(AllHipHop Features) Indigenous Hip-Hop artists have been around for many years, but now they are taking their voice to new volumes as.
These days, the Native people of this land have been abused, persecuted and treated like third class citizens, but the media has largely ignored these matters. Standing Rock has been the cornerstone of the most recent infraction against Indigenous People.
However, the situation in the Dakotas is very much in line with the legacy of legalized genocide that has happened on this land since the pilgrims descended in The Americas.
AllHipHop’s Chuck Creekmur sat down with two emcees Nataanii Means and Quese IMC and talked about Hip-Hop’s indigenous lineage, the Dakota Pipeline which threatens the water supply for millions and intergenerational trauma and continues to plague our nation’s marginalized citizens.
“We talk about a reality that America doesn’t see. We’re America’s guilty conscience. We’re the hidden seams in America, displaced and forgotten about,” says Nataanii Means, son of legendary activist Russell Means. “We bring a reality in our music that we’d like to tell the world about. The Indigenous people in America are still here and shts pretty fcked up.
Quese IMC has been around Hip-Hop since the earlier years and even calls Hip-Hop’s father Kool Herc “friend.”
“The root of indigenous Hip-Hop is the root of Hip-Hop in the Bronx.The Youth, they had story and they were going through struggles and they wanted to express what was going on in their community. So for us as Indigenous artists, we wanted to express what was going on in our communities so we started to do our own shows. Tell that message,” Quese said proudly.
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“I saw N.W.A. perform when I was 11. I saw Public Enemy on that tour. I saw LL (Cool J), Slick Rick, EPMD – when I was 11 years old,” he continued. “That changed my life. To see Flavor Flav…rockin’ crowd. Seeing Chuck D commanding the crowd. That moved me. A little Indian boy in Indiana.”
Indigenous Hip-Hop heads are not unlike everybody else that has experienced major struggle and they align themselves with other that have also faced oppression.
“Hip-Hop is Hip-Hop,” said Nataanii. “We relate to those elements. The root of us is dance, art, making music, story telling and we have to be doing it in the oppressors language. I alway say, they forced my grandma and grandpa to speak the oppressors’ language. You know, they tied them to radiators, they beat them. They beat the language out of them. And they didn’t teach me (my native language) because of that. If I’m forced to speak the oppressor’s language, I’m going to flip in on them. I’m going to get back at them. And, I’m going to go against the school system that taught me everything that was wrong. I’m going to use my voice to say ‘F**k you.’”
However, the conversation was purely Hip-Hop and Nataanii Means and Quese talked about their Top 5 Dead or Alive (seen in the video), how they make it through the tough times and their indomitable will that helps them continue to fight injustice.
“This isn’t normal. Our people are still out here and we’re fighting to survive. Every single day. And that’s not a figure of speech. We’’re literally fighting to survive,” Nataanii Means said. “We’re literally fighting oil companies and that’s something you don’t see in American media. I don’t know why. Its not every day that attack dogs are sic’d on little kids and women. I saw a woman get dragged down by her breasts by the private security firm. And that was something I couldn’t fathom of the time. ‘My people wake up.’”
“I’m thankful to be apart of it, at this time,” Quese said. “The Creator put me here at this time in life to walk through this human journey until we go on to the spirit world. Until then, I’m going to do the best I can…strive to get my bars up and not be behind bars. To fight hard. Now we got legal battles because of Standing Rock. The time to change this destructive way of thinking is here.”