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Monday, Jul 14 2003 | 21:21

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I had to find out why I was feeling this way. Something drew me to a church for a year, praising and everything, but I felt like I wasn’t really embodying this. I walked away from the church, but it wasn’t because I was denouncing Jesus. I just think Jesus was a normal man who had achieved light, like Buddha. So I searched through ancient Buddhism, cleared my chakras and stuff, opening my heart. Buddha popped up, and was like ˜yo, wassup!’, and was happiness and joy. But Buddha became a want. Then one day I got the knock. I was in the shower and I broke out into song. He came to me and said ˜leave Buddha, that happy fat dude, who you think gave you those songs?’ That night, He came through my flesh. I knew it was him; I read accounts of what it was like, and all of them had the same kind of thing. I was rubbing oil in my girls foot, and something came over me, y’know. I felt like I could see myself as the walls could see me. There were tears from my eyes. For a second I had a feeling I’d never had before in my life, greater than anything I’d ever felt. A feeling of content with all, but then pain, crazy pain, my soul was like crying out. My words were not my words. Then I stopped. I’d seen the light. My eyes were bloodshot red, and I said ˜now I know why Jesus’ eyes were bloodshot red, crying for the whole pain of the world’. That’s where my pain came from, and still does. I can’t watch kids blowing up the world, it makes me real crazy, I’m like what the heck are you doing? But then the love takes over, and all I can do is give them love. I wish I could touch every single one of them and say, come on yo, let go of the pain.

I met Dudley Perkins, AKA rapper Declaime, to talk about A Lil’ Light, his new soulful excursion produced by Madlib. It’s an album from the heart, and his untamed vocals have gained comparisons, such as ˜Erykah Badu on acid’, which I set out to ask him about. This was not to be. We briefly touched on how Flowers came about after a weeded night with Madlib and Peanut Butter Wolf. His previous labels wouldn’t let him produce the messages he wanted to. He would only collaborate with other artists if they could ˜tangle with their soul’. He likes performing to gang-bangers, and other ‘real’ people, and he also likes ‘negative’ rappers if they are being artistic. He likes to do soothing music as it goes to the heart faster – pop just bounces off the body. His new album ˜changed his mother’s face’ when she listened to it. But this is only the tip of the interview’s iceberg, its barmy, undirected nature deserving of a full transcript. Given the size of this article, that’s not going to happen.

For the most part Dudley’s face is a picture of fear as he flits between his thoughts on God, so when he laughs its incredibly relieving (I gave up trying to direct this interview just over halfway through). He tells me with great passion of how his music changed after he got the ˜knock’, and how now it’s his job to let people know God’s coming. His newfound singing voice is a gift from the angels, a gift for the rest of the world. He˜s recently met his soul, and recommends I do the same. If he makes any money, he intends to get his army together and feed hungry kids. Underlying all of this is his frustration with the state of the world and a deep-rooted desire for all people to love and respect each other, a belief I can wholeheartedly share, if not voice in the same way. He talks at length of how the last days are coming, once God returns to a messed-up house, and how people will only be saved by universal love. He also keeps returning to how he’s still fighting darkness – desires, anger, imprisonment¦

I see darkness coming. I told my baby’s momma, be careful round me. I can’t eat right now, my mind is chatter-boxed up. I had some pretty thoughts, clear thoughts, for a minute, I still do. I haven’t come through the darkness yet. On this album, I asked a big thing when I recorded, for God to ˜give me the pain of every single being on this Earth’. And maybe that’s what the darkness was; maybe they thought ˜he ain’t that strong, he hasn’t even walked the walk yet’, so they attacked me beyond, they get me right now.

The intensity of the interview, the summer heat and his weed smoke culminate to make it a relief when it’s over and I can find some water. But I’m pleased when he tells me he’s learnt something through our conversation. And when he tells me we will meet again, I strangely look forward to it. Dudley Perkins is on a journey, and I wish him the best of luck.

Assignment: Mike Chandler

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