interview / Interviews / Main

SiNiCaL — “Panthers” (Interview)

“We need to come together, organize, put our money together, and start to rebuild our own communities, to make a better life for our children. Once they are in a better situation, they will be able to take everything to the next step”.
— SiNiCal

The recent police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge have deeply troubled the socially conscious rapper known as SiNiCaL. His nonviolent message of unity and self-respect has taken precedence in the mainstream and has become the voice of a movement. In his song “Panthers”, SiNiCaL brakes it down to the beat of Desiigner’s “Panda”. He talks about the structural problems in our society from an organizational perspective, revealing how people of color have been systematically denied.

SiNiCal is a strong leader in his community and an advocate of social justice. He discusses the mechanisms of white supremacy through the use of fear tactics in his song “Panthers”. Not only is SiNiCaL an artist who carries a political message expressing the importance of diversity and unity, but one that is dedicated to promoting social change.

You are a socially conscious rapper advocating social justice and you have a voice! What’s up with that?

Basically, everything I’m doing now is stemming from the social injustice I’ve experienced throughout the years. I live in a predominantly white neighborhood, and I still get pulled over and harassed by police. Even if it’s right on my block. Things of that nature. Also, I teach for a program called The Xposure Foundation Inc. We teach kindergarten through grade 8 and right now, I’m teaching junior high students. We teach them about financial literacy, civics, science, job employment, and work ethic. Things that they don’t get a grasp on throughout day school. Specifically, this year, seeing the way that the kids are acting and reacting to social injustices, things they hear on the news and things that they go through with family and friends, really just sparked me to say – hey OK! I’ve known that I can rap, but it’s really time to use it all the way for the right purpose. I want to bring this message and really try to wake people up. I want people to understand the time that we are in, what we are going through and what we can do in attempt to make a change for the better.

In your opinion, how can we strategize to resolve the structural issues you speak of in your song “Panthers”?

The first step is definitely unity. The way the system has broken us down to the point where we don’t even look at each other the same. We don’t look at each other as brothers and sisters. We look at each other as enemies sometimes because of the desensitization and everything that has been going on since slavery. So the first step is for sure unity. We have to unify because that is the only way we can really plan and organize. We have to do it together. The second step would be to pull together our financial resources. I understand the boycotting, but I think the best plan out there so far has been Killer Mike’s plan. Recently on “What Now?” the BET and MTV forum hosted by Charlamagne, Killer Mike spoke about pulling money from banks and putting them into black-owned banks. These black-owned banks could then begin to distribute small business loans and that creates more small business loans, mortgages and auto loan opportunities for other African Americans. I feel those two steps first, will give us a definite change. It’s not about violence. It is very unfortunate what happened in Dallas with the police shootings. That is not the way. We need to come together, organize, put our money together, and start to rebuild our own communities, to make a better life for our children. Once they are in a better situation, they will be able to take everything to the next step.

In your song “Panthers”, you mention how the police respond to peaceful protests in riot gear. How does fear come into play in this situation?

Fear has been a tactic that they have used on us for centuries to instill in us that no matter what we do, we are not going to be successful. Fear was used throughout slavery, the civil rights movement and it is still used today. They will instill fear in us however they have to. Whether it’s locking us up or coming to peaceful protests with riot gear. There is a possibility of being maced, tear gassed or getting hit with a club. I saw something on Facebook the other day that concerned me. Someone had allowed Black Lives Matter protesters onto their property. However, the police militarized in riot gear and threw protestors to the ground and arrested them. I saw a few punches thrown and different things of that nature. This aggressive behavior is an attempt to make us feel small. I think that we have to understand that it is our right to protest, we have freedom of speech and we have a right to bear arms. And in open conceal states that require a permit, it’s OK to carry a gun. You shouldn’t be shot for that. Especially when being pulled over for a broken tail light as Philando Castile was. I think we just have to overcome the mentality of fear in the sense that as soon as we see something that scares us, we have to stand down. That is how the system has broken us down all this time.

Could you please tell me how EVO Entertainment and Starmaker Studios has helped?

EVO ENT was formed by me and my partner Vitamin K in 2014. Our goal was from the perspective of a producer, writer, and engineer. The whole point of putting the team together was to have one place to record. We provide production services, such as in-house production, artist development, and have writers on staff. Anything an artist needs. We call it Evolution Studios. We wanted to make sure that what we were creating was tasteful music. Nothing vulgar, nothing violent or anything in that nature. I try to set the example by not cursing in any of my music. Last year, I was able to meet Donald Richardson from Starmaker. Once we met and had a meeting, everything just kind of fell in place. That was the first time I ever met management that felt the same way about music and understood my vision of what I wanted to be as an artist. Because I have been producing and engineering over the past few years, I’ve stayed mostly in the background. They believed in me which helped me to get the extra confidence to step forward and be a voice for the movement.
What’s next for you?

We are gearing up for the release of my mix tape called “For The People” which will have some remixes on it, such as “Panthers” and “Trumpman” After that, the next thing will be an album titled “End of Daze” to tell people that I’m trying to wake them up.

Is there anything out there that you want your fans to know about you?

I just want to tell people to not be fearful of their talent. Everybody has talents, abilities and gifts. Just use them for the right reasons and don’t let anyone deter you from your dream. I also want to thank Big Machine Media for everything they have done to promote my new song “Panthers”.

AA Hip Hop Staff About Author

Top music, fashion and sneaker picks by our wonderful team! Follow our Twitter!