There’s a sort of M.I.A. fan site that I’ve been visiting now and then for the past year and a half, which I think I’ve mentioned before, called Pull Up The People, or Missing In Acton (depending on where you look for the title)… I’ve enjoyed going there not only to get news about M.I.A.s latest stuff (it was particularly fun to go there to find out about new (leaked) singles and videos last year, months before Kala came out), but also to learn about the thoughts and endeavors of some of her fans. More recently, an official M.I.A. fan board was created, but I don’t care as much for that one. It’s much more crowded and full of teenage banter (which just makes me feel very old) and, to me, kind of lacks the intimacy of good old Pull Up The People. At PUTP, I think it is easier to get to know particular people (in a virtual sense anyway), and learn about their own projects, etc.
One person I recently encountered PUTP is a musical artist named Prem. Getting back to what I was talking about in the last post, this is one guy who certainly gets the political side of M.I.A.; in fact, he pursues a lot of the same concerns himself.
I couldn’t think at first of a good way to describe Prem’s music, but I found an accurate description at an indie CD sales site called CD Baby:
If A.R. Rahman and Mobb Deep had a child who grew up listening to Rage Against the Machine, U2, and M.I.A., the child would be Prophet Named Prem.
And though Prem’s music goes beyond the sum of those parts, I think that combination describes his sort of fusion very well. (Actually, he mentions these artists himself when he cites his influences, but his list is much longer and this one narrows it down nicely.)
There are good songs over at his MySpace page, selections from his CD “Eelam’s Rise: Tamil American Instrumentals.” There are some instrumentals among these selections (which I do like), but there’s also a handful of hip-hop/spoken-word-oriented pieces where Prem gets very much into the topics that concern him (and should concern all of us), from the human rights abuses waged against Tamils by the government in Sri Lanka to the other human rights abuses (and abuses of civil liberties) by the government right here in the U.S. But while dwelling on all this serious content, Prem maintains a playfulness with words that I like too. You can see that, for example, in this slice from “System of Fears Walls With Ears”:
…and walls with ears to hear,
stories of politics and profits leading to genocide,
and possibly pioneer the proletariat,
who has suffered hell at the hands of a dictator,
it’s crazy that crooks,
who refuse to obey the book of virtues,
and excuse the ruse of Rove,
are let go,
alcove of rancor,
it’s just repulsive,
trust is forgotten or lost in this black hole
…Which is all very true, I have to say (though the problem is bigger than just the “dictator Dick Cheney”).
I’m looking forward to seeing/hearing what else Prem does in the near future, and I’m glad I stumbled across his music via Pull Up The People.
P.S. Mark’s Blog was another PUTP discovery, sometime back.