#Interview W/ Pope Adrian Bless – “I’m still going hard for the rejects, juveniles, and outsiders.” (@adrianblessktda)
Hailing from Indianapolis, IN artist Pope Adrian Bless has used his platform to tackle issues that many others would rather sweep under the carpet. In a world that seems to be becoming ever darker, Pope’s music is a reflection of the fears and anxieties many of us share. Having just released his Eastern Conference EP, Pope Adrian Bless talks to Rawroots.com about his projects past and present and on why the U.S.’s recent change in administration will not alter his mission.
We’re at the top of 2017 and Trump is now President. Has this change in regime shifted your focus for the next 12 months at all?
No because my daughter will eat. Regardless of whom takes a political position of power. As long as my seed is able to indulge in the fruit of her father’s labor, Kodak Black could be president *laughs*. But honestly, no. My paradigm doesn’t shift due to anything that’s going on, outside of me. I’m still going hard for the rejects, juveniles, and outsiders. That’s my responsibility and that’ll never be compromised.
Birdcage Sessions Presents: Eastern Conference received a lot of love. It is pretty dark in parts. Would you say that your albums/EP’s are therapeutic?
Yeah and no. My EP’s and projects, prior, were more for me than they were about attracting fans. Music is my lifeline. I’m also a fan of my material. My first thing is ‘Can I listen to me? Will I be in the mood for a ‘Me’ kind of joint?’ Because if I’m not, I’m not doing my just due as an artist. Which, in turn, is therapeutic because I’m proud of myself for being honest and giving it my all onto the platform that homes so many thoughts and ideas. I feel so much more accomplished, as a person.
What made you decide to limit the EP to three tracks?
We live in an instant gratification era. Simple as that. Even I, as a fan of the culture that helped establish me, can’t stomach an album. 14 tracks are done now. That era is over. And when you think about impact, why not get to the point? If I have a point to share and express, I’m getting to it. No, we’re not doing filler. I’m not about to partake in no interludes. I’m giving you the raw and gritty melodies. Off top. Foot on the neck until the last second of a project. No distractions. And when was the last time you listened to a newer album, in full? Impact can be short and simple. Why waste breath and time? No need. I wanted people to get it, from the go.
Can you break down the imagery on the EP cover for us?
My comrade, Mechi Shakur, is a beautiful minded man. It’s OwlGod in his finest hour. Destruction and uncertainty. It’s meant to show how being scarred and torn could be as beautiful as the heart that it’s coming from. You know? It’s about seeing the world in many ways. As vivid and dark as the image was, we can remember the colors. How the hues intertwined with the structure of the instruments on the cover. The Owl is me. That owl depicted who I am today. Such scarring. Yet, so mystique. It was me, in it’s purest form.
Your previous release Suicide Radio is the journey of a young man battling with mental health issues. There’s always been a reluctance to address these issues within the black community, but from my perspective, Millenials seem far more open when it comes to the subject. Why do you think this might be the case?
Because we didn’t come up in that neolithic, “one role a piece” generation our parents and predecessors came from. It’s not all about getting up and working hard. And then, if that doesn’t work out, keep working hard. We want to be understood and heard. The black man is the strongest man on the planet. My thoughts and ideas here. There’s no way we can carry the burdens of expectation, poise, elegance, grittiness, power and intelligence without having destruction and longing to be understood in our veins. The entire world mainly, is coming to about it because of a plethora of reasons. But someone always has to be the spark. I’m not a huge Cudi fan. I’m not going to sit here and pretend to have this mass love for his legacy. But I respect him because he spoke the truth. Always. He was open with his burdens. And Joe Budden was doing it, way before him. But it’s because Cudi was attached to a generation of kids who just didn’t know how to feel or handle what it was they were feeling. It’s because our idols and role models today are coming outside the box. The gods in the heavens are changing, constantly. And are becoming more and more vulnerable, by the day.
There appears to be a growing number of people being diagnosed with mental health issues and being medicated for them. Do you feel there is an increase in mental health problems or do you think there is a desire to push the medication? Or perhaps something else?
It’s a double edged sword, like anything else. Duality. Government officiated medication has an agenda to push. Say what you will and I won’t get too anal and meticulous about it. You have to understand that we were revered people at a time. We were magic. It used to be about silencing us. Keeping us under a rock. We were embarrassing figures. So, those who spoke on it with their pride’s deeply rooted, as fuck were given medication to make them susceptible to outside bullshit. My opinion only. So people today, are coming out with the whoa. Which, in turn, is making it a popular trend. And doctors are making bank off of us. Hell, there are people who are lying about symptoms just to get to the medication. It’s washing both hands, you know? Tell me something is wrong with me. Make me feel unstable. The answer? Medication. Let’s put you on meds so you can appear to fit in with a societal world with no original thought, on the front line. It’s a slew of shit in my greatest opinion. Keep pushing an agenda whilst making us feel good about fitting into the crowd. Makes sense or no? Is there hope for us all?
Name three things you are determined to accomplish on 2017?
Being able to complete my second studio album ‘The Teal Album’, leave the country and put my daughter in a better position than I could’ve even imagined. Those mean more to me, right now, than anything.
Are there any indie artists from Naptown you feel should be on our radars but might yet not be? If so, who and why?
It’s WAY too many. Guys like Diop who paints this tale of growing from the concrete jungle to being a better man. Steadily dropping gems. Conscious and relatable rap. To Sirius Blvck. Musician. Artist. Can craft a record out of air if you let him. Very original guy and a beautiful sound, to match. It’s way too many for me to list. Come to Crown Hill, USA and see it, for yourself. You’re bound to leave with a favorite.
How can our readers find out more about you online?
Check your mother’s phone contact list. OR!
How would YOU like to wrap up this interview?
All glory to my higher power for delivering me from my recent car accident. I could’ve died. I say that to say don’t take a single strain of beauty for granted. To all of my shadow dwellers. Who harbor on suicide and giving up. You aren’t alone. I’m here, for us. I love you so much and there isn’t any other way to express that by reaching out to you and giving you my scars, on record. I want those people to know that I will sacrifice who I am if it means they can learn something from it and feel accepted. Shoutout to my beautiful daughter, Annalise. Because, she was my lighthouse in the dwelling of shadows. ‘When Our God’s Left Us’ EP coming soon, too. This is for y’all. I am for y’all. OwlGod for the people, start a campaign. Keep The Drive Alive.’
Stream the Eastern Conference EP below.