When did you conceive the idea for this album?
I guess a little after the RBG album finally came out. After the album came out, I did some production work, not only with dead prez. I did some production for people like David Banner. And, I started creating songs for my crew, my army, for P.O.W.'s and everybody around us. These songs were really inspirational to me. I decided the best thing to do is to examine myself and see what comes out.
What's the difference between M-1 Confidential and a dead prez album?
Well, this is not a dead prez album. It should be clear that this is not be considered a dead prez album; this is an M-1 album. The ideas that you see coming forth are personal to me and are relative to the struggle that we've been going through. You know I have my own way of producing, and I wanted to bring my opinion to the world. Of course this doesn't mean that dead prez, in any way, has broken up. It just means that we need to try and break the barriers of how people stereotype how we do what we do, you know.
Do you have any commercial expectations for the album?
Well commercial means to sell, so yeah, I plan to sell as many as I possibly can. That's why I made songs that are mass-reaching. My video "Till We Get There" is sonically the way it is so we can penetrate the market. So I tried to do something that's defiantly rebellious, yet could be played on MTV , BET or Hot 97 [New York Radio Station] like my songs are being played right now.
The album is being released independently through Koch Records, is that correct?
If you consider Koch independent. I don't have any classification for Koch. It's as powerful as any other label. You know they're in it for the money, and I'm in it for the money and I hope that my records reaches all the shelves nationwide and international. That's what I'm getting out of Koch. The reason I did it with them is because I can also see more shares of my profit, the bigger share, the lion share that I deserve.
How important is it for you reach as many people as possible?
It's very important that it reaches as many people as possible: black, white, etc. Our movement depends on us understanding our positions in the world, and being accountable to the real movement in the streets. So, my music weighs a lot; it's heavier than radio music or gangsta music. It's revolutionary music, that's why it's important to keep examining not how to compromise the message, but how to get it as close as I can to the people, you know what I mean?
Absolutely. Are you still on the FishScale tour with Ghostface?
Yeah, I'm headed to Baltimore today.
What's been the most rewarding part of that tour so far?
The experience of building networks, building a strong team that deals with the responsibilities of going out there and carrying the message forward. And, the connections that we make on the other end are empowering because that's how you create...
A new fan base?
Not just the fan base, but the ability to come back and have direct contact with those people, whether you want to do a show or sell your product. That helps your independence, you know what I'm saying.
Yea.In the video [the DVD side of Confidential], you said that Styles P initially turned down the collaboration, because the beat wasn't hard enough. How important was it to have Styles on the album?
We relate on many levels, and that's why I tried to work with him, not just because he's hot as an artist, but because I could relate to him as well.
What's the label situation with dead prez? I don't think you guys are still down with Columbia Records?
No, that's wrong. We're not signed to any label at all.
Are there any offers on the table right now?
Yup, there's a whole lot of offers.
When can people expect a new dead prez album?
Probably by fall of this year.
Does Stic.man have a solo project as well?
Yes, he has a solo project, a website [www.bossupbu.com], a book that he recently released, and a whole bunch of brand new projects that he's into.
Finally, what would you say to anybody trying to go the political/socio-conscious rap route?
Study your background, study the movement, join an organization and be a revolutionary. Then that'll tell you whether he wants to rap about it or not, because all the so-called conscious rappers are doing is reporting from the front line of the movement. You can't accept responsibility by rapping about it; you've got to get in and join the movement. And, that proves how good you can rap, not how many fancy words you can say but what your words mean and how relevant they are towards changing the community. Believe me, Malcolm X was an emcee - one of the illest emcees, you know what I mean. And when I say MC, I mean "Move the Crowd," "Make Clear," "Master Communicator."