Minnesota Native News: New Music About the Life of Jim Thorpe
TALL PAUL RELEASES VIDEO FOR ‘SOMEONE GREAT WHO LOOKS LIKE ME,’ INSPIRED BY ATHLETE JIM THORPE.
This week on Minnesota Native News: Tall Paul talks about his latest song and music video based on the impact Jim Thorpe has had on his life. It’s off his current album The Story of Jim Thorpe.
This is Minnesota Native News, I’m Marie Rock.
Jim Thorpe is a legendary athlete, who lived from 1887 to 1953.
He was All American in football at the Carlisle Indian School…
The Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted him into its inaugural class in 1963…
And in 1950, the Associated Press declared him the "greatest athlete" from the first 50 years of the 20th century.
Jim Thorpe has inspired many, including hip hop artist, Tall Paul.
Here’s Leah Lemm with the story.
REPORTER: Tall Paul is a Leech Lake hip hop artist based in Minneapolis whose current music project is part biographical, part historical, based on the life and legacy of Jim Thorpe.
PAUL: The album name is gonna be The Story of Jim Thorpe and I’m looking to release it in January 2018. (:08)
REPORTER: The Story of Jim Thorpe is Tall Paul’s tenth project of his career.
Growing up, he was a self-described football fanatic but didn’t have Native athlete role models to look up to. Until, that is, he found out about Jim Thorpe.
PAUL: When I did some research into Native athletics and found out about Jim Thorpe and seeing he was in the NFL Hall of Fame, won three championships with the Canton Bulldogs, and just seeing how versatile of an athlete he was; he even played Major League Baseball, it really inspired me to believe in myself as an athlete but as a Native person in general. (:22)
REPORTER: The song, ‘Someone Great Who Looks Like Me,’ off his album, not only celebrates Jim Thorpe, but in this song, Tall Paul wants to do his part to make sure the memory of the historical Native athlete isn’t lost.
PAUL: I wanted to make this song to honor that but to also extend his legacy because nowadays when I hear people talk casually about who the greatest athlete of all time is, whether it’s my friends or homies or whoever, it’s always Michael Jordan or Bo Jackson or Muhammad Ali. (:17)
REPORTER: Tall Paul enjoys writing by himself, reportedly from a dark corner of the house, letting words flow from him.
However, the process for writing this album was very different.
PAUL: With this Jim Thorpe album, honestly there was more research that went into it than anything. But it’s essential to the writing process because I had to take notes and build the foundation for what I was gonna write my lyrics about… you have to become a scholar, become an academic person on this topic because the album’s like a biography. (:21)
REPORTER: The commitment to shining a light on the legendary Native figure included a road trip while filming the music video for ’Someone Great Who Looks Like Me’…
which brought him and his film crew to Jim Thorpe’s birthplace of Prague, Oklahoma. Also on the tour was Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas and the location of the former Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, PA, both places where Jim Thorpe attended boarding school . And the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Jim Thorpe’s journey had many struggles, including some that Tall Paul identifies with… those that make their way into the lyrics.
PAUL: “Graduated college poured the lick down the sink, gotta be you for kids who wanna be me”, I like that lyric because it speaks to our commonality in that we both struggled with alcohol but overcame it to a degree. I mean, I’ve been sober for 8 years, I can’t speak on how that experience was for him. And then this idea of seeing kids out in the community and just people in general looking up to me and admiring me, now I gotta be somebody great for them you know just like Jim Thorpe was great for me. (:35)
REPORTER: Tall Paul can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: AT Tall Paul Six One Two. The video for ‘Someone Great Who Looks Like Me’ is on YouTube.