Recorded over four months in Oakland, Lateef the Truthspeaker’s FireWire brings together some of the best producers in hip-hop on one album, including Chief Xcel, DJ Shadow, Dan the Automator, Somehow at Sea and Headnodic (Crown City Rockers, Mighty Underdogs). Bay Area stalwarts Lyrics Born, Del and The Grouch turn up as well, giving the album a congenial, familial feel. Lateef’s debut solo LP is coming via Quannum Projects on November 8th, 2011. In the meantime, listen to the premiere of his “Testimony” single via Wired Magazine online.
On “Testimony,” a 1970s AM radio track filtered through squelchy synths, the rapper’s reflective, poignant lyrics could double as an overall life mantra. “Somehow I stay smiling/Even with the world swirling with violence/’Cause while no man is an island/I’m still sole proprietor of what’s behind my eyelids.”
The son of two Black Panthers – his mother was a roommate of famed activist Angela Davis – Lateef was part of an anti-apartheid group at the age of 4; the same age he first hopped on a mic. After co-founding legendary hip-hop collective SoleSides (later renamed Quannum Projects) in the early ’90s, Lateef became an integral component in the Bay Area hip- hop scene, co-founding Latyrx (with Lyrics Born), Lateef and the Chief (with Chief Xcel) and The Mighty Underdogs (with Headnodic and Gift of Gab) and collaborating with everyone from Z-Trip to Fatboy Slim. 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the Quannum / Solesides family.