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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