Any of you guys who were even passively into the NY indie hip-hop of the late 90's - the days of labels Fondle 'Em, Rawkus, and basically a million and one self-pressed 12"'s - which spawned artists like Natural Elements, Natural Resource, Thirstin Howl III, and countless others - should already know of The Anomolies crew. And all of you who've heard any of their dope, rare vinyl offerings (i.e. Helixx's killer duet with Jise One, their No More Prisons 12" exclusive B-side, Apani's massive posse cut, "Estragen") are surely as disappointed as I am that they never recorded an album. Well now Invincible is finally (FINALLY!) the first Anomolies member to be coming out the gate with a new album. And from what's been released so far, she's one of those rare rap artists whose new material is as dope as when she first came out ten years ago. I got her to come onto Instant Messenger with me to talk about it.
Invincible: wutup!! I'm at Guilty's release party in the D but I can text for now and we can follow up on aim tomorrow if that's cool with u
Werner: yeah, that's cool 8)
Werner: well, i guess i'll start with the most obvious question - why, in over 10 years, has there been no ANOMOLIES album or even 12"?
Invincible: great question. We ask ourselves daily. ANOMOLIES is a crew and more than that a family. We all build regularly and support each other dreams.
Invincible:.But I think for now we all have many focuses solo wise and life wise. Big Tara is one of the illest bgirls alive and co-founded Fox Force 5 crew.
Invincible: Pri is focused on production and recently launched a female producers based networking site. Kandi is directing a play for the GABRIELA network amongst other things, and Helixx is consistently writing dope songs for various projects.
Werner: now, am I right in thinking that you at one time had a 12" deal with Rawkus at one point, and "Perfectionists" was meant to be the b-side?
Invincible: Yea wow how did you know that?
Werner: I heard that somewhere way back and kept waiting on Rawkus to put it out
Werner: So, what was the A-side meant to be? And did Rawkus just not put it out because they were starting to hit financial troubles at that point, or what was the story there?
Invincible: The story is verrrry long but to make a long story short I prefer putting my own music out for many reasons. Rawkus is definitely 1 of the reasons lol.
Werner: lol ok
Werner: did you move out to ny at that time?
Invincible: yes I moved to ny at age 17 to work with ANOMOLIES and partly to connect with the ny fam I had built over visits: Words, Guy, Gaston, What What, etc...
Invincible: I lived there for 3 years and moved back to Michigan shortly after 9/11 but that's an even longer story lol.
Werner: did the move back have anything to do with 9/11, or just happened around that time?
Invincible: definitely related
Werner: ok, i saw the new single is up for download now... are there going to be hardcopies available?
Invincible: I'm releasing the whole album officially on my label- EMERGENCE june 17th but I'm gonna have release parties in May where copies will be available. The new single is on 12"
Werner: and when's the single coming out?
Invincible: Its the title track "ShapeShifters" coming out along with album June 17th officially, May for the release parties I'll have copies available tho!
Werner: oh ok... so Sledgehammer!/In the Mourning/Looongawaited isn't the actual single? i heard there was like a CD single if you preorder the album or something?
Invincible: Oh yea I spraypainted by hand each and every one of the 200! Lol. Only were at shows for a limited time. But I'll have bonuses for preorders of course ;-)
Werner: haha cool... i havent seen the video yet
Invincible: U can see me spraying in the promo video. Big tara was filming me doing that in the freezing cold...
Werner: are you still involved in the no more prisons project? obviously, ANOMOLIES had a song on one of their first 12"'s, but years later you put out a song on Raptivism that also seemed to be about NMP (the door)
Invincible: Sorry bout that guilty is KILLIN IT. Its packed in here everyone is here Denaun Black Milk Phat Kat Royce Marvwon Monica Blaire and Jay Electronica to name a few…
Invincible: Guilty is the future
Werner: nice; no worries
Invincible: Sorry but yea Helixx and Pri did "'Lunchbreak" on nmp I did "The Door" on "The We That Sets Us Free: building a world without prisons." It was a compilation put out by jnow.org
Werner: so i take it that's something you believe in pretty strongly? what's the full idea behind NMP?
Invincible: I wasn't on nmp and not sure their vision but the main focus of jnows project isprison abolition. Building a world without prisons is much more work than just saying no more prisons.
Invincible: Its about building community institutions and ways ofliving that we need more of. Get to the root of the problem with sustainable solutions and action
Werner: so, really, you (ubiquitous you) wouldn't be focused on abolishing prisons until you've essentially built up better systems that hopefully eradicated the need for prisons, right?
Invincible: Yea but abolishing is still the goal, and at least stopping the building of more new prisons.
Werner: i remember seeing all the "no more prisons" stamps on the ny sidewalks... and being like, "well, jeffrey dahmer's not moving in with me!" and thinking: i hope the idea's a little more complicated then just "let's close all the prisons now"
Invincible: Lol yea its much deeper than that… Angela Davis has a book called "Are prisons Obsolete?" that breaks it down but basically "the ultimate critique is the solution" meaning if I know prisons
Invincible: Don't truly keep us safe (in the sense they criminalize and lock up millions and don't address the root issues) I need to work to create something better
Invincible: That quote (the ultimate critique is the solution) drives all my work and is ANOMOLIES' motto of sorts as well.
Werner: i'm surprised you guys didn't even just press up a 12" or two back in the late 90's when everybody was doing it. seemed like anomolies were in the right place at the right time for that
Invincible: yea it was really unfortunate
Invincible: We were and wanted to but u know the answer to that is so complicated I wouldnt know where to begin honestly.
Werner: did it have anything to do with being tied to exclusive label contracts (i.e. rawkus)?
Invincible: not at all
Invincible: We didn't have the loot ourselves. Labels didn't understand our sound our vision or how to market us. We are all perfectionists musically but also in business we wanted things a certain way...
Invincible: And ultimately almost all members had family responsibilities that had to be prioritized above the industry bullshit.
Invincible: We have all continued making music and grinding in the industry but we each found ways to balance that with those priorities. For me and kandi it was balance
Invincible: With our activism. With Tara it was with dance and with Helixx and Pri it was fam.(they both have sons) we are still working on solo and crew projects tho :-)
Werner: so are plans for a crew album still unlikely for a while?
Invincible: The working title was inspired by a trip the crew made to rock a show in detroit with me and we stopped by the motown museum we saw an old record called.....
Invincible: I'll keep that under wraps for now..but our working title is inspired by it its called MEET THE ANOMOLIES
Werner: lol ok so how far along is that? is it mostly recorded, or still a ways to go?
Invincible: still got a way to go. The crew appears on my album ShapeShifters on a song called RANSOM NOTES as well...thats an epic joint can't wait for the world to hear it
Invincible: the thing I love about guilty simpson is when I congratulated him about the album coming out he told me that he feels as if he's one of many talented artists in
Invincible: Detroit that have inspired him over the years and vice versa. And that his album just so happens to be ready 1st. That's the way I feel about ANOMOLIES & Detroit. So I hope my project is a launching pad for the rest of the crew and my people's in Detroit as well.
Invincible: Pri and I are performing at the trinity intl hiphop fest april 5th in hartford. The whole crew will rock at my nyc release may 8th at southpaw bklyn.
Invincible: They will also be at the allied media conference in detroit june 20-22 (hope u can make it out!)
Invincible: Which is also related to my natl release june 17th :-)
Werner: those releases are pretty far apart... when's the album generally going to be available?
Invincible: The album is coming out completely self distributed at the may release parties (il get u exact dates and venues asap) and on my website emergencemusic.net...
Invincible: Then fat beats and other store distros as well as itunes type digital distro will kick in june 17th...
Invincible: That way the true heads will have first access to it!
Invincible: Thru EMERGENCE and my album I'm testing out a whole model of cooperative economics and hiphop that will hopefully serve as a viable model for my crew & others.
Werner: what's the model?
Invincible: My model is that artists should have full understanding of their business and marketing and that those two should be as creative and full of integrity as the music itself.
Its also connected to a larger vision for community self reliance based in cooperatively run and small businesses like your bookstore :)
Invincible: I'm bout to pass out but let's build tomorrow!
Invincible: Thanks for reachin out once again! Much respect
Werner: definitely - thanks for doing the interview and answering my annoying questions :-D
Invincible: Not annoying! Best intvw qs ever...hands down!!
To be continued immediately...