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Cadence casts his vote (pt 2) 'Obama knows it's his last term, so he just has to get things done.' November 4, 2012. Despite the fact that the odds were tight, political analysts worldwide wouldn't dare to bet their money on it, and some of the biggest Obama-fans started doubting, the first black man in the White House, got re-elected as President of the most powerful nation- still- in the world. 'We know in our hearts that the best is yet to come', Obama speeched right after. So what do 'they', the American people, think? Is the best yet to come? Is hope still housing in their hearts? And how divided is the US really? Just like four years ago, we talked to Boston producer-rapper Cadence, who's known from his solo work, Raw Produce records, collabo's with Dumi Right, Zimbabwe Legit and RADIx and for having an opinion...

The enthusiasm of four years ago seemed to have curbed a bit during the last few years. Also a lot of rappers we spoke were less enthusiastic, disappointed even, Zumbi of Zion I said: 'I realize he is one man working in a wicked system.' How do you look back on four years Obama?

Obama didn't have a role in creating the mess he inherited, so when he came into office he had a clean slate. Now he's associated with it all, so he's a real guy now, not just the personification of 'hope'. So maybe people don't have that same blind optimism about him anymore. But really, when you look at what he's accomplished legislatively: healthcare, economic stimulus, bailing out the auto industry, etc, that'd be an impressive track record even if he hadn't had two wars, a historically bad economy and a deadlocked congress to deal with. Plus he got Osama, if that kind of thing does it for you. It's an impressive record really.

But even in liberal, progressive Boston, you hear some conservative voices, right?

Of course I do. One of the loudest ones lives two towns away from me. In fact, the week he made his infamous comment about the US auto industry -that we should 'let Detroit go bankrupt' - Mitt Romney almost ran me over backing his Mustang out of a parking space at a local grocery store. Who do you think made that car, Mitt?

Four years ago you said: 'I think having a black President is a big step toward healing the racial divide in America.' Have you seen a lot of things change for the better?

Yes and no. I mean, absence is harder to notice than presence, you know? A decade ago, the only way a black man with a non-Anglo sounding name was getting into the White House was if he was a foreign dignitary. Now we've elected that man as our President twice, so that old stereotype is absent now. That doesn't eliminate racial profiling in traffic stops, of course, but it provides a daily reminder that has to challenge the kinds of assumptions and stereotypes people form. And with 8 years in power, there will now be an entire generation of kids whose only awareness of politics is an Obama presidency. They may not even know that it's possible to elect a rich white guy to be President.

Killer Mike said 'rappers always want to represent the Democratic side because they know that's safe and that's what represents their community. I tend to just do what I feel is right by all people', saying he's not really pro-Republic or pro-Democratic...

Look, from an economic policy standpoint there's no question that the Republicans are the party for rich people who want to keep their money. On that level, they have nothing to offer the average American. And it only gets worse for people living in poverty. So what they try to do is appeal to people on a social policy basis instead, aligning themselves with the conservative Christian values that they believe a majority of Americans hold. They bank on the hope that the non-millionaires are so scared to veer from the church's teachings on abortion, birth control or marriage equality that they'll overlook the fact that the party isn't looking out for them in any other way. But America is becoming a more tolerant society, so that appeal isn't working anymore and this election showed us that the Republicans haven't figured that out yet.

Shouldn't rappers play a bigger role in advising the youth about politics, stand up for one party or another and showing an example to young people as they are role models?

Hell no! I love well-made political hip-hop, and I think rappers who want to speak their mind on the issues absolutely should. It's a great medium for spreading the word, but if that's not your lane as a rapper, just stick to name-checking your favorite designers or whatever you do.

Independent opinions are important, but it's striking to see how biased some television stations like MSNBC and Fox are. They 'poison the minds of people'...is the media fucked?

Rachel Maddow said that election week was a week when the facts actually had a liberal bias. I mean, if you were reporting the news that week and by news, I mean actual stuff that happened, not spin on stuff that happened?she's correct. On the big stage, the more liberal candidate defeated the more conservative candidate, so a news reporter -one who's telling the truth anyway- has to tell that story. Whether or not they're happy about it.

With that said, there's a difference between journalism and punditry. Pundits are supposed to be biased. I don't have a problem with Fox or MSNBC being biased they're pundits, not journalists. What I have a problem with is that stuff being treated as journalism, instead of entertainment, which is what it really is.

To a lot of political analysts the election results show that US is a divided country, Akrobatik also said 'Parasites eat for free. We pay taxes to be oppressed, and half of America will vote for a guy who calls half of us parasites. United? No way'...what do you think?

Well, if you look at election results, yeah, it looks pretty divided. And as a matter of strategy politicians have to differentiate themselves form the other guy and the best way to do that is to make themselves seem like polar opposites. But on a day-to-day basis, Americans are having millions of interactions with each other where party affiliation has nothing to do with anything. I mean, we also have fans of 30 different NBA teams across the country, but we still manage to co-exist somehow. Politics isn't everything.

Obama said soon after being elected: 'We know in our hearts that the best is yet to come' Do you know it in your heart?

Well, it has to be, right? Things are pretty low right about now.

It's gonna be difficult right? With a Republican majority in the House Of Representatives?

Yeah, but I think Obama has to derive confidence from the fact that he was re-elected even in the middle of all of this mess. The classic question all challengers ask voters about the sitting President is 'are you better off now than you were 4 years ago?' With Obama, a lot of people would have to say no honestly, but they re-elected him anyway, because they understood that the problems he faced were too complex to solve in one term. When the Republicans try to block the way, he has to remind them that the American people rejected the Republican agenda and put their faith in Obama as the man to lead us out of this.

What's gonna be the difference between Obama 1.0 and Obama 2.0?

I don't know really, but it'll centre around how well he's able to do what I just said. Will he succeed in being assertive? Or will he get bogged down by the political process? One thing working in his favor though, is that he knows it's his last term, so he doesn't have to worry about how he looks. He just has to get things done.

A challenging question, but still: how will the US look like in 2016 when we'll have another interview'?

We're gonna live in the sky and travel around in flying cars like the Jetsons. We've been waiting long enough! Now's the time!

Seriously, I don't know, but I suspect it'll look a lot like it does now, but with a slightly stronger economy. I think the next four years are more likely to be a time of steady progress than radical change. We're climbing out of the deepest hole I've seen in my lifetime and it's gonna take time.

Now to the music, in our last interview you said you don't listen to much hip-hop. Why? Is there too little that can please you?

I don't think there's anything I can say about this that hasn't been said 1 000 times before. The business of hip-hop overtook the art of it and the quality of the music suffered. When I hear well-made hip-hop with something to say, I do listen, but it doesn't happen as often as it used to. I still love a good hip-hop song as much as I ever did though.

What pleases you?

It's kind of like the way a politician once described pornography: I don't know how to define it, but I know it when I see it.

Otherwise, by growing older, do you listen to jazz now a lot more?

You make it sound like I should be sitting on my front porch yelling at the neighbourhood kids to get off my lawn before I call the cops.

I listen to all kinds of stuff, jazz included, but I wouldn't say there's a dominant genre. I don't pay that much attention to genre actually. I'm just looking for stuff that holds my attention. Sometimes that's about the lyrics, or the melody, or the musicianship, or the production, or the subject matter. I guess the common element in the stuff I like is that something about it usually makes me say 'I wish I'd made that...

This week Latyrx will drop their comeback EP. When's Raw Pro coming back?

Given that we haven't been in the studio together for about a decade; it's nice that people still want to hear more Raw Produce, but I don't really think of Raw Pro's end as some kind of dividing line in my music career. I've been making music steadily for the whole time and to me, it's all part of the same body of work. If you want more, check my solo albums, check State Lines, check Alternate Reality, Check my work with Dumi Right, Zimbabwe Legit, Soundsci, Capitol 1212, the Good People, Glad2Mecha and Ill Treats, Atari Blitzkrieg, RADIx and the list goes on! It's not always me and Pitch, but it's a pretty deep catalog.

What's next for Cadence?

For the first time since I started making music, I can honestly say I don't know. I don't have a specific project in the works right now and I don't know when that might change. It's a question of when (and if) inspiration strikes, I guess.

Suppose he reads this, any last words for Obama?

Congrats! Now get back to work.

 

POSTED 11|19|2012
conducted by cpf

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