Hip-hop duo Rise of the Revolution delivers urgent messages at Whiskey Dick’s
September 10, 2008
Rise of the Revolution not only has joined the likes of Dead Prez onstage but in spirit, reminding listeners of the axiom that everything is politics.
“I think, especially with the political side of things, there’s definitely a lot of influence with artists like Immortal Technique and Dead Prez,” said Nima Fadavi.
The Northern California hip-hop duo of Fadavi and Prophet isn’t backing down from touching on the likes of Iran, the elite Bilderberg conference or the process of revolution in a hot-button election year. They’re not the first rappers to try to incorporate “Bilderberger” into a rhyme (the Prophet said Diabolic tried it last month during a show with Immortal Technique), but they might be the first to build a beat off a Keith Olbermann sample.
“You can’t really knock that guy too much,” Prophet said of Bill O’Reilly’s chief foe since the right-wing pundit’s beef with Ludacris.
The track in question is “Senseless World” from the group’s second album, “Lethal of Equal,” due out later this year.
“We got a bunch of different clips from him in there and very strong issues that we talk about in there,” Prophet said. “Even when I listen to it, and I’ve heard it a million times, it kind of puts me back for a second.”
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If it seems that Prophet is more vocal than Fadavi, that’s because the former is the MC and the latter the beatmaker. Fadavi took a break from recording with Sunspot Jonz (of Living Legends, who Rise joins for Tuesday’s show at Whiskey Dick’s) to talk with Lake Tahoe Action.
“Lethal of Equal” is the follow-up to “Never Stand Down,” Rise’s 2007 debut, and the duo plans to release a single from the second album before heading out on tour.
“With the first album, it was more like, ‘This is who we are,’ ” Fadavi said. “We really wanted to get that out here and let people know who we’re about. I think this album’s going to be spread more than the first one as more albums progress.”
Prophet credited its label, Ineffable Music Group, for its support of Rise’s political stances.
But politics is more than a lyrical theme. For one thing, both Prophet, aka Ali Menbari, and Fadavi are Iranian-American.
“That stuff definitely leaks into the music,” Prophet said. “Iran is next on the list, so that hits home. We’ve still got family out there. I was born out there, so it definitely comes through in the music.”
Their heritage permeates Prophet’s lyrics and seeps into Fadavi’s beats as well.
“Of course, growing up in a family that’s Iranian or Persian or whatever you want to call it, is kind of different,” Fadavi said. “I think that definitely has an influence on how you live your life and how you view certain things.”
As proud as Rise of the Revolution is of its studio projects, Prophet and Fadavi can see listeners react when they perform live.
“We see it, especially when we’re onstage,” Prophet said. “We see it, especially when we’re onstage. Their facial expressions change, where they kind of start listening more. They’re not just glazed over and partying.”
But even more important than that reaction is what happens after the show.
“It’s not as much about the show, it’s about what happens after, what people do and the message we spread.”
Rise of the Revolution, which has played once in Reno in the past two months and twice at Whiskey Dick’s, returns to the South Shore saloon Tuesday, Sept. 16, with Living Legends and Counter Productive.
It’s not too late to catch some of the Bay Area’s best hip-hop this summer: The “After Hours” Tour brings Living Legends and the Bayliens to Whiskey Dick’s Saloon for a show Tuesday, Sept. 16.
The Living Legends crew ” Luckyiam, Sunspot Jonz, Eligh, Aesop, Bicasso and Scarub ” will take the stage at Whiskey Dick’s, joining the Bayliens and Rise of the Revolution. Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are $25 at the door or $20 in advance at Mad About Music or the Tahoe Hemp Co., or online at
http://www.ticketweb.com or ticketsus.at/tribune.
Living Legends trace their roots to the early 1990s, when BFAP (now Sunspot Jonz) and PSC (Luckyiam) started out as Mystic Journeymen. By 1994, they built a local legend with their Underground Survivors shows at their East Oakland loft, where they hooked up with the Grouch in ’95 and took off on their first European tour.
Around the same time in mid-city Los Angeles, the 3 Melancholy Gypsys (Murs, Scarub and Eligh) were part of the Log Cabin Crew, which broke up, freeing the Gypsys to wander separately. The six paths crossed. Aesop came from Fresno, Arata from Osaka, Japan, and Bicasso from elsewhere, and the lineup was the stuff of legend.
Living Legends moved their home base to Los Angeles in 1999, but they maintain a strong presence in the Bay Area. Since then, the crew has rocked Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada many times. They’ve build a catalog of more than 50 full-length albums and many more singles, selling more than 300,000 collectively. They released “The Gathering” on April 8 and continued to establish their presence at Tahoe, with the whole crew appearing in addition to appearances by the Grouch (solo, and with Zion I as Heroes in the City of Dope) and Luckyiam.
Early last century, Jay Three and Enzyme Dynamite followed different paths through the Bay Area hip-hop underground until the cosmos aligned to bring them together as the Bayliens. In 2007, the Bayliens joined forces with producer Dublin Beats to stir hip-hop, hyphy and pop into their debut, “Crop Circles,” which spawned a surprise radio hit in “Bubblegum.”
“We were driving, and we kinda came up with the bubblegum theme because the beat sounded like it was saying ‘bubblegum,’ ” Jay Three told the East Bay Express in July.