The Red Menace
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The Red Menace

Band Hip Hop R&B


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The best kept secret in music


"Iraq the Vote, Euphrates & Red Menace"


I've begun counting the days to the Nov. 2 US election, reading endless articles and feeling a mix of anger, fear and disbelief trying to comprehend the possibility of Americans re-electing a figurehead as reprehensible as George W. Bush. I'm also inspired by the many ways people -- DJs, musicians and clubbers included -- around the globe have chosen to get active.

"Whether we like it or not, our economy, our everything is heavily shared with the people of America, so we have to care, we have to talk, and act," says Montreal-based MC Narcicyst of Anglo-Arabic hip-hop trio Euphrates. "This election is just as important to Canadians as it is to Americans, Iraqis, Iranians, Palestinians, Israelis, Eastern Europeans, Africans, everybody. Together, we have to fight hegemony and bring out equality." (See editorial page 6.)

Along with his production partners, Sandhill brothers Nofy Fannan and Habillis, Narcicyst plans to bring the noise as Euphrates hits T.O. for Redemption 2004, an event billed as "a night of incendiary hip-hop music" taking place on the eve of the elections. Longtime friends of Iraqi origin, the men of Euphrates certainly feel invested in the results of the vote and its implications for their homeland.

"Given where I'm from, it's like I was born with a political barcode on my back," writes Narcicyst in an email interview. "I'm a product of war and hip-hop. Both my and the Sandhills' family have lost members of our tree in Iraq at the hands of war and its corporate sponsors. We formed Euphrates to bring a representative force for Arabs in media and a positive focus to Iraq. Hip-hop has helped us deal with the marginalized struggle, stereotypical treatment and view of Arabs here. Hip-hop culture inspires me because it's a reaction, a daily revolution. It always allows discourse, and is the quintessential peacemaker in my life."

Having formed in 1998, Euphrates went on to find their place in a hip-hop community that intertwines music and politics. Their first single, "The Letter," was a direct response to the first President Bush's Gulf War, followed in 1993 by a debut album titled A Bend in the River. Hyped about next month's follow-up, Stereotypes Incorporated, Narcicyst is ready to reach out to the ever-growing audiences absorbing the music and messages of Euphrates, including the Nov. 2 gig here in T.O.

"I think it will be wonderful to have a dialogue with positive brothers and sisters as we watch which way the axis tilts politically -- to an evil, or a lesser evil," he says. "It's definitely right up our alley -- politics and music go hand in hand like Saddam and Rumsfeld."

Credit for the organizing of Redemption 2004 goes out to a man barely old enough to be in the host bar. At 19, Liam Barrington-Bush, a.k.a. hip-hop MC The Red Menace, is already a wordsmith on the rise and one helluva motivating force.

Determined to turn a "collective sense of despair about the US electoral system" into a gathering where people can "come together, watch the tallies come in, talk about the issues, have fun and pull something positive out of election night itself," Barrington-Bush has put together a stellar lineup that also includes Belladonna, DJ EfSharp, People's Republic and Justus League labelmates the Dope Poet Society.

The Marxist-Leninist-identified Barrington-Bush has been rockin' his political views on and off the mic from the age of 15, first alongside fellow MC Notes to Self, next as part of funk band Counter Clockwise Orchestra and now primarily as a solo artist.

"My rhymes are about justice and fighting on behalf of and alongside those who are oppressed, whether that means fighting against a war, economic globalization or homelessness here in Toronto," says Barrington-Bush. "I hope that when some people leave my shows, maybe they'll go off and find out more about something I happened to say in a song. I hope to be able to make music that's accessible and encourages people to think"

Clearly psyched about the potential of Redemption 2004, Barrington-Bush sees the event and his organizing as part of an ongoing musical evolution.

"Hip-hop was rooted in resistance from the beginning," he says. "I hope my voice will help make people think outside the newspaper box."

Email - Eye Magazine


Released Sept. 1, 2005
Features the single, Unarmed Robbery w/ Notes to Self

'All Riot On The Western Front' EP w/ Belladonna, Summer 2004
All tracks receiving semi-regular airplay on university and community radio across the country.


Feeling a bit camera shy


The past has shown that attempts to combine music and politics have usually taken away from the values of both. On occasion though, successful crossovers have occurred and when this fusion takes place it has often sparked fury against injustice and even served to channel mass unrest into progressive action.
Powerful voices from across the musical spectrum have helped to fuel this unrest, a growing bitterness which has been felt by so many at the criminality of the not-so-new-world-order that we find ourselves submerged in. Which brings us to The Red Menace (a.k.a.- Liam Barrington-Bush)- a new voice in the struggle, a new challenge to the status quo and a new name for a government blacklist… doing everything in his power to make sure his words become known to the world.
A follower of Chuck D and Leon Trotsky, Peter Tosh and Karl Marx, Gil Scott-Heron and Huey P. Newton, he’s also a schooled political activist, bookshelf scholar, and an emcee not to be messed with. Taking influence from all realms of life, The Red Menace puts it all together over rugged beats that will keep your head nodding from track-to-track.
Just 20-years-old and already holding more than 6 years under his belt as a writer, The Red Menace combines political consciousness with a proven credibility in his form. In recent years he has begun turning heads throughout the activist scene and the hip hop community as a solo artist, with the now-dissolved hip hop-funk band, Counter Clockwise Orchestra, and with the new live-outfit, The Establishment.
In his brief tenure as a solo artist he has shared the stage with such acts as: Jeru Tha Damaja, The Last Poets, Euphrates (SandhiLL/ Montreal), Obsesion (Cuban National Rap Agency), WARSAWPACK (G7 Welcoming Committee/ Hamilton), Offsides (ICM/ Montreal) and LAL (Public Transit Recordings), both in Toronto and across North America. For the first time in August 2004, The Red Menace hit the road, traveling across Canada for the All Riot On The Western Front Summer Tour. Since returning he has buckled-down to get his first commercial release, the UNAMERICAN ACTIVITIES 12" EP, out to the masses September 1, 2005.
With or without a band, The Red Menace’s passion for writing and unwavering commitment to justice will continue to fuel his music in the years to come. He would call it ‘real hip hop’ if the expression hadn’t become so played-out, but however you choose to classify it, you’ll know when you hear it that this is something new and revolutionary with more than just a beat to back it up.