Version 2.0

Culture, healing, politics and bullshit - Not necessarily in that order

The general, socio-political and very personal rantings and ravings of a hip hop head from the hood hustling for change... Of himself.

You all know me and are aware that I am unable to remain silent. At times to be silent is to lie. For silence can be interpreted as acquiescence.
—Miguel de Unamuno


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

I am amazed how much black death takes up our time. It seems to be the only
commodity that the 2-3 generations below me seem interested in. I also have
to mention my generation and the 2-3 generations in front of me because we
not only let this happen, we exploit it.

People step to me at the poetry spots and coffee houses and be like "Black,
why you still think that we not gon' get free man?" It's simple. Black death
sells. A lot. All the time. We buy into it, but we don't buy it but what's worse?

I think because we buy into the stereotype and hype, we perpetuate the
images of death and destruction that much further. Song lyrics are
incantation, repeat them enough and you'll believe you're gangsta' too. I
wonder about cats like Pos, Dave and Mase who make up De La Soul. I
wonder how they sleep at night knowing that the music they create is damn
near rejected by the music buying public, and it's probably the best form of
creative and original Hip Hop on the streets. It must be a hard grind. I don't
feel bad for them, De La has a core audience and those cats tour more than
regularly, and being 15 years deep in the game I'm sure they know how to
handle. If I wonder about the Soul, then I worry about Brand Nubian.

I have always been a fan, and I was buzzed when Clive Davis picked them up
on Arista 5 years ago. Since then, a badly promoted album (which was mad
nice) was the only Arista release. Along with Naughty By Nature and others,
Brand Nu got lost in the shuffle when Clive was forced out of the label he
founded. Lord Jamar, Sadat X and Grand Puba have done the indy thing and
has a current release out. I wish the world can hear it. Only a chosen few, the
ones the big marketing machines didn't get to will hear it. The ones that make
a free choice to hear real hip hop that doesn't capitalize on black death, we'll
hear it, might like or love it and carry on, but it won't sustain any positive
movement that Hip Hop desperately needs.

Don't think I forgot about images. I can talk about movies, but the selection of
good, wholesome "black" movies are either scarce or so convoluted or
mixed up that we get 3 movies in one sometimes (see "Diary of a Mad Black
Woman"). The straight to video selections are third rate at best and just linger
on the shelves at the neighborhood Blockbuster. Black folk still have to damn
near give a kidney to cop a good role in a good film that will make money
(except Will Smith). I watched Regina King celebrate the fact that she has a
co starring role in a move and she doesn't die and makes it to the end. Wow.

Now don't get it twisted, there is good black film and music out there. There is
also some damn good reading by authors other than myself. I wish it got the
same budget the 50 got, then we'd be even keel. I also try to swallow the fact
that our Christian, Muslim and Hebrew cousins keep distance from the Hip
Hop and Neo Soul crowds a lil' bit. I do not believe the there is a holier than
thou thing going on, I just believe that those in the church, synagogue and
temple feel that the violence, misogyny and angst found in mainstream media
these days know that these are just cries for help and those who seek him will
be with them shortly. No need to be in it if it causes you pain and distress.

Where are the "black" distributors? I see the Cash Money Millionaires with
some nice homes and rides, but doesn't duplication equipment with the
power to press millions of records cost the same or even less as a
Maybach? Is Dat Nigga Daz the only one? What about Shawn Ray
(outspoken black bodybuilder), Sean Combs (outspoken rap mogul), Wendy
Day (Rap Coalition) and others that are mouthpieces for us make the deals
we need to put the product on the shelves? What about the Internet and the
power of peer to peer? What about guys like Magic Johnson or Earl Graves
(who co ventured with Dave Mays and Benzino to keep "The Source"
magazine alive) and other big power brokers? Can we sit down and create
our own distributor network so that quality artists like K-Os can put out the
good ish? Still waiting for my Nicole Wray album to drop...

I refuse to believe that our ancestors built pyramids and pioneered biology
and medicine within a great and advanced civilization and we are no way
near where we were as far as being self sufficient. We are more powerful
than this.

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