Wearing the multiple hats that he does, those labeled manager, father, mentor, grandfather; Mathew Knowles is a man who pays attention to the evolving world in which we all reside. As had it not been for Grandson Daniel, his most recent venture, Kidz Rap Radio may not have been topic for discussion.
And as a man who moves with the times, he opted to create Hip-Hop for the younger generations after learning first hand just how the genre moves even the tiniest of feet. Facing compliments and criticism about his endeavor, is as the man himself states, “the beauty of America.” But tenderizing the lyrics from some of Hip-Hops favorite raps, to make them suitable for little ears and having the younger generation deliver the rhymes is joy to many a parent’s ears.
Talking exclusively to AllHipHop.com the father of possibly ‘The hottest chick in the game’ talks about that anticipated walk down the aisle, what he sees in the future generation of stars he works hands on with and just what he pulled from his college days.
AllHipHop.com: You have involved yourself with Kidz Rap which takes Hip-Hop tracks and makes them more kid-friendly, you know no cursing and changing the concepts and everything. How hard a task has that been to do?
Mathew Knowles: It has been an easy task for a lot of reasons. We went to a lot of the publishing companies and some of the artists and they were all excited about the actual idea of Kidz Rap Radio and I have a good A&R who came up with the idea with me, Max Goose who works for Music World; he did an incredible job also putting this thing together. I have a two and a half year old grandson who just loves rap and Hip-Hop and I am concerned like any grandparent [or] parent who has a two year old [with] what he listens to and what he sees on the TV.
AllHipHop.com: So reaching out to all those people must have been a lot of work?
Mathew Knowles: There is always work involved, but we had fun doing it and I am overwhelmed by the positive response, as I never thought this would be in USA Today and on Good Morning America, you know talking with AllHipHop.com; I didn’t realize it would gain this much notoriety in the community. But we have had so many positive responses from parents who think it is great, because a lot of parents today between the ages of 20-35 grew up with Hip-Hop, they embrace rap so it is great for a lot of those parents with young children.
AllHipHop.com: What age demographic is it aimed at then?
Mathew Knowles: I want to put emphasize that this is for young kids, you know your two-to-10 [year olds]. This is not for teenagers, this is for little kids. But the parents have really embraced the fact that their kids can listen to rap and feel safe with it.
AllHipHop.com: Was this something you would have approached had you not become a grandfather?
Mathew Knowles: I probably would not have, being honest with you. The grandfather in me certainly played a big role.
AllHipHop.com: Some parents don’t want their children listening to Hip-Hop period, but when you see how Hip-Hop is used for marketing today do you think this is practical?
Mathew Knowles: Let me be very clear. We embrace Hip-Hop, I grew up with Hip-Hop and I surprise my daughters all the time when I tell them about Gil Scott-Heron. You know they will be like “Daddy, you know about that,” and I am like, “I grew up on that.” So I just want to be clear that Rap Radio is no way an attack on Hip-Hop, it is actually a compliment to Hip-Hop where young kids at a very early age can embrace Hip-Hop and their parents can feel safe about it because lets be honest about it, nobody is writing lyrics in a rap song for two year olds.
AllHipHop.com: Do you believe that the concerns by Robert Peters who is the President of Morality in Media were warranted?
Mathew Knowles: Everyone has an opportunity, and I think that is the great thing of living in America, that you have an opportunity to make decisions and everyone has the right to decided on what music they want to listen to, to decide on what TV show or movie or what they want to wear, who they want to date, everyone has that opportunity to make those decisions. So I would say everyone has freedom of choice and again when we are dealing with young kids it is up to the parents of these children to make the choices. When you give a kid a toy car is that a bad idea?
AllHipHop.com: But then you have the positive response from the Parent Teacher Association.
Mathew Knowles: Well that is the beauty of living in America; we don’t have to have the same opinions, we don’t have to agree with each other.
AllHipHop.com: How did you go about choosing the tracks that you opted to use for Kidz Rap Radio?
Mathew Knowles: Some of it was what songs we could get approved, so that was one of the processes. We had a 10 year-old and an eight year old who did most of the rap on Kidz Rap Radio and Kidz Rap Holiday and we had to change some of the lyrics on some of the songs, so that was another thing we had to go through, changing the lyrics. But overall it was a fun process and we are excited about it as we think we have got a great product, just from the feed back we have got from parents and teacher and the kids are loving it.
AllHipHop.com: Who are your favorite artists in Hip-Hop? Mathew Knowles: Well I have a few favorite artists as I have been listening to Hip-Hop for a long time and I still go back to my college days when I was listening to Gil Scott Heron all the time, he was at the forefront in the beginning and he had such social consciousness and it was a time in America with the Vietnam War and we had a lot of racism; so people were fighting both the Vietnam War and the war with racism and people were very passionate about what they believed in the ‘70s so I would have to go with artists like Gil Scott who were at the very beginning of the revolution.
AllHipHop.com: You are known for developing talent from a young age, obviously your main fete being Destiny’s Child. But now you are working with another youngster, J Xavier; was this something you were actively seeking to do?
Mathew Knowles: With J Xavier, we weren’t hunting for it, actually when Destiny’s Child, a couple of years ago, when their tour came through Houston, they kept saying after the show there was a showcase of this young kid and it was suggested that I go see it and I was tired and I wanted to go home; but I went by. I walked in a room and I couldn’t see him as there was a crowd of folks around him and I could see they were really into this kid. I get a lot of energy from the audience and that is how you can tell if people like something or if they don’t. Then, J Xavier was 12 years old and he was an incredible rapper and more importantly he was an incredible star.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah he had a day devoted to him down in Houston I believe.
Mathew Knowles: The mayor gave him a day and he has been photographed with every major Hip-Hop artist in the industry from P. Diddy to Jay-Z. He is just a star. His album came out the same day as Kidz Rap Holiday and his album is Young Prince of the South.
AllHipHop.com: Obviously you are renowned for working in the urban genres; do you see you doing in Hip-Hop what you have with Destiny’s Child in R&B?
Mathew Knowles: First of all we want to have success but we also want to have fun with it and we have a number of Hip-Hop artists; Mojoe, they have an album out and these guys are Blues meets Hip-Hop with a live band and they have a lot of similarities in some ways to Outkast, the out of a box kind of thing, but with a band. These guys are out on tour now; I bought them a van and said come back to Houston a year from now. [Laughs] They are going all over America performing in colleges. Then we have the rapper Yo-Yo who has an exciting album coming out next year. So we have a number of Hip-Hop artists on the label and when I headed up the Urban Division of Sanctuary we also had De La Soul and I had a chance to work with those guys who are incredible and really talented.
AllHipHop.com: Mentioning colleges, you are a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity, how important is being a member of a fraternity been in your life?
Mathew Knowles: Well being in a fraternity it helps gain values and build values. When you are young, 18 or 19 in college, just the camaraderie and friendship of having other people see your views and beliefs, that family value of a fraternity; those are some of the great things that come out of being a part of a fraternity. When you are young and in college, it means a lot when you don’t really know anybody and now you have best friends all of a sudden. You can trust them and have faith in them and they are some of the things you learn from being in a fraternity.
AllHipHop.com: As a parent, how hard is it for you to sit back and watch rumors escalate about your child?
Mathew Knowles: We understand the business. With me, I have two hats that I wear; I wear a manager hat and I wear a parent hat and when I have my manager hat on we totally understand that it is business. Some of the rumors actually help, you know there are some we sit back and say, “Yeah, we want that rumor,” as that can help sell a lot of records. A lot of them that you hear, unfortunately because of the internet, you know a six year old can go online and say anything they want about an artist in a chat room and before you know it it is on the radio stations, you know people talking about it and the source of this is a six year old who is just kidding.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think you will be walking Beyonce down the aisle any time soon?
Mathew Knowles: Well that is a decision that Beyonce has to make and the same make that Solange, our younger daughter will have to make and the same decision that one day Kelly will have to make. When I put my father hat on, I support my daughters and hopefully Tina and I have given them the tools when they were young to make good decisions now that they are adults, and they are just that, adults and I respect that fact that they are adults. Those are decisions for Beyonce to make on her. We will support her as parents if she needs someone to talks to and ultimately that are her decisions to make and as she makes them I will support them.