Keith Tucker has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. The 43-year-old Federal Way radio personality has several projects in the works, including a new radio show entitled, "The Keith Tucker Show," on the Afragenesis network 1150 AM.
In the 10-week series, titled "Hip-Hop Beyond Rap," Tucker and his guests will discuss and define different elements in the hip-hop culture and explore the nine elements of hip-hop culture. In the first show, titled "What is Hip-Hop?," Tucker interviews Professor Griff, from the legendary group Public Enemy, S1W and The Black Dot. A hip-hop historian, Professor Griff, talks about his book, "The Matrix of Hip Hop." The next several weeks will cover each area of the rest of the elements of hip-hop culture — the deejay, the emcee, breakin', graffiti art, street knowledge, beat-boxin', street fashion, street language and street entrepreneurialism. The weekly show airs from 1 to 2 p.m. Wednesdays. The show is also broadcast online at www.1150kknw.com. Past shows are also archived online at www.afragenesis.net.
Tucker says the goal of the program is to examine as many interesting life topics as possible, and the mission is to educate, entertain and provoke people to take positive action in their lives and to educated listeners on the history and culture of hip-hop. During the next few weeks, Tucker will bring in other experts to talk about hip-hop and says he is open to the listeners' feedback about the show.
"I want to move people to action with my show, I want to provoke listeners to do something positive," Tucker said. "I think through hip-hop you can examine every issue that mankind has. I don't think there's an issue it doesn't touch. You can talk about politics, drugs, health, relationships and more.
"There are a lot of artists who are all about healthy living. Melly Mel is a good example of that. A lot of people in hip-hop are into healthy living, they don't drink or smoke, some are into martial arts and no one knows. So I want to expose the listeners to some of those positive examples."
Tucker hopes to get KRS One and Wise Intelligent from the Poor Righteous Teachers and Rakim for The Emcee show featured in week three.
"There are 18 principles which guide hip-hop culture, and in the first principle, it defines that hip-hop is a term that describes our collective consciousness and commonly expressed through the nine elements, such as breakin and deejayin," Tucker said.
Tucker's future guests include legendary pioneers of hip-hop KRS One, Rakim, DJ Red Alert, DJ Johnny Juice, African Bambaataa, Melly Mel, Big Daddy Kane, Kurtis Blow, Roxanne Shante and others.
"There is a lot of misleading propaganda about hip-hop culture in the media and most people have been marketed the idea that hip-hop is rap and rap is negative, so therefore classify it and all people that take part in it as negative," said Tucker. "They hear hip-hop and the first image that comes to mind is a woman swinging on a pole or a man with their pants sagging. They don't have the image of KRS One lecturing to Harvard college students. A lot of these artists are authors and on college tours lecturing to students, people aren't aware of that and I want to change that."
Tucker grew up in Seattle and went to Meany Middle School with local stars like Ishmael Butler from Digable Planets and Tony Shellman who started the Mecca and the Enyce clothing line. Tucker is also the nephew of the late Dr. C. Dolores Tucker, a critic of abusive lyrics.
"We need to increase the positive energy in hip-hop," Tucker said. "We need to put out positive images and sounds about what hip-hop is really doing. If we listen to the White media, we will totally be lost on what hip-hop is."
Tucker has always been an entrepreneur. In 1994, he produced the first Black coupon book in the northwest called "Empowerment" with over 400 businesses; started his own Internet corporation and worked on a program aimed at stopping children from getting access to pornographic material, along with several other endeavors over the years.
Before getting fully involved in the hip-hop industry, Tucker sold wireless products to various artists across the country. Ever the entrepreneur, Tucker rented an RV, hired six people and drove across the country selling two-way pagers at the 2000 Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg "Up in Smoke Tour" selling more pagers than any other person in the country besides Russell Simmons.
Tucker is also working on his "World Tribute to Hip-Hop Culture" which will be held in Jamestown, Va. where the first Africans arrived to the United States. There will be around 25 national artists who will sign a Hip-Hop Declaration of Peace and do a tribute to the first African that landed there. Tucker is also a descendant of the first African born in the United States, William Tucker in 1619.
"This document is so special because it separates hip-hop from any other musical genre in the history of the United States," Tucker said. The document was taken to the United Nations May 16, 2001 with about 300 hip-hop delegates. On that day, hip-hop was ratified by the United Nations as a worldwide culture.
"This is the only musical genre that has graduated into a full worldwide culture in a little over 30 years. So with this document we have principles that we stand by and to make sure the original intent of hip-hop is preserved," Tucker said. "We intend to promote this document throughout the world, starting with the 'World Tribute to Hip Hop Culture' event."
Artists involved include Chuck D, Lauryn Hill, Russell Simmons, African Bambaataa, Afeni Shakur (mother of the late Tupac), Doug E. Fresh, Queen Latifah, Dr. Dre, MC Lyte, Voletta Wallace (mother of the late Biggie Smalls) and others.
In addition, Tucker, hoping to fulfill one of his late aunt's wishes, is working with the National Congress of Black Women on The Sojourner Truth Campaign, helping to place a statue of Sojourner Truth in the U.S. Capitol. It would become the first memorial to a Black woman placed in the Capitol. For more information, visit www.npcbw.org.