Rolling out featured Phenom as an artist to watch in 2016. His star has continued its rise. We spoke with Phenom recently about who he is and his most recent project DatBoySaid 2
Who is Phenom?
Phenom is a hip-hop experience that brings healing to every audience he encounters. He is a clear community asset and a trainer for motivational teaching artists.
Describe your music and your creative process.
My music is a shining, living continuation of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On”. My creative process is determined by my hostile Chicago environment mixed with a loving youth community embedded in a wealth of classic hip hop.
Talk about Lyric Squad and what motivated you to start it.
Lyric Mentoring was created to combat the swelling numbers of youth shootings and arrests that plague our future leaders. K-Love The Poet and I founded LM in 2009 and still are seeing the positive impact continue to resonate in new young mentors by way of the youth of whom we’ve closely mentored throughout the past eight years. K-Love and I created an out of pocket eight-day festival that commemorates the lives of youth who’ve lost their lives to senseless violence such as Hadiya Pendleton and Kevin Ambrose. Our longest running initiative is a “Youth targeted mentoring open-mic” held every Tuesday at the Kleo Center from 7-11 p.m. Some of Chicago’s freshest talent such as Huey Gang, Hunid Proof, and vocalist duo Ko-Star smash the stage weekly at no cost to the community. Simply beautiful energy inspires about 75-150 young people looking for a safe space to be them.
How has the violence in Chicago affected the way you approach your music?
It has taught me to not be foolish with what I say to my audiences! It taught me that some people who I perform for have an increased risk of not living to see the next day, so I put my all into each performance as if they are hearing this music right before they see GOD again.
Talk about the motivation for your latest release.
DatBoySaid Vol 2 is designed to pass right through the listener’s ears and into their spiritual tank as fuel. It’s a collection of fermented industry beats with very conscious love-laced spazzing.
What is next for you?
What’s next is I’m preparing to make the best music of my life. The momentum of DBS2 has re-sparked my fire as a dope emcee and sharpened my recording skills. I just need the support to produce in the way it should be done. Looking to raise about $20,000 to bring the best project to life. Fundraising efforts will include a huge b-day bash/concert where I will for sure do things that have never been done in our city. I’m looking to book this event at the Promontory venue in beautifully blossoming Hyde Park Chicago. This one is certainly for the people. Stay tuned by logging on to www.PHENOMUniversal.com.