Aloe Blacc: 'I limit my consumption to the point people call me Mr Frugal'

Artists like 50 Cent made me stop rapping I felt there was too much opulence, braggadocio and misogyny in hip-hop, and I wanted to tell a different story. What happened is that the music got corporatised; industry executives sacrificed art for what sells and mega-stars now saturate the market with the same tired lyrics.

Music critics think of lyrics first and don't consider melody but so many songs are lyrically depressing but musically great, and that's why they become classics. With my single [top-10 hit "I Need a Dollar"] a nine-year-old, say, won't have that experience of needing a dollar, but will love it because of its energy and melody.

I don't need a lot of things I limit my consumption to the point people around me call me Mr Frugal. I don't wear jewellery, I bought my Volvo second-hand and my laptop too. I just can't justify [buying new things] any more unless I absolutely have to.

There is blood on every product that we buy We don't think about the resources used in them, but we are stripping them away from places where people live, many of whom are marginalised as they don't have a role in this global economy. Capitalism needs to be more compassionate and recognise that in South America, say, there are indigenous people who live off the trees we are tearing down for cheap furniture. So what I want to do is find or develop an organisation that monitors the number of human-rights violations because of products that we buy.

People need to spread love towards strangers We all bleed the same blood and we are all part of a global community now. Somebody's struggle 10,000 miles away is just as much your struggle. We could solve so many issues – starvation, homelessness, wars – if we just approached each issue like a mother would approach helping her child, with complete unconditional love.

America's biggest export is media and I think that's a positive thing. People in the Middle East may consider the US an evil hegemony that has tainted their culture, but when I look at the growth of racial and ethnic tolerance and understanding in my generation in the US, and see those sentiments make it around the world, it makes me feel proud.

I didn't celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden We need to recognise that a human being had been killed. The families of the people who died in 9/11 may have felt that justice was done, but it's still a life, and we need to take the moment to mourn all the deaths, not just the 3,000 or so US citizens but the 10,000 or so in the Middle East who are dying for whatever reason it is that America is still in Afghanistan.

I've become more introverted as I've got older I used to be an outgoing person who joked around a lot, but as the amount of energy I expend by sharing my music has increased, I like to balance it by spending time by myself and recuperating.

Teaching makes me happy I was with my nephew recently, showing him how to ride a bike and he asked me to remove the training wheels. I said, if you take them off, you can't go back. For the first time he got to feel the exhilaration of propelling himself.

Money equals responsibility I want to use my cool to sell my music, get sponsorships from organisations that want to use my cool and then divert the money I get into projects for homeless children. We are all part of a global tribe and the strongest warrior needs to bring back the buffalo and share it with the people who need it most.

Aloe Blacc's album, 'Good Things', is out now. He is performing at the Summer Series at Somerset House, London WC2, on 10 July ,,

ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits