The Kazimier Presents: Dead Prez
Words by Ben Lynch. Ben is a music blogger at the University of Liverpool who also works with LSRadio. He has in the past contributed to the print edition of Ellipsis. If you like what he writes, follow him on Twitter.
Dead Prez are certainly an act with a reputation which precedes them. Everyone knows about their socialist lyrical content, their confrontational, almost recruitment-style performances, and the ever-present shi hexagram, hanging somewhere in plain view. What people are probably less aware of is the duo’s, in particular stic.man’s, analogous sense of passion for living a healthy life. From ‘’Be Healthy’’ on their 2000 debut Let’s Get Free right through to stic.man’s upcoming record The Workout 2, it has played a role alongside the political in shaping the trajectory of one of hip-hop’s most revered groups. For those unaware, both sides of Dead Prez were to be given an equal measure of attention in an evening which reflected why the duo have been consistently seen as not only innovators, but educators.
Prior to our lesson commencing however we were to be treated to a couple of acts which represented different sources of influence but a shared sense of potential. Local hip-hop outfit Beyond Average spat a set full of tight flows and a penchant for tracks which took all that is good about grime and built on it. Humour pervaded throughout, as the duo acknowledge the growing crowd, and engaged with it. Subculture Sage offered a change in atmosphere, as their amalgamation of various electronics and trip-hop influences ensured proceedings developed a more sonically experimental leg. Given the headliners of tonight’s show, this was a good move on the organiser’s behalf. Nonetheless, both acts sold themselves well to an expectant audience.
However, let’s not beat around the bush; there was only one act people had gathered for. As M-1 and stic.man, ‘comrades’ as they repeatedly called each other, ran through everything from ‘Mind Sex to Hell Yeah, the crowd underwent the final evolution into a unified mass of eyes, absorbed in the antics on stage. On several occasions M-1 would look up to the shi hexagram just behind them before speaking on the ‘fuckery’ we currently endure from our capitalist system, often to loud cheers from those assembled. Whether you are for or against the ideals Dead Prez embody is irrelevant; for one night you are at their beck and call, and the result is exhilarating. stic.man provided a different form of message when he debuted a track from his forthcoming album, the follow up to The Workout, expressing the same passion, the same conviction with which M-1 treats his politics.Hip-Hop was always going to draw the biggest reaction, but the messages were anything but lost. Dead Prez were our speakers, and even if you were to disagree with questions they raised, we were their loyal disciples.
Despite a sense of overkill towards the end, Dead Prez incited something within The Kazimier which is rare to witness first-hand. Provocative without making anyone feel uncomfortable, they present a united front which is not only admirable, but formidable. They give you a perspective, whether that be on politics of your own health, and demand you ask pertinent questions. Delivering a set which served to ensure you try and better yourself, Dead Prez have always been perceived as forerunners in an experience more holistic than just music, and now The Kazimier knows exactly why.