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Home » Sub Pop

Montreal gangstress cracks the code on new album

Submitted by on November 23, 2011 – 6:51 pmNo Comment

Miriam Moufide, aka The Gangstress but perhaps best known as Empire ISIS, has made it around the world and back, making sure to leave her mark wherever she goes.

“Since the beginning of my career I’ve always been about new styles,” says ISIS. “I’ve been touring many more Ontarian and Québecois cities and I’m finding more and more that smaller cities have a bigger appreciation for solid music – even if their access to music is more limited.”

Recognized across the globe for her social activism, ISIS spreads love through music and hypnotic rhymes, a message greatly received with her 2011 Crack The Code, which marks the Montreal songstress’s fourth album.

“It was awesome to put out Crack The Code and have songs that are pop, gangster, hip-hop, dancy, and still world anthems – world music. People that get me, and get my musical strategy, know it’s amazing for me, and now my new fans are getting to know me in different ways.

“There’s five songs on the album, like “Louder” and “Passion,” that are more dancehall, house type tracks, but the rest like “NANA Power” (women’s rights) and  “Participate” (community) that are classic ISIS movement style. I’m my own boss so I can do that – no one is puppet-mastering me.”

The etiology of the name ISIS runs parallel to the Egyptian goddess, from which the name derived. Isis was a goddess in Egyptian religious beliefs, who commanded the spirits of motherhood, nature and magic. The Canadian ISIS, like her Egyptian counterpart of years past, spreads positive vibes wherever her travels take her.

“Empire ISIS isn’t just a name. It’s a concept before a name. It’s the idea that we are all the masters of our destiny, no matter how shitty our situation is, or how blessed we are. Blessings can turn out to be a curse. My idea is that you are your own government. To use a Jamaican expression – ‘We run things, things don’t run we.’

“This is something I can explain in any language, and in any country. That’s why I’ve been on my mission since I was nine.”

A European born in Wales to a Moroccan father and British counterpart, ISIS was raised in Morocco in her early years, but has strongly prided herself on her Canadian upbringing. An adopted French-Canadian ISIS has since seven called Montreal, Quebec, home.

At the age of 16, she moved to Costa Rica to pursue a higher education, a move that lead her to social activism in a world-round trip during which she stopped off in over 30 countries, spending her time in each with less fortunate communities.

Not only has ISIS’ music and activism been heard and felt across the globe, she has been lavished with prestige and awards for both her musical talents and her philanthropy.

Between 2007 and 2009, she won many titles including the Female Artist of the Year at the Montreal Hip-Hop Awards, and the Sounds of Blackness Awards’ Best World Music Artist of the Year.

Story by Devin Size

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