My kids love super heroes and generally anything that involves good guys and bad guys. They’re always asking who I want to be and what power I have. At any given time I’m probably operating in daddy mode as one of your favorite characters (most likely one that’s been re-imagined by the Lego company). When it comes to powers there are always those favorites that everybody picks. Go ahead, think for a second about what special power you’d want. Probably flying, invisibility or super speed.
Our dude, Very, reminds me of that one power that you slept on and wish you would have picked after you realize the implications of it. It’s that power where, after I pick it, my kids say, “Aw man, I want that power.” Like how Professor X is in a wheel chair but still can’t be effed with. The way Mr. Fantastic, Reed Richards, is the smartest man in the world and has the ill stretching abilities. Nobody wants to choose him, they all want to be The Thing or Johnny Storm. But watch out, it’s the sleeper dudes that are usually the most dangerous.
You know rap hero, Very, don’t you? You might have caught him galavanting around the globe with Scarub (of Living Legends) as 1/2 of the crew, Afro Classics. His Super Friends include Luckyiam, Eligh, Grouch, and Murs (among other notables). Also, he’s had some great sidekicks and side projects that are worth going back and checking out. Spend some time checking out US Pros and Firewater.
Here’s a little gem that gets musical circulation during our daily operations.
And if you’re still not up on The Classic material from Afro Classics…
We sat down for a nice Sunday brunch with Very and talked about everything from food to fatherhood and everything in between. He shared the story of how an herbalist saved his life and other interesting tidbits. Unfortunately, I couldn’t include the entire day’s discussion but check out the following segment of our conversation:
TKM: How does food relate to the creation of your music?
V: I like to cook and it’s an artistic process. It’s kind of like making a song. When I’m feeling creative and I’m not making a song, I like to cook. Good food just makes you feel good and that alone can inspire you. In the way that we eat with our eyes, making music is more than what we hear, it makes us feel. It enhances our other senses, so I guess in that sense as well. I like to cook and eat just as much as I like to make music. And I obviously eat more than I make music. But I’m really on some nerd shit. You gotta be creative in everything that you do. Make sure the ingredients are fresh, you know what I’m saying?
TKM: Yeah. Can you talk about eating on tour versus eating at home?
V: Yeah. Eating on the road sometimes can really suck for a number of reasons. It’s often fast, it’s often something that you’re not familiar with because you’re off in some other place and it’s often unhealthy. And it’s really important to be at your best when you’re on tour. Water, fresh fruit and salad are you’re – My best friend. At some point in the day I like to have some water, fresh fruit and a salad. It keeps me regular and I won’t feel groggy or beat up or just defeated from eating cheeseburgers the whole tour. You gotta be healthy on tour because being sick on tour is the suckiest thing. And it’s just not fair to my body.
(We were interrupted by my son who came in to show us his Legos posed in various B-Boy positions)…
V: I just love the new generation of Hip Hop kids. I think it’s awesome that we can share it with them. Hip Hop was so foreign to my mom. She used to take away my tapes. I’ll never forget, my uncle got me Ice-T’s Power and I had that for like a day. As soon as she heard it, she was like, “No!” Yeah man, the new generation.
TKM: Well, let’ talk about that. Now that you’re a father. What are your hopes for your son in terms of eating and Hip Hop, all of that?
V: I just hope that he gets a good dose of everything. I want to be able to give him the good stuff and make him aware of everything that’s out there. Help him build critical thinking so he can make the best decisions. That’s really what it comes down to whether it’s Hip Hop or food. I wanna show him all the good options. I plan to make his baby food rather than getting canned or jarred. And of course with Hip Hop, like your kids, just feed them the good stuff and let them find out about all the 2 Chains and whatever later. They’re gonna run into that – and I think that’s important because even a lot of these new cats, I don’t know how versed they are with classic or old school stuff. They think that what they’re doing is new and a lot of times it’s already been done. I’m talking about from the samples to the actual words or lines verbatim. They don’t even know that they’re biting. You know, just show them that there are a whole bunch of different options for food and Hip Hop. Then they can make better critical decisions. Like, you know the wack shit. You know McDonald’s is wack. You know? Balance. I was vegetarian for a long time and I let that go. I wouldn’t force that upon anyone. I’d show him the options. Everything in small doses. So, yeah my kid might eat some bacon. But he’s also gonna eat tofu and know the difference between organic avocados or whatever. That’s my goal. I gotta lead by example so I gotta continue to make and play good Hip Hop. And then make and eat good food for him. It just makes me sharper. In everything.
TKM: That’s it, man. Balance. So, did your parents raise you vegetarian? Was there balance for you?
V: Actually, I wasn’t raised vegetarian. I made that decision myself. I was really nerdy in high school, the dude with the afro always reading a book. I made the decision and it wasn’t based on religion or anything. I was all over the place with that. I was really doing it for self-discipline for health. Really for no other reason. To see if I could actually do it. I even tried vegan for a little while but I wasn’t very good at that. Cuz I love cheese. Oh goodness, cheese is hard. But that’s actually when I learned to cook. I started learning about flavors and herbs. I realized, “oh, the flavor’s not in the meat. The flavor’s in everything else.” But even when I was a kid we had chores and one of those chores was to cook. So I learned early.
TKM: What are some of the major differences in food and food culture between here and places like Japan or South Africa?
V: I’m glad you brought up South Africa because that was when I started eating meat again. I saw people out there that were broke and didn’t have no choice. They’d eat whatever they could get their hands on. So I stopped being picky. When we were there we were invited to one of the only black owned winery’s in the the whole region. They took us on a wine tasting tour and everything about this shit was black – and there’s nothing like that shit here. So, we went to their equivalent of Napa Valley in South Africa. We did the whole wine tasting thing and then they sat us down to dinner and they prepared this roasted lamb, couscous, I forget what the vegetable was but what I’m telling you – there’s only a very few meals that I can remember what they taste like, my mouth is watering right now just thinking about it – Oh my god, it was some good shit! So good. I got a couple of Japan stories, too. But my first time there, the record company kind of did it big for us, they put us up in this resort with saunas and – basically, can you imagine doing bikram yoga for hours all day and when you leave you’re on this high. And then they sit you down for some of the freshest sushi you’ve ever had in your life. I wasn’t even into sushi at the time but Oh My God! Bento box style. Wow. Those are some of the best meals that I’ve had that I can think of.
TKM: So now you’ll eat anything, right?
V: Yeah, eat what you want as long as you’re taking good care of yourself. You’ll be alright. I don’t do supplements because I eat enough vegetables and juices. And I don’t have to take fish oil because I eat kale. That kind of stuff. Yeah, you might catch me eating a bag of Cheetos, too. Or some pork rinds. I’ll tell you what I’m addicted to. Spicy mangos, mangos with the chili. Grapefruit juice, I don’t know what it is about grapefruit juice. Totally addicted. And it has to be 100% pure organic, I can’t do concentrate. And Australian licorice. And I like shitty light beer. Yeah, I got a soft spot for pilsners. I don’t get down with the dark beers and the added coloring.
TKM: Or like Guinness with the fish bladders?
V: Seriously? Yeah, let’s talk about ingredients. What pisses me off is people that think they’re all super vegetarian/vegan and they don’t know what red 40 is or they don’t know what gelatin comes from.
TKM: Yeah, a lot of people aren’t aware of all that goes into certain foods or what are in processed foods. So, you’re pretty aware of benefits of certain types of foods?
V: I think I have a general knowledge. When you go vegetarian you pick up on things that you need and I remember going to the doctor when I as young and telling him that I was a vegetarian. And they said, well make sure you do this, that and the other. And just collecting knowledge from other vegetarians. Learning how they got their proteins and things like that.
TKM: Right. Well, how about sharing a recipe with us.
V: OK. I got a good one for you. I used to work at this elementary school. I was the after school director and they used to give us boxes and boxes of apples. We couldn’t give them all away so I would take them home. I had this fancy $400 juicer and I went juice crazy. I had an endless supply of apples. So, boil about 4 cups of water. Once the water comes to a boil, I turn it off and I dump a whole bunch of cloves in there. Then I juice the apples and then throw the cloves in there and BOOM, gangster cider. Chill it and let the flavors blend, it’s really good.
TKM: That does sound good. Alright, let’s wrap up with this – True or False: You are what you eat.
V: Unfortunately, I am. I’m just a mosh-posh mix of a whole bunch of shit. I mean, it’s a full meal though. You’re gonna get your vegetables and your Cheetos and I guess your smoothie, too. Yeah, I think you are what you eat. And you are your range, too. I don’t trust people that say I don’t like that. You gotta have range.
You should definitely step your musical range up if you’re not up-to-date on all of your Very or Afro Classics releases. Much of his solo work is going to be hard to come by but you can still cop most of the Afro Classics collection HERE. And you can probably put together a VERY nice playlist by downloading all of the free tracks on his Bandcamp page (see below for a few favorites). Find dude on Twitter or Facebook and keep it posted here for updates. I know he’s been working on lots of material. I’ll let you know as soon as I know. All I can say for now is that you won’t be disappointed.