#MCM: These Teen Rappers Are Tackling Social Justice in Their Music
Spiritual ConscientiousÂ is a rap duo that’s not like any other.
Featuring Apex Forte, 17, and his best friend Apex Rael, 18, these teens from New York tackleÂ social justice issues, the problems withÂ female interpretation in rap, and everyday life as high school students.
I actually discovered them on SoundCloud and later realized they went to my high school, so I had to track them down for an interview.
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How did you guys meet?
Apex Rael (pictured, left):Â We were in chemistry class freshman year and we were sitting and he looked at me and I looked at him and I was like, yo whatâ€™s good? And basically the whole class period we were making the whole class laugh.
Apex Forte (pictured, right):Â Yeah, we were basically being jackasses and that was it from freshman year. There is no cool special story behind it. We just clicked and thatâ€™ was it. He’s my best friend.
What is the inspiration behind the name â€œSpiritual Conscientiousâ€?
Apex Forte:Â When we were in financial accounting, we had to make a company. So we choose a skateboarding company. See, we are skateboarders too, so thatâ€™s how we also really clicked when we became friends. Our company was named Apex Inc. so thatâ€™s basically the origin behind the name. Spiritual Conscientious is the group name and we are each Apex Forte and Apex Rael the individual.
What are your inspirations for your music?
Apex Forte:Â Itâ€™s crazy because if you talk about who inspires us to make music or as a rappers, I could say no rappers as of now inspire me. Maybe Pusha T, but when it comes down to music itâ€™s basically rock and funk. My favorite funk band is Earth, Wind and Fire. We get a lot of inspiration for beats from them. They have such a melodic magical sound thatâ€™s amazing.
Apex Rael:Â Yeah I agree with him but if you listen to Erykah Badu, I fuck with her shit so much. That made me want to incorporate scatting and funk and soul into my music. Thatâ€™s my style right there.
How do you guys feel about Black Lives Matter and how does it affect you personally?
Apex Forte:Â Being African American, I always feel like racism, injustice, and inequality in America and all over the world is shit and I feel like too many people overlook it. It is a good way to make people aware about what is going on in our world today. You know people say all lives matter, which is obvious. All human beings matter. But when there is a problem addressing a certain type of people, you have to highlight that problem.
Apex Rael:Â I agree with him, there is a lot of racism [as] part of our society right now and it needs to stop. It really needs to stop. Like it affected me directly one time [when] I was walking and even though there was enough space on the sidewalk, some guy crossed the street just to not walk beside me. Racism and ignorance is mind blowing.
How do you guys feel about female portrayal in hip hop and in our society today?
Apex Forte:Â I feel like especially us, we are way more conscious than other rappers. You know, we grew up with philosophy and Indigoism and strong women in our lives, and I believe one of the main problems with hip hop [is] they oversexualize women way too much.
Early hip hop, it was about chasing a girl â€” you know, they wearing shorts, their belly hanging out. But now every other lyric in mainstream hip hop is some sexual shit about women or tearing a girl down. Itâ€™s crazy bro, it really needs to stop. Itâ€™s misogyny. Hip hop is almost at the point that if you took all the lyrics out about sex and women there is no rap song if you think about it.
Apex Rael:Â It is okay, though, to say, “oh, I got a girl,” but doing it all the time and dehumanizing women is not okay and it is never okay. Women arenâ€™t objects and growing up with a single mother, you know, we both had strong women in our lives so we know that it isnâ€™t okay to disrespect women.
How do you feel about gender binaries seeing that a rapper like Young Thug made headlines with wearing a dress?
Apex Forte:Â Honestly, I couldnâ€™t care less. There shouldnâ€™t be a hold or people telling other people how to express themselves. Even the way I dress sometimes, I use a lot of colors and shit. Even on my Instagram, I use a lot of colors. I feel like both of us use and wear a lot of colors that many boys wouldnâ€™t wear you know. Who am I to judge another person? Thatâ€™s where hate and ignorance start to take over when we are trying to convey positivity.
Apex Rael: We are metrosexual which is basically a man who cares about how he looks. And we fall under that term. You wear whatever the fuck you want or be whoever you ever want to be there will always be people with opinions there is no stopping that but the way you want to see yourself matters only.
Where do you guys see yourselves in a few years?
Apex Forte:Â Hopefully still doing the music thing man, I really fuck with the shit I am doing. I donâ€™t want to be that dad who has to work in a office thinking about what would’ve become if I had made it. WeÂ wanna do concerts and live performances in the city and hopefully across the world in some point in our lives.
Apex Rael:Â Yeah, we wanna perform at festivals and just spread our music and make ourselves known.
You can follow the boys on their SoundClouds: