Miami-based hip-hop artist and activist MECCA aka GRIMO was featured on Coming Home Haiti, Revolt TV’s documentary on Creole-language rap that appeared on the network recently. This marks one of several times that mainstream, international media has taken note of that musical genre. Mecca aka Grimo discussed being part of the doc, and what he has been up to lately.
Kreyolicious: How did you get involved with Coming Home Haiti?
Who’s Crazy Film Academy was asked to continue their film series and their next stop was Haiti. They already traveled to Cuba and Peru and Revolt Tv really liked their vision. So, as they were preparing to make arrangements for their trip, DJ Efn and Michael Garcia, who are two good friends of mine from the hip-hop scene in Miami. They invited me to roll with them since they knew that I am heavily involved in the Hip Hop Kreyòl scene and the Haitian Community. They both felt like I would be a helpful asset on the trip assisting in translating and introducing them to Haitian hip-hop artists that I’ve worked with on prior projects.
Kreyolicious: Was the fact that it was a Revolt TV production a major factor in your agreeing to be a part of it all?
Not at all. I would’ve been down to explore and bring light to the influence of hip-hop in Haiti—even if Revolt TV wasn’t involved. We are all thankful that Revolt TV embraced this series because it’s important to know how certain types of music styles integrated into different cultures, and how it affects the progression of the culture. Also, I was very delighted to be able to go back to Haiti and meet up with fellow artists, friends and family that I haven’t seen awhile.
Above: MECCA aka GRIMO poses with other members of Miami’s artistic community at a screening of Coming Home Haiti.
Kreyolicious: Why do you think the movement warrants so much attention?
The movement warrants this attention because Haiti has been through a lot of adversity. When a nation has gone through the struggle that Haiti has gone through you have to ask yourself what is keeping them inspired and alive. Hip-hop feeds the soul. It energizes the spirit. The youth in Haiti find hope in hip-hop. It’s a way for them to express themselves, and feel good about what they are accomplishing. We all feel the same when we say music crosses language barriers. So, no matter what language we speak, music operates on frequencies that drives us all. The movement also promotes social and political change. Through music, we are all messengers of the art form. So, we keep it alive in its truest form by talking about what is real to us.
Kreyolicious: What is the current state of Miami’s Creole rap scene?
There’s a few of us spread out through out Miami’s hip-hop Kreyòl scene, but the heavy hitters are in Haiti for sure. We are all influenced and driven by the beautiful country of Ayiti. We all want to do so much more. At the very least, our contribution is to preserve the language and culture so those that come after us have something to feel proud about. More artists of Haitian decent are coming out [of] the woodwork and making an effort to connect with the culture these days…which means that we are becoming more proud of who we are as a people when we are able to reflect our culture through our every expression.
Kreyolicious: What projects are you working on currently?
I’m currently working on my book titled Haiti was Born in Me, which includes a cultural guide towards the rear of the book after the poems and readings. The book will be out in April for National Poetry Month. I’m also working on a project called “We Dem Zoes”, which is our musical expression and perspective being of Haitian descent living in America. Spearheaded by 103.5’s The Beat, DJ Epps, the project includes other artist such as Grimass, Stichiz—who is also an on air personality for 103.5 The Beat, myself MECCA aka GRIMO and the producer of the project, Magnificent Beats. Look for our first single and video “Test of Strength” to come out soon. On the last Friday of every month, I host a poetry venue called “Poetic Lakay”, which allows artists from the community to come and share their work of expression. Our 501(c)3 non-profit organization Children’s Hope Chest of Dreams reaches out to the underprivileged youth and teaches conflict resolution and anger management and resolution skills. The organization also offers cultural-based programs and mentors youth who have entered the juvenile system.
Be sure to keep up with Mecca aka Grimo…