The Red Power Mixtape is a whirlwind of resistance music. Che Christ is no stranger to backlash, since he is named after white icons and raps in Lakota, Spanish, and English. Before judging Che Christ, consider that sometimes icons must be destroyed for ideologies to survive. “You’re the great white hype, but Eye believe in the Wakan,” Che Christ self-reflectively raps in “New Spirit (Peace & Harmony)”.
Che Christ was born in the desert lands of his Pipá and Quechan (Colorado River Tribes) ancestors. Raised on traditional teachings, bird songs, a high respect for the land, and a steady diet of underground hip-hop, Che Christ maneuvered the inner-city streets of Phoenix, using his words to combat the oppression around him. His ancestors demanded traditional knowledge be kept a secret, so Che Christ is challenged to find a way to share the lessons he grew up with.
Nearly a decade ago Che Christ first made his way to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, finding a solution to this moral dilemma in the universal messaging of Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way). Each song on The Red Power Mixtape sounds like an essay about Indigenous resistance to colonial genocide, peppered with cultural references, and served with a hip hop aesthetic. If that doesn’t make sense to you, just know that Che Christ keeps it real Red Nations.
Sampling the voices of Debra White Plume, Leonard Peltier, John Trudell, and Assata Shakur among many more revolutionaries, Che Christ shows respect to those whose sacrifice has kept the resistance movement alive. “Tupac Amaru, Tupac Shakur, Doña Lola, Angela Davis, Dolores Suerte, y Lolita Lebrón,” are a few shout outs in “The Rebel Song”. The colonial institution teaches a white-washed version of history, and The Red Power Mixtape helps re-indigenize the collective perspective. “Peace to all those souls of all those who never rest but now reside inside the fire inside our eyes like the horizon at night. We paint the sky beautiful, and then we turn out the lights.”
Genocide is a many-headed beast, constantly growing and changing form. Che Christ is no Hercules, but he has a gift for exposing the flaws inherent in the colonial system. Since Red Nations peoples are the land, environmental racism is a main theme of The Red Power Mixtape. Thanks to chem-trails now people everywhere are exposed to toxic waste, groundwater and food sources are disappearing, and water wars are brewing.
At the same time, Che Christ studies the prophecies, finding hope within and strength in the voices of grandmothers. “I’ve lived my life to help them learn that they’re beautiful Lakota people, and that is something worth fighting for,” says Debra White Plume in “NDN R.A.P. (Rebels Against Pipelines)”. Industry gives the people cancer. Our ancestors seldom if ever had to deal with cancer, without any carcinogens in the environment.
“How can hope be lost, when that’s all we truly are?” asks Che Christ in “The Red Dawn”, an homage to the Lakota way of loving together forever. Agape with love for Mother Earth and Sacred Water, Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way) will “back down for nothing, but we’ll stand up for everyone.” A time is coming when Mother Earth will purify to “stop this plague of oppression and colonial symptoms.” Dreaming of dreaming for living beings, Che Christ chants: “Bring the sun that keeps on burning like Grandmother’s good loving.” Solar power and slash-and-burn agriculture worked for many of our ancestors. “Red Dawn will turn the sky blue,” states Che Christ in “THreats!”
Che Christ encourages listeners to re-indigenize rather than decolonize. Re-indigenizing begins by finding purity within and burning away internalized structures of violence. “The Renaissance outside the tenements is evidence that god exists inside the rest of us.” That is the true message of Jesus Christ, and Che Christ does not have the time nor patience to deal with Christian dogma. “From sea to shining sea they say the genocide is coming,” so Che Christ carries on, “spitting spirituals to combat the visceral fear of the grand imperial gain.”
“Walk With Me (ft. Indigenize)” is a spoof on capitalism. “Switch up your climate, talking shit like Al Gore,” raps Indigenize (Diné). Americans live in a country governed by a two-party system with less than 10% popular approval, where both sides are funded by the same corporate persons. In reality corporations are artificial intelligence systems served by the nanny state. Oppression is a vicious cycle. Those operating within the corporate paradigm cannot complete a linear thought, let alone consider the coming seven generations. Truth-tellers are silenced or murdered over and again. Meanwhile, those with privilege and power prefer to ignore the oppression around them, favoring creature comforts of a consumer culture rife with trendy Native appropriations. “Nice shoes!”
Che Christ plans to “crash all network servers with a crew of Native Nat Turners, shutting down all business deals and capitalist mergers.” The surveillance state is clever like a rat. However, intelligence is in clarity of purpose for one’s place in the “Ritual Migrations” of Mother Earth. “We’re the living memory of grandparent traditions.” Che Christ encourages people to think of themselves as celestial bodies of light who share the same pain in this time of suffering.
The collective consciousness has endured more than five centuries of trauma, yet the ongoing genocide will not allow Red Nations peoples to rest. “With humble intentions, Eye am your reflection. Please do not feel threatened.” Call Che Christ radical and militant for working to dismantle the corporate-colonial-imperialist-industrial complex, if you please. Just remember the man has non-violent dreams of “sustainable living to defend the land and sacred water for the children.”
The Lakota word for alcohol is mni wakan, which loosely translates to holy water. Wine and spirits are at the core of sexual violence, suicide, and car wrecks – the largest killer on Indian reservations. “Poison!” was inspired by a direct action to shut down Whiteclay, Nebraska. Whiteclay is a place that nightmares are made out of. Constructed within a five-mile buffer zone to keep alcohol off the reservation, Whiteclay is liquid genocide less than a hundred yards from the Nebraska and Pine Ridge border. Somehow this town with four liquor stores and population less than two dozen sells five million cans of beer per year through bootlegging and poverty pimping.
Many families on Pine Ridge have been destroyed by this addiction to alcohol. “A calculated plan to kill us all now by the hundreds. Not even government-funded, it’s paid for by our own sisters and brothers that are hunkered down against the stench of their own rotted stomachs.” With a backdrop of broken treaties, Che Christ parallels Whiteclay with the Columbus, the Native holocaust, Custer and the Seventh Cavalry, gold rushers, buffalo slaughter, parasites of settlers, puppet regimes, and GMO growth hormones. After all, alcohol is a mind-control substance.
“Raise our spirits back from the dead,” Che Chist pleads in hopes of lifting our hearts like the ghost dancers at Wounded Knee. Calling again on the voice of Debra White Plume to summon the thunder being nation, Che Christ looks to the four directions for a way to wash away historic trauma. “We rose up to the sky. We live and direct against these crooked politics. We’re on a spiritual quest to end the stress to end the killing, joy of drilling to death, and I must confess we can’t forget the genocide and theft.”
“Clouds of Thunder” is theme music from Crying Earth Rise Up, an upcoming documentary about uranium mining. The Crow Butte uranium mine is yet another form of liquid genocide on Pine Ridge. Every well in Oglala Lakota territory has been polluted with nuclear radiation. “Some day the Earth will weep. She will beg for her life. She will cry with tears of blood. You will make a choice, if you will help her or let her die, and when she dies, you too will die,” says Debra White Plume in the Crying Earth Rise Up trailer, quoting John Hollow Horn.
The Red Power Mixtape is a wake-up call for those who are still sleeping; solidarity songs for those already awakened; prayers for traditionalists who never lost connection to Mother Earth. As spirits going through a human experience, human beings exist in resistance. Dominant culture in the modern age does not have respect for existence. All nations are under attack from spiritual genocide perpetrated by soulless corporate persons (artificial intelligence systems – not human beings).
In a culture driven by a paradigm of take what you can get away with whenever you can get it, what does being a spirit mean? Che Christ has given years of service to hip-hop and poetry, answering that timeless question. A father of two seeing the urgency of our climate on extreme energy, he is picking up the pace. After releasing half a dozen albums, Che Christ has broken through with The Red Power Mixtape. He will be performing guerilla shows this summer on Pine Ridge, and you will always find him at Moccasins on the Ground non-violent direct action training camp.
“Abstract Talk!” The Red Power Mixtape with the intention of “bringing the masses back to the Mother Land; free admission; no borders; no restrictions.” Debra White Plume is stern that human beings have not caused climate change. Remember the Lakota prophesize a black snake that will choke Mother Earth. Red Nations peoples were healthy and thriving “until Columbus brought over New World reptilians. Now oil baron’s drilling is killing the children for billions and billions. We need the spiritual healing.” Honor the god Che Christ and listen up.