Core Rhythm
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Core Rhythm

Band Hip Hop Avant-garde


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The best kept secret in music


"Artist of the Week -Core Rhythm"

Core Rhythm, whose real name is Mtume Gant, is already well known as an actor. His credits include Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power and HBO’s hit television series Oz. Lately, however, he has become more known as Core Rhythm, super emcee. A native New Yorker hailing from uptown, Core's been a mainstay in the city’s underground scene. He has shared stages with the likes of Wordsworth and Breez Evahflowin and collaborated with artist such as GrandMixer DXT and Baba Israel. All of this has lead to the release of Core’s first full length album, Nat Turner Reloaded, an album he calls "a new form of sonic protest." Fresh off the heels of his album’s release I sat down with this fascinating individual to get to the core of Core.

Adam Bernard: First things first, when did your love affair with Hip-Hop start and how did it develop?

Core Rhythm: Growing up in NYC Hip-Hop’s been a part of me since jump. I remember my mom had a vinyl of Doug E Fresh’s “The Show” and I was obsessed with it, I played it all the time on her little turntable. I couldn’t have been any older then four or five years of age. I loved seeing graffiti on trains even though I wasn’t old enough to understand its significance. I watched movies like Beat Street and Breakin over and over again and shows like Yo MTV Raps and Rap City were viewing rituals for me. By the time I was like eight or nine I was bumpin everything from LL Cool J to Public Enemy to Kid-n-Play, but it wasn’t until around ‘93 when Wu-Tang’s Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) dropped that I was like “Yo I wanna rap.” Them droppin’ completely changed my life. I was 13 at the time so I was looking for something to attach myself to and these cats had it all in my eyes, they were like superheroes to me, I was like move over Batman, make way for the GZA! At around 14 I started writing rhymes, freestylin’ a bit, and by the time I was 16 it was a functioning part of my life.

Adam Bernard: Out of all the elements of Hip-Hop why did MCing appeal to you most?

Core Rhythm: There are a couple of factors with that, one was just economics. As a kid I always wanted to get turntables and beat machines, but just didn’t have the bread until I was older. Emceeing you didn’t need any funds, just your person. Another factor was because I was good at it, it kinda came naturally to me. But probably the biggest reason was because when I started spittin’ (93/94) Hip-Hop had become very emcee oriented. Emcee’s at that point were just so dominant personality wise, heads like Ice Cube, Nas, Wu Tang, O.C., Jeru the Damaja, even cats I didn’t feel as much such as Tupac or Biggie, had so much charisma, were such rebels of form that one could not help but want to have a similar aura attached to their persona. It felt like it was as close to being superhuman as you could get. Actually I still feel that way.

Adam Bernard: Talk to me about your album, Nat Turner Reloaded. How’d you come up with the title and how does it relate to the album’s content?

Core Rhythm: Part of my background is in experimental/political theatre. I was heavily into the works of Amiri Baraka, James Baldwin, Berolt Brecht and many others of the social/political cannon. I fashioned a lot of my theater work after there sensibilities. When I made the transition from doing theater to Hip-Hop full-time I carried my sociopolitical sensibilities into my music, so the title and the content of the record comes out of that sensibility, a need to make a statement about our times and what one personally feels needs to be done to usher in a new tomorrow. What Nat Turner Reloaded means to me is that it’s the return of revolt, but revolt manifests itself in many ways. We have heard the rhetoric, no one’s going to do that better then Chuck D did it almost 20 years ago, but what Chuck knew and still knows, and what a lot of these so-called “political” rappers don’t, is that revolution is far more then rhetoric, it’s about change in form. In my opinion Hip-Hop, for the most part, is not working, and its major problem is not so much content as it’s a lack of imagination in form and sonics. The majority of Hip-Hoppers are stuck following formulas, underground and overground alike. They are slaves to these formulas and many of these labels are the slave masters telling them if they do not adhere to these formulas they can kiss their deals goodbye. You have a lot of emcee’s spewing a lot of rhetoric, but they are still slaves in form and sound, so really there just blowing a lot of hot air and not really contributing jack. Nat Turner realized he was a slave to a formula, to put it lightly, and he decided to do something about it. This album is of that spirit, it attempts to invoke his memory to hopefully inspire a sonic revolution in Hip-Hop.

Adam Bernard: What do you feel are reasonable goals when releasing an album independently?

Core Rhythm: For me it has to do with the ability to make more records. Can the exposure, money made, etc. from thi - Adam Bernard


"Nat Turner Reloaded" LP - 2006

Production Credits:
Core Rhythm "Rize" - Nat Turner Reloaded - 2006
Core Rhythm "For Blues People" - Nat Turner Reloaded - 2006
Bisc 1 "Crumbs Remix" - The Stay Up Project - 2006
Creature "Get up and Go" - Hustle to be Free - 2007
Creature "Love Yourself" - Hustle to be Free - 2007

Baba Israel and Yako "Beatbox Dub Poetics" LP - 2006
3rd Party "Seperation of Powers" LP - 2006
Dana Leong - Anthems of Life - 2007


Feeling a bit camera shy


"Re-wire, re-tool, re-vive, re-education", the statement that best describes the artistry of Core Rhythm. Hailing from New York City, Core since 2004 has made his passion for the preservation and progression of Hip Hop and The Black artistic aesthetic felt. Drawing his influences from many different sources such as The Wu Tang Clan, Madlib, Jimi Hendrix, David Axelrod, Amiri Baraka, Antonin Artuad, Sun Ra and many more, Core stands tall as an example of the African American experience that this nation has conveniently chosen to ignore. "The Black man is not a monolith and right now the Black Hip Hop artist is being presented for the most part as a monolithic entity, Im trying to flip that," says Core in a documentary currently being filmed about his artistic movement.

Core feels the way to alter this trend is through form as well as function. Feeling the need to stay socially and politically conscious, but understanding that artistically, the creation of the art of Hip Hop has to be maintained at a high level. It cannot conform to the shallow and mundane standards the pop charts have carved out for this socially deep rooted music. Core refuses to be boxed in. Almost like a sneak attack, in 2006 Core released his manifesto-like debut album NAT TURNER RELOADED to critical acclaim (its was voted 6 on the Top 10 list of 2006), it also gained street classic status in some local New York circles. With tracks ranging from deep social commentary such as "LIVE FROM BAGHDAD" (a song showing both sides of the Iraq war), to lyrical exploits such as "SLANGUAGE" and "ATOMIC WEIGHT", to personal journeys such as " THE ROAD" and "RISE", never does Core make the same track twice and even when the tracks can feel like there going in one direction they can quickly become something completely different in a drumbeat. His soundscapes are dark, but full of inner light, rough and raw, but built with delicate care.

The Core Rhythm sound is an expression of the emotional complexity of modern black life viewed through the looking glass of a young man who questions everything, accepts nothing, but is still willing to explore all as long as Hip Hop can accompany him on the journey. Having performed at venues such as Southpaw, The Knitting Factory, The Bowery Poetry Club, The Jazz Gallery, Sin-e, The Whitney Museum and numerous others, Core is quickly becoming a mainstay in the N.Y. independent Hip Hop scene. He's performed on the same bill with Hip Hop legends such as O.C., The JUGGAKNOTS, C RAYZ WALZ and WORDSWORTH, musicians such as MESHELL NDEGEOCELLO, JASON LINDER and DANA LEONG while recording with the likes of artists such as the Legendary GRANDMIXER DXT, Core in a short time has garnered respect among fans and peers alike. Most recently Core has been on his job spreading his movement not only with the mic but also in the realms of production, he made necks snap with his fierce remix of BISC 1's "CRUMBS" featured on THE STAY UP PROJECT MIXTAPE, also contributed two tracks to underground mainstay CREATURE on his new record HUSTLE TO BE FREE, one them being the lead single GET UP AND GO. He also has tracks appearing on projects for artists HOMEBOY SANDMAN, HIRED GUN, BABA ISRAEL and others. He has/will be appearing on the mic on projects of various artists such as DANA LEONG, BABA ISRAEL AND YAKO, HIRED GUN, RABBI DARKSIDE and lastly, but most definitely not least he is putting the finishing touches on his new record, a fierce collaboration with soon to be legendary producer ZQ entitled RONIN due out sometime in spring 2008, It will be the next chapter in his ongoing saga.

As you can see Core Rhythm is making his presence felt, make sure you keep your eyes locked...


*The Knitting Factory (NYC)
*Rothko (NYC)
*Little Temple (LA)
*The Bowery Poetry Club (NYC)
*The Lions Den (NYC)
*The Bardavon Theatre (Poughkeepsie, NY)
*Purchase College (Purchase, NY)
*The Nyourican Poets Cafe (NYC)
*Sin Sin/Leopard Lounge (NYC)
*Sin-e (NYC)
*Southpaw (Brooklyn)


The debut album from newcomer Core Rhythm, Nat Turner Reloaded, is a sonic rollercoaster ride through the eyes of one Hiphops most promising young lyricists. High octane lyrics, thought provoking content and earth shattering beats, this album is assured to be remembered as one of the strongest debuts in history of Hiphop. It features appearances by Turntabilist legend GrandMixer DXT, underground powerhouse's Creature and Baba Israel, Scott Thorough of Nuclear Family and many more.