Jahson The Scientist ist ein “Wordsman”, der in seinen Ausdrucksformen keine Grenzen kennt. Er ist nicht nur Rapper sondern auch Physiklehrer, gerade hat er seine erste eigene EP “No Doubt” veröffentlicht. Musikalisch orientiert er sich nicht an einem bestimmten Genre, sondern lässt sich von den verschiedensten Richtungen und Stilen inspirieren. Er hatte unter anderem Auftritte mit The Roots, Inner Circle und GZA. Im Interview spricht er über seine Musik, Europa, Wissenschaft und Spiritualität.
The Message: Where do you come from originally?
Jahson The Scientist: I grew up in London and Monserrat in the Caribbean, I was born in London and moved to the Caribbean quite young, then later moved back to London and came back again.
Where did you like it more?
Monserrat is beautiful and I love it, but it’s too small for me to be able to do what I need to do. Even here in Vienna it feels too small in some ways. I love working here, I love creating music here, I have absolutely no problem with being here and making music, but if feels also too small for me. I need to be out a lot more.
So you have a connection to the Austrian music scene?
Yeah, the people here take music seriously, some of them are deep thinkers. They think a hell of a lot about deep stuff and that is really good that they have this process in mind about how to approach music. I am a very instinctive guy, so I just do things, I don’t think about it too much. In London you don’t have this, you can perform around and there is a lot of movement. So I just automatically dropped into the music scene there and I didn’t really think about it. Now I am taking it more seriously – music-wise. I am thinking about all the stuff that comes with it a bit more, I approach music with a slightly bigger overview now. I am still very impulsive with how I respond to it and how the music speaks to me, but I think a bit more before I just jump in.
Tell us more about the EP you dropped recently.
It’s a very important piece of work for me, it’s not huge, but it’s important. The first track The Season is roughly ten years old and I never put it out. Flip made a new version and a video for the EP and it became my first track on it. Now it sounds a little old school, kind of funky.
You also have a band which is not that common in the HipHop scene.
Yeah, I have a band, we played at Soundframe Festival last weekend, which was one of the dopest shows I ever did. I was just amazed by the support. I’ve seen so many faces I’ve met throughout the year coming from so many places. It really gave me the feeling that what I do means something to people. I got to play with my band at that event which is very cool, they are a crew that I can play with to anything. We can go to a large festival and play there, we can go to a club down the road and play there. The crew is so capable of the vibe.
Apart from being a rapper you are also a teacher at a school?
I am teaching physics, chemistry and biology.
Is there a connection between music and science for you personally, as you are doing both?
There are some parts of science in which I am very interested, I find genetics and quantum physics incredibly fascinating, I think these things have a great impact on our lives, what makes us, why we act the way we act, what gives us our surrounding. A lot of the other stuff I am teaching, I teach, ’cause I have to teach it.
Some of the ideas I get from being a scientist I put into my music. But for me the scientist thing is really about having a method about doing stuff. If you know you want to get somewhere, create something or you wanna understand something you can think out steps to get there. I don’t think that I am naturally a person who automatically thinks about the steps I have to take to get somewhere, I am more like can I jump in, but there is a value to having steps that get you somewhere, that’s why I like being a scientist.
Some of your EP has a kind of spiritual vibe to it. What do you believe in?
I don’t believe in some Michelangelo Sistine Chapel stuff by which I was tormented in my younger years, that was really freaking me out. But I do feel that in the core essence of us, there is some reason why we have been given life. It’s very difficult to explain, but if you look at these walls and question why they don’t have life and why we have life and emotions and consciousness. I feel that there is an essence that exists for creation and I feel that we can’t separate ourselves from it, even if we try. I think we all share it, there is no separation you can’t divide yourself from it, even if you want to. If you think of the Big Bang concept everything comes out of one single thing and even science cannot fully explain what is behind all of that.
You have a track on your EP called “Wer hat Angst vor’m weißen Mann” which you recorded with the Austrian rapper Yasmo?
Yasmo invited me to record it with her. She told me about that game you have here, “Wer hat Angst vor’m schwarzen Mann“. She does the equality talk on the track and than she asks me: „Hast du Angst vor’m weißen Mann?“ And my answer ist: „Of course“. For me it was a perfect track to do, because living as a black man means living in a world that has hugely been determined by white ideas.
How do you feel about that here in Vienna?
I lived in London and living here for me is not so different in terms of the feelings of being seen as something different, knowing that there is a culture that is somehow different. All these kind of things are not new to me. Vienna is a place which I can in certain ways compare to London, in terms of transportation or weather or culture, but in terms of how it represents to being a black man I cannot really define easy differences. There are the same feelings that you face, the same eyes that look at you. As a reminder in Vienna the FPÖ posters are everywhere, so people here are maybe more honest than in London.
The right wing parties are getting stronger and stronger all over Europe …
I think it makes us wanna have this discussion more seriously and more regularly. The people who are voting for them will not benefit from their policies. I think a certain amount of education and awareness is still needed. We need to talk about what they represent, that needs to be more clear, that discussion should be around the table a lot more often. For some people it is really obvious what they stand for, for others it is not so obvious. For instance when Strache made a rap song, I think a lot of young people bought into it, it has even been played on Superfly, which is a black radio station, that’s really crazy, that doesn’t really work out. I think a lot of people are being influenced by him, he is just smart, it is propaganda and he uses the tools that he has. I think they hide behind a mask. As a non-German speaker I am not catching the nuances of what they mean when they talk about „Heimat“, what comes with the understanding of what they are talking about. But the meaning of their slogans come from a cultural perspective and a language perspective. I think a lot of people may come here and not contribute to that and not see it as it really is.
I don’t know if you heard about the incident which happened a couple weeks ago – some guys from a far-right group called “Identitäre” interrupted a theater play at Uni Wien which was performed by refugees. They spilled artificial blood over them. They don’t have to fear any consequences, neither from the university, nor from the police. I think that’s an example about how much far-right groups are already accepted by society in Austria.
That shows you the strengthening power and the comfort that they have already, that really seems to be growing. You just have to take a look across the water, Trump is talking as much bullshit as he wants and is doing quite well with it. A lot of people enjoy his ideas and if the majority of people wanna buy into these things that’s what is gonna happen and what is gonna win. I hope and pray that Trump won’t win, but I wouldn’t be overly surprised, because I’ve seen too much bullshit happening and I’ve seen the surprise on people faces when it actually happens, then they are like: „Oh, can you believe it, such and such is happening“ and I am like „Wow where do you live?“. For instance with respect to black people, when you hear about some of the injustice that has been done to black people and some people turn around and go: “Wow, I didn’t really expect that to happen from, for example, police officers”. Shit, I have to hear these stories every day of my life. This is such a clear reality for me, that I cannot automatically trust them.
Whereas on the other hand there is a lot of white people who get the benefit from feeling socially together with the police. It’s a mindset, that shows that they live a totally different reality. That’s the whole point of the separation and the divide, which is based on economic gain. If we go back in history the color divide was based on being able to use people for the benefit of the abusers. As we creep into today, things have changed in terms of how people get paid for work now, regardless of their color and things like that, but the fact is that people are still being used for the benefit of others. Some people benefit and get all the good stuff at their side of society and others don’t. The way that you can benefit is when you fit into that society, vote for that society, approve the model of that society. Than you will feel the comfort of all the benefits that come with it, it doesn’t have to be about your color, even if it still mostly is. For equality you have to challenge society and the injustice which is happening everywhere, it means that you cannot live a comfortable life, because you see how many people live in injustice.
I am political in that sense that you cannot get away from politics, you cannot avoid them economically, politically and social-wise, so it would be ignorant to think that I am not political, but my approach to it is very much that I am trying to express myself through music.
What are your thoughts on the refugee crisis and Europe’s reaction to it? During the less problematic times the EU always pretended to be the inventor of human rights, but now when they are really needed, they are just building walls and forget about them.
I’ll talk about just Austria for a minute, a lot of people here have been willing to go and do things for the refugees, but it hasn’t come from above, it hasn’t been legislated, it hasn’t been from top-down. If anything the top-down approach is to continue that divide, to continue picking out differences and trying to marginalize, not opening areas that will support refugees. They’re just trying to minimize the number of people, that can come here, that can settle. They just wave them on to the next side.
I heard that they where trying to destroy the ships that where bringing people to Europe, I mean that’s the political response to it, that is just retarded, it’s inhuman. Now it’s kind of down to the power of the people to make demands, have a voice, speak about it in order to make a difference. I am very happy about people who help refugees in their daily life, but when it comes to politicians I am just hugely disappointed. I got a line that says: “European politics is just law for law the solution to the confusion is sink a couple of ships now bodies flood to the shore.” That’s the reality we are living in at the moment.
The worst part is, that Europe has helped to create the struggles in which these people are in at the moment, but even if it didn’t, Europe is in such a good place that it should be able to open its borders and help. It is amazing for me to see how quickly people are able to turn blind eyes if they want to – to just look for their own benefit and talk about „our borders“ and „our nation“.
When it comes to this, there is also a lot of manipulation coming from the media and politics …
Yeah, when you look at the link between media and politics. Media is actually supposed to inform us. A friend of mine used to work for this newspaper pressing plant and he was like, they lease with different news groups to see which stories are being agreed up on, which stories are we sharing. That shows how much agreement goes on between these newspapers, no matter what kind of newspapers, it doesn’t matter if they are right or left. It’s kind of like Monopoly.
A lot of my approach to life comes from music that was my education, you hear a line from, for example, Public Enemy and it opens your eyes. Not that my family didn’t watch the news and stuff, but that information didn’t open my eyes in the way certain artists did. Because they talked way clearer, more definite truth that resonated with me and made a hell of a lot more sense. Whereas when I turn on the radio and listen to the news, they go trough so many different little things that you cannot get a full grasp of any information. You don’t get informed, you get what little information they want you to get.
I hope to play a part of tearing down some of those walls, by just saying what I think as clearly as I can as an individual, trying to be informed to some degree, trying to be reflective, not just living like a zombie. The world forces you to do so many different things, time can disappear so quickly.