By Nadya Nataly
Some hip-hop critics will say that the closest timely album, speaking to the continued discussion of race, politics, and racism in America was Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. Before there was a To Pimp a Butterfly, hip-hop spoke on those notions as an entire genre. There was an aspect of hip-hop that once upon a time was braggadocious to conversations that were related to something real on occurrences of the times.
Since the release of Let’s Get Free in 2000 M-1, (the other half of hip hop duo, dead prez), has been making music that has continued to resonate and identify with hip hoppers around the world. With the release of M-1’s (Mutulu Olugbala) in collaboration with Italian award winning producer, Bonnot, new album, Between Me and the World, the intense political monologues continue to echo and spill into an era of music that M-1’s “Free Up” says “Rap’s living in a fantasy.”
Be it a fantasy or not, M-1 explains the statement is not a hit to hip hop, per say, but an honest statement on what people are presented with through social media, which only captures the positivism people and artists want to share creating an illusion of how things may be or not. The new LP release may spark conversations of current political issues along with the missing luster of hip-hop, but it is undeniably musical and lyrically conscious. Aggressive and assertive bars open the song, “Number One with a Bullet,” - “I’m ‘bout to spit some real shit, been holding my tongue for a lil’ bit. G-shit, better yet, RBG shit. Ya’ll be actin’ like ya’ll never did see shit…” - setting an immediate impression and tone that as a listener there is no telling what is about to happen in the next 10 songs. Coming from a ministerial conscious rapper, M-1 delivers a classic and nothing short from it. Hesitant of initially including features, the album does include collaboration from Killer Mike, Prodigy of Mobb Deep and more.
“At the end of the day, the goal and objective is liberation and that’s bigger than the music itself. We have been blessed with the talent as dead prez and myself with the tools of political education, to be able to do, what we’ve been able to been able to do,” said M-1.
Prior to the release of the new album, M-1 also shared he spent the last five years in Italy experimenting with sounds and genres from EDM, Drum & Base, and anything else he could get his hands on. He also points out his discovery of “trap hall” music, which is a sub-genre of trap music. Through his experimentation and submersion into a different approach to music sonically, he and Bonnot worked together to create the tone for the LP. The infusion of genres and sounds are evident through songs like “Open,” and “Tobacco Inc.”
“The skin of being a revolutionary or the jacket of being a rebel, the amour of being a freedom fighter is something I am use to wearing… For me, now to sit down and write a song is part of a process that makes me sane. Making this album has been about producing, musically producing, which is a little different than my last; half of it (this album) was my partner Bonnot,” said M-1 one on the matter of who and what he had in mind during the creative process and making of Between Me and the World.
“This is aimed for a public that has been hijacked and seasoned to listen to quick sound bytes thrown portraying a certain swag. I make my music now to say what I would say as a human being in the world – who lives, loves, and wants everything any other human being wants and to be free. I made it with that in mind. I made it understanding where music is today in the certain trap pace; and (mindful) of the people who are in the same generation as me, in our forties, but we are hip-hop.
“I made it from a health conscious stand point, a not give a fuck stand point, like said, burning down congress stand point. That was what I was attempting to communicate in the most human way possible when making this album now.”
M-1 will celebrate the release of his new album tonight, Friday, May 6 in New York City. Between the World and Me is now available on all download platforms, i.e. Amazon, iTunes.
Listen to Killing It, https://soundcloud.com/m1deadprez_bonnot/killing_it
View the NEW video “Number One With A Bullet”: https://youtu.be/1IGAmSwcneY
Studio Sessions with Carvo Music