On the 50th Anniversary of Hip hop, Mason Parker Delivers Project that Quantifies its Evolution
Mason Parker’s vibrant and articulate approach to the arts is just a fragment of his talents— He spread his wings from grade school , while grooming himself and becoming a wicked MC, whose wordplay is cognitive but dope at the same time.
Parker is conscious but doesn’t shove woke culture down his listener’s throat. His librettos are slow seasoning to the eardrums with stories about life, as a man, and a vulnerability as an artist. The translations are meticulously energetic.
Hands down, Parker is a brilliant songwriter, and performer, worthy of bragging rights who became one of the hardest, MCs on the East Coast.
The rapper coins himself the late registration Kanye West, identifying with the creative genius, a talented nerd, college dropout, an only child, as well as an undervalued artist, the underdog.
“I feel like,” says Parker, “Sometimes there’s a need to let people know, like, what you bring to the table; and sometimes there’s a time to kinda sit back and let time tell it, and let people recognize it for themselves. Right now, I am definitely balancing that,” he chuckled at his own revelation.
Parkers story dates to when he first moved to Charlotte, NC from Plainfield, New Jersey. He was a new kid, that stood out awkwardly from his peers. This created a riff, where Parker constantly defended himself from the taunts of other students , while his classmates defended their turf.
Learning to fight those battles differently, Parker found a primitive outlet-- a pad and pen, where he scribbled his ebbs and flows as an adolescent into snappy poetry, and stanzas. Speaking of that, Parker is a former Winston Salem State University Poet Laureate, and two-time featured poet at the National Black Theater Festival.
He’s a brainchild, skilled well before his time… Parker joined the open mic nights and participated in slam competitions still learning—He is named 2013 Charlottes Best Rapper of the Year (Creative Loafing). He won Queen City Awards, Male Hip Hop Artist of the Year.
“He’s worked years in theater as cast from OnQ Productions. Parker played in Hip Hop Nutcracker, and he took the lead in performances at the Children's Theater of Charlotte, including Liars and the hip-hop adaptation of Stephen Crane's book The Red Badge of Courage; in addition to his portrayal of The Griot, a Miles & Coltrane: Blue (.) the International Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Parker made an appearance on BET Music Matters at the SOB’s in New York. He debuted a mixtape called Loose Leaf, hosted by Emmy Award recipient, Bluz the Poet. His single, “So Sorry Momma,” was featured on Talib Kweli's Community Mixtape as well as on Kweli’s 2010 "Gutter Rainbows” Tour.
In 2015, Parker released the follow-up mixtape, Loose Leaf vol. 2, all the while working part-time as an On-Air personality at WPEG Power 98FM.”
When speaking of the ups and downs that he’s faced as an artist, Parker says that having a family is the most rewarding and most challenging while in pursuit of his dreams. He learned to fall back into balance after listening to a song by rapper, Logic, and it hit him—identifying his priorities as man, spouse, and father… that success is the family, and everything else is bonus to his legacy… “I was sitting back there thinking as to how, I haven’t been able to give my kids memories because I been so focused on trying to give them things-- and it dawned on me that my kids ran to me, loved me, and adored me whether I had a gift for them or not.”
The rapper goes on to say that having family emboldens him, strengthens his why like material and content for his music such as his song and video, “Black Girl Magic,” which is a short film of his family, wife, and kids. It’s an affectionate ode, where Black Girl Magic is passed from generation to generation, an evocative visual to the song that emphasizes how Black women are revered in conventional context.
“I’m blessed that I have a partner who believes in what I have going on, who believes in me,” he shared. The person that, like, people see now, and they’re like so impressed by or whatever… is only possible because of her.”
Echoing the support, and how it’s afforded Parker stake in music, with his latest Avant -Garde, “The Paperback Hero Saga,” It’s taken Parker about 8 years to finish the project completely although he soft launched a few years ago. Parker says it wasn’t the right time, to release so he sat on The Paperback Hero a little while longer.
The Paperback Hero Saga dropped as a seven song, and seven issues comic surrounding character Mason Myers (The Bookkeeper). Myers learned to ascertain his power, and ultimately became a superhero going through different maddening situations.
The short film is in relation to the comic series; and the hip hop element is a rich expressive, that talks about Parkers life now. It meshes the visuals to include futuristic frameworks while tying the assemblage together explosively.
Parker says he used his own eco system and treatment for the project like an album, by distributing music first, before writing the story for the comic... “For the audience, it gives them an experience, something for them to sink their teeth into,” he says.
Parker is working on a plethora of projects, including Sound, Sneakers, and Superhero’s (podcast), with O’brien Notes (WBAV 101.9 and WPEG Power 98), Tweezy and Mark. The partners are launching a Dreamers Journey workshop in addition to Sound, Sneakers and Superhero’s workshop, where participants learn about comic books and retail. Parker participated in a similar 4-day Dreamers Journey workshop summer 2023 with the Youth Exchange Program, Summer Camp. He’s working on new music and animations for the first quarter of 2024 partnering with WhatIsRelax (Charlotte Based Artist) and Wally McNair. Parker, who’s a theater favorite, is gearing up for another performance in Miles & Coltrane (OnQ Productions).
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