It’s 4:30 am in Manhattan on a cold November night. Genesis Be, producer and rapper, is in the studio running frantically to and from the recording room to the console, recording herself. “I have about four hours left” Genesis Be states as she grins at me. “Four hours of studio time?” I ask. After finishing a sip of espresso she replies, “No, four hours until class starts.”
Coming from an artist who just released a video for a single called, “No Sleep” her response does not surprise me. Dressed in a form fitting dress shirt and vest, Genesis Be looks more like a business manager rather than an aspiring rapper as she playfully slides around in the chair in front of the SSL Studio Console. She has a childlike demeanor yet speaks with such conviction and intensity that I cannot help but surrender my full attention. Sipping Starbucks in the dimly lit studio at The Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, Genesis shares her story of pain, resilience, ambition and vindication.
At age 23, Genesis Be has just completed her fourth studio album titled The Manhattan Project. Utilizing what she has learned at New York University’s prestigious Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, Genesis took on the role of executive producer, writer, engineer, mixer and mastering engineer of the project. When asked about the difficulties of being a full time double major student and an independent performer Genesis Be says, “compared to what I’ve had to handle in my past, this time of my life is the easy part. It’s the perfect opportunity to prove my ability and show that this isn’t a game to me. This struggle is a blessing for me.”
Raised in Mississippi, Genesis Be comes from a family with strong ties to the civil rights movement and was involved with activism and protests since age 6. “My grandfather was murdered for encouraging and educating black residents in Mississippi to vote in the 1960’s” says Genesis while glaring at the dog tags she wears around her neck that displays a hologram of her grandparents. “My father’s childhood home still has the bullet holes from The Ku Klux Klan and my grandmother, Geraldine Briggs, had to raise nine kids by herself, after the death of my grandfather.”
Featured in numerous articles in southern Mississippi’s Sun Herald and featured on talk radio shows, Genesis Be has been utilizing her artistry and voice to make a change since she was young girl.
At age 13, Genesis Be discovered her ability to write and deliver rap lyrics with unbelievable precision. Her delivery displayed impeccable articulation, the use of intricate rhyme schemes, and a captivating stage presence. After winning several talent shows, Genesis’ parents took notice of her talent and brought her to a recording studio. This is where she met her first engineer and mentor Kenneth Leonard. Leonard provided engineering, mixing and mastering services for Doc Roc Recordings, who later signed Genesis Be to her first recording contract. “I loved working with Ken because he trusted my ears and believed in my ability. He let me take complete control of my projects and I was only thirteen!”
At age sixteen she produced a mix tape, 16 In America, which introduced her the world of Mississippi’s underground hip-hop scene. The young lyricist promoted the mix tape by sneaking into clubs and battling local male rappers. Her name began to be known around the Gulf Coast area and after getting radio spins for a song called “Why?” the young artist decided to record her first album with original music and titled it 17 In America. The single “Why?” was a powerful social commentary performed over the instrumental of 50-Cent’s “Many Men.” The song opens with the line, “It’s too much pain for my body to endure, the whole world is sick, and I’m the only cure.” Upon release of 17 In America she was asked to perform with The Gulf Coast Youth Symphony at the Beau Rivage Casino. This performance launched a string of shows where in Genesis would rap with a full orchestra of elementary and middle school children. Genesis had crossed over from appealing to the club going urban demographic to the white middle-class, family oriented market. That same summer, she opened up for several mainstream artists including The Ying Yang Twins, 8 Ball/MJG, Trillville and Lil Webbie. “During this time I was in high school, captain of the girls’ basketball team and working at Subway to save enough money to produce my next album! I was doing a lot.” It was during this time that mentor, Ken Leonard, recommended Genesis apply to the Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music. Initially she was rejected due to late submission. Genesis continued to work hard on recording and performing along The Gulf Coast. She was receiving local fame, building a strong fan base and getting recognition all along the Coast… then tragedy struck.
On August 29th 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast and devastated Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. “It flooded my whole block, my city was destroyed. My fan base was gone and I couldn’t fill the void.” Genesis raps in a new song called Cold Eyes. Genesis Be had just graduated High School and was finishing up her 2nd album 18 In America. The album brought forth a single called “Fema Check.” After being handed to the program director of the independent radio station, WJZD, the record was put into rotation and created a buzz in Biloxi that soon rippled through Mississippi Gulf Coast. It wasn’t long before radio stations in Mobile, AL, New Orleans, LA, and Pensacola, FL were playing “Fema Check.” In an article published in The Sun Herald, Genesis states, “My family and I witnessed first hand, the wrath and destruction brought about by Katrina. After the storm, everyone’s was feeling down and we just wanted to lift the spirits of our peers. We combined the reality of the situation, with a satirical, almost comical perspective. The fact that something so positive can generate from such a somber situation is truly a miracle if you ask me. “
After Hurricane Katrina hit, Genesis Be struggled to make sense of the tragedy and began work on her latest album 19 In America. She re-applied to The Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music (at NYU) and was accepted. She is due to graduate from this highly selective program (admitting only 28-32 per year) in 2011. She currently resides in Manhattan and is working non-stop to promote her album by street teaming and performances. So far, she has blessed the stage at The Blue Note, Webster Hall, The Knitting Factory,The Magic Johnson Theater, Sullivan Hall, The Bowery Poetry, Sin Sin Freestyle Mondays, Crash Mansion, The National Underground and the XR Bar among others. She was recently a featured artist for Shady 45’s “Don’t Quit Your Day Job” and received a score of 4.75 on a scale of 1 to 5. She was also featured in The Washington Square News, Student Maximus Magazine and numerous blogs such as Afterellen.com and Qwreck.com.
She recently founded Open Sky Artwork (O.S.A), an artist management, promotion and distribution company that caters to all types of artists including but not limited to poets, musicians, composers, performers, painters and writers. The young entrepreneur hopes to bring more attention to artists from the Gulf Coast Region and New York by providing productions services, online promotion and show bookings. She currently manages nine other artists and oversees a team of four administrators.
Whether protesting in the streets, making hits in the studio, running her production company or rocking the stage, Genesis Be is making moves in the right direction. At a young age, Genesis has conquered a wide range accomplishments and she isn’t slowing down. Only time will tell what impact the young lyricist will have on the music industry, what impact this young activist will have on the World. When asked what her plans for the future are, Genesis reflects for a few second and says with a huge smile, “I just want to make my family proud… my ancestors too. I know they are watching over me, and I want to give them a great show!”
Albums available on iTunes and CD Baby.com
17 In America
18 In America
19 In America
Mississippi To Manhattan
Genesis Be: A Student Rapper Story
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"Undoubtedly, Genesis has an entrepreneurial spirit, passion, and strength of character that few oth..."Undoubtedly, Genesis has an entrepreneurial spirit, passion, and strength of character that few others can claim. She serves as proof that a student with few resources and a creative mind can turn their talents into not only a lucrative profession, but also one that serves their community."
Hip-Hop Activism: Genesis Be, Tape 1
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"Hailing from Mississippi, she has a unique story that spans from her family combating ruthless raci..."Hailing from Mississippi, she has a unique story that spans from her family combating ruthless racism in the South to becoming one of the most popular artists at New York University’s Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music."
The Women Of Open Sky Artworks
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"Genesis Be’s Mississippi roots are apparent in her music but her take on the club vibe definitely h..."Genesis Be’s Mississippi roots are apparent in her music but her take on the club vibe definitely has some NYC mixed in now. Her rhymes are biting and so socially conscious. When this girl has something to say, people will be sure to listen"
NYU Rapper Collaborates with Alum On Video
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"I had come to see [fellow NYU rapper] Nyle, and I was really amazed by Genesis' performance when sh..."I had come to see [fellow NYU rapper] Nyle, and I was really amazed by Genesis' performance when she took the stage,"
Two Rising Stars of The Clive Davis Dept.
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"She performs regularly at local clubs, has released three original albums over the last four years,..."She performs regularly at local clubs, has released three original albums over the last four years, and back home in Mississippi has opened for popular southern rap artists 8-Ball & MJG, Trillville, the Ying Yang Twins and Lil' Webbie."
Who Is Genesis Be?
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The young lyricist promoted the mix tape by sneaking into clubs and battling local male rappers. Her...The young lyricist promoted the mix tape by sneaking into clubs and battling local male rappers. Her name began to be known around the Gulf Coast area and after getting radio spins for a song called “Why?” the young artist decided to record her first album with original music and titled it, 17 in America. The single, “Why?” was a powerful social commentary performed over the instrumental of 50-Cent’s “Many Men.”
Genesis... The Origin
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me: what inspires you? Genesis Be: The female rappers who are sexually exploited either by the indu...me: what inspires you?
Genesis Be: The female rappers who are sexually exploited either by the industry or by themselves are my biggest inspiration. They drive me to be as successful as possible, so little girls and boys don’t feel like all women have to be over sexualized and over glamorized. I want to be living proof (Lauryn Hill is living proof) that female producers and lyricists can be commercially successful and lucrative without degrading themselves or their daughters and without misleading young men and boys into thinking they have to treat women like sex objects instead of queens to be considered a man. The female rappers who base their image and success around sex, cars, and money are pretty much what the record labels have been promoting the most. Little girls of all ages and races hear these songs all day on the radio without hearing other female rappers who are talking about the “real” instead of the “fake.” I just want to be an alternative because not all women are the same.
Range from 20 to 40 minute sets.
Songs estimate running time is 4 minutes each.
Types of sets include:
FUNDRAISERS & NON-PROFITS
Deeper lyrical content. Socially or politically driven. Hosting services available.
STANDARD HIP HOP SHOW
Upbeat and lyrically charged songs. Club dance joints.
SCHOOLS AND CHILDREN/YOUNG ADULTS PROGRAMS
Motivational Speaking. "Clean" songs. Question and Answer Segment.
Guitarist and Drummer/Bongo/Congas: Spoken Word, Freestyle, etc.
PDF RiderGenesis Be's Live Performance Needs
There are no upcoming dates at this time.