Interview with Matt Muse

A Conversation with Matt Muse about hope, depression, self-love and self-confidence

By: Jason Behrends

July 23, 2018

"I do still believe whole heartedly in the power of Hip-Hop and the power of this music"

Matt Muse released his second album, Nappy Talk, last week. The tackles issues of appearance, and should be inspiration and pride to anyone within earshot. Matt recently took the time to answer a few of our questions.

The Deli (TD): Matt Muse is not your government name, what inspired the name Matt Muse?
Matt Muse (MM): Its a long story ha. Short version, my last name is Matthews, so that's where the Matt comes from. Muse came from the meaning of the word and my desire to inspire folks with my lyrics.

TD: I recently rewatched your 2016 Ted Talk, and the key phrase seemed to be “Hip Hop is my only hope”. Two years and two album’s later, do you still feel that way and has that hope grown or shrank in that time?
MM: Thank you for watching it (again)! That's a great question. I don't feel that way specifically anymore, but I do still believe whole heartedly in the power of Hip-Hop and the power of this music. I have hope in a lot of things right now, there are so many ways I want to effect and change the world, and they don't all fall in the category of my music or hip-hop, but I still have that same hope in my music that I had two years ago.

TD: In that same talk you mention a struggle with Depression and the lyrics that have pulled you through it. Do you still struggle with depression today and how does that impact your creative process?
MM: I don't struggle with it as much as I use to, but when I am in stages where I'm down I tend to use the creative process to calm and uplift myself. I love creating music and being around creatives, and that will always help when I'm down.

TD: You are a teaching artist at Young Chicago Authors. How does your work with YCA impact your outlook on the future of creativity in Chicago? The spotlight has been on Chicago Hip Hop for several years, but I don’t think we have come near the peak of the mountain of creativity in the city, do you?
MM: I definitely don't think we've reached the peak, and I am excited to see and be a part of the continued climb. I run into a lot of amazing creative youth through my work with YCA and it leaves me very hopeful and excited for how the Chicago creative scene is going to blossom and glow.

TD: The single you dropped last month, “Shea Butter Baby”, was a great track, but more importantly a powerful statement on being proud of who you are as a person. You have always been a thoughtful writer, what can fans expect from “Nappy Talk” lyrically?
MM: Nappy Talk features a lot of confident and braggy raps, rooted in my own self-love and self-confidence. It's got "bars", but more importantly, it's genuine to who I am and how I feel about myself right now. You'll learn about my view on myself and the world around me from the lyrics.

TD: From a production standpoint, the beats on “Nappy Talk” seem to pull inspiration from a range sources. Do you feel there is a Chicago sound and where does this album fit with in that genre?
MM: I don't fully subscribe to the idea of a "Chicago sound" because it automatically excludes artists who are from Chicago and represent it well, but don't have that "sound" in their music. The production on my project is inspired by albums like Future's DS2, where the beats automatically captivate you and make you want to move. In the neighborhood I grew up in, there were always people driving down our street with big beautiful cars blasting loud music with heavy bass, it would literally make our house shake and vibrate, and that's what I want to happen when people hear this album.

You can find Nappy Talk on iTunes or stream it on Spotify.