ONE on the turntables.
I also Iike new music too though, I swear. Lol.
Back in 2005, you released a project titled “Fall of Ignorance” which featured one of my favorite lines in any song “Reality is whatever your mind thinks exist” . Is your reality the same as it was then and if not how has it changed?
My reality has been crushed, re-built, and crushed again, many times over, since 2005. In some ways I don’t recognize who I was back then. I mean at my core I think I’m the same. But as far as reality….I think I’ve gotten more and more ok with “not knowing”. And with embracing that, while still always learning and growing. If that makes any sense at all.
Having released the classic project Hunger Strike 10 years ago, how does it feel now when you listen to the project ? Is there anything you would change?
I feel old. Haha. 10 years. Holy Moses. Nah but it honestly feels good. I just did an anniversary show for it, and doing that, plus listening to it, and practicing it… In my humble opinion it’s aged well. I wouldn’t change a thing.
If you weren’t creating music at the moment, what would your ideal profession be?
Either a teacher or still something in the music/entertainment industries maybe. I like hosting events. I like connecting people. I like working with people.
A few years back you collaborated on a track with Nneka, can you tell us how that collaboration came about?
Nneka is one of my favorite artists ever. And she’s a beautiful soul who I now consider a friend. The collab came about after we met at SXSW. She listened to my music on her own, the first day I met her. That amazed me. But we stayed in touch and eventually created the song. It’s still not released yet but I’m very much looking forward to sharing it with the world.
Can you tell us an artist you would like to collaborate with that people might be surprised to hear and the reason being?
Hmm. Justin Bieber maybe? Lol. Or Drake. I’ve been a fan of Drake since 09 or something. And the young gawd Jus Biebs…he does his thing, and I just think it would be funny to see and hear peoples reactions.
What is the biggest learning experience you have had in the music industry since you released your first project in 2005?
That nothing matters. Nah that sounds dramatic but, just like…there’s no rules, or the rules always get re-written. And that talent, skill, hardwork are important, but connections are very important. And there are trends…not like fads, but things that make sense to pay attention to. Business wise. And that there are professionals that know what they are doing. Work with them if you can. You can’t do everything yourself. And just…don’t give up. Like after years and years and losing money or making some, or feeling let down, or who knows what. When every single other artist or band or group quits…keep going. Then keep going some more.
What is the most difficult part of being an independent artist ?
The waiting, probably. Being broke also. And having relationships tested
Do you often write about what is happening in your personal life?
Do you find it easier to write music when you are dealing with adversity in your personal life ?
Not at all. When I’m going through it…it’s actually hard for me to write. But when I’m at least a little removed, or a little time passes, it’s easy. And when I’m happy and clear headed…even better.
Are you at a place where you are content with your body of work as an artist?
I’m confident in my body of work as an artist. But I still have a lot of new things to say and a lot of new ways to say them in.
If there was biographical movie about your life, who would you want to direct it, who would you to play you and how does the story end ?
Probably a young Denzel would play me, that’s what people tell me. Lol no but…damn that’s a difficult one.
- Director: Hans Augustave
- Playing me: some new young dope actor who is not yet born