Not too long ago I came across Born Brothaz via their project JFK The Conspiracy Series and at the time I knew nothing about them. After some encouragement from BB, I checked out the project and did a post on it. After that, I decided to hit them up for an interview.
The family tie is a strong one and it often translates into the musical realm, as it was with you. How did you guys figure out that you really wanted to make a go of making music together?
KnowLedge: I believe that once we all realized that together we could hit every angle of the music game and still remain who we are and keep our integrity, it was a no brainer! Even though we’re brothers, we still have different walks of life, different outlooks on life and music! So it’s certain things that I’ve never done or been through that Justice and Fin have been through! Therefore the people they can reach off of their story, I couldn’t reach because it’s not my story and vice versa! But with our stories together, it’s my firm belief that we can reach everyone!
Justice: Well Said!
The message of fatherlessness is commonplace in rap music as a cause of many children tragically being abandoned in one way or another. You have had this issue in your own lives. How has it affected you as people and an musicians?
Justice: I hate really referencing “fatherlessness” truly! I will vent a line about it in a verse every so often, but that’s about the extent of it. Mainly because with our generation, it’s just so common-place. I’d say 8 out of 10 of the people I personally know that belong to this hip hop generation experienced it at some point in their lives. We’re the fatherless generation or in suburban homes the children that are the result of failed marriages and divorces…so that just is what it is! I hate when it’s used as a crutch. Some use it as a cop out to fail. Some, coupled with that, use the excuse to become a victim of circumstance. We choose the opposite! As opposed to saying I have an excuse to be a bad father, because I had none, we choose to say, I’m going to be a great father cause I had none! It’s all in your perspective. And of course your experiences and the chosen perspective you have on them, will show up in your music!
KnowLegde: Honestly I think not having a father around was the best thing that could’ve happened to my life! Here’s why, it showed me exactly the route that I didn’t want to take! I’m the type of person who don’t need to bump my head to learn a lesson. I’ll watch another person bump his or her head and learn a lesson from them! So my father made the choices he made and I learned through his choices how to choose my path of life, which has affected all areas of my life from fatherhood to music!
Your names are Justice, Knowledge, and Infinite, respectively. How do those personas speak to who you are as people?
Justice: Well Justice is awards and penalties for ways and actions! So that’s the perspective I keep as I pursue a balance in this whole life thing. As of lately it feels more like a split personality than a balance though, trying to please all parts of self!
KnowLedge: I took on the name when I got KnowLedge of self…or you can say truth of self. If you were to look up knowledge in a dictionary, inside of many definitions of the word you would see the words “fact” and you would see the word “truth”. Once you gained knowledge of something or someone, you’ve gained a fact/truth! I stand for truth in all areas of my life and I believe that I am the truth in everything that I do, hence the name the name KnowLedge.
Infinite(N’Finit): Infinite of course means unlimited or without bounds. I chose this because in life I try to live limit less. Unlimited goals, therefore it’s always somewhere for me to be or something that needs to be accomplished. I’m very open minded, this leads to unlimited information, and information is key. As far as rap though, I chose N’Finit because I like to think that I am the best at what I do and no matter how hard the competition try, they can never reach my level of expertise. I don’t limit myself to one specific genre of music and I don’t limit my speech to one specific crowd of people. I aim to reach the infinite world!
What is the story behind JFK Conspiracy Series? Do you know who the 2nd shooter on the grassy knoll was?
Justice: LOL! Naw, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the shooter wasn’t actually driving the vehicle that JFK was shot in. And the whole grassy knoll thing is just another spin to throw those who realized it wasn’t Oswald off the trail…but then again I think everything is a conspiracy anyways. This JFK is an acronym for Justice Fin Knowledge and our outlook on the music industry is that it’s just another one of the conspiracies designed for the purpose of some sort of mind control…well the way the industry currently operates. As well as, around the city…we kinda got a stigma…they don’t really know how to categorize or box us into a sound, style or movement…which makes a lot of people look at us with a certain degree of scrutiny. Like were up to something, maybe conspiring. And we Are!
My ear isn’t exactly in the streets, but it seems like one day I was hearing nothing about you and the next I was inundated with whispers about Born Brothaz. If we look at history in a line and yesterday was people not knowing you, today is people locally have heard of you, tomorrow would be…?
Justice: World Domination! LOL…just serious! I’ll just say the future’s not ours to see, but the vision I hold in my mental theatre shows success, which has nothing really to do with fame but with feeding and providing for our entire family, creating jobs and things like that while doing what we love and are meant to do.
KnowLedge: I agree, being worldly known! But like Justice stated it’s not for the fame but what the fame can do! Truth be told I would rather have the wealth, skip the fame!
There is a lot of quality competition in Milwaukee among you and your peers. How do you feel about the Milwaukee Hip-Hop scene?
Knowledge: Truthfully I feel that the Hip-Hop scene is very segregated and it lacks its own Identity!
Justice: Yeah I agree, but there is some talent here, so the minute everyone realizes that when the wind blows it blows on us all…then it won’t be such a demand to be the 1st in the breeze, if that makes sense. Whoever gets there first has to be diverse enough to include all aspects of Milwaukee, so that the whole city gets a chance.
N’Finit: I feel it’s too much imitating going on in the Mill, too many piggy back rappers, everyone finds the band wagon and hop on. It’s a hand full of artists, in my personal opinion that has lyrical originality or just originality period. I feel Milwaukee will never get put on until we get our own image, stop hating each other, and start supporting!
Justice: But support good original music! Because it’s a lot of music coming out of Milwaukee that isn’t good and isn’t in the best interest of the whole.
You seem to be people who want to bring something to the table, lyrically speaking, so what’s up with the club tracks? Do you feel the pressure to pander to that side of rap or is clubbing really, honestly, something that you enjoy?
Justice: I don’t think a club track has to be void of lyrics, personally! It’s 3 of us, so you’ll have 3 different perspectives on everything, but as for myself I enjoy the club just as much as I enjoy a poetry night or a coffee house visit! Life has a variety of varieties to it and we just tend to not feel out of place in that many. So, there’s no pressure that exists with making any music truthfully, because the initial idea for the song comes from how the beat makes you feel, and then from an idea that existed inside one of us based off of an experience or emotion. We don’t intentionally sit and say “let’s make a conscious record” or “let’s make something for the club” we simply say, “let’s find some quality production” and whatever way the music takes us, we go.
When you sit down to compose your songs, what is the process like?
Justice: Well often we have at least 2 different songs to every beat, sometimes 3. We will get production, make 3 copies, and typically Fin comes back 1st like “I got this to this beat” if I heard something different in it…I’ll say “well I got this” and we go with the best of the 2 or 3! Because life still pulls us in different directions we don’t often get to just sit and zone in on them together…but when that freedom comes….Curtains!
N’Finit: It’s really no specific process, songs just often come to you. Maybe I was just riding at night blazing one and it hit me. Maybe I was just listening to some old Joints from legends and it hit me. Maybe I dreamed of something hot I said and woke up writing. True story though, that happens. But however it starts, when you feel it…you feel it.
I know that you are one of several Milwaukee peeps opening up for Lupe at The Rave. That’s going to be a great experience for you, but as of right now, what’s the number one highlight of your career?
Justice: I’m hearing from those who attended, that we had an excellent performance. One of the best, if not the best of the night. They might be biased though. We’ve done a few things, and recorded with a few people that I’m proud of, one of which is Wade Martin. He’s recorded some of the biggest in the industry, but I would say completing and releasing JFK The Conspiracy Series is the Highlight right now.
Any shout outs?
Yeah P.I.P., MKE, and all the people who continue to support us and our movement. Without the people there wouldn’t be any artist or artists!