By Shelah Moody
“As you can hear, my son, Baruch, actually rapped on that song. I’m very proud of him. I’ve never really told him to his face, maybe you can tell him for me. I’m proud of him, because usually when people write lyrics, it’s based on what they normally do. Luther Vandross sang about making love and you would not hear him sing get up, stand up for your rights. My son’s general rap game is about violence and weed smoking, gun slinging and being bad in the ghetto; you know, things like 50 Cent and those guys would wanna do. Now, all of a sudden, he’s been asked to sing something constructive and can be food for thought. Lo and behold, he comes back with these lyrics. The same with another song Baruch rapped on; “World Gone Mad.” That’s another political song where he managed to put the lyrics together all by himself. We rushed him along with certain parts and syncopations, but he did 95 percent of the leg work, and that’s what I’m proud of him about. He’s capable of being more diverse with his lyric writing than I am. For me to get up and write a love song, I’d be thinking and thinking about it. This kid just flows; he just has it.”— David Hinds
BaRuch Hinds wears many hats on the Steel Pulse’s tour.
He is is a stage tech, a merchandise manager and also a performer who has done several projects with them such as “Put Your Hoodies On,” a dedication to Trayvon Martin. On cue, Hinds emerges from the wings during live shows and performs his rap with the band on “Drug Squad.” Then he does his thing at the merch booth selling Steel Pulse’s Hoodies, T-shirts, hats music and other memorabilia. Baruch Hinds may possibly have one of the coolest jobs in the world.
If his name sounds familiar, it’s because BaRuch Hinds is the son of Grammy winning singer/songwriter David Hinds, Steel Pulse’s frontman. Born in Philadelphia, PA in 1983, Hinds has been touring with his famous father and the band for most of his life.
I first met BaRuch Hinds when he was six years old and accompanied his father on the “Victims” album tour in1991. He wore a bowler hat and overalls and if any adoring adult wanted to touch his baby locs, he would charge them $1. His job was looking cute and doing the Running Man with the band on stage. I remember watching Baruch on a break and he and I along with some local kids, made a sand castle at Diamond Head Beach in Honolulu.
I recently had a few words with Hinds, all grown up and an emerging artist in his own right. BaRuch Hinds currently appears as a guest artist on Steel Pulse’s new album, “Mass Manipulation.”
Island Stage: In your opinion, why does Steel Pulse deserve a 2019 Grammy Award for “Mass Manipulation?”
BaRuch Hinds: Well, they’ve been at it for 40 plus years and I think it’s time, you know. No disrespect to any other artists out there. Everybody’s worked hard at putting their projects out this year, but I think Steel Pulse is what we needed. I think that his album dropped at the right time, and it’s the truth. It’s got the old school flavor with a new twist to it as well.
IS: Tell us about your role on “Mass Manipulation.”
BH: I’m on two songs, “World’s Gone Mad” and “Higher Love.” Now, if you know about Steel Pulse’s music, you know that they’ve always been about what’s going on in the world today. Make sure ya’ll check out those two songs first, then check out the rest of the album. (Laughs). Just joking.
IS: So, your dad says that you came up with some positive and healing lyrics for “Mass Manipulation,”
BH: Yeah, well, on “World’s Gone Mad,” I start off: “The world’s gone mad, have you looked at it lately? In Libya they’re trading men, women and babies/They even out there shooting schools up ain’t that crazy/It’s almost like we running out of places for safety/A lot of police brutality seen in the news lately/Don’t forget what they did to the MOVE back in the eighties…” I’m just talking about what’s going on in the world today. If you tune in to the news, it’s in your face; it’s all around you. On “Higher Love,” my rap is about love and unity: “Too much hate going on can no longer take it/It doesn’t matter if you’re black, brown, white or Asian/We are all here in this world trying to make it/No doubt it will be a better place if we all embrace it/A higher love is what we need/Leading by example is what we sow into sead/Never give in to negativity they feed/End of the day same color that we bleed/I pray! Let’s pray for world peace/Pray for unity my God can you hear me! I pray to Jah above/To raise the world vibe to a higher love.” I’m just addressing world issues, you know.
IS: Growing up in Philly, how did the bombing of the MOVE community in the eighties influence your perspective?
BH: I was only two years old at the time of the last incident so don’t have much memory of the particular day but my mom knew them and I played with the move kids as a child.
IS: So, what was it like for you at six years old, touring with your dad and Steel Pulse and doing the Running Man on stage?
BH: Touring as a kid was fun for me to be honest; I guess just the whole excitement of it all. It was a great time. And I had no worries because you never do as kids. It was a special time for me because, of course, everyone was younger and had more energy then, but also certain people were around that aren’t here anymore. Not to take away from the way we roll now but I guess life was different then. As far as the spirit of Steel Pulse goes, nothing has changed. Everybody’s still pretty much moving around the way they were then 30 years ago. A few things have happened in life, some things have changed, some things have remained the same. For the most part, Steel Pulse has kept it real, kept it official, from then until now.
IS: If you weren’t in the music business, what would you be doing? Where can we hear your music?
BH: I’m actually not sure, because all I know is this, so my career would be music related regardless. And you can catch me on YouTube and iTunes, under Baruch Hinds.
IS: What is the coolest thing your dad taught you?
BH: A whole bunch. But I guess between tying my shoes and him telling me every day up to this age to wake up. And I guess now as an adult and a parent myself, I see more and more what he was trying to get across.