4 hours, 17 minutes, and 18 seconds. That is the amount of time in two separate discussions that Cordell and I had about hip-hop.
It’s never just about hip-hop though is it? It’s a quick glimpse into the life and into a culture that not many people will ever get the chance to be exposed to.
One of the bigger topics coming out in hip-hop culture today is men’s mental health, and specifically, the mental health of the men and boys growing up in the black communities. And that is a topic that Harrisburg hip-hop artist Cordell takes on head first with his upcoming release “This Ain’t That.”
MJ: The new album, This Ain’t That, how did the title come about?
Cordell: I called it This Ain’t That because I wanted to separate myself from my last release, Seven7teen: A Love Story. It’s not what you would be used to hearing in hip-hop that is out there right now.
What inspired the various tracks on the album, is there an overall theme to it?
The underlying theme is men and our mental health. Specifically the mental health of black men. It’s a huge issue right now. Since the last album and now I’ve had a lot go down. Mainly, I became a father and lost one of my best friends. I’ve never had someone that close to me pass away. It was like, you get a life and a life was taken from you. It was a hard time for me. But now I am a father of a little boy and I don’t want him to feel like he can’t communicate what is going on, I want him to know its perfectly normal to not be OK. Growing up, boys were taught to “suck it up” and now we see the repercussions of that.
I always like to see what artists think about popular hip-hop out today, what’s your take on these younger artists coming out today?
These young artists are just so hell bent on proving to the world that they don’t care about anything. Like the Joker in Dark Knight, they just want to “watch the world burn.” It’s a sad way to be. They think its a game putting these bandannas and flags on, and that is a serious thing that a lot of people have died or went to jail for and sadly enough will continue to die or go to jail over. It is a lot of youngins posturing themselves like they are close to the streets and they aren’t. I hope they all figure it out, it’s unfortunate because I don’t want to see anyone dead or in jail.
You’re trying to create a more positive influence instead?
I think so. I believe that. I am lucky enough to have a lot of good relationships with people from all backgrounds in the city. So I want to take that and create a more positive influence in my music. There are really important and valuable pieces to what we are not just trying to do in music but for our community. People like Mazon or CB. These artists that care about their music and about their community and of course you have those that don’t. I make sure I surround myself with people who care about one another.
The new single just dropped, “On Some Shit (feat. Rawston George)” just came out last Friday, tell me about some of the tracks on the album and where you writing these tracks.
“On Some Shit” is produced by Keyzus of Maschine Life Empire, and we got a verse from Rawston George also from Maschine Life Empire on there. The track is sort of a peek into the minds of two young black men that aren’t where they want to be at the time. It’s the seventh track on the album and after the material becomes a little heavier. I expect it to be polarizing because it is not anything like my last album. When I sent it out for people to preview I was getting feedback saying, “this track almost made me cry.” This album is personal for me. You’ll be able to hear a lot of the changes I’ve gone through. Three years is a damn long time between albums!
So when is the album dropping?
I have a few minor things that I want to adjust on it but the majority of the album is done. I want to make sure it’s perfect so that the message, the production, the overall vibe of the album is clear for folks to understand.
Be on the lookout for the long-awaited release of Cordell’s new album “This Ain’t That” coming to Itunes and Spotify soon.
Another great conversation with a hip-hop artist who wants to improve the lives of those in the community he lives in. For Cordell, sharing his struggles through his art he hopes to make an impact on his listeners and make Harrisburg a better place. One verse at a time.
Make sure you check out Cordell’s Soundcloud to listen to his latest track “On Some Shit” along with his previous releases including “Seven7teen: A love Story.”
Follow me on Twitter @HBGMicah using the hashtag #HipHopinHBG to follow me and my adventures as I dig deeper into the hip-hop culture in our city. Until next time, keep it live and local.