Hip-hop duo Dead Prez talks Pioneer Valley, politics before second Greenfield show

  • Dead Prez hip-hop artists stic.man, left, and M-1 pose for a photo before their Saturday night show at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Dead Prez hip-hop artists stic.man, left, and M-1 pose for a photo before their performance Saturday night at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Dead Prez hip-hop artists stic.man, right, and M-1 pose for a photo before their performance Saturday night at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Dead Prez hip-hop artists stic.man and M-1, along with DJ Mikeflow, perform Saturday night at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Dead Prez hip-hop artists stic.man and M-1, along with DJ Mikeflow, perform Saturday night at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Dead Prez hip-hop artists stic.man and M-1, along with DJ Mikeflow, perform Saturday night at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Dead Prez hip-hop artists stic.man and M-1, along with DJ Mikeflow, perform Saturday night at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Dead Prez hip-hop artists stic.man and M-1, along with DJ Mikeflow, perform Saturday night at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Dead Prez hip-hop artists stic.man and M-1, along with DJ Mikeflow, perform Saturday night at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Dead Prez hip-hop artists stic.man and M-1, along with DJ Mikeflow, perform Saturday night at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Dead Prez hip-hop artists stic.man and M-1, along with DJ Mikeflow, perform Saturday night at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Dead Prez hip-hop artists stic.man and M-1, along with DJ Mikeflow, perform Saturday night at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Dead Prez hip-hop artists stic.man and M-1, along with DJ Mikeflow, perform Saturday night at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Dead Prez hip-hop artists stic.man and M-1, along with DJ Mikeflow, perform Saturday night at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Dead Prez hip-hop artists stic.man and M-1, along with DJ Mikeflow, perform Saturday night at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Dead Prez hip-hop artists stic.man and M-1, along with DJ Mikeflow, perform Saturday night at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Dead Prez hip-hop artists stic.man, left, and M-1 pose for a photo after their performance Saturday night at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Dead Prez hip-hop artists stic.man, left, and M-1 pose for a photo after their performance Saturday night at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Dead Prez hip-hop artist M-1 takes a stroll in the snow after a Saturday night performance at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

Staff Writer
Published: 1/23/2019 3:25:47 PM

At one point in their set through renowned hip-hop discography, the duo known as Dead Prez shouted out to the crowd.

M-1: What’s up, Deerfield!

stic.man: Greenfield, you mean Greenfield.

The crowd roared back enthusiastically.

M-1: See, it’s Deerfield.

stic: My bad, my bad.

The crowd corrected the New York-born, Tallahassee-famous rap duo.

M-1: Oh, it is Greenfield … You know it’s all love. They made up all these names anyway.

Dead Prez, represented by M-1 and stic.man along with DJ Mikeflow, have been a fixture in the hip-hop community for nearly 20 years. They came to Greenfield’s Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center on Saturday for their second show at the venue in the past year.

The duo — best known for their standout song “Hip Hop,” and their albums “Lets Get Free” and “RBG: Revolutionary but Gangsta,” as well as for speaking their minds plainly about the world around them — sat down with the Greenfield Recorder before their set to talk about why they came back, what they think of the Pioneer Valley and a little about politics.

■What brought you back?

stic: This has been a part of our journey of 18, 20 years plus of getting around the world, really. We hit spots that people always say, ‘What are y’all doing in these different kinds of towns that’s not New York or L.A.?’ That’s really been our blood in terms of touching them pockets of resistance, creativity that don’t get the nationwide kind of notoriety. It’s just a part of our circuit. People are trying to grow and experience hip-hop with values in a lot more places than you might think.

M-1: I appreciate this kind of run, this area, because people really appreciate music, appreciate the lifestyle, the alternative, understand the viewpoint.

■What’s the value of local politics and civic engagement today?

M-1: It matters in different ways. We started out in Tallahassee, Florida. ... Florida is the fallout from racist Georgia. ... When you think of Florida, you confuse it with palm trees instead of being a part of the southern part of America. ... The way we acted and were able to influence local was exactly as you said, we’ll literally be protesting. It would be me and stic who would be rabble-rousing like a motherf***** and could have impact — whereas in New York it would be a drop in the bucket compared to all of the other activity going down. When I see politics today, a lot of times what matters to me is that people connect and that they move.

I’m hopeless when I see people see s*** happen and don’t do anything. But at this time, now, I see people trying to figure it out. You know, it’s interesting. So definitely it’s happening locally and it’s happening in small towns and big cities.

stic, on politics: I’m careful with that word, because I think everything is politics. Sometimes we say “politics” like electoral. Rap is politics. Business is politics. Schools is politics because it all comes down to power and the distribution of access to different things. I think there’s a theory that’s getting popular that, hey, if somebody who really stands for X, Y, Z is the county commissioner, then we can touch them and hold them accountable more. I think people are exploring that theory, that tactic and I think that’s trending right now.

■What do you think of an artist like Cardi B using her platform and speaking out recently on the government shutdown?

M-1: What she’s become is a voice for women. ... She’s connected to the ground and able to make commentary. People are like, ‘Use your platform.’ She’s just being authentic.

■Anywhere you’ve gotten a chance to eat in town?

M-1: The River Valley Co-Op (in Northampton). That’s local and fresh and healthy.

stic: Hippie as f***.

M-1: That’s pretty much what we do. We find the hippie s*** in every city. ... Wheatgrass and weed. That’s pretty much Dead Prez right there.

Staff reporter Joshua Solomon has worked at the Greenfield Recorder since 2017. He covers all things Greenfield. He can be reached at: jsolomon@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 264.


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