Humble the Poet: "Unlearn: 101 Simple Truths For A Better Life" | Talks at Google

you know that and before we get started I do have to say now very impressive stuff here but I just want to like let you guys know this guy's like a very important big deal I found this picture now I don't know if you guys know who's in this photo or show hands who knows who's in this photo besides humble you right there who's that that's Nick Jonas right and the funniest and best part about this photo was when I first saw it I didn't notice Nick and Bianca Chopra so not only is this guy a big enough deal to be invited to that wedding steal a swag doubt photo with the two of them but he also literally stole the photo that speaks volumes to his energy actually the official wedding photo for us like that's the one where everyone was taking pictures with the bride and groom right we're just like we're gonna be boys dances dude I love it look at blue see it just like so swag mint chocolate chip that's what I called myself haha I love it alright so we're gonna we're gonna real talk today I got some cards here with some questions but we're gonna we didn't take the seat we're gonna get into it trying to be in you know candy we're gonna talk about the book we're gonna talk about a little bit about your life your background which kind of leads me to my first question yeah so you were a book called unlearn yes you're talking to folks right now at Google who've literally staked their entire career on everything that they've learned so tell me what is unlearn mean what are we what are we supposed to be unlearning and how does that aid itself in happiness I think a lot of the times you know the most important idea is that we need to understand to better our lives we've already had we've always had them oftentimes we had them as kids and then life comes and it piles us up with a lot of and then all of a sudden we we think that where's somebody else that we need to be something different and when I was working as a school teacher and it's a story I tell in the book is if you tell a child hey put on your boots and then put on your snow pants the kid puts on his boots for and tries to put snow pants over the boots and you're like oh I get it they don't they took it exactly literal and you realize how much of an empty vessel these kids really are and we were once these same empty vessels and then slowly but surely all the stuff that society teaches us our parents teachers family teachers media teaches us it crystallizes in who we are and then we start to think that you know this was tattooed into our soul and this is who we are the whole time and the reality is it's not and we can go back to a better essence of who we were by not acquiring more things but instead letting go of a lot of stuff and that's kind of where unlearn was when I was at in my most challenging time in life I was searching for that tumblr quote or that that idea that was going to save me from all of my troubles and then I realized I wasn't going to learn anything new I had to let go of my expectations the idealistic view ahead of the world my mentality to blame everybody else except for myself for my problems and my circumstances and when I began letting go of these things I started feeling lighter and as I felt lighter I was able to take a bigger journey inside myself learn who I was because they always said be yourself but you can't be yourself if you don't know yourself so as I got to know myself better I was able to live a more authentic life which often people refer to as their best life okay so from that perspective I think it's important to kind of let go more than we gained and I mean society consumerism everything it teaches us you have to acquire more you need more and more and more and more to be better but I think the reality is we really need to be polishing things off we need to be grab some big sandpaper and you know get rid of all this rust cuz a lot of this is formed over the years and we don't even realize it you just talked a little bit about I mean we're already off script by the way this is fantastic you just talked a little bit about you know kind of knowing yourself and you're also wearing a shirt that says create rather than find yourself yes also designed by me I had I had a feeling that was definitely not a plug will plug it later so with that in mind though who are you I mean I read it off the car but like who are you that gave you I always think like to think that you know our lives are the perfect curriculum too for everything that we'll need but who are you and where have you been and what have you learned and seen that kind of made you feel like you could write this book and that people and it would resonate with people um I don't think Who I am is what is important to me writing the book I think me writing the book is the important part to me writing the book you meet a lot of people who talk about oh I want to write a book one day and you like you just have to write it there's no qualifications or degrees or template that you have to follow you just literally have to put pen to paper it just starts smashing on the keyboard and let the let those ideas come out and I think for me what I realized is you know the things that kind of tickle my fancy and get me excited or like stimulation and learning I'm a lifelong learner that doesn't necessarily mean I was a great student that doesn't necessarily mean you know I'm sitting and reading books all day you know sometimes I'm reading you know I'm reading the headlines and that's it and sometimes it's just watching youtube videos but I enjoy learning new things I enjoy having my biases challenged I enjoy being like oh I thought this was how it was going to be or this is how it's supposed to be and then have somebody just totally flipped me on my head and it doesn't attack my ego or my identity if my beliefs are challenged it actually gets me excited it lets me know that I'm not growing stale it lets me know that I'm still able to grow because you know if you're not growing then you're not really alive so for me if that that's who I am in the excitement of like having the spark in my brain and being like oh my god one day this is going to be tangible I want to make it happen as though saying that music video that we just thought like we and that's because Lilly Singh is just a monster and the way she works and productivity you know we we wrote that song we recorded that song and edited the song and then we shot the video edited the video everything in 72 hours and you know having an idea of late hey this would be really cool if we can like be on you know the Toronto Raptors Court well how do we do it I don't know let's call everybody and it was actually Google that made it happen yeah it wasn't anybody else Google they pulled the right lever and they got us into the stadium but it's just you know having these ideas and realizing that impossible literally means nothing we can make anything happen and that for me is so exciting and the further I go on this journey the more pages of my book of excuses I have to keep ripping out in really oh I can't do that oh guys like me aren't supposed to do that people that look like me aren't supposed to be here and then just lowly like no like you continually pave your own path and just magical things happen and normally it's just about leaving the house talking to new people and using your fear as a compass rather than viewing your fear as a road block that's awesome and that makes a lot of total sense Brown led the whole ethos that create yourself yeah so you I like that you talked about the music video that we were just watching because yeah you know you're quite the MC and I know that get busy yeah yeah yeah you get down I'm not humble about my rap skills I think that's more like a like a like a funny play on words with that it is humble is also a verb people forget that okay so let's talk about that how did you get to the name humble the name was purely born out of spite I was in Sikh heritage mystic philosophy the number one challenge to your piece is your ego and so when I was on hiphop forums and and just participating on like my favorite Outkast chat boards my username was just a word humble and then I got involved in like rap battles online rap battles and then in a rap battle I had a line that said you know you know rappers are basic you know emcees are more advanced but you know I'm even better I'm the poet and it was just a cocky line to kind of say better than these rappers and emcees I ended up winning this really big tournament whereas I like compete with like five six different guys and to rub it in I changed my name to humble the poet and then in time for the actual did you win and then you change no I won then changes it okay to rub it in yeah yes I everybody knew and years later I'm in a friend's basement and we have a microphone against a mattress and I recorded my first verse and it was like eight guys in the room because you know that's what you do when your rap just fill the room for the guys and they're like well do you have a rap name yet and I was like I was thinking humble the poet and they're like that's a stupid name and it won't guys like that names too long you need a short name you like a one syllable name I'm like you know what screw all you guys I'm gonna stick with humble the poet because you guys don't think it'll work I'm gonna make it work and you know they were right in some instances you know this is right before social media tags and and and names you know a shorter name would have probably been better but now I'm stuck with it I'm stubborn so it's not going anywhere I like have you been stubborn your whole life yes yeah this is not something I just came with your your eyes it's like you always had that spirit and I got this I've been stubborn in defiance and yeah just recently I connected with a cousin he lives in New Zealand and our schedules matched up in Germany and I met him for the first time since like 93 and he said to me my first memory of you was you were like five years old and you just kept looking at me saying no and I wasn't even asking you to do anything you just kept looking at me defiantly like if you do ask me to do something the answer is no and I kind of realized that that kind of clicked something and the patterns in my life where I definitely am NOT a fan of being told what to do I definitely enjoy the idea of trying to mold things my way versus trying to fit in and there was a lot of challenging years where I definitely didn't fit in and it almost broke me and I wanted to just give up and kind of blend in with everybody else but then eventually you realize that you know as dr. Seuss says you know why try to fit in when you were born to send out it's funny that you say that so we have a building here on campus been seven I made that I've been for that literally has that or printed on the wall coincidentally on the way to the bathroom nice I'm not really sure what the look idea of the home that was but I just noticed it for the okay time yesterday yeah okay so let you you mentioned that you you grew up with Sikh religious background my curiosity there is so you you know we have a audacious humble young humble Sikh religious backgrounds how do the two of those influences meet together and how have they shaped you and like how you've you know lived your life and ultimately written this book I mean definitely sick sick he can be viewed as a religion I think it's more more importantly it's more of a philosophy anymore kind of falls under the umbrella of Eastern philosophy what are you thinking about Buddhism Hinduism just the idea of cyclical life you know out here a lot of the philosophies whether it's Christianity Judaism Islam are straight lines through the beginning middle and end do all these things and then there's something a reward or a consequence at the end of it whereas on the eastern side everything's in a cycle you know birth and death the seasons everything go that way so I think under those two umbrellas I only kind of look at the world being shaped by those main philosophies my parents force-fed Sookie as a dogmatic religion to me as a kid the same way parents forced their kids to play the piano and you know and you hate every moment of it but then you grow up and like oh now I have this really have a really full tool belt of things that are really gonna benefit me and I mean you know the idea that tumeric is so popular now and everybody eats it and that was the stuff that kids would make fun of me for having stains on my clothes you know and they call it curry back then and it's kind of like seeing how things have changed so much so I think what it ended up being was I was my mom kind of sold the idea to me telling me these stories because there's a lot of civil disobedience and Sikh heritage Punjabis Punjabi Sikh specifically in India right now only represented 2% of the population so I'm a minority there I'm a minority here I'm a minority everywhere I go so ideas of safe spaces don't exist for me exist for my people we've never had them if we do have them will probably feel very uncomfortable because that's not something we're used to kind of having a history of thriving in chaos having a history of not being planted in one piece of land has definitely encouraged me to continue my nomadic lifestyle as well the philosophy and itself sick means student so to be you know so to see me already being a student of life me getting an education being an elementary school teacher all to all schoolteachers and have signed up to be lifelong learners as well and I think it's that natural need to try to learn as much as you can and again you know the way my parents have taught it to me was about you know being students of God you know worshipping God and the thing is the all the texts are written in poetry so you can easily take the word God and replace it with the truth so you can be students of the truth and now instead of looking at the world of God you can be looking at the will of truth and that can be everything from respecting what gravity is respecting human nature understanding how the world works to becoming students of that and with that you know it's an endless journey of learning the truth so what my truth is today on this level won't be my truth in five years so now you become this lifelong learner understanding universal truths and personal truths and trying to have them come to terms with each other and that's and that that's an never ending journey for me so for me in the beginning there was a lot of rejection for it because there are a lot of cultural influences so when I first started rapping people like oh this guy thinks he's black why is he rapping and I'm sitting there like every him I was ever taught to memorize rhymed you know every you know over half of the gurus that I was taught to learn from ran armies and you know had bodies under their belt and I was listening I was listening to gangster rap before NWA like this was you know my gurus rhymed and killed like this was something I was oh I was always exposed to like if you go to temples in Toronto like they have pictures photographs of dead bodies hanging on the walls of young men who fought for a cause and gave up their lives and we were exposed this we're very martial people you know we we've always been encouraged to be taught about Dada Dada Dada means always be ready always be prepared you know there's you know some people believe in a ceremonial dagger but the reality of that is we've been fighting wars and we've we've been doing that because we've been a minority our entire existence so seeing the connections and as I got older being able to own it myself and being like all right here the elements that really connect with me authentically and it is you know to be not only a student but to be a soldier and then learning that hey the soldier isn't that guy who's just simply outside on a Saturday afternoon protesting for Palestine the soldier is the one fighting the biggest battles on the inside you know and those were the ones that I really had to take a lot of time to deal with especially when I decided I was gonna you know talking about you know the issues that were happening in Sri Lanka when the Tamil Tigers were fighting for their freedom work or the ongoing conflict in Israel and Palestine or any human rights issue that it exists you know you write about them and you explore them but then you take a deeper like wait it's not about these political issues it's about power oppression greed human nature and then our best source for all of that is ourselves and then I started talking about my oppression when I oppressed you know when when I'm chasing power when I'm greedy and and and that really changed the trajectory of my art and my work and that brought me closer back to Sikh heritage which was always talking about that if you read any of the any of the writings in the hymnal six and six scriptures there's no talk about growing your beard or wearing a turban you know this this this is a lot more heritage and cultural this just talks about your lust your greed your anger your attachment your ego how these things impact our happiness and there's no talk about this is a sin this is right this is wrong there's just writings from people who are trying their best to have a healthy relationship with what they consider the truth and they're sharing it poetically and I think contingent for our people being in North India in ignored India has the front door for invaders since like Alexander's are great and for any group of people to have art you need some stability we didn't have the stability or out there so the moment you know our family who started coming and crossing the pond over the North America like in the 60s in the 70s we're that generation who had that stability to explore so that's why you're seeing an explosion of it that's why you have rupee core that's why you have Lily sitting that's why you have just rain that's why you have me you're having this this is this first crop of artists but now that that's the beginning of the wave because when people ask me who's the artistic person in your family I don't know I don't know if it's my mom or my dad they were never given the opportunity to explore creativity my father has a master's degree and he didn't have an opportunity to explore that you know he came to Canada and drove a cab and so for us it's trying to pick up where they left off because we never had and even in our history as people we don't have a lineage of poets we're maybe two or three we don't have a lineage of artists and painters a lot of that is a lot of hiccups in our history because of invasions and you know most recently when the British came and they changed a lot of stuff so for me now it's about finding myself but also trying to continue this heritage and the challenges are not so much people on the outside but also people on the inside because fundamentalism is people who find comfort in the past and people are like hey this is what a guy with a beard and turban it's supposed to do you're not looking like that you're not acting like that you're making us uncomfortable so I get a lot of resistance internally within the community and I instead of having a chip on my shoulder being like my people in my culture don't accept me I have to recognize that hey they're speaking their fear because now I'm in a position of influence and not only they want me to adhere to culture because they're afraid that I can rewrite culture and that's the challenge but it's my job mm-hm to continue the story and write culture and understand that hey my parents had this many tools you know I have the education and the life experiences but this many tools what can I do to ensure that the next generation has this many tools so it's been it's been an interesting journey but I think means and specifically Lily just you know because I stayed with her out here and we spend a lot of time together we talk about this a lot as to recognizing our influence like people are copying my tattoos people tie their turban the way I try it and you're like okay well there's a responsibility here now and then also just with with the newer generation you know folks don't care they don't they don't label as much anymore you know generation Z they don't care what you are mmm-hmm you know and what what influence are we having on them and and how can we have a positive influence so for me it's like the overarching theme I'm always encouraging and trying to shut down everybody's throat is not look like me act like me dress like me it's chase self awareness like me and if you want to be like me that means being the best version of you whatever that is you know and if that's a purple mohawk and a tutu and rollerskates to work then do it you know that's that's what I'm encouraging everybody to kind of do within their own and be your own student of the truth and you don't have to look a certain way to make that happen said it better that's that's something that's why you wrote the book my next question is gonna be about happiness because I think happiness a lot of times we think about happiness as a feeling but you talked a lot about happiness being a mindset and I really want to get into what that means more specifically how do you define that how is happiness a mindset and then what have you done and what can others do to sort of cultivate this mindset of happiness one step before that I do not believe it's important or even possible to be happy all the time I actually think that would be detrimental to our lives we rarely learn anything when we're happy that's right you know as Bill Gates said success is a lousy teacher we we learn when the hits the fan an unhappiness is simply when the picture in our head doesn't match the picture in front of us and now I may not be able to control the picture in front of me I have much more control in the picture in my head so managing my expectations and having that power allows me to decide how happy I am a lot a lot more often in no way shape or form am I saying people who have dealt with severe trauma can just now I'm happy like I'm not encouraging that at all but I am encouraging a lot of taking a lot more responsibility because when we take responsibility is not necessarily taking the blame it's empowering ourselves if I blame you for all my circumstances and you have all the power in my circumstances if I take some personal responsibility for my circumstances even the 1% of whatever it is now I have 1% more power so for me happiness is a mindset because the the recipe for happiness is very simple is gratitude it's appreciation if I bought you a Lamborghini you're happy because you appreciate Lamborghini mm-hmm you know maybe if I bought you a puppy you wouldn't appreciate it because you like this guy just gave me a bunch of work what about a puppy and a Lamborghini a puppy that can drive a Lamborghini oh you're a puppy chauffeur oh that would be amazing there's a column speedy speedy okay I like that Ronald Ronald yeah that works too yeah yeah I didn't mean to cut you off Ronald the puppy that drives the Lambo that always finds parking yeah and if he doesn't he just leaps to block a couple times yeah and they just says yo let me drop you off let me just drop you off at the front you handle yours I'll worry about parking and you're like dude yeah I'd love that he would be the most popular guy in LA he seems he was we should actually start a little Instagram for him already because I feel like probably too cool for this he probably at Coachella he would be he'd be on his way out to coach actually no you're right if he if he was on his way he's already there yeah he's probably already there so speak I like the way this is going because there's a lot of what you guys don't know I mean you probably can tell none of this is what was planned but we're kind of just freestyling right now yeah and I want to talk a lot I hear from my publicist oh I know I know we made all these very interesting boring questions and you didn't ask any of them what we did weave into woven some okay okay you involving some of them but I want to talk about hip-hop right now yes one of my favorite topics I know it's probably one of your favorite topics yes and I think that hip-hop has had a pretty big influence on you and your writing style and I really want to talk about your hip-hop past and present and how it has influenced the way that you wrote this book because we use that don't know yet and who don't have a copy of the book yet which I'm sure you all will pre-order you pre-order on Amazon so it's actually out I think my publicist gave you the wrong note it came out April 9th it came out April no we're already out on Amazon there are some free copies for those of you brave enough to adventure into the front row oh yeah there's literally free coffees on the chairs yeah for those of you that don't know the book is written in a very I would say unique way whereas using lots of quotes and then expounding upon said quotes so I want to understand hip hop how was it influenced you and how you wrote this book um so I got two older sisters so when I grew up whatever music I listen to is whatever they listen to so I'm listening to New Kids on the Block and George Michael and Vanilla Ice was probably the first raps you know Ice Ice Baby to play the first rap song I had memorized because these are the pop top 40 pop tracks that my sisters you know when they were young girls they were listening to the thing with hip hop specifically and it might be for other genres of music I just personally never had that experiences there's always gonna be that one song that hits you what's such tenacious reality that it just hits you and you have an involuntary reaction to it and for me it was actually in high school with Outkast Andre 3000 you know I came into this world high as a bird from secondhand cocaine powder I know it sounds absurd you know and just hearing those lines and then seeing this there's this cool rapper you know wearing a turban in his music videos you know with like five half-naked ladies making everything look like this super futuristic both futuristic and nostalgic African royalty vibe and you're just like I've never seen this imagery before and it just hits you to this level where you're just like I want more and you just go into this deep dive and for me I think it was I got really exposed to a lot more of that the heavier deeper hip-hop so I'm talking about like Lauryn Hill Outkast goody mob common you know Wyclef's first project all the ruckus movement so Black Star mos def to live quality all of this stuff really resonated with me but it felt like modern-day Bob Marley it felt like this universal stuff that hit me and I already enjoy putting words together I was I've been writing short stories and poems and everything since I was seven eight years old and loved sharing it and to see these guys do it on such an elite level it really impacted me and it was probably the first foundation of my authentic self confidence it was finding I was connecting with these people and they were telling stories that mattered and you know hearing rappers you know when you're in high school and you know you look like Master Splinter because you have like three strands of a beard and all your friends are starting to date but you you don't you don't have the confidence to add you know to ask any girl out and plus you don't feel attractive and even the men that are you know have these beautiful turbans and full beards you don't look like them either you're in your transition period you're you know you're going from your ear your duckling to Swan and but at the same time it impacts you and a lot of young guys they cut their hair they want to fit in they want to blend in and I think for me hip hop helped me see the value in who I was and hearing rappers say you know like push the tee the power is in my hair you know and and just hearing certain things it embolden me a lot and I realized it was not only it saved my life in so many occasions and then as I got older I felt I needed to contribute I owed I owed it to hip-hop to contribute and and write that next song for that next kid in high school whatever they're dealing with whether they're dealing with their weight whether they're dealing with the fact that they don't have two parents whether they're dealing with the fact that you know they look they're in love with somebody that they're not allowed to be in love with anything I wanted to tell their stories because I realized that's what hip-hop did for me it told my story when I couldn't tell it myself but it gave me the strength to write my story and as human beings that's all we've been doing we've been carving stuff on caves for the next generation and we've been telling stories and passing stories down and not only does that record our history that also helps us pave our future and for me that's why hip-hop to me is so important and also from a literary art perspective it's the most challenging technical it's the best form of literary art it JZ is significantly much more talented than Shakespeare in my opinion you know and and you know you take a you take out you take a popular rock song and you print it out it's like this many words you know you take any any rappers verses there's this much and when you think of your jay-z's and your lo Wayne's these guys don't even put pen to paper they're building all of this in their heads and I'm going straight to the microphone and they didn't do it for the novelty of it they did it out of a necessity in their life because some of them didn't have the tools to write anything down and so for me it's the evolution of literary art to a point that I don't think many people are appreciating it and that's why I do appreciate having humble the poet as my name to try to elevate the art form in itself totally totally so I mean I'd love to with your blessing I'd love to actually just like this book by the way I've I I am a slow reader and I mean that like you know if this if I had to read this front to back this is real talk I'd probably be taking about a month to get through it and being vulnerable right now but this book is really cool because it's almost like a magic 8-ball on steroids that also just so knows you personally you flip it open to any spot and find a gym it's definitely there I mean I have a full bookshelf now because every time you have a meeting with a publisher they send you home with a bag of books or the millio box of books so I got all the cool book but this book was you know I I taught the third grade so I thought to myself you know what would an eight what if you can explain it to an eight-year-old you could explain it to anybody and so I mean I made a book for people who say they don't like reading books because at the teacher in me knows everybody loves reading they just haven't found that right book and the big thing I used to tell my my students parents we're like hey if they want to read the back of the cereal box let them our goal is to get them to love reading not love reading something specific we'll find the academic stuff later right now we just need them to find that one book because once they find that one book they'll be hooked on reading and for me my goal was to make that book for people who don't read and and it's been in it has been a challenge especially working with publishers because you know they want to hit that target market and I was like I want to hit that market that doesn't know they need this book not just the market who has read every other book that might be in the same vein that's told you can definitely open this book up to any page and I and we'll do it we'll do it live right now and I feel like you'll find something you connect with all right so I want the audience right now to give me don't say no you guys can try yourself if you have a book and there's some in the front row if anybody's bold enough to move up pop one open if you want and and right now just like hold in tension right what are you feeling right now oh you guys gonna make it mystical all mystical are you kidding me I can't even sit up here with humble you think I'm mystical gonna got a beard let's complete the facade alright I'll complete the facade you know it's about making a vibe y'all gonna turn me to the the modern-day Osho hey hey if the shoe fits you know all right here we go the strongest don't survive the most adaptable do facts facts let's talk about that what does that mean I think it's just a challenge on some of the cliched things you hear so you know only the strongest survive me leaving the safety and security of being an elementary school teacher you know a government job that happened and you know in Canada where all my colleagues were my friends and the I already were the kids and nobody was in competition with me you know everybody was getting paid whatever they got paid and your pay grade went by raises and then I left that to go into the world of entertainment which is the jungle in comparison and you know the first people that recognized my talent weren't looking to help me they were looking to rip me to shreds or profit off of me and what I realized was it wasn't my strength that was gonna help me move forward it was gonna be my ability to adapt learn and move forward and especially as a stubborn individual that was a big lesson I had to tell myself that it's hey you have to adjust your sails you can't control the wind you have to adjust your sails and for me that's kind of where this idea came from and I mean I'm sure Darwin would agree you know it's the adaptable ones that kick it and I think very often you know translating that into our modern society it would be it's not the most talented people that are going to succeed it's the people with the grit the people with the perseverance and the people who are willing not to adjust their goals but people who are willing to address their strategies and their routes to get there well said well said now I'm gonna be respectful of time because I definitely get a sense everyone's really paying attention and super focused you understand this is not a generally a laptops down community so we try to multiple everything I don't know if you've noticed I don't even see one now everybody's just eyes forward right now so I we got one with the laptop of the autocrat let me close this oh okay so he he's probably doing something superficial that's related hey you know I'm not listen I I mean one of the people who is lucky enough to get invites to zeitgeist and even once in a while I gotta pull out my laptop every once in a while sometimes that email I did life happens in real time I get it so I mean if you're cool with it I'd love to I feel like keeping it mystic I'm getting a sense that there are some questions out there in the audience for you I'm just saying you're making it mythic I please I don't want anyone think that I do I just like like mystical things but uh yeah alrighty this is the cool motive the question back there check this out almost I apologize I mean oh my god that's a microphone that is fly round so thank you for coming it's I think it's coincidence or it's meant to be that I would just finish watching Nipsey Hussle funeral service and then coming into this because that was speaking the truth and so is this on that note who is your modern your top modern favorite rappers artistically Polly Andre mm just everything he does has just been fantastic I think you know talking about Nipsey Hussle in terms of people who drop the most gems and the jewels it'll probably be in there work probably jay-z drops the most wisdom is he's not really known for it but if you take a listen especially it's 444 album you know that's like a manual on how to be an adult it's such a 444 ok yeah so that was really good I got two chapters in here dedicated to lessons I learned from 50 cent so they're there as well so 50 for me it's a big one and actually Nipsey Hussle it was it was a and that's the heartbreaking situation but um probably a week a week before it all happened we had just connected on twitter and my goal and I landed here in LA on I got the news I was flying back from India so my flight was from Mumbai to Frankfurt and Frankfurt to LA and then landing and Frankfurt I found out I got the news and yeah one of my goals was like all right you're gonna let go of your Canadian sensibilities and you saying you're gonna find this guy you're gonna keep poking at him till he meets you like you're not gonna take no for an answer and that was on my to-do list this trip to LA and it just it was a it was a very heartbreaking situation but I do for those you know bail ocular heard the news of Nipsey Hussle I do we encourage you guys to check out his interviews he has one of the most and that's how we connect excite said he's one of the most important minds and has one of the most important stories of our generation and I think he appreciated that and we connected that way but you know it is his story you know his credits have rolled and all we can do is continue his legacy but beyond that 50 cent hundred two thousand as an artist I'm loving what Gambino does right now I had to have a I got to meet him years ago and he reminded me that the only reason I should be doing this is because it's fun you know he chases the fun and when you look at his work you realize he's literally chasing the fun yeah so I'm really trying to follow in his footsteps and do the same thank you great question okay all right so how often do people get hit in the head so it's it's it's soft it's plush in there somewhere as a tiny microphone not like yeah no no yeah yeah no you wouldn't want to but you might he made it look oh yeah I mean I did I'm expecting it okay absolutely right yeah thanks so much for coming today where do you like I know you're talking about like a new slate or roster like artists particularly Indian artists kind of rising now where do you view I mean have you seen a godly boy yet yeah I haven't seen the film but I've seen the truck okay oh yeah yeah so I was just curious like if you had exposure to the growing yet nascent hip-hop scene in India yeah and where do you think that's going it's fantastic it's fantastic on so many levels so coincidentally when I was in Mumbai we ran into Ranveer who stars in that movie at a party and I have it on my Instagram he rapped still d-r-e and to end and then later on in the party he rapped hypnotized and and he knew all the words do you know the thing is with hip hop hip hop is like soccer for music it's the most universal accessible musical art because you don't have to pay for expensive guitar lessons you don't have to pay for you know equipment all you need for hip hop is a story and it beeped and you know we all kind of come with a heartbeat you know out the box it's it's also the the tool of the under-represented to tell their stories so in terms of hip hop right now you know it started you know you know 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx and it expanded slowly but surely and outside of English speakers the next language that has had a couple of decades under their belt is French so French hip hop is evolved magnificently the thing is the nests all the necessary ingredients for hip hop to exist have always been in India every you know all the major languages in India Hindi Punjabi Gujarati or do you know Madras see all these languages they're already poetic they're already made to rhyme you know as I said like all the hymns that my mother taught me growing up they all rhyme you know all all the hymns are written in poetry they're all you could wrap them yeah the Mahabharata is like the longest poem ever exactly they're all they're already poetry so now this is just adding poetry to your heartbeat so from that perspective it's kind of always been it's kind of like when they realize you know when the NBA realized hey if we go to Africa everyone's so tall we can we can start you know we can start grooming these players to join the league I feel like that's India time right now they're grooming the players because you know you can compare you can't even compare a hood in the u.s. to a slum in India is it's a completely different level of what they're going through and their stories are so important and their emotions are so raw and and the art it is so prevalent there and India is also you know the mother of percussion you know India India and Africa is where percussion came from so from that perspective it's such a natural fitness so exciting where it is right now it's amazing so you know roof tar who's one one of the most prominent rappers out there right now he's a good friend of mine and but at the same time it's cool cuz on his hand he has a game tattoo you know he was inspired by the game and he's probably a bigger heart is globally now and so for me it's been exciting to be able to connect with these guys you know drop a track with these guys once a year explore rapping and Punjabi explore rapping and Hindi kind of making it all happen I and I try to do it more authentically the way I would probably do it here which is I speak half English half Punjabi when I'm with my friends I would rap into the same thing and there's that movement Daisy hip hop and just meeting a couple of other artists and how they're doing it so I'm actually working with a company called solvent as well which is owned by Geo which is the the big telecom company out there and they're putting cell phones in everybody's hands so the movement is coming and I know they just recently released a track Ranveer actually has a track with NAS and it's it's fantastic because what's popular there is what was popular here in the 90s so it's like that boom bap the hardcore stuff they don't want you to slow it down like they want that Eminem they want that lyrical miracle super fast stuff and I you know out here you're being taught hey you know we got to make it more melodic you got to make it simpler to understand you to make it more digestible so it's it's a breath of fresh air and I'm looking forward to contributing to that culture the best way I know how and kind of moving it forward and you know Bollywood has always had this reputation of kind of being a parody of North American culture label I have their cheesy version of spider-man they'll have the cheesy version of whatever this is an opportunity for us not to have a cheesy version of hip hop we can have an authentic version of it and we can look especially for me I believe we should look to to folks in France because they found that and I feel like the UK is doing the same thing UK they had a lot of rappers in the beginning then once they found grime that became their own thing and I think that's kind of what it is you have to sound like your heroes until you find your own voice and I think India is having his time to sound like their heroes but I want us to find our own voice thank you so much yeah other questions thank you so much for coming over here my question is more about like a philosophy and of the sick Tamia was always something to do with warriors and the warrior spirit yeah and I was wondering like in your life overall how does it impact you how do you apply it daily through life I don't know trials obstacles I mean I think you know we have and one of the symbols we have a double-edged sword and the double-edged sword you know represents medium PD which is like spiritual power and temporal power or being involved politically so historically they were Saints they were soldiers and everything in between and now it kind of its amalgamated with you you you know you're supposed to be the same and this soldier but I think from a pragmatic level it makes a lot of sense the you know you're not being encouraged to isolate yourself from the world and sit in your room and meditate all the time and avoid challenges you know avoid temptation and avoid all these things you're encouraged to be out in the world and be assertive and and and view things accordingly so for me I know you know growing up I probably connected much more with Malcolm X netid Martin Luther King you know I connected with a bucket seeing much more than I did with Mahatma Gandhi you know people who were a lot more you know many people don't even know that like Nelson Mandela you know there was there was a militant wing to some of the things that he did in the early on you know and I think for me I always kind of viewed people that is a lot more pragmatic and understanding that sometimes you know when fighting oppression you have to fight you can't simply sit in or do a hunger strike you have to actually fight you have to speak up you know and now in in modern sense for me that just means you know you can't be passive aggressive you know you have to speak in straight lines you have to be able to be clear with people peace isn't always available and peace can't always be a priority and I love a quote from Steve Jobs we talked about the rock tumbler and you know everyone criticizing him for the friction in his office and he's like you put rocks in a rock tumbler and the friction polishes all the rocks and I noticed that with myself and I grew up in a in a challenging neighborhood in Toronto where you know we spoke a certain way to each other and then you know once I got a little bit older and started meeting people from other neighborhoods realizing that I was considered crass or rude and not feeling that I was myself I felt I was just a direct communicator and feeling that it's okay for there to be a little bit of conflict it's okay for there to be a little bit of friction because from that a lot can grow you know we we as a species are safer now than we've ever been but we're more sensitive to two negative news and negative violence and I think that that might we might be doing ourselves a disservice because of that and so for me and my heritage really promoting being prepared all the time it really means you know being able to operate in any ecosystem you know and for me that's always been being the guy who stood out you know I could never be a fly on the wall when I went in certain places or you know being in a country where 99% of the people think I'm Muslim you know and I and a hundred and one percent of the time I'm randomly screened you know at the airport and it really being mindful of this and and and saying to myself okay well what are the things I can do and saying hey well 20 years ago the average American if they thought beard interpreting they thought Osama bin Laden you know what can I do now so when the average person thinks that beard and turban they think of humble and when they think of humble they just think of funny silly guy like fun-loving great person as opposed to he represent I'm sure you know no other gentleman with a beard and turban would have an issue being seen as a fun person you know versus what we had to deal with me growing up going in New York the first time in like 2004 and the type of challenges that I went through with that but now as an adult I see the value in that I you know if I had children I probably wouldn't want to shield them from that I think it built a lot of character and put me in a position and as well I think the irony of how the story has moved now is you know there's so much you know I grew up in a world where people are pushing us at tolerate diversity and I think now we're realizing that we don't tolerate diversity we celebrate diversity you know diversity multiculturalism all of that it's fantastic thank you well you guys you guys are do this la for you they're all here but I think it's just at a point now where people are seeing the benefits of it is good for every single person and we have so much more in common than we have differences and now it's a challenge for even me to speak to my community and be like all right you guys want it to be accepted because you chose to wear turbans and beards you guys need to accept that man for loving another man you need to accept that woman for loving another woman you accept that that that person over there who decided they grew up one way but they want to be something else and you don't get to have an opinion on their choices especially since their choices have no impact on you and it's just challenging a belief that you have so I'm seeing this and I've experienced I've experienced racism at the hands of homosexuals you know and kind of being Leahey we're supposed to be on the same team here we're oppressed minorities in some sense but you realize that you know human nature has this kind of really you know divide and conquer is a very efficient way to control people so trying to be mindful of that and finding the best ways to fight those battles and I was actually telling some friends back home I said you know the six are known for being warriors but we things kind of we started losing a lot more battles when the battles became when the bullets became information you know we we don't have the necessary mechanisms in place when when this information warfare we don't have relationships with the media to change stories of if people are being attacked we don't have the necessary relationship with sponsors to be like hey you know this this publication is spreading false information you know can we lean on them with your sponsorship dollars to ensure that doesn't happen we don't have the most effective lobbying groups you know so this is our next level of warrior news because you know folks are still thinking warriors is picking up the sword and it's not the battles are internal and the new external battles are not going to be fought on the battlefield anymore they're going to be fought behind the computer they're going to be fought with you know political donations they're gonna be fought that way and I think just learning that war of the learning that art of war I think is important for everybody in general and specifically that's something that I'm trying to push upon people in my community thank you we got that we got the wrap up all right so I think we're kind of out of time for for questions but I'm curious do we have time for one one more special thing all right so picture's worth a thousand words right but I feel like a spoken spoken word is is priceless and we talked about this before and I'd love to get you to give us some spoken word right now definitely okay so this one I wrote in honor of my father it's called life of an immigrant and it was inspired by his story so my father came to Canada in the early 70s he had a master's degree in economics but he immediately got to work in it in a Furniture Factory while he saved up to get his taxi license and then he drove a taxi probably from like 75 to 2015 when he retired and he was always an academic but never got to pursue academics and I always thought that was super interesting in it and it didn't help me develop a big chip on my shoulder as to what I needed to be to prove his sacrifices right and that in the self became a challenge for me but I did write a piece in his honor and it's called life of an immigrant told him the grass was greener with an endless flood of possibilities Katrina watched him drown in debt land confiscated by the local government so he flies high in a jet playing playing clothes just exposed them to the harsh winters a life and his wife won't know about the sweat soaked in the banknotes sent home boy getting grown he starts to grown his stomachs rumbling hungry for a better life now he's stumbling over foreign phonetics and those verb tenses they're laughing at his accent is not an accident though that his master's in economics isn't all most economic for a father to hop his ass in a cab and never bother getting out that car or his dreams memorize the row and collect the fare it isn't fair when they say you don't belong here with your long beard in that towel around your head hear what was said so can the hate can you relate life of an immigrant I gotta say man it's been a real real fun time talking to you we're just you know this homeys up here which is like the best way they say you can I appreciate everybody here just skipping Coachella to come see me that's the story I'm telling myself they all had free tickets oh they all do like no this is and this is probably the entire population of LA that's not in the Coachella mhm so I appreciate every single one of you exact is your uber I was like like yeah it was like yeah no it was like 45 minutes I got here in like seven a yeah right got here before you left well I really gotta say man thank you for for sparing the time and coming through and really talking to us I really hope that everybody got a lot out of this as we noted humbles book unlearn is out right now you can definitely if you did not get Hurley enough to get your own copy because actually buy a copy off at Amazon it's a great book I have not finished reading it yet but the best part is every single deck and just pop open to a new page and it's just like I exactly you

9 thoughts on “Humble the Poet: "Unlearn: 101 Simple Truths For A Better Life" | Talks at Google

  1. Intelligence comes when one discovers the golden rules that govern everything known and unknown. Wisdom comes when one realizes they are what keeps reality turning and SHOULD NOT be played with. They can not be improved or made quicker or faster or better!! Those rules are a perfectly tuned set of ideas and understandings. The second part of wisdom comes when one realizes these laws can be changed and chooses to leave them in place just for their beauty and harmony and one would be kicking ones own BUTT if one did change 1 tiny microcosm. :O)

  2. I like humble the poet but I hate some of his influences… I can't stand it when he can say something deep and profound and then go on to consider no good petty dipshits like tupac as his influences (read some of his blog entries)… That really makes me question his depth and sincerity….

    And on a less serious note…. Even I'm thinking of giving up science and tech these days and converting myself into a word smith guru with simple life advice for the masses… Esp affiliated with hip hop in some form… Maybe I'll throw in some Punjabi here and there to spice things up…. Not only will my fame and money grow exponentially without actually creating or contributing to anything concrete or real but maybe then I can get on google talks as well… And convince some gullible techies to admit that my word play is the best thing since sliced bread… Mmmmmm…. Let me think about it…. Mmmmmm ….. No thanks! :p

  3. Thank you, Humble, you are awesome. You spoke what was in my liminal consciousness and just never had the grounding to see it. Can’t wait to get the book!! <3

  4. Okay google. Looking forward to the talks someday in the future about science and technology! I mean nothing bad about self development, but this is quite basic stuff.

  5. Your story of coming to realize your essence (ethos?) as non-confirmity being illuminated by your cousin sparked memories of the name my company commanders gave me in bootcamp, "Burger Queen" (had to have things my way). Not meant as a compliment, but accurate. Only way to be.

  6. Yay! I love Humble.
    He is really clever.
    Nice interview πŸ‘

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