Saturday, May 31, 2008
So, for the past few months I've been having discussions with various folk about the idea of Hip Hop being infiltrated with spies. What if, rap music was being controlled by the government through elaborate tactics and the use of their own "players"? You know, on some COINTELPRO type shit.
Now, of course, the idea of rap being "controlled" by The Man ain't nothing new. The notion that negative music and ideologies are consistently being promoted and pushed through rap music is one most Hip Hop lovers share.
But I'm talking about something a little bigger. What if an artist, like say 50 Cent or Rick Ross, was deliberately "hired" by the government to serve as some sort of distraction for young black people, to help steal away their hope and desire to be anything but drug dealing thugs, so that before they even realized it, their natural ambition was completely stolen or terribly altered?
Think about it. When America was on the brink of revolution in the 60s, what did the government do? Immediately get to work, covertly infiltrating all of the groups/factions that scared them the most-- including the Black Panther party. Of course, if you would've suggested such a thing back then, you would've been looking at like a conspiracy theorist-- or crazy. 20 years later (or so) documents show up, proving that the FBI and gay ass Hoover did in fact have a strategic plan to destroy the movements that were sprouting up and keep people in line.
Then came the late 80s. People were ready to tear some shit up again. Reganomics was hitting hard, crack was destroying the community, folks were hungry and couldn't get work. But this time, the Panthers weren't the organizing, mobilizing, inspiring and energizing force for young black folk-- who were suffering the most. It was Hip Hop. Public Enemy, Ice Cube, Ice T, XClan, etc., etc. These folks were at the helm of our new movement. It was becoming obvious that Hip Hop had the power to move the masses, both literally and figuratively. And then what happened? ... The Chronic.
Now, I'm not gonna sit here and blame Dre for ruining Hip Hop and black America. It of course, is so much deeper than that. To accredit an album with that ability is just asinine. I said that to suggest that instead of infiltrating an actual organization that like the government did in the 60s and 70s, why wouldn't they use the tool that was working for us, against us-- that tool being Hip Hop?
I don't think it's crazy to believe that there are and have been spies, or rappers "placed" to eliminate the power of this culture. A lot of folks have speculated on who they think these "spies" are/were... from 50 Cent, to Eazy E, Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, to even Lupe Fiasco (though I personally don't get that one)...
Anyways, I just thought that was an interesting idea that's worth thinking about. It'll definitely make you pay a little bit more attention to what you're listening to the next time you pop in an old CD or listen to the radio.
When did dumb become the new smart?
Was it the moment idiots started taking reality TV as actual reality, and wondering non-stop why their lives aren't simple like Paris and Nicoles'? Why their actually isn't real like the retards and degenerates on the Real World? Why they can't find love, of any sex like Tila Tequila?
Was it when ignorant gold digging, weave flipping women were validated by New York and Superhead?
Was it when pop culture became American culture and the happenings of Brad Pitt, Angelina Joile, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears became common knowledge for all? Was it when some asshole got the bright idea to start calling Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck "Bennifer," spawning all the unoriginal combinations thereafter?
Was it when they passed the Patriot Act right under our noses and average Americans were to sheepish to realize what was going on?
Was it when America let Bush perform a modern day coup on the White House in 2000 without burning some shit down?
Was it when Black America was duped by Bill Clinton and sax playing, weed smoking, fellacio receiving lying ass? (3 Strikes. That's all I gotta say).
Was it when Bill O'Reilly became the highest rated show on Fox "News"?
Was it when folks started watching Fox "News" period?
Was it when they took prayer out of schools?
Was it when everyone started being all super accepting of every damn thing, instead of standing for something?
Was it when 30 became the new 20 and niggas started reverting back to their childhood instead of growing the f-ck up and accepting responsibility like every other freakin generation before us?
Was it when black women started wearing weaves?
Was it when white women started wearing weaves?
Was it when dudes started thinking it was cooler to chose their homies over a good woman?
This is the information age. At this point, you're only dumb if you chose to be. Hell, Harriet Tubman couldn't even read, but even she knew how to get free.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
If you had a legitimate chance to go back to Africa... if you were given 40 acres and a car to move to say... Liberia, or Ghana, or South Africa, would you go? Why or why not?
If I could take my family, heck yes. If I couldn't take my family, yes anyway. Frequent flier miles.
(I stole this from a forum at amazon.com, but was interested to see what ya'll think.)
Who is the most overrated and underrated U.S. president in history?
I'm gonna have to go with overrated: Lincoln. Dude was NOT the "great emancipator" everyone thinks he was. In fact, the first Emancipation Proclamation said that if the south joined the north again within the year, they could continue to hold slaves. He was concerned with preserving the U.S., and not allowing the south to separate from the north than with abolishing slavery. After him, Billy Clinton folks. Check the Bilderberg list of attendees. His name is on it. Plus more black men went to prison under his watch with the 3 Strikes law.
Underrated: Eh. Everyone of these fools has been old and white. Who cares? But off the top, I'd say Jimmy Carter.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Anthony David and Dwele are both dropping this June... Happy Birthday to me! I gotta chance to see Anthony David live the other week ago at the Save Darfur College Tour... as usual, he was the certified shit. I love that guy.
Moving on...Looks like we should have some good riding music this summer— that is if you can afford to put gas in your car. Why did I hear some representative from Triple A on the radio talking about how consumers are still planning on traveling just as much as they did last year; they're just cutting cost in different ways, like cutting their trips short and finding cheaper hotels? Really? Who the hell authorized Triple A to give out statistical data anyway? Just be there on time to change my tire. That's all I need you to do. Anyways.
Dwele's album sounds like it's gonna be jelly jammin.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
If you get a chance, stop by Eye Drum tonight at 7 p.m. for 50 Artists, 50 Shots. The event is to raise funds for Sean Bell's family and to heighten awareness about brutality. It's free to get in. Let's move beyond words and into action...
So, a lot of folks have been going goo-goo-ga-ga over this Killer Mike interview that he did with Sacha Jenkins for Mass Appeal.
It cracks be up, because by and large, a lot of the bloggers who have been talking about it have the white, "wow, you're so articulate!" thing going on with dude. It's like if you're from the south, the sentiment is that you're not supposed to be arguably the most well-spoken, well-read, well-researched dude in the game (Alongside Mistah FAB. Yes, you read that right). You're supposed to rap about (insert: current Shawy Lo song). It's corny on so many levels.
I don't know why stuff like that upsets me so much. I ain't even from the south. But it probably has something to do with the fact that deliberate stupidity irritates the crap outta me. I dunno.
Anyways, this seems like a great opportunity to post up my blurry ass picture with Mike and me and the rest of the panel from Urban Myths. We discussed the state of Hip Hop, society, politics and culture at Fort Valley State a little over a month ago.
That's me, the Lab Ratz, Mike, Maurice Garland, Chris Garland and some cool folk whose names I can't remember (sorry).
It was a GREAT discussion, with Mike of course, leading the way. Dude speaks like an old Civil Rights Leader (and not the Andy Young, John Lewis kind either).
Anyways, his new album is getting ready to drop very soon. And from the bits and pieces I've been able to hear- it's "dope as shit." I always wonder why more rappers don't call on him to feature with them? Is it because their scared of his politics? Scared he will out rap their asses? Eh. Who knows?
I'm just glad to have some fight music, right in time for what is gonna be a long, hot summer.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Peep the story at the AJC HERE... this was made in none other than Cobb County. I checked the poll on the site that asked if the t-shirt was "fine" or if it was racist.... 53.61% said it was "fine" compared to 46.39% who said it was racist.
Atlanta 2008, ya'll. A microcosm of the world at large.
Monday, May 12, 2008
One of my favoritest rappers, Phonte, got a new podcast with DJ Brainchild-- Gordon Gartrell Radio. He says he's trying to do it weekly. For those that don't know, Tay is a self-proclaimed music nerd. Like, seriously. He's put me up on some good stuff...including an obscure (to me anyway) James Brown record that made me cry. And, dude actually listens to new, new stuff. The other week he was asking about Atlanta's own Hollyweerd.... and sho'nuff, they've shown up on this podcast with "Weerdo."
Add that to the fact that Tay is funny as hell, and you have the makings of what should be a good show. Check it when you get a minute, and if you feel inclined, hit him with your comments/suggestions/etc. at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phonte and DJ Brainchild Present: Gordon Gartrell Radio
Episode 1 Playlist
Frank & Dank "One Time For The..." (moO Remix)
Sy Smith "Fly Away With Me"
Up Hygh "Be Known" (feat. Eska) (Owusu Mix)
Naughty By Nature "Uptown Anthem"
A Tribe Called Quest "1nce Again" (Yo That Kid Is Nice!!! Mphazes Remix)
Made In Japan "Babyspace"
Snoop Dogg "Those Gurlz"
Bugz In The Attic "Don't Stop The Music" (Morgan Spacek Remix)
Missy Elliot "Beep Me 911" (feat. 702)
Poly "Get On The Dance Floor"
Niggaz In The Studio "Our Black Asses"
Total Running Time: 1 hour 11 minutes
Thursday, May 8, 2008
4 Underrated Rap Producers
(in no particular order)
Q-u-i-k with no "c" came bustin into the game in 1991 via the classic Quik is the Name. And no, you still can't see him.
I remember getting in trouble in the 7th grade after wearing my flea market-bought DJ Quik t-shirt to school. I really was too cool for school. Get it? Laugh, dammit.
Quik gets love from Hip Hip folk, but not nearly the amount of recognition he should get. I read a review in Rolling Stone (I think) recently on Snoop's latest album and the writer said that Quik woulda been Dr. Dre if Dre hadn't existed. He's probably right. But I also wonder if Quik had been a New Yorker, if he would have the same kind of critical acclaim as Pete Rock, or maybe even Premier. Think about it. It woulda diversified his roster of emcees, for sure. And since mainstream rap media is so hesitant to give Cali emcees their due respect, it means Quik gets left out of a lot of discussions.
You have to believe that Quik has directly influenced countless producers-- from Dre himself on his some of his later records, to Daz, to Dilla, to Hi-Tek. Just listen to Little Brother's Hi-Tek produced "Step Ya Game Up" ... if that ain't a direct Quik influence I don't know what is.
Plus, anytime you have a rap producer that could easily drop a jazz album (I really wish he would go on and do that. He claimed he was going to around 2000...) you have a skilled musician that should be regarded as such.
When I was younger and would buy CDs, the first thing I would always do is rush and pull out the liner notes to check who produced the songs I thought were particularly dope. At the time, I was pretty much only exposed to west coast music, and the name that I frequently saw on my favorite tracks was Battlecat.
As I got a little bit older, I realized that dude actually had been around for a long time, and his sound expanded well beyond Cali and the mid-west. Remember Domino? That's early Battlecat production. Remember "We Can Freak It" by Kurupt? (This before Kurupt got bitter and started using the word "bitch" like commas)-- that's Battlecat. He produced a lot of tracks on the first Eastsidaz (Snoop, Tre D, Goldi Loc), which shouldn't go unrecognized because really, that's the album that gave Snoop back his credibility, with the west coast in particular after the No Limit move. Who knows, if it weren't for Battlecat, Snoop may not be a reality TV star as we speak, and that would indeed be tragic. He even did stuff from Ras Kass' revered, Soul On Ice.
Battlecat is also responsible for Talib Kweli's "Give Em Hell" ? (He co-produced the track with his multi-talented protege, Terrace Martin.) As well as — and this may be a stretch for some folk-- Mike's "Texas 2000". That track was so hard!
Point is, dude has been around for ages, yet his name somehow is always missing from "top producer" discussions. I don't get it. Anyways, pay homage to a seasoned vet.
I almost fell over and died when I heard he was a white dude. Not sayin I don't love my white producers, but damn. The soul, the syrupy bass lines (he plays bass), the organs-- all this from a white boy. Anyways, I quickly got over my momentary border-line racism and went right back to loving damn near every track this cat has ever made. He's pretty much been Scarface's personal (co)producer since forever and is responsible for more Rap-a-lot hits than I can name... that makes him a favorite of mine by default because ya'll know how I feel about Face and Texas' sound in general. Anyways, from Geto Boys, to Devin, to Daz (another underrated producer) this guy has made some bangers for a lot of cats. But again, I'm sure most of you are googling his name right now to find out who the hell I'm talkin' bout. Sad indeed.
As Suave House's resident producer he helped establish the sound that the south was built on. And I ain't talking about that Lil Jon overly loud "crunk" shit (which actually came from T-Mixx's hometown, Memphis, but we'll get to that another day). He's arguably a pioneer for an entire sound-- and I don't get why his name isn't mentioned alongside the great producers who helped cultivate a sound that is still influential to this day. Plus, this guy is still relevvant.
Listen to the early Eightball & MJG albums, Ball's Lost, Scarface's the Fix- "What Can I Do," MC Ren and the list goes on and on. Cool & Dre, Jazzy Pha, even some of Organized Noize's stuff is likely influenced by this dude. I don't know about this for certain, but I wonder if him and Jazzy traded secrets together while they were both doing production for Suave artists (Jazzy did a few tracks on Tela's classic Piece of Mind including "Tired of Ballin" and "Sho'Nuff"). Wonder if that's why he eventually named his label Sho'nuff....? Anyhoo.
When Mannie Fresh left Cash Money, this is the guy they went and got to try to resurrect the funky sound that label was built on. That Wayne & Birdie album ya'll liked so much, T Mixx did all the bumpin shit on there. Anyways, dude is the truth.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
It kills me how, whenever there is a case of blatant injustice courtesy of America's criminal justice system-- like the cases of Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, Rodney King, etc... the first thing politicians and officials say is "don't resort to violence."
Yet, these same people condone the violence perpetuated by their own. In Philly, a swarm of like 15 officers brutally beat three suspects. They pulled them out of their car and beat the crap out of them.
Here's the video link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7387755.stm
Here's the story, from the Philadelphia Inquirer. It's more detailed than the BBCs. Apparently the entire police force is "on edge" because an officer was killed this Saturday. As you can see, their actions are already being justified.
Imagine if we reacted the way these cops did every time we were frustrated at the senseless death of one of our own? The streets would constantly be in chaos, because guess what... police terrorism (not brutality, as Stic.man so eloquently told me last week) is never-ending.
I've been thinking about this non-violent policy that black Americans have adopted. This idea that we should peacefully march and protest and that violence doesn't really solve anything-- it just adds to, or covers up the real problems. I'm by no means a violent person, but I think that's bullshit, to be frank. Think about every major revolution that's ever occurred. The American Revolution, the Civil War....the Crusades... and the list goes on. Blood was shed to make the bigger point. Again, I'm anti-war—seriously. I don't endorse it and I think it's evil. War is systematic and usually involves some struggle for power. A revolt, however- is in the name of freedom. Even the Egyptians were destroyed by water when Moses and his people were crossing the Red sea.
So why are black people the only ones that are consistently told that violence isn't the answer? Hell, it was violence that worked for Haiti when the slaves revolted in 1791. It was violence that worked when the slaves took over the Virgin Islands for about 6 months. Even when they were eventually defeated, slavery ended there nearly a full 80 years before it was abolished in the states. I can't help but think that's a direct result of the revolt.
When America felt imminently threatened after 9/11, what happened? We immediately went and dropped bombs. And ain't stopped dropping them yet.
Black people feel imminently threatened by the police. And justice, it seems, has not only consistently turned a blind eye, but spat in our faces when the time comes to accept responsibility and demand accountability from a fascist system. Yet, we're told to behave. We're told to be peaceful. We're told to host townhall meetings and forums that don't do shit but rehash phony rhetoric.
Maybe it's time for us to rethink this notion of non-violent reform, because time and time again, the system resolutely shows us that ain't nothin' changed.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
So, Barack is an elitist, huh? That's what mainstream media has been pushing down our throats for the past couple of weeks after his infamous "bitter" comments. The American people are so freakin', utterly and thoroughly retarded. Really, dude. Are you completely incapable of putting anything into context? Did Americans miss that day in 3rd grade English? Of course, we all know what the real issue here is. Barack Hussein Obama is a black man. And no matter how progressive we Americans like to pretend we are, that white entitlement has not gone anywhere. Enter the 2008 Democratic race.
What trips me out, is how middle America (probably the most retarded of all) is buying into the whole "Obama is an elitist" ideology. It doesn't even make sense, dude. He comes from a way less privileged background than Clinton or McCain. Add that to the fact that he's a black man that grew up in America and that elitist crap flies right out the window. I kinda apply the black people can be prejudiced but not racist theory to this situation. Black people can be haughty, cocky... and other variations of conceited/full of themselves, but the idea that you are an elitist means that you can weld some kind of legitimate economic, social and political power over the mainstream masses, allowing you to act as an elitist. For Black Americans, that just happened yet.
Really, the only thing these white media outlets and white ass Hillary Clinton and John McCain mean when they say Obama is an elitist is simple--- "This nigga thinks he's better than us."
We know how white people have traditionally reacted when they got the idea that black folks thought they were better, because they were more prosperous, or educated people liked them better. Rosewood happened. Black Wall Street happened. This Clinton stealing the Democratic nomination happened.
America's true colors are shining brightly. And black is still not getting any love.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
I keep wondering when the affects of the recession that we're in is going to start really, really hitting people. It seems like folks are in a dream state, where they read about a bad economy, but haven't actually had to react yet. Cats I know are still around here acting as if nothing is going on. To be honest, it worries me.
The other night, I was able to go to Game 4 of the Hawks vs. Celtics series at Philips (thanks, Encyclopeezia Brown). The mood was infectiously jubilant. Of course, it was largely because the Hawks were expected to get swept-- like my Denver Nuggets-- but as I manuveured my way through the happy, shouting, chanting crowd, I couldn't help but wonder how much of that excitement was really just stress being relieved. In times of recession/depression it's been well documented that people, or Americans anyway, party hard.
Poor Americans are already feeling this new Depression. I was reading the Creative Loafing Blotter section the other day and it had a little blurb about how someone was arrested for trying to steal food out of the Food Bank- and the food there is free.
If shit is starting to get bad in the U.S., you already the know the rest of the world is suffering, for real. Haiti is facing a "major food crisis." Has anyone ever thought about how jacked up it is that the only country in the West that freed itself from slavery by revolt is the poorest? Ironic? Don't think so. Anyways, the World Food Bank recently reported that 100 million people in poor country's could be pushed into further poverty because of world food prices.
I guess I'm saying all this to say-- be careful. Think about what you're spending on before you break bread. Think about who else you could be helping out with the money you're spending on the new version of Ninja Gaiden 2 or NBA2k8. Not sayin' you gotta be a hermit, or not to enjoy your hard-earned cash. But you know, just be cognizant of what else is going on in the world, or right around the corner from you.