BY ALEX GAROFALO ON 04/17/15 AT 11:16 AM
“In My Father’s House” – the new documentary about rapper Che “Rhymefest” Smith’s journey to reconnect with his alcoholic father – premiered Thursday night at the Tribeca Film Festivalin New York. On the red carpet before the film’s debut, Smith – who co-wrote the Oscar-winning song “Glory” with Common and John Legend – posed with his father, Brian Tillman, and directors Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg while discussing what the movie means to him and the future of his music career.
“In My Father’s House” is a candid look at how Smith, who gained fame co-writing Kanye West’s 2004 hit “Jesus Walks,” tracked down his father – who abandoned him when he was 12. Smith found Tillman homeless, living just blocks away from the Chicago house Smith had just moved his family into – his father’s childhood home. Smith says he felt compelled to share his story.
“They say if you have a life worth living, then you should write about it,” Smith told International Business Times on the red carpet. “Well, we live in a future now where you can actually film it and edit it. So, it was basically me trying to find me and document my incompleteness. Now that I know who my father is, I don’t have to blame anybody or guilt myself.”
In finding himself, Smith says he is now capable of making the best music of his career.
“Working with Kanye or working with Common, I was always kind of working behind artists and writing for artists because I was afraid to come out with my story,” said the rapper. “My movement wasn’t there. My spirit and my soul weren’t there. My completeness wasn’t there. Now it is.”
So what’s next for Rhymefest?
“I’m going to Disney World,” he quipped, before getting serious. “What’s next is basically combining music and movement; watching music and movement work in tandem. [Common and I] already gave you a taste of that with ‘Glory.’ Now having a second chance. … What rapper has been gone for three or four years and then comes back and wins an Oscar? Here we are. Now we are going to finally see who Rhymefest is.”
"In My Father's House" will be playing at the Tribeca Film Festival all week. Showtimes are available on the festival's website.
Watch the trailer for “In My Father’s House” here