"Ya know how people say, love is the answer - but what the fuck is the question? Let me know..."
english/hebrew (Detroit, Michigan)
Invincible lives in Detroit…
…hold on. Before I engage in a rather ‘objective’ approach to portray another outstanding MC that doesn’t fit in any box no matter how hard I try to squeeze things, and before I engage in constructing that very box where they¹ might fit in and you carry it away, before we do that, please let me introduce Invincible with sharing some personal impressions:
The first thing that really caught my attention for Invincible weren’t actually the lyrics but their non-verbal expressions: Invincible seems to be laid back, a modest, decent fella, very present, very serious, but cheerful at the same time. And beautiful. Seriously, how can a person have such perfectly shaped, expressive eyebrows? And who doesn’t want to be hold in those hoodies *blush*…
It is that fusion of strength and beauty I am fascinated with (Sledgehammer). Of course no one is invincible. But the attitude is what counts. And the MC and the political activist who work behind that name in one persona, both seem strong enough to admit, that they are vulnerable – without ever loosing a bit of their personal autonomy or dignity. At least that is what I read in their performance (see Ropes).
…so, Invincible lives in Detroit. And that’s where they are: doing music, being a political activist in the cause of social justice and anti-gentrification as well as working in the community to support youth organization under the umbrella of Detroit Summer‘s Live Arts Media Project.
I am not on board with everything Invincible claims politically, especially not with the ‘boycott Israel’ campaign they’re supporting. But I respect them for standing their position in the debate and for the way they are speaking up for their cause. And that is why I listen: “Selective memory / convenient amnesia” is what Invincible founds symptomatic for the politics in Israel, the place where the MC spent a childhood. Many of their songs deal with that issue, while The Emperor’s Clothes and People Not Places explicitly illustrate and visualise their views in the aftermath of the Gaza crisis in 2008.
But Invincible’s political agenda goes beyond that. It is more an approach, a method than an opinion. The projects they are involved with are organized on the basis of shared ownership and responsibility: The label, Emergence Media that they co-founded and where the first album Shape Shifters was released in 2008 is a collective as well as their former hiphop group Anomolies, joined in the late 1990s.
Obviously there is a deep believe in cooperation and DIY running through Invincible’s creative aterias. And cooperation is what they provoke among other female MCs: reflected in the concept of the Born in Flames Tour with Jean Grae and also in The Revival, the award winning 17min. video-documentary that Invicible made on the We B* Girls tour through Europe they went on with Bahamadia, Roxanne Shanté, Stacy Epps, DJ Shortee and Eternia in 2008.
Almost everything Invincible does is activism and The Revival isn’t the only documentary they have realized. As another example for the typical fusion of political issues and hiphop music as a cultural movement, the docu/music video production Locusts gives a forum to personal accounts of experiences with the politics of displacement and gentrification in Detroit.
Also I was stunned by the statement Invincible made on the very music production by promoting the 7” collab with DJ Wajeed with a documentation of the very pressing process of the vinyl in the local Archer Record Pressing factory. We get where this is coming from: Invincible is about grassroots and basis. Authentic. Awesome. Appreciated. +.
Wait. something more on concrete cooperation? Yes please: I heard Ana Tijoux recalling in an interview how she was a fan of Invincible and contacted her online over myspce for a feature with the amazing result of Sube. Also the relation with Bahamadia that was obviously founded in 2008 within the context of We B* Girls seems to be working: both voices Certified in the Illvibe Collective. The list also contains Mos Def, Wordsworth, Helixx, Jane Doe and many others. [tbc]
¹ Some people do not identify with either a male or a female gender identity. the english language offers the gender neutral pronoun they if one isn’t sure about a persons gender, or cannot reveal it. This is also used as a strategy to circumvent and refuse the pressure to clearly identify within the male/female frame.
(with Artful Dodgers & O-Type Star) Laced (12”, 2001/2006)
Last Warning – the Bootleg Mixtape (2005):
3. Perfectionists ft Helixx
4. The Door
5. Morethanabattle ft. Njeri Earth
6. The Favor Game
7. Last Warning ft. Finale
8. No Compromises
9. (with Hip Hop for Respect) A Tree Never Grown
10. (with The Detroit Experiment) The Way We Make Music
11. Watch Your Posture
12. (with the Anomolies, 427 & Zion I) No Illusions
Shape Shifters (2008):
1. Emergency Call
4. People Not Places ft. Abeer
5. Spacious Skies
6. No Easy Answers
7. Deuce/Ypsi ft. Buff1, Sun & PL
8. Recognize ft. Finale
9. Ransom Notes ft. Anomolies
10. Shape Shifters
11. Ropes ft. Tiombe Lockhart
12. Keep Going ft. Wordsworth & Indeed
13. In The Mourning
14. Bonus: Locusts ft. Finale
(with the Anomolies crew) Underworld (2010)
(features Ana Tijoux) Sube (off Ana’s debut solo album 1977, released 2010)
(with the Illvibe Collective: Bahamadia and Finale) Certified (12”, 2011)
(with At Versaris & Wajeed) No Fear (2013)
(with Finale) Locusts (docu-music video, 2008):
(with Tiombe Lockhart) Ropes (2009):
The Emperor’s Clothes (2009):
[featuring Abeer & Suhell Nafar] People Not Places (2009):
(with Wajeed) Detroit Summer / Emergence (August 2010):
Jean Grae and Invincible talk the Born in Flames Tour, 2011:
interview at Democracy Now: about the social forum and the song Detroit Summer, June 2010: democracynow.org/2010/6/24/detroit_hip_hop_artist_and_activist
Invincible is sooo clever to actually document the very pressing of the Detroit Summer 7” at Archer Recorg Pressing in Detroit. I always loved to learn how the basic processes of things work. Look how the pressing plant produces the material basis of sound: summer 2010: youtube.com/watch?v=0heLrFs6O4Q
[features Eternia, DJ Shortee, Stacy Epps, Invincible, Roxanne Shanté and Bahamadia] The Revival is a 17min documentary shot and produced by Invincible on the We B* Girls Tour through Europe in 2008. Roxanne Shanté and Bahamadia are closely interviwed and talk about their impressions of the younger generation and how they look back on their own experiences in the early days. 2009: vimeo.com/8325975