Black Lit: A New Voice for the People in Rap
When I saw the words “I’m black every month” on his Instagram page, I knew I had to follow him. When I saw the words “come ride my mind” captioning one of his photographs, I knew I had to talk to him. When it comes to his rap style, think Common meets PM Dawn; if he were female, he’d be Erica Badu or Maya Angelou. Appropriately stage-named “Black Lit” (short for literature) and with 18k followers on Instagram, it’s shocking that this guy’s music isn’t receiving the exposure it deserves.
Born Qu’monte Swan, the Milwaukee, Wisconsin native grew up listening to the stimulating lyrics of Tupac, Scarface, Rakim and the like; the music which helped to shape his artistry; but it was run-ins with the law that would give Swan the connection to spirituality that now reflects in his rhymes.
“I’ve always been in tune to my spiritual side, but not as much as I am now,” he said. “It began when I had to face a lot of legal battles at an early age. The neighborhood I grew up in made me want to evolve into something else. I didn’t want to be just another statistic. I wanted to see the world vividly, through different eyes.”
Not wanting to grapple for a record label signing with thousands of other upcoming artistes, Swan decided to start a record label of his own. Out of the need to be signed, Black Literature Productions was born.
“I started Black Literature Productions back in 2004 during my college days,” he said. “I don’t so much consider it a record label as I do a movement; a movement that consists of myself and a few other brothers from my college days.” As far as reception of his music goes, the self-proclaimed “mind shaker” says he has been embraced by many thus far. “I can honestly say that the energy I receive right now is all love. Of course there’s always going to be the few that doubt me, but that won’t stop me from shining.”