Marc Mac “Message from Soulville”

Message from Soulville – Available on Bandcamp

Marc Mac delivers yet another visionary beats & politics release, “Message from Soulville.” This guy is just incredible:

“Marc Mac (4hero) returns with another Mixtape Style album following on from ‘Extend The Knowledge” & “It’s Right To Be Civil”. Beats are intertwined with soundbites from the 1960’s Vietnam War protest era where African Americans were sent to fight in Vietnam during the Civil Rights period in the USA.

“The Vietnam War saw the highest proportion of blacks ever to serve in an American war. During the height of the U.S. involvement, 1965-69, blacks, who formed 11 percent of the American population, made up 12.6 percent of the soldiers in Vietnam. The majority of these were in the infantry, and although authorities differ on the figures, the percentage of black combat fatalities in that period was a staggering 14.9 percent, a proportion that subsequently declined. Volunteers and draftees included many frustrated blacks whose impatience with the war and the delays in racial progress in America led to race riots on a number of ships and military bases, beginning in 1968, and the services’ response in creating interracial councils and racial sensitivity training. . . . ” – John Sibley Butler, Remember To Remember. “A Generation Needs Truth”

Killer Mike “Reagan” (Fan Video)

Man…wow. H/T

Killer Mike and El-P

I’m so ready for this album.

Monthly Mixtapes: “Organize!” (December 2011)

Monthly Mixtapes: “Organize!” (December 2011)

I think it would be irresponsible to close out the year without some kind of dedication to one of the most interesting and amazing mass mobilizations to come around in a minute. While there are some very valid critiques of the Occupy movement, what has impressed me more than the physical encampments are the hundreds (thousands?) of things the “spirit” of movement has inspired, and the many people it has galvanized. The general strike in Oakland, the solidarity marches and demonstrations by unions and community groups, the critiques of the banks, youth standing up to the department of education – how all these things and people have become linked to each other in such a dynamic way has been inspiring. My original idea for this tape was to gather a number of soundbites, especially those outside of the context of Liberty Park or other more well-known Occupy-areas, to mix with various instrumentals and political, revolutionary-themed music. While that type of tape might come together in the future, when I started pulling records, I realized that I didn’t want to make a mix full of “Masters of War” and “Sound of the Police” cuts blended with soundbites you might have already heard on Democracy Now! – I wanted to just try and play some positive, upbeat music. This moment in time is hopefully just the start of something – as brilliantly broadcast onto the wall of the Verizon building a couple weeks ago, this is “the beginning of the beginning.” The tape is named after the Sly Stone song I included, “Organize.” So these are cuts that, to me, felt good, funky, and forward-moving as we close out the year. I hope everyone enjoys. — DJ Ian Head

Monthly Mixtapes: “Bernie Sanders” (January 2011)

Monthly Mixtapes: “Bernie Sanders” (January 2011)

On December 10, 2010, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an Independent, took a full day to go hard against the so-called “Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010” tax bill, which continues the massive George Bush-era tax breaks for rich people for two more years (and possibly/probably more). I’m not usually one to dedicate a tape to a politician of any stripe, but I have to give it up to someone standing up against basically everyone in Washington – Democrats and Republicans – and railing against them for eight and a half hours straight, fact after blatant fact, about how they are selling out working people, the poor and the middle class. So, credit is due, and as Bernie was bringing his speech to a close, I posted on Facebook that I’d dedicate the next Monthly Mixtape to him, so here it is.

If you want to read an article about the bill, here’s one (of several) by progressive economist Dean Baker:

This is a short tape, just over 20 minutes, and the music was selected for thematic feeling rather than anything symbolic. Hopefully it worked. I remember ten years ago when I lived in Philly talking with another activist, hip-hop head friend of mine about doing a series of “political mixtapes” that touched on themes / people and mixed music and vocal snippets, but it never came together. I’m not sure if this is exactly what we envisioned but I like doing it every once in awhile (the last similar tape was the Howard Zinn dedication).

Snippets were taken off Youtube, Democracy Now! and MSNBC’s Countdown. Shout out to Bernie Sanders, the only socialist in Congress.

— DJ Ian Head

Monthly Mixtapes: “The World is Yours” (May 2010)

Monthly Mixtapes – May 2010 – “The World is Yours” (Download)

I wanted to do a politically-themed mixtape for May, and the idea was cemented when Arizona passed a horrific law legalizing racial profiling – among other things – a few weeks ago. I also wanted to try and include more obscure cuts, and branch out beyond just hip-hop. And – include more voices from women. I’m not sure if I totally achieved any of these goals, but hopefully it’s an enjoyable tape. As a final note, I wanted to make sure the voice of Guru of Gangstarr, who passed last month, was included on the tape.

After it was done, I asked emcee, vocalist, conspirator and friend Not4Prophet from X-Vandals / Ricanstruction to write up some “guest” liner notes. Here are his notes, which include the songs on the tape as well as several more important cuts listed below.

(not4)prophet’s liner notes (be-tween the notes)…..

“The music, any art you create is about your life; it’s a reflection of your life. And so the history of black people in this country which is tied absolutely historically to Africa, and to the greatness of Africa, to the fall of Africa, to the slave trade, to slavery, all those thing. All those things are incorporated in your psyche and in your music and in your art” – Amiri Baraka

“our music has dominated this culture and the courage and unstoppable qualities of this indefinable, indescribable beat now begins a new to dominate politics, business and all that we endeavor to do. For we know that we are the beaters of drums and other things to which we can impart raw soul. We are the beaters, but we will never be beaten” – jim Ingram

BLACK music (those sonic, seditious sounds derived from us who is African ascendants) has always been nada less than political resistance music. Didn’t (and still don’t) matter what the lyrics were talkin’ bout (or even if it had/has any words at all) whether it be about revolution or simply the art of moving theMasses, the (not so simple) act of re-creating music, art, culture, struggle, life, coming from a people who were (mostly) brought overs the water in chains on their feet, hands (but not brains or souls, which is often the same thing) or, as Khalid Muhammad put it, “robbed of our name, robbed of our language, We lost our religion, our culture, our god…” is straight up to the most high as revolutionary as it ( their God)damn well gets!

Yeah, this “white mans” world was once ours back when we was proud to be black is black and saying it loud and long before there was even a need for an(other) Haitian fight song and before you could buy A.F.R.I.C.A for the price of a song and dance and well before we was re-called into amerikkka, but, but, but wait, cuz now big brothers got armed guards blocking the borders to keep the brown hoards from the 3d and 4th wards or more from getting even a small piece of that devils pie in the sky, and meanwhile they’ve declared (another) war or more against us (again) from Albany to Alabama to Arizona and back again and again and some of we (the) people who are darker than blue keep on saying we don’t want war no more and further more, we don’t need no more trouble and that things is now better compared to what we knew and you still keep on keeping on and on and up and continue to walk tall in spite of all these walls and rise and falls still bragging and sagging sabotage in fitted blasting caps and doo rag dynamite dipped in kero-scene mean machines with an ancient hache y machete maid in manhattan racking for respect and modern day Malcolm X molotavs in hand to hand and hand in hand and all in all while our souls is still on lockdown uptown some where between here and there and soledad the south bronx or some ones slum or the cemetery and now ya girls got a gun and your native sons still on the run like a public enemy number won suns tryna fight the power wit nuttin’ but a what’s goin’ on rebel song gone wrong and a less than rich mans robin hood theory on how to get free without MTV and the may 4th movement seems like a long time ago or maybe just yesterday and the revolution has been in effect and the beat (or the bombs) about to drop or maybe just rot or perhaps not…. yet!

These tone poem songs or time bomb prayer tracks on wax compiled here in are just a little bite and a tiny bit of the sanctified soul food feast that the sons and dawters of alkebulan have forever and ever, amen, blessed us with through the many and few years since way back in the daze of slavery and before (and after). Re-joice, riot and re-wind… until the fire next time!

peace by piece,


Tracklisting for Mixtape:
Charles Mingus – “Haitian Fight Song”
Gangstarr – “Robin Hood Theory”
Marc Mac – “The World is Yours”
Watts Prophets – “Amerikkka”
Digable Planets – “May 4th Movement”
Mandrill / Chuck D – “By the Time I Get to Arizona”
Ashton, Gardner and Dyke – “Don’t Want War No More”
YoYo – “Girls Got a Gun”
Stevie Wonder – “Big Brother”
Roberta Flack – “Compared to What”
Cannonball Adderly – “Walk Tall”
Nas – “Doo Rags”
D’Angelo – “Devils Pie”
Goodie Mob – “Free” (instrumental)
Angela Davis excerpt from “Soul and Soledad”
Gift of Gab – “Up”
Curtis Mayfield – “Keep On Keepin On”

Other song titles that not4prophet added to the liner notes:

Buy Africa – Fela Kuti
A.F.R.I.C.A. – Stesasonic
We don’t need no more trouble – Bob marley
what’s going on – Marvin Gaye
rebel – Lauren Hill
proud to be black – RUN DMC
say it loud (i’m black and i’m proud) – James brown
Black is Black – Jungle Brothers
white mans world – Tupac
hacha y machete – Willie Colon/Hector lavoe
we people who are darker than blue – Curtis Mayfield
fight the power – The Isley Brothers
talkin’ bout a revolution – Tracy Chapman
talkin’ bout a revolution – Nina Simone
Malcolm X – The beatnigs
respect – Aretha Franklin

Monthly Mixtapes: Zinnstrumentals (March 2010)

March 2010: Zinnstrumentals
DJ Ian Head

Just as many of us djs and producers look up to those who work and look outside the box, I believe in looking outside the so-called box when thinking about history, politics and society in general. So did legendary historian and author Howard Zinn, who sadly passed just a little over a month ago. His book “Peoples History of the United States” was his attempt to tell history from voices and viewpoints often shut out of history text books. I found it inspiring, as well as his belief that “neutrality” was basically bullshit; that if you are silent, you are siding with the status quo. In his words, “you can’t be neutral on a moving train.”

So this tape is a bit of an experiment – originally I was going to just do an instrumental tape of some my favorite beats, especially records often forgotten or overlooked. But I felt it needed something more, and so I dropped in some tidbits from various interviews with Zinn, who I believe was often overlooked himself. For someone whose book has sold well over a million copies worldwide, and who has been a commentator, activist and author for several decades, his passing drew very little attention in the media. Columnist Bob Herbert summed it up best, writing “His death this week at the age of 87 was a loss that should have drawn much more attention from a press corps that spends an inordinate amount of its time obsessing idiotically over the likes of Tiger Woods and John Edwards.”

The records I pulled for this mix come from a variety of producers, and I tried to keep it obscure but dope, lots of underground 12inches that I feel are often forgotten. I’ve included a tracklisting of the producers below, in order.

The excerpts of / about Howard Zinn are from Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman, Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, and Prison Radio with Mumia Abu-Jamal.

RIP Howard Zinn.

— DJ Ian Head

1. exile
2. dj vadim
3. hi-tek
4. attica blues
5. kankick
6. portishead
7. asheru
8. no i.d.
9. madlib
10. da beatminerz
11. chief xcel