Exclusive Interview with Capital-"X"
February 9th, 2010 by latinabeatz
I love to interview people with a message, especially artists and activists such as Capital X. His story is very powerful, It’s not the normal interview on just Music, To explain would take to much, Rather read it in his words below.
You go by “Capital X” what is the meaning behind that?
They started calling me X back in the 80’s while I was serving time on Rikers Island (New York City Jail). I got deep into reading about Malcolm Little (Malcolm X). My obsession with Malcolm got everybody calling me X and it just stuck. I added the Capital to signify “Against Capital Punishment”. The capital “X” also stands for the King of all Kings. “X” comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Χριστός, “anointed one”, translated as “Christ”. I am a Christian. An unorthodox one, but I am a Christian. There it is, Capital-”X”.
May 19, 2010 you will be releasing, a no doubt highly anticipated album, What’s it called, and what can we expect?
The album is called “305375” The Voice of the Voiceless, Vol. 1. You can expect to find a lot of realness on this album. A lot of what I am saying on this album comes…. straight from the belly of the beast. It comes from the minds of those locked deep inside of Americas prisons.
Click on album cover below
I spit a whole lot of truth over some dope beats produced by some of the most promising producers coming up. You will find more truth on this album than you’ll find in any American court of law including the fucking Supreme Court.
Who is featured on it?
There is actually only one collaboration on the whole album. That would be with Akir of Viper Records. I did other collaborations but the track with Akir (Always Keep It Real) is the only one that made it on the album. I didn’t want an album that was heavily saturated with collaborations fuck that. Akir added just the right amount of flavour that satisfied.You will find some prisoners featured on some of the interludes though and on some of the tracks. From solitary confinement, death row, and from beyond the grave I bring you the voices of the voiceless…for real.As for production features: DJ Emergency, Engineer, Anno Domini, Unabeatz, Frank Ness, Troy Karanta, DJ Perfection, and 2Deep and Vherbal of Anno Domini Beats.
How do you go through the selection process for each track?
I don’t have a set formula. Everything I do is pretty much by way of inspiration. When I meet up with a producer, I’ll go through their entire library and what ever track gets lyrics flowing I take with me. I have had some producers that send me like a single track they think is right for me and most of the time they on point and upon hearing it, the words of an entire song come to me on the spot. That’s some real shit right there. The track “From the Frontlines” produced by Troy Karanta was like that. So was “Face The Music” produced by Anno Domini.
On the flip side, I sometimes write a prisoners story out or what he wants said, you know what he or she wants the world to hear. It will be an accapella at first till I find a beat to marry with the rhyme. That also at times works out pretty amazing, it’s like it’s all meant to be.
Do you have any Shows or Tours planned for this album?
I will be in Europe at the time of the official release date, May 19, 2010…Malcolm X’s birthday; touring. I will be in Europe for most of the summer partaking in many of the festivals out there which will include the Protest Festival in Kristiansand, Norway for the second year. After assaulting Europe, the plan is to tour across the US hitting all 36 death penalty states. Those are the states that currently still kill prisoners by legal homicide. It’s not just about the music, it’s about the message and taking action.
What is your mission in your music?
Simplified…to give a voice to the voiceless. Many musicians within their struggle to become rich and famous or whatever, may dedicate a line, or even an entire song to the silenced. For me it’s not just about a hot fucking punch line, or just a song, it’s my life’s mission. I want to give voice to my boy Lefty who died unnecessarily in the cell next to me of sugar shock back in 99. To all my other boys I seen die on the inside and for the 7000 others that die every year unnecessarily in American prisons. This is not counting those legally lynched by the state. I want to give voice to the unjustly imprisoned, the condemned, those that are kicked down, and knocked around. To all the have nots and haven’t gots. I want to give voices to all the victims, not just some of them but all the victims, to the poor and to the oppressed. I want to wake up the people, shift the public’s opinion with the truth, abolish the death penalty, and see our criminal and justice system reformed. Yea, that’s a big mission but like Mother Teresa once said, “God doesn’t require us to succeed; He only requires that you try.”
Will you be doing any speaking engagements or workshops in the near future?
Yes definitely. At the moment we are doing a number of interviews which is great. I am open to every channel that reaches the people. The most noteworthy speaking engagements and workshops will be at the Protest Festival in Kristiansand, Norway this summer. I will be speaking and working with some 1,600 high school students. High schools I think are the best place to raise revolutionary consciousness, it’s that ripe age even though I believe it is never to early nor to late to stand up for what you believe in. To stand up against injustice.
Going through your Bio, it’s extremely impressive, European tours, spoke in 10 different countries, Documentary’s , Looking back at your life from present day, Would you agree you are here for a mission, reason?
I most definitely without question believe that everything I have been through in my life was for the sole purpose of doing what I am doing today. It was as if I were being trained. If I hadn’t have went to prison and experienced all I have in my life including addiction, I may not have been able to speak out as I do now for those in need. I may have still become an activist and all who knows because the struggle is in my heart, I have lived within the struggle all my life but I may not have been as affective as I can be now especially with the youth. My past is nothing to be proud of. But when one speaks from experience it’s hard to deny them. I believe everyone in life has their mission. Not everyone finds their mission or their purpose in life, I just happen to have fell into mine and I don’t take it lightly.
There’s a saying “Blessing in Disguise” do you think if you weren’t in jail, your experience and desire to speak about the foul treatment would have shaped your wanting to be activist and lead to lyricism to speak out?
Blessing in disguise? I guess you can say that. I have always said it was a blessed curse. Meaning I have been blessed to have found my purpose in life, yet I am cursed with all the ill affects of living the life I have lived. But yes you can say it has been a blessing in disguise. Truth be told, there are a lot of ill rappers out there. What separates me from a lot of them is the simple fact that I do not bullshit at all. I refuse to comprise my message for a doper flow or any of that. I speak what I have lived, or I channel the truth of others that’s what matters most to me. Yea a lot of rappers claim to keep it real, but let’s be for real.
As for academically accredited activists, they are necessary without question, but again the voice of experience, true life experience speaks louder than a story teller or someone that just states learned facts. The fact I do it in rhyme too, that keeps ones attention young and old.
For real I think if I had never got locked up, I would have been all about the police brutality and corruption or the bullshit school system. Word up something. There’s is a lot to be grateful for in life, but we are still in need of much change. Again though I will agree that yes, my past turned out to be a blessing in disguise. That may become the title and concept for a track, word up.
What do you think as a society we can do to change the way the Prison System in regards to the treatment of “minorities” is handled?
Sabac Red (formally of NoN-Phixion) said it best; we need to “Organize”. It was Abraham Lincoln who told us “This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it.” We need to overcome our fears and raise our voices. We the people need to stop being so fucking dependent on a governmental system that don’t give a shit about us. Injustices, brutality, corruption, I’m saying the victims amount into the millions. When we going to say enough is enough? The only reason injustice still thrives, and the only reason oppression, repression and modern day slavery still exists is because we the people allow it. We need to organize and let it be known that we are not going to stand for it anymore. We need the numbers. Get involved!
In 2008 you walked 1,700 miles from New Jersey to Texas, in protest of Capitol Punishment, what was that experience like?
It was sobering first and foremost. Though it got media attention all over the world, it failed to motivate the people in the way that I had hoped for. Don’t get me wrong it served a great purpose. It brought hope to a lot of the brothers on the row. It also brought hope to their families, and the family members of victims that are against the death penalty. Though it wasn’t as earth shaking as some expected, it was empowering. It sure tested my faith. God does provide, I can testify to that. The poem “Footprints” has a whole new meaning for me now word up.
Some people thought I was doing it for publicity. Some people thought I did it for money. All those people can go fuck themselves. I did it for the brothas and sistas on the row and I would do it again in a New York minute.
You definitely do more than just talk about your opinions, you bring them to life with actions, what are some key things people should pay attention to and make a difference?
Number one, the death penalty. We need to abolish the death penalty in the US as they have in most all other industrialized countries. Understand that there have been 250 exonerations in the United States, 139 exonerations from death row as of 11-3-2009 according to the Death Penalty Information Center meaning even the innocent get found guilty and sentenced to death in America. According to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, it is constitutional to execute an innocent person as long as they had a fair trial. Like poor people can even get a fair trial in the US. Think about that. That puts us all at risk. Capitol punishment basically means those without capital, get the punishment.
The 13th Amendment. Modern day slavery. Don’t think that it can’t happen to you? Do you have any idea how many cats I was locked up with that thought like that at one point in their lives? Well let me tell you, it can happen to anyone including you. One in every one hundred Americans is now locked up in prison or under some sort of correctional supervision. They are profiting big time in the punishment industry. The prison industrial complex is only second to the military industrial complex. It’s a billion dollar industry. In the new modernized slave trade, these mother fuckers make money if you work in the fields or not. They make 30 to 75 thousand dollars per prison bunk per year filled or not at tax payer’s expense. Like Scarface of the Ghetto Boy’s said, “they smart”.
Fuck learning sports statistics and fuck keeping up on politics and policies through the media. Pick up a book and arm yourselves with the truth and don’t be afraid to fire at will. Mass incarceration, the drug war, immigration I am telling you it’s only going to get worse. The Incarcerated States Of America, that’s our future. That is our destiny unless we organize and take action. The land of the free, imprisons more of its citizens than any other country in the entire world. What more proof do you need? Soon we will have just two social statuses, the free and the imprisoned. Arm yourselves with the truth word up.
Your involved with many different organizations, what are some that your working with right now?
At the present time I am working hard on developing and strengthening international relations. The struggle is world wide as you know. Most recent I have been working with Caramundo. Caramundo works with at risk youths in Latin America. Millions of youths live in poor, urban areas in Latin America. Many of these youths are born with potential and filled with dreams. Yet they lack the support and resources to achieve what they are capable of. Deprived of education, opportunities and a social support system, many resort to criminal activity and prostitution.
Caramundo’s experience is that, if only given the opportunity, many of these youths at risk will choose to develop into creative and productive members of their communities.
Caramundo is committed to providing these young people with this opportunity. We support motivated youths (ages 12-30) in realizing their talents and acquiring the tools to attain economic self-sufficiency. By doing so, we enable them to achieve a better life for themselves and their communities.
Caramundo is a youth-driven, registered non-profit organization. The organization is almost entirely run and operated by local young leaders in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador and volunteers in the Netherlands. www.caramundo.org
I have also allied with A.I.M. The A.I.M. are a group of activists, poets and rappers who are fighting together to achieve the slow but steady destruction of global injustice. The A.I.M. Are based in Scotland, UK. www.antiinjusticemovement.com
I am also very closely tied to Juan Melendez’s “Voices United for Justice Project”. An innovative project that provides educational services throughout the country (USA) directly addressing the controversial and divisive issue of the death penalty. www.voicesunited4justice.com Just to name a few.
I do believe a lot of people, especially men of color, are given harsher punishments, and some are even innocent and still accused guilty, however, there are some that have done cruel & torturous crimes, Rape, Murder, etc do you think the Death Penalty shouldn’t apply to them?
Killing as a punishment for killing, to me just doesn’t make any sense at all. I strongly believe so long as governments set the example of killing their enemies, private citizens will also kill theirs. Hate breeds hate, and yes, killing just breeds more killing.
The one fact everyone needs to realize is, that there is an alternative to the death penalty and that is life without the possibility of parole. It is a just punishment. Even those with their hearts set on revenge should be appeased, even elated. “With life without parole, you are dying a hard death. One that lingers and toys with you.” -Jack Henry Abbott.
The death penalty system is fraught with error. It discriminates on the basis of socioeconomic status, race and geography. It is arbitrary and capricious, including its use against the mentally ill and defendants who did not actually kill anyone and did not intend anyone to be killed (The Law of Party’s). And for those worrying about their taxes, the death penalty costs more than life in prison. I’ve done the math.
America prides itself on human decency and common sense, yet the death penalty contradicts both. The country should reject such senseless cruelty. It is a cruel and inhuman punishment, brutalizing to all who are involved in the process. It is a system which is irreversible and is prone to error and the execution of the innocent.
I believe only God has the right to take life. We as people don’t have that right under any circumstances.
What advice do you have for the youth going down the wrong path?
Read. Even when I was running the streets I kept a book in my back pocket. I was blessed that someone turned me on to reading when I was a young buck. “Books are dangerous where there is injustice”. This is why they forbid slaves to learn how to read. I believe this is why they make books scarce in prisons. They want to keep us ignorant…powerless. You don’t need money to read a book you can go and sit in the free public library near you and read all day. There is a wealth of information for the taking. Information is the most lethal weapon in the world.
Information you gather by reading are also like keys. These keys will open doors of opportunity that will present themselves to you as you learn, believe that. Find a subject you like. Any subject and master it. In this world people pay masters a lot for their services. Trust me, just read.
Where can people go to hear your music or contact you for collabs, appearances, interviews?
You can check out what I am up to at http://www.capital-x.com/ also at www.myspace.com/capitalxaka305375 and http://www.305375.com/ there are e-mail addresses on all these sites. For bookings, interviews and collaborations please contact K.O. at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Cd, 305375 (The Voice of the Voiceless) Volume 1 is NOW available on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/305375-voice-voiceless-vol/id352831788 It has been released early so you can just go there. You can also get pre-release date hard copies at http://www.capital-x.com/ right on the homepade. The support will be greatly appreciated. Peace and progress. always. “X”"