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AFU-RA
DECIPHER THE CODE
interview by Meshack Blaq
photos by Ant-Tagonist

More enigmatic than Kool Keith and twice as Scientifical than Sir Menelik is the one called Afu Ra. You remember him as Jeru's right hand man from both the Damaja's albums. But those two appearances and the one in Ru's video shot in Hong Kong left a permanant crease on Niggaz brains. The charismatic and dialectic Afu also left an indelible mark on the face of Hip Hop that won't easily be forgotten. In fact Ra is one of the most sought after, yet hard-to- find MC's on the NYC landscape. Not for Kronick though. From Dread to Dread, Meshack tapped into the Kemetic Dreadlock Internet and met up with Ra at D&D Studios. Take your pick: SCIENTIFICAL STAMINA OR MENTAL MADNESS?!?
KRON:
It's funny that we keep runnin' into you while in NYC this time. We been wantin' to Holla at you, Man! Madd Heads back home in the West been fiendin' for that new shit you got out right now. You know, Niggaz like you keep it Tight for the Undaground! So give us some Love and tell us what the Deal is with Afu Ra right about now?
AFU RA:
No Doubt! It's in the stars, I guess! Afu is about to come out with his own solo-debut album. I've started out with the first release of the single "Whirlwind Thru Cities". On the B-side I got Hannibal Stacks and Guru. Up and coming we got the next single about to drop in the next couple of months. Shootin' the video, more promotions, spreadin' myself doin' shows here, doin' shows there. So the album drops this Summer. You know, let it get a little more warmed up, then BOOM! The album this Summer! I'm not sure the exact date yet, but comin' sometime in July.
KRON:
You're known all over the world for the connection that you have with the one known as Jeru Da Damaja.
AFU RA:
No Doubt.
KRON:
And it's like both his albums that he did, to a lotta heads the hottest Gems are the ones with you on `em. But it seems like the tracks was kinda short. Naamean?
AFU RA:
I'm sayin', that's just how it came out! On both of them you know, we both gave two verses. So it wasn't like we intended it no way. It just came out how it came out. But I really can't answer that no other way but, the tracks just came out how they came out. Like on my album comin' I got all different sized joints, you know. It's some joints with one verse. Then I got joints with three verses. And I got a lotta collaborations on my album. And I'm just tryin' to put out a tight project.
KRON:
So when you dropped that first joint with Jeru and he said the words, "There's no turnin' back"; did you know what would be in store for Afu Ra?
AFU RA:
No doubt! At that time, no I didn't know. I didn't really take heed as far as like, "There's no turnin' back", right? Now it means to me that once you jump up on here and start puttin' the energy out there through your creation as Rhymin' and all that... People that's dealin' with that, they know how you thinkin'; they gon' connect with you. So you gon' always have to keep it comin' or those certain Heads that may have got to know you in that way, you gon' die to them if you don't take it seriously and really tighten your art and tighten your craft, and just sharpen your skills as a lyricist. As well as becomin' more educated in the Business aspect of all of that. So when Ru was like, "It's no turnin' back", then I was just thinkin' about the rhyme of the moment. But when I reflect upon it now it's like Yo, there's no turnin' back! Once you go up in it, it's just like either you gonna make somethin' out of this, Yo; or you ain't gonna make nothin' out of it!
KRON:
Now another way that you've gotten some shine was in that video for "Ya Playin' Yaself". That video you & Ru shot in Hong Kong. What was that experience like for you to travel halfway around the world and work with some straight-up professional martial artists?
AFU RA:
That shit was like a dream come true. I'm still tryin' to take it to the next level now. But doin' that was like, it was like livin' out a fantasy. We all have fantasies of doin' the Kung Fu every Sunday when it was on TV, or Saturday. And now it's like, I do Martial Arts. That's part of my life. I've studied Tae Kwon Do. I've been doin' it for a few years. So I'm just tryin' to keep my Physical right! I'm like the Rasta Jim Kelly!! Like Jet Li and all of them, I wanna look like that. Or live up how they doin' they thing. So it's like when I was miles and miles away from home, I never woulda thought that Hip Hop was gonna take me to Hong Kong. I never woulda thought that, but just doin' it has made me really see how deep this shit is. Because you could come from nowhere and jump up in the Game. And if your art is tight and people's feelin' you, you get Blessed with opportunities to do things. And you hundreds and thousands of miles away from your rest; you like on the other side of the world. And it's like Hip Hop is really movin' people!! It's movin' everything! To take me to Hong Kong, you know what I'm sayin??
KRON:
What was the experience like off the camera? When it was like two Rasta Brothas in a place where there ain't hardly no Brothas at all?
AFU RA:
That was like... I guess it was like, I see everything that you see out here, to a certain degree. I mean, I still experienced discrimination and Racism. I still could feel the vibes like, "Why are you here?" You could feel them vibes, but that's only natural. But on the whole, I'll go back there! I felt at home there on my own personal space. But then while I'm mingling with the people, just takin' the bus and the subway and things like that, it's like you'll feel out of place. But I guess like I said, that was the only reaction.
KRON:
The name Afu Ra from my knowledge, or small amount of knowledge about History and the past bein' a Rasta, that name puts out a vibe strait from the ancient Egyptians of Kemites. Can you build on the meaning of the name?
AFU RA:
Definitely!!! Afu Ra- Afu basically means the Body. And then Ra- that means the Life Force. So it's like I took that name out of a parable that I read in the Egyptian Book Of The Dead [or The Book Of Coming Forth By Day]. And it was a story about a man named Afu Ra- the Body of the Life Force. And just, he was on a course where it looked like sure destruction! And he just went inside his self and just knew that he was livin' a righteous life, and just keepin' everything balanced that BOOM! He was gon' make his way thru! So at that time I was like; I was doin' madd shit in my life Son, that was like Fucked Up! Like hangin' out on the corner smokin' 40's, drinkin' blunts; doin' this-that, make loot, Hustlin'... Not really like, thinkin' of like nothin' besides the moment. Like, "I need dollas" an' shit like that. So I was like, "I need to change my shit up" cause I was gettin' locked up and just stupid shit. Just shit like, I was in the train station gettin' locked up and got weed on me and shit like that. And in the wrong places at the wrong time. So I was like, "I need to change my shit up, change my Game up". And my man Osh was like Yo, "If you change your name, as far as like what people be callin' you on the regular"... See, in America the names don't really have no meaning so the vibrations is low. Names like Tiffany and Shawanda and stuff like that don't really have no real meanin' to the names. So the vibrations that they givin' off when you hear your name it's like, it's not affirmin' nothin' to the person that holds that name. So by choosin' the name Afu Ra, it's like BOOM! Just knowin' that shit, that I'm walkin' around representin' myself. Afu Ra- what's that? The Body of the Life Force! That's everything- the embodiment of everything that creates life. So from a speck of dust to the Sun it's Afu Ra. You, me, everybody! Everything! A fragment of steel is a Body of the Life Force because it came forth thru life. From the force that creates life. So Afu Ra, BOOM! Everytime I hear that, I know I gotta live up to that now. So I can't be doin' no dumb shit. Then this Rap shit just happenned. I got down with Jeru. We was always hangin' out and BOOM! So it's like, Afu Ra, knowhatI'msayin'? That's me.
KRON:
At what point did you feel the fullness of startin' to grow the locks as an outward expression of the vibration that you just described?
AFU RA:
I started growin' like the same time, Yo! I'm sayin', I stopped eatin' flesh and all that shit. I was just readin' madd books about like, dietary health and all that. I was readin' the books and it was breakin' down the food sources. Like where you can get vitamins e and d, k, c and b, Word. Riboflavin, where you can get everything from. Like raw food sources can give you what and what! So when I was readin' it, I was peepin' that if you eat a totally vegetarian diet; don't eat no meat, no cheese, no butter, no milk. Try to stay away from chemicals like monosodium-glutamate, preservatioves and all that. You tryin' to keep your vibrations to be high because you dealin' more with shit that's live. When you eat flesh, that shit is dead. But when you cut a piece of brocolli, BOOM! You killin' it because you cuttin' it, but it's still livin'! So I was figurin' out that you can get all the same vitamins except for like a few certain ones. And there's other ways youi can get it through vitamins and shit like that. So I was like, `Fuck it!' I don't need to be eatin' meat. I just took it upon myself like, just seein' that. I was like, if I could do like this and still be healthy... I always been a skinny Nigga. I never lost weight or none of that. So I was like Boom! I'm changin' my name up, all that. I'ma try to just live my shit as healthy as I could. Livin' in this world, I still do shit that ain't good for me, but I'm just try to push my vibrations for me as high as I can. That way I could be in tune with shit. I was always in touch with the Rasta Kulture because my Pop's is from Trinidad and he hated Rastas and all of that. But all the people around his way is Rasta. And when I started knottin' my shit up, just doin' it to be playin' around wit' it before I was really like thinkin' I would do it; just a fad type shit... Them Cats dropped a Jewel on me about vibes and all that shit and how your hair is an antennae and all of that. So Boom! That went in sync with my diet and changin' my name and all that. And just try to just rebirth myself. So when I say in my rhymes, "Rebirth" and all of that. That's what I'm dealin' with; just rebirthin' myself. I was this person here, no doubt I'm still him! But Boom! Now I'm tryin' to take it to another level.
KRON:
Again, from the small body of work that the public has been able to hear from Afu, both Scientifical Madness and Mental Stamina both describe the way I view your lyrical styles; Scientific, yet you're droppin' Mental bombs! Bein' that you're comin' with the album now, is there like a Thesis that you have for book that breaks down into different chapters?
AFU RA:
Well you can say that. But basically what my album is really. My album is basically Afu in all different angles. Like everyday I'm different. Today I'm more vibin' towards one thing. But tomorrow will be a totally different number for each different day. The vibes generate that. So it's like my album is gonna show people just the different forms that I come in! I'm God so I come in madd different forms. As the MC, I always wanna challenge myself to do this style and that style. So people is gonna see that I'm not tryin' to stay like, `Influential/ Scientifical', cause Boom! Even though people know me from that, and that's what people started checkin' me for, I still gotta be like Boom! Now I gotta show `em the next side of me. Because I can't never always be like that. So people is just gonna see a multifaceted lyricist. I'm tryin' ta just bounce it here, bounce it there, bounce it over there... But at the same time, still droppin' Jewels in everything. Still always comin' with that Witty Scientifical type of input and logical stuff and all of that, like that. The Perverted Monk, the Kung Fu, all of that is intertwinin'. But at the same time I still come different. I still come on a joint I got like, "Warfare". And then I got to a song that I got called "Stars". Then I got a song called "Equality". So I try to keep it movin' at showin' different spots of self. Like a clock; so you can go all the way around. Every song takes you to a different point in time. Like Boom! How you feel different ways at different points of the day.



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