I can't complain.
I'm on this tour right now in Boulder, Colorado, just trying to handle
a little business.
your tour going so far?
We're knocking them down. We've had eleven straight shows. Me and Ghost
are killing it. Everybody is happy because they're getting their Wu fix
on and their DP fix on. It's a good cross-section of listeners. It's a
also got "Confidential" dropping. What do you want to tell people
about the album?
It's a new
chapter. There are some new pages written in the revolutionary book. I
think it's a diverse album. Get it on March 21, and if you miss the 21st,
go back on the 22nd. On the real, I want people to get into it and to
know that we're still here and we're not going anywhere.
stage in your career, how important is it for you to drop a solo album?
I think it's
very important. I think it's important for all those who want to hear
more music in the lane that I'm in, the lane of people who are saying
something and stand for something who want to change the destiny of music
by bringing back some of the most important community aspects. That's
what I think this album will represent and I think it helps people to
not pigeonhole dead prez. We've also got a strong movement with groups
like the A-Alikes. I'm proud to be first out the gate with this solo joint.
stic recording his solo album inspired me to go out and record mine.
it recording "Comrade's Call" with Styles P?
Oh man! That
was exactly what I wanted it to be. I could not have picked a better way
to do something that I always wanted to do. We had a vision of the track
that we wanted to do. I had actually previously approached him about another
track to see where his head was at. We're good enough comrades to communicate
what we want to do. He wanted to do some street shit and I wanted to do
some radio shit. I thought he could have done that because the streets
already respect him. He didn't want to do that. I ended up hooking up
with my man Agallah the Don Bishop from Purple City. We blew some of that
purple piff and we took them on a street journey with revolutionary principles.
Styles P is no stranger to that. It was great. It was something that I
had been wanting to do. There are a lot of people out there that I have
wanted to work with but have never been able to.
you consider your comrades to be in this Hip Hop game?
are always the people on my album, but there are others. I consider my
comrades Styles, the Outlawz, they're also my family, I got mad family
in the Bay Area, like JT, San Quinn, Deuce, E-40
a comrade is not
just somebody who's your friend and your homie. It's also someone who
will be there for you when you're struggling. It goes back to street code
and the RBG code. I just want to shout the sisters too. There's a number
of us. Dave Chappelle is a comrade.
you want to go through Koch on this record?
to do it as independently as possible. I wanted autonomy over my career.
What Koch offered was hard for me to pass up. Besides selling it out of
my own trunk, Koch was the most viable option to do. Before this album,
we did not have a great relationship with Koch. I intend to take this
album to its fullest extent.
your relationship like with Fabrizio Sotti (founder of Koch Records)?
his business mind and his musical space. He's a great guitarist. He's
worked with all kinds of Grammy Award-winning artists. That doesn't make
his music better than someone else's, but I respect his work. That's how
I was able to get Cassandra Wilson on my album, because he had produced
her album. He's a cool dude with a good vision who likes Hip Hop. He used
to produce like Swizz Beatz and Puffy, but his ear is on the real shit,
even though he tries to make himself commercially viable. I thought it
would be a good match for us to do something that was real street with
some real stringy guitars and to put it together. It's probably going
to throw off the radio a little bit.
your solo album different from a DP album?
I think a
lot of people assume that me and stic are attached at the hip. However
it seems, I just want people to know that the ideas that have come and
that are related to dead prez are different from M1. The process of making
the songs is different. When me and stic make music, the formula is different.
You've heard "Hip Hop" and all the other songs on "Let's
Get Free." I didn't even get to produce much on this album. I wanted
to executive-produce it. The politics are still the same. Hopefully I
employed a new strategy that has some different characteristics.
fans expect a certain sound from you?
I do think
people expect a certain kind of sound from M1. The thing is, I don't think
people are very familiar with what that sound is because when you say
"dead prez," you think more of what we say than what we sound
like. There really is no true definition for dead prez. This album is
letting me expand the sound because it's very diverse. Some people could
consider our music Dirty South and others would say East Coast/New York.
We're growing into our sound.
knows you for being political and outspoken. Do you ever just want to
have fun on records and does that balance ever get hard?
Basically you have to keep it all in perspective and just show people
the human side of not only trying to be a revolutionary but also an artist.
I'm conscious of that. I live in that life. I tell myself, "Man,
sometimes you just have to have fun with it." If you don't, you lose
sight of the whole objective. That's the whole thing. I've been trying
to express the human side of our struggle for the longest time. I don't
think people have gotten that, but they will.
biggest complaint from people that don't really get into your music say,
"dead prez doesn't like white people." How do you respond to
it like this. My comrade Fred Hampton, Jr. from Chicago said this: "No
investigation, no right to speak." What that basically means is that
if you haven't done your research, then you don't deserve the right to
make comments about anything. For those people who do listen to dead prez,
I think they need to find themselves checking people who say that and
tell them, "You don't know what you're talking about." Why is
it racist when we want power? Everybody wants power in their community.
The Chinese man wants power. The Japanese man wants power. The white man
has power. We all need empowerment, but when I talk about empowerment,
it becomes racist. I think it's an understanding of the politics. I think
certain people that feel a certain way feel that way because they know
there is still a group of black people who still represent a resistance
and want control over our lives. I've never said, "Fuck white people"
or "Fuck the white man." That's not my politic. I say, "Fuck
the system." Yes, it is the white man's system. Me saying what I'm
saying means I'm being real about the situation. It's not being racist.
Anybody out there who has these misconceptions needs to check themselves.
Check the catalog. If we say "cracker," imagine how many times
a white man has said "nigger."
should race be in Hip Hop?
to the culture that we live in. It's not everything that you can take
out of that context. Hip Hop is the voice of the oppressed African. Let's
make it clear that that's what emerged here. Why wouldn't I say that it
has something to do with the African drum? It's true. It is our culture.
Does that mean that white people don't belong here? Of course I'm not
saying that. Our cultures are transferable. I've learned things from European
culture. I haven't learned a lot of good things from European culture,
but I have learned a lot and I think Europe has definitely gained from
has a lot of white fans. What is the appeal of dead prez to white kids?
I think the
appeal to certain white people is that these guys are willing to tell
the reality. We're willing to set that free and claim it as a part of
our culture. It is the illest weapon out. It's iller than the neutron
bomb. I think that people have an affinity for that. We're not stupid.
We all see the shit on the news and know it's bullshit.
rappers in the game are on your level of skill as an MC as well as wanting
to change things?
surprised how many people are faking the funk. Sincerity is hard to find.
A lot of times when you find that sincerity, it's not in the rappers but
in the organizers. That's a delicate line to balance. You have to be an
artist that is the illest rapper out and still carry the weight of the
hood on his back. That's our hero. I don't do what the rest of these rappers
and Saigon be doing some music in the future?
That's my homie. I've got mad joints with Sai. We've been doing joints
since he came home. We're on his album. That's family. Just your mention
of him lets me know just how wide of a voice we have. I love that people
associate dead prez with Saigon. That's beautiful.
your relationship with Immortal Technique today?
We organize together. I met him on the political sense. We're a part of
some of the same organizations. I think he has a beautiful approach to
the game. We need that whole void to be filled. Plus he's representing
the Latino community from a revolutionary perspective. That's my dude.
up with your organization G.A.ME?
It's a Hip
Hop labor union. I take that shit very seriously. Everybody wants to be
an MC and people think that rapping is getting political. I see that happened,
so I developed the Grassroots Artist Movement concept and Technique was
around. We had been organizing so much in the streets together and we
are both spokespeople for the organization right now.
lot of rappers neglecting certain things like health insurance?
Look at Dilla.
It's not that he's neglecting anything, but life happens. We make this
business $40 billion a year. That's a lot of gooba. We just need to make
sure that we can be here to be a good slave for master. At least make
sure I can stay alive. That's some bullshit. It comes down to the same
basic questions that you can't escape. People think that rappers have
it made. That's bullshit.
are you working on right now?
a few things. Of course a new dead prez album is right on the horizon.
dead prez is my favorite group. I'm going to do some more acting. I got
a movie that's about to develop into something. It's called "Broken
Rhymes" and it's really my first movie. It's a full-length. It's
about to come to the world through DVD. I did it out in LA. If you get
a chance to look at it, you should. It has a good message. I'm just going
to keep it revolutionary.
the DP album drop?
or November. Look for it around then.
Tahir been up to?
in the grind in Florida. He's still involved in the music thing. He's
doing his thing.
you want to say to everyone?
Patterson. Aaron Patterson is a political prisoner that has been recaptured
in Illinois. Google the name. He's a courageous fighter. Get to know about
him. To the youth, take your sacrifices right now and rumble young man,
rumble, because the system can't afford to have too many youths rising
up. Sooner or later we'll have power.