Dead Prez and The Outlawz - conducted by
Dead Prez and The Outlawz
During a camping trip the other day, I talked to Stic.Man from Dead Prez and Young Noble from the Outlawz over the phone. I got the impression these are two articulate and intellectual men who have been through some real-life struggle and severe situations similar to the ones they've been rapping about for years. The two socially conscious, pro-Black Power groups are now working together, with one album, U Can't Sell Dope Forever, out, and one more on the way. The two artists also have a side project they collaborated on that will be released this October.
A self-proclaimed super group, Dead Prez and Outlawz comes right at you with messages tied to the movement they feel so strongly about. A movement for freedom from racial and political restraint; for love of others and of self; for the music. Pop in the new album and wait for the other two to be released soon. Check them out online and read up about one of the strongest musical and social forces in the hip-hop world. Dead Prez and Outlawz. Working together to make music that reaches the millions who feel the pain of life along with the solid, successful rhythms of life.
MVRemix: So how come you guys are out here together today? You've got a collaboration you're working on?
Young Noble: Yeah, we're trying to represent both sides. We represent the Outlawz and DP, we do got a project coming out October 3rd, Stic.Man and Young Noble Soldier 2 Soldier.
MVRemix: What kind of stuff should we expect from that? Are you guys going to be doing a tour to go along with the album?
Young Noble: Actually, we were just talking about that. (Dead Prez) has been to Canada a few times, and Outlawz, we haven't been to Canada yet, but we have so many fans telling us that we need to come to Canada, they love us out there, so we're trying to put together a Daed Prez/Outlawz Canada tour, if you know any promoters, you need to go ahead and put that together.
MVRemix: [laughs] Yeah, for sure. Alright, I will. Make sure you stop by Minnesota, too. That's where I'm at right now.
Young Noble: You're in Minnesota? Edi grew up in St. Paul, Edi used to live in St. Paul. For sure.
MVRemix: Cool, man. I'm from Minneapolis. So how did all this turn out? Have you guys been working together for awhile?
Young Noble: We've been working together for like, what, over a year now?
Stic.man: Yeah, yeah. Going on a year now.
Young Noble: Yeah, but we've been connecting on tour for a minute. We always support the Dead Prez. They always had our backs. You know, we had comrades, and it was just a matter of time before we got together. All this shit was meant to be.
MVRemix: That's cool. And I'm sure that comes out in the music. You guys have been hanging out for awhile, putting your talent together. I'm sure it's evident in the music you produce together. So everyone has to be excited about that.
Young Noble: Yeah, I mean if you haven't heard the album yet, listen to it. It doesn't sound like two groups together. It sounds like one group, Dead Prez and Outlawz, it sounds like we're one group with one movement.
It's not like it's some featured artist or something, or that our shit bled through. It ain't even no question about that. Sometimes when you see two artists or two groups coming together like that, you see them trying to blend their styles too much; it comes out sounding like one side or the other. But it's good to hear when it comes out when you're holding things together, putting all your creativity together. Does that sound about right?
MVRemix: Yeah, yeah.
Stic.man: This album, man. It's for everybody. This album is for people who like real music. For everyone, no matter who you are, you want to hear that inspiration. We both have been doing that, but we wanted to multiple, to magnify it, and separate a lot of the illusions, the prejudices of what people think they know about the Outlawz, what they think they know about Dead Prez, we're coming together to show we got unity and that our message and our movement are the same. And we can't have no movements separate anywhere! That's what this album is for. And when I say move, I don't mean you pop in the album and you hear new shit. There's no new shit on the album. It's on the same vibration we've been giving you: Fuck the police, fuck the system, love each other, love yourself. That's what you're gonna get. But you get it from a lot, from six different perspectives. Plus Messy Marv and Layzie Bone from Bone Thugs.
MVRemix: Cool, cool!
Stic.man: Music from all those Outlaw point-of-views.
MVRemix: That's good to hear. I've got it waiting for me at home, can't wait to hear it. I was gonna ask you what styles, what messages you're trying to send on this new album.
Young Noble: The title of the album is ___. At the end of the day, it's just that we're not saying, “Don't sell your dope, man.” Whatever you're gonna do, if you're doing that, you're gonna have to get into something else. If you get behind the bars, there ain't gonna be no getting out for your ass. We're basically just trying to offer inspiration and make (people) want to start thinking about doing something else. The album is in no way preaching, inside and out, it's just different aspects of the game, in the streets. You know what I mean? We actually lived that, we actually got family that's crack mothers that have sold coke for years. So you get the game from the inside out, all aspects of the game. A lot of dudes be rapping about the game. Nobody is really touching all the aspects and the life of hurt people be getting from this. So, like my man Stic was saying, you can't sell dope forever, talking about the system. Talking about the record companies who promote all this bullshit. That's why you don't hear Dead Prez on the radio. That's why you don't hear Outlawz on the radio like that. Maybe it's just too hurtful. Know what I mean?
MVRemix: No, I know what you're saying exactly. A lot of artists out there, they're talking about life on the street, about selling weed, selling coke, talking about women. And after that, all they can talk about is making it big, and brag about the jewelry they wear around their neck. You guys have been around for awhile, but it sounds like you're still talking about the real stuff that goes on.
Stic.man: And that's what we're always going to talk about. As we gain success, and as we struggle. In real life, you're always gonna have both no matter how much money you've got.
Young Noble: And at the end of the day, we're all grown-ass men. I love making music that I can let my kids listen to. Stuff that I know they're going to get something out of. Like me personally, when I'm riding in the car, I can't just be… and the same with everybody, more power anybody doing their music and being successful. But the end of the day, I love seeing my people come up. Whether you're rapping about the stripper club or whatever. I love seeing my people come up. They don't have to be as talented as us, we ain't no haters. We like anyone who's doing it. But as far as us, we're just trying to take responsibility with our music, and I feel like there's nothing wrong with that and the people are behind it.
MVRemix: Is it hard for you guys to balance trying to send out the messages you want and making the music you want to send out and feeling pressure from managers or label executives. Is it a tough call or do you guys just go out there and do it the way you've been doing for so long, so successfully?
Stic.man: We're about being bosses; we're about being generals in our lives. Not just music, period. So it isn't about feeling pressure from anybody. The only pressure we have is the pressure of life. As far as someone telling me what rap I can write? I'm way beyond that. We're grown up men, we're gonna speak what we want to say how we want to say it. And if we get big doing it, then we're gonna get that reward. If we fail, then we accept our responsibilities. We know that there's a market and that there's a population, millions of people going through the same things that we are. The masses of people don't have a Benz, don't have all this extra [stuff]. The masses of people are dealing with their families, just regular life, right?
Stic.man: The so-called mainstream is talking about taking trips to all these exotic places and blowing money on expensive watches and they call that the mainstream. That's all bullshit! So, we know that Dead Prez and Outlawz, our type of music, that we do, is really the mainstream. It's really what most people are going through, and it's just that these certain cats aren't on it. We just got a documentary, Bigger than Hip-Hop that's gonna start, over 25 million viewers right now. We're doing a lot of (stuff) about independent power of the people.
MVRemix: That's what I like to hear, giving people a voice and some power.
Young Noble: Yeah, one more thing, we do whatever the fuck kind of music we feel like doing. Me personally, whatever I feel like doing, I'm going to do it as long as it doesn't jeopardize my character. As long as I feel good in my heart doing it, I'm going to do it. We rap about everything, dude.
MVRemix: Alright, we'll look forward to the album, Outlawz and Dead Prez. And you two have a solo project, a joint album between you guys too, right?
Young Noble: Yes sir, yes sir, October 3rd. Stic.Man and Young Noble, man, Soldier 2 Soldier. It's a cold-blooded album, we're continuing the movement. We also got a project, another Dead Prez/Outlawz album they call Banging on the System. That's like, about 90% done. We're always banging on each other, just raising the heat toward each other, so we're gonna start banging on the system, that's what it's time for.
MVRemix: You guys are getting a lot of work done as a group and solo. What influences you guys to do that kind of thing? You're just coming out with stuff all the time, it's exciting.
Young Noble: It's just time. It's just time. That's what I feel like, man. It's just time. The response we get from the people, it's positive feedback, it's just time to show (people) unity man, start bringing this together and come together. All we're trying to do is just magnify the movement, to magnify everything that we're trying to get across. And that's a good thing. Let's come together and just smash these motherfuckers. We're the new supergroup, man. Dead Prez and Outlawz. It's definitely like a New World Order going on.
MVRemix: Definitely, it's time someone steps up and speaks their mind. With everything going on in the world, from the war in Iraq to other stuff in the Middle East crisis, to gas prices, to segregation and prejudice, it's time for it. I'll look forward to the tour.
Stic.man: We've got the new book out, too. For any rappers, songwriters, whatever. We've got the new 112-page how-to manual that I put together. If anybody wants to know 15 ways to defeat writer's block, anybody wants to set up your own publishing company and get money even if they don't have a record deal, if anybody wants to create new flows and become more versatile, that's what's in the book. MC to MC. Nobody's dictating what's on the cover, it's self-published. 100% real. It's called the Art of MCing. It's available at the website bossupbu.com. And if you want to stay up with Dead Prez/ Outlawz news, the new 2Pac album, etcetera, Noble will tell you where to go.
Noble: 1NationEntertainment.net, and also we're grinding, we're doing shows, we're doing speeches, we got beats. You can get in contact with us on MySpace.com/YoungNobleOutlaw or YoungNoble321@yahoo.com and I'll get right back at ya, baby.
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"The only pressure we have is the pressure of life. As far as someone telling me what rap I can write? I'm way beyond that. We're grown up men, we're gonna speak what we want to say how we want to say it."