Rapper Killah Priest said the one thing that troubles him about the present state of hip-hop is apathy. "There is a lack of love for the art," Priest said during a telephone interview from his tour bus as it was heading for Buffalo, N.Y.
"There are a lot of so-called artists out there that are laying down tracks just for the money," he added. "There are a lot of mediocre acts out there that don't care about what they're doing, as long as they're getting paid."
Priest, who was born Walter Reed, didn't name anyone in particular, but he said there is a stable of mediocre rappers who are all flash and no action. "That's not what I'm about. My music is about conceptual metaphors. I like using words. I like to paint musical images with my words."
Priest, who got his start in 1997, with his homies in Wu-Tang Clan on the track "B.I.B.L.E," is touring in support of his upcoming fifth solo album, "Black August." "I try to make every album different. The new album is a return to my roots. I brought back some slow loops that were a throwback to my early days as a beginning emcee.
"When I started performing, I was basically a dancer. But when I hooked up with GZA and Wu-Tang, they got me in contact with the microphone more often than not. It was intimidating. But it was half-dancing and half-emceeing, and I was able to get in the groove. That was entertaining. So I decided to be an entertainer and that's what I'm doing now."
Although Priest is having fun on this tour, he makes it a point to tell his fans — and anyone who will listen — that he takes his job seriously. "My goal is to make deep music. I'm a deep thinker, and I want to communicate my ideas to others. And I would like to have my fans look at things from as many different views as they can.
"As an emcee and artist, I have a responsibility to my fans. Hip-hop is a movement and it needs to evolve. It can't afford to become stagnant."
If you go
What: Killah Priest
Where: Bricks, 579 W. 200 South
When: 7 p.m. Monday
How much: $10
Phone: 467-8499 or 1-800-888-8499