By Natalya Jones
By County Grind
By Liz Tracy
By Chris Joseph
By Liz Tracy
By Matt Preira
By Jesse Scheckner
By Michael E. Miller
Within hip-hop circles, it's well-known that M1 and his partner Stic.Man of Dead Prez veer way left of center when it comes to politics. The highly Afrocentric activists/rappers are the most militant group to emerge within hip-hop in the past two decades; consider them the perfect cross between Public Enemy and N.W.A. But simply comparing those groups with Dead Prez lyrically and philosophically doesn't always work. With a style that's more Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X than anything Sen. Barack Obama is talking about, Dead Prez has made a career out of lobbying for the freedom of Africans both domestically and abroad. So chatting with M1 about the upcoming election and the half Kenyan candidate, Sen. Obama, seemed like a good idea.
There was no real reason for me to assume that M1 would be a supporter of Obama beyond the fact that they share a similar skin tone, and he quickly let me know that my assumption couldn't have been further from the truth. Never one to censor himself, M1 was candid in his thoughts on "politricks," the Sean Bell verdict, and the reasons he won't be voting in November.
New Times: What's new with Dead Prez?
M1: We're working on a brand-new album. It's called Information Age and will be released on Boss Up/Family Free in August or September.
What's the sound of the new record like? Where are you guys coming from with this one?
It's a futuristic, space-age African sound. An African, intergalatic, fuck-the-police sound. We're trying to get people information about what's going on in society, and now is a key time.
How important to you is it to get this album out before the upcoming election?
It's not important about November. It's important about the people's readiness and preparedness for what's going on out here in these streets.
How was it being in New York over the weekend as the not-guilty verdict came down in the shooting of Sean Bell?
Frustrating. Very frustrating. But it's business as usual. You know, it's terrible, but it's fine. We're here to help expose the last stage of imperialism, which is neocolonialism. Look at the way the government is trying to pacify the black community. I mean, that applies to Russell Simmons and Barack Obama.
Are you not sold on Obama yet?
Sold? I don't sell out to shit.
Right on. Do you plan to vote in November?
I'll never vote. As long as we don't have a revolutionary running.
You don't consider the current candidate that everyone is talking about to be a revolutionary?
Oh, hell no. You mean Hillary?
What is it that you see in Obama that maybe everyone else doesn't see in the hip-hop community?
A lack of accountability — to our community and to revolutionary political education. You'll see. When the new album drops, we're gonna stay on these topics until the disc stops spinning.