Date of Interview: 10/16/2009
© 2009 Clayton Perry
In the world of contemporary R&B, Lyfe Jennings is the prototype for what hip-hop heads would consider a “street disciple.” Like Nasir Jones, his musical cousin of another genre, Jennings has been vocal in tackling taboo issues that are ever-present in the social milieu. But even thugs need love, too, and his catalog boasts tracks that spotlight the joys of life, love and the never-ending pursuit of happiness.
By straddling (and blurring) the lines of hip-hop and R&B, Lyfe Jennings has become of the music industry’s most unique stars. And in spite of the mass media attention has been focused on his past, as an incarcerated felon, he has defied every stereotypical characterization that has come his way. Accordingly, in 2008, the New York Times heralded Jennings as “a socially minded R&B singer.”
To date, Lyfe Jennings has recorded three critically-acclaimed albums: Lyfe 268-192 (2004), The Phoenix (2006) and Lyfe Change (2008). In anticipation of his fourth and final studio effort, Mr. Jennings managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on the provocative “S.E.X.,” the early influence of Erykah Badu, and life as a father in the public spotlight.