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Emcee Lynx Interview
by Dan Kyle Saturday, Jan. 25, 2003 at 6:28 AM
Emcee Lynx, a progressive hip-hop revolutionary, traveled three days by Greyhound to play the January 25th POG concert... for free. Here is an interview conducted when he got to town.
Emcee Lynx is a featured artist in tonight's concert, sponsored by Pittsburgh Organizing Group. The concert takes place at Pitt's Benedum Auditorium on the corner of O'Hara and Thackery in Oakland. The show is scheduled to begin at 7pm and end around 1am.
Also performing are Samarra's Betrayal, Guardia Negra, Czolgosz, Farewell Euclid, John Cihon, Reason Enough, The Run for India, Sue Jeffers, Jaeon (also a hip-hop group from San Francisco), True If Destroyed (Philadelphia Punk), and Soma Mestizo (never to be missed!) The cost is $4 per person.
1. You were mentioned in our local paper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, as the musical artist who traveled three days by bus (and plans to travel three days back to San Jose, CA) to play a show for free. Why did you decide to dedicate a week to the Pittsburgh Regional Peace Conference?
For me, and I think for most of the other folks who are putting together this conference and other similar events around the world right now, the issue is pretty simple. We live in a nation founded on genocide, slaver, colonization, and imperialism - and this war is just one more in a long line of unprovoked attacks. When Bush invaded Afghanistan a few months back under the pretext of combatting Al Queda, there was a huge amount of media hype about Osama Bin Laden and how America was going to make the world safe from terrorism by bringing this horrible criminal to justice.
There's no doubt, of course, that Bin Laden is a criminal - that's why we never should have trained him in the first place! - but the invasion of Afghanistan has completely failed to stop him or Al Queda. What's so interesting about it is that the only thing the military invasion of Afghanistan actually succeeded in doing is making Afghanistan safe for a new Natural Gas pipeline to feed a world-bank funded Enron power plant in India. Now it could just be me being paranoid, but I can't help feeling like that's just a little bit suspicious...
The planned invasion of Iraq is more of the same. Iraq just happens to be sitting on a huge amount of oil that Bush and his friends would absolutely love to get control of, and if american solidiers and Iraqi civilians have to die to ensure George Bush's profit margins, well that's just too bad, now isn't it? My father bled for thirty years from being exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam, and I have friends in the military - kids I went to high school with that joined up for thecollege money - that are going to be getting exposed to depleted lead bullets and other toxic substances. What people need to realize is that war is a crime against humanity and it hurts everyone, not just the people our government is attacking but the soldiers who've been sucked into the military machine and can't get out now even if they want to.
2. You were on stage for the January 18th Anti-War Convergence in San Francisco. How was that experience?
Well, I wasn't on the main stage. What happenned is that Anti-War Action, a local Anarchist Direct-action group, set up a mobile sound system atthe front of the march so people would hear the music as they were marching past; and invited several local hip hop artists, including me, who have been involved in community organizing efforts, to get up on stage and do our thing. The other artists didn't end up coming through, so I ended up doing four different sets and completely destroying my voice. *laughing* It was cool because as I got going each time a crowd would gather around to listen and pick up flyers, and when I finished they'd all move on and - after playing music from cd for a little while to give my voice a chance ot recuperate, I'd do another set. It was awesome, by far one of the best crowds I've ever performed for.
3. Describe your music, and your message.
My music is hip hop in the tradition of Public Enemy, Tupac, Poor Righteous Teachers, Paris, and so many others that have used the music as a medium to talk about the real issues that affect working-class and poor communities. As far as instrumental work, I have a very wide range of sounds, from extreamly hard almost industrial to mellow folk-music influenced music, to trip hop, electronica and of course just straight up west coast hip hop. I listen to a very wide range of stuff and I think that shows through in the music I make.
4. Why should people catch you show?
Well, first off they should come through and check out the whole convergence, not just my performance, because a lot of folks have put a lot of time and energy into putting together a positive event for the community here, and they deserve all our support - and you might even learn something in one of the trainings. As for my performance in particular, I like to think that I put on a pretty damn good show. Besides, I'm only going to be out here for two days so it's not like you're going to have another chance any time soon.
Emcee Lynx is an organizer with the Hip Hop Congress, an international mutual-aid network for artists, activists, organizers, students, and others in the Hip Hop scene. (http://www.hiphopcongress.com), and his website is http://www.circlealpha.com.