dead prez: Hood Stimulus Plan

“If you check one, two, my word of advice to you is just relax/ just do what you got to do if you don’t work then kick the facts/ if you a fighter, rider, biter, flame igniter, crowd exciter/ or you wanna just get high/ then just say it/ but then if you a liar-liar, […]

“If you check one, two, my word of advice to you is just relax/ just do what you got to do if you don’t work then kick the facts/ if you a fighter, rider, biter, flame igniter, crowd exciter/ or you wanna just get high/ then just say it/ but then if you a liar-liar, pants on fire/ wolf-crier, agent with a wire/ I’m gon’ know it when I play it. It’s bigger than Hip-Hop…”

dead prez

These candid lyrics reflects the eroding oral-agreement that the public shares with their lyrical architects.

Poetic license is always going to be a part of the art form but it’s the blatant “poetic” perjury, running rampant through today’s Hip-Hop is jeopardizing its integrity. Many rappers regurgitate commercial stereotypes of what’s hot or who has the most swag. These parrots insist on insulting our intelligence as well as our eardrums every time they play-pretend with their bogus, fabricated façades.

Thankfully, there are still groups like dead prez whose actions coincide with their message. The entertaining yet informative ideals expressed through their music have and always will be appreciated. Turn Off The Radio, Vol. 3: Pulse of The People, produced by DJ Green Lantern will hit the streets on June 23rd. The Evil Genius’ obvious talent in conjunction with the lyrics of dead prez will shock the streets, spawning a musical street movement. “I want to say this about Green Lantern’s production, he uses his computer like Prince uses the guitar and the keyboard and the drums. It’s like Rock and Roll on the keyboard with his hands. It’s like a mix between [DJ] Kool Herc, Prince and Andy Warhol— but, it’s on the computer. His energy comes from a real ill place,” declares M1.

Dead prez, along with DJ Green Lantern, voice their opinions on everything from freedom to the long-awaited release of the of their third studio album Information Age. Discover in part one of this exclusive interview why it’s bigger than Hip-Hop. Our words help to convey our ideas, with that being said, what’s the metaphor behind the group name dead prez?

Stic.Man: Dead prez— the name symbolizes our reality—dead presidents is—you not to get money—and capitalism in the world…Everything is based on how much money you got [or] how much money you don’t got. When we came out with that we definitely recognized that was going to be an on-going struggle and that was a way to connect with everybody; because, everybody got that issue. We also wanted it to mean a name that means more than that because we ain’t just about getting money. But, Dead President is how we feel about that system itself, like the financial system, the elite capitalist ruling-class-type system. That’s the s**t that make it have to be like that. So, we say, dead the president! The last thing is that we’re the dead presidents because we sleep on our own genius; we don’t realize our own potential. That’s pretty much in a nutshell what that means.

M1: Straight up, dead the president, dead the system, dead that bulls**t! Some people earn a viable living by actually living their dream. What kind of personal success/gratification do you associate with being part of Hip-Hop?

M1: The personal gratification that I get from being a part of Hip-Hop music is pushing forward our culture— to be able to be at least one voice that’s able to shape and hold what the future will look like for humanity. Right now, Hip-Hop is the current voice of everybody who wants to say anything. I’m happy that I can be included and a fighting voice that shows that this thing goes 360 degrees around. The fact that we’ve been blessed by [our] ancestor’s will to be able to make money and feed our children off the craft, that I’ve been bobbing my head to, [has been] filling my spirit since I found that there was a heartbeat in the music.

DJ Green Lantern: It’s crazy, I was just literally thinking about that…I was going to Twitter it but I felt it might come of a little bit corny… I was in my backyard out in Phoenix, my kids were playing in the pool—I was looking at it like, wow, Hip-Hop paid for all of this. I wanted to really thank the forefathers and the people that kicked down the doors for me to be able to provide for my family doing music and rebel music at that…To provide a lot of good, and sustain a certain lifestyle based off the music; that in itself is just amazing.

Stic.Man: It’s a blessing, man, and this is one of the dreams— our ultimate dream is to be free…Freedom is like Hip-Hop times a million. Every day, everywhere, how we learn how we live without all the negativity that we’re used to under the system. I give thanks, definitely, just being able to make a living and have some great things and provide things for our plans and all that but there’s much far to go. We’re enjoying the ride but we still got to ride… As the radio middle-man is being demoted there’s a plethora of ways for fans to easily access music. How has this accessibility affected dead prez in terms of sales and in terms of sharing your message?

Stic.Man: It’s been a great advantage; it’s been a revolutionary step. Being able to skip the middle-man, that’s what it’s all about, to be able to go direct [to the people]. I can’t even overstate how important that is, the invention of Pro tools and the invention of the internet as it relates to independent artists— That gave us what the record stores had a monopoly on and the big record companies who owned all the labels and all the studios; they had a monopoly on it. So, when they hand you that pimp contract, you pretty much in the situation where, like, damn where else am I going to do it? But now, it’s a little more options to do what you do…

DJ Green Lantern: …With me being somebody who has a background in FM radio. I see how it works. Now I’m devoting a lot of time and energy to the satellite realm where there’s way more freedom; because, it’s a paid service and it’s not dictated by advertisers… Artists are breaking left and right using the internet.

I was talking to a program director the other day, from a huge radio station; he was complaining about the performance rights… Big radio conglomerates will have to pay, if the bill goes through, millions of dollars every year. These are the people that are making hundreds of millions of dollars every year. This guy is complaining to me that all of these artists won’t have careers if they end up having to pay this performance tax.

I really beg to differ. Right now there’s a kid by the name of Drake and the internet footage of songs that they don’t play on the radio and he’s performing these songs in crowds, the whole crowd is singing the songs word for word. They didn’t hear them songs on the radio. The radio doesn’t have the pull and the be-all and end-all that it once did… It’s definitely a brand new day. As Dead prez likes to say, it’s an information age.

M1: It’s a great opportunity because what it represents, as Green put it out so eloquently, right now it’s a prime opportunity for us to discontinue a relationship with a system that never really cared what the people wanted to hear. That was often a problem coming up.

How do you come up in Tallahassee, FL or Tulsa, OK, and you can’t get the local artists… to echo the sentiments that are happening on the radio? It’s because the radio is being monopolized by a system that only wants to feed you and not be fed. Now there’s a great opportunity to break from it… It’s a great new day. If Let’s Get Free gives a political education and Revolutionary But Gangsta is the implementation of knowledge then what do you envision for the Information Age?

Stic.Man: Let’s Get Free was like the introduction, that was the table of contents of the book of dead prez… Revolutionary But Gangsta was like chapter one… There’s a lot of things that the gangsta movement had in common with the revolutionary movement… Instead of alienating the two; we chose to be a bridge with that record to show the unity and the organization… That’s what RBG was attempting to deal with in a musical kind of way. Information Age is the next chapter where you come into knowledge itself—where you start learning about the contradiction of the system with its people… It’s almost like Neo in The Matrix. When you start to wake up, that’s what the Information Age represents in a musical thing.