The Crossroads of Hip Hop

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Dr. Walter Greason: […] “Hip hop—the only social force to create an equitable, participatory, democratic, and global system of politics and economics over the last three decades—will vanish into history under a fascist backlash, consume the soul of our generation with consumerism, or evolve to inspire greater intelligence, creativity, and faith among ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren.

The crossroads we face is no less than the choice about the direction of our species and our planet. This essay hopes to open a conversation about the tools of culture hip hop may provide for our uplift and empowerment.” […]

Net Neutrality and Hip Hop

davey d hip hop activist
Davey D
An Open Letter to Hip Hop About Some Real Important Shyt

Dear Folks who say they Love Hip Hop,

I wish there was a way to make this issue of Net Neutrality more interesting. I wish there was a way to spice it up and make it compelling like some sort of beef within the rap industry. Maybe I should get Brad and Angelina to talk about it instead of their baby. Maybe Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton can utter a few words and force us to take more of an interest.

I wish Cam’ron spent his vast money holding press conferences, dissing punk ass Congress for taking tainted money from Verizon, SBC, and Comcast instead of going after Jay-Z. Im glad Jay-Z ignored Camron, unfortunately he remained silent as the President of Def Jam on this important issue. We’ll see what happens after Def Jam finds it difficult or too costly to send out their e-post cards alerting me and others of their latest releases

Im sorry Miss Jones on Hot 97 was so upset and enraged that she felt compelled to make headlines calling Mary J Blige a bitch for not shouting her out at last weeks Summer Jam. Its too bad that she didn’t use her 3-4 hours a day of airtime in the nations largest city to call the greedy Congress people who accepted money from these corporations Bitches. There ain’t gonna be any shout outs if the Senate follows Congress in passing this bill. Maybe she’ll step it up when her parent company Emmis finds that folks from all over the country can no longer easily access their archived interviews on their website.

It’s too bad that many of us found this issue ‘too complicated’ and ‘too overwhelming’ and hence directed our attention to Ludacris and Ice Cube’s beef with Oprah. This is the feedback I got after stories ran on my website as well as AllHipHop.

Shyt I’m sorry Oprah was too busy telling Ed Lover that she really does love Hip Hop and that she listens to 50 Cent and his violent ass all damn day instead of alerting her millions of viewers about the issue of Net Neutrality.

Im sorry that KRS-One and others used these Internet airways to tell us about the Hip Hop Nation they want to build, but didn’t issue a call to action to protect a main arm of our communication. Whether youre a Hip Hop or Rap Lover the elimination of Net Neutrality is gonna impact you..

Here’s what’s happening folks. The house has gone passed the COPE bill and rejected proposals to insure Net Neutrality. Those who sided with the Comcast and Verizon are well aware that the ability of ordinary people to communicate to the masses is a problem because its been the only thing holding them accountable. For the last 5 years, the biggest stories about government corruption, corporate swindles, global warming and no weapons of Mass Destruction has come through Internet bloggers who were able to push an issue to the masses and force Fox, CNN and other News outlets to pay some sort of attention.

Anyone who is an activist and championed causes ranging from Election fraud and Diebold Machines, police brutality Freeing Mumia, Global warming, Media Reform and Saving the South Central Farm in LA just to name a few this is will especially hit you hard, because the Internet and its neutrality provisions have enabled many of us to counter biased mainstream media outlets get information out about particular causes all over the world.

Yesterday that ability took one step closer to coming to an end. The mantra being sung on Capitol Hill is Shut it down, Shut that shyt down and redirect traffic to a handful of places and media outlets that they can influence and control.

Like Ice Cube said ‘Laugh Now and Cry Later’, because many of us will soon be crying when we see the Internet gets parceled up and we start paying outrageous tolls for basic amenities. And speaking of which why didn’t Ice Cube talk about this issue instead of not being invited on Oprah?

Anyway your next steps should you choose is to call your Senator’s office and tell them to stand up and protect your interests. Ignoring this, waiting for others to take on your responsibility or acting like the issue will simply go away will not change this.

While many of you may shrug this off and think it doesn’t apply to you, stop and think of all the activities you do on the daily that involve the Internet. Such activities range from using phone cards which use Internet connections-(Many of y’all didn’t realize that) on down to peeping your favorite blog… Many of y’all like to surf and check out my site, AllHipHop, Sohh, HipHopGame etc.. Folks that shyt is about to change in a big, big ,big way.

You’re soon gonna be left with only being able to peep monthly issues of The Source and XXL, who neglected to address this issue. The Source bypassed this in their Media Watch column and Elliot Wilson from XXL obvious saw his shyt talking editorials as more important then keeping you informed. I guess I can understand, all these Hip Hop Internet websites were eating into business.

All you artists who felt like you can easily get your music out there via Myspace and the other sites, that’s about to change. Oh yeah lets not forget the punk ass RIAA who like to sue everybody. They stayed silent on this and in fact while all this is going on they have quietly been lobbying Congress to change laws so that they can fundamentally change the copyright laws in such a way that it will make it damn near impossible to pass things around via the net or do Internet Radio.

Also let’s not let Steve Jobs and his vast iTunes network off the hook. Perhaps I missed it, but I didnt see him alerting us when you went to download your favorite song or stepped into his stores. Perhaps he figures he’s rich enough to pay for the inevitable increases while the rest of us cant. In other words controlling 90% of the market is not enough.

Shame on former Black Panther, Congressman Bobby Rush for selling us out and supporting these corporations. Shame on the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and any other Civil Rights group pretending to represent our interests while selling us out and taking the money to front for these groups. And while Im glad former Congressman Ron Dellums did well in his Mayoral bid in Oakland, we should not forget that he’s also a lobbyist with one of his main clients being Verizon so shame on him as well. How’s Oakland gonna be a world class city that is a beacon for new technology and innovation when his client is one of the main people trying to shut down the Internet?

In closing I’m gonna say this and it may be sobering for some… It’s what my pops told me after I got caught fuccing up and then went home and tried to kiss up to him so I wouldn’t get in trouble. He told me to stop acting like a wuss and start acting like a man. He told me it was time I grow up and accept responsibility. He then punished me for 3 weeks not for the fucc up, but for me trying to kiss his ass instead of owning up to my mistakes. This is about to happen to all of us…

My point is this. Hip Hop is over 30 years old. We’re not kids no more. This industry is not run by kids. To not involve ourselves in shaping the institutions that we rely on to get our information and music out is irresponsible. Thats some thing to pond about. Here’s another breakdown on this issue courtesy of http://www.playahata.com

Peace out for now
Holla at your Senator before you holla back at me…

Davey D

(via Navaho Gunleg)

GZA (The Genius) & DJ Muggs In Powder Blue

grandmasters

That’s right, I said powder blue. Saturday night, I caught the Grandmaster show at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, NC. I hadn’t experienced DJ Muggs live before, so I didn’t know what to expect from him other than some bumping bass and high pitched wails. I mean, basically, could he move the crowd in unexpected ways?

The answer? No, not really.

After getting us fired up with some Cypress Hill classics, he kinda came off a bit rehearsed and sluggish. His intro loop and beat for GZA to hit the stage with must’ve repeated itself fifty times, and it was a vocal sample, so whatever meta-context it held was lost after the first eight repetitions.

Now GZA… well, that’s a completely different story.

gza

GZA rocked the show. He jumped from their new shit, back to his old shit, back to Wu shit. I mean, he got the crowd hyped so much, at times I felt like I was watching Geldof control the audience within the movie The Wall (without the fascism, of course). I know Wu is an iconic act, but these kids were younger than ten when Enter the Wu Tang – 36 Chambers dropped in ’93. I dug the vibe; I guess it just felt a bit surreal.

In between flexin’ his skills, GZA paused a few times to school the crowd on the meaning of Wu-Tang, the social importance of lyricism and the enormity of ODB (RIP)—his tribute acapella flow to ODB was amazing, as he stressed the realness of the man that so often got twisted in the glare of the media; his testimony brought the crowd to a respectful silence.

GZA brought it hard, but also brought a mature flow and presence to the stage, which was a perfect contrast to the young-buck style of Kaze (put on by 9th Wonder), the local kid that opened up for him. After rocking the mic with the flavor of a master lyricist—hitting topical, emotional and stylistic memes—Kaze brought his boys onstage with him, introducing them to the audience by telling us to picture them on his grandmother’s porch. They didn’t get on the mic, but backed him up with energy, shooting the crowd with their cell phone cameras, posing and basically, enjoying their fifteen minutes.

kaze

Kaze’s flow was tight, but he saved his best for a 2 minute acapella drop on the US occupation of Iraq, George Bush and the lessons of karma. The entire crowd went nuts for his words that cut like a knife through the bullshit propaganda of the times. Keep an eye out for this kid.

Tag! We’re It! Part III

I tag like a 15 year-old kid in the South Bronx with a box full of Krylons and a yard full of freshly sandblasted cars.

I tag like I just got jumped by a handful of punks who made the mistake of letting me follow them to their trailer park homes adorned with freshly cleaned aluminum siding.

I tag like I get told who I am, what I’m supposed to believe and how I’m supposed to act on a daily basis.

I go all city, hoping that one day, the vehicles I’ve touched get stitched together to form a complete sentence.

con-men

I tag because I saw you leave your mark and it was dope.

I tag because I know how to freeze, watch TV and (kinda) avoid the kissing bugs.

I tag because the words I drop in time will find a way to form a cohesive rhyme.

I tag because the world may be getting smaller, but it’s damn sure not coming together.

grafitti-truck

I tag your name, your spot, your position, your mood, your frame of mind when it’s too hard for you to see it for yourself.

I tag the expected terms of modern constructs.

I tag the post-modern undercurrents of miscellaneous descriptors.

I tag my tags so that when structure is forged out of chaos, you’ll know how to find me.

I tag so that it’s me you won’t be looking for.

life-is-art

When I tag, I’m regurgitating the meal I’ve caught for the chicks in my roost.

When I tag, I feel one with the universe of the collective unconscious.

When I tag, I can see the pillars of control quaking in their foundation.

When I tag, I experience therefore I understand.

When we tag, anything is possible.

————

Tag! We’re It! Part II
Tag! We’re It!

Chuck D: Again And Again

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The master of framing the moment within a gut-felt emotion is back, providing clarity beyond the crystal clear. Take a listen to Chuck’s response to the natural and federal disaster of Katrina, the Children of Eris remix, “Hell No We Ain’t All Right

Chuck D‘s rhymes flow so natural and powerful they take form within your psyche while you latch onto his beat. That’s because Chuck doesn’t twist to the beat of a loop; Chuck’s direct, unflinching words twist a beat of their own.

Can’t you feel him in this latest drop?

I follow his words, like “the new world is upside down and out of order” as a flip from the past, as back then he was taken aghast, as the polar opposites were set-up, the Axis of Evil corrupt…

Man…

I often wonder if the 17 to 23 year-old crowd nowadays gets the same dose of reality in the Hip hop nation.

Sure, the crew of Common, Talib Kweli, Mos Def and The Roots bring consciousness to each of their narratives on multiple levels. Underground hip-hop, like Head-Roc, sticks to the grimy reality, and J-Live lives and keeps it real as a teacher in Brooklyn, but where is the channeled anger of this generation?

Maybe he/she/they are out there and the gray in my chin is talking all of this junk—if so, feel free to let me know. To the extent that Chuck D and Public Enemy pumped out perspective and knowledge in the late 80’s to the mid-90’s (along with KRS-One and Brand Nubian), I just don’t hear the same form of consistent passion in these modern day cats.

Yes, Mos Def was crazy conscious with his tabulations in Mathematics, and has kept ’em coming leading right up to the in-the-moment response and drop of Katrina Klap. Artists such as Kanye West have proven to have a conscious, yet even Kanye still goes back and forth with club songs chock full of faux diamond dissing, gold-digging lyrics.

Chuck D earned the lead Public Enemy #1 tag with his straight up, hardcore responses to social issues of the time; I’m talking about consistent responses to real-time events, like:

  • dropping “By the Time I Get To Arizona” when Arizona refused to honor Martin Luther King’s birthday
  • or when Chuck tried to shut down the malt-liquor industry in “1 Million Bottlebags” for targeting young black males with their poison
  • even in their twilight, in 2002 Public Enemy dropped “Son of a Bush” at a time when political commentary in hip-hop was ripe for the picking, but rare due to the climate of blind patriotism. Only Eminem made any Bush accountability waves, but he waited until a safer year of 2004 to drop his Mosh video, pre and post 2004 elections.

Enough. Like that dude on Enter the 36 Chambers said, “Ah yeah, again and again!”

Bring the noise, Chuck.

America Is Mos Def

(originally uploaded by dreadfuldan)
(originally uploaded by dreadfuldan)
Mother nature dropped Katrina.
The federal government dropped the ball.
Kanye West dropped the illest freestyle in the midst of the harshest climate.

And Mos Def just dropped Katrina Klap, a jam that will undoubtedly mark this moment in the annals of hip-hop and social activism.

1, 2, 3, 4 bust it!
This is for the streets
The streets everywhere
The streets affected by the storm called… America, huh.
I’m doing this for y’all
As for me, the creator

Get busy, y’all!

God save these streets, one dollar per every human being
Feel that Katrina Klap!
See that Katrina Klap!
Listen, homie
It’s dollar day in New Orleans
It’s for the water everywhere and people dead in the streets
And Mr. President, he about that cash
He got a policy for handling the niggers and trash
And if you poor, you black
I laugh a laugh, they won’t give when you ask,
You better off on crack
Dead or in jail or with a gun in Iraq
And it’s as simple as that
No opinion, my man
It’s mathematical fact
Listen
A million poor since 2004
And they got illions and killions to waste on the war
And make you question what the taxes is for
Or the cost to reinforce the broke levee wall
Tell the boss he shouldn’t be the boss anymore

God save these streets, one dollar per every human being
Feel that Katrina Klap!
See that Katrina Klap!
God save these streets, quit being cheap, nigger, freedom ain’t free!
Feel that Katrina Klap!
See that Katrina Klap!
Lord have mercy!
Lord, God, God, save our soul, a God save our soul, a God, a God save our soul
Lord, God, God, save our soul, a God save our soul, soul, soul… soul survival!

It’s dollar day in New Orleans
It’s for the water everywhere and babies dead in the streets
It’s enough to make ya’ holla out
Like, where the fuck is Sir Bono and his famous friends now?
Don’t get it twisted man
I dig U2
But if you ain’t about the ghetto
Then fuck you too
Who care about rock n’ roll when babies can’t eat food
Listen, homie man, the shit ain’t cool
It’s like, dollar day, for New Orleans
It’s for the water everywhere, homies dead in the streets
And Mr. President’s a natural ass
He out treatin’ niggas worse then they treat the trash

God save these streets, one dollar per every human being
Feel that Katrina Klap!
See that Katrina Klap!
God save these streets, quit being cheap, nigger, freedom ain’t free!
Feel that Katrina Klap!
See that Katrina Klap!
Soul survivor!
Lord, God, God, save our soul, a God save our soul, a God, a God save our soul
Lord, God, God, save our soul, a God save our soul, a God, a God save our…

God did not intend for the wicked to rule the world
Said God did not intend for the wicked to rule the world
God did not intend for the wicked to rule the world
And even when they do
It’s a matter of truth
Before their wicked ruling is through

God save these streets
A dollar day for New Orleans
God save these streets
Quit being cheap, homie, freedom ain’t free!
God save these streets
One dollar per every human being!
Feel that Katrina Klap!
See that Katrina Klap!
God save these streets
Quit being cheap, nigger, freedom ain’t free!
Feel that Katrina Klap!
Ghetto Katrina Klap!
Soul survivor
Lord, God, God, save our soul, a God save, God save our soul
Feel that Katrina Klap!
Let’s make them dollars stack!
And rebuild these streets
God save these streets
God save these streets
God save the soul!
Feel that Katrina Klap!
See that Katrina Klap!
Soul survivor

Don’t talk about it, be about it.
Peace.

Push it along. You’ve got to push it along