Prisoners of War
Since stepping into the game several years ago as Sun R.A., Sun Rise Above has never lost his artistic vision. Even as hip hop has become more heavily commercialized, with songs about disrespecting women and bragging about excessive riches becoming increasingly prominent, veteran musician Sun Rise Above has stood fast to his original artistic vision, pioneering his own genre of revolutionary music called 'Hiphopraganda.' After dwelling in the underground for a few years, Rise Above officially broke onto the scene in 2003 with his debut album Global Warning. The soulful, and at times dark album made Sun's critical views of capitalist society available to a large audience for the first time. The album was accepted by fans and critics alike. Album promotion efforts included live performances throughout the United States as well as appearances on several college and independent radio stations -- many accompanied by close friend and collaborator 7Wounds. Always political, critical, and thought provoking, the Sun doesn't only shine light on the problems, he also presents solutions. On his 2005 release This Means War!, Rise Above found himself taking an even more outspoken stance than before, while obviously evolving musically. Songs like 'Upside Down,' 'In America,' and the title track 'This Means War!' make this clear. In 2007, Sun released a mixtape of collaborations, greatest hits, and near misses, entitled Blood In The Streets, which was boldly labeled 'Hiphopraganda.' When asked about this label by an interviewer the artist replied, 'It's a new genre, and the only thing that can describe what I'm doing.' 'When I first started doing this, hip hop was what mattered, and I was just mixing in some politics,' he continued. 'But as I progressed, politically, hip hop took a back seat, and I viewed my music as just another realm of political work; of building for revolution. So, whereas I was making political music before, I am now making musical politics.' Over the years, Rise Above's musical mission has been assisted by a fresh crop of producers from around the world including 7wounds (Maryland), Rendesten (Denmark) - who Sun R.A. describes as 'A straight up prodigy' and KP (Finland). Lyrically, few can express their views like Sun Rise Above. On the innovative concept song 'Dollar Bill' from his Prisoners Of War album, which was originally re-released after being earlier slated for international release on Paris's Guerrilla Funk label, Sun rhymes from the perspective of money, boasting 'I move from man to man, hand to hand, land to land, I'm filthy / used to melt me in the old form of gold, I moved on / to paper currency, now I'm the only paper that you care about / numbers tattooed on my back track my whereabouts.' On the eerie 'Dednim Lanimirc' (Criminal Minded spelled backwards), from his Global Warning album, Rise Above speaks from the perspective of perpetrators committing horrifically violent crimes. 'Stars and Bars' from the same album perfectly exemplifies Sun's metaphorical skill as he describes the 13 stripes in the American flag as Bars 'that imprison the mind.' Displaying his versatility, Global Warning's 'Down 4 Revolution' finds R.A. spitting over a soulful track that guarantees to have even the stiffest cat in the place nodding their head, while on 'Customs' from This Means War!, he flips the 'Ima Hustler' beat and rhymes from the perspective of the often-forgotten drug users and smugglers. With a collection of banging beats and thought provoking lyrics, Sun Rise Above is in the best musical shape of his life, and is determined to make his music known worldwide. 'I just want to be heard. I have something important to say, and it deserves your attention. Once you hear it, I hope it inspires you to take action.' As he said in the song 'On The Block' from the first United Front album with 7Wounds and Lazarus, 'The revolution is coming as soon as we open our eyes up!'