Tag Archives: protest rap

A Protest Music Interview: IFEEL

According to new and updated laws in Croatia many old, traditional habits are dying out; chaining and tethering of dogs, fur farming and breeding animals for fur, animals working to pull logs and firewood out of forests and animals in circuses – it’s all been completely banned as well as many other things. After all, animals have their rights too.

The struggle is still existent though and the battle continues, as in most places. Dogs and cats are left on the streets and mass production farming and torture is rampant. But animals have a few supporters and soldiers out there in human form that use their voice for the voiceless in human society.

IFEEL is one of those soldiers. The Croatian-American rapper has been active since before 2012, when his debut album was released. His latest effort, LET’S TALK ABOUT IT, came out last year and his craft has only gotten better and more empathetic.

IFEEL has a unique voice in the global rap scene. He explicitly sings for and about animals and it’s clear that he is a voice on a mission. I caught up with IFEEL via email and learned about his music, his love for animals, his work and his activism.

For those not familiar with your work, who is IFEEL?

I tell stories about animals’ lives. A lot of songs are from animals’ point of view, because they cannot talk and tell us how they feel. We have all been cleverly and systematically lied to and desensitized to ignore violence around us. My mission is to bring this to light and inspire people to have a better life and help animals have better lives. I do this with music and activism.

When did you start making music and writing rhymes?

I grew up on Rakim, Afrika Bambaataa, KRS One, Public Enemy and Tribe Called Quest, which had a meaningful, positive impact on my life/music path. Music has a power to change the world… especially hip hop, because you can say a whole lot in three verses – with energy and power that can move people. No other music genre can do that. I started writing rhymes when I was in college, in my early twenties, but my first studio album ANIMAL IN ME came out in 2012.

Your latest album Let’s Talk ABOUT IT is very political and straight to the point. Has your music always been political?

I don’t talk much about politics, but I definitely talk about evil little men who run the world and profit off the greed and pain of other beings. I respect rappers who have the courage to talk about what they believe in. All artists who take a stand for an issue in their own creative way are fighting for justice. We are all fighting the same fight. Hip hop has always been a powerful weapon for social justice. I rap about what I am passionate about and I believe that I can make a difference in the world with what I do – inspire people to see things in a new way – for humans, animals and the planet.

LET’S TALK ABOUT IT is about things we need to start talking about if we want to survive on this planet and bring the humanity back. Our society and world as a whole is falling apart in many ways, but here I talk about the negative effect we have on our own lives, lives of animals and environment. This album is a blueprint on how to
change that. I offer a reason, incentive and solution to the problem. The album is designed to tell you the whole story in a positive, emotional way in about 60 minutes.

How and when did your love for animals begin?

I grew up in a family that respected nature and animals so the respect and love for animals was there since day 1. I reaffirmed my respect and love for them when I found out how “food” was made: I immediately went vegetarian and in 2012, I went vegan. I could not say that I love animals and at the same time eat animals. I also knew that I had to find a way to inspire others to feel that as well.

I visited countless animal shelters and sanctuaries. That is where the real connection happens. In the heart and mind. I recommend visiting and helping shelters and sanctuaries.

You perform quite a bit at vegan and other animal rights events. But how about non activist events? How do you get your message across to those that don’t want to hear it?

I perform at vegan events and festivals but not at non-activist events. Most of the topics I talk about are not mainstream, so from the start I’m reaching a smaller percentage of people than an average rapper. When it comes to people and my music, though, no one gets defensive because I don’t attack anyone in my songs and music videos. I motivate people to feel something they have never felt before. Those who don’t want to hear that message don’t listen to my music.

How can non-vegans help make this world a better place for animals?

There are many ways to help. Going vegan is the easiest and healthiest way to do that. The first thing to do is find out WHY you want to help. I did it because of the animals. Someone might do it for their health, others for the planet. The fact is that we humans feel better when we help others. And it can give our life a meaning.

How is your home country of Croatia in terms of animal abuse/rights? Are things changing?

There have been many positive changes in the last five years in regards to fighting for animal rights, and veganism is booming in Croatia. I collaborate closely with Animal Friends Croatia, the main animal rights organization in the country, on many vegan / AR campaigns. I also organize a group of activists called VEGAN THUGZ and we promote veganism and compassion in positive, creative ways (vegan chill&grill events, fundraisers for animal shelters and
sanctuaries, volunteering in animal shelters and sanctuaries, promotion of veganism at festivals, online Facebook actions).

When inspired in a right way, and especially on social media, many people are willing to do much more than click like and share. Facebook activism is one thing. Face-to-face activism is something completely different – and more fulfilling and meaningful. For effective activism, it’s important to learn how to combine both online and offline work.

You are a certified biotherapist. Can you explain what that is about and how you help people and animals through that discipline?

Healing has always been a part of my life. After finishing university (psychology), I worked with abused children in group homes, where I helped them express their emotions and heal with hip hop music. Years later, I discovered biotherapy and got my training and experience helping people and animals with their illnesses. With biotherapy you can help others heal by helping boost their immunity – their own defense systems. As a certified fitness trainer, I help people feel better, too. What we eat, drink and do has a lot to do with that. That is why I give a free online “FEEL GOOD” guide to all people who get my album. Empathy, fitness, good food. It’s a good start for a better world.

What are some of your musical motivations these days? Any contemporary (or not) musicians you want to give a shout out to?

Travis Scott, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, RZA, A$AP Rocky, Joey Bada$$. There’s a lot of interesting game changers in hip hop lately. Change is good. Hip hop has a bad rap nowadays because of the mumble rap scene, but I think that won’t last much longer.

If you could have 4 different animal species as your back up singers, which animals would you invite along?

Wolf leads the pack, elephant knows, dog shows teeth and barks, and there’s a pig. Pig is the brains of the pack. And also one of the most abused animals on the planet. Maybe that’s why the pig calculates and plans all the moves. Btw, they are not my backup singers, they are a part of my team already.

What is on the horizon for you?

I’m in the studio working on new music… working with a very special producer and we plan on bringing something different in 2020, something much needed in the world of hip hop.

Thank you again for participating and for the music. Anything else you’d like to shout from the rooftops?

Thank you for reaching out. And thank you for your activism. We are all given talents and opportunities to become the best we can be and to help others and the world. That’s what life is all about. It’s not just about “me”, it’s about “we.” Check out my video TRUMP MUSIC. It shows what happens when we start idealizing and following dangerous psychopaths.

www.MusicIFEEL.com
https://www.facebook.com/MUSICIFEEL
https://www.instagram.com/ifeelanimals

New Video: Taiwanese Rapper Dwagie Supporting Hong Kong Protesters

Since the beginning of June this year, millions of people have been active on the streets of Hong Kong protesting proposed laws that would change extradition laws between Hong Kong and China.

Dwagie is a powerful voice in Taiwan who raps in both Hokkien and English and has cooperated with the likes of Nas, Wu-Tang and even the Dalai Lama himself.

Dwagie on Facebook
Dwagie on Instagram

Wack Rappers Beware: Interview With DC Rapper Tim Hicks & Exclusive Song Premiere

According to Tim Hicks, leader and activist from the hiphop collective that is The Cornel West Theory, real rap is coming our way soon. The group seems to have its batteries in order too, for this hiphop is as politically charged as it gets.

Tim is a busy man these days, producing a new album for both the CWT as well as putting out a solo project. 45 is also busy these days and seeing how the capital is Tim’s playground he has felt the effect of this president deeply and so he has a word or two in his lyrics aimed at the man.

The DC rap game veteran got some words for all the poser rappers out there as well according to a recent FB post: “new and legendary MC’s, do lots of pushups, we’ll be waiting”. So naturally I asked Tim to drop a few names of real rappers who are doing it right today.

Check out his shout outs below along with his plea for a more unified world and his banging track off of his upcoming album exclusively here on Shouts!


Shouts Exclusive Listen

“Jim Vance” by Tim Hicks from his upcoming solo project “Bullets”

How have you been? (since our last interview)

I’m hanging in there family. Fighting the good fight. Music, life… always Fatherhood, and trying to be a saint living in a sinner’s body.

You have both a solo album as well as a group album coming out soon. What are the main differences between the two? Is your solo stuff as political as the CWT?

Great question and I pray my answer hits the mark. So, my solo project, Bullets, is something that I wasn’t really planning to do. It was just time. I have ideas that I’d like to express outside of the group context. Those ideas sometimes just take the form of beats that never see the light of the internet. This time, they took the form of me rapping over those tracks.

The Cornel West Theory is always at the core. The Dirty Church is the entity that produces all the music for CWT. I lead both. I brought the elements together for my solo piece. My solo album is my way of establishing myself as a bonafide – true to the tradition – cut from the cloth – not to be f*cked with – EMCEE.

It’s also an album dedicated to the city I was born and raised in. That city is Washington DC. As far as politics, I’m always writing with the intention to speak truth. There’s a false, yet very real reality in the world, and within Hip Hop these days. I prefer to go with the truth, and that truth is sometimes political. Sometimes it has nothing to do with politics.

I’m in a band called The Cornel West Theory. What can I say. I have an obligation to Doc West and his spirit. I have an obligation to Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. To Curtis and to Gil Scott. No weak-heart rap. This year we’ll see at least 2 new Cornel West Theory albums, NWOK (new world order kids) and DSIGHED (pronounced decide).

We have an exclusive listen to one of the tracks off your upcoming solo album. Can you tell us a bit about this song?

This tune is called Jim Vance. It’s an introduction to my solo voice. A way of me waving hi at all my heroes in hip hop, and announcing my arrival to all the wack ass rappers spitting that bullshit on the mic.

This track is a way of giving people a taste of what a MC from Washington DC sounds like. Not a DMV rapper who claims DC but ain’t really from the city. For folks who don’t know, DMV stands for DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Salute to the whole DMV, but there is no DMV without DC. I’m from DC.

You have campaigned fiercely, on and off the music stage, for the MOVE group as well as for one of its supporters, Mumia Abu Jamal. Mumia was recently granted the right to appeal after having served already a few decades in prison. What is your relationship with Mumia and why is his case, as well as the MOVE history, important to you?

Mumia is me. Mumia is my poppa from another mother. Mumia is a righteous brother who deserves to be with his wife and family because he’s innocent. I visited Mumia back in 2013, and became aligned with MOVE members Pam Africa and Ramona Africa. Ever since then, I’ve been blessed enough to fellowship with these awesome elders, and even have them record for our album, Coming From The Bottom. They became family to me. I met Mumia’s wife and performed at a memorial service for their daughter Goldii who passed away a few years ago. Those are my peoples. 

Mumia’s case is important because his freedom means that the world can now experience and be taught by one of the most brilliant, loving, and courageous men to ever walk the planet…but up close and personal as it should be. Free. Mumia is a bright shining light.

MOVE still has members who need to be freed as well.  Chuck Africa, Eddie Africa, Delbert Africa, Janet Africa and Janine Africa need to be freed immediately!

We did have an amazing breakthru… Michael Africa Sr. and Debbie Africa were both released after 40 years in prison! Ona Move! Long Live John Africa! FREE EM ALL!

You recently dropped a single called S.H.U.T.. Can you tell us a bit about it? Has the shutdown affected you or anyone you know personally?

Oh yeah, let’s rap. See The Cornel West Theory talks about the sh*t that most rappers avoid because it doesn’t sell. We’re also from DC, so we’re right in the face of the American government, as opposed to other folks who throw stones from the guest house.

The song was directly aimed at number 45, and his administration. A totally illegal government. I say this based on their actions. Yes, it touched my family and friends directly. Some of my people lost money, time, and gained stress in the process. I’m sure most Americans felt the same way.

This is a rough moment dealing with this dude. Somebody gotta talk about it. Music is soft now, cause nobody’s talking about it. The problems. We will.

You have been known to use social media to let poser rappers know you’re coming. What rappers are actually doing something right today? Who are using their voices and bringing the good stuff these days?

I dig Mankind. Two dope brothers from Harlem. We got some stuff in the works so hopefully y’all will get that soon, but Mankind is fresh! My man yU from the DMV area. Folks know him from being a part of Diamond District with Oddisee & Uptown XO. Folks need to know about yU.

My man Born I Music, Ardamus, Prowess The Testament, Asheru and my man ADST. Kenilworth Katrina and Uptown Shane. I’m into new voices. I like A$AP Rocky and Ferg, Joey Badass, and some of J Cole’s stuff.

Salute to Smif-N-Wessun, who just dropped a really dope album with 9th Wonder. Dope and Dope! I wanna hear the legends sounding fresh. Smif N Wessun did just that. I also wanna hear force back in hip hop. 

Will you be touring the new music in 2019?

Hopefully. We’re not signed and without a budget these days so getting funding is an issue. I’m sure there are some folks who are real about their business and have the means to bring us out. JAH willing, our paths will connect.

We’re always working on something so we’re ready to roll when the calls do come in for shows. However, plenty of folks like to look at us as the act that will play for pennies. As if we’re new to this.  We’re grown ass men with families. Music is a job, and musicians need work.

I know people are tired of these boring ass performances from the same ole folks or from new folks who aren’t worth seeing. We been out here. It’s no games live. We joke all the time about folks being afraid of us. We believe some artists are worried that if we open for them, we might take their shine. We’ll be working on getting shows tho.

For those serious about business, let em know to reach out to us at thecornelwesttheory@gmail.com or on social media @cwestspokesman and @cwesttheory

What matters to you in 2019? What fights are worth fighting?

My babies, and my donna. My family. The human family. I’m tired of seeing folks divided over race and racism. It’s worth fighting to 
destroy the concept of race. If folks stop identifying as colors disguised as levels in a class system, we could accomplish a lot.

I was told that a racist person’s worst fear is to see black and white united. To unite, we gotta let these labels die. In our minds, in our speech, and then hopefully in our daily lives. Yes, there are plenty of pieces to the system that must be addressed in order to get that change to be visible.

One thing I suggest is that folks remember that we all bleed and need love. It’s worth fighting for women and LGBTQ rights. It’s worth fighting for all immigrants trying to find safety and a better life. It’s worth it to stop spending money on death, and fight for the end of homelessness.

No one is a f*cking color. Period. God made us all. No one is above anyone. Let’s all get on the same level. One Love.

Bob Marley said it best… folks said he should side with Black people, others said he was for White people. Bob said he was on God’s side.
Salute to all the folks who give us energy and support.

Salute to Shouts! Iceland what up! Europe what up! Africa what up! Asia what up! South America what up! 
Whole world what up!

Check out The Cornel West Theory on Bandcamp ı Facebook ı Soundcloud ı YouTube