Nato Caliph Presents "The Build" at Blank Space
|Nato at the Mobb Deep show at 2720.|
Nato does everything with community in mind. Even in his rhymes, he rarely says, "I did this" or "I want that." The word "we" is much more prevalent, marking a global focus in most songs. And those aren't just words. When Nato books a tour, he often brings other artists along, and he does so without the help of an agent or publicist.
"We need to remove some of that industry around it and just get back to making music," he says of his DIY approach to music. By releasing records through his own label, Cipher Music Group, he maintains complete control and offers albums through digital sites such as iTunes and Google Play.
The latest of those records, Understanding Understood, dropped this past December. Its twelve tracks depict the rapper as an adult and father. While working on this latest album, Nato was laid off. That short-term unemployment allowed him time to meditate and dissect -- a luxury he had been without for many years.
"I was able to sit and listen and let it soak in. It all just kind of came together. Of course you don't always have time to sit around and make an album," Nato says. "My other albums were made in between phone calls, meetings and conference calls. With this one, I was at home drinking some green tea and thinking."
Although the spectacle of a release party doesn't appeal to Nato, the upcoming gig on April 26 could be considered one. The poster even features a photo of Nato holding a copy of Understanding Understood. But, true to his humble form, he prefers to keep the focus on the touring performers, like Truth Universal from New Orleans and DJ Waht from Memphis. A huge roster from the North, South and Midwest populate the bill, making for a huge show Nato likes to call "The Build."
"When you build something, the intent is to construct something that is useful, that has a purpose, that will help others," he explains. "It's all about helping the guys who helped me out at one time."
Nato's wife is his DJ. His son and daughter, ages eight and six, are his biggest fans. He counts Black Spade, Thelonius Kryptonite, Illphonics, Family Affair and more among his many contemporaries. He thinks of them as an extended family.
"Everything I do is with community involved and in mind. I don't do anything in a singular aspect. And I know that what I say will make ripples."
Read on as Nato Caliph fills in the blanks ahead of "The Build" at Blank Space.