Sunday, January 24, 2010

Via StLToday...

Corey Black doesn’t mind being known as the “Finger in My Nose” guy.

It’s the title of his new song, and it could be what puts the St. Louis rapper/poet on the map.

“It’s something everybody does,” he says of the impossibly catchy song, which he has found himself having to defend.

“It can’t irritate you that much if you’re doing the same thing, so there’s no reason to judge me. Don’t take it too seriously. The song makes you want to have fun,” he says of “Finger in My Nose,” which has a video shot at Black Label downtown, King Park in Overland, and Coffee Cartel in the Central West End.

He came up with the idea for “Finger in My Nose” after looking at peoples’ poses they struck in their Facebook display pictures. “Everyone had a distinct pose. I said I’m just going to put my finger in my nose to throw people off, get them to start talking about me, and I wanted to get other people to do it.”

Black had folks talking about him ever since he hit St. Louis’ hip-hop and spoken word scene a few years ago with his skinny jeans and DayGlo sneakers. He hit the scene hard at Got Lyrics, Café Soul, and any other open microphone happenings he could find.

In a rare occurrence, he was immediately accepted. “Somebody said ‘I don’t know where you came from but it seems you’ve always been here.’ I think it’s the whole six degrees of separation thing,” he says.

“My whole thing when I first got on the scene,” says Black, who returned to the area in 2007 after serving in the Marines, “was to see who was doing what. I wanted to get a feel for the culture the city had to offer, and make ties with producers, rappers, writers, singers, and poets.”

He hooked up with local players such as Black Spade, Coco Soul, Tech Supreme, Lamar Harris, Tef Poe, Family Affair, Teresa Jenee, Rockwell Knuckles, Coultrain, C. Jay Conrod, and others, and “everything started blossoming.”

That blossoming is heard on his new CD “Play It By Ear,” out Tuesday. He calls it an album “that captures my arrival per se. I wanted to make a soundtrack about my entry, getting into the rap game in St. Louis and the world. The whole time, I was playing it by ear because I never knew who I was going to meet.”

Black, influenced by acts such as Common, Jay-Z, Michael Jackson, and Bon Jovi, calls “Play It By Ear” a diverse effort that’s more than what you hear on “Finger in My Nose.”

“I stuck with what I was comfortable with. There’s some upbeat hip-hop and new school hip-hop, and soul samples,” says Black, who borrows beats from Anita Baker and Beastie Boys on the CD.

“And it’s a very lyrical CD. But I didn’t want to involve my spoken word on the CD,” says Black, who released a spoken word CD, “The Light,” last year.

“Play It By Ear,” boasting an optical illusion-inspired cover, is executive produced by the collective known as the Force. Guest spots include Theresa Payne, Tech Poe, Tech Supreme, and Rome.

In addition to “Finger in My Nose,” the CD includes “Star,” “Sex Drugs Rock and Roll,” “The Immaculate,” and “They Say St Louis.”

Black calls the latter “My ode to the city. I’m saying how it’s a city of legends. There’s so much great talent here, when I walk through the Loop and see all the stars. I’m talking about how I view St. Louis.”

Despite his new rap CD, Black hesitates when it comes to calling himself a rapper.

“I’m on emcee who likes to do spoken word poetry. I don’t call myself a rapper. I make rap songs and I do rap, but rappers make jingles, so I say emcee and poet. I tell stories. But if you call me a rapper I’ll say, yeah, I rap.”

Catch Corey Black Sunday at H.A.I.K.U. (Haiti Advocates Inspiring Kindred Unity) at Nubia Café, and Sunday at Shop Poetry at Klub Klymaxx at the Ambassador.

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Props, Mr. Black.




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