Women and Femmes in HipHop: Look to Mother Nature for Healing Through HipHop

In these days when activism and artistry blend almost indistinguishably, Mother Nature does something truly revolutionary. Emcees Klevah and T.R.U.T.H. draw influence from their work with youth in The (Chicago-based) Miseducation of HipHop mission, their own individually diverse backgrounds, and Mother Nature herself to bless us with meaningful bars in no way void of the ever-elusive entertainment factor. Their music is organic in every sense of the word; it comes from a place of such effortless depth and natural flow. I was lucky to learn more about this amazing duo with whom I am honored to share our beautiful city of Chicago. Now WavyConnect invites you to get to know them, too!

 

Looking at your bios, it’s apparent, Klevah and T.R.U.T.H, that you come from different backgrounds, yet you share the same passion for raw realness and openness. Tell me more about how your differences strengthen your connection as a collective and contribute to your joint mission as artists.

T.R.U.T.H.: Our differences are the fun part. Klev may approach a beat in a way I would never think about or vice versa. There’s always an abundance of creativity. We also push each other – perfectionist tendencies – but we wanna be an example of Black excellence. But on a sister-level it helps us grow. As much as we learn about one another we’re learning equally about ourselves. It’s a beautiful process that drives our mission to heal the world through HipHop.

 

Who are some of your musical influences? Are there any tracks or bodies of work specifically that stand out to either of you as sparking each of your respective interests in Hip-Hop?

Klevah: My direct musical influences include Badu, Kendrick, J.Cole, Tribe, Lupe & Curren$y. They still play a significant role in how I craft my pieces and how I visualize my path through the music industry. Growing up however, my pops was my original source of everything. My environment was rich with the golden era hiphop, soul classics, funk and pop. It was initially my pops who encouraged my free expression.

 

T.R.U.T.H., I really love the “Black Girl Genius” reference (courtesy of Dr. Ruth Nicole Brown). I love it as a way to describe yourself, and also as a mechanism to empower other Black femme artists’ voices. Can you elaborate on it as a part of your creative process? What would you like to see come out of this empowerment of more “Black Girl Geniuses?”

T: Black Girl Genius is a way of Life. That affirmation reminds me to explore my entire spectrum when I think I can only be one image. So in relation to my creative process it pushes me to lay it all on the line. Forget about others’ expectations and surprise yourself by showcasing every aspect of your spirit. Nobody is monolithic, we’re all multi-layered with shared experiences, but we can only see the God in one another when we present our true authentic selves. Black girls have to know that everything they are is beautiful and necessary. When our lil Black and Brown girls hear “Black Girl Genius” I want them to know they are powerful and capable of anything.

 

Klevah, I see that you are actually part of not one but two collectives – Mother Nature and Gr8Thinkaz. How do you balance your work with both groups, and what about your work with Mother Nature specifically makes it crucial to your presence in the music space?

K: Integration. Because all of us are very home-grown and intimately familiar with each other’s work, it was only a matter of time before these collectives would start to merge. It’s all on the same frequency. It was definitely difficult for me to see at first, I kind of felt in between worlds or felt like I was neglectful towards one when focusing on the other. I felt that no one could see my vision or share my optimism. But communication and intention is key. I’ve always been both a Gr8Thinka and Mother Nature even before I knew it. Just gotta keep it in balance and push yourself to have the capacity to handle it all. I think my work with MN specifically elevates our collective message and makes it more visible to the people we will impact in this world. It’s everything that I am and I’ve never felt better represented. She speaks before I have to and it’s always Truth.

 

Tell our readers about some of your recent tracks. “Rich” is the latest track I’ve heard from you all, and it is so dope! Care to tell our readers more about the trajectory you’re hoping your work will follow? Any specific goals for the future; any drops our readers should keep an ear out for from Mother Nature?

Our trajectory is definitely global. This is not just music that will be for the moment. We’re striving to create timeless music that can define our generation. We’re in a special place being that we are so grounded in innovation while being influenced by the pioneers of the culture and other musical greats. Some near-future goals: maximum exposure, world travel/tours, more genuine connections and building with more shorties through The Miseducation to name a few. The list grows every day. Gotta keep us in yo spirit, when you connect with the collective conscious it’ll all make sense. Follow at @MotherNatureBARZ.

 

I am truly touched to read about your off-stage community-based work, specifically The Miseducation of HipHop mission in our hometown of Chicago. The work you are doing is much-needed and so admirable, especially speaking as a Chicago native, so first of all – THANK YOU! Secondly, tell our readers more about this mission. I imagine you see a lot of trauma channeled into something beautiful as a part of aiding our youth in telling their stories through music. What have you guys experienced firsthand in this work that makes it so rewarding?

The Miseducation is what planted the seed of Mother Nature actually. We collab’d on workshop ideas and created The Miseducation of HipHop before we wrote anything for our initial project, Mother Nature. Still individual artists, we saw the workshops as a safe space for students to express themselves freely. As we developed we saw the deeper application and started to connect HipHop to healing. Our sessions are a form of art therapy. When we realize our own genius we can begin to heal the pain that burdens us. Our kids know this more than we acknowledge. Seeing them reimagine what they can accomplish is the most rewarding experience. When you expand your thinking you instantly allow those things in your Life. A positive mentality is the 1st step to awakening.

 

How has your identity as a group of female emcees specifically shaped your individual experiences as artists and your collective body of work?

Our individual experiences has probably shaped the identity of Mother Nature more than anything. We have so many intersections that build our foundation. We’re real, raw and know our power. Our unique artistry is the style, direction and sauce. As individual artists we’ve always focused on the message and delivering our best and that only carries over into our collective work. Being a woman in the mix of it all only adds to the arsenal.

 

Any other comments, anything else you’d like our readers to know about you?

Pay attention to nature. We’re adding a unique element to the landscape. It’s powerful and you should come join the MVMNT. New vibes coming sooner than later. #PeaceLove.

 

Keep an ear out for more from @MotherNatureBARZ on IG, YouTube, and SoundCloud.

Check out their latest video #THISYOYEAR here!

 

-Courtney Quigs

@courtney_quigs

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