The Okayplayer Interview: Georgia Anne Muldrow & Dudley Perkins On Hugging Trees & Getting Robbed

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY.

Georgia Anne Muldrow and Dudley Perkins are known individually as outspoken artists and post P-Funk revolutionaries armed with undeniable talent and unmistakable sounds.  Together they share a musical and metaphysical bond that allows them to channel the quandaries of the world through Dudley’s immensely thoughtful lyrics and Georgia’s highly coveted beats.  That unified effort has also allowed them to overcome adversity, including the loss of personal possessions and musical projects after their home was robbed in 2012.

Refusing to wallow in a moment of darkness, they returned with the Lighthouse LP.  This project marries their combined wisdom to the headnodding stank of fat chords and trunk-rattling drums; taking the legacy of cosmic slop and tweaks the bass until it’s hot enough to blast your systems into orbit.  G&D offer their latest dose of certified dope as they edify themselves in sound, educate the babies and exercise their right to orchestrate an opus that will raise the consciousness of the collective just enough to reverse the negative vibrations of the world – a mission they’ve chosen to tackle one heater at a time.  This ain’t your average flight.  This is SomeOthaShip.  Strap in and prepare to connect.

OKAYPLAYER: Can you speak on your latest project and what brought you all to this point creatively?


Georgia Anne Muldrow: Lighthouse.  We've been working on it for what, like 3 years?


Dudley Perkins: Yup.


GAM: Yeah, it's been in the works for about 3 years and really, the catalyst for us releasing the record was when our house got robbed---the computer, everything that we had.  Everything that we thought we were working on that was our newest stuff was gone and we kind of were left with the question, "What do we have?"  G&D was the first thing that we realized we had turned in and we just started actively working on getting that out.  DJ Romes came through and really tied everything together with his cuts and really made it cohesive. Thank God for him and thank God we had already sent it to somebody else before we lost it!

OKP: Would you say it became an "All we've got is us" type of thing?


GAM: Yeah.  We've been on that for a very long time.  It's been a struggle, but even moreso in this case.  Of course!

OKP: What role did each of you play in the completion of the project?  How do you tend to split up the responsibility of putting a release together?


DP: On this record, it's like any other time we do G&D records, Georgia will do production unless we do the record with somebody else.  I do the majority of the vocals because there's a lot of rap verses and Georgia will do most of the hooks.  Sometimes we've got guest appearances on there and stuff like that, but the thought process for the songs is to figure out what we're going to do, what we're working with.  We want to know what we have for each song.   With every record the plan is always just to reach the children.  Not everybody can do that, but you don't have to fall for the okeydoke.

OKP: Other than reaching the children, what kinds of goals did you have for this project?


DP: We do music, period.  This is just one chapter in the catalog and the message is needed right now.  The dark music is actually trying to go away.  Now what we're doing is going to be able to be heard a little louder and more clearly.  People are going to be able to see what we're doing.  A lot of cats are actually waking up to things that have been going on.  Their sons are waking up.  You got people like Joey Bada$$.   He's one of those guys out of all the young cats, he's one that really gets it - and then you've got Kendrick (Lamar).  He's got lyrics that make his songs really, really potent.  That’s important.  The message is the most important part.

OKP: What do you think prompted the shift that has begun to happen in hip-hop?  Why now?

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY.

GAM:(she points to Dudley) Him!  I have to say that Dudley is really the foundation for that shit.


DP: I know in California at least, that wasn't going on.  Doing weird stuff.  I never considered it weird.  I was just a drunk guy who was sad and hurt, so I did songs that were kind of weird.  Singing.  A rapper trying to sing.  A lot of people weren't doing that at that time and I know they weren't, because Madlib used to laugh at me every single time I did it.  He would be laughing and that just made me do it again.  Then you end up with a whole album.  A lot of rappers sing their own hooks now.  They're not afraid of the sing-song thing now, but for a while it was taboo unless you were someone like Biz Markie or Slick Rick or something.


GAM: Making it kind of cute.  Making it sort of funny.

OKP: There seems to be this interesting shift happening - a return to consciousness and artistry that you guys have touched on.  What do you think has sparked the change and why now?


DP: People are on what they're given.  If you're only given two things you have to pick from one.  If you're given oily air or dirty air, you need one of them.  That's the choice you've got.  So these cats have actually been asleep to a lot of stuff - especially black cats.  We're not supposed to be doing that other music.  It's not supposed to exist.  It's actually a part of the war effort and stuff like that.  It's called programming and it's called programming for a reason.  They put this music out on the radio to the people and it programs your spirit.  That's why even churches are being bought out to change their messages, because they know churches can raise vibrations, but they can't do it if the pastors don't know what they're talking about.


GAM: That's true.


DP: I always say that any pastor who does not take care of himself personally, should not be leading the people.  Any leader who doesn't lead their country to prayer shouldn't be leading the country, because that means he's just a war monger.  We've got thugs in the White House.

OKP: You've talked about this project as a continuation of your previous projects - your ever-growing body of work.  What do you think sets this project apart from the others as its own individual thing?


GAM: I think it's because our roles are more defined.  I think that when we do our G&D projects in particular, they're very superhero-oriented.  We're like, "We're not going to water nothing down!"  When we do G&D it's just the straight up uncut.  When we do other things we have our own personal stories and other separate ideas.  With G&D we're focused on figuring out exactly what we want to share with the people.  If this is the last thing we say, what is it that we want to leave with people?  What can a child be able to sing?  For that reason, our work is very intentional.  We also get really into the technological side.  We want it to sound really awesome - really clean.  I think that we always make an extra effort in mastering to make sure that our stuff sounds really over the top.

OKP: Is that something that keeps you up at night?  Making sure your production is right?

GAM: Absolutely.


DP: No sleep ‘til Brooklyn! (laughs)


GAM: Yeah!  That's exactly what it's like.  He always teases me and says "No sleep ‘til Brooklyn" when he sees me up working. It really is like that, because when the kids are up you have to help them with their homework.  You have to be with them because they want to be with you.  They require that.

DP: The creative process starts at weird times sometimes.  When you're really, really in the creative zone.


GAM: My little 4 year-old wants to sing Al Green all the time.  I have to let him sing, but once the kids are asleep that's when I usually get it in.  I have to figure out a different way of doing things. Dudley too, because we burn ourselves out trying to be everything to everybody 24 for hours a day.


DP: When you get noticed for what you do it gets difficult.  Since we've started doing the label stuff, every time I get a distribution deal I'll test it out with a new artist.  Somebody that we're building up - say Eagle Nebula.  I actually produced her first track.  I'm trying to regulate what comes out with her.  I've got a label and a staff, so this is no joke.  This is real work.  This is serious stuff.  I could smash Stones Throw right now.  That's one of my intentions - to get back some of what they owe us.  But instead of beating them down about it, let's get to them creatively.  We also want to put out a newspaper.  They can call us tree-huggers or whatever…


GAM: Definitely a newspaper.  I guess we're tree-huggers.  I talk to them.  If there were no trees we wouldn't be breathing.

OKP: With all of these things on your plate, how would you describe your long-term mission?

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY.Georgia Anne Muldrow & Dudley Perkins interview

DP: Nature creates defense mechanisms when it is threatened.  A lot of this music is threatening the universe.  The whole entire system, way past earth and down to where the heartbeats come from.  Where the key to the heartbeat comes from.  When you do that, you pull the vibration so low and people have fallen for it.  The changes in sound are even reflected in the foods we eat.  Let me explain.


GAM: Break it down, baby.


DP: Music is a nutrient.  It affects your lymphatic system.  It affects the systems of others just because you carry that bad vibration on you.  Your subconscious transfers that bad energy to other humans. The people who run the music industry don't care about our situations.  They care about making money and depressing the population by encouraging us to kill ourselves through sound and how we eat.  Sound is the most dangerous because it travels on air and air is God.  We breathe that.  So, when you're tainting music you're playing with fire.  There are a lot of references to music in spiritual books because it is a very serious spiritual thing.  That's why the FCC does regulate it.  That's why there is top 40 programming on the radio - so that they can keep the vibrations low.  If music were to change enough to raise the vibration, war would have to stop.  They have to keep it low in order to continue to benefit.  It's a great way to keep people fighting.  I've seen the true and living God.  I've sat with him, so when cats start playing with this music, I have to defend against that.  I don't play with it at all.  It makes me sick to be listening to bullshit.  People disrespecting themselves - their mothers.  That is translating to the rest of the world through the music.


GAM: Examining our story as black people, only 20% of us made it here during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.  That survival was all facilitated by sound.  Sound actually became our food and they are very keen on that.  The people who ran that system realized how important music was for us as a nutrient and began to regulate it.  This whole thing is a social experiment, so we have to take it upon ourselves as people with knowledge to refuse to be lab rats in somebody else's creation.  We have to manifest our experience instead of just accepting their poison.


DP: We're here to bring the balance.

OKP: How does that play into your live show?


DP: Our music is what we're all about.  We keep it stripped down and say what we gotta say onstage, but we do it real funky because we love music.  We love it beyond belief.  It's God.  It makes people's emotions change.

OKP: What do you have coming next?

DP: We have a big responsibility to our label, SomeOthatShip Connect.  We have this cat Mykestro.  Georgia's working with Ill Camille. Lootpack.  Jimetta RoseJ Sands.  The list goes on. Georgia's also working on her new instrumental jazz project under the alias Joyti.  The album's title is Denderah.

GAM: We both have various solo projects and are developing new artists for the label.  Dudley's got a new Declaime album titled Dr. Stokely: The Prescription.

DP: We're working on a line of t-shirts with Listen Clothing. We're also continuing our plan to raise the vibration in music.