Friday, June 30, 2006

Ise Lyfe and the Relevance of "Conscious" Hip-Hop in the Mainstream

A kindred spirit?

“We went from fighting for freedom to goin’ dumb for free.” That’s how Ise Lyfe begins one of the songs, “Enigma,” from his debut album, Spread the Word. The East Oakland representative is not against Hyphy culture by any means, but instead the 23 year old is out to challenge the youth to be more mindful, more assertive, and more expressive. It’s a familiar challenge to Ise, who works as the Educational Coordinator for the Power Movement, and involves himself in after-school programs for the youth in his community and beyond.

As Ise Lyfe’s deeds affect the impressionable minds of the youth, can his album do the same? Backed by fledging Hard Knock Records, Ise Lyfe faces the challenge of reaching our endangered species. However, having already sold 6,000 Soundscanned copies plus many more at the street level, Spread the Word has already proved to live up to its title. Currently, the artist is touring the United States under the veteran tutelage of T-K.A.S.H. and The Coup, reaching activist masses.

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