Father, wordsmith, entrepreneur and mentor are just a few powerful words that describe King Norman III. He hails from the gritty west side of Chicago not only as man with a vision but as a man that cares. He is not your average artist by a long shot. While the majority of his musical peers focus the negativity in our communities he chooses to speak on the positive. His message is one that needs to be heard in these dire times. His focus doesn’t stop there however.
He also runs a nonprofit called Be Your Own Boss which encourages the youth to walk down the path of entrepreneurship. In this day and age where so many so called leaders talk a good game, he is actually in the community making a difference. In this interview we cover a wide range of topics from what defines him as a man to the portrayal of his stomping grounds in the national media, his music as well as his clothing line. He is clearly making his crown before your very eyes. Now it’s time to take a glimpse into his kingdom. Many want to wear the crown but he is one of the few that do.
What defines you as a man?
That I make a conscious effort to be a great father. That’s more important to me than breathing. Being a man of my word. I’m not perfect but just try to do whats right. Treating people how I wish to be treated. Giving respect so there is no excuse for it not to be reciprocated. Mastering the art of being honest and straight forward yet respectful and careful with my words. Being able to admit when I’m wrong. In order to be treated as a king you have to carry yourself as such. Anybody can call themselves a king but you gotta live it all the way across the board so everyday that’s on my mind. Before I make any decision or speak any word I ask myself how would a king handle this. We need more kings. I got a song on my album called “The Honorable” and it just speaks on that whole topic. Am I acting in a way that garners respect. Respect is the ultimate currency.
Who is King Norman III?
It’s hard to really put me in a box and label me. Anybody that knows me knows I hate titles and labels lol.. but to answer the question I’m me. I do music, I own businesses, I like to get fly while inspiring and empowering people to be great through music, fashion. Like right now if anyone takes anything positive from this interview, that inspires them or helps them in a positive way, that’s a form of ministry. I’m far from a preacher yet the world is my church. The people I come in contact with are my congregation. Truth is my religion.
So, lets talk about HSLR clothing and how the “God Bless My Hustle” movement came about?
The whole “God Bless My Hustle” thing started off originally as a skit on the album. I was looking to do something real powerful. I was in the studio with my partner Jimmie (co-owner of HSLR Clothing) playing him some songs for the album and told him about the concept and he was blown away by it. Right there he threw it out the idea of it being a dope concept for shirts and hoodies and it just took off from there. For about a week we bounced ideas around and ultimately it went from being a outro/prayer to the first single on my album and a flagship design for HSLR Clothing. Once we put the shirts out there people just gravitated towards it…
When did you fall in love with music?
I’ve always loved music. I just overlooked my talent for music for a very long time because of my hoop dreams. That was always my focus but I can remember riding in the car with my mom listening to the radio and rapping lyrics in my head but never really paying it any attention. It was just natural. I been doing that since I was 5 but I never thought to take it serious it until I was around 19-20 years old..
What are hoping to accomplish with this album?
At worst, to be the spark that ignites the fire in someone to get going on whatever it is they desire deep down. There are a billion people who feel like I felt sitting in that cubicle for years. A lot of times fear of the unknown held me back. That “What if” but eventually you got to take that leap of faith. You owe it to yourself. The creator all gave us talents and skills to share with the world. It’s up to each individual to figure out what that is and get it out to the worl. Hopefully this album inspires a new revolution of thinkers, creatives, inventors, doers, etc. I truly feel like this is the beginning of a revolution.
Why did you name the album Two Weeks Notice?
Anytime someone puts in their two weeks notice at a job, usually that means they are moving on to something bigger and better in life whether it’s a new job or they’ve decided to do their own thing as an entrepreneur. Musically, that’s what this sounds like. It’s like a milestone for me.
What was the creation process like ?
Very organic. I never rush or force anything when it comes to music. I never gave myself a timetable as to when it should be finished. It only took me a couple of months to record it. Most of that time was spent searching for the perfect track. I had a clear vision of what every song and the album as a whole should sound like and once I found the right track, it honestly wrote itself. Nothing was intended to reach the clubs or ladies. I just wanted to make good music and let it go from there.
If you had to pick what is the best song on the album and why?
I don’t think there is a “best” song. Each song plays a critical part. For instance “Dream Job” talks about my musical journey and aspirations to follow in the footsteps of the moguls like Jay-Z, Master P, Russell Simmons, Puff, etc. I work for myself, invest in myself and I make music on my own terms. It may not be on the level of those guys but I’m cool with that. As long as I can do things on my own terms and still take care of my responsibilities, life is good.
How do you feel about the perception of Chicago in the media and is it an accurate portrayal of your city?
I believe it’s accurate to a certain extent. Chicago is a beautiful city with beautiful people. The violence being reported is accurate but its not a representation for the city as a whole. It’s just what the media chooses to focus on because it’s better for ratings.
What do you think can be done to combat some of the negativity looming over the city in regards to the youth?
It’s has to be a collective effort. They say one person cant change the world but in reality they can. If each person changes and makes a conscious effort to better themselves, ultimately ONE person changed the world in their own way. People have to realize these kids may ACT or do ignorant things but they’re smarter than you think. They not stupid. They see the people they look up to, or should be looking up to, trying to hang on to youth instead of gracefully accepting the fact that it’s time to mature and be a leader so they look at it like “if my mom or dad dont care” why should i?… these kids only do what they see. Where are our new leaders? Malcolm X’s, Martin Luther Kings, Marcus Garveys? People that stood for something? Dedicated their lives to improving our communities. We need more people who care. There are a lot of people out here actively doing things but obviously it needs to be more… Its time for the MEN to be MEN.. better yet KINGS..
What is BYOB4Life? What is the mission?
It’s an acronym for Be Your Own Boss 4 Life. Its a youth entrepreneurship program I started to plant the seed of entrepreneurship in the minds of the youth. I have a summer program going that’s going pretty well. Just schooling them on the basics of entrepreneurship. Doing activities and exercises that really get their mind thinking as entrepreneurs. I started the program because a lot of kids have no sense of purpose. A lot of them either didn’t know what an entrepreneur was or never saw themselves as entrepreneurs. Once you give a child a sense of purpose, I think they are less likely to get involved in counterproductive activities. Every child should not only know how to go get a job, but they should be able to create one for themselves as well. We all have a duty to give back to the community and this is my way. Hopefully I can get some sponsors and funding to really push it on grander scale.
Where can people get the album and when is the release date?
The album can be downloaded directly from my site on my birthday 8/23. People will have an option to make a donate to my non-profit organization BYOB4Life or download it for free.
What is the end destination for the kingdom you are building?
Just to leave a legacy for my kids to follow and uphold. 95% of what I do is for my kids. One of my favorite sayings is “everything hidden is in plain sight”. Basically people can only see what they’re eyes are trained to see. They cant see things until its time for them to see it. So with my kids they may not understand anything I do or tell them now but through my actions and my efforts, if I died today they would see once they reached a certain level of understanding. For instance I do and say things a certain way to my daughter that may not dawn upon her until she’s 30-40 years old. She may go through a situation in life and have an “ah ha” moment like “now I know why my dad did that”. Same thing with my sons also. I just want to be an example or blueprint for them to follow and pass on to their kids and so forth.
Check out the Remix to God Bless My Hustle featuring @WeaselSims, @ProjectMayhemIl & @SkarlettMusic
Visit www.hslrclothing.com to purchase HSLR clothing apparel. Two Week Notice is available for download beginning 8/23