[dead] P.o.e.t.s. have got beef, and it’s with more than just Justin Bieber or Ke$ha.
“I guess we are fed up with what we hear on the radio and see on TV ... where hip-hop came from and what it is today. We’ve got a lot of anger and disgust toward that. We’re hard-core and very much against corporatized hip-hop,” said co-founder Helmer Saunders, aka Big Rela. “We see ourselves as the people’s army — a people’s militia out there to make music for the average person and for the people who still appreciate good hip-hop.”
The oddly punctuated act’s members decided to engage in an all-out war against mainstream rap early in their 10-year career, fully dedicating themselves to the cause with their true debut record, “Front Toward Enemy.” It’s a true rally cry against the T-Pains and Akons of the word, loudly declaring that it’s not all boats and hoes.
“We don’t make music about poppin’ bottles or spending cash in the strip club and this and that, because not everyone can do that. We’re more for the bluecollar man, your average Joe, and we are there with everyday people,” Saunders said. “Guys on TV act like everyone isn’t in a recession and have all this money to spend. It’s not like that for everybody.”
The subgenre in which [dead] P.o.e.t.s reside — horrorcore —allows them to explore whatever deep, dark place they please — murder, Satan, suicide — over monstrous hip-hop beats. Tech N9ne, Insane Clown Posse and even, to an extent, Eminem helped popularize the genre throughout the late ’90s and early ’00s, but the Florida trio keeps it decidedly underground and without constraints.
“It’s a grim reality: Mainstream is very censored and commercialized, and it’s not what the artist wants to say ... it’s what the person behind him wants,” Saunders said. “In horrorcore, you have the option to make whatever you want to make, and say whatever you want to say. There are no limits to where you can go with it.”
Stopping Friday in Oklahoma City with fellow horrorcore heads Mars and Psycho Jesus, [dead] P.o.e.t.s. are more concerned with fighting for that freedom than reveling in it. The songs continue to be defined by a collective mourning over the emptiness much of mainstream hip-hop is marred by today, hoping that they can lead a revolution to something a little more meaningful.
“A lot of the songs are just against corporate America and what they are doing to the music industry,” Saunders said. “I feel that it’s the same stuff, repackaged, for the past 10 years. There’s no social commentary, no words of encouragement. No one is trying to change what hip-hop is to make it better.”