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Keynote: Mutulu Olugabala M1 of Dead Prez

  • Broadcast in Culture
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The one-time president for the New York City branch of the radical black nationalist National People's Democratic Uhuru Movement, M-1 caused some controversy in the underground rap scene as a part of the critically acclaimed and ostensibly socialist Dead Prez twosome. While he and Stic.man were in between labels, each ventured out with his own solo project. M-1 was inspired to put together a solo album in part by doing production work for other artists, including Mississippi rapper David Banner, but also from collaborating with Italian jazz guitarist Fabrizio Sotti (who produced most of jazz diva Cassandra Wilson's 2003 Glamoured album). In March 2006, M-1 released the Confidential LP as a CD/DVD combination, with contributions from Ghostface Killah, Q-Tip, and Cassandra Wilson herself. The first single, "'Til We Get There," did fall below the radar of mainstream airplay, but not before the album reached the number 23 spot on the independent chart and 52 on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart.

M-1, aka Mutulu Olugabala is an African rapper, activist and author known for his work as one half of the political hip hop duo Dead Prez along with his life long friend Stic.man aka Clayton Gavin. His choice of the name "M-1" is likely a reference to the semi-automatic rifle. The M1 Garand rifle is notable as the mainstay of American infantry in WWII, and Malcolm X held the M1 carbine variation in a famous photo printed in Life magazine in 1964. M-1's first solo album Confidential was released on March 21, 2006 through Sotti/Koch Records. Following Confidential M-1 worked on the album Can't Sell Dope Forever by Dead Prez/Outlawz. M-1 is also featured in the UK documentary, Guilty or Innocent of Using the N Word. He can also be seen acting in Chappelle's Show comedy sketches.