#65: Jeffrey Dante Campbell
A longtime fixture on the local hip-hop scene as the rapper Apostle and founder of the youth-friendly Colorado Hip-Hop Coalition, Jeff Campbell's been around the block -- and ventured away from it -- over the past two decades, before coming back with a bang: Last fall, the artist and social-justice activist surprised Denver audiences with his multi-character, one-man satire, Who Killed Jigaboo Jones, which makes a strong case for the death of the same hip-hop culture he once embraced. Where does Campbell -- whose intentions remain proactive regardless of his weariness with the commercialization and depoliticization of hip-hop -- go from here? Read on to find out.
Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Jeff Campbell: James Brown. His sensibility of funky was at an inordinately high level and he never forgot the important things about performing his music live. His approach to rhythm composition separated him from the pack, and set the bar for everything claiming to be funky afterwards. He was a genius.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
My mind as of late has rarely been on music, poetry or art and so on. Instead, I have been preoccupied by the crisis in the Middle East, the dramatic changes within our own country and the general population's apathy about it.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
Trends do come and go, and I rarely pay attention to them. I am in no way in favor of the censorship of artistic expression. I would love to see more artists who create and fans who support art with an intention of liberation and equality...to balance out the art that is created to distract us from such abhorrent realities.
What's your day job?
I am building an artist management and booking agency. I want to specialize in comedians, DJs and MCs.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
There are so many talented individuals in Colorado worthy of worldwide recognition. I couldn't possibly name them all. The Black Actors Guild is a collective of brilliant artists whom I respect greatly.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
I am playing a music festival coming up in September, so I am currently working on music. I have a book in the works, as well as a documentary, a mixtape and a DVD of my play, Who Killed Jigaboo Jones. I'm also performing the play again in Dallas early next year.
Who do you think will get noticed in the local art community in 2014?
Kayla Marquee is a very talented singer/songwriter. Her lyrics and voice are rare and powerful.
Learn more about Who Killed Jigaboo Jones online.
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Throughout the year, we'll be shining the spotlight on 100 superstars from Denver's rich creative community. Stay tuned to Show and Tell for more, or visit the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.
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