“I used to dance for Naughty By Nature back when they were called The New Style,” said emcee Hakim Green taking it way back in recalling his earliest role in hip-hop. Speaking to me by phone from Florida the other day he was remembering his formative years that also included working behind the scenes in hip-hop music video production. That was all some years before his introduction to most hip-hop fans in ’94 and ’95 as half of the now defunct hip-hop duo Channel Live. Along with his partner in rhyme Vincent “Tuffy” Morgan the duo grabbed everyone with their late 1994 single (a hit in 1995) “Mad Izm.” The single featured a prominent guest spot from KRS-One and was featured on the East Orange, NJ duo’s debut albumStation Identification, one of three they would release over a decade long career. While Tuffy has gone into management and behind the scenes music projects, Hakim has stuck with hip-hop as artist and just released a guest-heavy, new single (“Mad Izm 2015 (feat. Treach, Minty Burns, Keith Murray, Do It All & Dyme A Dzin)” (video below) with a similarly titled full length to follow. With “Mad Izm” (meaning weed) being the title of his latest single and forthcoming album as well as his two-decade old release, not surprisingly, Izm / weed and its legalization is something that Hakim has cared deeply about for a long time, and it is something he has a personal interest in.
“With the growth of the medicinal movement and the growth of cannabis and hemp, the perfect timing is right now to release Mad Izm. I have a website called MadIzm.org and I plan on doing a lot of positive green things related things,” he said. In fact his new forthcoming solo album Mad Izm tackles the topic of weed or izm exclusively – nothing else. The artist says that he is committed and will continue to promote “the medicinal movement” and the “legalization of weed, and its use in medical and production purposes.”
Hakim Green “Mad Izm 2015”
Besides weed, Hakim Green has many other social political outlooks or topics that he addresses in is music. But for Mad Izm it’s all about the weed. But another album he has in the works, a collaboration project, addresses the police misconduct. “I’m going to be dropping an album with [General] Steele from Smif-n-Wessun and on that album we’re going to be addressing a lot of issues from police brutality to racism; you know a lot of the important issues that artists don’t seem to be addressing lately,” he said of his collaboration release with one half of the Boot Camp Clik crew also known as Cocoa Brovaz. Other topics addressed on the album entitled Illegal Broadcasters (also the name of an actual broadcast via Beatminerz Radio) include Donald Trump.
“We address him [Trump] and his relationship to the Central Park Five and how he bought a $100,000 one page ad in the NY Post or Daily News at the time calling for the conviction of the Central Park Five. And then years later they were all found innocent, and released, and awarded a $41 million settlement in 2014 by the City for how they were railroaded,” he said of topic that became the subject of a 2012Ken Burns PBS documentary (DVD + BluRay) continuing, “And that to me is a really clear example of the hype machine that is Donald Trump whereby he will get on an issue and hype it up no matter what the fallout may be. And then other people get left holding the bag, other people get left paying the price. And I would hate to see that happen to the country. But we are in a time where a lot of folks just don’t think so nothing surprises me at this point.”
Channel Live “Mad Izm (feat KRS-One)”
Coincidently Hakim’s early mentor KRS-One just recently unleashed a new single that addresses weed, comparing its treatment on the West versus East coasts. Entitled “Drugs Won” it is part of the hip-hop legend/friend of Amoeba’s new album Now Hear This (his first since 2012’s The BDP Album) that comes out this week. On initially meeting KRS-One, Hakim said that it was through education projects. And on the subject of KRS-One who introduced much of the hip-hop world to Channel Live two decades ago and with whom the duo were often associated, I asked Hakim if it was ever felt like they were overshadowed by such an iconic figure? “Yeah definitely at times,” he said likening KRS, who he called “one of the greatest to ever do it,” in a sports analogy to “like been on the scene with Michael Jordan or been on the team with LeBron James. But if you look at it from the bigger picture there are always so many lessons that you learn.”As to how he has stayed in the hip-hop music biz – one not known for being a lucrative one to most? “Love for the culture. You have to love this to stay in this hip-hop game love it for the art and the culture,” he said. “And also a love for the people in the culture. You can get disillusioned by this industry thing I know. But you have to focus on the culture of hip-hop.” And Hakim practices what he preaches, producing the an annual hip-hop event in his home state for the past five years. “It’s called 24hrsofpeace which is also the name of my company. It’s represents peace, love, unity, safety, and having fun,” he said of the event that has featured such greats as Rakim, Das EFX, Lords of the Underground, DJ Polo, Marley Marl and many more. Look for the artist to be releasing and promoting his Mad Izm and Illegal Broadcasters projects in early 2016.