Testament & Illogik are…Test Their Logik


 RHHR: Tell us about yourselves. Testament: What’s good yo, I’m Testament coming to you from London (between Detroit and Toronto), Ontario Illogik: Wusup y’all, Illogik from T-Dot Canada, Toronto. T: And together we’re Test Their Logik I: Part of the Raised Fist Collective. 

RHHR: When did you guys start doing music individually and collaboratively? I: Probably about 6 or 7 years ago I started getting into producing and writing. I started feeling real inspired by cats like Dead Prez, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Immortal Technique, and at the same time there was crazy shit going down in the world after September 11th. It started opening up my mind about all types of different shit that was going down, the ruling class, the structure of society, I really wanted to communicate these ideas to people and music is one of the best mediums to do that. I got real passionate about it, I was doing that for awhile, then I met Testament. T: I’ve was writing since I was a kid, I really liked writing. I write news stories and opinion pieces for different publications and I love poetry, so I’ve been writing and practicing for a long time. I didn’t start taking myself really seriously as a hip-hop artist, even though I wrote things here and there and free-styled when I was a youth, but I didn’t really take myself that seriously until I realized that there was a lot of power that came with Hip-Hop as a form of communication that I could get these kinds of messages and this kind of information to people who might not otherwise get a chance to hear this shit. A few years ago I started writing a lot more pointed, political stuff that was really focused on creating


revolutionary mind-sets within the Hip-Hop scene. Illogik and I didn’t link-up until about a year and a half ago. Our mutual friend from Guelph (Ontario) basically set it up. I had just played a show at the Hamilton Anarchist  Bookfair and folks were into it and were like ‘you gotta do a show in Guelph’ and the same folks gave Illogik a call and told him to come down. That’s where we met up and did our first show together, it was pretty sick. It was in the backyard of a friend’s spot in Guelph but tons of people came out, it was a wicked vibe. Then we just slowly started doing more shows together and started splitting sets and backing each other’s vocals up, then writing songs together. Now we’re about to drop an album together called Test Their Logik. 

 RHHR: You mentioned some Hip-Hop influences and they’re all from ‘the States,’ who do you listen to that’s from Canada? I: I would say right now, the guy doing crazy stuff, who’s kinda in the mainstream, is K’Naan. He’s not originally from Canada (he comes from Somalia), but he dropped his stuff out of Toronto. He’s amazing, his hooks, his rhymes, the production is really amazing and his content is awesome. T: K-OS is from Toronto, there’s also Kardinal Offishall, there’s a lot of Hip-Hop in Toronto. Toronto has a big Hip-Hop scene for sure, there’s more underground and political artists like Lee Reed. I: There’s a ton of MCs out doing different things.  

 RHHR: You’re touring around the country right now, how’s it going? T: For this tour we started on January 3rd we left and drove through a fuckin blizzard, it was crazy shit. We did our first show in Memphis which was fuckin far from where we started. We drove a good 20-something hours to get to that show. Then we did a show in Oklaholma City, did San Diego. Our plan was to do a West Coast tour and originally we were planning on flying down, but we wanted to have the freedom of having our own vehicle and being able to drive it around, so when we knew we had a car we tried to set up a couple last minute things in different cities and it turned out real good.  I did a tour in April of last year on the east coast of the states. I: We both did a quick New York tour as well. T: We’ve done a bunch of little mini-tours, I did a mini-tour of the mid-west, New York state, across Canada, so it’s not like this is first time we’re out on the road doing shows, but this is a 2-month tour, so this is a pretty intense, long-term commitment. We got a show in San Francisco, and then we’re gonna be in Santa Cruz, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, we’re doing the LA Bookfair and then we’re going up to Eureka and Arcata, to the redwood forest, Humboldt State and then we’re gonna do Eugene (Oregon) and Portland and Oympia Washington, Seattle, Spokane. We’re gonna tour back to Toronto and do stops in Calgary and Saskatoon, Winnipeg, and some spots in northern Ontario. I: Were just doing a big circle around North America pretty much. 

RHHR: What’s the overall philosophy and goal of your group and your music? I: We’re trying to empower people for real. A lot of people inspired me and music was one of the ways that I learned a lot. We’re just one link in the chain, we’re just trying to carry on, the people in the past into the future, it’s all just chains, everybody is inspired by something else, so we’re just trying do that for other people as well. T: I wanna put it out there that, while there are a lot of great cats that are doing revolutionary and political Hip-Hop, a lot of the time it stays on the negative side and is like ‘this is all the shit that’s fucked up’ and doesn’t really touch into ‘this is the stuff you could be doing’ you know ‘this is what we can do to fix shit’ ‘this is what we could do to empower ourselves and liberate ourselves.’ The positive aspect of revolutionary Hip-Hop is finding what the solutions are. I think it’s real good to have a balance of both and I think we try to do that with our shows, we try not to leave people all depressed after talking about all the crazy shit that’s going on in the world, we like to tell people ‘yeah there’s this crazy shit, but this is what we gotta do to and this is what we can do.’ I: These are our lives. T: Yeah, let’s live them, let’s change this shit, cuz we have that power. Rarely people feel empowered and not feeling like there’s so much fucked-up shit and they can’t do anything. I listen to a lot of radical Hip-Hop and sometimes that’s just the way I feel cuz it just stays on a negative tip. ‘This is fucked, that’s fucked, the world is fucked’ and you’re kinda like ‘well, shit I can’t do anything.’ Where as you should be like ‘yeah, everything is fucked, but we have all this power and all this potential and we can change the whole fuckin world if we try.’ We try to leave people with that feeling that they could actually do shit. 

Testament, Stic-Man (dead prez), & Illogik

RHHR: Is Hip-Hop a powerful tool in getting that message across? What is the best way to use Hip-Hop? I: Well, there’s positive and negatives cuz a lot of Hip-Hop has been co-opted by corporations and there selling a lot of negative shit to people. Materialism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, really negative values that they’re trying to teach. Mainstream culture and the people in power were terrified of Hip-Hop when it came out. It was a bunch of African people empowering themselves in the ghetto after the ravages of the war on drugs came and destroyed so many people’s lives and they were speaking up and that terrified the shit out of the people in power. So they were like ‘how do we co-opt this and how do we turn this into something that we can use to destroy these communities.’ Then they started pushing these negative images of people, of women, pushing values of materialism and consumerism. Then people say ‘all Hip-Hop talks about is garbage’ and I’m like ‘well who plays the songs on the radio? Do the artists have control over which songs get played on the radio?’ There have always been people, since the beginning, doing positive stuff, does it get played on the radio? We can’t rely on corporations to sell our shit, we gotta push it ourselves, use the internet to get it out there to people, that’s the new way. Their system is crumbling. That old model of record labels controlling everything is coming down. T: Hip-Hop shows can be community organizing, it’s the same thing, getting people together, and then we can talk about shit. On this tour right now we’re talking about resistance to the Olympics. We’re talking about Indigenous communities and radical communities coming together and fighting these projects of capitalism and colonization. You get people together for a Hip-Hop show and then you start talking about what we can do to liberate ourselves and our communities and ways to fight the system. I: A lot of people give us so much support and respect. T: People that don’t even like Hip-Hop, because they’ve been so turned off by what mainstream Hip-Hop is, they’re like ‘if I have to hear bitch one more time I’m gonna fuckin snap.’ I: People are hungry for it, people wanna hear real stuff cuz people are dealing with real things in their lives. How much can an average person relate to somebody talking about their ‘bling,’ their mansion, all their money and ‘making it rain,’ most people are losing their houses. We’re trying to connect with people on a real level.

Check out http://testtheirlogik.com, http://myspace.com/testamenthiphop, and http://myspace.com/illtothalogik for music & more info. 


Categories: International Hip-Hop

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