A Lil' Light

A Lil' Light

  • Ross Patrick
  • Ammo City.com
  • July 10, 2003

"in the bomb shelter having a spliff, we're last day children... people gotta wake up right now... i got these messages all over my brain and i'm putting all these messages out as fast as i can... i wanna see what we can do, what we can become" dudley perkins - 'you really know me' somewhere beneath all the piles of promotion for each release there's a record beneath and an artist behind it. flights, photos, flights - endless drudgery. like the pharcyde said sometimes you 'gotta kick somethin' that means somethin'. dudley perkins just did that and with the interview, like rob reiner in spinal tap "i got this, plus a whole lot more!" read on...

some background. dudley perkins, that's his real name is from oxnard, california and normally records as declaime. the name meaning he tells me to 'de-claim' the ills he sees in society. he's put out quite a bit but messing around in the studio in 1997 he made his stand-out track and not his usual rap. this was 'flowers', which upon its release on peanut butter wolf's stones throw label had everyone from gilles peterson to lemon jelly singing about sticky green trees.

sticky green trees were, he told me he's trying to kick that, a main ingredient in this record. the production comes from madlib, a school friend and fellow sticky green tree hugger known for his many aliases such as quasimoto and the jazz band (himself!) yesterday's new quintet. also known for his work rate madlib has another three albums this year - his blue note remix project 'shades of blue', 'jaylib' with slum village producer jay dee and 'madvillan' with hip hop's mystery hero mf doom.

the bomb shelter, where all things stones throw are made, is just that, a bomb shelter. underneath peanut butter wolf's los angeles home cum office is where madlib does his thing - recluse for 12 hours a day but for maybe daylight... on road trips to record stores. they're last day people says dudley, and music is their light, their message. weed probably has some little part of this but god or the higher something has the higher part:

"he has his beat tapes and madlib works! but he stays away from a lot of people right now 'cos he's always hearing 'madlib you're dope' or 'let me get a beat'. it gives you an ego so he stays to himself, music is his sanctuary. his music speaks for itself, it's a beautiful language madlib! [laughs]

"that's an angel," he says of the calling behind 'a lil' light'. "i didn't have no intent on doing that album, i'm a rapper, i don't sing and i'm a emcee for the higher truth. dudley perkins was a walk on that side, the spiritual something that i was going through at that time and that's what came out, beautiful gifts that god gave me in music. so how did 'flowers' happen? "i did a 45 for fun in 1997, 'flowers'. we were in the car, going to get something to eat and the tape's playing and wolf just says he's going to put this out. i'm like 'nah!' but we shake hands and sometime later he puts it out. it's just something i did freestyle, actually the whole album is just something i did freestyle, it's from the heart, you can't fake that!"

fair to say he didn't. a few people that heard 'a lil' light' were a little thrown by declaime, a rapper, turning to song. ok he's no marvin gaye but he pulls it off, somewhere between sincerity and a little cheek. the beats from madlib are of course, nice!

"i was blessed 'cos i dug through a beat tape where four groups had dug through: mf doom, jaylib, wildchild, oh no and medaphor. for some reason i have those, the leftover that's god's will, god's real.
i really do love soul music and beyond. i used to love getting those soul records, they must have gone through the same as me, that light. they're not playing with the light! personally i'm as humble as they get, look at me, dirty shoes, clothes handed to me 'cos of the gift that i got. i spread the true word." hmm, but in the music business?

i bring up common's recent cola-cola advert accompanied by a cringing, soul-fool/d 'making of the...' video on the coca-cola website. wearing what looks like my granny's missing tea cosy on his head, common explains that coke is real and does a lot for the community... blah blah. which coming from the artist formally known as common sense makes, well, just that, money! but where do obesity related diseases, and aggressive school promotion campaigns hide under the message? (i'm using common only as a wider example.)

"common said that?" he exclaims. "anything that you gotta promote that hard it ain't that good for you. you don't see them promoting water or apples like that, they [coca-cola] have to! i don't really listen to too much rap music 'cos its stale, even the conscious rappers, false prophecies, they conspiracies against themselves. i walk with a dude name jesus christ and he had compassion for the whole planet and i felt that."

"you can't have a split tongue on the last day, say this and do that. i'm here to make all these material things fall, it don't really wash like that, i'm here with a harmonious noise." smiling broadly: "i've shed tears for this dog! it's last day music you can't play for this so go and get the message." that's his point, his summation of self and hip hop, but for the rest?

"america is off the hook. i was born into the war where i was oppressed by the school systems, police... entertainment that creates a package for us, anything that was packaged ain't good for you. if they [the government] stopped making food then we'll not be able to sow seeds, it's that simple." there's not a moment in my time with him that dudley isn't referring to god, light, spirituality, it's ever present in his verses and conversation. and from there even reptilian brain patterns and yale university's skull and bones club, of which both george bushes were members, come up. can't say i'm always with him but he's refreshing. we've all got a little religion, a little belief; be it coca-cola, religion (organised or otherwise), love or hip hop...

"that's [hip hop] just something we did as we grew and i think hip hop was the last day people and the bridge that broke down barriers and borders. a last ditch effort for god to bring his people together. 'cos think about it, it really brought people together!

"then the message started going towards love like jay-z's but they're talking about personal love but that falls to. love in my music, i've always been hardcore with my love so i can remain - i was slept on too long, every single thing that can happen in the industry i went through with a smile on my face and i was able to get brighter days through it," he smiles.

"the love in it [hip hop] is still there and this will transcend. it will bling bling out but i really truly believe madlib has something to do with the way it goes. the dude glows, the dude glows! his music is messages from the divine, from the main source from where the heart comes from and that's where people are going to have somewhere to run to."

if you're lost by now, and i was a little, better reveal what dudley means by 'last day' since apparently we're living them right now: "they're the last days of how we are living. but our souls, our genetic dna structure will unlock that. the days are longer and it's going towards the day when the earth stands still. man is getting too quick and it [the earth] needs to reverse the polarity."

is there any more light left? "i got an album coming out (as declaime on groove attack records) don't know what it's called but it's pure ones, a little set i hid until now. i've got a 45 with my son who's a drummer and he's six-years-old. i got a classic painist for him named funkdulah who opened me up to the singing, a very funky man. i did 'flowers' with him the first time round.

"my son's beyond me he's a light, beyond, gifted, the better me! he's the main drummer for his church in salem, washington state." as in the salem witch trials? "yeah, they're real witches, i feel their hearts, they're dark!"

still he assures us there will be light. the people with the light will still be here and sitting later in nandos' chicken-place this includes a journalist (this one) and his pr person for the day. hmm, take what you will folks but he really means it - he's got light to give. above this though, above all else, believe this. mr perkins, 'a lil' light', really is as funky as the man in the clouds above.