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Band Hip Hop Spoken Word


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The best kept secret in music


New Breed of Social Consciousness

'Internal Affairs Promotes a Poetic Revolution from the Street' by Aubrey McInnis

In the last few years, local bands offering leftist political commentary have largely been situated in punk and hardcore, occasionally making it difficult to distinguish the social commentary from the loud angsty rage.

Audiences found it isn’t difficult to hear the message delivered by Internal Affairs, though. They’re an original Hiphop group with a live band and three MCs front and center. Can you hear the lyrics loudly and clearly? Definitely-as long as rapper Concept doesn’t black out.

“I forgot my lyrics onstage last night and right in the middle (of the song). I was just like –“ Jordan’s mouth gapes open in a holy-hell-I-forgot-my-own-dang lyrics sort of expression.

“And the guy down in front of me was just blasting out the lyrics to the song. As soon as I heard it, I could go back into the song and he helped me, step-by-step, through the song. Afterwards, I went to talk to him and said ‘I gotta thank you so much-I would’ve screwed up so badly up there.”

His bandmate, Femme-Shui beams with delight.

“That’s the greatest thing I’ve ever heard…a lot of the people know the words. And that’s fabulous because someone may say the words and not really think about it, but when they go home and sing it in the shower, (the lyrics) go over and over in your head and you now the words. Suddenly, you’re just like, ‘hey, this person’s talking about that.”

The average age of the members is 19, but Internal Affairs has more to say than any Swollen Members wannabe pop band. They’re diligently working towards what they’ve coined the Freedom of Mind Movement, which is characterized by the promotion of expression and the exchange of ideas, whatever these ideas may be. As musicians, they realize that they have an impression on their audience with each show, and they want that impression to be inspiring.

“The whole idea behind the movement is not attacking,” says Concept. He uses the issue of gun control as an example, arguing that people shouldn’t increase regulatory programs (or, say, spend more money to devise regulations), but should work towards changing vision.

“Like, taking away why people need guns or why people feel the need to have power over people,” he says. “Or why they feel so insecure and afraid of the world that they need to have a gun with them. Instead of regulation, we’re going for the whole new vision instead.”

His bandmate Homage concurs.
“Vision, not programs-the metaphor is a river and when you build programs and formalities, you’re just putting sticks in the river, but it just washes away. Vision is like redirecting the flow.”

If this is the beginning of a new peaceful and poetic revolution, it couldn’t have been better timing. Nor could it have a more primed audience searching for more from the world than hostility, global showboating and violence. - Calgary's Fast Forward Magazine

Powerful lyrics and an amazing sound are a part of what makes Internal Affairs succeed, but that’s not all this local Hiphop band is about. Their genuine sentiments about life are blended in poetic lyrics and a unique sound founded by the group of four: Concept, Homage, Femme-Shui and Decline.

“One thing that separates Internal Affairs from other acts is the fact that we are here for the people, period,” says Concept about what makes them unique. “We know people are listening and we will never take advantage of such a blessing.”

Homage and Concept have been writing collectively for five years. In the last year they’ve added new members Decline, and Femme-Shui who writes, plays keyboard, and sings. They are also backed by an amazing live band including PJ Miller on guitar, Warren Maaskant on drums and John Miller on bass.

“What makes us work well with one another is the vision we share. It’s pretty understood that we’re not aiming to be just another band, and that we’re not in this merely to ‘make it big’,” says Homage.

In a group that praises everything from raindrops to Gandhi, their objectives are strikingly sincere when compared with most bands these days.

“We have no ulterior motives, no silent hopes for financial gain or status, we love music and we love our fellow human beings, there really isn’t any room for anything else,” adds Concept.

Internal Affairs’ music is described in a couple of words. “Our music’s extremely honest,” says Homage. In describing their sound, Homage says they have “Hiphop styled lyrics over a combination of jazz, punk, reggae and Hiphop music.”

The group member’s varied tastes in music may be what add to their distinctive sound in their performances.

“We’ve each come from very eclectic musical tastes from Cohen to Marely to electronica, so our music naturally incorporates this variation. Similar to Jurassic 5, we’re usually the one Hiphop band punk fans enjoy, especially considering the rock roots our live band rose from,” says Homage.

They seem very determined to create a message or people to grasp and take with them. To get their message across they’ve created a non-profit organization called the Freedom of Mind Movement. The organization focuses on the group’s finer objectives according to Homage.

“In the mainstream arena, we’re hoping to turn the general attitude upside-down, without having to conform our sound or message,” says Homage.

Internal Affairs is a great band to hear live, their energy is dispersed across the whole audience.

“It feels incredible,” says Homage about the reaction they get from performing. “The response we’ve been given has been enormous and we couldn’t have anticipated more.”

Internal Affairs currently has one CD out entitled The Lost Scriptures, released last year, and another one called Sweet Home Babylon is upcoming. Internal Affairs’ next show is February 22 at The Den, tickets are five dollars, and doors open at 8pm. Internal Affairs is worth checking out, whether you’re solely into music or out to find something earnest and unique, their show promises to be one to remember.

by Carla Chichos
The Weal (Calgary) 2002 - Calgary's The Weal


"The Lost Scriptures" by Internal Affairs (2002)
"Sweet Home Babylon" by Internal Affairs (2004)
"A Brief History of Homage" by Homage (2006)
"Monsanto on the Ego-System" by Homage (soon)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Homage began as a post-911 altar ego while living a poet's seclusion on a remote Pacific Island. His music developed from a band entitled Internal Affairs, which quickly gathered strong support from campuses, indy media and music clubs alike, earning audiences from Shambhala Music Festival, to MuchMusic, to The United Nations, and collaborations with such names like Buck 65, Everlast and Cirque Deux Soleil.

Internal Affairs received unquestionable reviews as an 8-member Hiphop band that included vioin, classical guitar, turntablism combined with his lyrical stand-up narrative. Despite the group's schedule of interviews, practises and touring, Homage simultaneously hosted open mics monthly in various Calgarian cafes, with qualitative success.

Following the band's second album, Homage went on to then work with a company called Original Medicine. It was here that he applied his interpersonal MC skills required from once hosting the intimate evening atmosphere of his open mics. His "work" involved edutaining public school students through classroom visits and assembly performances to both Junior High and High Schools.

Currently, his career still focuses as a part-time workshop instructor, teaching Hiphop culture's rhythmic and improvisational poetry, known as freestyle, to Junior High children at Bragg Creek's Youthwrite Summer Camp. His central intention, however, is still performance and recording with as many varying collaborations with different degrees of intensity, as possible.

His recently recorded debut "A Brief History of Homage" includes the flavors of Internal Affairs' Decline, as well as Moneycakes, Mantra, Details, Doctor Audio, Myoke, and his brother The Fifth.

Homage is meditation away from being a mystic. A propaganda film away from being a politician. A crucified friendship away from being ignorant, and still a Buddhist Christian seeking Islam through Hinduism. Pleasure to meet you.