You don’t hear the tired toasts to self-worship, materialism, and gang-banging in his music, and you certainly won’t see them in his life. K-OS, a.k.a. Kevin Brereton, broke out from the underground scene with his 2003 debut, Exit, an eclectic collection of self-produced and self-written songs that are varying blends of soul, rock, reggae, and hip-hop. The Canadian MC, who was quoted as saying, “I create hip-hop for the love of hip-hop, not money,” is clearly not someone who forms his opinions according to the trends. It’s nice to know that K-OS’ appreciation for all forms of music seems to run parallel to his appreciation for all forms of life. He took some time off from touring and creating his next record to talk with PETA.
Are you familiar with PETA?
Yeah, of course. I’ve heard about it from the beginning.
Was there a particular incident that prompted you to become vegetarian?
Back when I was a kid, when I was, like, 8 years old, I told my mom I didn’t want to eat chicken. That’s when I first had an inkling. … And then I think that it just sort of happened … I read something one day: “If someone can’t actually kill animals themselves to eat meat …,” which really put me over the top. I can’t remember where I read that, but I wouldn’t. I think a lot of people live life through convenience. … And then after a year, around ’96, … I tried to eat meat again, and I just got so sick. It was such a horrible experience. … I just couldn’t do it. It’s like a toxin actually. … It started as being a moral issue and then it became my own body. … I don’t think that I fully realized until I stopped eating [meat] how much it was a part of society and how much it was affecting me. At one point, my dad [started] eating less meat. … My little brother became vegetarian, so I think it’s something that when people see it happening, they sort of, just by human nature, go, “Well, maybe it’s right not to eat meat.” … Like anything else, you’ve been indoctrinated from day one. … I think that’s the best kind of change you can have is when people around you start looking at you.
What would you say to someone considering giving up meat? What have you said to your family members to make them make the change?
I would say, “Know your own body.” I would say, “No one can write a book about your body. … [It’s] kind of cool because you start to figure out that your body has all the facts. But know mostly that when you stop eating meat, you stop supporting slaughtering animals.” I think that that is above and beyond the most important thing about not eating meat.
How do you feel about the flash you see in hip-hop, with the diamonds and furs? You seem to set yourself apart from that lifestyle. What do you think about people who wear furs?
[P]eople that understand the politics behind hip-hop artists and people in the ghetto wanting those things, … the lifestyle of the rich and the famous—which is accessorized by furs and bling bling and diamonds and all these things—these are black people or people in the ghetto that want to be associated with people who are upper class. It’s those people who are propagating it. … Black people are just following that because they think that that’s going to make them on that level. So, I wouldn’t blame hip-hop for it. Now it ends up that these people—these rappers—end up being a walking, living commercial for it. That’s the unfortunate part. … Unfortunately, hip-hop has the ear of the children today, and that’s why hip-hop is doing the damage. But if hip-hop decided to be vegetarian … I won’t cut up my brothers and sisters, but I will say that people need to be more responsible for everything around them, you know—animal rights.
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