Over the week had the pleasure of getting an interview with the Poet, Genesis the Greykid. He has a few mixtape that if you haven’t heard you need. His mixtape is a series called, Grey Skies. There are three of them in total but, today we are going to talk about his book Words In Grey.
Interview question for Genesis the Greykid
TAU: Why did you choose not to go with titles on your poems?
GreyKid: I have titles in the table of contents, but chose to show the mood I was in while writing through color because I often see moods in color and wanted the reader to be there with me. That way, if you’re feeling sad, or reflective, and wanna sit mentally with a similar texture, you can.
TAU: These poems are completely separate from the EPs you release correct? How connected are they to one another?
GreyKid: Yes they are for the most part.
There were one or two poems that touched on the same situations I spoke about through the music. For example, on Grey Skies 3, there’s a song called “Lab Rats” produced by Arms & Sleepers where I rhymed about my last breakup in the intro, which is also a theme for 3 poems in the book. With poetry, it’s different moods of that context, that situation. So the intro of that song was a birds eye view of the situation from my eyes, but the 3 poems in the book were more reflective – before and after the breakup. One poem maybe about feeling 1,000 miles away from someone standing in the same room with you, before the breakup – the other maybe after the breakup. Feelings of hope, sadness, then euphoria from all the beautiful things that came through that situation.
Poetry doesn’t erase what one feels….it’s not like pouring what’s inside out. Poetry, walking, and meditation, these three things have a way with moods. With poetry, if I felt sad, writing would not erase that sadness, but transform it. It changes those feelings into something I can begin to understand in a way most authentic to myself. When we immerse ourselves in one of those three things, we learn a form of alchemy.
TAU: How did you come up with the color idea and how were you able to decide what you were at that time being?
GreyKid: Deciding the mood I was writing in was easy. Once you’re there, you’re there. As long as you stay honest with yourself, your body will tell you the mood. So the color idea just made sense to me because that’s how I often see things. The hardest part was figuring out how I wanted to communicate that.
Me and a good friend of mine – Drew Belz – were taking a train up to New York to work on different things. I came up to be apart of Coodie and Chike’s Muhammad Ali Documentary – shout out to those guys, they just won an Image Award for that – and to do a little writing for the book. I think Drew was headed up there to explore creatively and do some things with his film company, so we decided to take the train together. He’s another creative soul, so I asked him, “How do you think I should show the colors? Part of me wants circles with the name of the color inside, another part wants just the color…like, the actual color. What do you think?”
He threw out some cool ideas, my favorite idea was the colors being rough scribbles by hand…in the end though, I chose to go with what we have now.
TAU: I read through the book and felt empowered by the last 20 or so pages. You created exercises to help people get out their creativity. What made this come about and how do you know it will help someone?
GreyKid: For the last 3 years – besides writing music – I’ve been conducting poetry/creative workshops in-between to help people explore, build up creative confidence, and claim their own brilliance. Over these years I’ve been able to fine tune the workshop so its less about me telling you how to write and more about us, as a group, exploring our own “zones of genius”. I don’t want a bunch of clones running around (laugh), that just kills the culture of poetry…the culture of art.
I’d rather show artist, creatives, and everyday people how to explore themselves, I’m just using poetry with creative exercises to do so. In this way, the painter can leave a better painter, the startup entrepreneur can leave a better entrepreneur, the poet can leave a better poet. No matter what you come as, we all should leave more human.
That’s all truth is right?
For example, take all the major religions in the world. Now religion is one of those things that most would consider “off the table” discussion wise. The reason – impart – is simple. For a long time people were killed for their beliefs, opinions, etc. when it came to this subject. The only thing that transcends religion – in my humble opinion – is love and truth. So if we place truth on the table, and have all those religions sitting around that table. The Christian brotha should leave a better Christian, the Muslim brotha a better Muslim, and so on and so fourth.
I take the same approach in my poetry/creative workshop – which is where those exercises came from in the book.
My goal isn’t to make everyone a poet. Like in the last example, my goal wouldn’t be to change a Muslim into a Christian, it would be to lay whatever truths I’ve found – through discovering my most authentic self – on the table, with love. So the artist, the nurse, the entrepreneur, the trash-man, the coal miner, no matter what philosophies or beliefs they hold, they all have a “hidden wholeness” or a “zone of genius” lying deep inside of them. Discovering this “truth” helps each person leave as a better version of themselves.
TAU: How long did it take you to write this book and how was the process?
GreyKid: Took a little under a year to collect all the poetry. I’d write 15 or 20 within 6 months. Then write another 40 or so in 3 months. Sometimes it flowed, sometimes it didn’t – during those times where it didn’t flow, i’d walk for miles and miles. I’d go to bars, to barber shops, to Waffle House, park benches with the homeless, shady underground tunnels with explorers, all of this with a little notepad to capture my own racing thoughts and what I noticed around me.
Being able to notice things outside of yourself is the first step in my opinion, to being human. Which I believe is the first step – being human that is – in any process.
TAU: Where are you currently in life right now, are you still grey?
GreyKid: (laugh) I’m always grey!
Although poetry has always been my first love, writing music took off much quicker. So the first 2 years was dedicated mostly to writing music and putting out my own musical offerings. I decided about 3 years ago to put more focus on my poetry, so I haven’t released any new music in about 2 years. I still plan on putting new music out, that will never stop completely, but poetry is my main squeeze (laugh) and where I’m most happy.
Currently, I’m exactly where I need to be in life. I wake up each morning and create. That’s all I wanted to do, which has created a desire to push others. Which is funny because through that process of pushing others its actually been pushing me.
I have a pretty big project coming up which will be revealed sometime this year, but it’s all in an effort to push the culture of poetry forward. I feel every artist – no matter how content or unhappy he or she is in life – should push themselves beyond what they even believe is possible at some point in their career. This is how we keep the arts innovative and moving forward. Within that push, we inspire others and ourselves.
TAU: On page 21 you had a writers block, what made you still write about that experience? FYI that is one of my favorites.
GreyKid: Nice! I’m glad you liked it.
I wrote that in Cleveland, Tennessee while visiting a friend, J.Brian Miles. He had just bought part of a TV Network and got this big warehouse to create out of.
After I went up to see the space – it was crazy, like 2 Walmarts in one building – I left inspired to write. So I took a walk. I walked…and walked….and walked, but nothing solid came to me. A few good lines that would break apart as soon as I started to put pen to paper. This time though, it was weird because I felt like I wrote something but didn’t.
That’s what made me realize that every feeling or clever line wasn’t meant to be remembered or heard by many. Some of them were meant to live along the outer banks of our minds, which is what inspired the “writers block” poem on page 21.
TAU: How did you feel after you felt like you were finished with the book? Relief, Exposed, Naked, Happy, A calm before the storm.
GreyKid: I felt happy, excited, pumped up!
I think we should all celebrate finishing something, no matter the results or outcomes. Big or small. So before any bookstores wanted to pick it up, before any friends were down to shout it out via social media; me, my brother, Jazz, and a few friends all celebrated the finished product.
TAU: The riddle at the end of the book? They planted more Apple seeds. Or should I say how can I find the answer to the riddle?
GreyKid: It’s a riddle that’s missing a sentence (Laugh). It’s already pretty tough to solve, so I figured I’d leave a sentence out as well. A hint for ya though, “Each” is a big part of the puzzle.
TAU: Where can we buy this book?
You may find some Indie bookstores like StarLine Books or creative circles that carry the book as well.
I want to say Thank You to the Greykid for taking to the time out of his day to do this interview.