Welcome to the third edition of The Intellects. Today I’m chatting with M-1, one half of the revolutionary hip-hop duo Dead Prez. The legendary group released their debut album, “Let’s Get Free,” in 2000. Since then, M-1 and stic.man have branched off to concentrate on independent projects.
Most recently, M-1 created a production company, JLove & M1 Productions, and continued to experience the world outside of the United States. This year, M-1 dropped “Between Me and the World” with Italian producer Bonnot. He continues to collaborate with artists across the globe and make thought provoking music.
Q: Fruit of May is all about promoting self-love, self-care and inner peace. Have you ever struggled with anything that weakened your mind, body or soul? If so, how did you overcome these hard times?
A: I’ve been in many situations that have left me destitute, demoralized and in doubt about humanity in many different ways. I was frustrated with the lack of human cooperation and unity.
I’ve gone through it all. I’ve did all kinds of drugs, I’ve been through the court system, I’ve been through the worst and I’ve been through the highest of times. A lot of it has to do with seeing the best that this world has to offer, which is hard to do in a hostile environment. If we don’t, then the only thing we are allowed to examine is the worst parts, which will drive us further down. Having a positive attitude is everything.
I turn to nature to provide me with what my body needs in order to pull my mind out of mental destitution and work optimally. I surround myself with people who I can build from and love. If none of that is possible, then I align myself spiritually, mentally and physically through tools like mediation, affirmations and form new habits. Those were the things that saved my life. This came to me after many years of failing miserably.
Q: Can you talk more about the meaning of your song “Fill in the Blanks?”
A: When I say fill in the blanks, no matter what you write in that blank, those people must go. The president must go. The governor must go. The secretary must go. It doesn’t matter. Whatever name you put in that blank becomes responsible for what happens next for imperialism in the world. It’s almost like filling in the ballot. What name do you put in the blank? No matter what name you put in the blank they don’t really give a f**k what you think.
Q: What do you do to fire up a creative spark?
A: It’s not really about sparking it. It happens to you. I don’t think you can force creativity. There are studies that may help you improve the conditions that will spark a creative environment, but I think you have to be vibrating at a certain frequency. It has a lot to do with circumstances other than just who we are subjectively. I see us as an extension of something greater than ourselves and creativity is just a frequency of communication. So, with that being said, it’s part of aligning and getting in tune that help you do what you’re supposed to do, which is create.
Q: Why do you continue to challenge people to think outside of the box through your music?
A: I just think it’s important to break paradigm and to shift our present understanding of reality. I think it’s empowering for human beings to be able to see the world with all of its unlimited possibilities. That’s why I think the challenge is there to imagine a world greater than now. It’s not hard to do greater than where we are right now, but one that is fair and just. All of that is possible. Once that thought is manifested, it becomes, it lives, it thrives, it grows and it’s channeled by many people and many ideas. It’s a community of ideas. This exchange is the most pertinent part of what society is about.
It’s the essence of freedom. To be able to determine the future for you and your family or community as long as it doesn’t impede on anyone else’s rights. That self-determination, that ability to create that will of what life is for us and our people is the essence of freedom.
Q: What is your food philosophy?
A: I’m eating for the long fight. I am not so much a vegan. I try to eat very little dairy, but I do consume some dairy. For the most part I don’t eat any meat, but I do eat fish. I don’t qualify in the vegan category, but I do understand vegan way of life. I’ve eaten strictly vegan for 16 years of my life. I made my determination of what I want to eat based on what my body needs. My food philosophy is not determined by one book. I studied Dr. Sebi, Queen Afua and so many people have taught me food health. I ate raw for many months in my life as well. You just have to get in tune with what your body needs and how your body reacts to certain things.
Q: Who are you listening to?
A: I just played a song by my man Saigone. It’s called Blessing (Pro Gun Anthem). I like that song a lot. I’m listening to Anderson .Paak, Solange, PartyNextDoor and Robert Glasper.
Q: What are your final remarks?
A: Just breathe. I think people overlook breathing. I mean that in the most literal sense. Take a deep breath and let it all happen.
Share your thoughts about M-1’s interview with Fruit of May in the comment section below.