Pedalin' - Visual 1 - EYE2025*


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Ratner Heights, Brooklyn, New York, United Kingdom
WE ARE NOT TERRORISTS. We are guerilla artists expressing ourselves in a time when the imperialists make it illegal to do so. No amount of suppression, repression, or oppression can stop us. We are determined to keep our voice alive by any means necessary. Enjoy. Share with Like Minds. Spread the Light. Give feedback. Feedback is Fuel. thank you. illumiNessence EYE2025*

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


(April 18, 2012 - New York, NY) -- The predictable hip-hop landscape has
just gotten more enthralling with the video premiere of Weekend Money's "
Insomniac." The musical visual is the first release from their much-anticipated,
upcoming EP Naked City. The new black and white clip, directed by the Roots'
affiliated lensman Zach Isaac, features the groundbreaking duo of acclaimed
lyricist Ness and producer extraordinaire Baghdaddy in their non-conforming
element. For the Brooklyn, New York-based act, its at once serious, but
trippy; 'hood, but decadent. A straight-no-chaser smiley face in a haze of
smoke amid artists, thugs, model chicks, around-the-way-girls, and rebels.

"We live in the proverbial city that never sleeps, right?" says Ness of
the thought-process that went into writing the treatment for the 'Insomniac'
video. "That's what it's all about. There are a lot of things that go on
in New York from the wild party scenes to grinding for that bread. We wanted
to film it in black and white to stay away from that polished tone because
life is not polished. This shit ain't Hollywood."

For Baghdaddy, the "Insomniac" clip symbolizes the culmination of a
project that was first sparked a little over a year ago when the Philadelphia born
Ness—a member of the dead prez affiliated group A-Alikes—first hooked up
with the Hot Sugar protégé. "People can now visually see the dynamic of
Weekend Money," he excitedly says. "Ness and I put so much time and aggression
into this project. We've done so much in such a short time...things that make
us excited as music fans. This is the kind of music we want to hear on the
radio and on the streets."

Indeed, "Insomniac" captures the unique hybrid sound of Weekend Money. The
eerie, trippy, hard-charging track comes off like Death Row era Dr. Dre
dropping acid with Kraftwerk on the streets of New York. The electro-synth
heavy cut swaggers with hardcore hip-hop credentials yet still colors outside
the lines. It's a provocative sound that was first born when the two met
during the making of Ness' recently released EYE2025 EP, a conceptual project
that merged the reflective, hardboiled, and no-nonsense rhyming of Ness with
the '80s pop, funk and rock synthesized mash-ups of Baghdaddy.

And Weekend Money is staying on their grind. The duo, which
calls "something wicked," is set to drop Naked City on June 5. Let's go!

Video Shot on Location: Bedford Stuyvesant & Williamsburg Brooklyn

Director: Zach Isaac
Co Director: NE$$
Treatment: NE$$

Camera: Zach Isaac & Momo Lee
Editor: Momo Lee & Birhan Tonge of Royal Ras Productions

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

(Huffington Post Article): Hip Hop and the (Near) Future

by eric j henderson

On being futuristic and tangible at once: "Ness" and EYE2025*

The Scene

Some artists strain to look deeply into the future to escape the perceived orthodoxy of the present.
Others might enjoy the2011-12-27-cropB.JPG close-up view, one that Chesterton would love, finding nothing "so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy." In this edition of Art, The Arts, and Policy, I consider a hip hop artist who, with that spirit, falls somewhere between the present and the future. But first...

What Is The Future?

The future as we live it is unassailable for its quality of entertainment. I love it, going back to "Danger, Will Robinson!" But it's cliché in its aesthetic -- detached demeanors, supra-human aliens (who still need space ships?), everything colored silver (even our hair), and the whole world easily comprehended on a touch screen.

However, on this 2011 earth the report card on the expected future is, in large part, gray. Take our biggest current metaphor: the digital world. 70% of the people in this world are unconnected and the remaining 30%, particularly in so-called developed countries deal with service that is spotty, expensive, and slow . As the acknowledged summary definition of "the future," digital is a solid statement on our silver fantasy. It is at once real and overestimated when it comes to intrinsic progress. We spend our digital time mostly ....playing games and waiting on Christmas-timed form factors, "iPad now in white" being rendered not as marketing but as news.

Overestimating our connected selves is the modern signature of mass culture. I think this is a consequence of the 30% of connected folks setting the public agenda for conversation. So what? Well, this is the mindset that creates our real futures and, by definition, informs our art if only by forcing it to respond to mass culture.

But, I wonder what would happen if we could resist that momentum and reorient our thought on the future. What if our future weren't so digital, connected, green, local, sustainable (and five other hep words)... but still managed to be futuristic, and even human?

Here is where I find the conversation of a young hip hop artist by the name of Ness to be worth considering. He's all about the future, but not as we know it. He has a futuristic take on the near future; call it a space of 15 years.

Introducing the Futurist

Ness is a veteran of hip hop, having done global rounds as a member of dead prez and the duo A-Alikes, the latter being part of the larger RBG family of which dead prez is also a member. So you won't be surprised to find that his future is politically charged, but he's extended the urgency by bringing the future much closer.

He speaks with a voice that moves quietly in and out of the ether, but the delivery comes straight out of a monotone gravel pit flying at you like a 4oz glove from the octagon.

His idea? EYE2025*. It's a concept that turns out to be an honest postmodern response to the fake silver future. (Man, I know you hate that word, postmodern, and I do, too; so let's talk about it.) I mean postmodern in an amped up temporal sense -- i.e. postmodernity with postmodern flair, but I don't want to keep walking toward that rabbit hole ... so postmodern it is, just not in the overused art/academic sense where anything off the path can catch that label.

Case in point: Hip hop itself. I challenge Professor Gates characterization of hip hop in The Anthology of Rap as a "a postmodern version of the African-American vernacular tradition."

Can it really be postmodern? Having growing up in hip hop (before the b-boy and graffiti were united with it to form a movement, before we acknowledged a difference between rap and hip hop because2011-12-27-ness_set_02b.JPG both were still forming, and before we fully respected the art of a true emcee), I never saw it outside of the realm of clear and rational opinion on objective truth. Despite real forays into meaninglessness, hip hop has always preserved its core of actually being about something, and never about stairs that lead nowhere.

Even in the abandon of pure party lyrics (try "old school" cut As The Rhyme Goes On), there is a focus on moving the crowd, but also a cultural comment on blackness that never leaves peripheral vision. From here we gain a full definition of modern Americana by an art form still sometimes excluded from it. The measure of hip hop is not only "is it true?" but also how it accesses truth found in a distinctly American context. Wack emcees find that out every day. A beatdown is not postmodern.

Ness' postmodernism simply "comes after" and "responds to" our modern concept of both the future and of hip hop.

ENTER: Ness ...on a bicycle.

"I don't need paper. The rhymes stay with me as I work them out where I spend most of my time: on a bicycle."

The bike as vehicle is very "now," but his work is what dispels it as fad, since the only way to be hip hop on a bike is to just be yourself, with no apology, and bring heat while you're riding. You'd sooner see a guy without tight pants in Williamsburg, Brooklyn than a hip hop artist with a bicycle as his life's centerpiece. The Bentley is still a favored mode. But this countercultural move isn't the navel-gazing type. It comes off as conviction. I take it as that.

Occasionally, we see conviction bubble up to a movement when somebody has one strong enough that it magnetically draws enemies and friends with irresistible angst and empathy. Others -- the giant middle -- are drawn, too, but stop short at the uniform ... those pants and an nyc faux-toking on American Spirit cigarettes while riding the evergreen wave of 'what's cool right now.' We need all of that -- a real root and the mimicry that validates it -- as the essential make-up of any movement.

But, of course, we're not at movement speed with hip hop and bicycles, the mohawked kids on bmx bikes notwithstanding. However, I see a few signs that make it a worthwhile thought experiment to scan the prairie. Ness touches a particular bundle of nerves that are base ingredients: futurism, hip hop, and the "occupy" spirit long before the tents went up.

I was introduced to him by actor and dj, DJ TAbu, who showed me his first EYE2025* salvo, "Pedalin." He sharpens his political angle to deliver part I of the vision:

"...set in Ratner Heights, (the area formerly known as Fort Greene/Clinton Hill/Downtown Brooklyn, now owned entirely by construction mogul/re-gentrification king Bruce Ratner). EYE2025*Chapter1 is a dystopic vision of the future, a future that is rapidly approaching. Blurring the lines between genres, the music twists and turns through sounds [on a] mission to bring to light the world of the have-nots, and send out a call to arms to rise up, educate and build community."

That's old school hip hop -- basic political agitation -- but it's also near future for a new age, especially if you live near the Atlantic Yards he's talking about, flashpoint for the Battle of Brooklyn.

On the bike... he's not preaching green or any of the typical syncretic consciousness: He's just living.

"When I was a kid, we talked about cars. In hip hop you always hear talk of cars but you never hear people rapping about bikes ... not motorcycles but bike bikes." Ness uses the bike to think and to get around. It's incidental that the bike is also a symbol for our newfound interest in stewardship of the planet.

But hip hop, in its essence, can't fear any given dispensation, even if it's fear of being uncool. So, it's must stay true, i.e. without adjectives. It's hip hop or it's not. Theoretically, you should be able to pull it off in a button-down oxford and Dockers. [Well, no. Not in Dockers.]

Being gratuitously green or "conscious" would quickly be discovered and properly given a small shelf with the other misfit toys.

I remember the birth of conscious hip hop, but couldn't fully sign on because, even though I agreed with some of the regenerated themes, it always seemed that the beats and poignancy got left behind in the name of saying nice things. De La Soul, Tribe Called Quest and others proved that you could add dimension and still be hip hop. 50 Cent, at the other end of the spectrum gives the most telling indictment, ingeniously mocking nice music feigning hip hop with, "I know exactly what I'm saying -- so I am conscious."

Now, what is the hip hop of Ness' EYE20205* in this light? It's how he speaks to our time, as hip hop must do.

[Back to The Past]

I hold in my hands an eight-track tape of the O'Jays' "The Year 2000," recorded in 1980. The 20 years separating that title from its release date don't2011-12-27-8trackOjaysYear2000b.JPG make just a numerically longer distance than the 15 years in which Ness sees upheaval, but also an exponentially longer cultural distance. Today, we can imagine 2025 much easier than 1980 could imagine 2000. 2000 was "far" all the way up to its eve as sound minds talked up a Y2K global crash and people stockpiled on food and water for yet another end of the world. Apart from the panic, our non-Doomsday scenario remained still not so tangible and consistently silver with Mars as a standby favorite subject. (Shoot, I'm still ticked not to be dressed in all the flashy gear Captain Kirk and Co. kept promising me.)

[Ness on The Future]

Ness pulls us closer by challenging our blind silver imagination. He calls out the 1985 film Back to the Future (which references 2012) for a grossly unfulfilled promise of flying cars and whatnot, noting that we're all still pretty much fixed to the ground.

So how about just thinking on the next 15 years, since we've been such crappy prognosticators on times farther out? Note that what differentiates Ness' 15 years from a common strategic time span is that we don't leave behind our futuristic minds. We just take the silver away.

Even Ness' daughter helps spark this intellectual curiosity. At home, he plays a game with her that channels a base element of hip hop: elementary school beats banged out on a lunchroom table. (Raise a fist if you did that!) They trade table beats and score each other after each set, starting with a number like 10,000, then 100,000, then on to some crazy large number, "a 100 million gazillion trillion." "By the fifth set she can't think of a bigger number," he says, "and, on one of these occasions she stopped to ask me, 'Daddy, do numbers ever stop?'" He then introduced her to infinity.

This is hip hop, and a view into the music that he calls "political education meets science fiction."

I'm obviously not talking as much about his music as his argument. I dig the music -- true to what for me are hip hop's signatures: beats, flow, and storytelling. But, it's the argument that calls my attention:

The future can be futuristic and tangible at once.


This deliberate and canny leap to only a few days away is a funky data point. Contrast it to a couple of meaningful romps into the far future. I loved the moment Daft Punk landed hard on everybody's heads. I put Janelle Monae in this conversation, too. She has taken the far future and replaced the silver stuff with a throwback velvet flux capacitor. I see the near future as completing the proposition of the technical future, one that deals with any small or large unit of time ahead of us with purposeful imagination. Would love to hear Alvin Toffler's hip hop because, now that I think about it, Future Shock unified the futures like this, too.

With Ness, we have hip hop on a bicycle and a point of view that mines a classic theme: justice. It's just a data point, not a movement, but a point that could possibly drop us onto another plane as it forces an expanded view backward and forward by including the forsaken (and now pretty ugly) ground just in front of us. We should welcome that kind of thinking and test it. If it lasts, that's Policy as it changes the way we live, just like hip hop did when it first appeared.

P.S. No bike pic. As Lance said, It's Not About The Bike.

Photo Credits: ericjhenderson

Follow Eric J. Henderson on Twitter:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A-Alikes 'Bridges To Nowhere' feat Afayah, J.Ivy (Occupy Wall Street)

For Immediate Release – (New York, NY – November 22, 2011) – A-Alikes release single “Bridges to Nowhere” off forthcoming album Us Against Them.

Known for their politically-rooted lyrics, Occupy Wall Street was the appropriate backdrop for the “Bridges to Nowhere” video shoot capturing the sign of the times and radical change for which the revolutionary-spirited hip-hop group is known. “Bridges to Nowhere” was produced by the late DJ Metaphysic [June, 2011 passing], who also produced for such artists as Immortal Technique, Dead Prez and Action Bronson to name a few.

A-Alikes branched off into film after the release of their last album I Eat You Eat [2006] with “Ballot or the Bullet” documentary chronicling President Obama’s election [screened countrywide and abroad, 2008]. Ness, one half of the A-Alike duo, cites DJ Metaphysic as the catalyst for completing the album and further attests, “Us Against Them is about a world in transition… it’s about conflict, it’s about community, it’s about us and it’s about them.”

The video shot by Exile Ramirez, features Afaya (also featured on previous lp I Eat You Eat), as well as spoken word poet, J. IVY (featured on Kanye West’s first project) and cameo appearance by Russell Simmons.

A-Alikes’ involvement in Occupy Wall Street was reported in Huffington Post article

From music to the big screen, A-Alikes remain steadfast in their advocacy for political freedom and progression. Stay tuned for more videos by A-Alikes in coming weeks.

Us Against Them will be available on iTunes and the first quarter of 2012.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Quentin Fears: Fashion Blog: illumiNessence interview


IllumiNessence EYE2025*(aka Ness of the hip hop group A-Alikes) brings the soundtrack to our future with his first solo project, EYE2025*Chapter1. Check him out! I dig his Style & his Sound. Hip-Hop made cool again. Ness self-professed King of Militant!
Ok let’s start with your name. How did you get the name Eye2025? What does it mean? Do you also go by Ness?
The name EYE2025* is a character in this new film project I’m working on. The film takes place in the not too distant future (2017 – 2025). EYE2025* is his graffiti tag…he’s a guerilla artist or what they would now call a street artist. He not only does visual art, he also does music as an mc, vocalist, producer, etc…  he’s known by his infamous EYE symbol/logo that is plastered all over Ratner Heights (Bed Stuy, fort greene, downtown bk, prospect heights) His music and visual art is critical of the system in a time where it is illegal to do so. The significance of 2025 is that is the year the people finally break free from the state. The name EYE2025* has a few meanings Insurrection2025 being one. There’s a lot more to it but we’re in the middle of finishing the script so can’t disclose too much more. I’ve been working on the score and soundtrack to the film for the past year. As for Ness, Ness is  short for illumiNessence which is my attribute (the name a gave myself when I first got knowledge of self)… most people know me as Ness one 1/2 of the hip hop group A-Alikes part of the RBG family (dead prez, Divine of the Dey, Dedan, etc) 
more on 2025*.. mathematically speaking the number 2025 adds up to 9. in the Supreme Mathematics the number 9 = Born which means to bring into existence or to create. As artist that’s what we do allday everyday…create. 
How did you first get into making your own music? Is this something you have always done?
I’ve always been creative and into art for as long as I can rememeber, drawing my own comic books & shit like that but music came later in life as a teenager. I got into making music listening to music and being a fan of music. Artists like Nas, Wu tang, Tupac, DJ Priemier, portishead,  etc. Where most people might be casual listeners, me and my homies growing up in philly would break songs down and lose our mind to shit we loved. I remember instances like my homie Malc borrowing his mom Dodge Acclaim without permission and the whole crew packed in the car riding out thru the city blasting Raekwon’s ‘Glaciers of Ice’ as loud as possible on some factory speakers going crazy then afterwards having some philosophical debate about who’s verse was the best. So the love of the music was the spark. I would freestyle here and there, then I started sitting down writing raps and a realized is was a great therapeutic release to get all these thoughts I had swirling around in my head out… it was a wrap after that. 
You have a really interesting style going on. It seems to be Urban with an edge something kind of futuristic. How would you describe it?
Respect… I’d like to think I got many styles tho, as for the urban futuristic stuff you’re referring to thats that 2025* sound that’s inspired by the story…as an artist you’re conveying some idea or story…I’m just in that world so im painting that picture. Its a lot of synths & electronic sounds.. its melodic, but its hard tho..heavy bass, hard drums… its moving, its cinematic, emotive. Sounds like something that would accompany some Anime film. I’m still working on getting the sound I hear in my head out.  I been working with a few producers who understand where I’m trying to go and we’re working on some ole next shit… taking pieces from things we loved from other eras but really pushing to make something new, fresh and unique…basically some 2025* shit.

 A lot of your music like your single *Digital World *tend to talk about the future and technology? How does this interest you? What are you trying to say through your music?
Basically use technology don’t let technology use u…or better yet don’t let the powers that be control you thru this dependency on technolgy. Facebook, twitter, and all that is cool and useful in connecting people but don’t forget to live. Its all a numbers game. information is everywhere and those the run the world will use everything they can to control your life. That’s one of the main themes to this film I’m working.  People are becoming robots, living virtual lives and I think we’ll truly see what’s happening in the coming years… most likely after its too late. Homework assignment: Research the Singularity movement and let me know what u think of that.
How would you describe your music?
smelling salts.. music that wakes u up.  people music, soundtrack to revolution. music that makes you think… 

Are you working on an Album? When do you think it will be out?

I am working on an album but I’m also working on a couple projects simotaneously as we speak. I have a few singles and visuals dropping from the EYE2025*CHAPTER1 project which is basically an introduction to 2025*. The next song I’m dropping is a single called “Pedalin’ which is being featured on the upcoming Bulldog Bike mixtape. The next official album I’m working on is Chapter2 to the EYE2025* saga. I’m already like 7 songs deep… I’ve had private in studio listening sessions and I’m real happy with what I got so far. I’m going even further into the whole concept of 2025*, sonically its more experimental and harder. I’m going to the UK in the fall to put the finishing touches. It should be out sometime this coming winter. While I’m out there I’m also working on a collabo EP with a producer I’ve worked with early in my career named Baby J. He’s worked with a bunch of artists out in UK including Mark Ronson, Amy Winehouse, etc. We’ve been working via skype & email already so while I’m out there we’re going to wrap up the project, start promoting it and do some shows.

Since this is primarily a fashion blog and you have a fashion point of view are there any designers that you are interested in?
For me fashion is art as opposed to a status symbol so I don’t really focus on designer labels. I know alot of dope designers here in Brooklyn that make clothes for my lady (Raye 6) like Farai Simoyi, Butch Diva, House of Good Luck, etc. As for myself  I actually get alot of my stuff from thrift stores, salvation army, vintage stores etc. I like getting fresh but my stuff is about functionality as much as its about aesthetics. Like today its hot and I’m riding my bike so I need something light with a bunch of pockets…you’ll probably see me in some cammy shorts, vans, and a tank top…simple..  I also like graphic T’s that say something powerful similar to how i like music that says something powerful. I also design my own EYE2025* Tshirts, which is an extension of the music. I got a bunch of new designs I’m dropping this summer & fall on

How much is imagine important to your work as an artist?

I guess it plays a part but I’m focused on the work itself for the most part. 

What are you listening to now on your ipod?

I actually dont have an ipod right now but on my Itunes Recently Added playlist I got a bunch of beats for projects I’m working on from producers DBoi, Baghdaddy, Jack Deezl, Roalnd Dice & Baby J, this Best of Metaphysic Revolution vol. #1 lp from my comrade & amazing producer/dj Metaphysic who recently passed away (Rest in Power), the new Raye 6 single Misstery, Meek Mills Imma Boss, InnerPartySystem, Janelle Monae, Hot Sugar, Penguin Prison, etc   

 Are there any other artists that you are interested in working with? 
Justice, Portishead, The bomb squad (Public Enemy), RZA, Daft Punk, Empire of the Sun, Tupac 
Do you have any musical icons?
That word Icon is funny but if I had to say icon i would say artist like Prince, Nas, Rakim, Jimi Hendrix, Tupac, Gil Scott Heron, Rza, Public Enemy, Gorgio Mororder…
What is the next step for you Ness?
Next step is to finish this EYE2025*CHAPTER2 LP, do shows on every continent, continue linking with like minded artist, get this film funded and shot, continue to inspire revolution 

Finally, How would you like to impact the music world? What mark do you want to leave?
I’m focused more on the world in general as opposed to just the music world. I want to see radical change. I want to see a world where people are valued more than money. people over the dollar. All this focus on making money is whats taking some of the beauty out of life. It would be dope to see a world where instead of all these  advertisements you see posted everywhere you have amazing works of ART everywhere… imagine that. 

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