Dead Prez Protest outside the Democratic Convention

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 JEREMY SCAHILL: Perhaps more than any candidate in history, Barack Obama has seen an impressive array of celebrities line up to support him. Many of these figures are flying into Denver to cheer on Obama, as they have with high-profile advertisements.

The Brooklyn-based political hip-hop group dead prez was not among those artists invited inside to perform at the DNC, like Kanye West, Wyclef Jean and Black Eyed Peas. But the duo of M1 and is here in Denver performing at rallies and evening political gatherings. And they seemed right at home among the crowds in the Denver streets.

M1: Their political objectives are limited, and we know that they are surface, surface. We’re looking at a government who’s a paper tiger and someone who wants to participate in a paper democracy.

JEREMY SCAHILL: What do you make of this major embrace, as it seems, not just of hip-hop, but the whole entertainment industry, of the Obama camp?

STIC.MAN: It’s lack of understanding, the lack of political clarity, you know what I mean? And it’s marketing, you know what I mean? It’s like Barack is hot. He’s, you know—he’s the [blank] right now, so throw him on your jacket, you know what I mean? And, you know, it ain’t really deep. It’s just people riding the wave, you know what I mean? And that’s what hip-hop is being used for, is, you know, to sell products, to sell [blank] to us, stuff [blank] down our throat that might not necessarily be good for us. So some of the hip-hop people, you know, who do hip-hop, and this is our culture, we have to speak from the vantage point of people who want real power. And hip-hop is part of that. Barack wouldn’t even be in the position he’s in without the support of hip-hop. You know, and we—

JEREMY SCAHILL: So are you guys going to vote?

M1: Hell no.

STIC.MAN: Yeah, yeah, I’m going to vote.

M1: OK, cool.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Who are you going to vote for?

STIC.MAN: I mean, I’m voting with my art.

M1: Yeah.

STIC.MAN: I’m voting with my participation in rallies like this. I’m voting—you know what I mean?—in raising my son, you know what I mean, to recognize the truth about this system. I’m voting in so many ways, I don’t even got time to go to the booth in November.

M1: I’m voting for Mumia Abu-Jamal. Free ’em all. Feel me.