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A Prince in MC’s clothing

July 16, 2008

“You’ve seen the slogan, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be in your revolution” alongside renderings of the late Emma Goldman plastered on the T-Shirts and bumper stickers of progressives and liberals from here to Cuba. And while it’s doubtful that the famous anarchist ever actually said the line, it’s still a brilliant metaphor for inclusionary resistance and the need to balance arts with a progressive ideology.

A lesser known, but no less insightful gem comes from the 1988 Blacksploitation spoof, I’m Gonna Get You Sucka. When asked about the band of musicians laying down heavy funk riffs behind him wherever he walked, the film’s hero and resident bad ass mofo John Spade calmly explains, “They’re my theme music. Every hero’s got to have some.”

Taken together, the quotes make an interesting point: an effective revolutionary movement should be in tune with the people — all of the people: the regular folks, the artists and the creatives just as much as the political activists and community organizers. It should be inclusive and open, with just a hint of sex appeal. And while the revolution may never be televised, at the very least it should come with a bangin’ bassline and some head nodding beats.

And that’s where Ise Lyfe comes in.”

For those that don’t know Ise Lyfe is an Oakland based MC/Spoken word artist/theater performer/community/teacher/a bunch of other shit too varied to keep slashing. Young cat is nice with the words on multiple levels and one of the few people I’ve come across who can blend social conscious with a hood sensibility and not come off corny or like they just got their hands on the Autobiography of Malcolm X for the 1st time.

This is my 2nd time interviewing him and dude’s got his head on straight. His ideas about politics and political activism reach a lot deeper than the feel good progressiveness that usually muddles conversations about social justice, race, class and community responsibility. And did I mention he’s pretty nice with the words?

His second CD “Prince Cometh” dropped today and we posted the feature to correspond with the drop date. Check it out the article here then scoop the CD here. And since I know he’ll be grinding doing the tour thing for the next few, check the show when he pops into your town.

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