Last week, The AS Review got on the phone with MC Geologic from the Blue Scholars to get a sneak peak at the concert coming up and more. Here's what we got:
How did you and Sabzi meet?
We met at the University of Washington through the Student hip hop Organization of Washington. He was a freshman. I was a sophomore. At the time the group got together to put on all-ages shows at a time when all-ages venues were getting shut down. We knew each other a couple years before we got together as a group in early 2002.
How did you pick the name Blue Scholars?
It came from a long list of names we rejected that included Blue Scholars. We then went back and picked it. We both come from blue collar families and we were both students.
What are your favorite artists to listen to?
I listen to lots of different stuff. My favorite music will probably always be hip hop from around 91-92 to 97-98 those were my teen years. These days I listen to everything, even the old stuff. What I've been listening to lately is a lot of Curtis Mayfield and MC's. As far as MC's go I am really influenced by Chuck D, Public Enemy stuff like that.
Who are your favorite artists to work with?
I would say the folks from my own neighborhood are my favorite to work with, Abbotsford the folks from Native Guns who are two other Filipino MC's. But my favorite would have to be a lot of the local MC's people from Seattle. We just have the connection, a lot of energy with other artists in the scene. It's cool to be a part of that right now.
Where do you get your material/lyrical inspiration?
Everyday life, people that I see in my community. Things that are going on locally as far as working peoples struggles, liberation movements that are trying to get whole countries free from exploitation from other countries.
The heartbeat of the people. I like to think that the music I make is not just a reflection of that struggle but a soundtrack. That people out there can listen to the music and inspire them just as much as they inspire the music.
In many of your songs you make political and social observations. Have you been following the elections? Who would you vote for?
My stance on the elections? I am still trying to work out how it will fit my politics and that of many people in the community I work with. We all want similar things we all want jobs and healthcare for the people, higher education and accessible information.
Every four years when this question comes up people get divided and distracted and forget we have most the same ideas and goals. I voted in 2000 then again in 2004 and this is the third election since I turned 18. This time, I developed this analysis, although we do have the right to vote, I think it's important to practice any sort of interaction.
It takes nothing to vote; you register then do the damn thing. I get tired of all the energy people put into elections expecting that a change from the top of this hierarchy will affect a change at the bottom. Who becomes president is not necessary as important as local politics the judges running in your circuit have more effect on your life than the people in the White House.
In a two party system where the two parties mirror each other on most the issues except wedge issues they all just widen the gap between the rich and the poor and exploiting other countries. The candidate that best reflected my ideas was Dennis Kucinich.
Voting is a year long thing. Voting is something you do with your feet, when marching comes to the street. We vote all the time. When people focus more on voting as a daily thing instead of a four-year thing we can achieve a lot more than putting our hope into one person.
Your lyrics are intellectual, thought provoking and aren't littered with vulgarity and profanity? How do you feel about the lyrics of mainstream rap and hip-hop?
In hip hop a lot of people say, “I don't like this and that about hip hop,” and I can agree with them. There is some over-masculine, violent hip hop but that is just one side, you see?
You ask yourself, “Why is that the kind you hear on the radio,” But at the same time you can be critical of that but these are things that represent what's really happening. Hip hop is a form of art that represents what happens in real life, it's important that message of what's going on in the streets is out there but if that's all that is allowed out there on MTV and the radio that's worse.
If you want to see the change in hip hop you have to think on a wider scale. Who controls the radio, the record labels the media. We may blame 50 Cent but why are no fingers being pointed at those behind the record labels pushing his image and his music?
What do you think the future holds for music in the Northwest?
I think for hip hop it's wide open in Seattle we have a rich history that goes back to the late 1970s but besides Sir Mix-a-Lot we haven't broken through. A lot of people in the Seattle scene are influenced by different sounds and that is Seattle's trademark right now. We don't just have one sound. People need to keep listening and realize there's more to hip hop music than what is on MTV.
What are Blue Scholars' plans for the future?
For 2008 we will continue to push “Bayani.” It hasn't been a year since we put it out, so we will push it to the limit until the next album comes out.