Does MC Serch get more hours in the day than the rest of us? It would certainly seem that way. Not only is he the CEO/owner of promotion/event planning/distribution/you name it company Serchlite Music, but he also produces, hosts radio shows, has an extensive merch line, and you can barely turn on VH1 these days without bumping into him - which is a lovely thing as any viewer of Ego Trip's (White) Rapper Show (also featuring Prince Paul!) and Miss Rap Supreme (also featuring Yo-Yo!) can tell you. Let us not forget, of course, that Serch (real name Michael Berrin) is also a performer. Founding member of the legendary hip hop act 3rd Bass, Serch is still first and foremost an MC and continues to make new music.
Somewhere in the midst of doing the work of, oh, about 15 people, Serch has also managed to consistently find ways to give back to the community. He is involved with the charity Rock and Wrap It Up, a non-profit group which, among other things, picks up the leftover food from concerts and distributes it to homeless shelters. He's been awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award in Nassau County, New York, for his community service there, and he routinely hands over 10% of his income to various charity groups.
Peace in the Middle East
In this spirit of giving back, Serch has recently embarked on a bold new project designed to help address a problem with global impact - the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Working together with a North Carolina based DJ of Lebanese descent, Waleed Coyote, Serch, who is of the Jewish faith, is compiling the Peace in the Middle East album - a compilation featuring Jewish and Palestinian* hip hop artists. All of the proceeds generated from album sales go directly to orphanages in Jerusalem caring for both Israeli and Palestinian children who have lost their parents in the conflicts.
Words like "compilation" and "album" are perhaps a little misleading, because, in the words of Serch, this project is "completely organic." Rather than having a firm release date or an end in sight, Peace in the Middle East is an ever evolving collection of music that is distributed exclusively via the Serchlite Music website. (See more about how you can get involved below.) "The music industry has changed and you don't necessarily need to release an album," said Serch. The influx of new music and an increasing line up of tracks also helps to keep the project fresh and ensures people will come back to download tracks again and again - always adding to the pool of money that goes to a great cause.
Roots of the Project
With someone as active in the community as Serch, what is it about this project right now that makes it one he wanted to be involved in? Serch said he "did not have a connection with the Palestinian side" of the conflict until recently, when he was on a radio promo tour in North Carolina. At Greensboro based station 102 Jamz, DJ Waleed Coyote floated the idea for Peace in the Middle East with Serch, who said he was "tremendously moved" by the prospect. Of meeting Waleed, Serch said, "I connected with him, like a brother," and from there, the project took off with a snowball effect. Serch remembers that, "lots of amazing artists were getting in touch and it just seemed like the time."
At the time of writing in April, 2008, music from the first crop of artists involved in the Peace in the Middle East project can be listened to on the Serchlite Music site. These artists include:
As this project continues to grow, the hunt is still on for music from Jewish and Palestinian hip hop artists. If you want to get involved, send a demo to Andrew@silentgorilla.com. Be aware that all artists are expected to donate their tracks and their time to this project, but you'll be compensated by the privilege of working with Serch plus the privilege of making a difference for children in need.
More from Serch
Want more of the busiest man in the biz? Check out:
- Ego Trip's Miss Rap Supreme on VH1, hosted by MC Serch and Yo-Yo
- Saturday Night Serchlite on Detroit's Hot 102.7 - the show is streamed online for listeners outside of Detroit
*Note that I used the terms "Jewish and Palestinian" for simplicity, but in actuality, of course, the cultural lines are not as cut and dry as that on the ground and there are in fact Arab Israelis, Palestinian Jews and so on. You can learn more about Israel, Palestine and the ongoing struggles here.