Ctrl Meets Bizarre (D-12)

Eminem may be the biggest seller – but anyone that knows D-12 will definitely know fellow member Bizarre who is part of that eclectic hip hop mix. Bizarre has always been a solo artist (pre and post D-12 days) with notoriously provocative and tongue-in-cheek material, so when news of a possible 1-on-1 came through late on Sunday (July 4) night – there was nothing that could stop Adizah Tejani from snapping up a chance to grill the US rapper. It was her first interview for Ctrl.Alt.Shift, but set up and relaxed by a chilled Bizarre and his team, she jumped straight in to talk music, the meaning behind the beats, education, poverty and style…

Where did the idea of your stage shower cap come from?
The shower cap came from (comedian) Mark Labelle, and I just wore it one time in our first show, just trying to be silly. Everyone was like “That’s hot!” And next time I did a show, the shower cap was just there waiting for me.

Who are your influences are in hip hop?
A lot of the old school rappers like Red Man, KRS – One, and Run DMC.

D-12 are internationally renowned. Do you feel you’ve branched out from the crew as a solo artist?
I was always a solo artist before I got in D-12. D-12 was rappers put together to form a special elite battle team. The chemistry was just so good and we clicked so great that we ended up leaving the groups that we were in and just became D-12.

Are you going to keep up the whole comical, provocative style or are you going to let it lay low?
Im just going to be Bizarre. I just feel that this time there are more serious issues to be addressed; like in the song ‘Believer’ I talk about poverty in Detroit and dealing with record deals for songs – so it has some serious issues on there. But you will still get to see some of the old Bizarre on the album too.

Believer‘ – the first single release off ‘Friday Night At St Andrews‘ – does seem to be taking the listener on a journey; with issues suurounding Detroit and Hurricane Katrina. How do you think that music can be used to raise awareness about poverty and make people believe that there is a way out?
Music is in everything. Everybody looks up to rappers. Unfortunately they look up to rappers sometimes more than their parents. But there is influence through music which is something that comes across in Believer.

Poverty is happening all around the world. How you would you say that poverty has effected places like Detroit?

Well Detroit was based on mayor car plants, and a lot of the Ford, GM and Chrysler factories closed down because nobody was buying cars anymore. So it took away basically 50% of our economy. So we no longer call it Motown, we call it Ghost town.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-f40Rc3qRrs&feature=player_embedded]

The issue of corruption is constantly in the news, in politics, media and music in all different forms. What are your views on helping tackling this issue?
Corruption – I don’t know. Corruption has been going on way before I was here and it will be going on way after I’m here. So I have no idea how to stop that.

Okay. Well what does your latest album ‘Friday Night At St Andrews’ represent for you?
Ah man it’s a place that represents history. All the rappers came out there –
Slum Village, D-12, Obie Trice… There are a lot of good hip hop shows that everybody went to see there; its a real vibe – hot, no air condition, real hip hop.

‘School Teacher’ is a funny track – but on a serious level, how do you think education influences young people?
Education is needed; definitely if you want a job out here in this world. Even if you’re a rapper you still have to be educated, so you can count your money, so you won’t get played or anything. So education is definitely needed and I will definitely encourage that. But ‘School teacher’ is not about that (he says with a smile)…

Ctrl.Alt.Shift is a movement for the next generation to help them get engaged with global and social issues. Have you got a message about the ways and the power of music can help change lives around the world?
I would say use it as a positive image. A lot of people use music to work out. I would say channel that energy into something positive. Use music as a motivation to get up or go to school, start your day… just let it motivate you. Music is all about emotions and motivating – thats what I use it for.

As posted on Ctrl.Alt.Shift

Launch of UN Women

The launch of the United Nations’ new global body – UN Women – highlights the progress made in the last 65 years of UN work. As Ban Ki-Moon states: “UN Women is recognition of a simple truth: equality for women is a basic human right and a social economic imperative.” This recognition once again will begin to push the issues around women higher up the agenda, rather than just another add on.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWvJ3Dd2Y9M]

(A mini video on gender equality)

As a young woman who has had the chance to increase my human capital, through education up to degree level, I understand how important it is to allow women to know that they have got the right to be valued and have the ability to be a greater part in helping shape the communities that they live in.

The work the UN Women will undertake will be vast. It will begin in January 2011 and is predicted to have twice the current annual budget of around $250m. UN Women will be a unified and influential body to help promote equality for women across the globe. Its formation signifies the change that has been emerging around the world and the need for that change to be supported and recognised.

The economic and social gains made by having a more gender equal society are many; and the once stereotypical attitudes towards women are changing in many places around the world. Yet as a very intelligent man once told me, it is hard to change – but as this UN move proves, it is not impossible.

The UN Women body will form a global platform to facilitate this change and fight against rape, female circumcision; along with many other issues. The many people, women and men, who have worked towards this change need to be thanked, and backed for the next challenging (as ever) steps; as without a strong and complex movement pushing for gender equality in all types of global organisations, businesses and cultures; the reality and prospects of the UN Women is still but a distant dream.

As posted on www.ctrlaltshift.co.uk/blog