May 11, 2007



We talk with Chicago emcee Serengeti about one of the sleeper hits of the year, his new album “Noticeably Negro”.

What was going on in your life during the making of this album?

The Neeg was recorded right after The Whimsy during the fall of 04 and winter of 05. It was a fun time, id just gotten home from a tour in which the Negro sort of wrote itself. id do a lot of bike riding, a lot of resting, movie watching, writing, me and The Heater had a fun time with it, life was pretty leisure.

Who or what is the heater?

The Heater is Dirty Heat, we recorded the Noodle Arm Whimsy together and he was there for the neeg also.

Midas Wells hooked up a perfectly fitting set of beats for this album, describe the process of working with him?

Me and Wells would meet at a bar or something and he would give me beat CD’s, Wells makes great beats. He was never at those sessions, just me and The Heater, recording it whimsy style like 1 take imperfection capture perfect script that The Heater himself coined. Initially Wells was supposed to flip a lot of those hooks, but Midas never came through in the clutch, oh well.

How did you hook up with MF Grimm?

I was trying to get some stuff going on for F5records, I reached out, we made contact, I sent him the Gasoline Rainbows record I did, he wanted to put it out, it came out, I haven’t talked to him since.

What about getting Juice on the track, was that through F5 as well?

Yes, Juice verse came about during the coronation 12 inch studio session for F5, towards the end of the session I asked would he get on the “caucs remix” and he did, he wrote it in 5 min.

Who else would you like to collaborate with in the future?

Collab, I got my rap hero frohawk 2 feathers down to do some stuff this summer out in cali some real ill shit, that should be fun and a reality, id like to work with a lot of people like all the standard greats.

On the album’s title track “Noticeably Negro” you playfully touch on the subject of racial identity, what have some people mistakenly identified you as?

People have always asked me what I am; I get Puerto Rican and middle eastern mostly.

Have you ever played along just for fun?

Hell yeah all the time, I just make shit up, like I’m Pakistani and Kirkuit, I am from Hong Kong, I am from a northeastern Persian present day city state, I am Swedish, just whatever.

Speaking of another artist who’s dealt with the racial identity issue, what is your favourite Prince album?

Prince is the greatest. My brother loved prince; prince was always on at the crib it seemed like. I guess my favorite is like 1999, Purple Rain, Controversy or like Sign o’ the Times

Do you rap for a living or do you have a 9 to 5?

I wish I just made tunes. I have a gig.

Do your co-workers know that you’re a rap superstar?

Nobody knows what the hell I do.

What makes Chicago different from any other city?

Chicago is so extreme; it gets so cold and so hot. Up and down be ready. I’m ready to move to the tropics.

If I’m visiting Chicago what restaurants should I be sure to check out?

There are restaurants everywhere, I’m not really a connoisseur; I tend to go to the same places, Butterfly Sushi, Sultans Market, McDucks hotdogs, Friendship Chinese, La Pasaditas Tacos and what not.

When you state “Corned Beef is in, Tuna is out” are you referring to the canned varieties?

No I was thinking of the fresh varieties.

What is your beer of choice?

I used to work for Budweiser so I always find myself drinking Bud Light, my favorite is Blue Moon however.

Blue Moon is great; I recently bought a case of their Belgium Style White thinking they were some small microbrewery I hadn’t heard of. Turns out it’s brewed in Canada by Molson and imported to the states. What about wine, do you have a favourite cheap everyday type bottle?

I like that Yellow Tail shit cab/sav it’s cheap, and it taste fine to me.

What can we expect to hear next from Serengeti?

I have my greatest records coming out next, the “Don’t Give Up” is coming out in June, that’s me and my man polyphonic and the end of the summer Bonafyde is putting out my “Marry Your Affair” album, that’s me and the band I put together, I’m very happy with both of them, other that there is another installment of The Whimsy with me and The Heater and me and the frohawks album. That’s about it for now.


3 Responses

  1. Big respect, Upcoast!

    Geti is a far underexposed talent, pushes a strong message, and above all is a humble, respectful type cat.

    HipHop Heads, don’t sleep on this one!..

    easy – grammar