tv Charlie Rose PBS May 31, 2014 12:00am-1:01am PDT
>> charlie: welcome to the program. we begin this evening with an appreciation of maya angelou who died this week. >> i have agreed a long time ago, charlie charlie, this may be my greatest blessing, i agreed a long time ago that i would die. now... if i can admit that, that no matter what happens, i will do this thing, this is the biggest bugaboo of them all, i will do that, well, then, why couldn't i attempt something lesser. >> charlie: yeah. so i will try. >> charlie: also my co-host at cbs this morning gayle king who was a friend of maya angelou, remembers her in a personal way. >> my mom died in 1994, and she called me one day and said, hello, my darling girl -- no one
had a voice like hers -- i was just calling to see, how is your heart? talk about being a word smith, everyone else would ask how you're doing, you would say, i'm fine, great. how is your heart... i said, no one ever asked me that. she said, i'm sure not. >> charlie: we concludes this evening with one of the legends of hip-hop, nasir jones, known as nas. >> people hear the music and think i glorify something negative, and they might be so inspired. they may hear a song that's so raw to them that that's all they hear is the negative side, so i had to show them the difference. i'm a musician, you know. so never get caught up in the street tales we tell and never let it become you and never let
captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> charlie: this week, we note the death of maya angelou, the influential author, actress and activist was 86. perhaps best known for her autobiography "i know why the caged bird sings" a candid account of a southern child's live marked by racism and hate. she spoke several languages, taught drama, danced and marched for civil rights with malcolm x and martin luther king. when the latter was assassinated on her 40th birthday, she was devastated. first and foremost, she was a poet and over the years a
frequent presence on pbs. her first appearance on my program came in 1993 after she recited her poem "on the pulse of the morning" at president clinton's first inauguration. >> a rock, a river, a tree, hosts to species long since departed marked the mastadon, the dinosaur who left dry tokens of their sojourn here on our planet floor. any broad alarm of their hastening doom is lost in the gloom of dust and ages. but today the rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully, come, you may stand upon my back and face your distant destiny, but seek no haven in my shadow.
i will give you no hiding place down here. > i took the three symbols from african-american music so that the rock and all that is said about the rock comes from the 19th century gospel song which is -- ♪ there is no hiding place down here ♪ ♪ no, there's no hiding place down here ♪ ♪ oh, i went to the rock to hide my face ♪ ♪ rock cried out, no hiding place ♪ you know? and then the river, i took from -- ♪ ♪ i'm gonna lay down my burden, down by the riverside ♪ ♪ to study no more and the tree from my grandmother's favorite song.
my grandmother when she died was over 6'. and she used to say. ♪ i shall not, i shall not be moved ♪ actually, she was saying. ♪ i shall not, i shall not be removed ♪ ♪ just like a tree that's planted by the water ♪ ♪ oh, i shall not be removed so i took those three from that particular genre and african-american soul. >> charlie: once you had that? then i could talk about all of us -- the spanish speaking, the jew, the italian, the muslim, the gay and the straight and the teachers, the privileged and the homeless and the artists and all of us who make this fabulous country. i belonged to church in winston-salem, north carolina, mt. zion baptist church, and i work in the church. >> charlie: and sing in the
choir? >> no, but i will work with the choir. >> charlie: why wouldn't you -- >> i'm not home long enough. it wouldn't be fair. >> charlie: what's your favorite hymn? >> my favorite is my grandmother's. not "i shall not be moved," but she had a song she used to sing every sunday, every sunday the b.' brought, mon the mother of the church pew, and the preacher would say, and-a-now, we will be privileged with a song from sister henderson ." and every sunday for ten years, my grandmother would say, me? and i would think, momma, get up and sing! they even know what you're going to sing! the kids would be giggling, growr grandmother is -- your
grandmother is doing it again! oh, it was horrible! then she would stand and sing. ♪ i am a poor pilgrim of sorrow ♪ ♪ i'm lost in this wide world alone ♪ >> charlie: sing it, sister! i'm not here to sing! and i can't sing, either. >> charlie: yes, you can. there was also the dark side to maya angelou's childhood in the rural racially divided south. it woul would become the grist r her break-through novel. my friend bill moyers went back with her to stamps, arkansas. >> the black part of stamps started right there at that bridge. >> charlie: where that fellow's fishing? >> well, yes, there and behind us. at the -- at the railroad track.
this was more or less no man's land here because, if you were black, you never felt really safe when you simply crossed the railroad tracks. you still had to go all this way. it was like an international tarmac where anybody could get you. you were really in the black part of town when you crossed that little bridge and the pond. then you were safe. then, if you didn't know everybody, at least everybody knew who you were, you know. and as a child, it was the chance to have some protection. i used to have to walk over here. oh, gosh, i hated it.
i had no protection at all over there. i had an idea of protection on this side. i had my grandmother on this side. i had the church, my uncle and all my people were on this side. so i had an idea of protection, but there i would be all alone. and i loathed it, walking those railroad tracks. bill, i tell you, to show you how much things don't change, i'm not even going to cross it with you now. i don't really -- i'm not doing this for any reason other than i really do not want to go across there. i really don't. >> i understand. so what are you thinking right
now? >> charlie: it was the challenges of her childhood, not only segregation and jim crow but incidents of sexual abuse that would fuel her fires of creativity. after she named her abuser and he was killed by a mob, she went mute for five years. >> this is a letter to myself when i was about 15. "dear me"... myself then. "first, i know you know how to miss him. "when i was 8, i became a mute and was mute until i was 13. and i thought of my whole body as an ear, so i could go into a crowd and sit still and absorb all sound. that talent or ability has lasted and served me until today.
once you appreciate one of your blessings, one of your senses, the sense of hearing, then you begin to respect the sense of seeing and touching and tasting. you learn to respect all the senses. >> charlie: you have done everything. >> no, i have not. i have tried a lot of things. i have failed at some things and succeeded at some things. >> charlie: yeah, but what i love about you is that you have attacked it all with great passion. i mean, look at all the books here you have written. if i could look at all the things you've done from journal it's, poet, writer, actor, producer, all of those kind of things which suggest this uncommon confidence in yourself and willingness to risk failure. >> yes, but maybe it's more dangerous to risk success. >> charlie: what do you mean? well, a lot of people don't really want success. >> charlie: i've never understood that. >> this is true.
>> charlie: they don't want it and the best evidence of that is -- >> they fail. >> charlie: -- they fail. the best evidence of that is they don't try things. >> that's right, that's right. but to succeed means that you're in front of god and lots of responsible people and you have to either eat your words or stand by them. i think that i have agreed a long time ago, charlie rose, this may be my greatest blessing, i agreed a long time ago that i would die. now, if i can admit that, that no matter what happens, i will do this thing, this is the biggest bug-a-boo of them all, i will do that, well, then, why couldn't i attempt something lesser? so i will try. >> charlie: among her many
accomplishments, maya angelou also became a teacher, first poet and resident and professor at wake forest university. even as she grew frail, angelou's writings continued to inspire. the final post on her twitter account was as beautiful and simple, listen to yourself and in that quietude, you might hear the voice of god. you think poetry is the music of the voice. >> it is all music. i go back to edgar allan poe, mickey giovanni -- all poetry is music written for the human voice and only comes into its own when it is spoken. it's fine and wonderful to see professors of literature and the ivy league universities and colleges looking at what is called concrete poetry -- that
is poetry which is to be seen and, so, how it is shaped is so important to the poetry, that's fine and may be true, but to me, until the human voice gives it elevation, it doesn't really sing, it doesn't come into its own, it doesn't lift the heart and make the blood race. >> charlie: of all the talents you have, what one of them resonates most with you? what one of them is the clearest expression of who and what you are? >> i'm a writer. that's what i am. that's who i am. that's how i describe myself to myself and to god in prayer. when i say, lord, you remember me? maya angelou, tall, 6'tall black female, i write, lord. when i feel like i have to describe myself to the lord, i
always include, i write, that's what i'm able to do. i thank the lord that i'm able to do other things. i'm grateful, but that's how i describe myself to myself. >> charlie: is it, in your judgment, a learned craft? >> well, everything is learned, charlie rose. i don't know how you learn it, but everything is learned. it is said some people are born great, some achieve it and some have it thrust upon them. well, i think that's true of all the things you are. you are born that thing, you earn it and some of it is thrust upon you. i believe that to be so. >> charlie: so your story was thrust upon you. >> it was mine to live. >> charlie: yeah. mine to live. so it is now. it is mine to live, and i try to live it with so much flare. i do. >> charlie: maya angelou, dead at 86. we continue our appreciation of maya angelou with gayle king. she was a friend of maya
angelou, and she is a great friend of mine. she and maya knew each other more than 30 years. she has called the poet and teacher one of a kind in all the best ways. gayle is co-host of cbs this morning and much more than that. i am pleased to have her with me at this time knowing the depth of her feelings about maya angelou. i thank you. >> it's been a very interesting week, charlie. the first day came as we had just gotten off the air and you sort of get through that. the next day, after watching all the tv coverage and seeing your friend's name with the birth date and end date of her death and then to see people going to her house and laying flowers at a house you have been to many times was very, very hard. >> charlie: tell us the maya you knew. >> well, i was thinking about this because what is it like to admire somebody as a kid and then you meet them and then you become friends, so friendly you see them in your pajamas, so friendly they're in the kitchen
cooking for you, that they're asking you your feelings, how are you doing, what's going on in your life? i would sometimes be in awe of her, watching her move around. i know that she generally, generally cared for me and i'm so grateful for that. i met her through oprah. she and oprah had been friends many, many years. i met her through oprah and a long time didn't call her anything. i was afraid to say something to her, and i would always try to make eye contact before i would just start talking. one day, i said, dr. angelou -- she said, why are you calling me that? i heard her chastise people who called her maya. i said, i just thought i was supposed to. she said, no, you're not, what are you doing? then i thought, oh, she likes me! >> charlie: did she say something like she would look after you? >> yeah, you know, my mom died in 1994, and she called me one day and said, hello, my darling
girl -- no one had a voice like hers -- i was just calling to see how is your heart. which i think -- talk about being a wordsmith. how is your heart. i said, boy, maya, no one's ever asked me that before. she said, i'm sure not. doesn't that sound like her? i'm sure not! >> charlie: she had a sense of confidence and self. >> that's what resonates with so many people. i've gotten so many amazing e-mails and letters and phone calls from people who said i never met maya but because of her i feel more confident and stronger about myself, i feel significant in my own body. that's certainly what maya did for many, many people. she didn't care about your color, your class. so you would go to her house for thanksgiving -- you know, charlie, for thanksgiving at maya angelou with 300 people or
so -- she was a very good cook. there would be the housekeeper and driver sitting with diplomats and politicians and famous people because, in her, the human condition was the same, and that's something that i think, you know, i'll never ever forget that. but, also, she could be very tough. >> charlie: and demanding. very tough and demanding. when we were sitting around the table and you said something that she felt was inappropriate, a racist or sexual joke, she would say, stop it! stop it! i will not have that! i have seen her at other people's homes and say, you can't do that in this house! she would have people leave the table saying, i don't want it in my furniture, i don't want it in my curtains, you must leave! we would sit there, like, oh, this is awkward, but she was very sure of herself. i called her once and i was
complaining -- i thought it was venting and seeking advice. i'm mid story and she said, stop it, stop it! i said, i haven't finished. she said, i don't care, it doesn't matter. you're whining. i said, i'm not whining, i'm just -- you're whining. >> charlie: you're seeing yourself as a victim. >> she said a, whining is very unbecoming, it lets you know there's a victim in the neighborhood and you must stop it. you must say thank you. what am i saying thank you for? you must always say thank you! you can always say thank you. i'm, like, thank you! i wanted to shrink under the table! she's the only one who could make me feel like i was seven! >> charlie: leather bound copies of her books with a lovely inscription -- >> they came a week before she died to my office. she had written a note to me in them. i called her to say thank you.
that was the last conversation i had with her. she said, i wanted you to have these. i don't think -- people said, oh, she must have known. i don't think so, charlie. i talked to her son, i talked to people who had talked to maya the day before she died, she was planning the party for the fourth of july! she had been fragile for so long that we all thought it could happen any day, this week, next week, a year or two from now. we didn't think it would be that day. when you're 86 years old and you die in your own home, in your own bed, peacefully without pain, there is something very beautiful in that. everybody has a favorite maya quote. >> charlie: people wanted to share their emotion with you when they know your relationship. >> people say, i feel like i lost my mother and grandmother.
everyone says what i believe, too, you know, not to have that wisdom or hear that voice. you know, of course, oprah and i talked, she was on a movie set this week and she said, i'm not looking nate of the coverage. i said, oh, man, oprah, you should see the coverage. she said, i don't want to look at it because i don't want to think of maya as a news story. but for me, you know, i'm a news junky, as are you. i couldn't get enough of it. i wanted to know what people said. you know, the impact she had on people really does live on and, in that way, there will always be a place for us with maya. >> charlie: she had such a powerful personal story. yeah. >> charlie: what she had overcome and wrote about. and even going mute. >> even that. think about this little girl who was raped at the age of 7, and she speaks of it, she tells her uncle, and the man who did this ends up being killed -- he was beaten to death -- and she feels
that because of her voice, this man -- it's a well-known story -- because of her words, this man lost her life and to decide at 7 that i'm not going to speak, and she didn't speak for five years because she was so consumed with that. what little kid thinks like that? that shows you again, she was in a different gear than most people. she was very confident in her own skin. very confident in her own skin. you know, you might not agree with her tactics sometimes of correcting people, but she was never wrong. she was never wrong in that respect. >> charlie: she could also be a bit of a -- >> she was mischievous. >> charlie: yes. she said to me, you know, i'm juicy like a peach, and she would hold her head like that. i'm juicy like a peach. she was very smitten with you, charlie rose. >> charlie: well, thank you. it's a testimony to her and what she meant as a part of the legend of maya angelou. >> i'm delighted to be her.
>> charlie: back in a moment, stay with us. >> in my youth before i was corrupt bid the business of national security, i was a poet. >> charlie: you were a poet? and i loved writing and studying poetry. and she was from my earliest days as a student of poetry one of my very favorites. then as i grew up and had more opportunities and exposure, i got to meet her on a number of occasions, and she had such grace and warmth and dignity, she was extraordinarily affirming of everybody she touched. >> charlie: nasir jones is here, most know him as nas. professor of english at harvard
calls him a poit illmatic, his album, introduced people to the streets of new york. it was written, it's a depiction of inner city blight. more than 20 years later the story behind the album is the subject of new documentary called time isomatic. here is the trailer for the documentary. ♪ i felt like a king was born. every rhyme was like the best i ever heard in my life. eight, nine, ten years old, talking about the devil and god.
nobody was rhyming like that back then. one, two, three! >> illmatic was a new beginning of rap. >> it was like living a hustler's life through poetry. >> when i made illmatic, i was trying to make the perfect album. it comes from the days of wild style. i was trying to make you experience my life. i wanted you to look at hip-hop differently. i wanted you to feel that hip-hop was changing and becoming something more real. i gave you what the streets felt like, what it sounded like, tasted like, smelled like, all in that album, and i tried to capture it like no one else could.
♪ >> charlie: is your music poetry? >> i never liked that word. no. >> charlie: why not? it sounds too refined, too -- >> charlie: not raw. right. i consider my music more raw, especially the first record. i was more raw. >> charlie: you said this was your effort at perfection. >> yes, i tried to make it perfect because, at that point, it was my first -- it was my entry into the rap game so the rap game was full of so many hard-hitting groups and artists
that if it was anything less than what i felt would be perfect, i would have failed. i would have never gotten into the rap game. today is a lot easier, i think, to get into the rap game. but back then, in $94, it was a lot -- a lot harder. >> charlie: did you change the game? >> yes. yes, i did. and that was my point. it was my point to -- i was a new voice and, then, a new voice automatically it was beyond my control. it was, like, i'm a new voice with something -- a new way to talk about things, and it changed things. >> charlie: how different is hip-hop today? >> it's definitely more global. it's everywhere. it's more of the mainstream. >> charlie: it's been -- i
don't want to say this word -- but it's been accepted as the music form it is. >> it's been accepted for sure. yeah, that's the difference. >> charlie: even if it's protest, it's been accepted. >> absolutely. like, it's cool. (laughter) it used to be a lot scarier. >> charlie: yeah. how does that happen, do you think? >> well, people don't get scared anymore. they realize that this nightmarish music is not going to influence your kids to g thrw it all away. it's okay. >> charlie: where do you see yourself in this evolution? >> well, i see myself as just -- just as a musician. i feel like i'm growing, i evolve. i'm an evolving artist and i evolved with the times, i feel like. you have to, you know. >> charlie: don't you say
the -- name an artist you haven't influenced. >> yeah, that's bragdocious way of rap, you know. yeah, i've influenced a few, sure, and i have been influenced by a lot of artists as well. >> charlie: like whom? slick rick, ice cube, ll cool jay, rakim big daddy cane, kool g. rap, michael jackson. >> charlie: michael jackson. frank sinatra. you know, a wide list. >> charlie: yeah. of artists. from sinatra, you got what? i liked when he said "i did it my way." i didn't know frank sinatra's name. i heard his name when i was a kid, but the song "my way" stood
out to me, as a kid. >> charlie: you know, i have been doing this for a few years, so i've met a lot of artists. this is jay-z making the case hip-hop is poetry. this is in 2004. >> the hip-hop's poetry and the poets in hip-hop are some of the best ever. the stories being told all the while rhyming and staying on beat and expressing emotions and having people connect to those emotions, oh, man, that's some of the best music ever. ever. ever. you know, not to knock any of the industry, like the things that hip-hop artists sing about, those are real things. those are things people connect to. that's why hip-hop artists have movements, people follow them because the things they're saying resonate with people. you know, it strikes a chord. when it's done correctly, the
connection in hip-hop, the raw honesty and poetry in what we're saying is unrivaled. >> charlie: what role did the street play for you, the queens bridge projects? >> everything. >> charlie: everything? it was school. >> charlie: it was your school? >> yeah, the real school. you know, it was survival of the fittest. it was beautiful. you know, a lot of times, when you hear rap artists talk about the hood, we don't get a chance to talk about the beauty of the community, also. a lot of great people come out of the neighborhoods and i have been inspired by the all, the good and bad, but it's definitely a survival. >> charlie: where did this documentary come from that we saw? >> this was a couple years in the making by two cool guys, one nine and eric parker. they put this together and i wanted nothing to do with it. i mean, i knew them from being around them in the industry, they were working in the industry, and they had
interviewed my father and a few other people and, you know, that wasn't new. there were people coming around, interviewing my folks and, you know, but something about them, they kept at it, and they really were so determined to get it done that, you know, i thought it had gone away. and just last year, we sat down and they showed me how much they'd done, and i just had to take my hat off and finally sit down and do an interview and let them in. i'm glad i did. >> charlie: here's another artist that you know, kanye west talking about his skills and others, an appearance on this program in 2005. here it is. >> i'm not that good of a rapper. i'm getting pretty nice. >> charlie: but you're not that good. >> yeah, i'm no jay-z, i'm no nas, but i got a niche. i got my thing. >> charlie: he's no nas! that's kanye, the one and only, man. >> charlie: because?
he -- >> charlie: he does the music and the lyrics? >> he does the music and the lyrics and takes it to another level and he's not scared to say what's on his mind and he does it in a way where it's just -- you know, amazing. >> charlie: press eats him up, don't they? >> yeah, man. that comes with the territory, you know. and he's walking on some pretty -- some dangerous ground. he likes to live on the wild side seems like, but, really, seems like he's trying to offer himself. he's showing us who he is and the media eats that up, you know. >> charlie: what is gangsta rap or maf oso rap? >> i think that came in the '90s. it wasn't the type of records you play on the radio at all. the language was out there. >> charlie: violent subject matter. >> violent subject matter.
some would say derogatory. some would say disrespectful to women. but today it's funny because they play that stuff today, whereas back then no chance. but, yet, these guys still sold records, lots of records and got the title gangsta rap. >> charlie: this is your rap. i got (far from my life but kid who made his fame from a pen >> you sound good saying that. (charlie reading rap) >> that's nice. >> charlie: that's your words. because when i talk about the street, you know, people hear the music and they start to feel like i'm glorifying violence or something negative and they may be inspired, the kids might hear a song that's so raw -- again, raw, the word -- but they hear
it and it's so raw that it's all they hear is the negative side. so i had to show the difference. i'm a musician, you know. so never get caught up in, you know, the street tales we tell and never let it become you and never let that be what defines you. just because i'm from the projects doesn't mean i'm negative, you know. >> charlie: absolutely. i don't think you are. so of all the lines you've written, what are the ones you're most proud of? where do you think you were at your best? >> i don't think i -- >> charlie: you don't have to choose one, but just among them. >> i didn't get there yet. >> charlie: you're not there. i'm not there yet. >> charlie: so you're still coming. >> i'm still working, still learning. >> charlie: how do you learn? i read. i like talking to older people.
kids now? >> yeah, son and daughter. >> charlie: how else are you different? >> well, i've always been a calm individual, but i'm a lot more calm, and i've changed in ways where i was once a rebel to america, and now i like america a lot more. >> charlie: you like america a lot more because it accepted you? >> no. i don't want to feel accepted. >> charlie: you don't. i want to earn it. i want to -- i'm like everybody else in this world and i just want to be a part of this whole human family and i don't need to be accepted by anybody. but it's better for me because now i can see different. i can see why certain things are the way they are, why the system works a certain way, and it doesn't seem like a beast that i can't conquer anymore. it feels like this is my soil, this is where i'm from, this is who i am. a proud american. there was a time when i didn't
feel that way. >> charlie: new york state of mind. >> yes. >> charlie: what do you think of that? >> oh, that's one of my favorites. that is one of my favorites. there's a darkness to the music, but there's a piano thing in there. it's a lot different from billy joel's new york state of mind. i like his version. >> charlie: i do, too. but, you know, it didn't come from his version, it came from me, just a kid in new york, and i wanted to make that a picture of my live. >> charlie: where is hip-hop today? >> oh, wow. >> charlie: what place is it? acceptance, for sure? celebrated, for sure? taken its place among genres. >> yeah. it's in a happy place. >> charlie: yeah. the music is about -- it's funny you said it's celebrated.
it's about celebration more than ever been. a lot of party records. a lot of party records for the strip clubs. there's a lot of those records around. so it's happy. it's happy. >> charlie: you gave rolling stone magazine a list of your favorite songs. >> okay, yeah. >> charlie: they all came from the 1980s, the so-called golden age of hip-hop. >> yeah. >> charlie: would you change it if you were doing a new hist? >> no. it's still a nation of millions by public enemy. he was very outspoken. the music was loud and crazy. it's still, you know, the same records that i grew up with. today the intensity in the music and rap music is not there as much. so i'm stuck there. >> charlie: are the conflicts there as much? >> what do you mean? >> charlie: well, east-west, all of that. >> no, that's gone. that's moved on. everybody's grown up.
there are conflicts. there are conflicts, of course. these are kids from the street and they come from one side of the street, and hip-hop is also -- also has a competitive thing about it, but it's battling between lier cysts, and those conflicts will always be around but it's not on the level of east coast, west coast. >> charlie: is one person the king? >> i think there's a few kings. >> charlie: who are they? you... >> well, krs once said kings rule and mostly never understood, so sometimes it's cool being the king and at other times, you know, watch your head. i'd like to put a crown on a lot of the young guys coming up, kendrick lamar, drake. >> charlie: drake? yeah. a lot of the young guys, i'd like to see them -- you know,
they're doing their thing and they're coming up in a way that's impressive. >> charlie: you can do this how long? you can do it as long as you want to. how long do you want to? >> as long as frank sinatra did it. >> charlie: you said nothing about bob dylan. >> i love dylan. >> charlie: i would think so. we were labelmates. i was on columbia records in my early years in rap, that album is on columbia, still, and some of the executives there would tell me i was the new bob dylan, and that was mind blowing. >> charlie: it should be. yeah. >> charlie: speaking of poetry. >> oh, man, he's someone that's, like -- you know, whew, he's out there. amazing. >> charlie: when you look at the artists who have made it, i mean, do all of them have a bundle of talent? >> no. >> charlie: they don't? i mean, i shouldn't say that
because i'm sure, to make it, you have to have some kind of talent. >> charlie: you have to have something. >> you've got to have something. but, you know, what is making it? that sometimes bothers me because i look at a lot of the artists who made it through the years and they don't always seem too happy. like we say, the press eats them up or, you know, i wonder if they're happy with what they are? >> charlie: and what was the feud you had with jay-z? >> that was about getting those conflicts of the two lyricists. it was about new york, i guess king stuff from new york. you know, we were both coming up, young and full of, you know, that energy that demanded the crown, and that happens. >> charlie: but you settled it, didn't you? >> yeah, that's my guy.
me and him are cool. yeah. me and him are cool. >> charlie: he's got the queen. >> he's got the queen. he's got the queen. so, yeah... if you want to mention my king, all right, i gave the young guy some credit, he's the king. he's the king. when you talk about that, you're talking about someone, like, 20 years, someone who's been around that long and broken down barriers and someone whose music stands the test of time and the current music they're doing is still, like, breaking records, changing the world, changing things and people are, you know, following these guys. you know, people like that, i think you need to be around 20 years or something to really be in that position because you can lose your crown fast when you're young. one wrong move, the crown's gone. >> charlie: but after 20 years --
>> 20 years. >> charlie: -- he has a greater claim. >> yeah. >> charlie: are you creating all the time? >> never. only in the studio, and i'm hardly there. >> charlie: why? i want to enjoy my life. you know, i'm really happy about how far i've come, but it's important to not miss out on the real things in life, too. >> charlie: like children? hildren, family. >> charlie: community. ommunity. you know, learning and never getting, you know, too far away from community. become isolated. >> charlie: can you make the argument that the best years are ahead of you? best work is ahead of you? >> absolutely, because i haven't done it, yet. i haven't done the best stuff yet. it's still coming. like, when you look at the greats, like mali from where he
started to where he ended, it was just, you know, he grew into something really, like, next level. >> charlie: okay, here's one more music video, if i rule the world. here it is. ♪ (rapping) >> charlie: what about you and this harvard. >> yeah. >> charlie: how did it come about? >> harvard has classes in art.
they have a hip-hop archive where they have all this old stuff. you can go and look at and learn from so they were starting a fellowship and needed a name to go with that fellowship, and they asked me. of course, you know, i was happy. i was more than happy to do it. you know, sometimes i get up in the morning and i can't believe i'm still here. i can't believe the things that i made it through. there is people i wish were still around that didn't make it with me, and i think about how it could have went the other way and how close -- >> charlie: you could have been them. >> yeah, definitely. so for me to be here and not only be here but have harvard acknowledge me in my work and want to put my name on something just shows, man, never give up. >> charlie: you're the guy who
said, "my people be projects or jail, never harvard or yale." >> right. i got to start changing the lyrics. >> charlie: you do, because you became harvard. >> i became harvard. >> charlie: nas jones fellowship at harvard university. your kids will be going to harvard, you know that. >> absolutely. absolutely. so i've got to change the lyrics up. >> charlie: you were at this harvard conference and gates said black americans are experiencing the best and the worst of times. is that true? >> yes. totally. gates is someone i look up to and he knows so much about african history, world history, black american history, so when he says something like that, it's definitely real, and i see both sides. my friends don't have -- not all my friends have lots of money.
a lot of my friends are still from the community i come from, and with the conditions that we deal with, whether stop and frisk, whether there are large amounts of people thrown in jail or whatever it is, it's rough out there. but, yet, still, you have dr. dre -- >> charlie: $2 billion. $3 billion. >> charlie: $3 billion. $3 billion, and we still have president barack obama i'm really proud of. so, yeah, it's a parallel universe. >> charlie: dr. dre and jimmy. i'm so proud of them. it's amazing. says a lot about apple. they know about hip-hop and know what's going on. >> charlie: i think they were buying more than headphones, don't you? i think they were buying heads.
>> wow... >> charlie: you heard it here. i heard it here. >> charlie: it's true, though, isn't it? >> yeah. >> charlie: they were buying heads, not headphones. >> totally. but, still, we've got to celebrate. it's the first hip-hop billionaire guy to do a multi-billion dollar deal. >> charlie: still $3 billion. $3 billion. >> charlie: whatever they wanted, it's $3 billion. >> so there's hope for people who come from places like i come from to be a dr. dre. >> charlie: you said your pop told me a fool at 40 is a fool forever, so i'm in good shape, i've come a long way. >> yeah. >> charlie: he's a jazz musician, right? >> he doesn't like it when i say he was a jazz musician. he said, i played jazz at the time because that was the music that would pay my bills. so he came out of the navy and played jazz at the time.
but he's into all kinds of music. he's officially retired, now, but, yeah, he has given me a lot of wise words through the years. >> charlie: what's important to you now? >> health, family, knowledge, wisdom, understanding. i'm always trying to learn. i want to create a safe environment for my family, a peaceful environment for myself. i want to always maintain a peaceful environment where i can work on whatever it is that i need to work on. >> charlie: have you made a ton of money? >> well, what's a ton of money? i've made more money than i ever thought i would make, and i continue to make a lot of money. >> charlie: and that's all right. >> yeah.
yeah, it's great. it's great, but it's also -- it's more great to figure out a way i can bring it back to my community and to all communities in this country and teach, if i can, how the next man can do it, too. >> charlie: the thing you can do is create and be an example. >> absolutely, and i want to continue to do that right, you know. so that's my focus and, also, on top of that, i want to teach kids ways to get into this american dream where they don't have to be rappers. >> charlie: well, exactly. unless it's in their heart, unless it's what they really love. but you don't have to rap or play basketball or sports. there's so many things you can do here. >> charlie: education is the key. >> yes. >> charlie: on this day we remember maya angelou. >> yes. sad. sad but she's angelic.
she -- she makes the word "poetry" great, when i think of poetry. i don't consider myself necessarily a poet. i don't what it is i do. >> charlie: you know what she did. >> i know what she did, and she -- i guess she did what i do now, in a way. i mean, she was before me, before this genre rap happened, she was the mother of it. she is one of the greatest things america ever produced that i ever witnessed. >> charlie: an inspiration? an inspiration on so many levels, such a positive energy, you know, for women, for men. another way to look at women for men who don't know how to understand women, who do not respect women, who do not understand black women, she was
a shining star, and she was that doorway into understanding love and intelligence and passion. she saw things with extra eyes, you know, things i couldn't see. things that were right in my face. the way she told it, how she saw it, her pective, divine. >> charlie: it's an honor to have you here. you're a remarkable young man. >> it's an honor to be here. i watch your shows. i can't believe i'm here, knock on wood. this is what it's about. thank you. >> charlie: thank you for joining us. see you next time. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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