Gezus loves you (Words with Zaire)
Hip Hop has always been a bragging sport. Always has been, always will be. Its common place even when those who are bragging start making up thing. Its all in the fun right?
Sometimes you get approached by people in the game that speak louder with action. They don’t say a whole lot but they get the job done in an entirely respectible way. Gezus Zaire is one of those people. Indie 5 got up with a cat that seems to have his hand in every avenue hip hop has to offer to see what keeps the wheels turning. Its the Rebel Army yall!
I5: First question dog. Let the people know. Is the name real?
Gezus Kinsasha Zaire is my legal name but I wasn’t born with it. I had a moment when I was in college. I was listening to a Malcolm X tape where he told Black people how they were paying homage to their slave masters by keeping names like Smith and Jones. He told the people to name themselves after Africans who were righteous and stood for something. I chose Gezus after Jesus. I felt like he was a rebel for the people especially the poor. Zaire means “the river that swallows all rivers” and we all know that a river serves various purposes for mankind so that’s the gist of it. I just had a son in August 2008 and his name is Pharoahe Messiah Sundiata Ayatollah Gezus Kinshasa Zaire.
I5: How long have you been involved in the hip hop scene?
I moved back to Cleveland in April 2002 after I graduated from the University of Toledo in Dec. 2001. Almost immediately I started checking out local shows because I knew I was going to have a show on the radio. In 2003 I started hosting BPRN (Black Power Radio Network) and writing for the Call & Post Newspaper. I used my access to media to help local hip-hop artists and promoters have a louder voice in the city.
I5: What would you call your true or natural niche?
Writing. I’m a news writer and that is the easiest thing that I know how to do. Some brothers have natural talent in hoops or rapping. I’ve played sports, trumpet, sang and did all the usual stuff that they expect black men to do but writing is my thing. It’s been my most effective way to bless others.
I5: We heard Zaire got married. How is married life different for a person involved in Hip Hop?
Yes I got hitched in September 2007 right before I moved from Cleveland to Columbus. I married my high school sweetheart from Shaw High. We broke up and then got back together about nine years after I graduated. As far as being married and involved in hip-hop, it’s not a problem at all. You just have to have a mate that understands your goals and you as a person. My wife knows that I am creative and where my passion is and she is extremely supportive of me. It takes a special person to do that because a lot of people these days aren’t prepared for marriage with all of the broken homes. It’s sad that broken homes are accepted as normal these days. We gotta change that.
I5: Tell us about Rebel Army Radio and the Awards Show.
Rebel Army Radio was created for Cleveland. So many artists can’t afford to get their music played on the radio and a lot of people confuse that with thinking that Cleveland rappers don’t have talent. Rebel Army Radio is doing it the rebellious way. We’re showing artists that you don’t have to pay to get airplay. It would be nice to get your music played on Z107.9 but with Rebel Army Radio you have a worldwide audience without having to deal with the politics.
The Rebel Army Radio Awards are trophies that are exclusively awarded to Cleveland artists who make great records and have a strong work ethic. The first show went down on Dec. 21, 2008 and the next one will be Oct. 24, 2009.
I5: What makes this awards show different from any other presentation?
Well for starters the Rebel Army Radio Awards is not a popularity contest. The size of your fan base or your ability to buy fans won’t win you an award. You win off the consistency of your recorded work and the effort that you put into making great records for the world to hear. Right now the only other major awards show for hip-hop is the Ohio Hip-Hop Awards. While Rebel Army Radio is not in competition with the Ohio Hip-Hop Awards, and actually would like to work with them, there are differences between the two shows. Obviously they cover the whole state while we cover Cleveland but the biggest difference is that Rebel Army Radio is more critical about the music. There is no fan vote. We’re also more accessible for artists who might not have mainstream aspirations. I do have to give a shout out to Quincy aka Hef of the Ohio Hip-Hop Awards for helping me pull off the first Rebel Army Radio Awards last year.
I5: The models yo, explain the models.
Well one of my talents is photography and I looked out for the models just like I look out for the rappers. In Cleveland it was a lot of phony photographers who was using the craft to get some vagina but I tried to keep those worlds separate. In return the models I dealt with like Tawonakea, Kole, Traci aka Shy Girl, Killa Chev and many others trusted me because it was all business. I don’t shoot as much anymore. I still have a few models who I shoot for Rebel Army Radio but I’m more into writing about, awarding and helping models get more exposure. At last year’s Rebel Army Radio Awards we awarded Zuri Latrice as the Best Model.
I5: What’s your favorite Cleveland Hip Hop memory?
I have a lot of them. Doing my 200th show of BPRN on 91.1 WRUW-FM is one. I loved going to the old Grog Shop, Spit Boxing when it was at the Bottom Line and the Moda for hip-hop shows and parties. The funniest moment was back in 2003 when I was listening to the radio and DJ Logic called that dude Maniac a homosexual on the air. I thought he was out of place for that but the way he set it up was comical genius. They ended up going to court over that because I think they said Maniac threatened to kill him for that. I also can’t forget being able to stand on stage and during Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s show in May of 2007. I also got to interview Krayzie Bone so that was a cool highlight for me.
I5: What’s next on the plate for you?
I want to continue to make Rebel Army Radio a powerful force in Cleveland. It’s not for me but it’s for these artists who need it. I work for the have-nots and this radio station is giving life to artists and also making them step up the way they do music. It’s one of the only platforms in Cleveland where you are respected on your talent and not just your swag or how you appear to be perceived. As far as other ventures, who knows because I’m a blessed person who can do various things.
I5: Any last words for the people?
Work hard and be open to all of what hip-hop has to offer. You might not like it all but be intelligent to understand that everything isn’t 100-percent one way and that goes out to the backpackers, the cappers
and everybody in between. I’m at a point in my life where I am respecting hard work as much and at times more than I’m respecting pure talent because some of the most talented people are just flat out lazy. They get mad because these simple rappers are getting the shine but they aren’t being creative enough to make sure they have an audience. That’s why I respect the Go Live Grizzlies because they push on no matter what. On the flipside a lot of these so-called promoters in Cleveland don’t give a fuck about the artists and that’s sad. So some of the more intelligent members of the hip-hop scene need to come together and create avenues for worthy artists instead of just accepting shit. I got so much to say but I’ll stop there. Thanks for the time, Black Power as always, shouts out to East Cleveland and check out Rebel Army Radio – everyday!