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Triple Darkness is the umbrella under which MCs Nasheron, Melanin 9 and Cyrus Malachi collaborate: a tight affiliation of these three gifted MCs and several producers, including the UKís two finest exponents of boom-bap beats and breaks; Beat Butcher (Halal Beats) and Chemo (Kilamanjaro). Disdaining empty gun-chat and gangster posturing, Triple Darkness instead choose to drop science in the form of gritty, unflinching urban narratives and hidden, esoteric and lost knowledge. As the sleeve notes to their new LP ĎAnathemaí state Ė

ďThe meaning behind it all is to reawaken the people who suffer from historical amnesia and make them remember how knowledgeable their ancestors were and the wisdom they possessed.Ē

Drawing on the teachings of Nuwaupu founder Malachi Z. York, and their own deep and intensive studies into African history, they disseminate knowledge in their rhymes in an effort to shine a light into the darkest corners of hip-hopís sometimes ignorant modern cultural form. Citing the greats of hip-hopís golden era, such as Wu-Tang Clan and Public Enemy, they have no time for the soulless, bling obsessed, chart-jockeying financial behemoth that mainstream hip-hop has become.

There is no doubt about it Ė Triple Darkness mean business, and fake MCs and DJs should quake in their boots when they hear the name. On the eve of the release of ĎAnathemaí, an album led by the duo of The Heresy, I talked to Cyrus Malachi about Chuck Dís three favourite subjects: Rap, Race and Reality.

How did the Phalanx Heresy begin?

Heresy started in very late 02, early 03Ö no, in fact no, it was mid 02 we started. We formed from a mutual love of hip-hop. Weíd kick rhymes and spit rhymes, but it was more on a hobby level. We were younger then, we were just starting out, and we used to kick rhymes together for fun, but as that progressed we started to see a certain kind of vision that we both wanted to follow. Even though we were both a lot younger than we are now, we were both thinkers. We thought a lot: we had a lot of thoughts on different issues and whatnot, and we both had the same spiritual inclinations. We had the same views on society and history, and on different cultural elements as well as hip-hop. We were both into what we call Ďauthenticí hip-hop, none of this clubby bullshit. We were into the essence of it, thatís how it all started out.

I saw a clip on YouTube of you and Nasheron MCing on the street.

Is that something you used to do regularly, going out and battling other rappers and so on?

Iím not sure when [the video] was [filmed]. Going back to the old tunes, that was when Heresy was a fledgling kind of thingÖ The film might have been taken when we were a little bit more into it, and taking it a bit more seriously. But originally it started as us two being long-time friends who shared the same views on life and hip-hop; and we wanted to make our own hip-hop. We were like, ĎLetís create, letís be creative, letís do this.í So we started ciphering together, making bars together, making our first tunes, whatever.

You mentioned the pre-packaged Ďclubby bullshití of mainstream hip-hop Ė do you feel that a lot of commercial artists make hip-hop which is in some way empty, or soulless?

Personally, I feel thereís a real agenda behind that, you know? Even like, the EMF frequencies [of club hip-hop]Ė when you keep hearing the same thing, thatís telling you something. Itís widely known that everything has its own vibration. Everything is vibrating. Even the table Iím sitting at now Ė it looks very dense and solid, but itís vibrating, it has a frequency. If you put it under a powerful enough microscope, youíll see it in its liquid state: itís all atoms, vibrating against each other. Words and thoughts have form Ė and we are aware of this. When you keep hearing that same message, youíve got to overstand that those words being spoken by those MCs, theyíre vibrating on a certain level. Iíve heard that the message we are hearing from those types of MCs is vibrating on a very low level Ė it deals with the lower self, the lower aspects, the base chakras. Beastly type things, instinct things, you know Ė Ďeatí, Ďfuckí and Ďshit.í Weíre much more complex beings than that Ė we have a multiplicity to us. Hip-hop is being used by certain world agendas, I feel. Theyíve looked at hip-hop, which was originally quite dangerous music to the establishment Ė take certain old school tunes, or even stuff like Ice Tís ĎCop Killerí Ė they were scared. Or Public Enemy Ė they were worried. Wu-Tang Ė they were worried, you know? They were like: ĎThis could be serious.í

Through the ages, through certain agendas pushed through by certain [music industry] CEOs, basically the heads of this shit, who donít allow the real essence out into the public arena, they have managed to change what hip-hop was and transform it into something completely different. And this thing theyíve transformed it into, itís not helpful. Itís not going to help the youth to elevate or see any kind of perspective. I mean, Iím on the spiritual path that Iím on because of hip-hop. Certain things I heard back in the golden era from certain groups; that made me want to know more about myself, to get knowledge of self. Knowledge of my people, my history. Our spiritual history, our architectural history, our mental history. Knowledge of this world, the universe and how it was created, going back to before certain dogmatic books such as the Bible and the noble Koran, going further back, you know, really searching oneís self. It was hip-hop that put me on that path, but the kind of hip-hop that you hear today isnít going to put a young God on that path. Itís going to get a young God on a bang-bang mentality, and thatís about it.

Real hip-hop has many elements: verbal wordplay, metaphors, your style, your speed, your essence. Knowledge and spiritual depth Ė itís all elements, just like hip-hop was originally composed of different elements with the graphing, the B-Boys, MCing... Rapping itself has different elements. But rappers today, they lack it. Theyíre all following a certain language, a language which I feel, in a sense, is a government-imposed language. A music which was once dangerous has been tamed and negated, to the point where Iím just saying, ĎWhat is this shit?í It hurts my ears Ė itís all screeching, time-stretched vocals. Itís not natural, itís very soulless. What Iíve found is that real music Ė no matter how much they try and keep it down Ė when people hear real music, I mean the essence, the first precedentÖ I mean, people whoíve heard our music, people from all different spectrums, they are touched. From youths on the street, to older people, they hear it and theyíre like: ĎWoah, man.í Even if they canít fully grasp it, they hear it and they say: ĎThatís some powerful shit, thatís no joke.í

Melanin 9 said a similar thing to me, that for one thing it was hip-hop music that set him on his spiritual path, and also that a lot of modern hip-hop sends a negative message to the youths that listen to it. It seems like for all of Triple Darkness, it begins and ends with hip-hop as a pure form.

For us, itís many elements, not just our love of hip-hop. Itís not just hip-hop that informs our music. There are many other views that go into the music we make: spiritual views and outlooks, things that we have learned from certain teachings. Things weíve been dealing with in our own studies. That was the whole idea at first, we wanted to fuse those things together with our love for hip-hop. I mean, we didnít just step out one day and spit like this. Certain people donít even know what we have got to offer. Theyíve heard ĎHigh Fidelityí [Melanin 9ís debut LP], obviously they know the power of Melanin 9, and theyíve got a little inkling of what he can do, and what I can do, and what Nasheron can do. But when they actually hear what weíve got to offer as Triple Darkness, theyíre gonna know what has hit them, and that this ainít a joke. The new stuff thatís coming from us, ĎAnathemaí, and from Melanin 9, itís off the chain.

When I first heard Melanin 9 he blew my mind, because as far as Iím concerned he was the only MC who was putting that much intellectual thought into his work. And also structurally Ė heís a very technically proficient rapper. I get the same vibe from yourself and Nasheron. Do you think people are ready to accept the kind of hip-hop that youíve made with ĎAnathemaí, and the lessons youíre trying to teach?

At the end of the day, we are not taking a preachy standpoint. Iím not standing on a pulpit. First and foremost, we are trying to show the people we descend from - which is Nubian people - that thereís more to life, and to existence, and to their past than what they are living now. I mean, no-one can get away from the fact that black-on-black killing is rife right now. Thereís a lot of black devils out there, and a lot of elements that comprise that whole sad situation. A lot of that comes from misguided thought and misdirected energy.

If someone has knowledge of self, and knows where they are truly coming from, I feel that will have more of an effect. These youths donít know nothing. Iím out here, and they donít know shit Ė all they know is 50 Cent. They donít know about the pyramids, about the Temple of Hathor [built by emperor Ptolemy VI of Tama Re, the original name for ancient Egypt], about the Dendera, the first ever Zodiac, that predates all the other zodiacs and was the first mapping of the stars and constellations. They donít know about Sirius, the Dog Star, or the ziggurats, our involvement in early AmericaÖ they donít know about these things. They are very lost, closed-minded people.

As well as that, there is the issue of their health. Thatís another thing thatís attacking us. We didnít really get to cover that on ĎAnathemaí Ė we had to focus on certain topics. But in future releases, we will focus on the issue of health, because that is killing us right now. Food Ė food has so much to do with how the mind works. The health of our people is disgraceful, because we are forced to live in these slums, with fried chicken on every corner; greasy food, Chinese food Ė which Chinese people donít even eat themselves! Ė swimming with Monosodium Glutamate. The sugar levels of our people are very high, too. And food affects the balance and the equilibrium of the body, it allows you to focus, or keeps you from being able to focus. Itís another war on our people, and by extension it is a war on all people. It starts with our people, because thatís where we are coming from, you canít forget your roots. Your roots are where youíre coming from, and if you forget that, youíre lost in this world. But itís a war on all people, on their health.

I feel generally that the Nubian youth are very very lost out here in these slums. Theyíre falling into more traps and stereotypes than ever. Hip-hop, deep down, is not a natural music Ė itís comprised of samples. Apart from some revolutionary groups like The Roots, who use live instrumentation and organic music, which is lovely to see, most hip-hop is not organic. Natural organic music, the true essence, would be something like African drumming and Sudanese guitar. But right now, this is the tool we have. The youths are going to listen to hip-hop regardless, so itís a very useful tool, and Iím going to try and use it to teach.

I hesitate to use the words Ďconspiracy theoryí, but do you think that this lack of self-knowledge has arisen by design?

Iím not going to cop out and stand back and blame the universe. Itís our fault as well. Weíre not mobilising, not currently doing certain things which could help us get out of this mess, or work towards that. At the same time, itís an undeniable fact that the odds are stacked against Nubians because of the wrongdoings that have happened to us. Transatlantic slavery, the Arab slave trade, the constant invasion of our motherlands Ė not just by Europeans, but by the Arabs, the Indo-EuropeansÖ Our history is one of almost constant pillaging and robbery.

I mean, look at how many obelisks you find around Europe. Go to London and look at Cleopatraís Needle. Itís one of the original obelisks, given by Mark Anthony to Cleopatra, and then taken by the British. Ask yourself, why donít they just reconstruct obelisks around Europe, like the Washington monument? The reason is that there are certain spiritual energies that resonate from these objects. They have a certain power. And thatís why: there are so many obelisks which have been taken, stolen from Egypt, and brought to Europe and placed in churches and cathedralsÖ you have to look at why this went on.

You have to know about Freemasonry, the Luciferian code, the Rosicrucians, the Knights Templar- these secret societies, like the Order of the Golden Dawn, the IlluminatiÖ the list goes on and on. I have a very in-depth overstanding of things like Freemasonry. I donít just hear it and run amok. Certain parts of their rituals, like ĎJubel and Jubeloí, the story of the three Ruffians Ė these are all plagiarised from earlier Egyptian-era stories. Masonry itself is plagiarism. Someone has taken all of our symbols and parts of our doctrine, and superimposed their own subjective destiny upon it. In my opinion, that is oppression: and not just oppression of Nubians, theyíre oppressing their own people as well, because right now the whole world is under that oppression. Itís a global agenda, but for me, first and foremost, itís the Nubian agenda that needs to be focussed upon.

Like I said, I tackle the destiny and the history of the Nubian people because those are my roots, thatís my movement. It ainít conspiracy. This is real life. The first time you had implanted microchips talked about transglobally on TV was 2001. Itís now 2008. If Iíd have said back in the nineties that people would be getting microchipped and tagged by the government back then, people would have called me a nut. If Iíd have suggested that it would be possible to make a smart card, hooked up to databases, that contained all your personal information so you could be tracked at all times, Iíd have been called a nut! But this is coming true.

Iím tired of all that conspiracy theory bullshit, people need to wake up to whatís happening. When Marshall Law is declared, Iím not trynna be here. Iím gonna make my mark and leave. Iím gonna go back to my roots, my motherland. Find a nice piece of landÖ I mean, itís not all war torn. Our vision of Africa has been distorted, itís not all hell. Thereís places where you can build. Certain organisations that I deal with, like Nuwaupu, or Right Knowledge, theyíve got people over there right now in the Gambia, building. This is complex, we could be talking for hoursÖ thereís definitely a world wide agenda.

I get the sense that you feel there are two sides to this Ė that although technology is quickening and the world is perhaps becoming more apocalyptic, there are still people building, thereís still hope, and itís a question of acquiring the right kinds of knowledge. Will the world get worse before it gets better?

Thatís one thing Iíd like to address. I saw certain reviews of Melanin 9ís album which talked about how apocalyptic his words were. But weíre bringing realism and reality. Iím a very positive person, I have very positive views of my people and how they can progress, and also how the world can progress. But at the end of the day, Iím not going to wrap myself in cotton wool, when all kinds of diseases and biological warfare are out there, being waged on people. Like I said before, through peopleís health, through certain medicinesÖ war is rife, the whole mindstate is crazy. All these kinds of things are going on.

Look at the world Ė itís at its peak, its zenith, in terms of violence. The world is drenched in sin. No-one can deny this. Iím not gonna pretend itís all good. Itís a brutal, cold, unfeeling world, and Iím not going to lie about that. The foundation of our movement was to tell the truth, the cold truth, whether people want to hear it or not. But you will always detect a positivity in our stuff if you listen closely. The underlying message is: use this knowledge. Share it with others. Use the knowledge and over time, you will acquire wisdom. This wisdom might just help you navigate yourself and your people out of this mess. Weíre not fatalistic, pessimistic Ė Iím being real. If you want to class that as apocalyptic, do so, but thatís the truth. The world is crazy right now.

Have other MCs and musicians responded well to the fact that youíre trying to do something with depth and meaning, rather than pursuing the club-based success of commercial hip-hop?

To be honest with you, I have never had a negative reaction from people when it comes to our music. I mean, I canít name names, but I know of instances where our music has been given to guys who are into some really heavy gun shit, and theyíve heard our stuff, and even theyíve been like: ĎThis is BAD! This shit is sick!í There are many elements to it, but our music is powerful and no-one can deny that. I feel like all kinds of stratas of society have heard our stuff, and theyíre all feeling it, feeling the message. Iím all about real music, the essenceÖ I mean even singing, singing is fucked right now: pre-packaged artists like Rihanna, itís just bullshit. Itís crap, thereís no soul in it. Iím all about real music Ė music that reaches out and touches people and inspires them. Because music is very powerful. Itís a way of projecting and manifesting the naked soul, without predispositions and cover-ups. The closest we can come to expressing our connection with the divine is through music, and it shouldnít be used and abused like it has been.

When it comes to this rap ting, every man and his dog is trynna spit right now. Hip-hop is an artform. Just like if I tried to pick up a physical paint brush tomorrow and try and duplicate the works of Monet or Van Gogh, or even ancient African art, I couldnít do that. It wasnít meant for me to be that, so I leave it alone. I use that metaphor for hip-hop. If you canít paint, if you donít know how to do this aesthetically, lyrically, leave it the fuck alone. Thereís a lot of rappers destroying this, because they canít do it. I challenge people, come to my crew. Lyrically, you canít fuck with us. Lyrically, itís over. Weíve spent time mastering this craft, and we have become double-edged swords. ĎA Thousand Cut Tortureí [from ĎAnathemaí] Ė the whole concept of that tune is verbal swordplay. If you canít match that, leave it alone.

Iím not gonna stop. Iíve been given this mind for a reason. The people around me are very unique, and blessed with the ability to think outside the box, and see beyond this illusion. This is all an illusion that our mind allows us to see. There are different densities, and within those different densities are different levels of existence. This is just one plane. You get too caught up in this shit, and thatís when things start going down for you.

There are nine planes of existence, and this is the plane of desire Ė which is why everyone is always desirous of something. Iím not out here trying to take the role of a holy man. Iím not a holy man. I could fall Ė and have fallen - victim to certain ills of this world. But Iím trying. Iím trying to better myself, Iím trying to live right, eat right: to not eat cheese which is full of mucous, or drink milk, which is basically a bottle of mucous. And blood meats, highly concentrated in blood, which bring out the beast in us, Iím trying to eat right Ė eat fresh vegetables, and fish, and brown rice. Iím trying to treat people how I want to be treated. Iím trying, but itís difficult. Itís a struggle, but Iíve got to keep doing it, keep struggling. Youíre not gonna see me in two years on some fucking soldierboy shit. You ainít gonna see that. Triple Darkness, The Heresy, Melanin 9 Ė we stand for truth, and the essence of hip-hop, the art in its true form. Itís a formidable force, and thatís why weíve never had a bad comment. Because when the artform is represented in its true state, you canít chat shit. It doesnít matter how dumb you are, how stupid you are, you gotta humble. Thatís bold. Thatís what we represent. Weíre coming, and nothingís gonna stop us. There might be obstacles, but life ainít easy. Thatís the essence, and thatís who we are.

[After our interview finished, Cyrus Malachi called me back to discuss in greater detail some of the ideas and people he had mentioned, specifically the controversial figure of Malachi Z York, founder of the Nuwaupu movement. Currently in prison for a crime his followerís say he did not commit, Malachi Z York was allegedly framed by the US secret serviceís notorious COINTELPRO division, and locked away because of the supposedly Ďdangerousí ideas he disseminated.

Cyrus warned me specifically to avoid believing anything I read about York on Wikipedia, and I have made an effort to provide alternative links which tell Yorkís (and his followers) side of the story. Cyrus also wanted me to emphasise that he is first and foremost a student of Right Knowledge among many other doctrines and teachings, and that his interest in the Nuwaupu movement was a result of his own long and intensive studies into his Nubian heritage and roots. His interest in Nuwaupu is shared by many legendary hip-hop figures, from Gang Starrís Guru, to members of the Wu-Tang Clan, to Afrika Bambaataa. Weaponizer encourages itsí readers to seek out non-mainstream sources of information about York and Nuwaupu, rather than simply believing the hype disseminated by sites such as Wikipedia and the top-listed Google-search sites.]

We were trapped in religion as a people, so Malachi York took us through the degrees. He gave us Christianity, went through that degree. He gave us Mohammedism, or Islam, and took us through that degree. He gave us Judaism, took us through that degree, and then moved into Right Knowledge, which is based on the teachings of Tama Re, the original name for ancient Egypt, and is the source of all that knowledge.

All these religions, the source of it is Tama Re Ė even Christianity, if you research it, you will find its source is in Tama Re. Itís just been plagiarised Ė so many things like the idea of Jesus, the holy trinity, Mary, the holy ghostÖ If you go back to Tama Re, youíll find Ashe, who the Greeks called Isis, and Asar, who the Greeks called Osiris, and Heru, who the Greeks called Horus Ė and thatís the original trinity, one of many trinities in Ancient Egyptian belief. These trinities were all different ways of interpreting the source of the divine. But these trinities were plagiarised and copied, these stories, these realities were all distorted in the Bible. Going back to Sumerian beliefs, itís a common misconception that Sumer was the original society where some of these stories originated, but Sumer was an offshoot of Tama Re. It all stems from one culture.

Take the story of the great flood Ė thereís an identical story which predates that by one thousand years. If you look at the story of Moses in the Bible, heís holding the Ten Commandments and has a staff with a serpent entwined around it. Thereís a parallel there with a much older tradition in ancient Kemet [another name for Egypt] where you have Tahuti holding a similar staff, and in the other hand the tablet of the forty-two laws. Itís all been copied.

Nuwaupu deals with the source: itís an undeniable fact that the Nubians who moved up into the Nile delta are the people who produced these civilizations. Even before I encountered Nuwaupu, I studied other doctrines and other historians like John Henrik Clarke, who taught about the origins of black civilization. So we speak about a lot of different knowledge that we have acquired in our own studies Ė itís not just about getting information from one source.

'Anathema' is out on 28th April on Higher Heights.

Video for the song 'Amathema':

More info:

A video about Nuwaupu

Allegations about Malachi York's movement on the 'Montel' show

Triple Darkness on MySpace:

  • Triple Darkness

  • Cyrus Malachi

  • Nasheron

  • Melanin 9

  • Beat Butcha

  • Chemo

  • Many thanks to Charlee B at Vision for his assistance in putting this article together.

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