A brief interview with the first lady of Rhymesayers, Chicago’s own Psalm One: Lyrical Hugs.
Chicago Hustles: I myself, have an alter ego of everything I wish to be – she’s tall and she’s a bitch. Where does your alter ego, “Hologram Kizzle” originate?
PO: “Hologram Kizzie” originates from my first rap name, which was Kizzie Tangents. If you go back to my very first projects you hear me refer to myself as Kizzie alot. While I have always embraced the alter-ego, I wanted to update it. I put the “Hologram” in front of it because it makes me laugh and it pokes fun at the future. Kizzie, you’ll recall is from Alex Haley’s Roots. Kizzie was Kunta Kinte’s daughter in that famous book/movie. So if you boil it all down, she’s the (futuristic) daughter of a slave. There’s so many angles to that and I explore those themes in my music.
Chicago Hustles: Where does your passion for music stem from?
PO: Some people are just drawn to what they love. I feel as though music made itself very prevalent early in my life; I’ve always adored listening to and analyzing music. I play a few instruments. I’ve played in a few bands. This was when I was younger, so I guess my progression to this point has been natural. However, I was a chemist before I was a professional musician. I didn’t necessarily “follow” a “path” to get here, you know? But music has always just been there. It’s innate.
Chicago Hustles: Do you descend from a musical family?
PO: I would say so. My uncle Randy is an accomplished blues guitarist and plays to this day in his church band. My grandmother and a few aunts sing extremely well; I have a cousin singing with The Color Purple musical right now. My cousin Malcolm actually took me to my first real recording session. Music has been a constant and ultimate presence in my world. And we all sang in the church choir. My mom and dad (RIP) are both writers.
Chicago Hustles: What kind of music keeps you motivated and inspired to continuously create?
PO: I try and keep my ear to the street, so to speak, when it comes to music and there is alot of new stuff that inspires me. I’m surrounded by dope music by just working with my peers, so it all ends up inspiring me. But I look to the greats often. I’m getting re-introduced to Led Zeppelin. I’ve been playing with my own band alot lately so even our rehearsals are dope and inspiring. It all gets absorbed.
Chicago Hustles: Your music is so eclectic – one of the reasons it is undeniably addicting. When you first began making music, did you intend to blend such a variety of sounds or is this just the way it turned out?
PO: Thank you. I believe my ability to bend genres is by design. I’ve always wanted to be able to rhyme over different soundscapes. Variety is the spice of life.
Chicago Hustles: You’re the first woman to be a part of Rhymesayers. When, where, how did that collaboration come about?
Rhymesayers definitely knew who I was because I’d played a show with Eyedea (RIP) back around winter of 2002. I’d also met Slug a few times in other cities. So they knew I existed. I believe Rhymesayers pulled the trigger after I did a song with Brother Ali and he presented them with the idea to sign me. Thanks again, Ali.
Chicago Hustles: Your album Free Hugs is solely produced by Compound 7 – why have you chosen to work exclusively with this duo? Where did you first connect?
PO: Free Hugs was a project I challenged myself to finish “as is”, if you will. I got a pack of beats from the duo in the middle of the night, I rapped over them in the order they were given to me. I liked the idea of doing a project solely based on that email. I even started recording in a new studio for that project. I just really wanted to do something different but organic. I wanted to challenge myself. Free Hugs is the product of that challenge.
Chicago Hustles: You seem to travel constantly and consistently sharing your music with the world – is this stressful? Or do you find that you’re at peace while spreading your message?
PO: I’m definitely at peace moving around. I really love traveling and I’m good at what I do. I’ve been learning how to run my own business in the past few years, so that gets stressful. But touring is something I feel very blessed to do.
Chicago Hustles: What is the ultimate goal for yourself as an artist and musician?
PO: You know, I’m really not sure what the “ultimate goal” is. I’ve done so many things I never dreamed I’d be able to do. Sometimes I look at my peers and think, “wow, I wanna do that”. But being able to get my music played all over the world, and travel, and make awesome friends and have all these grand experiences is a dream come true. But one of my materialistic goals would be to have an ill ass kitchen in my crib one day. I don’t have to even have to have a mansion — I just need a state of the art, sick ass kitchen. I love cooking. It soothes me so much and to be able to do it with the best toys, while at home, would be amazing.
Chicago Hustles: Being from Chicago How do you define “hustle”?
PO: Your “hustle” is your ability to maneuver through this crazy game of life/art/whatever. If you can maneuver very intelligently, and make some good money while doing what you love to do? Then your hustle is super tight.
Chicago Hustles: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Rhyme School is my mentoring program so if you’re in Chicago and have a child, please look us up through the Intonation Music Workshop. Thanks, guys!
Written by Jordhan Briggs