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Hip Hop Table



Hip Hop CDs

Hip Hop Project Soundtrack /  Straight Outta Compton (Priority, 1988)  


 Ghetto Music: The Blueprint Of Hip Hop (Jive, 1989)  /  Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ – Soundtrack (2005)  


Notorious B.I.G. CDs  Life after Death  / Notorious / Maximum Big


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Tupac CDs Me Against the World (1995)   / Strictly for My N.iG.G.A.Z  (1993) / All Eyez on Me (1996)


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50 Cent CDs   Get Rich Or Die Tryin’  /  The Massacre   / Guess Who’s Back  / Power of the Dollar

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Books on Rap & Hip Hop


Todd Boyd,

The New H.N.I.C.: The Death of Civil Rights and the Reign of Hip Hop (2003)


Brian Cross, It’s Not About a Salary… Rap, Race and Resistance in Los Angeles: Rap, Race, and Resistance in Los Angeles (1993)


Tricia Rose, Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (1994)


Russell A. Porter,  Spectacular Vernaculars: Hip-Hop and the Politics of Postmodernism (1995)


Bakari Kitwana, The Hip Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African American Culture (2003)


Imani Perry,  Prophets of the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop (2004)

S. Craig Watkins, Representing; Hip Hop and the Production of Black Cinema (1999)

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Brief Overview

Smoke and Horrors—By Charles M. Blow—October 22, 2010—Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.’s recent chest-thumping against the California ballot initiative that seeks to legalize marijuana underscores how the war on drugs in this country has become a war focused on marijuana, one being waged primarily against minorities and promoted, fueled and financed primarily by Democratic politicians. According to a report released Friday by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project for the Drug Policy Alliance and the N.A.A.C.P. and led by Prof. Harry Levine, a sociologist at the City University of New York: “In the last 20 years, California made 850,000 arrests for possession of small amounts of marijuana, and half-a-million arrests in the last 10 years. The people arrested were disproportionately African-Americans and Latinos, overwhelmingly young people, especially men.” For instance, the report says that the City of Los Angeles “arrested blacks for marijuana possession at seven times the rate of whites.”

This imbalance is not specific to California; it exists across the country.—NYTimes

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Hip Hop Timeline 1925  Present

The History of Hip-Hop Music

Todd Boyd on Hip Hop (audio)  / Hip Hop: New Civil Rights Movement? 

The New H.N.I.C.: The Death of Civil Rights and the Reign of Hip Hop

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The Cornell West Theory of Hip Hop


The Shape of Hip-Hop to Come is the name of the forthcoming album from The Cornel West Theory. It is also a heads up to those who may have become consumed by the mythologies of hip-hop’s death.  Nope.  Hip-hop is fine, sometimes just needs some help seeing the light of day.  Today’s program shed some and allowed a glimpse at proof of the culture’s survival and the shape of what’s to come.   Two of the band’s members joined us this week for an interview about the group, its history and its collection of talented contributors.  We debuted some tracks from the new album and talked with them about politics, spirituality and, of course, music.  DC was well-represented today as was real hip-hop.— ImixWhatiLike Second Rome 

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Conscious hip hop, the soundtrack to young politics in the UK—T

his is the music that is mobilising Britain’s youth and getting them to think about issues they might not otherwise have done—By Richard Sudan—Differing from the often violent image that rap has been tarnished with, conscious hip-hop is generally the opposite of what is marketed and supported by corporate labels. As London-based rapper Lowkey, one of the best-known figures on the scene, puts it in a track entitled “My Soul“:

“They can’t use my music to advertise for Coca Cola / they can’t use my music to advertise for Motorola / they can’t use my music to advertise for anything / I guess that’s reason the industry won’t let me in / refuse to be a product or a brand I’m a human / refuse to contribute to the gangsta illusion.”

In short, conscious rap is hip-hop as it should be. Many people know of US conscious rappers such as Dead Prez KRS-One and Immortal Technique. But how is it relevant to activism here in the UK? US professor and author MK Asante Jr argues that hip-hop simply means “making an observation [about society] and having an obligation.”—Guardian / Long Live Palestine (Lowkey) / Logic—For My People

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Father of hip-hop, Gil Scott-Heron is a survivor


By Jonathan Takiff

In the late 1960s and ’70s, there were none hipper or signifying more on the conscious black arts scene than Gil Scott-Heron. The Lincoln University- and Johns Hopkins-educated poet, author and English professor also discovered his voice as a dramatically throaty, impassioned jazz- and blues-tinged singer.

Though he has just released the long-overdue album I’m New Here, he was nurturing a modern neo-soul sound long before the style had a name. And if you ask any of the world’s most relevant rappers — from Chuck D to Common — who inspired them, odds are good they’ll cite this guy. HoustonChronicle  / Gil Scott-Heron & His Music  / Gil Scott-Heron “Blue Collar”

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Questlove in Effort to Resolve Skillz-Questlove Feud, Captures Peace Offering on Video


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The Anthology of Rap

Edited by Adam Bradley and Adam Bradley

Afterwords by Common and Chuck D / Foreword by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Fact Check the Rhyme—The Anthology of Rap is rife with transcription errors. Why is it so hard to get rap lyrics right?—By Paul Devlin—4 November 2010— As of this week, rap finally has an anthology, published by Yale University Press. The Anthology of Rap sets out to capture the evolution of rap lyrics through what its editors consider representative examples, collecting the work of a wide variety of MCs who recorded from 1979 through 2009, from Grandmaster Caz to Joell Ortiz. More so than most anthologies, the book is also an essay collection, featuring substantive general and chapter introductions by the editors and essays from Henry Louis Gates Jr., Chuck D, and Common. The eye-opening essay by Gates (who is the editor-in-chief of The Root, a Slate sister site) provides deep historical context for rap; it alone makes the book worth owning. . . . Got a copy of The Anthology of Rap? Share any errors you find.—Slate

PBS: New Anthology Traces Rap’s Lyrical Journey, Its Poetic Roots

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Gil Scott-Heron, Spoken-Word Musician, Dies at 62—By The Associated Press—May 27, 2011—Musician Gil Scott-Heron, who helped lay the groundwork for rap by fusing minimalistic percussion, political expression and spoken-word poetry on songs such as “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” died Friday at age 62. A friend, Doris C. Nolan, who answered the telephone listed for his Manhattan recording company, said he died in the afternoon at St. Luke’s Hospital after becoming sick upon returning from a European trip.  “We’re all sort of shattered,” she said. Scott-Heron’s influence on rap was such that he sometimes was referred to as the Godfather of Rap, a title he rejected.

“If there was any individual initiative that I was responsible for it might have been that there was music in certain poems of mine, with complete progression and repeating ‘hooks,’ which made them more like songs than just recitations with percussion,” he wrote in the introduction to his 1990 collection of poems, “Now and Then.” He referred to his signature mix of percussion, politics and performed poetry as bluesology or Third World music. But then he said it was simply “black music or black American music.” “Because Black Americans are now a tremendously diverse essence of all the places we’ve come from and the music and rhythms we brought with us,” he wrote. . . .

Scott-Heron recorded the song that would make him famous, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” which critiqued mass media, for the album 125th and Lenox in Harlem in the 1970s. He followed up that recording with more than a dozen albums, initially collaborating with musician Brian Jackson. His most recent album was “I’m New Here,” which he began recording in 2007 and was released in 2010. Throughout his musical career, he took on political issues of his time, including apartheid in South Africa and nuclear arms. He had been shaped by the politics of the 1960s and the black literature, especially of the Harlem Renaissance.

Scott-Heron was born in Chicago on April 1, 1949. He was raised in Jackson, Tenn., and in New York before attending college at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. Before turning to music, he was a novelist, at age 19, with the publication of The Vulture, a murder mystery.He also was the author of The Nigger Factory, a social satire.—NYTimes

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Racism: A History, the 2007 BBC 3-part documentary explores the impact of racism on a global scale. It was part of the season of programs on the BBC marking the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. It’s divided into 3 parts.

The first, The Colour of Money . . . Racism: A History [2007]—1/3

Begins the series by assessing the implications of the relationship between Europe, Africa and the Americas in the 15th century. It considers how racist ideas and practices developed in key religious and secular institutions, and how they showed up in writings by European philosophers Aristotle and Immanuel Kant.

The second, Fatal Impact . . . Racism: A History [2007] – 2/3

Examines the idea of scientific racism, an ideology invented during the 19th century that drew on now discredited practices such as phrenology and provided an ideological justification for racism and slavery. The episode shows how these theories ultimately led to eugenics and Nazi racial policies of the master race.

And the 3rd, A Savage Legacy . . .  Racism: A History [2007] – 3/3

Examines the impact of racism in the 20th century. By 1900 European colonial expansion had reached deep into the heart of Africa. Under the rule of King Leopold II, the Belgian Congo was turned into a vast rubber plantation. Men, women and children who failed to gather their latex quotas would have their limbs dismembered. The country became the scene of one of the century’s greatest racial genocides, as an estimated 10 million Africans perished under colonial rule.

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50 Cent: A Metaphor for Change

Abell Report on Under-Funding Baltimore Education

Banning Saggy Pants

Boogie Down Productions

Born to Use Mics: Reading Nas’s Illmatic

Conversations with Kind Friends 

The Coup Music

Dogs for Life

Father of hip-hop, Gil Scott-Heron is a survivor

Enough with the Poisonous Lyrics

Fourth World Art 

From Gangs of the Ghetto to Gangstas of the Inner City

George Bush Doesn’t Care  

Audio George Bush Don’t Like Black People

Godfather Lives Through: Hip-Hop’s Top 25 James Brown Sampled Records

Graffiti Takeover

Hip Hop 101 Droppin’ Knowledge

A Hip Hop Clothing Store 

Hip Hop Profanity Misogyny and Violence

Hip Hop Project Interview & Review

Hip Hop Resistance in Gaza

Hip hop trailblazer Gil Scott-Heron books Tel Aviv show

Historical Context for Hip Hop Store in Malawi

Is Hip Hop Really Dead?

Jena and the Judgment of History

Jena and the New Movement

Jena Ignites a Movement

Just Another Dead Nigger

Killens, the Black Man’s Burden, and the Jena 6

Kings of Crunk

The Kings of Dru Hill by Michael A. Gonzales

The Last Poets

Market for Ni$$as  

Masculinity Manliness Violence (Lewis)

Master P, Hip-Hop Entrepreneur

Maxine Waters Hip Hop

The Michael Vick Situation

Notes on “An Open Letter to Oprah Winfrey”

Photos from Jena 

Poems of Love and Pain 

Points to Paradise  

Police Brutality and Rappers

Poor White Boys and the Future of Hiphop  

Rap and Spirituality

Revealing Racist Roots: The 3 R’s

Rev. Lennox Yearwood and the Hip Hop Caucus 

Rev. Lennox Yearwood Attacked, Arrested, Hospitalized 

Reverend Yearwood on YouTube  Police Brutality  More

Russell Simmons Occupy Wall Street

Sagging Pants: The Real Deal

Security Guards Beat School Teen over Cake Spill

School Security Guards Beat Teen over Cake Spill: Palmdale  (video)

Seneca Turner’s Thoughts upon Revisiting Hip Hop (A Rejoinder . . .  By Floyd Hayes)

Sharif Responds to Todd Boyd

The Staying Power of Rap  (Scott) 

This Gangsta Stuff & Russell’s Call For Change

Thoughts on Jena & the Dirty South 

U  Made Sense 2 Me–for Tupac

We All Live in Jena–National Student Walk-Out

What’s Going On?: Black-on-Black Homicide Hits Home  

The World of Rap Grand Master Flash

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Mychal Bell Injustice Overturned on Appeal—A state appeals court on Friday threw out the only remaining conviction against one of the black teenagers accused in the beating of a white schoolmate in the racially tense north Louisiana town of Jena. Mychal Bell, 17, should not have been tried as an adult, the state 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal said in tossing his conviction on aggravated battery, for which he was to have been sentenced Thursday. He could have gotten 15 years in prison. His conspiracy conviction in the December beating of student Justin Barker was already thrown out by another court. Bell, who was 16 at the time of the beating, and four others were originally charged with attempted second-degree murder. Those charges brought widespread criticism that blacks were being treated more harshly than whites after racial confrontations and fights at Jena High School. Janet McConnaughey. Teen’s conviction tossed in La. beating  14 September 2007


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Related files

50 Years of Progress Since Brown 

Abell Report

Amiri Baraka

Barry Michael Cooper

Blinder Justice

Clapping On Two and Four

The Collapse of Urban Public Schooling

Dark Child of the Fourth World

A Depravity of Logic

Digital Technology

Dilemma of Black Urban Education

Food Future Past

A ‘Ho’ By Any Other Color  (Dr. Edward Rhymes)

If White America Had a Bill Cosby  

Indictment of Lynching

James Brown Messing with the Blues

James Brown Philosophizing on Escapeism

Juanita E. Jackson Bio

Juneteenth and the Emancipation of Whom: Niggers or Enslaved Africans? 

Kalamu NeoGriot

Lessons from France 

Long Live the Kings of Black Entertainment

Masculinity Manliness Violence

Moratorium on School Closings in Baltimore

Much is Expected 

Music  Musicians

A Naïve Political Treatise 

Nappy Headed Women  Response to Don Imus  

National Hip Hop Caucus 

A New Black Power 

Paris Is Burning

Politics of Knowledge 

The Pyres of Autumn

Psychology of Black Oppression 

Quality Education for Black & Brown

Remembering to Not Forget

A Report on a Gathering  at Red Emma’s 

A Response to Anti-Black Youth Rhetoric 

Responses to  “A New Black Power” 

Responses to Jean Baudrillard  

Responses to Race as a Decoy for Class

Rudy I want to know…. 

School Daze

Seneca Turner’s Thoughts upon Revisiting Hip Hop

Slow Down Heart

Something in the Way of Things (In Town)

Statistics on the Inequities

There Must Still Be Something Out of Kilter

Thomas Long Table

The Venezuelan Revolution 100 Questions-100 Answers 

Weldon Irvine Documentary

Weldon Irvine Obituary

What Next

WORDS a neo-griot manifesto

Why Chesiel Matters

Youth and the Lynching Evil    


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James Brown—Soul Brother Number One 1 /   James Brown—Soul Brother Number One 2

James Brown—Soul Brother Number One 3  / James Brown—Soul Brother Number One 4

The Shining Words: Chairman Mao Originally published in Scratch, March/April 2007.

In the early hours of Christmas Day 2006 James Brown, weak from pneumonia and suffering congestive heart failure, turned to his long-time friend and manager Charles Bobbit and said simply, “I’m going to leave here tonight.” After making his peace with the Creator, the Godfather of Soul lay back in his Atlanta hospital bed one final time, passing on to a better place not of this earth.

Music fans of the world mourned the passing of a legend. James Brown, it had seemed to many of us, was bigger than life, someone that no hardship, obstacle, or setback—be it growing up in the Jim Crow South, incarceration, band mutinies, or changing popular musical tastes—could hold back. We of the hip-hop generation, of course, felt a great kinship with James for having helped him overcome the latter. During the better part of the late ’70s and early ’80s when Black radio turned its collective back on JB, essentially writing off Soul Brother #1 as Soul Brother # Done, South Bronx selectors kept his heaviest beats in rotation—one break and two copies at a time—and commemorated his birthday with annual Zulu Nation throwdowns. By the mid-’80s, when producer Marley Marl discovered the powers of digital sampling (and soon after the super-powers of sampling James Brown and his productions) the Godfather was once again back and, to quote a line from his own “Coldblooded,” hipper than hip. He was hip-hop.

Rap cats took great pride in taking credit for the restoration of his career (lest we forget Daddy-O’s oft-quoted lyric from Stetsasonic’s “Talkin’ All That Jazz”—“Tell the truth James Brown was old/ ’Til Eric and Ra came out with ‘I [Know You] Got Soul’”). But the truth of the matter was it was James who’d blessed us by laying down the true blueprint of hip-hop (sorry, Kris; sorry, ’Hov) with the pioneering rhythm method of his funk recordings of the late ’60s and early ’70s. On ground-breaking groove-centric workouts and extended jams like “Soul Power,” “Funky Drummer,” “Escape-Ism,” “Make It Funky,” “Mind Power,” “Papa Don’t Take No Mess,” the almighty “Give It Up or Turnit a Loose,” and countless others, traditional song structure was handed its walking papers, replaced by funk-drenched vamps repeated to the edge of panic before temporary relief arrived in the form of a bridge every now and then.

This was rhythm for rhythm’s sake, a celebration of beats so bad (meaning good) that the self-dubbed Minister of New New (two times!) Super Heavy Funk could even cease singing, drop entire songs of spoken jewels, or have his prodigious band-members shout out their hometowns and still keep the party live. This was the future—the basis of not just hip-hop, but every other genre of modern club or dance music now in existence. James himself knew it; it just took the rest of us a while to catch up to him.

No such uncertainty existed on Thursday, December 28th, 2006 when blocks upon blocks of James Brown fans withstood several hours waiting on line in the winter chill to see our musical guiding light grace the stage of Harlem USA’s Apollo Theater one last time, and say goodbye and thank you. We represented different generations; from old timers who’d seen the Godfather perform frequently over the years; to young children—there at the behest of their parents – for whom hearing “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” sung in unison by a crowd of strangers the same complexion as theirs induced an epiphany that was priceless to witness. Our common bond was undeniable: the soundtrack to our lives would be entirely unimaginable without James Brown.

The King is dead; long live the King. James Brown Forever. R.I.P.—


Godfather Lives Through: Hip-Hop’s Top 25 James Brown Sampled Records

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Keeping It Trim & Burning (poem for Fannie Lou Hamer)

Fannie Lou Doc 1 / Fannie Lou Hamer Doc 2 / Fannie Lou Hamer Doc 3 / Fannie Lou Hamer Doc 4 / Fannie Lou Hamer Doc 5

Fannie Lou Hamer’s speech at the 1964 DNC

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Demonstrator Eden Jequinto covers his face during a demonstration after the sentencing in Oakland, Calif., Friday, of former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle. Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant at a BART station on Jan. 1, 2009. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry sentenced Mehserle to two years in prison.

Mehserle had been called to the Fruitvale station of the BART system in the early hours of New Years Day last year with four other officers to look into reports of a fight on a train. Mehserle tried to arrest Grant but reported that Grant was not cooperating. Grant was on his stomach when Mehserle shot him in the back. The shooting was caught on video by another BART passenger and quickly went viral on Youtube.—CSMonitor  /   Strange Fruit Video  / Oscar Grant Family attorney reacts to sentencing /

 Mayor Dellums, Chief Batts react to sentencing  Oscar Grant’s uncle reacts to sentencing

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Barack Obama and Hip Hop—Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of JayZee. . . .It tells a story. . . . I’m still an Old School guy. . . . I’ve got a lot of the Old Stuff. . . . I love the art of Hip Hop, but I don’t always love the message of Hip Hop. . . .  I met with JayZee, and I’ve met with Kanye. . . . The thing about Hip Hop today is that it’s smart. It’s insightful . . . The way that they can deliver a complex message in a short space. . . . What’s the content, what’s the message. . .  . Hip hop is not just a mirror of what is. It should always be a mirror of what could be. . . . Imagine communities . . . where we are respecting our women . . . where fathers are doing right by their kids. That’s something that should be reflected. . . . Art can’t just be a rear view mirror. It has to have a headlight out there, pointing to where we should go.—YouTube

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Hip hop trailblazer Gil Scott-Heron books Tel Aviv show—Known primarily for his late 1970s and early 1980s work, [Gil] Scott-Heron’s recording work is often associated with black militant activism and has received much critical acclaim for one of his most well-known compositions “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” in 1971. The protest text he recites in the song became one of the first rap-style recordings, helping to engender later African-American music such as hip hop and neo soul.

The 64-year-old American poet, musician and author, who has been described by music writers as the “godfather of rap” and “the black Bob Dylan,” has continued castigating culture and politics even as rap and hip hop have become mainstream and moved away from activism. His style nods at various genres such as punk, soul and acid jazz.—Haaretz

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Public Enemy Documentary

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Chuck D Talks Hip-Hop Past & Present

On the 20th anniversary of Public Enemy’s “Fear of a Black Planet,” Chuck D talks to Billboard about his take on Hip-Hop’s past, present and its future.

Public Enemy were arguably the first political rap group and one of the most influential hip-hop groups ever. Carrying on the baton from “message-music” soul singers of the 70s like Curtis Mayfield and Gil Scott-Heron, Public Enemy rapped ferociously in support of African-Americans and criticised the institutional racism that white America didn’t see. Like the Beastie Boys, they had a confrontational style which took time to appeal to mainstream audiences, but their innovation, intelligence and wit eventually saw them getting their message across to millions of fans worldwide.

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New Orleans’s Gender-Bending Rap— By Jonathan Dee—July 19, 2010—If “gay rapper” is an oxymoron where you come from, how to get your head around the notion of a gay rapper performing in a sports bar? What in most cities might seem plausible only as some sort of Sacha Baron Cohen-style provocation is just another weeknight in the cultural Galapagos that is New Orleans. Sometime after midnight on the sweltering Thursday before Memorial Day, the giant plasma-screen TVs at the Sports Vue bar (which “proudly airs all major Pay Per View events from the world of Boxing and Ultimate Fighting”) were all switched off, and the bar’s backroom turned into a low-lit, low-ceilinged dance club, where more than 300 people awaited a return engagement by Big Freedia, who by day runs an interior-decoration business and who is, to fans of the New Orleans variant of hip-hop music known as “bounce,” a superstar. . . .

Bounce itself has been around for about 20 years.

 Like most hip-hop varietals, it’s rap delivered over a sampled dance beat, but it has a few characteristics that give it a distinctively regional sound: it’s strictly party music, its beat is relentlessly fast and its rap quotient tends much less toward introspection or pure braggadocio than toward a call-and-response relationship with its audience, a dynamic borrowed in equal measure from Mardi Gras Indian chants and from the dawn of hip-hop itself. Many, if not most, bounce records announce their allegiance by sampling from one of just two sources: either Derek B.’s “Rock the Beat” or an infectious hook known as the “Triggaman”—NYTimes

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Ice Cube:  “Comedy Is The Path Of Least Resistance For Black People In Hollywood”

The program is called Food For Thought, a BET product. In a nutshell, 3 hosts—Harry Allen, Stephen A. Smith and Angie Martinez – interview a celebrity guest. Last night’s episode featured Ice Cube; he talked about family, music, and, of course, movies. If you’re solely interested in the movie segment, it begins around the 9:15 mark. I like Harry Allen’s segments most; thoughtful questions. And did Ice really admit to peddling buffoonery? It’s nothing that we don’t already know. But usually, the stance is a defensive one; he just seems to flat out admit it! Well, don’t hate the player, hate the game, right?—Tambay, on July 10th, 2010, Shadow and Act

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Chuck D Condemns Arizona Immigration Law in New Song

This statement from Chuck D and his wife Dr Gaye Theresa Johnson Professor Of Black Studies and Chicano Studies UC Santa Barbara:

“Jan Brewer’s decision to sign the Arizona immigration bill into law is racist, deceitful, and reflects some of the most mean-spirited politics against immigrants that the country has ever seen. The power that this law gives to police, to detain people that they suspect to be undocumented, brings racial profiling to a new low. Brewer’s actions and those of Joe Arpaio, Russell Pearce, the Arizona State Senate are despicable, inexcusable, and endorse the all-out hate campaign that Joe Arpaio, Russell Pearce, and others have perpetrated upon immigrants for years. The people of Arizona who voted for this bill, as well as those who crafted it, demonstrate no regard for the humanity or contributions of Latino people. And for all of those who have chosen not to speak up, shame on you for silently endorsing this legislated hate.

In 1991 I wrote a song criticizing Arizona officials (including John McCain and Fife Symington) for rejecting the federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The same politics I wrote about in “By the Time I Get to Arizona” are alive and well in Arizona today, but this time the target is Brown people.

These actions must stop. I am issuing a call to action, urging my fellow musicians, artists, athletes, performers, and production companies to refuse to work in Arizona until officials not only overturn this bill, but recognize the human rights of immigrants. This should include the NBA playoffs, revisiting the actions of the NFL in 1993, when they moved the Superbowl to Pasadena in protest against Arizona’s refusal to recognize Dr. King. We all need to speak up in defense of our brothers and sisters being victimized in Arizona, because things are only getting worse. What they’re doing to immigrants is appalling, but it will be even more damning if we remain silent.”

Source: HipHopLinguistics  / Tear-Down-This-Wall

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Davey D is a hip-hop journalist and activist. He runs the popular website “Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner” at, co-host also on KPFA of HardKnock Radio—Well, I’ve been on the net since 1991, so I’ve been around for a minute. But at the crux of it is, it’s just about communication. And you’re looking at a variety of communities that have often been exed out of the opportunity to talk to themselves without a media middleman or to talk to their communities without having their messages distorted. So, this is a continuum.

You know, when I first started, the reason why people went on the internet was for that very reason. And over the years, you’ve seen different variations of technology come along that have made it a little bit more efficient. So social media right now, in the form of Facebook or Twitter, which, you know, many of us are on, just really allows us to get around this increasing consolidation and regulation of speech between different communities. So, that’s been the attraction.

And what’s interesting is that old media doesn’t seem to get it. You know, they seem to want to have more of a situation where they talk at you, for the purposes of marketing, increasingly more for the purposes of just blanketing us with a particular political or social message, and to marginalize the voices of dissent, various angles that people have on a particular issue, and to challenge a narrative that oftentimes only serves the purposes of a particular corporation.—Democracy Now / Hip Hop and Politics

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Chuck D – Tear Down That Wall  /  Public Enemy – By The Time I Get To Arizona

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The Kings of Dru Hill by Michael A. Gonzales

(Baltimore magazine, June 2010)

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If there is a watershed event it happened many, many years before: September 1979 with the release of Rapper’s Delight by the Sugar Hill Gang. This was the beginning of rap recordings.

Rap, as an art form, is the single most important influence on Black poetry at the turn of the century. 1. Stressed the vernacular, and therefore was accessible to young people who were otherwise shut out of artistic production and most of whom (but not all) were excluded from higher education, and thus not likely to be directly influenced by the text tradition in a pedagogical way. 2. Had a strong performance orientation which stressed working with a live audience as opposed to a text orientation. 3. Had a commercial base which stressed popularity often to the detriment of development.

Many, many people in the text and some in the third stream camps are extremely critical of the spoken word movement. They make the mistake of focusing on the movement’s obvious shortcomings and ignoring the strengths and potentials.


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Though not an overwhelming chart success when released in 1994, Nas’ album Illmatic has long been hailed as a hip-hop masterpiece, whose sales steadily climbed until in 2001 it attained platinum status (i.e., one million-copy U.S. sales). Editors Dyson and Daulatzai corral a team of all-star commentators, including themselves, to assess the album’s merits and its place in the larger cultural context. Arriving at the very end of hip-hop’s “Golden Age,” Illmatic pointed the way for hip-hop’s post-gangsta crossover into and alteration of the pop-music mainstream. The essays aren’t easy reading, but they constitute a vital book for readers eager to understand the history of the genre. As Daulatzai observes, “There is something about Illmatic that transcends the categories of hip-hop,” though at the bottom line, “Illmatic is just a dope album, embodying everything that is hip-hop while mastering what matters most: beats and rhymes.” An absolute must for serious pop-music collections.—Mike Tribby, Booklist


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Talib Kweli says he’s not ‘The Demise of the Conscious Rapper’—The week the Gucci/Kweli record leaked, I performed at the Lupus fundraiser for the J Dilla Foundation, and also recorded a PSA about SB 1070. I performed with the Roots, Blitz the Ambassador, Bajah and the Dry Eye Crew at Prospect Park for Okay Africa. My kids were with me. I also performed at the Duck Down 15th anniversary party, and I recorded a song about the Age of Enlightenment to help NYC high school kids pass the regents for Fresh Prep. These are not high paying gigs, this is for the love. And this is one week of work.

I haven’t even counted the fact that my release with Hi Tek, Revolutions Per Minute a month ago as well as Eardrum and Liberation, my last two, were packed with “conscious” hip hop.

 Even outside of my music, my life is that of a conscious community driven man. Somehow, doing a song with Gucci Mane erases all of this in some people’s minds. Who are they to judge me? What do they do in their lives that is conscious? If you ain’t doing more than me; you just blogging, fall back. I’d be willing to bet Mychal Smith did not purchase my latest album. I know for sure he did not take into account my musical output or who I am as a person when he wrote his blog. To people like him, I am simply a character, a one dimensional celebrity, who is supposed to conform to his idea of what good art is, not my own.—The Loop21

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Straight Outta Hunters Point by Kevin EppsReview by A. Alonso  

First-time San Francisco, filmmaker Kevin Epps takes an insider tour  of Hunter’s Point, one of San Francisco’s public housing projects. This  is a place where he grew up and still lives and only an insider like  Epps could shoot such personal footage of Hunter’s Points hustlers, gang members and residents in Straight Outta Hunter’s Point (SOHP). The  film, shot on digital video, begins with a historical account of this  neighborhood that includes a brief history of the Hunter’s Point Naval  Ship Yard, a closed production and repair facility that continues to pollute and poison the air of the Hunter’s Point resisdents. There is  also the Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s Power Point that spews  toxic chemicals into the air and water today.

Epps delves into the World War II history, when Hunters Point was the  home of African American shipyard workers who migrated from Texas and  Louisiana in search of better-paying jobs in a less hostile  environment. After the war many of the economic and employment opportunities for blacks dwindled, and poverty, unemployment, and crime set in. By the 1950s, economic devastation had set into this community and has existed for the last 40 years as a third world location.

The film takes you to the recent events of Hunter’s Point, and  covers the violent conflict between two neighborhoods from the region,  Big Block and Westmob. The two gangs are involved in street crime but both have musical aspirations, producing music and rap artists. There were over 100 shootings between these rival rap labels and the life there is too raw for any of these artists to reach super stardom. Unfortunately, the geographic isolation of this ghetto, will just contribute to intensify their conflict, as this neighborhood is a distant, forgotten San Francisco neighborhood as Epps documents in SOHP.

Additionally, Straight Outta Hunter’s Point exposes a culture of life that most Americans cannot imagine. This is not TV or the movies; it is raw, uncensored, footage of one of California’s most impoverished communities. You live their lives and learn how they die through Epps’  camera. It’s a wake-up call of how our communities not just in San Francisco, but throughout the country are spiraling into an abyss of drugs, crime, and rapid violence at epidemic levels. This film leaves on wondering, how can a neighborhood such as Hunter’s Point be transformed? Produced by Mastamind time: 75 minutes, Color DVD release date: Mar 2005 / Order DVD $19.99Source: Street Gangs Magazine (5 June 2005)

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Straight Outta Hunters Point (YouTube) /  Straight Outta Hunter’s Point (DVD)

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US ‘cell assault’ video released

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Elect Obama (remix)” Big Hit Buda -WATCH IN HIGH QUALITY

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Anti-Racist Struggle Continues in Powhatan, Virginia—Cousins Ethan Parrish, 24, and Joey Parrish, 18, were originally charged with homicide in the June 24, 2008, fatal shooting of Tahliek Taliaferro, 18, a popular high school athlete, and aggravated malicious wounding in the related shooting of Courtney Jones, then 15.The murder charges carried potential sentences of 20 years to life in prison. But at the trial, the jury instead convicted the Parrishes of the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter in Tahliek’s death—an offense that carries a maximum of just 10 years – and assault and battery in Courtney’s wounding, which could bring another 12 months. Joey Parrish, a convicted felon, was also convicted of illegal possession of a firearm.

Eleven of the 12 jurors were white, as are the Parrishes. Taliaferro was African-American, as is Jones. According to courtroom testimony, the Parrishes had challenged Taliaferro to a fight, then drove off in an SUV driven by a friend, 18-year-old Stephanie Reynolds. Taliaferro and Jones followed in a car driven by fellow teenager, Lawrence Harris.

Shortly after, the Parrishes pulled off to the side of the road, covered their license plate with plastic and waited for the other car to catch up. As Harris drove by, Ethan Parrish fired six shots from a semi-automatic AK-47 assault rifle he had loaded with an 83-shot drum clip, hitting Taliaferro in the back of the head and wounding Jones, who survived after an operation in which part of his colon was removed. The cousins then fled, hiding for a brief time in Canada before returning to Powhatan to surrender to authorities. Truthout

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Rapper Da Brat gets 3 years for nightclub attack—She was convicted of striking a woman with a bottle, causing permanent facial damage—A DeKalb County judge sentenced rapper Da Brat to three years in prison Friday for striking a woman with a rum bottle at an Atlanta-area nightclub. Superior Court Judge Gail Flake also sentenced the rapper, whose real name is Shawntae Harris, to seven years probation and 200 hours of community service. About six members of Harris’s family wept when a sheriff’s deputy took her into custody. “I love y’all,” Harris, 34, said as she was led out of the courtroom. “We love you too” the relatives replied in unison. Harris entered a guilty plea to aggravated assault.The victim, a waitress at the club, had to be hospitalized after being struck by Harris, and Flake said the woman suffered permanent facial scarring. Atlanta Journal Constitution

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Luis Alvarez. The Power of the Zoot: Youth Culture and Resistance during World War II. (2008).  — Flamboyant zoot suit culture, with its ties to fashion, jazz and swing music, jitterbug and Lindy Hop dancing, unique patterns of speech, and even risqué experimentation with gender and sexuality, captivated the country’s youth in the 1940s. The Power of the Zoot is the first book to give national consideration to this famous phenomenon. Providing a new history of youth culture based on rare, in-depth interviews with former zoot-suiters, Luis Alvarez explores race, region, and the politics of culture in urban America during World War II. He argues that Mexican American and African American youths, along with many nisei and white youths, used popular culture to oppose accepted modes of youthful behavior, the dominance of white middle-class norms, and expectations from within their own communities. “Luis Alvarez has quite simply crafted a magnificent first book–one that tells a national story from African American and Mexican American youth in New York and Los Angeles to Nisei, Filipino, and Euro-American zooters and the wartime race-based violence that erupted in Detroit, Beaumont, and Mobile.”–Vicki L. Ruiz, author of From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America

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R. Dwayne Betts. A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison (2009)

At the age of sixteen, R. Dwayne Betts—a good student from a lower-middle-class family—carjacked a man with a friend. He had never held a gun before, but within a matter of minutes he had committed six felonies. In Virginia, carjacking is a “certifiable” offense, meaning that Dwayne would be treated as an adult under state law. A bright young kid, weighing only 126 pounds—not enough to fill out a medium T-shirt—he served his eight-year sentence as part of the adult population in some of the worst prisons in the state.A Question of Freedom is a coming-of-age story, with the unique twist that it takes place in prison. Utterly alone—and with the growing realization that he really is not going home any time soon—Dwayne confronts profound questions about violence, freedom, crime, race, and the justice system. Above all, A Question of Freedom is about a quest for identity—one that guarantees Dwayne’s survival in a hostile environment and that incorporates an understanding of how his own past led to the moment of his crime.

Related links

Websites Educational — Using Hip Hop for Learning

The Hip-Hop Circuit: Teachers

A tremendous resource for using hip-hop in education. Lesson plans, articles, unit materials, and other information make this a great first stop for educators.

Hip-Hop Poetry and the Classics for the Classroom

Alan Sitomer cowrote an instructional guide for how to incorporate hip-hop into the classroom. At this site, teachers can see some sample lessons and order the book for more information.

Flipping the Script: Critical Thinking in a Hip-Hop World curriculum for teaching students media literacy and other topics using hip-hop music and culture.

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The Hip Hop Project Interview & Review  with Kam Williams


Hip Hop Project Sountrack  

Notes on “An Open Letter to Oprah Winfrey”  (Taalam Acey )

Death or Liberty: African Americans and Revolutionary America—by Douglas Egerton

A sudden thought for you & Other Poems  By Paul McIntosh 

Nappy Headed Women (Bertram

) Uncrowned Queens 


There Must Still Be Something Out of Kilter

Response to Don Imus

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akari Kitwana, a former editor at The Source, identifies blacks born between 1965 and 1984 as belonging to the “hip-hop generation” a term he uses interchangeably with black youth culture (“Generation X” applies mainly to whites, he says). He calls hip-hop “arguably the single most significant achievement of our generation,” yet blames it for causing much damage to black youth by perpetuating negative stereotypes and providing poor role models.

—Bakari Kitwana, The Hip Hop Generation

. . . while 58 percent of blacks between ages 15 and 25 listen to hip-hop daily, most are dissatisfied with it. They find the subject matter is too violent, and women too often portrayed in offensive ways… Blacks are used largely to validate musical themes being marketed to the white mainstream. In other words, while 90 percent of commercial rap artists on TV and radio are black, the target audience lies outside the black community…   commercial hip-hop has become the ultimate minstrel show, and rap artists are pushed by the industry to remain perpetual adolescents.” Davey D, Black Agenda Report

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Another Response to Young Black Male (or Hip Hop) Culture

Charles Johnson on the meaning of Obama—What’s changed is the ability of a majority of Americans to feel that race is irrelevant in their election of the president. What’s most important, as demonstrated, is their trust in the person and that person’s intelligence and professionalism.

That doesn’t mean that American society still isn’t saddled with racial misunderstanding. I came across an Obama doll somebody had done during the primaries [that] was basically a monkey with a tail and big ears, and they took it off the market quickly. Maybe 50 years ago they wouldn’t have had the pressure to take it off the market. There’s still someone who’s going to do something ignorant like that.

We can’t say we have a color-blind society at this moment because we do not. If you look at our English department where I’ve taught for 33 years, I’m the only black faculty here out of about 50 people. I think they recently hired a young woman who I haven’t met yet, so there may be two of us.  .  .  .

So they do have a problem. And we have far more black females graduating from college and getting master’s degrees and PhD’s than we do black males. And there are terrible figures. One out of nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34 are either in prison or on parole — somehow controlled by the criminal justice system.

There are lingering problems, and I’m sure Obama is acutely aware of all of them. And he can’t solve them. What he has to do is solve the economic problem, first and foremost, which affects everybody. If people don’t have jobs, you have a serious problem. If you lose your job, then you’re going to lose your home because you can’t make payments. There have to be jobs so people can pay their bills.

But there are deeper problems that affect the black community right now. I talked about women who are black who are doing better professionally than males. Seventy percent of professional black women are single. A black woman professional who reaches the age of 40 has five times the likelihood of remaining single than her white counterpart. A female professional doesn’t want a man who doesn’t have an education or a job. They look at the Obamas with tremendous admiration. They’d like to have a Barack in their lives just like Michelle does as a professional black woman.

But you do not solve that problem until you solve the problem of 70 percent of black children being born out of wedlock and 50 percent of them being raised in fatherless homes. You do not solve these problems until you solve the problem of the black family and its dissolution, and because the families dissolve the communities dissolve.

It’s a problem of young black male culture. I know what it is. August Wilson knew what it was, and we had to figure out how we were going to deal with it, so we didn’t wind up dead at 20 years old or in prison or with a criminal record. It’s a matter of the choices you make. As you have people in your life that you admire, like my dad, my mom, then you have a different direction you might take.

Obama gave that talk on Fathers’ Day last year at a church in Chicago about better parenting and black responsibility. He was basically taking a page from the playbook of Bill Cosby, and Jesse Jackson was furious with him and got caught on the air saying he wanted to cut [Obama’s] nuts off for talking down to Ns, and he used the N word. So we [need] more honesty and not illusions.

One of the things that has to be addressed seriously is the dysteleological behavior in black male culture. At a community college in the South three young black women asked me “Mr. Johnson, what’s wrong with these young black men?” I said, “I know what you’re talking about, but I don’t know what the solution is.” They were so frustrated.  .  .  .

They were seeing guys who just want to get over and get laid. They were seeing guys who do drugs or sell drugs. They were seeing guys who didn’t have their values, like valuing an education. They wanted guys they could feel good about, but they didn’t have that, which is sad.

I have talked about that in many essays, and people don’t want you to talk about it. King would talk about it, and people would say, “You’re airing dirty laundry. Don’t talk about that. Talk about what the white man is doing to us. Talk about the external problem, not this internal problem.” King said, “You have to have a battle waged on two fronts. One is the external battle to get rid of the things that keep black people down, segregation and [those issues], and one is the internal battle to raise our own standards.” He said, “You don’t win this war unless you have the battle on these two fronts because one supports the other.”

You look at Obama and have to ask, if you don’t want this guy as the first black president, who do you want? The guy’s a Harvard graduate, the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. And he’s excellent. And that’s King’s point. We have to be excellent. We cannot afford to be mediocre. And if that’s the case, you beat down any argument a racist can come at you with [because] it’s obviously a lie in the case of Obama or Michelle or any of the people he’s drawn to his orbit.

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Born to Use Mics: Reading Nas’s Illmatic.

Edited by Michael Eric Dyson and Sohail Daulatzai

Though not an overwhelming chart success when released in 1994, Nas’ album Illmatic has long been hailed as a hip-hop masterpiece, whose sales steadily climbed until in 2001 it attained platinum status (i.e., one million-copy U.S. sales). Editors Dyson and Daulatzai corral a team of all-star commentators, including themselves, to assess the album’s merits and its place in the larger cultural context. . . . Illmatic pointed the way for hip-hop’s post-gangsta crossover into and alteration of the pop-music mainstream. The essays . . . constitute a vital book for readers eager to understand the history of the genre. As Daulatzai observes, “There is something about Illmatic that transcends the categories of hip-hop,” . . . “Illmatic is just a dope album, embodying everything that is hip-hop . . . ” An absolute must . . .—Mike Tribby, Booklist

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African Underground: Democracy in Dakar is a groundbreaking documentary film about hip-hop youth and politics in Dakar Senegal. The film follows rappers, DJs, journalists, professors and people on the street at the time before during and after the controversial 2007 presidential election in Senegal and examines hip-hop’s role on the political process. Originally shot as a seven part documentary mini-series released via the internet – the documentary bridges the gap between hip-hop activism, video journalism and documentary film and explores the role of youth and musical activism on the political process.

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We All Live in Jena–National Student Walk-Out to rally and show support for the Jena 6

We All Live in Jena! / National Call to Action! / Monday, October 1, 2007 / 12:00 Noon, Central Time

Artist/Activist Mos Def along with M1, Talib Kweli, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Sankofa Community Empowerment, Change the Game, National Hip Hop Political Convention, Hip Hop Association, and student leaders from 50 campuses call for a National Student Walk-Out to rally and show support for the Jena 6, who are being denied their human rights by the Louisiana criminal justice system. . . . Other Endorsers Include: Immortal Technique, NyOil, Cynthia McKinney, Delta Sigma Theta, April Silver/AKILA WORKSONGS. For more info contact / To add your school to the list, email or  

Hip hop stars rally for Jena Six—Bakari Kitwana, an author whose books include The Hip-Hop Generation and Why White Kids Love Hip-Hop, says the rap community has gotten more politically active in recent years, especially after Hurricane Katrina. “What’s different about this moment in terms of hip-hop and political activism is that … we’re to the point where grass roots activists and hip-hop artists are talking with each other about political change,” said Kitwana. The walkout that Mos Def endorsed was planned and executed as a collaborative effort among artists Talib Kweli, M1 of Dead Prez, Common and the activist groups the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Sankofa Community Empowerment, Change the Game and the National Hip Hop Political Convention.  “We will continue with these acts of civil protest until Mychal Bell’s freedom, not only — but safety, is secured,” Mos Def had said in a video last month publicizing the walkout. Still, many of hip-hop’s most famous names have still not lent their voices to the protest, and Kitwana said a larger examination of unequal treatment by the criminal justice system might better serve all involved. “If 50 Cent came out on that question — `Why are we targeting Black and Latino communities for more policing than the other communities?’ — that would be profound,'” said Kitwana.—Melanie Sims Yahoo News

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People talk about Hip-Hop like it’s some giant livin’ in the hillsidecomin’ down to visit the townspeopleWe are Hip-HopMe, you, everybody, we are Hip-HopSo Hip-Hop is goin’ where we goin’So the next time you ask yourself where Hip-Hop is goin’ask yourself.. where am I goin’? How am I doin’?’Til you get a clear ideaSo….if Hip-Hop is about the peopleand the….Hip-Hop won’t get better until the people get betterthen how do people get better????

—The Mighty “Mos Def”

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Read A Book – Get Crunk about Reading  /  Read A Book (Cartoon)  / An interview from CNN

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Lead singer Falis Abdi and Quincy “Q. Rap” Brian record in their makeshift studio in Nairobi’s “Little Mogadishu

Hip-hop group Waayaha Cusub, or ‘New Era’

is gaining the ear of Somalis from as far away as the US and Europe, but their controversial message challenges traditional norms and is attracting threats of violence.

Waayaha Cusub: Practicing what they rhyme—The group’s lead rapper, Quincy Brian – who goes by the name Q. Rap and attempts an American-accented “How ya doin’?” with the appropriate rapper-style head-nod followed by a shy smile – came to Kenya years ago as a political refugee from his native Ethiopia, a bitter historic enemy of Somalia. Q. Rap says he gets hassled by Ethiopians for “selling out his country” by making music about peace with Somalis.And after Ethiopia invaded Somalia in December to root out Islamists who had taken over wide swaths of the country, the Somali band members faced increased pressure to kick Q. Rap out. But they never gave in.

“They showed me love, even though I’m Ethiopian,” he says, after horsing around with one of the band’s Somali female members. “The youth can learn from us.” The lead singer, Falis Abdi, who fled Somalia for Kenya in 2003, says she doesn’t only educate people about peace and HIV/AIDS: “I tell them how love goes,” she says. One of the group’s hits songs stars Ms. Adbi singing about how a woman should choose whom she wants to love, rather than being forced by parents or society to be with someone because of wealth or clan identity. For her, the song is personal, because her mother chased away the boy she loved. But now, Abdi is forced to walk the streets of Little Mogadishu with a head scarf and veil. Christian Science Monitor

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Bill Moyers Interview of Melissa Harris Lacewell

Well, I think that hip-hop has the insurgent possibilities and capabilities. Now there’s a little bit of a problem with hip-hop, and that is it’s a commodity that’s bought and sold. And any time you’re a commodity that’s bought and sold, you have at least one aspect of your culture that can sort of go in a profit motivation.

But I will say that hip-hop music like Gospel music, like Blues music, like jazz music is the voice of a generation. And it has within it the insurgent capacity, the capacity to say, “Look, I’m not happy here, this is not enough, I expect more, I’m worthy of more.” And over and over again in hip-hop from the mid-1970’s until today, there’s a strain of it that is saying that. . . .

So there’s a couple of reasons why Imus could not have been quoting hip-hop. First—it wasn’t as though hip-hop taught America how to degrade women or particularly how to degrade black women. America had figured that out long, long, long before hip-hop. Secondly, although hip-hop often uses the word “ho,” it rarely ever calls someone a “nappy-headed ho.” So we talked a lot about “ho.” But we haven’t talked much about “nappy-headed.” And “nappy-headed” is a way of saying you, black woman, in your natural, physical state in, who you are—are unacceptable, ugly, valueless. Now, that’s not hip-hop.

Actually hip-hop tends to dress up black women in long, straight wigs, much more likely than it is to go to this place which is a very old place around, slavery, around Jim Crow that says, “Your physical self is an unacceptable, sort of orientation of blackness. I can see that you’re black from across the room, and that’s unacceptable to me.”—Melissa Harris Lacewell




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Rapper ‘Nas’: Dive Into My Dumpster and Say the Magic Word—Thou shall not steal. In the meantime, that same industry markets albums that showcase Nas advocating killing on his CD: “Really it’s papers I’m addicted to,wasn’t for rap then I’ll be stickin you” But don’t bootleg Method Man can warble for hours about coveting your neighbor’s things: “Yeah, I got to have that mansion and the yacht the room to park the phantom on the yacht… “I got to have the fast car, the crash bar, place to stash the heaters In the dash bar, and then I need no limits on that black car. This is just a few of them things that I (“got to have”) hell yeah…” But don’t bootleg. And Common can dishonor every child’s mother until his tongue gets tired: “I make righteous bitches get low”   the hip hop industry wants us to follow all ten of the commandments.  While they only have to adhere to one half of one – Thou shall not steal – my stuff. Is this an advocacy for stealing?  I don’t think so.  But the hip hop industry should really, really, reconsider their current position.  Why should the public protect their interests when they have so little regard for ours?  We should not have to soil our minds to get to our truths or a little bit of poetry. And if that is too hard – if it is too hard for the industry to climb out of the dumpster, then tell the whole truth. Nas and others like him want to say what they want, when they want it and get paid big to say it. That is the truth. — Black Agenda Report

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the problem is us, not the form  

the real problem is the state of our people not the form of expression. why you think i mentioned the lack of national black media? i believe you are right that “analogies in general are problematical” but the limitations of any analogy does not make the analogy wrong. the blues is a major foundational element of all contemporary black music. period. rap is a blues manifestation, especially given it’s rootedness in the masses, it’s folk poetry of language (those dazzling displays of verbal acrobatics are unmatched in anything else happening in music today, it’s a way with words and with the sound of words that is astounding, if you can hear it). as for the moral/ethical center that’s a whole other discussion that requires us to ask whose/what morals, whose/what ethics. there is no easy answer.

the commercialization of rap is both the attraction of it for today’s youth and the destruction of it in terms of what you, Rudy, identify as “minstrelsy.” the blues musicians you revere and hold up as examples are the top of the line, we both know there were more than two jokers in the blues deck, there were a bunch of minstrels in the blues, it’s just when we reference, we reference by the best, and if we choose the best of rap, we won’t be talking about the minstrels. thanks for your comments. and, oh yeah, one more thing, i prefer the blues-based/funk-based jb, which is to say, i prefer all of pre-eighties jb, because afterwards he became just the sort of minstrel that you characterize and chastise rappers about. we may not want to see it, but who refers to jb’s post “living in america” as great recordings? — kalamu

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Black Jazz in the Digital Age—Once during an interview with Wynton Marsalis he asked me what quantifiable musical relationship I could conceivably hear between jazz and hiphop. My first answer, besides the obvious rhythmic one, was the timbre and tonality of the voices, the male voices in particular. Even Wynton didn’t find anything to argue with in that. Developing that idea even further I’d say the great MCs of hiphop and the great players in jazz share the characteristic of having unmistakable tones, tones one can identify in sometimes one or two notes, and certainly within 8 bars. The sonic, rhythmic, lyrical organization of ideas of Trane, Wayne and Joe Henderson are immediately distinguishable to the serious listener from those of Ornette, Dolphy, and David Murray—as those of Biggie, Rakim and Chuck D are distinguishable from the flows of Q Tip, Ghostface Killa, and Trick Daddy. The problem with most jazz-hiphop hybrids to date is they proceed as if that riddle can be resolved by beats and technology when really the most remarkable, memorable, dramatic musical events in hiphop are the ones which derive from the form’s most human elements, its mighty mouthed “pearls and gems of wisdom” dropping MCs and its superhuman beatboxers, like the one and only Rahzel who can somehow make the back of his Afro-Tuvan throat sound like two squabbling turntables and a light saber battle between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker at the same time. What would happen, I’ve wondered, if Rahzel was given, say, Trane’s Meditations to extrapolate upon or Sun Ra’s Atlantis: sounds like we’d never heard in our life, no doubt, at least not from the body of one human being. But in what context today would such an experimental collaborative foray between Black avant-gardes take place—on whose watch and under whose willpower? Greg Tate

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The Hip Hop community and the present Hip Hop generation may continue to revere and embrace Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls as young, super bad Niggas!  But can we as wise, intelligent and critical thinking African elders view the following ancestors:  Marcus Garvey, Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Betty Shabazz, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Mary McLoud Bethune, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Paul Robeson, Fredrick Douglass, Martin Delany, Nat Turner, Gabriel Prosser, Paul Cuffe, Denmark Vesey, and James Baldwin as Negars, Niggers or Niggas? Professor Gershom Williams

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Stereotypes and Degradation—“I respect the First Amendment, but rights without responsibility is anarchy, and that’s much of what we have now,” he said. “It’s time for responsible people to stand up and accept responsibility.” Despite its focus on Hip-Hop, other media will be face scrutiny at the hearing, which is being held by the subcommittee. “I want to engage not just the music industry but the entertainment industry at large to be part of a solution,” said Rush. Witnesses for the hearing include Philippe Dauman of Viacom, Doug Morris of Universal Music Group and Edgar Bronfman Jr. of Warner Music Group. “I want to talk to executives at these conglomerates who’ve never taken a public position on what they produce,” said Rush, who added that it was “surprisingly very difficult to get them to commit to appearing.” Despite the struggle to get leaders and artists to commit to the hearing, Rush has received confirmation from one artist, Percy “Master P” Miller. The rap mogul, who started out as a gangsta rapper, has recently made news for his new focus on creating positive images and message in his music.  Chris Richburg. Congress To Hold Hearings On Hip-Hop Lyrics.  All Hip Hop

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Cuba’s hip hop movement keeps on recording music that goes to the heart of the country’s troubles—As well as providing immediate social commentary, Cuban rap calls on people to think, poses historic themes anew, and attacks red-hot problems like homophobia and racism. “From a reality-based viewpoint, it is setting forth proposals, but people haven’t learned to see and recognise what hip hop is proposing,” González said.

The aggressive gestures and lyrics of hip hop are one reason why this music style has been criticised in Cuba. “If (rappers) are aggressive on stage, it’s because they’ve been downtrodden for 500 years, and because they live on a small plot, in a house that’s falling down, and have no chance of recording a disc,” said Carmen González, a poet and independent researcher. According to González, the racial equality that was decreed after the 1959 triumph of the Cuban Revolution has not been effective because of the “five centuries of social disadvantage” suffered by black people, who comprise the majority of hip hop movement artists. —Dalia Acosta. MUSIC-CUBA: Rap Calls for ‘Revolution Within the Revolution’  

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Hip-Hop Entrepreneurs—Jay-Z banked an estimated $34 million in 2006, earning him the top spot on Forbes’ first-ever list of hip-hop Cash Kings. . . . Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, who nabbed the No. 2 spot on the list, presides over G-Unit, a diverse portfolio of businesses that includes apparel, ringtones, video games and even a line of fiction. . . . At No. 3 is impresario Sean  “Diddy” Combs, formerly known as “Puff Daddy,” who lords over Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group. . . . Generally, the most successful “hip-hopreneurs” run their own labels, taking a cut from the artists they sign. Both Eminem ($18 million) and Dr. Dre ($20 million) boast Interscope-backed imprints; both helped produce and release 50 Cent’s last two albums, which have sold over 20 million copies worldwide. Fifty owns his own G-Unit label which produces artists like Young Buck and Lloyd Banks, among others.  Other lucrative businesses: producing tracks and beats for other artists. Listers like Timbaland ($21 million), Scott Storch ($17 million) and Pharrell Williams ($17 million) are among the most sought after—and pricey—producers on the planet. Rappers like Snoop Dogg ($17 million) collect massive fees for cameos on other artists’ tracks. Last year, in addition to releasing Tha Blue Carpet Treatment, his eighth studio album, Snoop Dogg ($17 million) made guest appearances on hit singles by Akon, Mariah Carey and the Pussycat Dolls.—Lea Goldman. Hip-Hop Cash Kings Forbes

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Hip-hop is dead–Data from the “Black Youth Project” indicated that while 58 percent of blacks between ages 15 and 25 listen to hip-hop daily, most are dissatisfied with it. They find the subject matter is too violent, and women too often portrayed in offensive ways. Such feelings hint at a dirty little secret of the music business: Blacks are used largely to validate musical themes being marketed to the white mainstream. In other words, while 90 percent of commercial rap artists on TV and radio are black, the target audience lies outside the black community. Paul Porter, a longtime industry veteran and former music programmer at BET and Radio One, is now with the watchdog organization He says the University of Chicago findings offer proof positive that commercial hip-hop has become the ultimate minstrel show, and rap artists are pushed by the industry to remain perpetual adolescents. As a result, we watch Diddy, Cam’ron, DMX and others brag about wealth and throw bills at a camera while bikini-clad women gyrate in the background. Should these artists attempt to break out of the mold, they’d risk having their work questioned by record and radio executives.

—DaveyD, “Commerce is killing the true spirit of hip-hop.” Mercury News

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Nowhere is the performance of black masculinity more prevalent than in hip-hop culture, which is where the most palpable form of homophobia in American culture currently resides.

—Kenyon Farrow. Is Gay Marriage Anti Black??

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I love Hip-Hop. It is and has always been sacred to me.

—Taalam Acey, Notes on “An Open Letter to Oprah Winfrey”

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Our love affair with gangsterism and the denigration of women is not rooted in Hip Hop.

—Saul Williams, “An Open Letter to Oprah Winfrey”

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They need to study music. I played in several bands before I began my career as a poet. There’s a big difference between putting words over some music, and blending those same words into the music. There’s not a lot of humor. They use a lot of slang and colloquialisms, and you don’t really see inside the person. Instead, you just get a lot of posturing.

—Gil on rap in the 90s

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rap is a blues manifestation, especially given it’s rootedness in the masses, it’s folk poetry of language (those dazzling displays of verbal acrobatics are unmatched in anything else happening in music today, it’s a way with words and with the sound of words that is astounding, if you can hear it). as for the moral/ethical center that’s a whole other discussion that requires us to ask whose/what morals, whose/what ethics. there is no easy answer.

the commercialization of rap is both the attraction of it for today’s youth and the destruction of it in terms of what you, Rudy, identify as “minstrelsy.” the blues musicians you revere and hold up as examples are the top of the line, we both know there were more than two jokers in the blues deck, there were a bunch of minstrels in the blues, it’s just when we reference, we reference by the best, and if we choose the best of rap, we won’t be talking about the minstrels. thanks for your comments. and, oh yeah, one more thing, i prefer the blues-based/funk-based jb, which is to say, i prefer all of pre-eighties jb, because afterwards he became just the sort of minstrel that you characterize and chastise rappers about. we may not want to see it, but who refers to jb’s post “living in america” as great recordings?

—Kalamu ya Salaam

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Many of the young rappers got disconnected from a tradition of protest and decided to rap about mayhem in order to get paid.

—Weldon Irvine

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NWA, with its booming beats and harsh lyrics, put LA and the west on the map and got Cali some acceptance. This was a big incentive for folks out here to overlook their own morals and common sense and get behind those gangsta groups that knocked the doors down. Personally, despite doing some of NWA‘s first interviews, I felt uncomfortable calling what they did revolutionary because I recall both Cube and Eazy telling me they were cursing up a storm as a way to initially be funny and that they enjoyed seeing the shocked look on people’s faces. They weren’t doing it because they really felt that way (as many like to romanticize). Look at some of the old articles on them and you’ll see them admitting to that.

During one landmark interview, Cube spoke passionately about his desire to change and be more political, and even talked about the internal debates he and his group were having about being responsible. It wasn’t that long after that that he left the group, and much of what he talked about soon surfaced on his Amerikkka’s Most Wanted album.

Ironically the NWA boycott was broken by white deejays who felt like the group’s material, and material like it, should be heard, and that NWA was somehow more authentic and real then groups like X-Clan and Public Enemy.

—Davey D This Gangsta Stuff & Russell’s Call For Change

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Historically (as well as now), there has been a fear of Black (especially Black male) sexuality. This irrational and racist fear was repeatedly used in the countless lynchings of Black men in the history of this nation (which often included castration as well). Black equals dangerous; Black equals savage; Black equals barbaric; Black equals forbidden, infected and inferior. Therefore hip-hop, like Blackness, is something that society should be, must be, protected from. It is from this context that ALL things Black have been realized and it is from this context that white female sexual explicitness has been sanitized.

—Dr. Edward Rhymes, A ‘Ho’ By Any Other Color: The History and Economics of Black Female Sexual Exploitation

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Without the blues, Hip-Hop will always stand outside of the aesthetics of African-American creativity. This may be why so many so-called Hip-Hop scholars hold a somewhat disrespectful attitude toward the Civil Rights Movement. It was this movement, more than any other, in American history, which stood for the transformation of grief and anger into conscious creativity. Perhaps, when faced with such creativity, the Hip-Hop generation sees one of their shortcomings.—Amin Sharif


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And finally, we must applaud the imagination of the hip hop generation that has created a world youth culture, that has made more millionaires than ever before in our history, and made billions for the record, film and fashion industry. Hip hop has its detractors but the glass is clearly half full rather than half empty. Hip hop need only let its voice of consciousness rise again to the top, and this generation will astound the world, for in consciousness it is in synch with the ancestors and the radical tradition of defiance and resistance until victory. When hip hop consciously reconnects with its elders, the circle will be complete, for the family shall be able to reason together again with respect, no matter the contradictions of the elders or the youth. Issues can be resolved at the table while sharing a holistic version of soul food.—Dr. Marvin X, Beaufort, South Carolina

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I looked at the Fortune Magazine’s list of 40 richest people under 40 and Master P, Michael Jordan, Will Smith, and P Diddy were on the list. Most of these African Americans are connected to hip hop, and this is very significant. You have a number of people with that much money and power connected to hip hop. This is a new black ruling class. —Lee Hubbard interviews Todd Boyd


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In a world where poetry is a contest at best and a competition at worst, where the importance of a painting is gauged by the price it can be sold for—we are to be counted among the lost. And so when I say that we need leaders and that those leaders must come from our youth, it is no idle statement. We need our young people because without their dreams to guide us we will have only cable TV and grain alcohol for succor.—

Walter Mosley,

A New Black Power

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Most important thing [is] the rhythm, the beat. They (white folks) have been trying to get to our rhythm and our beat forever. That’s one of the basic things about Hip Hop; even if I hear some nasty words on a funny TV Show, it’s the beat. Some of these kids are making beats that are really out of sight — I’ve got to give them that. . . .We used to have hops or dances back in the day. We all used to go to them in the schools, churches, and dance halls. If we went to a hop that was really fun and afterwards we talked about it saying ‘that was really a hip hop we had last night.’—Umar Bin Hassan

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if there was no digital technology, there would be no rap as we know it today. yes, i understand that rap started with analog equipment and the human voice, but that’s not what it is today. the rap that dominates musical culture worldwide is produced via digital equipment. rap is the electronic enhancement of words. machines turned to drums under the wit and wisdom of human speech. the digital revolution is all in our face but many of us don’t see it because it doesn’t have a white face, a ph.d. face, a technical “you-got-to-be-highly-educated-to-do-this” face. the truth is that brothers and sisters at the street level have completely revolutionized the making of music, indeed, revolutionized the very definition of music.—Kalamu ya Salaam, WORDS: A Neo-Griot Manifesto


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Remember that when rap first jumped off, many people did not even consider rap a form of music. There was no harmony and very little melody in the then traditional sense of melody. Among music critics and in the mainstream media of the early 20th century there was a similar perception that jazz was not real music. But just as jazz prevailed and completely altered the world conception of music, rap has prevailed and initiated an aesthetic revolution in terms of what defines “music.”

—Kalamu ya Salaam,  Digital Technology

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Bill Moyers Interviews Douglass A. Blackmon

Douglas A. Blackmon, Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II (2008)

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One cares for the tribal soul by monitoring it through its cultural products, contributing what it needs to balance out its weaknesses and emphasize its strengths. Minimizing the dysfunctional components and emphasizing the transformational. The battles over gangster rap and mercenary literature are battles for the control of our cultural traits. Of our Destiny. Our Fa.—Arthur Flowers, Rootwork and the Prophetic Impulse

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Hip Hop music was created as an escape for the woes of the ghetto that’s why it was created. It wasn’t created to say , who is the nicest, who has the most jewelry, that only came about when it was discovered Hip Hop was worth something. We have been robbed again of our creative juices, abilities and you know who I want to thank for allowing this stick up to go down, you. (pointing at the audience) I don’t mean just you in this room I mean everybody that looks like you because people have forgotten about developing themselves as artists.

—Freddie Foxx, Spits Truth At Hip Hop 101

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Unconscious rap derives from the animal plane and must advance to the divine or spiritual plane if it is to be beneficial to our people. I must admit that I appreciate Christian rap in spite of lyrics based on juvenile mythology glorifying the after life and suggesting Jesus is God. If Jesus is God who was God before Jesus was born?

At least Christian rap is better than raps on the pussy and dick theme, glorifying crass materialism that reveals poverty consciousness—people who have money don’t flash. How can anyone in their right mind glorify diamonds and gold that Africans died to procure for De Beers and others, Africans who had their arms and hands cut off in wars for filthy diamond merchants in Europe, Israel and New York?

Yes, better to rap about Jesus and pie in the sky than sista got a big ole butt. In the words of ancestor Paul Robeson, rappers must become artistic freedom fighters or give up the game, for rather than pimps, they are whores for the record industry, the filthy capitalist bloodsuckers of the poor. Muslim rappers know their duty is to teach the uncivilized. They know they shall suffer a severe chastisement if they fail to perform their duty.

—Marvin X, Rap and Spirituality

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Walk in any Black barber shop and you will see four generations of Black men. . . . The fourth generation is the black teenagers. If they live in a city like Baltimore, seventy percent will drop out of school before they reach 18. They may have never applied for a job, more than likely already have been in jail, and may already be teen fathers. They listen to hip-hop and wonder if they have a future at all. They are cynical and have every right to be so. These are the first children of post-industrialism.

—Amin Sharif, The World to Come

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Hip Hop Profanity Misogyny and Violence—Hip Hop music is also a product, produced by giant corporations for mass distribution to a carefully targeted and cultivated demographic market. Corporate executives map out multi-year campaigns to increase their share of the targeted market, hiring and firing subordinates—the men and women of Artists and Recordings (A&R) departments—whose job is to find the raw material for the product (artists), and shape it into the package upper management has decreed is most marketable (the artist’s public persona, image, style and behavior). It is a corporate process at every stage of artist “development,” one that was in place long before the artist was “discovered” or signed to the corporate label. What the public sees, hears and consumes is the end product of a process that is integral to the business model crafted by top corporate executives.  The artist, the song, the presentation—all of it is a corporate product.

—Glen Ford

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Dreamers Die Young; Dreams Die Eventually—Pimps, we should recall, are themselves pimped by systems. “The popularity of thug culture” Tucker claims, “is among the most serious of modern-day threats to black America, far more dangerous than any lingering institutional racism.” In this sentence, the weakness of Tucker’s informal analysis erupts like a boil.

Institutional racism is the very backbone of the industry that champions and valorizes thug culture. That some presumably intelligent African Americans should be gears in the machinery of institutional racism is not astonishing. They have embraced the current version of the American Dream. After all, they have no obligations under the laws of brute economy to be more noble than Africans who sold other Africans to Europeans.

—Jerry Ward, Jr.

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Interview I—Rap is economically driven. BAM was politically driven. Moreover, the economics driving rap is global capitalism. In that regard there is a definitive difference between rap and BAM. On the other hand, rap is responsible for the current resurgence of poetry. Period. Worldwide. Rap is a form of poetry. Rap is the strongest commercial current in music. Prose is no where near as influential as rap. In fact, after rap, comes cinema/video. . . . The roots of rap are in Africa via Jamaica, which is the direct influence for the dj-ing that is the hallmark of rap music. Hear me now. Go back and listen to Big Youth, and cats like that. What you are objecting to is the commodification and commercialization of the culture, even though you may think that there is an antagonism between competitiveness and communalism, there actually is not. African communalism embraces competitiveness, in fact, the communal essence defuses the antagonisms of competitiveness. 


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Trademarking N-Word—The use of the word nigga seems to be sharply divided by generations. Those over 40 were absolutely against it a . . . period. Referring to the historical wrong of the root word, nigger. Those under 20 saw no harm in it, arguing the word is redefined and is spoken with entirely different contextual meaning. Those between 25 and 40 (including me) seemed largely indifferent; able to understand the perspectives on both sides and mostly admitting to using the word ourselves … even if just on occasion.

Of course, hip-hop was heavily referred to as the agent for making the word so popular amongst the youth. Personally, I think we as a collective society blame far too many things on music. I’m not saying that hip-hop is not in some way responsible for a resurgence and popularity of  self-identified niggas but how many children hear their parents use that word before they ever listen to a hip-hop album? Probably more than folks want to admit too.

—Ro Deezy, Damon Wayans


African Vibes a new black cultural expression mixing the deep african roots heritage with urban flow and attitude. On an intrumental recorded in Kingston with the biggest name of Jamaïcan music (sly&robbie, Earl chinal smith, donnald dennis…) under the direction of Philips “Fatis” Burrell: take this new vibe with an international Hip Hop connexion. Militant artists from three continents give their talents for a new vision of Africa for African descendants. DEAD PREZ (USA) / LA RUMEUR (FRANCE) / MBEGANE NDOUR(SENEGAL) 

—African Consciences project YouTube /  fnacmusic  / FNAC Music  / African Consciences- la Rumeur d’une R / L’ombre sur la mesure

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It is time to understand that the emancipation of the African people must be written into a world order. The consequences of our history must be a universal concern, because this civilization has been built on the blood and the suffering of the African people. The emancipation and liberation of this people concerns all the peoples of the world, but it is our own responsibility to take the first step by affirming loud and clear our will to freedom. We invite all people of good faith to take this step towards a real African conscience. And we invite the enemies of freedom to try to stop this march towards African unity if they dare.—Africanhiphop


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Since they hit the world stage with their chart bursting album, “Ya Down with OPP”… in the early 1990s, Naughty By Nature has over the years grown to join the group of musicians who are seen as the unofficial spokespersons of the youths and the unheard. theirs is street poetry that reflects not only a particular world view, but the temperament of a generation struggling to assert itself. What more, hip-hop is a black thing which has gained a universal appeal that has transcended colour or race. According to Treach, one of the two artistes that make up the group, “our kind of music is universal for everybody, black or white, no matter who you are; old or young. It is danceable at all occasions; it brings rare life to you as you listen and dance to it.” —Naughty by Nature in Nigeria

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Cuban Rappers Discuss National Hip Hop Movement—“In this third symposium on Cuban Hip Hop we hope to encourage cultural institutions to take greater interest in this music,” said Roberto Rosell, member of the La Fabrik (The Factory) community project, the main organizer of the event. Rosell, who is also a member of the Hermanazos rap band, added, “It is still hard to pull together the event, although it should be acknowledged that the new leadership of the Cuban Rap Agency has helped us a lot.” “There is a lot of energy among the true rappers, who have continuously demonstrated the value of our national Hip Hop, despite other musical phenomena that, to a certain degree, distort the essence of our movement,” noted Rosell. “This time we are trying to look inside, to be better human beings and creators, to improve the lyrics to show our most revolutionary profile,” said Rosell. —Walter Lippmann


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“Is Rap Occupying Its Rightful Place in Life?”—It can be truthfully said that, yes today, there is a rap philosopher and this person is Rensoli (“Poet, promoter of rap festivals in Cuba” as his colleagues call him). A person of sound judgment, analytical, of jongleur oratory, but inquisitive, almost scientific, with a curious origin as a career officer who later took to promoting performances. Finally, this artist has become one of the main activists of the rap genre in the country, to such a point that he directs one of the main promotional mechanisms, the GRUPOUNO. This mechanism was brewed in 1995 during the First Rap Festival in Cuba, conceived by him and, certainly became the great systematic institutional impact in the country and whose organized festivals, held during the half of every year, continue to date.

—Antonio Paneque Brizuela,  Walter


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Women’s first challenge within hip hop was to confront a ‘machista’ patriarchal society, which gave them a role even within their marginalisation,” poet and freelance researcher Carmen González, who is writing a book about what women rappers are saying on this Caribbean island, told IPS. . . .  Rapping is at the core of the hip hop movement, which also finds expression in graffiti and breakdancing. A disc jockey provides an electronic mix of music, over which the rapper recites the lyrics. Cuban women rappers are articulating “a very clear discourse on gender and race,” said González, who is also editor of the magazine Movimiento, devoted to hip hop in Cuba, where it emerged in the early 1990s. In her view, the problems of black women in Cuba have been neglected in studies of sexism and racism. “When they talk about women, it’s always about white women, and when they talk about racism, it’s about how it affects men,” she said. “Rapping I’m a woman / not some bitch for you to bite / not some thing for your delight,” go the words to a song by Las Krudas, a group with overtly lesbian identity, which has introduced lyrics about respect for diversity, and has equated sexism with the slavery imposed on their black women ancestors. “If (women) rebel / they will be condemned / to family exile / to moral exile / outside their circle of friends / outside the land of good feelings / that you didn’t get any more, / you made the decision / to go against the norm / you got a passion for the forbidden / or you didn’t repeat / what those who don’t love you any more / once taught you,” goes another song. The women’s lyrics include the prostitute, “forced to do what she doesn’t want / because poverty and want’s / got an ugly face / believe it or not,” in the song “They call her a whore” by Magia López; and the woman who “isn’t just / breasts and butt,” because she also has a brain and feelings, say Las Krudas, and she is “resisting as a fatty, as a black woman, as a guerrilla.” Without any precedents in Cuban music and very few reference points, these young women “are starting out with a revolutionary, emancipating discourse” constructed “on the basis of themselves and their life stories,” said González. —Dalia Acosta. CUBA Black Women Rap Against Discrimination



Banning Saggy Pants is the Wrong Conversation—”It’s a profoundly backward idea,” according to Dr. Jared Ball, a professor of journalism at the University of Maryland, and a candidate for the presidential nomination of the Green Party.  “It’s really legislative malpractice, that targets and criminalizes young black males who consume a cultural message conveyed to them by BET, by MTV, by black commercial radio and other corporate for-profit media.  Local lawmakers who want to address the nihilism, the self-hatred and the disrespect spread by corporate media should instead zero in on the corporate media that make billions of dollars every year spreading those messages, instead of aiming the police, fines and jail at those who consume the messages.”

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Bill Moyers Interviews Douglass A. Blackmon

Douglas A. Blackmon, Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II (2008)

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Audio: My Story, My Song (Featuring blues guitarist Walter Wolfman Washington)

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#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 – Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 – Don’t Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 – Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 – Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King

#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. “Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration

By Isabel Wilkerson

Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper’s wife, left Mississippi for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin was falsely accused of stealing a white man’s turkeys and was almost beaten to death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling, a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem after learning of the grove owners’ plans to give him a “necktie party” (a lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster made his trek from Louisiana to California in 1953, embittered by “the absurdity that he was doing surgery for the United States Army and couldn’t operate in his own home town.” Anchored to these three stories is Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Wilkerson’s magnificent, extensively researched study of the “great migration,” the exodus of six million black Southerners out of the terror of Jim Crow to an “uncertain existence” in the North and Midwest. Wilkerson deftly incorporates sociological and historical studies into the novelistic narratives of Gladney, Starling, and Pershing settling in new lands, building anew, and often finding that they have not left racism behind. The drama, poignancy, and romance of a classic immigrant saga pervade this book, hold the reader in its grasp, and resonate long after the reading is done.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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 18 March 2012