Crishawn Washington, known professionally as a Clas A. Poet or Clas A., is a music artist, rapper and creative whose romance with music and entertainment began from a very young age. As a child, Clas A. Poet moved a lot, and to an extent, these constant changes in environment played a huge role in his development and artistry. Originally born in Houston, Texas, he moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, at three and moved back to Houston when he was 10. Being the only child of his mother until he was 15, he was raised on many old school stuff and TV shows such as ‘In Living Color’ and ‘I Love Lucy.’ And as a child, he has always been musically inclined.
As far as music goes, Clas A. Poet and his mother would spend several hours listening to the Temptations; he was a big Michael Jackson fan growing up and had all his albums, including The Jackson 5 album. Clas A. Poet recalled himself dancing in his mother’s living room while she played Usher. Because he was brought up as a Jehovah’s Witness, meaning that rap music was considered “worldly music” for a long time. And after several years of being considered the class clown, he began to recoil from his shell, having realized that most of his beliefs have isolated him entirely from others.
Clas A. Poet represents versatility and quality education, and through his music, you could tell that he embodies those qualities. He tries to have as much fun as possible in his music, and despite the numerous times, he felt discouraged and the urge to give up because he doesn’t have what it takes or being hated on because he doesn’t conform to the norms. He continues to thrive regardless and uses these negatives as a propeller.
And while he admits that there seems to be a spiritual war going on in the black community (involving rap, hip hop as a weapon to combat oppression and injustice), he points out that the hip hop culture has evolved drastically over the years. Corporations have made it too materialistic. The youth have lost sight of its roots—the characteristics of the ones before them they don’t have. Clas A. Poet is the founder of RAP Society, which is an acronym for ‘Respected As Poets,’ a movement he started not just to show his imperfection but also to show the next generation of creatives that instead of dwelling on parties and notoriety, they can unite people who want to hear real music. “I’m not claiming to be woke, but I do seek insight. We’ve compromised our values, and I want them back. I’m tired of seeing young black men emasculate themselves on TV and social media for a “bag.” We can be “gangsta” but educated. We can hustle with integrity.” He summed up.
On where he sees himself in five years, he said, “I see myself successful and self-made. If not rich, well oﬀ. I see my two daughters who look up to me and see an example of how to never give up on what you believe in, regardless of what they say. Because I never gave up on them. I just cut my losses and counted my blessings. As a parent, I see myself being the greatest source of my children’s conﬁdence and self-esteem. As a rapper, I see record labels, I see revenue, and most importantly, I see revolution before revelation.”
Clas A. Poet continues to strive and create meaningful art and hopes to convince his audience that Hip-hop is far from dead, only that the radio refuses to give the genre the airplay it deserves. “I’m not here to portray a “Spin-Doctor” or conspiracy theorist. I’m here to demand a chance to be heard and be a voice for my community, family, and culture. It’s cool to be yourself. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you are, not just to get recognition. Love yourself, know your worth, and kill all distractions.” He concludes.
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