Orange 9mm’s Chaka Malik breaks down every track on ‘Pretend I’m Human’ (finally on vinyl & streaming)
Chaka Malik said last year that his post-Burn band Orange 9mm would be releasing a new song and maybe playing reunion shows, but meanwhile they've been putting out reissues. Their third and final album, 1999's Pretend I'm Human, is now streaming and available on vinyl and cassette for the first time ever (order yours from Revelation or Deathwish).
To celebrate the reissue, Chaka gave us a track-by-track breakdown of all songs on the LP. Take it away, Chaka...
1. "When You Lie"
A double meaning about self discovery or self imprisonment. When you lie down to rest you have access to subconscious mind. You can hear what's troubling you beneath the surface and recognize where life is actually slowly or quickly going your way. When you're untruthful you imprison yourself by building a wall of falsehoods to hide behind. Asking the right questions (when you're untruthful) is how a manipulator turns the tables on the righteous, and engenders guilt or negative emotions in their own favor. When one realizes the power of the subconscious mind via sleep a new power is acquired. Ask the right questions before bed and wake up with inspired answers.
Toxic relationships are fun when you're young. Until they're not.
Music is a medium for connection. We've seen hip-hop become more mainstream since the original release of the record. The world is changing its face through music... Music is for the people and by the people, when we give corporations the power to drive the style, sound, and messaging of our popular music we hand over our human power. People have the ability to relate one to one, to be empathetic to each other, to understand each other. Corporations which do have a value to our society in some ways, are given too much power by consumers who abdicate their rightful position as molders and supporters of the arts. Many don't test the message of artists promoted by corporations to ensure the values resonate with a sustainable society.
4. "Touching Skies"
Being humble and reaching for the stars is the way in my opinion. Life can humble us on the way to our goals, our family, friends, and knowledge of self can help us make it through. We have to keep going, be thankful, cry, scream, pray, rest, and do it all again as needed. Shared goals and successes with friends and family make life worth while. Self awareness is the key to touching skies as you move towards your collective and individual wins.
5. "Pretend I'm Human"
Empathy must rule everything around us. The kind of empathy that allows for the supporting of useful boundaries, as well as the destruction of hate in our society. Especially self hate, or hate within a specific community. If we can tear down, or dissolve the harsh exteriors we install to protect our selves emotionally, spiritually, and physically we would see a great change in our individual reality, as well as that of our broader society.
Stuck in a relationship and being too proud to make needed changes or end the relationship fuels hate. Both self hate and hate of our partner. This hate has a palpable taste that becomes an entity in and of itself in the relationship. We expect the worst, we attempt to trigger our partner to fall into a negative script that proves we are right and they are wrong. This song carries the resonance of being stuck in love/hate, and wishing for the best/worst at the same time. It's self destructive and tragic, but once again it has its own excitement and reward in the moment. It's a low resonance reward that is not sustainable. That said the intensity of these types of interactions can be addictive and lead many to relationships that offer this type of energy.
The world can be cold. A negative event can make a positive person seek new ground from which to relate to world as a response to the pain and a desire to not be vulnerable again. It's almost a reluctant leveling up that one undergoes to handle necessary next steps. An accepting of their own power, that previously to the negative event might have seemed too hot and dangerous to wield.
"I transmit with speed, I'm acid caress... Like a viper tightening, deaf but quiet." The power of consciousness or spirit divorced from the human body might see the dimension that our third dimensional or physical body exists in as alien. Most spiritual texts speak of the eternal nature of spirit. This spirit is confined to the human experience by entering the body. Spirit knows it's true power, we as humanity are learning slowly but surely how to access the realms of awareness native to spirit divorced from the body.
9. "Tight Rope"
The child in each of us seeking the adult in each of us. We must nurture and comfort ourselves especially after mistakes and challenges in our lives.
10. "Day One"
Open to interpretation.