Skip to content

Rhymefest on ‘In My Father’s House,’ and his evolving view of Black manhood

Rhymefest’s gripping documentary, In My Father’s House, showcases the Chicago rapper’s journey to reconnect with his long lost father. As Rhymefest exposes his personal journey and foibles of the dad he’s only just now coming to know, he admitted that meeting and understanding his father, Brian, made him more aware of his own flaws.

“All we do, really, as artists — especially in hip-hop — is spew our insecurities,” said Rhymefest. “We throw violence out. I was listening to this Rick Ross song where he said ‘I seen children get slaughtered/n—as’ grandmother’s assaulted/Throw a gang sign, dare you do something about it,’ or Jay Z said ‘Sensitive thugs, you all need hugs.’ Really, what we’re doing is deflecting. So for me, my sensitivity and my humor and my charisma I felt were weaknesses because being in a state of fatherlessness you’ve got to be tough. You’ve got to beat the odds. But when I met my father, I learned where my sensitivity came from and where my humor and charisma came from.

“My father didn’t survive 28 years on the streets with only his strength,” Fest explained. “He survived with his compassion and his care for others.”

In doing the film, Rhymefest reconnected with his dad in such a way that it reshaped his view of how he wants to see his community change.

“None of our stories are unique. We all going through something. What I grew up with in the ’80s is damn-near the same thing the millennials are going through right now in 2015. The problem is that ain’t nothin’ changed. I wish these stories were unique and I wish we were experiencing something different. But why are we going through the same cycle of poverty, fatherlessness and police brutality that we’ve been going through since we damn-near landed in this country. It’s time for something to change. We can’t change by doing the same thing, having the same kind of movements. It’s time for a different way of interacting with each other. Honestly, we’ve got to start pointing the finger at ourselves, at our own pathology. To heal our families that’s the only way we can really heal what’s ailing us in the community.”