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It's hip-hop, positively

Mattafix, a hot new band with an Indian vocalist, believes hip-hop music needn't promote a negative lifestyle



DESIRE FOR PEACE Mattafix

Preetesh Girji in collaboration with Marlon Roudette has floated a new hip-hop band called Mattafix. The duo's first full-length album, Signs Of A Struggle (EMI, CD, Rs. 395), has just been launched in India. The duo speaks about their music, ideas about life and inspiration in an e-mail interview. Excerpts:

Globally, hip-hop and R&B have been the centre of a lot of criticism. And there are allegations that this genre of music promotes violence and negative lifestyles. As a recent hip-hop act, what do you have to say?

Though our music is inspired by hip-hop, we are essentially not a hip-hop band. We do not rap. We sing and this very fact makes us stand out from the crowd of hip-hop rappers. Hip-hop and R&B have received criticism for their negative content, and unfortunately, this overshadows the work done by groups who are positive and responsible with their lyrics. Many rappers speak of "bling", womanising and violence because that is part of the life they lead. In some cases, these activities are a rung on the ladder of survival, especially in the U.S. where social oppression among minorities is a chronic problem. We don't live that way. We don't believe in gratuitous materialism or violence because we never needed to. Our greatest desires are for peace and change through creativity and freedom of expression. The lyrics in our album reflect this.

Hip-hop began as being a genre of dance music, but has gone on to become the pop music of today. Is this an encouraging trend, or does this mean that the genre of music is losing its independent identity?

Genres of music evolve over time.

As musicians we simply enjoy this process and become inspired by its many movements. Who knows where hip-hop is going in the future? For all you know, it could take a full circle and come back to where it started. But this, only time can tell.

What do the songs in Signs Of A Struggle talk about?

There are many topics on the album... love, politics, incarceration and victimisation. In many songs these themes overlap.

We like to write songs than can be interpreted differently depending on the listeners' personality and experience.

What would be your message to the listeners?

Keep things positive!

A. VISHNU

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