Lynne d Johnson



« March 2003 | Diary | May 2003 »

04.30.03 10:10 PM

so i've been thinking...

With my new site design, whenever that comes, there may be an indefinite hiatus on diarying/ blogging. I have been reading about William Gibson's decision to not blog until he finishes his next novel, and I so understand it. Every word I put on these pages, could be used in an article that I could get published elsewhere. To tell the truth, this thing I'm doing here robs much of my creative process. It, as well as reading other blogs, takes away much valuable time that I could put into writing the pieces I am working on and other ones that are very underdeveloped (a couple of possible columns) at this time. Since I am an online editor FT, and now teach two classes --- one an exploration of public education and another that discusses the sociology of group behavior in terms of race and ethnicity --- a freelance writer and cultural critic, and have a personal life, well damn, there isn't much time for much else. And I am sure I left some ish out. I have valued the friendships I made, but this blog/diary is a major commitment, as is keeping up with what is going on at other blogs and commenting on them. I also have a few life's goals that I'm just not getting at b/c I spend so much time in front of a computer. And though I need to, for all the work I do, it isn't doing much for my relationship or long-standing friendships with folks in Brook'nam and throughout the tri-state area who don't blog. What's a chick to do?

I do know that I will continue to post somewhat regularly until the long-awaited new site design becomes available. And word is that is any day now. At that time, I might decide to continue this diary thing, but very rarely, or to make it so folks have better access to newly published articles I have written. With those articles, instead of just links, perhaps I will make the entire articles available on my site, and put in a commenting system so folks can provide feedback in that way. It will be very similar to what is going on here, but also a little bit different. Truth is, I started this site two years ago come July, and I just think it's time to take a well-deserved break. It's even kinda' cool to look at the Wayback Machine and see how the site once looked. Damn, I really just want to practice meditation and yoga, find kozmic konsciousness and the perfect beat. Besides I don't think I can really say anything new or interesting right now. And another side of this is that I believe my writing here is not even reflecting my true writing from a writer whom I don't even know anymore. She's lost somewhere and in order to get her jumpstarted, I gotta hit the brakes....hard.

Aight, I am missing Soul Food right now. Diahann Carroll is on. And by the way, Dwele is the next singer to watch out for. Trust me on this kids.

posted by lynne | | comment () | trackback (0) |

04.29.03 10:40 PM

sticky cries racism

Tonight on UPN news, Platinum star and rapper Sticky said that he'd rather be an actor than a rapper. His reason for veering more toward a celluloid life than a hip-hop one is that rappers are suspect for engaging in criminal activity. Though he feels its not ideal to be a rapper nowadays, he also feels that race is one of the biggest issues in unwarranted profiling of rappers. Certainly New York's police force is known to have begun a special task force targeting hip-hop stars, and it has also been reported that the FBI has their own special force. Sticky also said that The Sopranos contains more violence than hip-hop, er, Platinum. I do believe that violent deaths in hip-hop, along with ties to illegal monies at urban labels, has brought about strict surveillance of hip-hopreneurs and artists. Perhaps Sticky is right, race might just be an underlying issue.

Interestingly enough the UPN News cast also focused on the DVD release of the Biggie and Tupac documentary, by Nick Bloomfield, which Cynthia Fuchs takes a close look at on PopMatters. One of the reporters interviewed writer Kevin Powell, who discussed the lack of trust in hip-hop for the police. To date, as you all know, the deaths of Biggie, Tupac, and most recently Jam Master Jay are all unsolved. Is there any relationship here? Is it that there is no concern for hip-hop lives, or is it black lives? And does hip-hop carry the onus of "urban" illegal acts primarily b/c most of its makers and biz men are black? Is what is happening in hip-hop any different than what is happening in society at large?

And just in case you wanted to know, this was added to the iPod over the last week:
50 Cent - New Music from The New Breed DVD site
Dwele - Subject site
Madonna - American Life site
Radiohead - Hail to the Thief site and site

posted by lynne | | comment () | trackback (0) |

04.25.03 12:38 AM

have i told you...

I am really feeling jay's site. What he chooses to post has counted as some of the most interesting reading I've done in quite some time. I also appreciate his fresh perspective and ideas. Because he works with music, and interacts with a lot of folks who make music, I have lots of respect for his viewpoint. If you haven't checked him out yet, I really think you should. The latest discussion is about the death of hip-hop, and though it's been touched on here and there on these pages, he is definitely offering the next level at his homebase.

posted by lynne | | comment () | trackback (0) |

04.23.03 01:26 AM

i don't know why, but...

Sometimes I like the most hard-hitting sonic blasts with the most graphically violent lyrics that are just so unreal, or is that surreal. But my pulse simply jumps whenever I hear songs like these. For instance, my latest throb is Bone Crusher f/Killer Mike & T.I.'s "Never Scared." Here are the lyrics and if you haven't heard it you can check it out on Arista's site. Though this one is a lil' old now, in hip-hop terms anyway, I also really get all amped and hyped when I hear Jay-Z feat. M.O.P.'s "U Don't Know (Remix)." The lyrics and then, the song. Scary, right? I know this is harmful yo. It's not positive. But it is entertaining. And not everyone can discern reality from fiction.

And while most of you who come here think that all I listen to is hip-hop, I'd like to introduce you to a minute sampling of joints that are currently rotating in my iPod:
Spacek - Vintage Hi Tech site
Peven Everett - Studio Confessions site
Buju Banton - Friends For Life site
Jazzhole - Circle Of The Sun site
Massive Attack - 100th Window site

posted by lynne | | comment () | trackback (0) |

04.22.03 01:37 AM

news you can use, or not

Nina Simone Dies
First, I would like to take a moment of silence for the grand dame Nina Simone who journeyed on to meet the ancestors on Monday. She died of natural causes at her home in Bouc-Bel-Air in the South of France. She was 70. Can I just say that I love this woman's music. "Mississippi Goddamn" and "Four Women" were favorites.

The Future of the Mixtape
Interestingly enough I have been wanting to write a piece about mixtapes. Although they have been around forever, I now see a trend, that of course 50 Cent is going to take all the credit for, emerging. Record labels better get their weight up. Geoff Boucher, wrote in the LA Times on the 20th:

"The CDs are called mix tapes, and while the name is defiantly old school in its cassette-era origins, they are the cutting edge of the moment as rap finds some of its future in its own past. A flagship symbol of that phenomenon is best-selling rapper 50 Cent, who this year spun his mix-tape success into major label platinum. J, a proud merchant, is well aware of all of this. "It all starts here," he said with a wave of his hand. "If it's new, it's right here."

"The mix tapes are the creations of local DJs who take hits, rarities, the works of up-and-coming rappers or all of the above, and use them to turn a blank CD into a highly personal jukebox. There is intense competition among those DJs to get the freshest material, and because the formal music industry has long viewed the whole scene as a copyright nightmare, a spirit of pirate radio pervades."

Gay Rappers Getting Record Deals
And another article idea I had, well not exactly, but since I know some folks in the Bay Area who are turning hip-hop on its head under the banner of homiesexuals I had thought to do a piece that would reflect what is happening in this arena. Let's just say I had pitched the idea to a magazine. The magazine shall remain nameless, but it appears that folks felt they did the gay rapper topic do death already. Yet this is clearly a different story, at least in my eyes anyway. Caushun is signed to with Baby Phat records and his debut, "Shock and Awe," is due to drop at the end of June before Gay Pride Day. Toure wrote in the NY Times on the 20th:

"Hip-hop is now as large a cultural stage as baseball was in the 50's, yet the mainstream is just as closed to gay rappers as the major leagues were to black men before Robinson. And, as with Robinson, for Caushun to break through could have a profound impact on how gay people are perceived throughout America."

Is Hip-Hop Really Dead?
Since I am back into this mode of posting an assemblage of hip-hop related mainstream articles, I'll also mention this other one that was sent my way today. To be quite honest, I am kind of tired of folks pronouncing the death of hip-hop or asking whether it can be saved, but here goes a read of that subject from Renee Graham in The Boston Globe from the 20th:

"For two of the past three years, a rap artist has enjoyed the top-selling CD of the year. In 2000, it was Eminem's major-label sophomore effort, ''The Marshall Mathers LP,'' and last year, the Grammy-winning Detroit rapper sold more than 8 million copies of ''The Eminem Show.'' So far this year, Eminem protege 50 Cent has the best-selling album with his debut, ''Get Rich or Die Tryin' .'' Since its February release, it has lingered in Billboard's top five and has sold more than 4 million copies.

"With other recent multimillion-selling releases by Jay-Z, Nas, Nelly, and Missy Elliott, hip-hop artists are a major reason the struggling music industry isn't in worse shape. Yet while the numbers don't lie, neither do they tell the whole truth. Rap music, which ushered the wonders of hip-hop culture from graffiti-splattered playgrounds to suburban front lawns, is in trouble."

"Nearly three decades since spoken wordscapes were married to beats to create a new musical vocabulary, rap music is flirting with creative bankruptcy. A genre once characterized by innovative, restless spirit now seems little more than an assembly-line product. Take a menacing scowl, a few platinum rings and pendants, a video filled with lip-licking, come-hither hotties, and someone who can rhyme about bullet-riddled mayhem, cognac, sneakers, dubs, or the latest Hummer -- and an MTV or BET-ready rap star is born."

"Once the most revolutionary and deconstructed sound since bebop in post-World War II America, rap music, the commericial centerpiece of hip-hop culture, is in danger of becoming routine, pedestrian, and, worst of all, boring."

Hip-Hop Activism
But as Trent is prone to say, hip-hop isn't dead it's just in another spirit. I think that's the way he turns the phrase. And you have heard this here before as well. There are folks reclaiming hip-hip and utilizing it as an agent of change. Jesse Alejandro Cottrell wrote in WireTap on the 18th:

"To anyone who watches MTV all day -- where P. Diddy, Ja Rule and Nelly dominate the screen flashing fancy cars, gold chains and an entourage of scantily clad women -- political empowerment and hip-hop may seem like conflicting terms. But hip-hop has been political in nature since its birth in the youth subculture of the Bronx during the late 1970s. Unfortunately what started out as a gritty portrayal of what was really happening on the streets has been perverted in less than two decades into a seemingly endless supply of high-paid corporate clowns rapping about little more than the fact that they1re rich. Today, mainstream hip-hop is worse than apolitical -- it has become a tool to oppress and distract an entire generation of youth, especially youth of color."

"Youth organizers today are fed up with this perversion of their own resistance culture and are taking steps to reclaim hip-hop's political power. According to Davey D, a founder of hip-hop activism and DJ of KPFA's "Hard Knock Radio," one of the first steps in reclaiming hip-hop from corporations is introducing the masses to politicized hip-hop. "They stole it from us, repackaged it, and are selling it back to us as something they created," he said."

posted by lynne | | comment () | trackback (0) |

04.17.03 09:41 PM

virtual me

I thought it was high time I check out My Virtual Model to see what I'd look like. I guess that would be me with my newly dyed hair. Now only if I could just get rid of my stomach. And my shoulders will never be that narrow.

posted by lynne | | comment () | trackback (0) |

04.15.03 03:04 AM

prisoner of her own mind

She was just learning to filter the modular mania that transported itself through the ether. That which she so wanted to store in those e-filed boxes she once labeled and organized. Just learning to sift through and discard its abundant messages now, several years since her brain 'puter had been wired to the global memory chip, like mother to child joined by umbilical cord. Yet she wasn't feeding from it, it was sucking the very creative juices from her psychical and spiritual mindframe. It preyed on her consciousness stream and state of REM. Receive. Send. Purge. Reload. Hyperlink. She knew the functions personally as if they were her siblings. This was her existence --- day in and day out. It would seem she would have learned how to overcome its forces when the BBS ruled. The BBS Lords too had overtaken the desktop community, and she had been a desktop loyalist so it ruled her also. Still she had not blue printed a plan nor constructed a map to escape it.

The detachable peripherals taught her how to transport all the binaries. And because she could do this with deft ability, she was still a slave to its system. Point and click. Search. Mouseover. When would it end? Lying there on the table, readying for another upload and download exchange she thought she might override it and crash it. She even thought one computation or even a permutation might assist her with hacking into the main vein --- its source. But then she might burn, and of course she feared that. What she wanted was her mind back, not to annihilate the parts of it that were herself. If she could just hold on long enough to feel her limbs once more, perhaps she could reach over and off the switch. But it wouldn't matter because it was everywhere now, and no script or code could sufficiently bug it into oblivion. It was and is an indestructible malefactor. But not of the vicious variety. It just worked itself inside of her, inside every bone and marrow, in a manner that made her became overly dependent upon it. Desperately she tried to remember life before it. Try though her will might, her intent just wouldn't allow such thought patterns.

It was everywhere and nowhere, feeding all the devices that came before. Devices such as voice box, game box, idiot box, and the amplitude modulation and frequency modulation tuner box. And then there were also the newer devices such as wireless voice box, and palm sized data notebooks for making lists and storing GIGO information. The once sacred book of divine inspiration and intelligence had also been forever transformed. Nowhere to run she thought. It had overtaken nearly every home, industry of commerce, entertainment outlet, and communications disseminator. Even the highway had not been safe for quite some time. What kept it living and breathing were others like her, and so she began to think that in order to destroy it she must destroy all of them. If they were no longer connected to it, then it would serve no purpose. A stealth mission was in order. As she secretly detached herself, changed into riot grrl gear, and set out to begin her journey --- the self waged war that she called overload --- she began to think that it was a movement that would certainly bring her impending doom. Had she not heard that the unwired interlopers, devoted allies of its great force, were now making steady haste toward the Northern and Western interiors of the 3rd World Region? Was there no escaping or overturning the ubiquitous networked ether?

posted by lynne | | comment () | trackback (0) |

04.11.03 01:11 AM

blogging for peace

Let us dance no more
Yo, what's up?
How you doing?
Come here often?
Oh yeah
I remember you
We met at this same spot
Even danced a few dances
We danced the Nicaragua
the Grenada
the Panama
the Haiti
Shoot, I even remember we danced
the Vietnam
Boy did we get down
and dirty
What was that for, again?
I mean what was our goal?
Did we hold each other tightly
stare into one another's eyes?
Did we have truth in our step?
Or were we both living a lie?
That's right
I remember now
I was blindfolded
Off my guard
you said if I held your hand
you'd set me free
You weren't interested in making
me your earth
Didn't even want to pimp me
nor cop my jewels
So I stayed in your arms
dancing cheek-to-cheek
me being meek
I wanted to believe in you
As if dancing with you
was going to be my
as if it would change my life
for the better
but after each dance
you lost interest in me
didn't hang around
to see how our intimacy
affected me
you had lifted me off my feet
spun me around
and forgot to plant me
Shoot, your job was done
you had your dance
you had your fun
and, I guess
you won

posted by lynne | | comment () | trackback (0) |

04.10.03 01:03 AM

"Sometimes it snows in April/

"Sometimes it snows in April/ Sometimes I feel so bad, so bad" - Prince

Ten for Ten:
1. The snow here on Monday pretty much set my mood for the week. It's back to a bout of Seasonal Affective Disorder over here.

2. George tells me he signed up for Peaceblogs, and I think you ought to too. That is especially if you are joining us in the April 11th Bloggers for Peace movement. Go download one of their icons and put it on your page the same day you blog for peace. And while you're at it, put your blog on the list of peace blogs over there.
3. Two posts by Jason last week and one by J. really had me thinking. I kept wanting to write something here, but could never quite bring myself to do it. I so feel these issues, especially since I teach
a course
about race and ethnicity. I've lost my train of thought on the issue, and the issue has been commented on very well on both Jason and J's blogs. All I have to say, is I wonder what people mean when they feel that you must be pro-black. And I'm not saying that I am. Nor am I saying that I'm not. But why does it always seem to mean that you must be anti-white? If we're talking biology, there is only one race, and that's human. So when ethnicities mix and breed, it's not like we're going to end up with some sci-fi experiment. And yes, I understand the history of this racist nation. But more and more I see the issues coming down to economics and politics. Does that mean that Russell Simmons won't be racially profiled? Probably not. But you show me some pure blooded American whose family has been here for generations. Damn, even show me a pure blood from any nation. I doubt there are many left.
4. WireTap has begun a series on Music and Activism. By now you should know how we feel about that here. I'm making the happy face.
5. Lately I have read lots of reports about the death of black radio, the death of public radio, probably the death of anything radio that doesn't fit into the transglobal (as opposed to transnational) capitalist line of things. But it's alright. Satellite radio is doing it's thing. And while Clear Channel is XM's largest financial backer, both XM and Sirius are doing interesting things. OK maybe we shouldn't mess with Clear Channel, it has been reported that the company's 1,200 or so stations nationwide support pay-for-play radio. So let's talk about Sirius. On April 15, Sirius will announce, via teleconference, the nation's only 24/7 broadcast entertainment service for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender community. I find this kind of interesting since the LGBT community seems to have been blacklisted from Yahoo! I received reports that folks who have LGBT groups on Yahoo! have now been relegated to adult content areas. Something about this seems strange. I suppose there are no gay youth, or perhaps youth in general should be forewarned about accessing LGBT groups. C'mon give me a friggin' break.
6. I received an anonymous email the other day that had me a little concerned. It was very militant in tone. Yet, I read the entire three, or thereabouts, paragraphs. Somehow it's militancy piqued my interest. Then, it suggested I follow this link, and I realized it wasn't so bad. At first, because of what I read in the email, I thought it was the alterantive to the KKK. I'm definitely not against anti-racisim movements. Still uncertain, I guess I'll have to join to find out. When a group supports the new Black Panther movement, and even the old Black Panthers don't support the new movement, you just have to watch.
7. Davey D pulled off a really good April Fool's prank, but after careful reading it didn't sound so funny. In many ways, within his humor, there is a little bit of truth. His piece talks about a company that is going to trademark the term hip-hop and anyone who wants to use the term for commercial purposes will herein after have to pay a licensing fee. This is the part that made me kinda' laugh, but kinda', well, pause: "At the end of the press conference Gonahangya explained that he is currently in negotiations with a major broadcast company so that they will have the exclusive rights to the word 'Hip Hop'. Gonahangya declined to name the outlet that he is dealing with, but he did note that should everything work out according to plan this media outlet has vast resources and will set up offices throughout the country and help determine which projects and products will be allowed to use the term 'Hip Hop'. Gonahangya refused to say whether or not it would be an outlet like Clear Channel, Viacom or Emmis that would be determining who can or cannot use the word 'Hip Hop'. "It would be premature for me to give out that information", he said."
8. T. and I went to see City of God Saturday afternoon. It was some real Rio de Janeiro gangster shoot-'em-up type ish. I was both captivated and saddened at the same time. It's all on some poverty breeds crime and violence premise, but within that desparate place there is also room for redemption. The narrator of the story is engulfed in dante's inferno, and yet in it he makes a way out for himself. It took me a couple of days to get the vision of the youthful gangsters out of my head. Those visions definitely had me contemplating the war.
9. I'm mad at Kung Faux. The DVD came in the mail last week, but I didn't have time to watch it. One night while watching MTV 2, at least I think that's what I was watching, I saw a few excerpts from it. Yeah, ok, hip-hop meets kung fu is supposed to be funny, but what I caught on the tube looked like, better yet sounded like, some classic coon meets kung fu. I could be wrong, and my definitive opinion has not been weighed in yet.
10. Though hardcore and I are the ones really pushing this Blogging for Peace movement, you might not see my April 11th blog until later in the weekend. I'm on my way to the EMP Pop Conference to moderate a panel on
Contemporary R&B
. I just can't believe that I'll finally get to meet Cynthia Fuchs. I have admired her work on PopMatters and over at Philadelphia City Paper for quite awhile. I will still try to get my blog for peace up before I go, but I have an early morning flight Friday, and I have been working hard at the slave and at teaching (semester ends next week), as well as keeping some of this other writing I like to do going. There really hasn't been much since the FT gig, the relationship, and teaching again. So you'll understand if you don't see a poem on this site until Sunday? You will, won't you?
Bonus: Donald's bizack. Now where is Trent? Oh yeah, and you should go read The Complete Sexual History of Alexis S., that is if you haven't already.

posted by lynne | | comment () | trackback (0) |

04.04.03 09:24 PM

it's still peace though

Lamenting the lost email battles, circa Jan 2003, hardcore and I stroked keyboard once more in IM confrontation. You have witnessed this twice before in these here webpages. What is interesting to me is that our virtual personae is so outlandish, so disconnected from our real selves, and yet very much a part of our real selves. We utilize gender and genitalia differences to highlight our bravado. Clever, but it can be viewed as damaging in certain cultural contexts of the relationship between black woman and black man. Unfortunately this is neither of us at our best, but it offers a glimmer of what happens to an oral performance practice when used for other means --- in the commercial game - to outsell, and in our game, like every other freestyle battle - to insult at the utmost extreme and garner the most guffaws. Unfortuantely on saving the AIM session, some text got cut and further tech glitches were encoutered upon transfering from the slave's OSX to the home-based OS 9.2. Right there at the end corey got warmed up and wrecked shop, so my apologizes go out to him. And no it wasn't sabatoge on my part, even some of my lyrics got cut here and there making some of my verses make absolutely no sense. Seriously though, I enjoy our lyrical/written banter. I'll give him a chance to make a comeback next week. Check it out:

The warm up...
Ambiv The Sinful (4:32:05:00 PM): wiggle a pen and snicker, this battle is cylindrical i disrespect, u die, then i reserect you re-birth, re-heat, pause then re-eat you throw you up, waste you, then regurgetate you

lynneluvah (4:33:33:00 PM): i got plenty of rhymes a throwback like plato and bach/ the philosophical lyricist with a classical twist

lynneluvah (4:37:31:00 PM): i stomp you romp you/ hit you with a lyrical twist pardner/ any attempt to circumvent/ for you will be limited pardner/ now i'm a classy lady yes/ when i invent a rhyme/ but i'm in my prime/ i gets freaky with mine/ when i say the last line/ i'm the finisher first/ i'll punish ya/ bone crush ya/ i'm still waiting on yer verse

Ambiv The Sinful (4:39:36:00 PM): stretch my vocal chords, brandish my sword another verbal war throat soars, Core speak scores of dime whores seek the source of the vengeful versese no curses just cursed emcees that die trying to battle with me

It gets better, but for some reason it's where corey's verses disappeared...
lynneluvah (4:40:40:00 PM): now corey lacks vision/ some say he's myopic in view/ i've flowed with a few/ got sick with a few/ and when i'm damaging you/ i pops quips with a few/ bout how i octaned you/ 5th gear lights out/ tonight's bout/ got ripped by me/ i'ma shut your mouth

Ambiv The Sinful (4:49:06:00 PM): no typos/all type of fly hoez/enter my verses/i bend teachers and nurses/it's sick how i do it/i spread the fluid/ not the seamen/ but the sea men/on my pen-man-ship/hardCore's equipped/with skill/pocket of scrilla/fuck with me i'll have to kill ya/the future millionaire/waves be rolling through by hair/like flows be rolling off my tongue/oh yeahhhh

Here is the point in the session where corey ripped it and I wish I could bring it back. He really went for the gender differences here, but...
lynneluvah (4:55:50:00 PM): blood stains on my carpet/ all cuz corey tried to rock it/ said he had heavy artillery in his pocket/ but when he sparked it/ he didn't spark shit/ his verses lacked wit/ so i pulled out my mic going for that 1-2 1-2 dis/ now i tried to warn him/ that vengance was mine/ but he thinks he's god's son the second/ so like a murk he was playing blind/ told him i had a title to uphold/ that i'd damage his soul/ and with that k-o turned his shit blue black then no/ he was like oh no/ as he clutched at his heart/ but dats what you get when god's son the second tries to outbeat alpha and omega from da start

lynneluvah (4:58:59:00 PM): murda this murda that/ i'm gonna go next level and elevate this wack rap/ let the interrogation begin/ i ask all questions first....

lynneluvah (4:59:03:00 PM): damn can'to go/ u stood up strong rounds one thru nine/ but if i let you go one more/ i'ma have to make you bend/ over touch your toes/ i gotta thing for making fake ass nikkas take off their clothes/ butt cheeks exposed/ and drilling something up their anuses/ cuz i ain't afraid to bust/ u right there/ what you think that sounds nasty/ shit i told you i was greasy

I really wished that AIM had saved his last verse so I could be hyped to wipe him on the concrete. Nah, but really, if you were able to see his ability to turn metaphor, and funk the freaky flow, you'd understand. I have to give props where props are due. He didn't want me to post it, said we had reps to uphold, but I told him that perhaps seeing it up here like this would push us to get our weight back up.

posted by lynne | | comment () | trackback (0) |

04.03.03 10:42 PM

jay-z flows anti war, and other hip-hop movements

A search of Google News, reveals that Jay-Z has jumped on the anti-war bandwagon. We'll he already signed his name on the Musicians United to Win Without War list, but now he's spitting lyrics too. In short, the platinum rapper laid down an anti-war message on the already popular bhangra-infused Punjabi MC's "Beware of the Boys - Mundian To Bach Ke," which samples—get this—the theme tune from Knight Rider. Can we say Hova knows how to crossover. First "Hard Knock Life," and now this. A sampling of Jigga's verse as reported by "We rebellious, we back home/ Screamin' 'Leave Iraq alone,' " Young Hova rhymes over a sample of the theme from the "Knight Rider" TV show. "For all my soldiers in the field/ I will wish you safe return/ But only love kills war/ When will they learn?" Now who said hip hop (music) didn't step up to the plate? While this remix is already receiving heavy US radio rotation, the single will hit shelves April 15, and that's a week after Blueprint 2.1 drops. I'm still looking for the MP3.

Now this brings me to my last comment regarding this whole discussion "we" continue to have about how hip-hop fails our youth. Folks need to learn to discern between hip-hop culture and the hip-hop industry. Speaking of which, Kevin Powell's activist organization Hiphop Speaks is hosting a Townhall Meeting on the State of Hiphop Music and Culture on Saturday June 7 in NYC in celebration of Black History Month. Panelists have not been announced yet, but topics include Hiphop Culture vs. the Hiphop Industry, Anti-rap police task forces and FBI surveillance of the hiphop community, Historical amnesia: why we do not know hiphop/American/world history?, How Bush, the war, and the war on terrorism affect the hiphop community/America, The class divide in hiphop: thugs vs. backpackers, commercial vs. underground, The self-hatred of a generation (where did it come from?), among others.

Now you have Hiphop speaks and Russell Simmons Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, and the Urban Think Tank, and there is also Davey D, and we've always had Chuck D. Who knows what else exits out there. I do know for sure that students on college campuses across the country are organizing and making politcal moves and doing consciousness raising under the banner of hip-hop. Moreover, it appears that as more and more hip-hop heads reach their late 20s, enter their 30s and 40s, and start raising families they begin to look at other ways of bringing both the music and the culture to the next level. I said it once and I'll say it again, and as my boy Hashim Shomari once said in his book From the underground : hip hop culture as an agent of social change: "One way to understand hip-hop culture as distinct from its commercialized aspects is to think of it as a variation of the African talking drum, a means of communication for African American youth. ... The communicative role hip-hop has played, and will continue to play, in the African American struggle can not be over stated. By acting as an alternative source of information, hip-hop can teach the masses of Black youth about the need to democratize mass media. ... At present, the entertainment establishment is feverishly trying to separate rap music from its hip-hop cultural context. ... The potential for hip-hop culture to raise consciousness depends on whether or not the entertainment industry totally commercializes rap music as a whole—thereby permanently separating the music from the culture that spawned it—or whether hip-hop culture can politically and economically defend itself."
Addendum: Since I have only partially read through most of them, I can not fully comment, but these recently released books say a lot about all that has been said here recently. Check 'em out if you have the time. If I ever do finish them all, trust that their will be an essay forthcoming. The air is changing dramatically in America as we can see with the recent war in Iraq and the legal twist in Affirmative Action. Sheesh, f*** Amerikkka, let's look at the world. Gender. Race. AIDS. Economics. Politrix. Corporate Prisons. Etc. The issues man...u know the isms and the issues. We see 'em everyday. I don't know how things will play out over the next couple of years kids, but we need to arm ourselves with some education. And yeah, a little meditation wouldn't hurt, if we send off enough positive vibrations...who knows.

Current Reading List
The New H.N.I.C.: The Death of Civil Rights and the Reign of Hip Hop by Todd Boyd
The 'Hood Comes First: Race, Space, and Place in Rap and Hip-Hop by Murray Forman
Mulatto America: At the Crossroads of Black and White Culture: A Social History by Stephen Talty
Everything But The Burden: What White People are Taking from Black Culture edited by Greg Tate
American Skin: Pop Culture, Big Business & The End of White America by Leon E. Wynter

And to see the original discussion that sparked this hip-hop debate go here.

posted by lynne | | comment () | trackback (0) |

04.01.03 09:34 AM

bloggers for peace

But first a word: Alternet urges you to support musicians who are against the war. In other words, don't let clearchannel shut 'em down.

Now the real deal:
kind of came up with an idea that would bring all bloggers together in the name of peace. Next Friday, he and I, along with any of you other bloggers that want to be down, will put up a poem on our blog that is dedicated to peace, or about peace, however you want to look at it. But peace is the theme. I really hope that many of you join us. jason already said that he'd be down, and I just read on hardcore's site that steph will be down. If poetry ain't your thing, come up with a graphic, a phrase, a statement, a short story, links to articles, whatever moves you. Not looking to dictate creativity here. But what would be nice is that everyone name their entry "Bloggers For Peace" that day. That would be April 11. Thanks for your support.

posted by lynne | | comment () | trackback (0) |


This weblog is powered by Movable Type 3.3 and licensed under a Creative Commons License.