An exclusive sit down with one of the realest.
In the current musical landscape where lyricism and real life messages have almost been completely abandoned, it’s always refreshing when a young talent returns to the very essence of what makes the art form great. When Cito Blanko grabs the mic for example, listeners can expect to hear a slew of socially aware issues hurled at them like lyrical darts. With topics ranging from race to love, mixed with a few Juelz Santana references and some daily motivation, Cito Blanko is a well rounded talent who we all should get hip to. Don’t call him a poet or spoken word artist though, we learned that the hard way. Lets just say he’s our favorite shit talker in the city right now. Shortly before he did his thing at the Gift of Gab poetry showcase, we were given the opportunity to hear from the man himself.
1. Where are you from and how did your upbringing influence your artistic content?
I’m from the Bronx close to gun hill and White Plains road. My upbringing influenced everything I did tbh. Growing up wasn’t easy but I was still blessed. My environment played major a role on my perspective of the world and my perspective helps with me with my artistic content. My parents made sure I was exposed to a lot different experiences so I did it get caught up in streets. But I still knew enough about the streets.
2. What makes you unique as a spoken word artist?
It’s funny because I hate the title poet or spoken word artist. I just talk my shit like if I was on the block arguing over the Knicks or talking about a TED TALKS. When I went to poetry slams and shows I was impressed by the poets’ literature but some poets were so nervous so you couldn’t feel what they were saying. It’s not what u say it’s how u say it. I focus on both what I say and how I say it. So I think what makes me different is that I create and experience when I perform I add aspects from stand up. Rap battles, acting and brought to poetry.
3. What are your views on this generation and your place in it?
I think this the generation that American abandoned and left us for dead. No guaranteed jobs or pension. We were raised and prepared for a world that doesn’t exist anymore. That’s scary for a lot people but I love it! The world is shifting the power is changing the old white men that held on everything are losing control now. We have a chance build a foundation of our own and write our own destiny. But that takes hard work and a strong mentality Dr King said the true a test of man is who he when things are going bad not good. So it’s our time look deep in our soul figure out what we going do to save our generation we can’t expect anyone else to do it for use. My place in that is just sharing my art and perspective to help us have the confidence to know we can do it. Help break the matrix that makes people feel depressed and insecure and unhappy. If we don’t stay positive and work hard then we will be the forgotten generation.
4. What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do? How about the most challenging?
The most rewarding thing about being artist is having your art appreciated by the world. It’s an Artist job to help people understand the love and the hate the world has to offer. When people live with your art or in my case use my words to be inspired or forgive or love someone that brings joy to my heart. The hardest part is being vulnerable everything I talk about is real life experiences sometimes you feel like you’re telling all your secrets to the world and sometimes you can’t say certain thing because even thou you healed from the pain to put it in your art. Others may still be dealing with the pain so you have be careful with content you use sometimes it’s hard when people start to treat you different that shit is weird I’m just vessel of the lord and god is best artist the world has ever seen!
5. Where will cito blanko be in five years? What are your goals & aspirations?
I use watch time so much. Now I let time watch me grow into the best person I can be. I have vision boards that have my aspirations on it and I set goals but none of that matters if I lose my soul. Life has taught me a lot and I never take things for guaranteed so as long I stay on the track to be the best version of myself and understand mind body and soul. All of things that I desire will be an option but idk if I still will want them in the future. Don’t get wrong I grew in hood so I have certain level of vanity in my system so I still want Nike air Yeezy 1 &2 and my mom wants to go to Dubai. So in five years I want to those things and I want be married and help all of my family members realize their goals. But everything is in god’s hands so we’ll see! I’m fake excited about the man I’m going be in the future.