Where Are They Now (Rmx)-A Plea to Fans of Female Rappers

June 25, 2007 at 1:02 pm | Posted in Editorials/Opinions | Leave a comment

Danielle Stolich
stolich.jpg
“We need more females like you in Hip-Hop, D.”

To me, that was the ultimate compliment. Given by a male writer and acquaintance, I was flattered. I, a female writer and fan of this multi-faceted sound we all know and love as Hip-Hop has watched it grow from being touted as a fad to it becoming a global force in popular culture. Not only was I flattered as a writer but as a fan.  But buried in that compliment was sincerity and an appreciation for my knowledge, intelligence and writing talent instead of just my lips and hips.

Before you dismiss this as another pro-feminist rant about how females in Hip-Hop need to be treated with respect (and they do), I ask you to listen, read further and learn. Lately the topic has been about the lack of female presence in Hip-Hop. While many cite low sales and lackluster music as reasons why female emcees remain under the radar, I’d like to explore an oft-overlooked reason: the fans. When will industry professionals and fans alike understand that it is our lack of support, our “need” for females in Hip-Hop that has caused female rappers to slowly become extinct. Sadly, we are all to blame.

 

I can remember as a teen in the late 90s, I faithfully copped the newest releases by Nas, Jay-Z or whomever The Source’s Record Report deemed as the must-have album that month, only to merely browses over releases by Da Brat, Missy and Eve. Why would I want to blast Eve while riding around as a teenager when I had the LOX rhyming over the synth stylings of Swizz Beatz on my Ruff Ryders complilation? After all, I could always watch Eve, Lil’ Kim and Missy in heavy rotation on BET…wasn’t that a sure sign that these ladies were platinum household names? While that rings true, actions like mine were the beginning of the end for some of my favorite female rappers. Multiply my careless attitude by the millions of fans who felt the same way and those record sales figures begun to pale in comparison to the numbers achieved by Kim and ‘nem’s male counterparts.

While no one can deny the accomplishments females have made, ladies, we still have a long way to go. And how can our favorite female emcees catapult to the top without support from the fans? We won’t ever see a female rapper-turned-CEO/mogul a’la Jay-Z until we begin to regard female rappers as highly as we do our Jiggas and T.I’s. When will we begin to show female rappers the same amount of love?

I, like so many fans, have also taken these women for granted. They do something for women that no other male rapper can: they are our voice. Female emcees provide expression for the juxtaposition of feelings, thoughts and attitudes felt by the assortment of women who listen to Hip-Hop. From the hardcore stylings of Remy Ma to the holistic lyricism of West Coast rapper, Mystic, female rappers are the voice of the female Hip-Hop fan, in all of our complexities and contradictions. Hands-down, Rakim is one of the greatest (I get chills when I listen to “I Ain’t No Joke”) but his music can’t duplicate how I felt when I first memorized all the lyrics to MC Lyte’s “Paper Thin”. I have bought every Nas LP ever made but I still can’t forget the first time I heard Lauryn Hill’s “Lost Ones.” In short, I am a skinny jean wearing, high heel-rocking fly girl who can recite Cormega verbatim but still reads Elle magazine. Now when’s the last time you heard a guy rapping about that? Face it, ladies: no matter how much we love Meth(od) Man, we identify more with Mary and there is nothing wrong with that. But when will we give credit to those who gave us a voice and leveled the playing field in today’s modern-day hustle called Hip-Hop?

The ladies of Hip-Hop give women a voice, period. Their temporary silence can only be broken when the entire Hip-Hop community recognizes and supports that voice. So to Mia X, Boss, Rage, Charli Baltimore, Missy, Lil’ Kim, Sonja Blade, Jane Blaze, Jean Grae, Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, Apani B, Jacki O, Shawnna, Remy Ma, Trina, Rah Digga, Lauryn Hill, Amil, Champ MC, N-Tyce, Gail Gotti, Gangsta Boo, Lady Bug, LinQue, Ms. Jade, Monie Love, Marvaless, Paula Perry and all other female rappers past, present and future: We need more females in Hip-Hop like you.

RIDING TAXIS BLACK IN NYC

June 20, 2007 at 11:57 pm | Posted in Editorials/Opinions | Leave a comment

As a black man, flagging a yellow cab in NYC is one of the most infuriating activities one can endure. I am sure many of you could attest to the horrors of finding a cab; rain, sleet, hail or snow the results are unfailing; you WILL HAVE THE URGE TO WHOOP SOME ASS even after involuntarily exercising your arm. Whether you are standing in front of a reputable store, like say Best Buy or standing at the height of rush hour you will succumb yourself to a barrage of  inexcusable responses. “Oh, I am off- duty” or “No, I don’t drive to Brooklyn”, and then they dart off leaving you with the fumes from the exhaust pipe to gripe with. Keep in mind that as a taxi rider (regardless of color); you have the right to travel to any destination in the five boroughs of the City of New York. If my geography does not fail me, Brooklyn is in fact the largest of the aforementioned boroughs.

 

Anyway, I reached my boiling point a few weekends ago; my only regret is that I got into an argument with a black taxi-driver, an African at that. After seeing my father off at JFK, I was able to get a cab quickly (Local airports are reliable taxi spots). I told him where I was going, and assumed based on his response that he knew where I was heading (word to the unwise: assumption is the mother of all f*** ups). I dosed off only to find myself by Corona, Queens. After wiping the sleep out of my eyes and gaining my composure I realized that he was going to take the BQE. Despite being irate with his chosen route, I calmly voiced my concerns. Long story short, what started as peaceful discourse escalated into a heated argument. We eventually settled the quarrel when he agreed to turn of his meter at an agreed upon price. Nevertheless, in the midst of our verbal sparring he conveyed some inconvenient truths. He expressively mentioned that most times taxi-drivers (usually of southern Asian decent) hesitate or rather refused to pick us Blacks up because their brethren have either been victims of violence or have been shorted. When he said this I did feel sorry about cursing and raising my voice but was quickly overcome with amusement when I thought about Joell Ortiz’s track “Brooklyn B*******” where he comically spits “So what every now and then I hop off cabs/ papi took the long way/ papi think I’m ass.”

 

 In either case taxi drivers are clear perpetrators of stereotyping, as is the majority of the world; I seriously doubt that taxi drivers will ever change their ways or my brethren will seize from gipin’ drivers. Still if you do happen to find yourself having difficulties finding a cab in the city that will take you to another borough, mention a street that exists in Manhattan (Lafayette Avenue, perhaps?), a dollar into your trip point out that you are referring to the one in your specified borough (Brooklyn, perhaps?); the driver has no choice but to take you to your destination when you enter his cab. If this fails, spaz, call 311, or sit and wait for the boys in blue. But never fret readers, even Denzel finds it hard to catch a cab as revealed in the improvised scenes of Inside Man.

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Penned by:

Bola “Eldorado Red” Alex-Oni

Cashmere Thoughts

June 15, 2007 at 10:32 pm | Posted in Editorials/Opinions | Leave a comment

Another week with more stories.

This may not seem as important to everyone, but it is to me. I was listening (why? I don’t know) to Hot 97 last week and Zab Judah was on the show. Judah, a Black pro boxer, was getting ready to fight Puerto Rican boxer Miguel Cotto, the day before the PR parade. So, Zab was on the show talking about how he was going to embarass Cotto right before the parade. Eventually, the conversation turned into one of Black v. Latino. It reached an all-time high when a Latina woman called in saying: ‘All your men want our women.’ This infuriated Ms. Jones, who began to call Latina women everything in the book from sluts to dirty.

First, the caller was at fault for saying that because that’s an opinion, not a fact. But, of course, the radio host who should take the higher road decided to sling dirt her way too. For the next 30 minutes, it was back and forth arguring on the hotlines between Blacks and Puerto Ricans. White people rejoice. We will never surpass you because we can’t even get along with each other. Minorities in this country are pathetic.

By the way, I’m glad Cotto whipped that overrated, arrogant ass Judah.

Zab’s career is sinking faster than Sebastian Telfair’s.

Did you see the Village Voice cover with the Black model half naked on it? The issue focused on Black men’s magazines. My problem…why haven’t I seen a white or Asian woman on the front cover in the same attire?

That will never happen. We all know why…

Boxer Diego Morales died in a motorcycle crash close to a month ago. His alchohol level was 3x the legal limit. Some people never learn.

A few weeks ago, Barack went to a Mississippi church and said that ‘Blacks are being ignored and a quiet riot is growing amongst us’ if I’m correct. This was Barack trying to get to the only vote that might even give him an inkling of a shot. The Black vote. He knows Hillary is cutting into it, so he wants to make sure he gets it back with some pro-black rhetoric in a sense. Let’s face it folks, we may see Barack in the White House but not with a capital P, but a capital V.P.

Lebron James…is every sportscaster in love with this guy or what? I mean, it got to the point where people actually started to believe that they could beat the Spurs. Not very smart. As I’m writing this, the Spurs are up 3-0. Instead of praising Lebron, appreciate the couple of good years Timmy Duncan has left. He will go down as one of the top 10 players to ever lace up a pair of sneakers. Too bad he isn’t a loud mouth or gets arrested like a Cincinnati Bengal. Then maybe we’d talk about him.

On immigration: just let them in for god’s sake. We use them for centuries, but then want to get rid of them when we feel like it. That’s not right. But this is America…what is?

That blonde chick in jail isn’t worth the writing space.

Andre 3000 is the best rapper alive. Hands down! Did you see the ‘International Players’ video? They constructed a whole song off his whole verse. Classic!

So T.I. thinks he should’ve won best album over Ludacris at the Grammy’s? He also thinks that Ludacris knows he didn’t deserve the award. I think T.I. needs a memory boost because he must’ve forgotten that verse Luda killed him with on Buck’s album. By the way, ‘What you know about that’ to ‘Big Things Poppin?’ That’s like a Blueprint to Blueprint 2 dropoff.

Onto Gary Sheffield…Last week, he caused a firestorm when he said that Latinos are easier to control than blacks. That’s why you see an increase in Latino baseball players and the staggering decrease in black ones. Sorry Sheff, I love your straight shooter approach but your wrong.

But he was right on one point. Latin American players usually come from 3rd world countries and get paid 5 to 10,000 dollars to sign with a major league team. Its all economics folks. Why would MLB ballclubs want to spend close to 2 or 3 mil on a prospect that may not pan out, when they can get a prospect for cheap overseas and it not matter whether they succeed or not. Folks, the majors are only 8 percent black. By 2015, that number will be below 3 percent. Guaranteed.

Till next time.

Claudio Eduardo Cabrera

Award-Winning Writer

Hip Hop Has Long Been Vocal About the War by Davey D

June 14, 2007 at 9:57 pm | Posted in Editorials/Opinions, Found At Other Sites | 2 Comments

Hip-hop has been vocal about the war
By Davey D
Special to the Mercury News

While debates raged in Congress recently about funding the war in Iraq, the Source Magazine, which has long been considered the bible of hip-hop, published an article asking why more rap artists haven’t spoken out against the war. It also profiled Oakland rapper Boots Riley of the Coup and Mississippi rapper David Banner, because both have been vocal from Day One about their opposition to U.S. intervention in Iraq and assertions that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Ironically, the Source article hit the newsstands at the same time as a Chicago Tribune column by Grammy-nominated rap superstar Twista, who took the president to task for his veto of an early bill that attached war funding to a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. Twista urged fans to speak up and do whatever they could to bring the troops home.

“They didn’t attack us, so why should we have to attack them?” he wrote. “Sometimes I don’t know what to think.”

I’m certain Twista was offended by the Source article, just as I was, because his position on the war was similar to that of countless hip-hop artists who have expressed vehement opposition and have taken action.

In the Bay Area, three anti-war hip-hop compilation albums have been released: Hard Knock Records’ critically acclaimed “What About Us,” which featured Zion I, Blackalicious, Michael Franti, the Frontline, Piper of Flipsyde, Rico Pabon and Hobo Junction, among others; “War (if it feels good do it!),” a compilation by Bay Area music veteran Billy Jam, which features sound montages skillfully mixed by the DJs of Mass Destruction and songs from Public Enemy, Mr. Lif and local artists Azeem and Aya de Leon; and “War Times – Reports From the Opposition,” put out by Oakland’s Freedom Fighter Music, hosted by political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal and featuring anti-war songs by local artists Goapele, Hanifah Walidah, Felonious and Red Guard and tracks by nationally known spoken-word artists Danny Hoch and Suheir Hammad. Many of the artists on “War Times” also organized and participated in anti-war rallies around the country.

We would be remiss not to mention Bay Area rapper Paris‘ album “Sonic Jihad,” which was probably the first disc addressing the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and the war in Iraq. Featured on this landmark LP were dead prez, Kam and Public Enemy. The album was accompanied by a 10-page essay and, later, a DVD breaking down the politics behind Sept. 11 and the war on terror. It sold more than 300,000 copies worldwide.

Also deserving a mention is San Francisco’s Rappin’ 4-Tay, who teamed with then-presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich to do the song “Weapons of Mass Distraction.”

These examples represent just the tip of the iceberg. To date, more than 100 anti-war songs have been put out by hip-hop artists.

They range from Snoop Dogg‘s insightful “Brothers and Sisters” to Nas‘ Tears for Fears-inspired “Rule,” Eminem‘s groundbreaking “Mosh,” Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Mele-Mel‘s “Tha Bushes,”, Sage Francis‘s “Makeshift Patriot” and KRS‘s heartfelt track “Soldier.” Even the Ying Yang Twins released an anti-war song, “We at War.” These are just a few of many that stand out.

Former San Jose producer Fredwreck brought together some of the biggest acts on the West Coast, including Mack 10, WC, Dilated Peoples, Defari, Cypress Hill and Daz, to do two anti-war songs, “Down With Us” and “Dear Mr. President.” Radio stations were afraid to touch these politically charged songs, even though they were available for free.

Lupe Fiasco, Jay-Z, Cypress Hill, Mobb Deep, Saul Williams, Wyclef Jean and Talib Kweli are also among those who have recorded, or were featured on, anti-war songs. We had all sorts of Hip Hop journalists and scholars ranging from author Kevin Powell to Professor Michael Eric Dyson to activist /author Adrienne Marie Brown formerly of the League of Pissed off Voters who have been vocal in their writings about the wrongness of the War. People should not forget that KRS-One held a well attended anti-war/9-11 conference in LA to mark the one year anniversary of 9-11. The event included artists like MC Lyte and Kool Moe Dee to name a few. This is just a short list of Hip Hoppers who have

Lastly we have several under-reported stories where Hip Hop stood up against the War. The first involved P-Diddy who several months before he launched his Citizen for Change/Vote or Die campaign in February of 2004, astonished a large crowd in Los Angeles attending the Rock the Vote/Lippert Awards. Diddy upon receiving an award gave a 7 minute speech in which he pledged to ‘Kick George Bush’s ass out of office’. He apologized to the event organizers who were supposed to be non-partisan and then he repeated his remarks. He went on to note that Bush needed to go because of the immeasurable pain he had caused countless inner city mothers who’s sons and daughters had died in an ‘illegal war’. Hearing Diddy go off on the political tip was dope and at the time a welcome breath of fresh air. In spite of the throngs of media present including MTV and the LA Times, Diddy’s explosive anti-war remarks were hardly reported. It took me several weeks before I finally was able to obtain a copy of his remarks and at the time I sat on the advisory board for RTV.

Hip Hop mogul Russell Simmons was much more blunt and explosive with his remarks directed toward Senator Hillary Clinton shortly after the start of the Iraq War. He along with Big Daddy Kane and Killer Priest appeared on our syndicated Hard Knock Radio show where all three spoke out forcefully against the war. Simmons put Clinton on full blast, accusing her of selling out and being untrustworthy. He remarked how he given all sorts of money to help get her elected and was angry that she would support the war which he felt was wrong. Simmons was also clear about expressing his concern for the number of poor people who were likely to wind up on the front lines dying.

Just recently, we had Washington DC based Hip Hop Caucus do a two month Make Hip Hop not War tour in over ten cities and colleges campuses throughout the US. Reverend Yearwood who headed up the tour wanted to make sure that Hip Hop had a stronger presence in the anti-war movement. Artists ranging from Akir to Immortal Technique to Hasan Salaam to Mystic to DJ Chela who did an anti-war mixtape called ‘Embedded Reporter’ all partook.

As I mentioned earlier, all this is just the tip of the Iceberg, so let it never be said hip-hop has been silent about the war. We need to ask why we haven’t heard more of these voices in the mainstream. If there’s anyone that’s been silent and complicit, it’s been those big time broadcast, newspaper and television owners and programmers who went along with Bush’s war agenda in the face of overwhelming evidence suggesting we go in another direction.

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Davey D’s hip-hop column appears biweekly in Eye. Contact him at mrdaveyd@aol.com.

What About Your Friends: Where Was Chilli and T-Boz?

June 7, 2007 at 4:48 pm | Posted in Editorials/Opinions | Leave a comment

by Rebecca Murphy
 
I saw VH1’s “Last Days of Left Eye” documentary about three times.  The first time I missed the entire first half.  The second time I saw the second half, but missed a few vital segments of it.  The third time, I caught the second half in its entirety… and finally understood why the speculation arose that Left Eye was mentally ill.  First, she burned up her unfaithful boyfriend’s sneakers (and ended up burning down the house).  Angrily burning up a boyfriend’s shoe collection is normal for an emotionally unstable female who becomes this way because of the scars and bruises of an unhealthy relationship.  So I let that pass.  But when I saw how she was cutting her arm with the word “LOVE” and then later tore over her arm again with the word “HATE,” saying something like “I knew there was going to be a little bit of blood,” I knew something was kind of… wrong. Then came the weird “Tarzan” role play in the jungle with some other boyfriend.  Then she told a few of her closest friends that she “felt a spirit was haunting” her, and said to the camera that sometimes she thought she was gonna die.  Then came her withdrawal from TLC, and when Chilli and T-Boz were asked by MTV where Left Eye was during one of her no-shows, Chilli cynically responded “She’s not feeling well,” alongside a few other smart-alec comments, smiling and such, as if they were kind of making fun of her. 

This brought to mind that when she got sent to rehab after burning down her ex-boyfriend’s house, they never mentioned or showed in the documentary Chilli or T-Boz there supporting her. Besides the retrospective documentation of their public appearances, I never once saw Chilli or T-Boz with Left Eye at all.  Not once. 

Not to say that they didn’t have their own lives.  But you would think that there would’ve been more support.  And I can’t say that they never visited her in that rehab center.  But why wouldn’t they reflect that in the documentary?  Apparently, they knew that Left Eye was probably a bit sick and only wanted to deal with the creative Left Eye rather than the real Lisa Lopes. A damn shame.

Concreteloop dismissed the “mental” rumors to defend Left Eye, saying that she was not crazy but rather “spriritual,” but let’s be real.  R.I.P… but she was a bit mental. What exactly was wrong with her? Could’ve been anything, but it’s too late to tell.

It was quite evident that she was sick, tired, let down, and through with where her life was at that moment, and after a car she was riding in hit a boy and killed him, well, that was basically the stick that broke the camel’s back.  And to add salt to injury, the little boy’s last name was Lopez. 
 
Days later, if that, she was riding in this car (above), where, seconds after this scene in the documentary, she drove off the side of the road.

As for Chilli and T-Boz, I may only be speculating, but those comments they made when asked about her, and the fact that they were barely present throughout the more recent parts of the documentary shows that “What About Your Friends” was a song they DEFINITELY did not write.

I’m Conflicted About Mike Jones….

May 25, 2007 at 2:25 pm | Posted in Editorials/Opinions | Leave a comment

Ok I’m conflicted.. I’m peeping 106 and Park today and Houston rapper Mike Jones flowed through… The interview starts off with him showing off these huge medallion sized pieces of jewelry. One piece he says cost half a million dollars and the other piece costs 300 thousand dollars…He showed them off and the young audience cheered enthusiastically

On the other hand dude has been doing a lot of work helping out displaced families from New Orleans who live in Houston. I think he’s looked out for like 60 families. He’s also been sinking a bunch of money in reconstruction efforts in New Orleans. I recall talking with Paul Wall last year and he mentioned how a lot of the Houston rappers were all doing stuff to help out. Sadly much of their efforts aren’t publicized.

I mean anytime cats who are in position step forth they definitely should be praised and Mike is definitely doing his part so I give him full props.. but damn why dude gotta wear a million dollars worth of jewelry and show them off when so many people around the world are deprived of life’s basic neccesities? I wonder if him flossing so hard is essential to him maintaining his fan base?

Dude does have an email askmikejones@gmail.. so I guess I’ll shoot him an email and ask him. Perhaps he might consider flipping the script and opt to wear something else like a leather medallion and say he wanted to make a stronger stand by donating his expensive jewelry to to those who don’t even have running water. The constant flossing we do does have adverse effects all over the world..

something to ponder

Davey D

The Changing of the Guard

May 8, 2007 at 10:23 pm | Posted in Editorials/Opinions | Leave a comment

Our “Black leadership” needs new blood, new direction. This month marked the 30th anniversary of Roots. So many specials and celebrations are being held in honor of Alex Haley’s Epic. It is as well a time to take measure of how far African Americans have come since slavery. Also the 98th anniversary of the inception of the NAACP just passed this February.

I don’t know about you but I do not see the relevance of NAACP. When The NAACP was formed by the likes of Ida Wells-Barnett, W.E.B Dubois, Henry Moscowitz, Mary White Ovington, Oswald Garrison Villiard, William English Walling, There was a clear cut Objective and a common goal.

Today the NAACP is bogged down in ego struggles, corporate politics and your normal everyday capitalistic cynicism. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the founders of the NAACP had personal goals and ambitions. However Egos were put aside and the creation of one of the most important institutions in the history of civilization was formed.

Today, however, like any other leadership our “so called black leaders” or “so called civil rights leaders” are more concerned with lavish parties, photo ops, award shows and most importantly FUNDRAISING.

In the midst of all that is going in our country {The Government corruption, The attack on basic fundamental rights, the widening gap between the Richest 1 percent and the rest of us} the NAACP Is more concerned with quote  unquote, hot button issues, such as “Imus” and  “The Negativity of Hip Hop”.

They most recently fired President Bruce Gordon, excuse me, Mr. Gordon resigned after 19 months citing “internal differences”. Sounds to me like egos tripping out. Gordon did however want to attempt to reach out to the “So-called Hip Hop Generation” more and faced opposition from many “elders” who sit on the Board of Directors.

Whatever the case may be I would like to formally issue a challenge to the next President of the NAACP.  I would say to the incoming President that he or she needs to force the NAACP to come up with a clear objective. I have two suggestions for them. 1) Bridge the Gap between My Generation and your Civil rights Generation or 2) Become a Champion for all minorities and not just “Colored people” how about the Latinos and even, Ugff the Homosexuals (I mean they shouldn’t be left out of this discussion about civil rights)

And here is some advice for outgoing President Gordon, Why don’t you get some people together and establish another Organization (lobbying group that’s all it really is people, but enough of that) Call it the NAABP or something. Because maybe if there was some competition and the NAACP had someone competing with them for the billions of donation money they receive, they might just actually begin to work towards the advancement of “colored” again.

I’m out peace – Didda 

www.myspace.com/jdidda

When did Cam’ron become the Voice of Hip-Hop?

April 26, 2007 at 9:39 pm | Posted in Editorials/Opinions | Leave a comment


claudio cabrera.jpg
When did Cam’ron become the spokesperson for Hip-Hop? Did anyone forget to call Jay-Z or Talib Kweli? It wasn’t enough that Oprah and her guests, who included Stanley Crouch, Jason Whitlock and female students from Spellman College, tear a hole in the Hip-Hop panel of Russell Simmons (Sounded like a bafoon all the way through), Dr. Ben Chavis (Who should change from Dr. to Rev. with his preaching), Kevin Liles (Who cares about your rise from intern to President? That’s not the issue) and Common (Even he had his misses).  

Now, 60 Minutes did a profile on the “Stop Snitching” epidemic which has been custom in inner-city neighborhoods for decades, but has exploded in recent years with it’s commercialization thru song and clothing. Who did 60 Minutes look for to talk about “Stop Snitching?” None other than the “Albert Einstein” of Hip-Hop, Cam’ron. Whatever happened to publicists? I guess Jim Jones is preparing Killa for interviews.

 

If you thought there’s a witch hunt against Hip-Hop, you’re probably right. But in defense of the so-called art and “poets”, like Russ would say, are a bunch of fools. The worst legal defense team you can have. I haven’t seen one well-articulated argument from someone in the Hip-Hop game. It’s always the same nonsense. “We ain’t calling everyone hoe’s.” “This is how we grew up man.” If that’s how you grew up, express it. But, once you get out of that life talk about the life your living now. Show growth! Trust me, I’m a fan. I listen to the music. All the way from 50 to Lupe. Different ends of the spectrum and all. But, as much as I’m getting tired of hearing wack music in general, I’m getting even more exhausted of watching little kids from Harlem like the ones on the show last night sounding as ignorant as the rappers.  All 5 of them said they’ve been witnesses to crime but didn’t report a thing. Granted, our relations with 5-0 ain’t healthy (I.E. Sean Bell, Cincinnati, Rodney, Louima) but we are letting criminals run rampant in our community without worry. You know what I call this? Selfishness. Our community is selfish as hell. We don’t share with each other. We don’t come together as people. But we share bullets with each other that’s for sure. We trade insults with each other. We step on one another and hate when someone else is trying to make moves. Fact or Fiction? We don’t need ESPN to answer that one.  

Back to the issue at hand. So Cam, your telling me that if Jay sent someone and tied up mom dukes in a
Brooklyn basement, you wouldn’t snitch on Hov? You’d leave Mommy Cammy there to die? You’d turn into your worst enemy, Curtis and go straight to the police “like you should.” $$$ signs have taken over ethics and morals. Your code of ethics is not only harmful to yourself but to our community. Thugs like Busta Rhymes should be thrown in jail not just for their numerous offenses, but for the fact that 25 witnesses said he was right next to the killing of Israel Ramirez and saw the shooter but refuses to cooperate with the Police. Ramirez’ family will never get their husband and father back, but don’t you think it’d be nice if they atleast found out who did this horrible crime? Don’t you think a life takes more importance than a career? Not to Hip-Hop acts. Selfish my friends.
 

In final, Is this what Malcolm and Martin fought for? Didn’t they fight to end ignorance? I believe they did. Problem is, the voices of our community are now rappers who are  unraveling all their work and sooner or later we’ll be saying “Martin and Malcolm Who?”

Claudio Cabrera

Yes Yes yall and ya don’t stop!

April 26, 2007 at 7:50 pm | Posted in Editorials/Opinions | Leave a comment

Whoa what’s up Source.com members and visitors, it’s your boy JawZ, just ranting and raving for the moment.  So please while reading this entry, bare with me, as always, I strive to empower you in a reading and maybe get a few laughs in at the same time. 

Let’s discuss what I think is very important to us in this hip hop community man.  Today we should get on the subject of literature (no not that crap your English teacher forces you to read) because the older I get, the more I find that by continuously indulging in reading materials, I learn more and unlock doors to mysteries that I would’ve never ever solved (that’s a metaphor, lol).  I noticed while searching through another site and googling books, that recently hip hop is not only making money from, cd’s, dvds and new media advances (new media actually is a new division in a lot of record companies, so go to college major in info systems and rape the market, or just holla at Big Ced hehe), but hip hop is also increasingly collecting royalties from book publishing.  That’s great.   

I’ll try to explain that last line, for example, I read this book a few months back by Hill Harper (CSI: New York, He got game, etc.) called “Letters to a Young Brother”: MANifest Your Destiny, which was written to act as a sort of manual to becoming a successful and morally correct minority youth in America.  Hill wrote the book in an easy to read, “let me talk to you” manner, and he even used Nas as one of his contributors in the book at the end of a chapter to answer a question asked by a kid whom Hill was mentoring.  Once I read that Nas was “Industry Cosigning” this book, that gave me all the more push to go out and buy it.  That’s just one example of how the book industry is now using hip hop to boost sales.  So rather you’re an inspiring MC, “hip hop head”, “backpacker” or whatever hip hop term may suit you, if you read more and put energy towards an idea you have that concerns/contains hip hop and something else that you’re passionate about, then man, you could have a best seller on your hands.

Something else gave me the inspiration to write this entry, Friday, while reading the newspaper, I learned of how much money U.S Senator Barrack Obama earned in 2006, he made almost a million bucks because of royalties from his best seller “The Audacity of Hope”.  Just think of how much money that people like George Orwell, Judy Blume or some of my other childhood favorite authors have made from their books.  Plus writing a book could make your lyrics 10 times as nicest as the next rapper because you’ll obviously have a wider vocabulary than that guy and could convey your message to a much larger audience.

I’m informing the readers of this site about reading books and so forth in such a manner because I know that in the world of hip hop, we are motivated by passion and money, just like in any genre of music or career field.  I could give a damn if a kid likes reading or not for the enjoyment he gets from it, but if he gives it a shot because money may be a motivating factor then hey, I know that kid may one day pick up a book that could possibly change his life and maybe a trend would start in the hip hop and black community that would involve kids reading and sharing books.  Knowledge is power right? Maybe we should start getting rappers to write books for every album that comes out.  Don’t steal my idea either, if you do pay me (lol). 

P.S.  Check out Kevin Liles’ (former President of Def Jam, now V.P of Warner Bros.) book as well it was very good, plus I heard LL Cool J’s workout is the real deal.

And I’m out.

Why the “DUKE HO” and Mike NiFOOL should be jailed.

April 24, 2007 at 11:05 pm | Posted in Editorials/Opinions | Leave a comment

I’m guilty as charged. Considering the history of slavery and the idea of white men taking advantage of black women for 400 years the Duke situation looked clearcut to me from the onset. It was just another example of privelaged white men thinking they can run roughshot over anybody.

From the jump, these 3 men were guilty to me. Throw in the racial boiling pot that is the South and the surburban lifestyles these kids came from and I thought the accuser was raped as she claimed. Boy was I wrong. You can throw in every white, black, green, blue and red publication on earth into that mix as well. Bunch in Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and the rapper Common too. These young men’s lives were ruined by this “HO.” I know the word has been in the news because of Imus and many women were up in arms over this but this liar deserves the word and more to come.

It’s interesting because I was watching FOX News the day of the announcement and I was kind of turned off by the fact that they showed the picture of this young woman. On second thought, they should plaster her picture all over America so she never forgets the grave injustice she’s done to these boys and most importantly, to race relations in the Research Triangle and throughout the South. Like the South didn’t have enough racial tension already! This woman messed up race relations in this region for a very long time just when you thought it was getting better.

Think about the way black women were put on a pedestal this week as they should be for their contributions to society and our race in general. Then comes this “HO” who should be jailed messing everything up and bringing black women from the top of the ladder back to the bottom with her lies.

Most importantly, think about the impact this has on rape victims. The victims out there who were really raped and their lives were scarred by these disgusting acts. Now think of those in the future who will fall victim to a rape. Do we believe them now? This “HO” brought the credibility of rape victims to an all-time low.

As far as how I like to call him Mike NiFOOL, this crook should be thrown in jail right next to her. Actually, why not build a small prison for the both of them. They can sit next to each other for years lamenting the mistakes both of them made. NiFOOL like many other DA’s turned his shoulder to the evidence and felt he can still convict these kids based on the racial tension built up in the area. He felt if he could bring this trial and have a diverse jury, racial allegiance on the part of blacks would land him the “case of his career.” Wrong. Re-Election? Ehhh No. One wanted re-election and the other wanted money. Both are coming out with neither.

My apologies to Sean Hannity and Mr. O’Reilly. I consider myself a moderate and agree with some things Olbermann may say and some things these two men mentioned earlier say, but when all of us jumped to conclusions and decided these men were ready to be hanged, you two decided to wait for the evidence and rightfully so.

People were calling for Imus’ head and an apology from him. Where’s the apologies from Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Common, Duke University Professors and the NY Times? Where are they now? I haven’t heard a “my bad” or an “I’m sorry” yet.

Trust me, there are injustices in this world but one of the biggest growing injustices is the double standard that’s been around for a long time between blacks and whites. Why do they have to be accountable for stuff they say or do and not us? We will never forget about slavery and don’t expect us to, but it’s not about the past history of this country, it’s about “right and wrong.” For these people not to apologize to these 3 young men is a shame.

Claudio Cabrera

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