TheRealMattDaddy: Most people know you as Poot from HBO's The Wire. But you're also a writer and a hip-hop artist. You could rap about anything, why fatherhood?
TRAY CHANEY: Because I feel the need to address the issue of fatherhood in a positive way. People get caught up in the negative images of fatherhood, meaning "the father is not in the child's life." But this song was written to uplift the fathers that's taking care of their responsibility and also to encourage the fathers that may not be doing that to step up. Your child is the future, and we have to be there to protect them.
TRMD: Your own father and son are in the video. That must have been a special experience for all of you. Is there a tradition or something special that you shared with your dad when you were young that you are passing on to your son?
TC: Well, I was very fortunate to have my father in my life. My mom and dad have been married for thirty years, so coming up it was always me, my sister Candis, and my parents. The tradition that I shared with my father was always to put God first and honor your family no matter what. I was taught that being the head of the household means you have to get out there and work hard every day so your family can be taken care of. I share the same qualities with my son, even though he is only five, I know he is able to see the love I have for his mother, my wife Ayesha. He sees how hard I work every day to have McDonald's money for him to get a happy meal on Friday. Ha! Seriously, I'm teaching him how to be a great young man, and also how important education is.
TRMD: What do you hope your son says about you as a father when he's grown up?
TC: I feel that he will say his daddy was a man that believed in God and worked hard at whatever he did. He will say I was totally supportive of whatever he did as long as it was positive, and that I set a good example. I strive to do that every day so when he does get older, he will remember all of those great qualities.
TRMD: Is there any charity or program that you're working with to promote fatherhood? Or is this a personal mission?
TC: Well, it's actually a personal mission that I just call the #FATHERHOOD movement. Me and the video's director, Lamar Tyler, are planning to tour the country to promote fatherhood. We were already talking about the tour before I even recorded the song. I just felt, as a hip-hop artist, that I wanted to touch on this subject of fatherhood because you don't see most hip-hop artists doing that.
TRMD: Where can my readers go to get more info about your music and other work?
TC: I have songs on iTunes. "Fatherhood" is on iTunes now, and I have another record called "W.A.R." (it stands for World At Risk). It's another message driven anthem about raw reality that individuals tend to ignore such as the economy, politics, etc. So please, feel free to look up Tray Chaney on iTunes. I also have a book out called "The Truth You Can't Betray" on Amazon. I just stay busy brother!
I want to thank Tray for taking the time to answer some questions. As you know, I will do anything to help promote the positive image of fatherhood, and Tray is a great example of that same effort. You can follow Tray on Twitter (@traychaney) or visit his blog to keep up with his work.
***UPDATE*** Tray featured on BET's 106&Park