Dead Prez and The Outlawz - conducted by Todd E. Jones  

The Audio-Political Methadone

August 2006

MVRemix: What have you been listening to in the last couple of days?

Stormey: I've been banging that Dead Prez & Outlawz sh*t forever. I've been banging that 'Soldier to Soldier'.

Stormey: 'Soldier to Soldier' LP on October 3rd! Yeah, bringing that sh*t you haven't heard yet from Stormey. 'Everything Is Yours' coming out soon by Lloyd and Outlawz.

Stormey: It's going down.

MVRemix: Stic, you recently wrote a book, The Art of Emceeing. Tell us about that and what else you have coming out soon. Y'all up on that? Cool. I'm doing many things, homie. I'm on my grizzly. I got a book out, The Art Of Emceeing. It's 112 pages and comes with a free beat CD. It's basically tips and different insights for emcees, song writers, and poets. It's information that people can really use. It ain't about the history of rap or how records are selling. None of that sh*t. It's about the art and the technique. I write about writer's block and conquering that, when you're in the studio, vocal tracks, taking care of your voice, going back to back, getting shows, and sound check. I talk about publishing and controlling that without having to have a record deal. All of the aspects are what that book is about. It's one of the first books that I know of that is written by an emcee for emcees. You have scholars and everybody else writing about hip-hop from the outside. Very few people, who actually do it, get the opportunity to express. I got to interview The Outlawz. They gave me a lot of valuable insight. Common did the forward to the book. We self published the book too from Boss Up Inc.

MVRemix: What is next for Dead Prez? We have the new website where people can get at Dead Prez 24/7 for everything we got going on. If people want to help out with the movement or in different ways, they can help the Katrina victims. We have a link for that. They can help the Hands Off Assata campaign. We have a link for that. We are just going and building. We're doing it independent with our chests out. Look for my solo album, coming out later this year. Look out for the new Dead Prez sh*t on top of 07."

MVRemix: What is next for Outlawz?

Young Noble: We have a and Young Noble album called, 'Soldier To Soldier' coming out on October 3rd. Classic! Classic! Get your hands on that one!

MVRemix: What is the biggest misconception that people have of Dead Prez or The Outlawz? That we give a f*ck! (laughs). That we give a f*ck about whatever misconceptions that mutherf*ckas got. People think that we care while we are busy just being ourselves, doing what we do.

MVRemix: What has been the biggest obstacle that you had to overcome through your hip-hop career?

Young Noble: As far as the Outlawz, Tupac passed away and Kadafi past away right after that. The biggest obstacle for us is just keeping going. Right after Kadafi passed away, Fatal left the group. Maybe two or three years ago, Napoleon left the group. It was just a lot of sh*t. I guess, the perception of us was a major obstacle. Pac passed away and we were stuck on Death Row for like 2 years. Once we got off them, just are name alone had mutherf*ckas scared. It was like, 'The Outlawz are coming? Let's close the doors on these mutherf*ckas!' We were like, 'Damn!' We didn't even have our people on us. We were chilling. Just our name, the history we all have been through, and the little dramas that mutherf*ckas had to go through were obstacles. People weren't like, 'These n*ggas have lived through a whole bunch of sh*t. Let's give them a shot.' They were more like, 'Nah, they are the crazy Outlawz'. Sure, we were a little young and retarded back in the day, but we passed that. We are on some grown man sh*t. We take care of our families. I think that our name was our biggest obstacle. We ain't even tripping. We love it! We Outlawz for life, baby! That's real tough, but it's also your biggest blessing.

Young Noble: No question.

MVRemix: Did some people make things more difficult for you after 2Pac was murdered? Did some people make it hard for you to break the Tupac link or always link with Tupac?

Young Noble: At the end of the day, it's a good thing. Pac started the Outlawz. He was the first n*gga with the Outlawz to do something. People don't realize that Pac was a member of Outlawz. We weren't just some group, like it was Pac and then, there are the Outlawz. Pac was a part of Outlawz! Tupac was a member of Outlawz. He started Outlawz. He was in our group.

MVRemix: What about you, Stic? What was your biggest obstacle? Wow! That's a good question, Todd. My biggest obstacle is bigger than music. You know what I mean? On some real sh*t, my obstacle is just dealing with life while we are trying to do music. As far as the game is concerned, the perception of you bringing some revolutionary sh*t, some real sh*t, people put you in a box. Like, they put you on the white boy circuit or the skateboard circuit or whatever.

MVRemix: They classify Dead Prez as alternative? Yeah, alternative. Don't get me wrong. I'm a well-rounded person. A well-rounded person can communicate and appreciate all kinds of circles of people. If we want to have an international revolution, there is going to have to be all kinds of people in-tuned. At the same token, so many times, our community has been co-opted. As soon as you say anything considered intelligent, they say, 'That's for the white people or the Black guys with the glasses on.' There is this perception from the industry. They will try to force feed. They will ask where we are from and then they will put us on this and have us doing that. The obstacle is our struggle of holding on to where we are from, our real intentions, who we are, how we want ourselves to be portrayed and presented in an industry that refuses to accept that the hood wants to be free. The industry doesn't believe that. They don't believe that. That's a novelty idea in the industry. Our community is what produced us. Not to even try to put ourselves on the same level as Pac or Malcolm X, but the sentiment of the struggle came straight from the hood and nowhere else. That's the root of where it is. Our job, mission, and assignment from our ancestors have been to be that bridge and make that clear. We do it with our music and how we walk with our lives. I think that we are doing it though. Mutherf*ckas are getting it clear. Mutherf*ckas are having a hard time keeping n*ggas in those boxes because we are gorillas. We rope-a-dope with it. We are on that Mohammad Ali fighting style, Bruce Lee fighting style. They don't know where or when we are coming. They don't know if n*ggas are gonna do a book next. They don't know if mutherf*ckas are going to sing or do a movie. They don't know what n*ggas are gonna do.

MVRemix: Do you find that some white people interpret Black Power as racism? You know why that is not a major misconception for me? It's because white people are not the center of my world. It can never be like that for me. White people always ask me if I'm racist or this or that. They think that they are the center of the conversation. I'm a loving human being, my n*gga! For real! But, I ain't no fool and I ain't no sucker. I'm not here to shake everybody's hand just to make everybody happy. I'm here. You show me respect, I'll show you respect. But, as far as the crackaz in the system, it's been here before me and it'll be here after me if we don't do something about it. My thing is this. The way you develop real friendships and real solidarity with people is through the work that people do.

MVRemix: What do you think the white people should do if they want to support your movement? If white people want to have any solidarity with their struggle and they want to consider themselves a comrade on the right side of the question, the first and foremost thing they have to be about is reparations. They have to tell their daddies. They have to be telling their courts. They have to be telling everybody in their community to spend that money. They have to spread those resources, give up them buildings, and make them donations. Any goddamn resource that the Black community, the brown community, or the red community needs for our advancement, they have to come up off that. They owe us! They have to be about that on a legal level and on a street level. Lay down in front of a precinct, n*gga! If you give a f*ck, get your ass out there in the street and yell, 'I ain't gonna let you lock up no more n*ggas!' Stand in front of the precinct and do that. Then, I'll say, 'Now, that's a rider!' As long as all someone is doing is listening to music, nothing will happen.

MVRemix: Besides music, what do you suggest for inspiration? If you have or if you haven't, read The Autobiography Of Malcolm X. You're a white dude, right? You're a cool white dude. You got an open mind, you know what I mean? You fuck with hip-hop and all of that. Read that shit. Even if you read it before, read it again and soak it up. Soak Malcolm up. Malcolm has got a way of explaining that shit. It don't matter who you is, you'll get that understanding.

Stormey: It's fucked up what happened to him, but we ain't gonna let it ride though.

MVRemix: Final words?

Stormey: You can't sell dope forever!

Young Noble: Buy the album! 'Can't Sell Dope Forever'. One nation! Give thanks. I feel great, I'm smiling. Be you! One nation!

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"The obstacle is our struggle of holding on to where we are from, our real intentions, who we are, how we want ourselves to be portrayed and presented in an industry that refuses to accept that the hood wants to be free."