Interview by Ben Parry
It was backstage of the Metro Theatre, a nightclub in Sydney. The lights were dimmed, the stage empty and the still amped venue staff were somewhat casually shuffling equipment around, almost convincingly working. I had just experienced an Immortal Technique concert for the first time and now had the opportunity to speak with AKIR directly about RFID microchips, a subject matter that recurs thematically in his tracks, specifically the song titled ‘Mark of the Beast’.
When was the first time you heard about implantable microchips?
Akir: Pshh.. umm.. well the thing is, this is one thing that is special about harlem. Is that there is uh, there is so many different cultures and sub cultures within that community. So you can look at it and see the Bloomberg development and gentrification and the columbian Presbyterian shit and all these big buildings coming up but then you can also still feel the resonance of the harlem renaissance and the people who are speaking for their religious beliefs or political beliefs and so on and so forth. And you could always gain materials. So theres several Dreds, Moors, Nuwaubians and things of that nature who are there to provide books, DVDs, information, talking, speeches. I think that was probably my first contact concerning RFID chips and direct information.
I heard about it as a burgeoning technology but I didn’t know that it would actually be implemented into popular society. But there was still a warning, like that information was introduced to me as a warning saying it would be introduced but nobody said how it would be introduced. But you start to see it.
I bought a puppy in maryland in probably 1999, I bought a beagle, from a store. I checked it out, they supposedly weren’t messing with puppy mills. And I thought that was really great, and then as i’m leaving out they offer me several packages. For instance, you can go to the veterinarian and get all the shots, sometimes these dogs have come with several illnesses that you have to be prepared to deal with, so we have a legitimate veterinarian you can go to, dadaddada, and all of this stuff. Now the kennel calls and you have to be prepared for this and these are the warnings. And you know what, you would never want to lose your dog, so, why don’t you put a chip in the dogs ear. And I was like whooaa, whoa.
Is it mandatory to have your dog microchipped?
No its not,
What about a cat, if you had a cat?
No its not mandatory
Over in Australia its mandatory, if have a cat you have to get it chipped. If you have a dog, it is strongly recommended.
And they sell it to you as if its some sort of like humane, safety issue because they’ll go and fuck every other cat. Get the fuck out of here man. Wild life has been surviving way longer than mankind. So why is it that we need to be in control of their population. Thats some bullshit. So we have issues now where animals are in danger, and soon people will be in danger, because we have ignorance issues man.
So thats the first time that I was probably introduced to it. Or introduced to it at like, straight up, like confronting it. Id heard about it at that point in time, but I never knew how I’d be introduced, and when I saw that I was like, oh shit, its gonna go down. Then you see like, you know, umm, missing children and health.
For instance, my grandfather was a diabetic. So he’s the first person that I saw with the snake that like comes across, the bracelet. But if you have issues and you fall out in a public space and somebody can see that, the paramedics can comprehend what your medical issue is and know what to give you and what not to give you. Which I feel like they wanna try to sell it to us like they are improving that. So , instead of me having to wait to see your wristband and read what is going on, I can just scan the situation and understand exactly what your allergic to and so forth. And people will go for that. The issue is they are not understanding the residual issue that is going to come behind that. Like for me personally, I enjoy going into the wilderness and being lost for a bit. I enjoy being able to go into public spaces and being lost for a little bit. When I want you to know that i’m here, then i’ll be here, you know.
I was raised in the 80’s and 90’s and that was prevalent, I guess that was the best part of it, is that you didn’t have to quote unquote check in. and when we think about what it means to check in, that significantly, to me, defines slavery, indentured servitude, all these things, because when you look at South Africa when you look at African-American slaves, there was a point in time when they said “the slaves are free”, but you always needed to carry this particular card to be able to be permitted to certain areas, and if you are found without that card you could be incarcerated.
Just like NAZI germany with the yellow stars.
But this shit happens in New York. Like if I walk around in New York, and something happens, I have a conflict with somebody or whatever and police detain me they ask me for my name, no matter what name I give them, they wanna check that against my ID. If my ID is not found, I could be incarcerated. Thats a violation of human rights in my perspective, because I feel I am born of this earth I should be able to walk this earth, you know, and the boundaries you are promoting on me are not for the proliferation of my people.
So mark of the beast, what is the main point you are trying to get across in that?
Awareness. Its saying that, you know, theres been several warnings, theres people who’ve exploited those warnings, theres been people who have tried to hush down those warnings. But me personally, I just want to be very clear. I want to be certain about the fact that these things exist and that if you don’t make the appropriate actions as a citizen of the human race and the world at large, you will be impinged upon. Your rights will be infringed. You will no longer have the ability to be anonymous. You know what i’m saying? Anonymous does not mean that you are trying to set up some sort of terrorist entity, it does not mean that you are trying to destroy anything. It just means that you want to be left the fuck alone. And that is part of our human rights. If you decide tomorrow that you want to go into the hills of Australia and fucken build a hut and chill and you don’t want to deal with currency, you don’t want to deal with religion and you don’t want to deal with none of this shit. You want to raise your family, you want to have your crops and you want to have your cattle, your farm land and prosperity and develop your own way of life. That should be your prerogative. And people are infringing on those rights. And thats some bullshit. Because thats what makes cultures, thats what makes people, thats what makes music, thats what makes art, thats what makes our heart beat as human beings. We should be able to be free to human beings. You know what I mean. Without having to deal with eating a fucking cloned animal. Without dealing with you know, pesticides and preservatives and all this type of shit.
Im here in Australia, I lift up a drink and I drink it. I don’t normally go an drink like soft drinks or you know, juices and things of that nature. I usually just try to stick to water because its the easiest to just stay clean and preserved. This shit tastes like heaven out here.
So do you have any RFID credit cards?
Of course. Of course. I have a VISA. Its the fucking 666 beast. Laughs.
We talk about the UPC-A barcode and IBM & the Holocaust……
Do you understand how important your music is today, in getting this information out there? Because you’ve got an audience of, I don’t know how many people, and you and your fellow artists are the only ones discussing this very important subject.
I don’t take it very lightly at all. I want you to understand that I sat in the DEFJAM offices when NAS signed to DEFJAM and JAYZ was the president. The middle of my interview with an A&R, I was interrupted by a phone call from JAYZ. So the A&R took the conversation and then said, hold on one second, JAY, NAS is on the line, hold on, boom, then he went on with the conversation with that. they came back and went back to JAY, then they came back to me. And i’m sitting there, totally trying to get my mind together, because, obviously I want to succeed in hip hop, and I want to succeed to be able to bring riches to my family, but I also know what it means to be independent and have strength. You know what i’m saying. Prior to that like, I was on different promotional teams for various, uh , various like large hip hop entities and musical entities, universal records, this that and a third. And I was kind of able to see it early. So I didn’t choose any easy route. And I definitely could’ve chosen an easy route. And its been hard, its been hard to get to this point.
How much harder is it to maintain some sort of integrity in the industry? As opposed to taking the easy way out, and basically rapping about material?
How much harder? Its way hard. Its way hard. Im talented man. I can freestyle you a hit single right now if you wanted to. If you give me the right beat. And the right choice of words and the right information. I teach this shit. I know about flows, I know about cadence, I know about content, I know about lyricism. If I want to, I can do that. You know what I’m saying? Especially now because i’m a father, i’m a teacher and a i’m a mentor to many kids that don’t even have any type of male role models, theres no way where I can look at one my students in the face, or my child in the face and try to explain to them why I made a choice that wasn’t that. You know what i’m saying. And don’t get me wrong i’m not perfect by any means. You know what I mean. Always Keep It Real. Doesn’t mean that i’m jesus christ or the Dalai Lama or that shit, it has nothing to do with that. Always Keep It Real means being able to be responsible for your human integrity, and saying, you know what sometimes keeping it real mean saying, you know what? I fucked up. Or, I don’t understand, or I’m not knowledgable about that, can you please tell me about that. You know what I’m saying, its being humble, its being strong. Its being assertive. You know what i’m saying? Its being cordial, its being patient, its being respectful, all these things encompass that. And to get back to your main point here, in knowing that we have the opportunity to be the best humans we possibly can, and that there are people who want to suppress that in some way shape or form. Whether that be, fucken, disgusting ass, depressive news. Or whether it be through someone saying, the only way you can proceed is by having a credit line and establishing credit through this particular thing. Or you cant make it unless you indulge in a capitalist environment unless you acknowledge that this bill, this coin, this shell, this whatever, is as significant as the resources that we have naturally, that are given to us, this is God, God has given this to us. Know what i’m saying. The thing that drives me the most is that I know that i’m derivative of so many natives of so many different places and the common sentiment is that we don’t own a mother fucking thing. God. The universe. What ever you believe in has blessed us with all these things, to do with and for. You know what I’m saying? And anyone that thinks that thinks they can have ownership over anything, is lost.
But part of being humble is being able to accept virtue through time and persistence and resonance and volume. And sometime that shit takes generations. And there are certain people who are sharks, and snakes and devils, we call them all different kinds of names. These people will come and try to and take advantage of a situation that they feel is free, and fruitful and prosper. Because maybe they don’t have that where they are from, maybe they don’t understand that. So what is our responsibility? Is our responsibility to only defend what we know is right and true? Is our responsibility to get back what we have lost? Is it our responsibility to try to communicate and resonate with those people who do not comprehend what is right and true, that we know? Is our responsibility to say ‘fuck their perspective’ and build further and past that to the point where they have no choice but to respect that. There are several options for all of us. But that right there, that RFID chip right there, is being used in the same way that all of these cultures who have tried to commandeer and try to take over have done for years. And we know this story already. So now, theres a part of us that has to indulge it, the same way that i’m telling you that I have a visa card right here, is the same way that i’m talking to everybody in saying that theres a certain part of it we have to accept because of the terrain we are dealing with. BU theres another part of it we don’t have to. Theres a further conversation that we will definitely have, but I will never have that in a recorded format. But with that said, we have to use our creativity, we have to use our innate power as human beings. And we have to respect each other and more importantly we have to respect the earth before this mother fucker explodes.
You can find AKIR @ http://www.alwayskeepitreal.com. He has a new album launching in August/September 2013.
Immortal Technique, AKIR & Beast1333 – Mark of the Beast: