Since the release of their debut album Let’s Get Free in 2000, Dead Prez has been one of the most critically-acclaimed and constantly evolving Hip Hop duos in the game, developing a powerful cult-like following, performing worldwide and creating some of the most innovative and against-the-grain Hip Hop music for over a decade. SoSoActive recently had the chance to speak with one half of the group, Stic.man, and talk about his solo career, his production company, his upcoming projects, what’s new for 2013 and even his renewed passion for health and fitness with the website RBGFitClub.com.
You’ve been staying very busy lately with Dead Prez’s latest album Information Age, your solo career, staying on tour and even running the Atlanta Marathon. What keeps you motivated to move forward as an artist, entrepreneur and activist, among other things?
What keeps me motivated is that I decide to be motivated. I really feel like it’s a choice that we can live our lives reacting to things that happen to us or we can be proactive and create the kind of lives we want to experience and have.
The Workout really seems to be about more than just music but was a whole experience focusing of health and physical fitness. What was it that made you focus your attention and your music in this direction?
I listened to that inner voice. My life has always been a balance of the street and progressive things. It’s always been me trying to give proper balance. I was at a point where I felt like I was saying the same things over and over and that I had more inside that I wanted to say. I hit a wall and I didn’t know how I was going to continue forward. I just said I’ll go back to what I love doing and let it come, which is my training. I just intensified it with the yoga and the weights, the martial arts, stopped totally drinking four years ago, became a marathoner, and in that process I found a new inspiration for music, which is to communicate that lifestyle and that enthusiasm in a hardcore Hip Hop medium.
You released your second solo album The Workout in 2011. Can we expect a follow up to The Workout any time soon or any new solo material in 2013?
Yeah, this year is what we call at RBGFitClub.com our update season. We’ve got hundreds of thousand of people and millions of views on videos we’ve done for The Workout. We’ve been able to reinvest some of that success to grow the brand and the mission. And this year I’m currently working on The Workout 2. I’m training for a marathon in Ethiopia in October. I’m partnered with some business partners to turn that into a film. And we have an initiative through RBGFitClub.com call the “Million Mile Movement” where we encourage participants to collectively reach 1 million miles [for running]. So we have lots of exciting new things cracking.
What was your experience like training for and actually running the Atlanta Marathon last year?
That was such a great time. My son is into different martial arts and fitness with no choice (laughs). I would go to the gym and be his spar buddy. I’ve always admired the boxer physique and the endurance. My homie Bones that I met at the gym would tell me about his runs and we’d talk about how much running is apart of the fighter’s endurance. I had my martial arts and did sparring, but it wasn’t a dedicated practice.
In 2012, there seemed to be a few Hip Hop artists with major health issues. Do you feel that it’s time for Hip Hop as a whole to place a greater emphasis on healthy living and is that your focus with RBGFitClub.com?
Yes, and not just Hip Hop but humanity. Health is the one common denominator and Hip Hop is a universal language and the dominant voice of the youth in the world today. Until we can celebrate how much water we drink, instead of Ciroc, we got work to do.
A lot of hip hop fans may not know that you’re an award-winning producer and song writer or that you have a production company, Walk Like A Warrior Music. Can you talk more about your company and some of the projects that currently working on?
Yeah. I consider myself a student producer. I was able to work with Erykah Badu on Grammy-nominated Worldwide Underground. I got to co-write three joints with Nas. I’ve done some work on movies like The Fast and the Furious and Project X. But most recently, the thing that I’m really excited to share is that I’ve done an original score for this film directed by Byron Hurt called Soul Food Junkies. Byron started a workout group online and he said that The Workout gave him a good push. He had told me about the film and asked if I wanted to give some of The Workout’s music for it or do something exclusive for the film. I thought about other films that were similar but that there wasn’t one that really addressed a black perspective. He asked if I wanted to score the film and so I got to learn that process. I’m also scoring a film that’s in production called Plant Athletes about people who are athletes that are also vegans.
Are there any artists that you’re currently listening to that give you inspiration to create your own music?
Hell Yeah! My favorite artist right now is Cody ChesnuTT. His latest album, Landing on A Hundred, to me is a classic, on the level of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On or Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly. The quality of the musicianship, the vocalizing, the writing, the authenticity of it. Cody tapped in. I know him personally and he moved back to my hometown of Tallahassee and unplugged from a lot of stuff. You can feel in permeate through the music. We did a song on there called “Love Is More Than a Wedding Day”. And with me and my wife, and we’re working on a TV series that chronicles our experiences in the health fields. We chose Cody’s song as our theme song for the show. I also became a fan again of Ziggy Marley. Just his commitment to the organic lifestyle, his commitment to Africa and to social causes, I just got back into his catalog. There’s a lot of stuff out there and it’s not about what you listen to but how you listen to it.
If you had the chance to collaborate with or produce for any artist, dead or alive, who would that artist be?
Tupac, Sade, those two right there and I’d be smiling forever. I like M.I.A. a lot. But once again, Cody ChesNuTT and Ziggy Marley. Yeah.
What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in Hip Hop and in music since dead prez released Let’s Get Free in 2000?
The biggest thing I’ve probably witnessed is the digital revolution, how music went from going to the record shop and looking through the CD rack and recording. Even when we can out, our album came out on cassette (laughs). I saw the cassette disappear and everything go to CD. And I saw the CD disappear, or at least is vanishing to the MP3. Now the MP3 is headed out with things like Spotify and Pandora and streaming and it’s affected our approach when we make an album or a mixtape.
Where can fans go to find out the latest information about Stic.man, your music and other upcoming projects?
We’ve got the brand new site that’s launching and “Million Mile Movement” is launching this March. I got The Workout 2 album coming soon. And I’ve centralized my whole web presence to one place where people can find out about our movement work. We’re even building some wells in Malawi, and people can find out about that, our music, our merch and everything we do at one website: RBGFitClub.com.