Dead Prez Pt. 2: It’s Bigger Than Hip-Hop

Turn Off The Radio, Vol. 3: Pulse Of The People, is the mixtape that dead prez hopes will stimulate the masses to action on June 23. Mixed by DJ Green Lantern, the effort is laced with features from Chuck D, Bun B, Styles P and the talented new recruit, Johnny Polygon. The listener is in for an audible revolution. This lyrical reformation will feed a ravenous Hip-Hop appetite. Borrowing Afya Ibomu’s idea that “food is consciousness,” Stic.Man expounds on the sentiment, “I would like to paraphrase her quote, music is consciousness.”

This elevated awareness will become more apparent on the third dead prez studio album Information Age that will be release later this year. “We’ll use the chemistry of sound to try to inspire and to share our journey of getting knowledge itself and growing—and everything under the sun. Stic.Man continues, “We created a new sound, a new energy working with a new producer named Dirk Pate out of Denver, CO. He had the sound, he had the bass, he had the futuristic funk that we needed to take our consciousness to the next level.”

As dead prez continues to challenge their skills to perfect their art form by creating mixtapes and albums their sound will continue to evolve. In the conclusion of their interview they show that they’ve been bonded by music but it’s still bigger than Hip-Hop.

AllHipHop.com: Is there a definitive release date for Information Age?

M1: We’re still working on that bad boy, but hopefully this year. Pulse of the People will be out June 23rd which is the album we’re working on with DJ Green Lantern; that’s going to be the prequel. That’ll be another stage in the development of us rounding out the sound of Dead Prez. A lot of our effort, just like the Turn Off The Radio is there to communicate with a whole street movement that’s about disconnecting with the kind of radio that doesn’t reflect what our reality is. The Turn Off The Radio vibe really came as a two-prong approach on getting music out to the street…We’ve upped it to the next level with DJ Green Lantern and came out with a super-powered, on steroids, joint that basically became this new album that we’re about to put out now.

AllHipHop.com: Is there a difference when you’re making a mixtape as opposed to making an album?

DJ Green Lantern: There’s definitely differences; the timeframe is probably the biggest difference. We did Pulse of the People, three or four days. It’s about spitting one song and [voicing your] mind what’s on your heart, and boom, you give it to them. That’s a mixtape; that’s its own energy…

Stic.Man: With an album you have a protracted amount of time to develop a theme, to edit a lot more to just build in a different kind of way—For us they are very much similar because we think conceptually when we do s**t. We like to create with a body of work that’s conceptual and cohesive. So, on some of our mixtapes, it’s gonna sound like an album anyway. That’s what people are going to get on Pulse Of The People.

AllHipHop.com: You’ve both released solo albums, Confidential and Manhood, as a group is it necessary to embrace solo expression?

M1: I’d say definitely… I think there’s an expression that’s unique unto ourselves. I don’t know if everybody wants to hear that s**t; I think it deserves to be expressed. That’s how you need a project like Confidential and mine. Learning from the art of production; because, Stic is a monster producer as well as Green and I’m a producer myself— Then trying to use our voices in the illest way to find what we can contribute to the whole. I think it is important just for the people to grow as artists. We go through the growth stages of refining our talent.

AllHipHop.com: Has dead prez discovered the essential element of what’s needed for a group to stay together and enjoy longevity?

M1: We’re still learning it. But, I can tell you this, when people ask what is it that helps us stick together is that, bigger than Hip-Hop is our slogan, bigger than Hip-Hop is a lifestyle of two Africans who have a common goal. [We’re] bound by political unity, will of action, being in the same boat trying to keep the ship afloat and understanding that we all want peace. At the end of that day, all together, that becomes much bigger than any entertainment or music industry process that we can ever be involved in. So, to me, music is the background, the underlay to what’s really happening and we can continue music for a long time…

AllHipHop.com: Has the recession impacted the way that you fund or donate to any charities/organizations that you’re affiliated with?

M1: To me it’s similar to voting. Every four years you’re supposed to vote for the President…To me that process happens every day. I cast my vote when I wake up in the morning and I decide to turn on the TV, or not to let my children engage in some backward educational process… To me, every vote we make is a strike for or against the system in a particular way. Not only does that influence me in what kind of contribution that I make towards organizations; but, everything is a contribution.

The system is on 24/7 it; it never shuts off. Either we feed it or we go about the business of dismantling it. So, every move that we make hopefully does that and not just one particular chance. Even in this particular time, we understand the recession as over-aching, long-reaching, before it was recognized in the system. We want to be freedom-loving, freedom-fighting people, who will do whatever it takes all the way down to the vote; just to win. So, there’s not one particular day or one particular cause.

AllHipHop.com: In a separate interview I did with DJ Green Lantern he spoke about a project you did with director Rick Cordero; what can you tell me about that?

DJ Green Lantern: It’s a series of songs in one video. It’s a little unorthodox. It’s a video encompassing around four or five songs in it. That’s not going to be edited and whatnot just yet.

M1: The digital aspect of the art is paramount right now because of the age that we live, the information age. The music with the images, or the snipe— the cross-sections of real life is tantamount to us moving forward to making the thing real palpable for the people. At the end of the day that’s why we take this video s**t so serious… That project will come in its time. We’re working on it now, we’re in the middle of it, these images—I think they’re really going to set the tone of the Pulse of The People in the right direction.

AllHipHop.com: What are your thoughts about being environmentally conscious and what green products are you taking advantage of?

M1: I take advantage of Green Lantern’s production. [laughs] I’m just kidding… One of my lines I recently wrote it, you can’t go green without that black and red. The reason why I say that is because it’s going to take power in order for us to really change it. Right now there is a huge—opportunistic green market—which is developing, at the hands of the government, which recognizes it’s a way to offer jobs. Capitalism is ruled by its wallet and its stomach. That’s what moves capitalism and I think that’s the reason why you see this whole green thing happening. I don’t think it’s because of any righteous conclusion that people have come to. I have to be aware of that. I don’t think that Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth was just a coincidence. It was a very convenient truth for government…

But, I think a lot of it is about changing our minds, not just by changing a light bulb. We need to change our minds…We have to be conscious about the fact that we’re going to be living here… So, we can’t clutter this place with things that won’t be biodegradable or things that will be toxic to our environment… We plan to package our albums in recycled paper and recycled materials. Even with this given age it helps us going green because there’s less of a waste factor in the whole thing. I think on the basic level that’s where that is.

AllHipHop.com: Is there anything else that you’d like to elaborate on?

DJ Green Lantern: Pulse of The People, on June 23 it comes out— It’s going to be released and heavily marketed online, so all your online stores… It’s definitely going to be a physical presence. If you’re a dead prez fan like I’m a dead prez fan and you’ve been waiting for years for these guys to come back together and put their minds together and go in that studio and make some crazy ass music, now is the time, it’s coming out on June 23rd. Cop that! That’s what I got to say. Invasion!

M1: I’d like to say thank you, to AllHipHop, for wanting to hear what we got to say and wanting to print our words and let the world know.

Related Stories