Somewhere between the seemingly opposite worlds of rap music and poetry, Ellison Renee Glenn aka Black Cracker found a home, found himself. And it was a long journey indeed, not only leading him far away from his US roots, all the way to his new hometown Berlin. Learning that his art is influenced by Ellison being a man of transgender experience makes his story far more real than the “struggles” popular rap music usually let’s us take part in.
We were excited to dive deeper into Black Cracker’s universe and learn more about this exceptional talent. Currently a part of Converse’s Made By You campaign Black Cracker joins a very illustrous club of creative collaborators such as Andy Warhol or Patti Smith highlighting that everyone who owns a beloved pair of chucks can turn their pair into a unique piece of art.
Speaking of artworks, in between our interview below please find brand new Black Cracker/Pussycrew visuals we are happy to bring to you in advance to our upcoming print story!
Ellison, the world of rap music drastically changed over the last few years, being conquered by those who used to be left outside (women, lgbt community, artists such as Mykki Blanco) – do you feel part of a movement? A shared message?
Art only reflects the environments it is created within. The more we grow as a culture, the more we grow. A natural garden contains weeds and snakes as many as flowers and herbs. I think in manners of art we are becoming more sophisticated in our palettes or so I hope and work towards.
You studied at two different art colleges – does today’s rap audience differentiate between “street artists” (or the illusion of such a thing as street artists) and those with an artistic background?
All creativity has merit, outsider or insider the same. The only thing we maybe forget to remember is that quantity is not necessarily quality. One mans wine is another mans poison. All things are relative. I think we just need to take more care of the artist that are truly making efforts to find and represent their true experiences.
Since you’re a jack of both trades – where do poetry (slam) and rap intersect in terms of the creative process?
In the stutter of time. Like tapes cut and reconnected. Rhythm and meter live in all things. A more syncopated matter. Waves and shell. Wood grain and false fronts. It is all a broken language. Class and unnecessary cultural divide.
In which way has growing up with a strong Catholic background affected the man that you are today and your music? Do you consider yourself religious?
I’m not “religious” at all. My family is more Southern Baptist. Church hats and banana pudding post Sunday service. I used to be super afraid of “god”. I thought when I stopped praying, as a child, I would die. I thought this for a month, convinced. Maybe this is why I suffer from severe paranoia these days.
After collaborating with artists such as CocoRosie and Creep – who do you still dream of working with?
My dream collaboration would be Lil B as my hype man. The stage would be within a maze of Pussykrew animation mixed with sculptures by Martin Puryear. Obama, Ciara and Katt Williams back-up dancing, as well as a floral arrangement by Kanye. All taking place at a backyard cookout at Amy Goodman’s house (from Democracy Now!) cause I found her sexy. Whole set remixed By Mike Q with subtitles provided by my best mate and poet Ricardo Domeneck.
Now the last and maybe most important question: what’s your favorite Wu-Tang line?
“I don’t give a god damn, on the shows you did. How many rhymes you got, or who knows you kid? Cuz I don’t know ya therefore show me what you know. I come sharp as a blade and I cut you slow. You become so Pat as my style increases. What’s that in your pants ahhh human feces! Throw your shitty drawers in the hamper. Next time come strapped with a fuckin Pamper.”
Read our complete interview with Black Cracker in INDIE’s spring issue out next week!
Photo: Anastasia Filipovna