Exclusive Interview with Steve B.I.K.O. (@BIKOINC)

Steve B.I.K.O. is an inde­pend­ent polit­ic­al hip-hop artist, act­iv­ist and the founder of ‘Back­ward Nev­er Pub­lish­ing’. With his mis­sion state­ment “to cre­ate music­al and cul­tur­al con­tri­bu­tions to the struggle for human rights world­wide.”, and after sev­er­al years of releas­ing polit­ic­ally-charged singles and per­form­ing on the under­ground cir­cuit, Steve B.I.K.O. has just released his debut digit­al album — “World­wide: Dare To Struggle, Dare To Win!”

Q. Can you tell us more about your new album?

I believe that “World­wide: Dare To Struggle, Dare To Win!” is the album that so many fans of polit­ic­ally-con­scious hip-hop music often seek, but rarely find. It fea­tures pro­duc­tion from two of my close com­rades, Caleb DePol­is and DaGuttaman540, along with fea­tures of U.K. — based Kash­miri poet and act­iv­ist San’aa Sul­tan and the heavy met­al band With­in Our Gates. It is our hope that the People will sup­port this cul­tur­al con­tri­bu­tion to the lib­er­a­tion struggle, accord­ingly. Solid­ar­ity!

Q. What inspired the title of your album, “World­wide: Dare To Struggle, Dare To Win!”? do you have any ideas that act­iv­ists and artists can do to change and “organ­ize the hood”?

For Black act­iv­ists and mil­it­ants in the United States, “dare to struggle, dare to win” is a phrase that was con­veyed and instruc­ted to us primar­ily by the great Fred Hamp­ton whom, like Mal­colm X, was a revolu­tion­ary of the utmost ded­ic­a­tion and com­mit­ment. As my writ­ing and the themes in my music are fun­da­ment­ally inter­na­tion­al­ist, I decided to title my new album “World­wide: Dare To Struggle, Dare To Win!”, with the object­ive being to con­tin­ue the work of build­ing bridges of solid­ar­ity with oppressed peoples around the globe. This object­ive is reflec­ted in the sub­ject mat­ter on songs such as “World On Fire”, “The Black Inti­fada”, “Justice For Palestine”, “Stand Up For Kash­mir!”, “Dirty Wars”, and oth­ers. I would encour­age artists and act­iv­ists to take a sim­il­ar approach in terms of broad­en­ing the top­ics and causes that need our voice, sup­port, and action.

Q. From your exper­i­ence, to what extent is music an innov­at­ive tool for res­ist­ance and for social change?

Music and all oth­er forms of art and cul­ture have always been instru­ment­al and effect­ive in their impact on the psyche of the oppressed with­in the Black colony in Amer­ica. From the coded songs and mes­sages of enslaved Afric­ans dur­ing that peri­od of our cap­tiv­ity in this coun­try, to the inspir­a­tion­al vocals of a Mahalia Jack­son at the 1963 March On Wash­ing­ton, to my very own cur­rent single and video, “Organ­ize The Hood” — I make the con­nec­tions in this regard because I am always mind­ful of the extreme import­ance that music has in work­ing to con­trib­ute to the move­ment for nation­al and inter­na­tion­al solid­ar­ity with oppressed peoples and com­munit­ies.

Q. Are there any books in par­tic­u­lar that have been influ­en­tial on the polit­ics that comes across in your music?

‘The Auto­bi­o­graphy of Mal­colm X’, ‘The War­ri­or Meth­od’ by Dr. Ray­mond Win­bush, ‘Anarch­ism and the Black Revolu­tion’ by Lorenzo Kom’­boa Ervin, ‘Defy­ing The Tomb’ by Kev­in “Rashid” John­son, ‘The New Jim Crow’ by Michelle Alex­an­der and ‘Yur­ugu’ by Dr. Marimba Ani. All have been noth­ing short of trans­form­at­ive upon my own think­ing and con­duct, polit­ic­ally and spir­itu­ally.

Q. People around the world are strug­gling in dif­fer­ent ways, are there any res­ist­ance move­ments that inspire what you write?

The Palestini­an struggle for self-determ­in­a­tion is one out­side of the bor­ders of the United States that res­on­ates with me, per­son­ally, as the sim­il­ar­it­ies of both their aspir­a­tions and those of Black people in Amer­ica whom are still very much aware of what we must strive for as a people in this coun­try are unques­tion­able in their bonds. Addi­tion­ally, the on-going cam­paign for a sov­er­eign and united Kash­mir by our com­rades in that land is anoth­er that I believe we should mon­it­or closely and sup­port more thor­oughly. Obvi­ously, there are many oth­ers that we must make note of, as well; numer­ous in num­ber but just as import­ant as these men­tioned, no less.


Q. Would you agree with the idea that new tech­no­lo­gies facil­it­ate for glob­al uni­on and this fight for change?

Social media has made the abil­ity to com­mu­nic­ate, net­work, organ­ize and struggle col­lect­ively an essen­tial tool in the kit of any­one whom is com­mit­ted to rais­ing aware­ness and sup­port­ing efforts and endeavors to free the land. I have been for­tu­nate to have met, via the inter­net, etc., count­less hard work­ing social media act­iv­ists and the time, energy and resources that they (we) are put­ting in to build­ing bridges of solid­ar­ity is crit­ic­ally import­ant in this peri­od of aus­ter­ity, sequest­ra­tion and glob­al­iz­a­tion by the mono­poly cap­it­al­ists.

Q. What factors con­trib­uted to you becom­ing socially and polit­ic­ally con­scious?

My per­son­al politi­ciz­a­tion pro­cess was and is born out of my own per­son­al exper­i­ences with racial, social and eco­nom­ic injustice in Amer­ica and those of the people with­in my imme­di­ate com­munity: people of col­or and poor people, in gen­er­al. I have exper­i­enced, firsthand, the very worst of injustices in Amer­ic­an soci­ety; police bru­tal­ity, dis­en­fran­chise­ment, racial & eco­nom­ic dis­crim­in­a­tion, poverty, etc. — all of which are sys­tem­ic in the United Sates and con­trib­ute to the dec­ad­ent con­di­tion of the Black com­munity here, spe­cific­ally, and a broad­er polit­ic­al and social dec­ad­ence that per­meates through­out Amer­ic­an soci­ety, at large.


“World­wide: Dare To Struggle, Dare To Win!” on Band­camp 

“World­wide: Dare To Struggle, Dare To Win!” on iTunes 


inter­view By Riot­gurrrl

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