Certified Banger: I’d like to get right into talking about your release ‘144,000’ but it’d be good if you could give a quick resume of your history.
M9: My musical history starts from the age of 13, writing rhymes with a friend called Propaganda, we then formed a team known as Anarchy. I used to attend a local youth club that was dedicated on getting teenagers into music, from there I learnt, more into the mechanisms of the production side, my first real recognition outside my area was a track I made with a close friend called Skriblah Dan Gogh from Terra Firma, we recorded a track known as ‘Cold’ from there I linked with Chemo and I decided to make my own project, known as Hi Fidelity in March 07. Now I’ve approached my new project a year later with a different offering.
CB: Before we get onto what influences your lyrics, can you tell us who influences you musically?
M9: The message I portray stems from common things I learnt in life, then comes what the average person is oblivious to is what caught my eye, such as black history, and cooperate decisions in high places, which affects every single individual on a daily basis. But as an artist I was highly influenced by Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang, Nas, Dead Prez, Kool G Rap, AZ, Ras Kass, Def Squad, Onyx, Pete Rock. To me each artist mentioned all have different elements to bring to the table with unique qualities.
CB: The thing I’ve been bursting to find out is where your ideas come from. Do you read a lot of books?
M9: I wouldn’t call myself a heavy reader, coz the greatest lessons stems from experience. My thoughts combust from many different universes of emotions and experiences, the forces that surround me all strive to achieve similar goals; that’s knowledge, wisdom, success and health. So we constantly bounce off each other, influencing and inspiring towards many different plains.
CB: More specifically – what’s the reasoning behind calling the album ‘144,000’? That’s a biblical number, found in the book of Revelation referring to 12,000 people from each of the Tribes of Israel… how does that fit in?
M9: Yes the concept of the chosen few is spoken of in Revelation 14:1, I acknowledged that and wanted to find out exactly what it meant. The means of going into what it really meant led me to a great teacher known as Malachi Z York, who wrote many books on this subject and beyond. What I found led me into the conclusion on the state of planet and the evil entity that governs it, which had me applying this to my music hence the title.
CB: What interested you in historical societies and religions in the first place? Do you draw comparisons between then and now?
M9: Of Course. I ain’t here to deny change, but the problem is to tell the difference between artificial and natural change. I think we’ve shifted far into artificial change and this leads to many abnormal occurrences. That abnormal vibration sparks something inside me and my team to reach out and notify others that may not have the ability to detect the abnormality.
CB: What are your views on religion today? Do any of you take a particular religious stance?
M9: Me and my team take no stance in any form of religion. We deal with reality, I think religion deals with a lot of division, we ain’t into that.
CB: Do you consider yourself intellectual, as a scholar?
M9: I put no labels on my mental abilities. What makes a scholar is only what he / she has been told by another person, that’s not complete. The element missing is self experience of which no outside entity can have an opinion or view on.
CB: On the Triple Darkness album especially, you and the others married street commentary with your knowledge of and thoughts about these things to produce a very original album lyrically. Was that a decision you made?
M9: It being labelled original would be the conclusion people may have on it, but our aim was to just put out what we saw was wrong with the world alongside our unique taste in musical production. We never gathered in a meeting to intentionally make an original album. That’s just how it came out.
CB: The absence of guns, gratuitous violence, disrespect of women (and all those things that ill informed people think Hip Hop is) is very welcome. Is this your way of leading by example?
M9: Our aim was just to make real hip hop, which means being real to yourself. Our lives don’t involve guns girls and cars, so you won’t hear any mentioning of us being in first person view, when it comes to those subjects.
CB: Your producers really came up with the goods, their production really suit the lyrical content. Who was involved? Did you give them a brief about what the sound of the album should be?
M9: I worked the closest with Jon Phonics and he was very patient and understanding on getting exactly what I needed. As he would know I’m a very ardent person when it comes to lacing a beat. Many times I would have him going back to the drawing board, but I really appreciated his determination. With Chemo I laced paintbrush over a different beat I wasn’t particularly proud of. I asked him if he could re-make a version and he pulled it off.
CB: How would you describe the sound of your new album?
M9: I would like to think of it as great offering for real hip hop heads to listen to, but it only being just a project means its not all I have to offer.
CB: Are you trying to get a message across? Are you trying to make people think? Is your work more personal as a means of therapy or self expression?
M9: Way I see it is, people should be thinking for themselves anyway. I would be very afraid for the future, if it took my project to make a person think about life. My music gives me a therapeutic feeling, knowing I can offer the planet a positive force to combat the negative.
CB: To close, is there anything you’d like to add, anything you’d like to say to the people who are buying and supporting your music? Anything you’d like to say to the people who aren’t?!
M9: To people buying, please continue to support to keep this form of hip hop alive, sitting back and doing nothing only leads to a tsunami of music which lacks an original substance of real message, governed by people with a lot of artificial power.
The path hip hop has gone down has forced a lot of real artists to go independent, which means the only thing keeping the movement alive would be the supporter. So please continue. To those who don’t just remember, you not supporting the movement by bootlegging only adds to the downfall of any future activities musically.