Reminiscent of the days when Public Enemy inspired us to “Fight The Power” while KRS-One and other Poor Righteous Teachers uplifted and educated the masses through a lyrical approach that galvanized. Substance was priority, coupled with a dope beat; an ensemble played and our perspectives were widened, more or less enhanced. To say that those days are gone could be the spark to a great debate. Rather than inflame, motivation is the objective. Parlé with us, as we present to you a personification of all of those ideals, and elements of what we know to be Hip-Hpp. Introducing, Dead Prez…
Parlé Magazine: On behalf of Hip-Hop heads first I’d like to say Welcome Back, and ask for an update on what you guys have been up to since your last release?
M-1: First of all thank you for the warm welcome, however we have not been gone! Better yet, we’ve been hard at work building a connection between Hip-Hop culture and the real lives we live in our various communities. Obviously the world is in flux right now and the importance of a voice that is courageous enough to “tell it like it is” is necessary. Our work reaches corners and back alleys in a world that requires us to be much more than wordsmiths and beatmakers these days, as Stic’s fantastic works makes a remarkable example. I too have been organizing to resourcefully support reversing the same effects of the social “cancer” imperialism has become. Between studio sessions we find ourselves juggling the role of father, warrior, chef, businessman and student.
Stic.Man: LEARNING GROWING CHANGING, BABY!
I started the RBGFITCLUB.com community movement for health and wellness and put out The Workout a health and fitness Hip-Hop album. I’ve been a sober soldier for going on 4 years now. Just trained for and completed my first marathon in October 2012!
I produced an original score for the film Soulfood Junkies too. So overall its been about enjoying life, staying healthy, creative and getting stronger!
Parlé: I understand there is a new label situation with Krian Music Group, whom you guys have had a very healthy working relationship with for years, can you touch on that please?
M1: I am appreciative of our joint-venture with Krian. In today’s shark tank of avaricious “industry” standards, the relationship we have developed will enable us to work together uniquely and with endurance, which is critical to a group like Dead Prez who operates much more efficiently beneath the surface so to speak. Information Age is well positioned in a world where music is pleading for balance, Dead Prez along with Krian will be able to deliver something of value.
Stic.Man: Yeah, KRIAN is owned by Frank Liwall who has been our administration partner at the Royalty network for about a decade. We were finally ready to release our album Information Age and Frank offered his label’s partnership via a joint venture. It is a mutually beneficial partnership to get the project to those who can resonate with it globally.
Parlé: In terms of moving forward with you guys’ brand direction and music, why did you feel that Krian was the best choice?
M1: Stic and I are fresh out of the studio stirring a pot of something nuts to say the least. The deluxe version of Information Age will no doubt bring another dimension to our “Soul-Sonic” soundscape. With an awesome co-sign appearance from Bun-B and the addition of tunes like “Intelligence Is Sexy” to the arsenal, the listener will have an earful to look forward to. The musical terrain has changed drastically since last WEEK! There are no rules to success as it relates to getting our music to the person who wants it. The daring act of digitally releasing Information Age and overstanding that a commitment to push its contents along for the next year is monumental for the Dead Prez / Krian partnership.
Stic.Man: Our relationship with Frank has been solid and we felt he was a strong ally in where we wanted to go with the project.-stic
Parlé: How pleased are you guys wit the output and its personification of what Dead Prez has stood for in the Hip-Hop genre on this new album Information Age?
M1: There is much to digest, even as the weeks passed since the release of “What If the Lights Go Out” and “New Beginning”, America has seen almost prophetic changes. There has been the re-selection of Obama along with devastation from Mother Nature in the form of SuperStorm Sandy.
Stic.Man: We are happy to share a new sound for us expressing our ongoing evolution and willingness to break expectations and show our versatility. Freedom and self determination has been a theme in our work and this continues but in an alternative form.
Parlé: The physical album drops in January, correct?
Stic Man: We’re putting out a deluxe edition with more songs and a special guest but it wasn’t finished by the labels due date for digital so we had to push back the physical.
Parlé: Dead Prez has a reputation for being politically, socially, aware yet very lyrical; take us back to the formation of the group and what was it about each others’ views and style which meshed and became the blueprint for what we as the audience have been blessed with?
M1: Stic has been the best musical influence for me. Even more than the innovation of giant Michael Jackson, Stic has allowed me inside of his creative process in a way which helped me to understand my own. What’s more important is that we are united by the will to be FREE. Free spiritually, politically, socially and otherwise. So our music has endured the growing pains and remained centered in the fact we are comrades as well as students of the art.
Stic Man: We became instant friends and we saw the world very similar when we met almost 20 years ago. M1 represented a dropout college kid; calm clear thinking, a quiet warrior type of militancy, street and book smart; he had a fresh hip hop style to me and I was a raw local from the hood in florida with a lot of talent for emceeing and a passion for learning and black empowerment but grew up in the country and southern city streets so the dynamic we shared I think gave us a uniqueness. We both joined the UHURU movement to try and be active for the rights of our community for many years as we made songs an this experience and political education helped to distinguish us from most other sounds and content out in the hip hop game.
Parlé: Lets get into politics a little, how confident are you guys in the proposed ability by the Republican dominated House to supplement the efforts of our President by so-called “walking across the aisle” , and continuing to work towards a better America?
M1: I believe a “better America” is only going to happen at the behest of free-thinking independent-minded people. The governing-style of the U.S. which is capitalism was born flawed. It was born at the expense of African people and resources. If this is not addressed there is no way to “fix” the problems. “Republicrat” is the term that fits most here.
Stic.Man: I think both sides have the same goal to continue the imperialist agenda of the USA abroad and to maintain the race/class divides domestically. They may disagree in tactics but not in fundamentals. What I do support is Michelle obamas focus on organic gardening education and the importance of health and fitness. That I unite with.
I’m curious to how the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington will be handled by this federal administration too. Very interesting changes are upon us.
Parlé: Musically who are some groups or individuals who have had a profound influence on Dead Prez?
M1: Linton Kwesi Johnson, Nina Simone, Miles Davis, Paul Robeson, Burning Spear, Fela Kuti, Lucky Dube, Hugh Mondell, Tower of Power, Curtis Mayfield, Public Enemy, Queen Latifah, Nneka, and Baloji
Stic.Man: 2pac public Enemy Bdp outkast mobb deep Curtis mayfield. The whole Hip-Hop community, conscious gangsta party, alternative; you name it if it was fresh in some way we have been and continue to be inspired!
Parlé: Is there one artist whom you have not had the pleasure of working with, that you foresee making a good connection with and great music?
M1: I look forward with working with a plethora of artist from the continent of Africa which I believe to be the most creative force in music today. Some of those artist are Spoek Mathambo, Asa, Seun Kuti, Dbanj, The Very Best, Rokia Traore and more…
Stic. Man: RZA
Parlé: Standing back for a second, where do you truly see today’s Hip-Hop with downloads, social media, content being played on radio; give us Dead Prez’s take on the State of Hip Hop
M1: The meaning of Hip Hop and its potential are the same as its inception, however the people have changed OR the minds of the people have been affected by the corporatized music industry.
Stic.Man: Hip hop is an art of improvisation; Whatever the technology has been we have adapted it for our expression. now is no different.
Parlé: Going forward what can you fans expect in terms of shows, tours, and more music to follow up behind Information Age?
M1: We’re doing a world tour to share our latest release, promote our healthy is the new gangsta mantra from the RBG FIT CLUB and we have an awesome visual component added to our live performance that really helps bring the experience of our lyrics and message to life! We working on videos and m1 and i both have much new works in store for 2013. My follow up album to the Workout is currently in production so expect more training music for the gym heads and the active healthy living fans that we have too.
Stic.Man: The Information Age World Tour will be an exciting campaign that will expose the world to our new brand of Revolutionary Culture. We will incorporate more of a visual element to accompany the ideas in the songs. Im eve more excited about the partnerships we have built that will keep our ability to expand growing. We will touring Germany, Greece, France and a few more on a small run at the end of the year but you can expect a more extensive move with the release of the physical album. If anyone wants updates please go to deadprez.com.
Parlé: Any individual projects in the works for your guys again?
M1: My new company is called SoundWeapon MultiMedia International. one of the first projects from this has been AP2P which is a cultural conglomerate built along with renown Italian musician, producer and revolutionary activist Bonnot (Assalti Frontali, ap2p.info). Look out for various new projects from M1 in many formats. Also check the new song Genocide Highway- M1 featuring Nas and K Salaam / Beatnick which can be found onsoundcloud.com/m1deadprez/genocidehighway.
Stic.Man: My wife and I have a new TV show online called Rolling Strong all about the healthy adventures of a young couple who has been together for 20 years and are both passionate about fitness health and nutrition. The Workout 2 is in production. And a new book I’m almost done with to follow my first book the Art of Emceeing…and of course more running and advocating health through our RBG FIT CLUB movement and site.