Political hip hop artist, former Baltimore City high school teacher, activist, cancer survivor, sickle cell battler, and recipient of praise by Public Enemy’s Chuck D as “[Leaving] a mean look on somebody’s face” for being “More than relevant!,” S.o.N. doesn’t just entertain his crowds he empowers them. The name Son of Nun is a biblical reference to the one who took over where Moses left off. Inspired by the Maroons in his Jamaican heritage and countless freedom fighters past and present, S.O.N. seeks to help pass the torch to the next generation.
Growing up with illness influenced his perspective at an early age, as did being the product of a single parent household. Painful sickle cell crises and hospital stays made other problems seem more manageable, and seeing his mother struggle to make ends meet was a powerful challenge to the sexist stereotypes he’d encounter as he met the world. Far from being an attention seeker S.O.N. was quiet and reserved, when diagnosed with thyroid cancer he was confronted with the possibility of losing his voice during the surgery to remove the gland. This taught him to value his voice.
He attended a state college in Baltimore where he became politically aware and active while tutoring students in the city. S.O.N.’s writing reflected this process as he began to articulate what he was learning through spoken word, dnb, and hip hop. He taught high school history in the Baltimore City Public Schools for 4 years while being an advisor for a student group and helping to coach debate.
S.o.N. has shared the stage with artists like Dead Prez, Immortal Technique, and Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine as well as activists like Howard Zinn, Cindy Sheehan, Rosa Clemente, and Liam Madden from Iraq Veterans Against the War. Music from his 2004 debut cd “Blood And Fire” has earned him spots on compilations with iconic artists ranging from The Last Poets to Sonic Youth, won him a “Best of Baltimore” award from the Baltimore City Paper, and took “Best Song of the Week” on NPR’s website. S.o.N.’s forthcoming cd, “The Art of Struggle,” is a collaboration with producer DJ Mentos and will be released in early 2008.
Transcript from an interview with S.o.N
Sun of Nun… A teacher, an activist, a poet, and a performer, Son of Nun (S.o.N.) doesn't just intend to entertain a crowd, but rather speak with his crowd. With inspiration from Jah and struggle, S.o.N. flows over hip-hop, jungle, or any beat that moves you. His resume includes innumerable performances and a few musical projects as well. S.o.N.’s performed at DC’s one and only Buzz several times with djs Deinfamous, Adam F, JennR8, and others. S.o.N.’s also opened and closed for Roni Size & Reprazent at the 9:30 club in DC. He’s emceed on an album, “What’s Left,” with jungle producer King Rhythm, which has just been picked up by the Belgian label Quatermass. Focusing on hip hop now, S.o.N has opened for Mr. Lif, Akrobatic, Buck 65, and others at b-more’s own Ottobar. Keep your eye on this man; he'll be makin' some waves in the music world!
"I started rhyming in 97. I used to just write poetry but a friend of mine who was in a band was like 'you should write a rhyme and jam with us sometime.' so I said what the hell, and haven't put the mic down since.
I emceed with king rhythm on the album "What's Left." it just got picked up by the Belgian label Quatermass. Check it out- it's dnb/hip hop it even has a video with a surprise ending.
Son of Nun - Why this name?
it comes from the book of Joshua in the old testament of the bible. when people familiar with Christianity or the torah think of important individuals who helped bring people closer to their destiny the name of Joshua the son of nun is typically not mentioned. his contribution was crucial but he remains less popularized for whatever reason. I identify with this because people like Malcolm X, dr. King, and Karl Marx are my mentors but they each needed a movement to help organize and still need people to carry the torch to future generations. I also identify with Joshua because he had to do some terrible things so I'm sure he had regrets like everyone else. I imagine he had to balance dedication and conscience while struggling to achieve his goals.
Do you play live?
I do play live and I've had the opportunity to play at some pretty tight spots like the 9:30 Club in DC, Nation in DC, the University of Maryland in College Park, Fletchers, The Spot, The Vault, 1614 Lounge, Turners, The Ottobar, and plenty of underground spots in Baltimore. I've also done shows in New York and Chicago.
I love doing shows, I vibe off the crowd, the more into it they are the more I give!
Everytime people move to the set and everytime someone tells me that they dig the lyrics and are interested in getting more politically active.
How, do you think, does the internet (or mp3) change the music industry?
I think its a double edged sword. for me its great, people who never would have heard me get a chance to check something new, on the other hand big labels are losing out a little because people can just download the new joint from their big selling artist instead of copping it at the store.
Is Nelly gonna lose his shirt if his new album goes gold instead of platinum? Probably not. could some new comer catch a break and get signed because of file sharing? probably.
If this is the price the billion dollar industry has to pay.... Oh well, I think they can handle it.
Would you sign a record contract with a major label?
It depends on the contract, and it depends on how much creative control I have.
Can Ox, Radiohead, Digable Planets, RJD2, Mr. Lif, Sage Francis, DJ Vadim, Dillinja, Skibadee, Bob Marley, Burning Spear, Buju Banton, The Doors, Zap Mama, Portishead, Esthero, Illogic, Tool, Rage, Last Poets, Labtekwon, Fela, Nina Simone, DJ Shadow, Qbert
Where ever my friends are.
Brain, voice box, mic.
Listen to a few tunes and let me know what you think!
Official Website: http://www.sonofnun.net/
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/socialistmc
CDBaby Page: http://www.cdbaby.com/sonofnun