Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Band of the Week

Election Day Special with Mr. Lif

In what seems like a matter of weeks the language of a nation has changed. Recession, lay-off, unprecedented, crisis, these are new words for many Americans. Too young to understand to volatility of the early ‘80’s, and only having read about the great depression, these last few weeks have been hell. The tension, the waiting, the uncertainty, it is a greater weight than most have ever felt. Individuals are questioning everything they do and everything they have ever done and evaluating each breath they take, each movement they make. I know I asked this question a couple weeks ago, but I will ask it again; where do you turn? Is all of this meaningless, I have I wasted two years of my life? Will people turn to the arts and resources like mine for enjoyment, or will it all be lost in the struggle for employment, shelter, peace of mind, and security?

Over the last few weeks a song lyric has repeatedly been flowing through my thoughts. It was writing by Boston’s Mr. Lif and included in a song called “Home of the Brave” back in 2002. Lif said, “The country's headed for recession reminiscent of the Great Depression”. In the same song he goes on to say “It's easy to control the scared so they keep us in fear”, and in a way I feel this economic crisis is another form inflicted terror in an attempt to control. The problem is this attack is much more real and relevant and hitting hard on all levels then anthrax or color coded terror levels. This affects every single individual living in American today, and as I look into the eyes of my children and question the choices that I have made and the choice I will make today, I pray that they can not see the fear and distress behind the pale blue. I pray that we may all look back that these days and these frantic words and laugh, but today I search for encouragement, for answers, for guidance, I search the knowledge to make the right decisions for my future and my children’s future. It’s clear that I understand how to asked questions, I have interviewed over 240 artists, writers, and musicians, but today I am being asked to supply an answer… “And it causes pain, stress”. “Ask me if we need a different way of life, YES”.

So on Election Day, I give you my interview with Mr. Lif, and ask you to vote, be heard, speak your mind, and pray.

Orange Alert (OA): Your latest project is unique in that it will give your audience an up to the minute look at how you are reacting to the Presidential race. Why do you feel it is important to have these singles released each month?
Mr. Lif (ML): I have shifted my focus a bit from following the presidential race (which I'm currently sick of due to over saturation) to just writing song inspired by this extremely tumultuous era we are living through. It’s important for me to contribute at least one song a month because we are bombarded with endless programming daily.

OA: With all of the media outlets these days do you feel that the monumental events of our time, like the war and the election, are being covered properly and fairly?
ML: This is a tough question. I just feel like there a whirlwind of information out there and it depends on how you process it.

OA: The incredible I Phantom album is a rare hip-hop concept album following the life a criminal turned father, turned successful businessman. Then something happens that makes everyone and everything seem very insignificant. Did you originally set out to write a concept album? Where did you begin with I Phantom?
ML: I never really thought of "I Phantom" as a concept record until people in the media began to refer to it that way. The design of the album is a reflection of the way I think about things in general. I am always analyzing situations and experiences in hopes of gaining knowledge. So when I make songs, I naturally analyze how they relate to one another to form a larger picture.

"I Phantom" grew from songs like "Earthcusher" and "Live From the Plantation" until it became a finished record.

OA: On the 2006 album Mo' Mega, the title alone makes a much needed statement about the growing divide between the rich and the poor or as you put it "the slave and the elite". Do you feel the rest of the album follows that idea? For example, Take, Hold, Fire! I feel speaks directly to this topic. Has the way you define or view "Mo' Mega" changed at all in the last two years?
ML: I would say "Mo Mega" does not stick to the issues introduced in the title. That album represents a very difficult era of my life. In my opinion, the divide between the rich and the poor becomes more clearly defined daily. The wealthy are so powerful now, that they are showing no humbleness in exhibiting their control.

OA: One of my favorite things to do is hunt for obscure Lif collaborations, be it with Jedi Mind Tricks, 7L & Esoteric, Del, DJ Vadim, Aesop, etc. How do you approach these guest spots? Is there an artist you have wanted to work with but haven't yet? The spot with Guru on the Perceptionists album was great, what about Rakim?
ML: I'd like to work with Nas, J. Electronica, Rakim, GZA.... There are others... I'm glad I got to work with Bahamadia, Dumbtron, Vinnie Paz, and Metro on the "I Heard It Today" album.

OA: Given your ability to vocalize your political views, and your skill for writing have you ever considered writing a book or maybe a collection of essays?
ML: I started writing a book, but it was sci-fi. You'll hear more about that soon.

OA: What was the last great book you have read?
ML: "A Brief History of Neo-Liberalism" by David Harvey

OA: What's next for Mr. Lif?
ML: What's next for me is to finish the "I Heard It Today" album and deliver it to the people on Inauguration Day (January 20th, 2009). This album captures the vibe of this tumultuous era we're living in and gives voice to the all too often ignored citizens of America.

Anyone who wants to be involved in some interesting conversations about important issues and hear my new music should visit me at www.myspace.com/mrlif. I take great pride in communicating with my fans.

Listen to: Presidential Report Vol. 2 from I Heard it Today (mp3) and Presidential Report Vol. 1 (mp3)

Today Lif releases he third single from his upcoming album I Heard It Today, "Welcome To The World". For more information Mr. Lif please visit his website.

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