Exclusive: The former Poor Righteous Teachers front-man breaks down the meaning behind his thought-provoking new music.
thought-provoking new music.
Following the release earlier this month of his third solo studio album, The Unconkable Djezuz Djonez, HipHopDX reached out to Wise Intelligent so the lead emcee of one of the 1990s' most celebrated collectives, Poor Righteous Teachers, could explain the thought process behind his much talked about new single, "Illuminati".
Speaking to DX on Wednesday (February 23rd), the author of countless cerebral classics (“Rock Dis Funky Joint,” “Nobody Move” and “Word Iz Life” just to name a few) provided some insight into two of the thought-provoking tracks included on the follow-up to 2007’s The Talented Timothy Taylor. First, the New Jersey native who utilized one of the most seamless flows in Hip Hop history to drop jewels for the “Gods, Earths and 85ers” explained why Jay-Z and other rappers could not be part of the Illuminati. Lastly, Wise addressed lyrics from “Water Walker,” explaining why “Obama is wearing a McDonald’s uniform.”
HipHopDX: Your new joint, “Illuminati,” addresses [Jay-Z’s] long-rumored ties to that secret society, but you dismiss his inclusion in the Illuminati, or any other rapper’s for that matter, as ridiculous. Why?
Wise Intelligent: I’m not dismissing inclusion, what I’m saying is it’s irrelevant if they are. What would be the point? The Illuminati…goes way back to the Crusades, and way back before that. These people were about world conquest and world domination. And they’ve already dominated and conquered the world, and [so] there’s no need to have a card carrying rapper member. What is the point? There’s no point in it. What is the criteria? What would he be doing that would benefit an apparatus that has already conquered the world? I don’t understand that; that just doesn’t make sense to me.
I think we need to focus more attention on the fact that public schools are being shut down intentionally, to disenfranchise many urban youth, from whom Hip Hop came. If this is about Hip Hop and the youth that created Hip Hop and where Hip Hop comes from, and everybody talking about “this is where Hip Hop lives,” we need to be focusing our attention on what’s happening to the children that produced Hip Hop, that brought Hip Hop to the world. And we’re not even talking about that, we’re talking about Jay-Z. It’s like, yo, Jay-Z is ill, Jay-Z is probably the illest emcee that ever wrote rhymes, but when we get right down to it, if we talking about the Illuminati…we need to get into what’s happening in plain view.
My point was to bring the Illuminati out of the boogieman space. It’s not a boogieman; it’s legislators that are right now passing legislation that disenfranchises so many people. We’re talking about 1% of the population in America controlling 50% of the wealth, controlling more wealth than 50% of the people here. We have 10% of the people all over the world making life miserable for 90% of the world and [all] we wanna talk about is Jay-Z gay, is Kanye gay? Are they in this secret society? It’s not a secret society, it’s right in your face. Everything they’re doing is right in your face. Everything.
So, let’s deal with that; let’s deal with those things. Let’s deal with all the sterilization programs they have going on around the world. Let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about the overthrowing of Egypt. Let’s talk about the overthrowing of the Middle East right now. Let’s talk about that! We don’t wanna discuss these things. Let’s talk about how mainstream corporations control what we see and hear everyday.
So my whole thing about the “Illuminati” [song], it’s about a protest – protesting disenfranchisement of the large majority of the population of this planet. That’s the bottom line. So Jay-Z don’t have nothing to do with that. Jay-Z didn’t start the eugenics programs. Jay-Z didn’t do that.
DX: You mentioned protest music…do you have any objections to Lupe Fiasco declaring on his latest single “Words I Never Said” that “Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn Beck is a racist / Gaza Strip was gettin’ bombed, Obama didn’t say shit / That’s why I ain’t vote for him, next one either”?
Wise Intelligent: That’s some powerful shit. I love Lupe Fiasco. I love Lupe Fiasco because he keeping it real, and that’s what Hip Hop is for me. Hip Hop is the other side of the story. Hip Hop is not the official mainstream story that becomes the official story. Hip Hop is, Nah man, Amadou Diallo didn’t have a gun; he had a wallet. Nah, Oscar Grant wasn’t resisting arrest. Nah, Barack – c’mon Barack, you gave $800 million to the prison industrial complex. Why? When you know that there’s a predatory system that targets inner city youth.
So…yes, yes, I support everything in that line right there. If Lupe Fiasco said it, if that’s what he said, yes, I agree. He has the right to say those things. I think that they need to be said. And they need to be able to be said in the mainstream platforms – from everywhere, from HipHopDX to Clear Channel. It needs to be propagated; it needs to be put out there. That’s the other side. And that’s what Hip Hop was from the beginning; it was the other side of the story. And that’s what’s missing right now. It’s not that heads are not making conscious music anymore, it’s because mainstream corporations don’t want it on the air – for what it is, and for what it has the ability to do. Same thing that happened in Egypt; Hip Hop has the ability to do that. It was Hip Hop that moved those kids in South Africa to confront apartheid. So let’s keep it real official, man. Lupe Fiaco’s keeping it official.
DX: Is President Obama part of the “wickedness in high places” you’re speaking on in “Water Walker”?
Wise Intelligent: This the thing with President Obama, for me, President Obama is just like a superintendent in a public school district that has been setup to fail. In other words, he’s inherited a sinking ship.
Better example: he’s like all the black mayors in the inner cities around the country. Like here in Trenton, [former] Mayor Douglas Palmer…became the mayor of Trenton after the municipal budgets were already bankrupt, [and] after white flight and white people had fled out of the inner cities and shifted the funding from the inner city to these suburbs. So now the kids are not getting the funding that they need for adequate education and things of that nature. Now they redlined the whole inner city. Now that the white people left…all the banks and investors redlined the city, and now you can’t develop the city any further than a mom-and-pop chicken shop. Everything’s dilapidated. The public schools here in Trenton – we haven’t had a new public school [built] since like 1932. I’m serious. It’s like, yo, this school is like 85 years old. The school is almost a hundred years old. The high school here is the only high school in the city. So, we have to really pay attention to that. When the mayor took office it was already a wrap. The white legislators who control the legislature, they shift the politics. They shift everything to the suburbs. Everything went to the benefit of these new suburbs and gated communities that they built outside of Trenton, New Jersey.
And that’s what Barack Obama has done: he’s inherited a sinking ship just like the mayors of Trenton, just like the superintendents of these black public school districts. They’ve inherited sinking ships that they can’t fix. They can’t fix it, because you have legislators who are above them. You have people who are above them who are not gonna allow it. When you look at the House [of Representatives], you have like 300 white congressmen to about 42 black congress people. So the interests and concerns of the black masses in America will not be met because they always will stack their vote against it. I don’t care what happens.
Just like with the crack versus powder [cocaine] laws, the mandatory sentencing, the Rockefeller [Laws] – all of these laws that came up before the house as unfair and unjust laws, they ruled against changing these laws back in I believe it was 1995. But when LSD was brought under the guise of unfairness, they said it’s unfair. And a lot of white kids who predominately deal with LSD were let out of jail and shortened their sentences. And a lot of people don’t know about that because that never made mainstream [news coverage]. And the reason that our community don’t know about it is because they won’t let my songs on the radio! And the mainstream Hip Hop websites won’t discuss it honestly.
Back to what Obama is…Obama has inherited a sinking ship. America is what it is; America was on this course since 1913 when they set up the Federal Reserve Bank. The economy was centralized then. And now we’re seeing the results of that; we’re seeing the results of that centralizing of America’s economy. That’s what Thomas Jefferson said: don’t let ‘em centralize the economy; we don’t want a central bank here. He said the bankers are gonna ruin the country. And that’s what happened.
So, at the end of the day, Obama is wearing a McDonald’s uniform. He comes to work, [and] he punches the clock. He can’t come in there and say, I have this olive oil. We gonna fry these fries in olive oil from here on out. And they like, No! We ain’t frying in olive oil. The people ain’t complaining about fries cooked in 10w40 motor oil, so we’re not changing it. This is what we’re using. So, it’s what it is. You can’t change the rules at McDonald’s. You gotta wear the uniform, punch in and punch out.