In April, City Paper contributor Rory D. Webb interviewed the members of dead prez -- M-1 and stic.man -- for LOCKDown Radio, on 88.3 FM WRCT. This is an excerpt from that interview.
Is hip hop at its best when it is rebellious?
stic.man: Hip hop is at its best when it's authentic, whatever the subject matter might happen to be. If it's sincere and it resonates with the community, hopefully in a positive and constructive way, then it's at its best. A lot of the time when we hear the word "rebellious," we think of negativity and destruction. But it's rebellious to be healthy. It's rebellious to take care of your children in this day and age. When music speaks to empowerment, it's at its best.
M-1: Some of my favorite music is rebel music ... M.O.P., Chuck Berry, Sly Stone, Janis Joplin, Big Brother.
Why do record labels fear authenticity? Is it that they want control?
stic.man: Record labels are so yesterday. [Laughs] Record labels are here to sell products: real, fake, rebellious, status quo, they don't care. It has nothing really to do per se with what you're talking about as an artist -- it's about how they're able to market it or not. If it's popular to be revolutionary, they wanna be selling the revolutionary disc.
M-1: It's interesting that you brought up the point about record labels controlling the music. They had a strategy, it was called "being shelved." A record label would procure an artist that was hot and then nothing would happen with him, and you'd wonder, "Why is that?" And now it's being revealed that a lot of these industry people didn't want them to be better than the rappers they already had out and had a business strategy for.
DEAD PREZ with DREAM JOB, MEGADEF, THE TOYS DU JOUR, JAYKE ORVIS, SEAN MC. 8 p.m. Fri., Nov. 25. Belvedere's, 4016 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $20. 412-687-2555