Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam Got Iced....

Silencing Saddam

Dec. 29, 2006

by Robert Scheer

It is a very frightening precedent that the United States can invade a country on false pretenses, depose its leader and summarily execute him without an international trial or appeals process. This is about vengeance, not justice, for if it were the latter the existing international norms would have been observed. The trial should have been overseen by the World Court, in a country that could have guaranteed the safety of defense lawyers, who, in this case, were killed or otherwise intimidated.

The irony here is that the crimes for which Saddam Hussein was convicted occurred before the United States, in the form of Donald Rumsfeld, embraced him. Those crimes were well known to have occurred 15 months before Rumsfeld visited Iraq to usher in an alliance between the United States and Saddam to defeat Iran.

The fact is that Saddam Hussein knew a great deal about the United States’ role in Iraq, including deals made with Bush’s father. This rush to execute him had the feel of a gangster silencing the key witness to a crime.

At Nuremberg in the wake of World War II the U.S. set the bar very high by declaring that even the Nazis, who had committed the most heinous of crimes, should have a fair trial. The U.S. and allies insisted on this not to serve those charged, but to educate the public through a believable accounting. In the case of Saddam, the bar was lowered to the mud, with the proceedings turned into a political circus reminiscent of Stalin’s show trials.

Monday, December 25, 2006

James Brown R.I.P.

Here's the song that got me into James Brown while I was in High School and made me go back and explore his music in depth..."I'm Real"

Thursday, December 21, 2006

New Year's Celebration...Dancehall Style

Check It Out....

"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you." -Ezekiel 25:17

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

$99.7 Billion MORE To Keep Killing???

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon wants the White House to seek an additional $99.7 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to information provided to The Associated Press.

The military's request, if embraced by President Bush and approved by Congress, would boost this year's budget for those wars to about $170 billion.

Military planners assembled the proposal at a time when Bush is developing new strategies for Iraq, such as sending thousands of more U.S. troops there, although it was put together before the president said the troop surge was under consideration.

Overall, the war in Iraq has cost about $350 billion. Combined with the conflict in Afghanistan and operations against terrorism elsewhere, the cost has topped $500 billion, according to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service.

The additional funds, if approved, would push this year's cost of the war in Iraq to about $50 billion over last year's record. In September, Congress approved an initial $70 billion for the current budget year, which began Oct. 1.

A description of the Pentagon request was provided by a person familiar with the proposal who asked for anonymity because the person was not authorized to release the information.

The cost of the war has risen dramatically as the security situation has deteriorated and more equipment is destroyed or worn out in harsh conditions. The Army, which has borne the brunt of the fighting, would receive about half of the request, a reflection of the wear and tear that the war has had on soldiers and their equipment.

An additional $9.8 billion is being sought for training and equipping Iraq's and Afghanistan's security forces.

The administration's request for more Iraq money will be submitted along with Bush's budget in February for the 2008 budget year, which starts next Oct. 1. The White House can add or subtract from the Pentagon request as it sees fit, and the total could grow if money is added for reconstruction costs.

In a memo several weeks ago, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England encouraged the services to include in their budget requests projects connected to the broader fight against terrorism, as opposed to costs strictly limited to Iraq and Afghanistan. Critics have said that could be interpreted to cover almost anything.

The budget request includes:

• $41.5 billion to cover the costs of ongoing military operations.

• $26.7 billion for replacing and repairing equipment damaged or destroyed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

• $10 billion for body armor and other equipment to protect U.S. troops from attack.

• $2.5 billion to combat roadside bombs and other improvised explosive devices.

• $2.7 billion for intelligence activities.

Whatever request emerges from the Bush administration will go to a new Congress controlled by Democrats highly critical of the Iraq war and Bush's handling of it.

Even so, there is much sentiment among Democrats to protect troops and much fear about being portrayed as unsympathetic to men and women in uniform. These factors probably would overwhelm any efforts by anti-war Democrats to use the debate over the Iraq money to take on Bush's conduct of the war.

Democrats have promised, however, to give the upcoming request greater scrutiny than Republicans did when considering Bush's previous requests.

"Democrats are committed to ensuring out troops have all that they need, but we're going to return oversight to spending on the war," said Jim Manley, spokesman for incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. "Our troops must have everything they need, but Halliburton shouldn't get everything it wants."

Halliburton Co. is a Texas-based oil services conglomerate once led by Vice President Dick Cheney. Bush administration officials have come under fire since the beginning of the war in Iraq for awarding more than $10 billion to the company and its subsidiaries in 2003 and 2004, some of it in no-bid contracts. There have been allegations of fraud, poor work, overpricing and other abuse, which the company has denied.

Democrats such as incoming Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad of North Dakota have grown increasingly critical of the fact that Iraq spending is kept on a set of books separate from the rest of government operations.

The Vietnam War cost an inflation-adjusted $121 billion at its height in 1968, according to the Congressional Research Service. The overall tally for Vietnam is $663 billion, adjusted for inflation, and Iraq costs are rapidly catching up.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hustle Simmons & Blood Diamonds

Will someone please slap this fool?

By Davey D.

I watched Russell Simmons on CNN the other day and saw what many may have considered a strange sight. He was on there basically slamming the new movie ' Blood Diamonds' and demanding that its parent company Warner Brothers be responsible with what they put out there because it could unduly influence the public.

When I heard that, I said to myself, I will forever quote Russell whenever I engage some of these industry types about the type of material they are releasing to the public. After all if a big time music mogul like Simmons is calling for restraint and balance because he see the potential for undue effect, then its time for the industry to clean itself up. After all, who would know better?

But pushing that aside, this is not what that's about. In this CNN interview Russell said its important that all of us know our history. It is with that sentiment in mind, that I found it strange to hear Simmons defending the diamond trade in South Africa and Botswana, which were the two countries he recently visited on a 'fact-finding' mission.

Please note that the horrific bloodshed and genocide of the early 90s which the movie 'Blood Diamonds' focuses on took place in countries like Sierra Leone and Angola. In my opinion those conflict zones should've been included in any sort of fact finding mission. By only going to Botswana and South Africa and defending their diamond trade Simmons by default wound up defending the De Beers Company which for years had a worldwide monopoly and brutally ruled the diamond business in those two countries.
For folks who aren't old enough to remember, De Beers was set up by a colonizer named Cecil Rhodes (yes the same Cecil Rhodes who the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship is named after). He took over what we now call Zimbabwe and called it Rhodesia. His De Beers diamond company was and will forever be in many people's minds associated with the brutal Apartheid regime of South Africa.

I recall as a kid hearing all sorts of horror stories about how the Black majority population in South Africa were forced to work in diamond mines in subhuman conditions for pennies a day by the De Beers owners with the military backing and blessings of the white Apartheid government. Many Blacks were killed or crippled by cruel De Beer bosses and Afrikaner police when they went on strike to demand better work conditions. It was more then troubling to see how these workers were forced to mine diamonds off their own land and have these colonizers sell them all over the world thus making both the De Beers company and the White South African government rich and powerful.

It's interesting to note that we didn't call those South African diamonds 'blood diamonds' back in the 80s when many of us in the Hip Hop generation first became aware of all the atrocities, but in many ways they really were. The blood of Black south Africans were on many of those De Beer stones.

If that wasn't bad enough, De Beer had a nasty practice of keeping diamonds off the market so they could artificially raise prices and create an illusion of scarcity. This practice was highlighted in the 'Blood Diamonds' movie.

The brutality of Apartheid along with the horrors of the diamond trade was what motivated many of us as young college to become involved in the Anti-Apartheid Movement where we demanded that our universities and other US businesses divest any and all funds from South African businesses.

Many compared 'Apartheid' with the 'Holocaust' because of how harshly whites treated the Black majority. Sadly we had in people in power like then president Ronald Reagan, Senator Dick Cheney, and later President George Bush Sr. along with Israel all staunchly supporting this white terrorist Apartheid government every step of the way.
They refused to go along with and vetoed every single UN proposed sanction. They called then incarcerated Nelson Mandela and his organization the African National Congress (ANC), terrorists who were to be feared. There was even a point where right-wing knuckleheads in this country advocated that we actually purchase South African diamonds as a way to oppose the ANC because they were getting help from Fidel Castro and communist organizations. Remember the folks in power who guarded our beloved Democracy here in the US were doing very little to end Apartheid. This is the 'history', as Russell Simmons pointed out, we should always remember and never downplay or conveniently overlook.

Now during his CNN interview Simmons noted that he understood De Beers had a bad history, but times have changed and that this once notorious diamond company had also changed for the better. Simmons noted that up to 80% of De Beers diamond profits now go back to South Africans and that the money generated from diamond sales now allow Africans an opportunity to get a stronger economic foothold.

As I listened to him run all this down, I kept saying to myself 'Fuck That! De Beers shouldn't own any of those diamond mines. In the backdrop of all the brutality that occurred over the years, there should be NO splitting of any profits. It should be a full 100% controlled and owned by Africans. Hearing Simmons somehow defend the diamond trade while including De Beer company representatives at his press conference in NY last week, would be like Jewish leaders inviting the representatives of a company once owned Adolf Hitler to a meeting where they explain how and why it make sense to split profits with a company with a people that built a business around them being slaughter and their natural resources stolen.

I know in South Africa, they have this 'Truth and Reconciliation' thing jumping off where a lot of the atrocities of the past have been overlooked and forgiven. But for many of us here in the US there was no truth and reconciliation process. Many of us have vivid memories where we emotionally bled and emphasized with the plight of our South African brethren. The memory of De Beers being a stalwart of the White Apartheid regime is still firmly etched in many of our minds.
The money that De Beers and others have sunk into launching today's PR campaign to counteract the overriding message of the movie 'Blood Diamonds' was never used to by them to go around the world, apologize and try and make right the role they played in keeping the Apartheid regime running. In fact, the folks from De Beers hanging with Russell and explaining that things are now somehow different is the first time many of us have heard from them since the Apartheid days 15-20 years ago.

Heck, I don't even recall seeing or hearing any mass media PR campaigns from this company when all that horrific bloodshed and genocide was taking place in Sierra Leone. De Beers wasn't running around showing up on BET or CNN back in the early 90s explaining that they had nothing to do with Blood Diamond conflict in that region.

With respect to Russell Simmons, he said that on his fact finding mission he was asked by leaders of Botswana and South Africa to come back and deliver a message about the 'real facts' surrounding diamonds. First he pointed out that he went to the diamond minds in Botswana and everything he witnesses seemed up to speed and that there were no abuses taking place.

Next, he pointed out that blood diamonds are only 1% of the diamonds being purchased worldwide He also noted that the diamonds we buy today go and directly help Africans. He then cited Nelson Mandela as one of the leaders who asked him to pass this message along to counteract the message many would be getting in the movie 'Blood Diamonds'.

Now a couple of things need to be kept in mind. A good friend and fellow writer Nida Khan of the Source raised the question at Russell's press conference if he would've really been exposed to the harsh conditions and unsavory behavior that still goes on in many of these diamond minds? Would the governments of Botswana or South Africa really show such a high profile figure with media access the dirt that goes on behind the scenes and off camera?

The second thing to keep in mind, if Russell is delivering a message from Nelson Mandela, why didn't Mandela himself, a Noble Peace Prize winner who is admired and recognized all around the world, issue his own statement and hold his own press conference? No disrespect to Russell, but why speak for a guy like Mandela on such a volatile subject? Now perhaps I missed something, but I searched Google, Yahoo and a number of South African newspapers. I couldn't find anything about Mandela speaking on this issue. I did see a couple of articles with Noble laureate Bishop Desmond Tutu coming out against the Botswanian government and De Beers sister company bushing the Bushmen off their native land In fact as I am writing this I'm going to do one last search. I

Thus far I checked the following papers in South Africa
Business Day (Johannesburg)
Mail and Guardian (Johannesburg)
Sun Times (Johannesburg)
Sunday Independent (Johannesburg)
In all these papers I did not see one mention of Nelson Mandela talking about how us buying diamond encrusted pieces from Jacob the Jeweler or any other diamond dealer here in the US was somehow going to be saving Africans. Folks are welcome to do the search themselves. I'm not perfect, so maybe I overlooked something.

Most of the articles I read spoke about the connection and partial ownership De Beers has with the main diamond company in Botswana called Debswana. Many of the articles focused on how the Bushmen in Botswana have been tricked and forced to get off their native land so De Beers and everyone else can mine diamonds. Most importantly many of the articles focused on how the average person in Africa is not seeing the benefits of all those diamond sales. The whole scenario reminds me of how we been tricked into going along with the lottery. Everybody buys lottery tickets to help get much needed money to improve our school systems however, public schools from NY to Cali are still in shambles.

In the Capetown Daily News I did come across an interesting story that talks about how the United States state department is making all sorts of moves to counter the message of Blood Diamonds. They feel the movie can have adverse effect on the economy. It's a story I haven't seen here in local papers out here in Cali.

As I read the story I could only shake my head because when it comes to the people in power they are all too familiar with how influential pop culture can be. They understand the power of image and lyrics and all that. They clearly understand that this stuff is 'not just entertainment' as many would like to believe. So it's not just Russell running around defending the diamond industry it's our own government. Go figure. I guess some things never change. It's the same government that defended De Beers during Apartheid. It's the same Government defending De Beers now that movie 'Blood Diamonds' is out. Here's that article.

The only positive article I saw regarding how diamonds are somehow helping out Africans was in South Africa's Business Day newspaper. It's an opinion piece that was published in August 2006. I saw no other articles supporting this claim or remotely touching upon this in recent months and weeks leading up to and now that 'Blood Diamonds' is out. We should also note the recent so called studies that some are citing about the benefits of the diamond trade are financed by the diamond industry.

One thing Russell did say on CNN which I agree with is that Hollywood and many others had never given a damn about Blood Diamonds. He rhetorically asked where were all the movies and films when genocide was taking place in the early 90s? It's a good question that many will have to wrestle with. That would include then President Bill Clinton, The NAACP and dozens of other organizations and churches.

Sadly many of us within Hip Hop around the time of all this bloodshed had suddenly abandoned our leather African Medallions and started blinging out with platinum and diamonds. This would include some of the artists that Russell himself worked with. If you recall, when all this slaughter was going on in Sierra Leone, many of us were watching Biggie and 2Pac videos talking about how jiggy we were. We all have to own up to our collective silence and ignorance on one of Africa's most devastating periods.

But with all that being said, the debate is being raised now and it's important that we both understand history and the politics of the day. One thing that I find especially troubling is that while De Beers is launching an all out PR campaign and Russell is telling us to go buy diamonds to support Africa, I still have yet to go to a diamond district in NY, LA or here in the Bay Area and see some cats from Botswana or Black South Africans selling me some diamonds wholesale in store they own 100%.
I see commercials everyday from diamond retailers like Zales, Tiffanys and 'Paul from the Diamond Center', but I never see us Black folks doing the selling.

It seems like when half the rap community goes out to purchase diamond encrusted grillz to make their mouths look like 'disco balls', they are usually purchased from fellow rap star Paul Wall. Is the money he's charging for all those 30 thousand dollar plus grillz going to help Africans build a clinic to fight AIDs in Botswana? Is Lil Wayne, Nelly, Jermaine Dupri and other grill wearers sporting those gaudy mouth pieces with the intent of helping impoverished Africans?

I can't call it, but stuff don't seem right. As for me I'm not buying any diamonds, especially if they're from De Beers or any other company connected to them. If we really wanna help out Africa how about making sure the debts they incurred from first world nations when they got rid of colonizers is forgiven and forever erased. How about us demanding that they be allowed to use generic drugs to fight the scorch of HIV and Aids and not be caught up in some super rich drug company lobbying our government to put the screws to Africa because they violated some unfair trade agreement. How about we look at the insidious ways in which countries like Belgium manipulated things to help cause some of the wars that led to genocide over diamonds. Lets bring those people to justice.

Anyway in 2006 I'd rather buy some damn property before I buy diamonds. If you're really about blinging hold a land deed not a stupid diamond chain.

Something to think about…

Davey D

Friday, December 08, 2006

One To Ponder...

It is very nearly impossible to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind.--James Baldwin

Hip-Hop Can Be Grown Up Music Too...

Who The Hell Am I? Has Jay-Z Outgrown Hip-Hop?
by Andres Hale

November 21st 2006 marked the day that Jay-Z returned from his proposed "retirement." The expectations were set ridiculously high for Young Hova but if anyone could exceed expectations, the Jiggaman could….right? Apparently not. Although "Show Me What You Got" became a burner in the clubs, some predicted that this Jay-Z album just wouldn't be up to snuff. Then the reviews began to surface. Definitely not up to Jay-Z standards. The marketing push that Jay put behind the album was unprecedented (from Monday Night Football ads to Budweiser commercials and, of course, the Jay-Z Hangar Tour) and resulted in first week sales reaching close to 700k but the critics and the streets began to speak.

"But what may cause the most arguments is that S. Carter seems to be representing Park Avenue more than the Marcy Projects on this album. True, false, or irrelevant?" – (rating 3.5 out of 5)

"The material shows a lack of direction from an MC whose age and position put him in uncharted waters." – (rating 3.5 out of 5)

"Not to abuse the tired cliche of "grown folks music", but this is it, defined." – (rating 4 out of 5)

"…like athletes, we expect rappers to disappear when they turn 30. We have no use for them as they become older and more comfortable with themselves-- even if their minds are as sharp as ever…But that's Kingdom Come: Jay boringly rapping about boring stuff and being totally comfortable with it" – (rating 5 out of 10)

"Jay-Z is hip-hop, yes, but the dirty little secret that he likes us to ignore is that hip-hop is not Jay-Z" – (rating 7 out of 10)

Wow…look at that last statement and then plant it alongside the other clips. Does anyone see a recurring theme here? While most of the reviews couldn't argue with how Jay-Z is the "kingpin of the ink pen/monster of the double entendre" the problems arise about Jay's subject matter. Gone are the days of "Sex murder and mayhem romance for the street" and instead we get riddles of "good credit and such." Sadly, in Hip Hop this has become blasphemy. But why has the dream materialized become so incredibly out of touch? Why does Hip Hop have to be hustlin', pimpin' and slangin'? Although Kingdom Come didn't deliver the goods as expected (according to the general consensus), it did tear open a gaping generation gap question that needs to be addressed. Has Jay-Z and artists like him outgrown his audience?
What Jay-Z has become is a dream materialized. Hip Hop has been deeply rooted in the struggle to come up and achieve a dream. But when that dream is achieved does that mean the struggle stops? Obviously so, according to many. See, there's a big difference in struggling for food as opposed to struggling to maintain wealth and health. Hip Hop has never really seen a dream materialize, rather many dreams have been halted abruptly. Just when Tupac and Biggie were hitting their collective strides their lives were ended by a hail of bullets.

The question has always been asked "What If…" and the answer is "Jay-Z."

Jay-Z has become the only artist that has allowed his growth to be caught on record. There were no voids where Jay grew and we didn't see it. Jay-Z has always been in the spotlight. So as he matured, so did his music. And now he's at a point where we have witnessed his growth into a successful black man with more money than you can shake a stick at.

There are two lines in "30 Something" that encompasses the "grown up" part of Jay-Z…

"I don't buy out the bar, I bought the nightspot"

"Young enough to know the right car to buy/Yet grown enough not to put rims on it…"

The former is about just being flat out rich. Nothing more, nothing less. Jay-Z has more money than you (or he) has ever thought of and can now do things that were out of Hip-Hop's collective reach. Instead of purchasing from someone, wouldn't it be better to own it? It's as simple as "why buy a drink for 'x' amount of dollars when I can own the club that has the bar that sells drinks for 'x' amount of dollars?" The math is so simple, yet so complex. Many of us love basketball, so why not own a team? Jay-Z did it, now you see how many others have followed in his footsteps. But wait…don't you need "good credit and such" to own a team?
The latter is about knowledge of wealth. As simple as the line is perceived to be, it speaks in volumes about Hip Hop culture today. Excess, materialism, etc. Jay-Z understands that rims look nice but have no added value for a vehicle and thus can be disposable. But how many of us understand that? I mean seriously…how many of us understand that owning a house is far more important than having a Dodge Magnum on 24's? Rather ironic that we are entrenched in a culture so obsess with money yet has no idea what to do once we have it.

But in a consumer driven economy, the truth is that we are supposed to like rims and spend our hard earned dollars on bullshit. We've all been through it one way or another. So when someone like Jay-Z flips the script and talks about "good credit" do you think that this is what the economy wants to hear? Better yet, do the old owners of rims, jewelry and other excess want you to consider saving your money and your credit so you can one day own a business or a team or a corporation or even them? Hell no!

Mass Media has done a helluva job convincing us that the glass ceiling is closer to our heads than we originally thought. By using Hip Hop as a tool to promote hamburgers, GAP clothing and cars instead of fighting against sexism, racism and other numerous forms of oppression, they powers that be have beaten us at our own game.

So back to this statement…
"Jay-Z is hip-hop, yes, but the dirty little secret that he likes us to ignore is that hip-hop is not Jay-Z"

So who dictates what is Hip Hop and what isn't? Why is Hip Hop not Jay-Z? Is that saying that good credit and financial responsibility are not Hip Hop? It has to obviously be scary to concede to the fact that it isn't Jay-Z and people that look like Jay-Z who make Hip Hop, rather it be the old white CEOs who sit atop their thrones while throwing to us what they think is hip hop. But we are no better because we believe what they tell us.
As much as we would like to believe that we are trendsetters and "exclusive", we are mere followers to the bigger machine. A machine that feeds us these vices and fills our little heads with pipe dreams and such to the point that achieving them isn't even important anymore.

The name of the game today is to go out there and try while looking good without actually achieving. Because if you do in fact "make it", you'll be labeled a sell-out. There's nothing flashy about a jump shot…except that its worth two points (and last time I checked the team with the most points wins). Instead we would rather dribble off of your head, do a cartwheel, and try a 360 layup with nobody defending us. We'd rather bask in the glory of oohs and ahhs and miss the fuckin' rim completely rather than sink a boring ol' jump shot. We love the journey but don't want to see the ending. Because when the proposed "end" comes…what is left? Winning the game is not an option. And this is what they feed to us thru Hip Hop. Scary isn't it?

"I came into a little bit of a revelation recently. I turned 31 and I'm starting to realize that a lot of this Hip Hop/rap thing is for kids. It's a young people's movement. And I know we as adults try to hang onto our youth as long as possible but my point is you gotta know when to let go because when you're 36 and you dress like you're 15 you look fuckin' stupid!" – Aries Spears

While that line is laugh out loud funny, it does make you rethink where you are as a hip hop fan. If you are young then I guess this may not apply to you (yet). But if you are an 80's baby you have to wonder how true this statement is. While Hip Hop may be rooted in the kids and the young people, it is the old man sitting up there getting his belly fat off of our work. You don't have to "look" rich to "be" rich. Rock & Roll used to be considered a "kids" movement but now you have artists like Aerosmith and U2 still making incredible and timeless music. Do they look like every other rock star?

Just because we grow up does that mean we have to leave hip hop alone and look for the nearest Celine Dion or Earth Wind & Fire album? Or can Hip Hop grow and mature with us instead of without us? Can Hip Hop become rich and successful while taking the struggle to new heights (Sudan Crisis, Water Shortage, AIDS, Electoral Politics, Racism, etc)? I think we can…I can't just leave my culture behind and look for a new one. I'd rather use it for a tool to educate and elevate.

But because of our mere willingness to settle for a dollar and a dream (and a plethora of other reasons) it is enough reason for me to suggest a ban on hip hop. Oh you don't know what I mean by "destroy and rebuild"? Well I guess you won't until the next editorial…and I'm just a critic…Who The Hell Am I? But the better question is…Who The Hell Are You?

"If the prophecy's correct, then the child should have to pay/ For the sins of the father/ So I bartered my tomorrow's against my yesterdays…/ I'm both saint and sinner…/ I'm on permanent vacay/ Life is but a beach chair/ This song's like a Hallmark card until you reach here." – Jay-Z

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

One Day Closer...

To my own mortality. My Earth Day was yesterday and I must say that these things (birthdays) seem to be coming faster each time. As I get closer to the big 4-OH, I'm noticing little aches and pains that I never dreamed of experiencing. I suppose that I'm supposed to say something profound about growing and maturity and crap like that, but I'm not there yet. LOL

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


By Chuck D. (courtesy of

November 30, 2006

Excuse me while I rant I'm gonna be all over the place with this one... Well, I turn and look at these times surrounding us and count the years. Forty One years after civil rights has seen the 'We' dissolve into the 'me' error - um, era. Someone told me recently that athletes and entertainers were the gods of the black community. If that is the case, it's the base of our tragedy, because the 'godmakers' remain anonymous amongst the idol worship.

What makes a person rebel against a situation, only to end up being the same cat they started off rebelling against? I never totally understood the flip. LA REID, initially a musician/songwriter, ends up siding with the UNIVERSAL legals to sue Myspace and threaten Youtube with similar sht. These are the best tools, as yet provided, in leveling the field for artists to get their music heard and seen, being endangered by the corporate greed monster. It's like screaming at the clouds on a rainy day. I've never understood when enough is enough. If a cat got fifty million in the bank, why the drive for one hundred million if you ain't sharing with anybody or building anything? I Hear that UNIVERSAL was blaming Myspace for the JAYZ ' Kingdom Come' leak, and I wonder if some of these cats are in the real world? As the domination of the record game business is over. As in JAY'S HP commercial, I'm wondering if they know it? JAY seems to understand it, as he said himself two years back that the music business was healthy while the record business was not. He need not worry as people will buy ROCKAWEAR, HP, and 25,000 cups of BUD sold at every sporting event in America.

The attitude of selfishness has seeped so much into society that the literal has almost totally obscured the sublime. Michael Richards resorts to calling his hecklers 'niggas' about six times. Across America it seems White liberals are the ones most pissed off, because smart Black folks know the treatment in Amerikkka runs way deeper than just hearing the damn word. Individual notion put the word in motion with some thinking that its power would be lessened. Coupled with the confusion triggered by rap, comedy, and unwritten social codes saying only black folks can flip it to use it as a word of love; As confusing is understanding someone trying to even sit through a Michael Richards' set. Yeah let's blame it on Kramer.

A Black man gets shot fifty times in New York, and a comedian saying 'nigger' on stage gets more media heat. A call going out to the hip hop community figures to result in a 'nigga please' from it. There are organizations set in place to lead hip hop into this discussion without the percussion. ZULU NATION, TEMPLE OF HIP HOP, POCC with Fred Hampton Jr. and a host of others. Folks like Rosa Clemente, Yvonne Bynoe, Kevin Powell, Davey D, etc. have been busting their asses with the 'We' concept of getting our sht together collectively in mind. The 'We' was born from the fact that our visual characteristics threw us all into the same racial box for hundreds of years, even if the box had certain areas for hue preference, it was nonetheless... a box.

Now in 2007, Black folks once considered 3/5 of a human life in the nations holy document. A people who were told that one drop of black blood (I thought blood was red as ketchup, then again that red is artificial) makes you automatically black in this land. Therefore making a separate racial category excluded from the one true race - human. This social bludgeoning still has us scattered, dysfunctional, and plain ole crazy... especially when we drink the 'We' Kool Aid of Amerikkka without any chaser.

Too many of us have abused our area of 'style' forsaken substance almost entirely, busily worried about getting our look on a bit too much. Visual stereotypes we're swearing by; programmed to choose prototypes instead. Hair, makeup, fashion, and face are paramount to artists, athletes, politicians and actor's careers, while ability takes a backseat and no one seems to care for what real people think. We are back to first grade judging too many books by their respective covers.

It's one thing to enhance the eye by enhancing the 'I'. But where does the 'We' come into play? As Black Folks our collective status has dipped to the powerlessness of children. Our topics are shallow and disconnected from the concerns of the rest of the planet because in a nation of Black and While our level is only buoyed by the collective Whiteface of this country. Yeah, like we're still handpicked (for slavery) chosen Negroes, thus continuing to flaunt across to the diaspora the same ways and means of the Amerikkka affluent illusion.

Toys satisfy us to silence. Our production of soul here is even owned and compromised like the diamond and gold mines of Africa. Where with the majority being African working and living around the mines, has anybody guessing how the hell did White ownership happen? Maybe 'mines' is exactly what it says, like the daffy duck cartoon claiming found treasure he couldn't carry. Like the audacity to claim a billion year old mountain and name it from a so called discoverer's perspective. Like the nerve to wipe out millions of people in wars, just because they don't share philosophies.

The 'We' is a civil rights understanding when the consensus was that even when someone characteristically among us made it 'big', that their toys, noise, and praise didn't raise their status far above the 'Them'. The 'I' age can only result in toys, platinum pacifiers, and temporary heat. What goes up must come down, and the individual thuds are silenced by the noise of false praise. As long as 'We' is tucked to the back of achievement, 'the masses' of us will always be treated as 'them asses'.

50 shots........damn....should take them guns away from scared dudes in foreign neighborhoods with badges , and job benefits.

Stay @ me. New slang I've come up with stay@me, which means I'm moving quickly at the speed of thought. Soon I'm to be on The Wendy Williams' Show and the producers wanted to ask what I was up to and I couldn't tell them quickly enough. So I had to write it down. Starting with the December tour of the USA... The Public Enemy comic book is headed into its third issue. The transition of PE's twentieth year, my second book - 'Lyrics Of A Rap Revolutionary'. Our fourth album project in the past two years as well as the fourth upcoming DVD (not including the two DVD's that appear with New Whirl Odor and Beats and Places) called 'Where There's Smoke'. The SLAMjamz label with thirty artists and fifteen CD/DVD releases plans to be a model standard for both licensing and technology. My sixteenth year of college lecturing from the Howards to the Harvards. 'Chuck D Mobile' hopes to magnify new media forms. The small screen. Air America radio where the show ON THE REAL is held down by myself and my co-host Gia'na Garel every Sunday night at 11 PM to 1 AM. My ELEMENTAL monthly writings have been sidelined by a selling of the magazine to a major publishing house My AOL Worldwide Hip Hop Countdown Show moves on to mobile.

RIP Gerald Levert , Ed Bradley, and the great Ruth Brown.

Heard Don Rumsfeld immediately is set out to speak at universities and businesses at 100k a lecture/speech or whatever it is. The games governments play on the people, eh? War is a silly game where old men usually sit around sending young people to die for their beliefs. It's old men's version of Playstation 3 with very graphic results. As said on Bum Rush The Shows subtitle '..the governments responsible'.

Boston WGBH is an incredible public TV hub, where I had the honor and pleasure of being a keynote speaker for their conference. There were a lot of innovating filmmakers and new media people that have realized the need to take advantage of emerging outlets. As I tell artists today, I haven't witnessed a better time than now. Myspace is a phenomenon. Youtube at the press of a button can be a better distributor than any television. Given these, will emerge with SLAM TV using a stream from on a loop system. Expect new systems I'll be discussing, soon delivering to you. Also featured there was Byron Hurt's 'Beyond Beats And Rhymes'. Meanwhile speaking of Boston... my second trip in a month has me lecturing at Berklee school of music. I've been looking forward to this event, I hope to bring a serious timeline discussion along with myself and hope to return with some information I can add to future discussions.

Best book and guide I've bought these past months is basketball legend Walt 'Clyde' Fraziers....... it's a great read and layout of how to adapt some old school values and tactics to not only make the game better, but how to parallel some of those thoughts in life. Personally I keep this book with me, as Clyde is privy and witness to the flow of generation 0 everyday. It all goes back to the schooling and teaching, how can we blame the young for what they do if the teachers and mentors don't hold their ground? Clyde holds his turf, and the NBA should head their schooling department with at least this book's values. Part of the problem is that there's so little common sense that the art of comparative analysis is low or lost. I've drawn parallels to the rap game, and most recently even JAY Z was heard calling for a hip hop board or council, calling out all wackness. He was sparked by his back and forth recent battle with Dipset's Jim Jones, accusing Jones of not having enough credentials to speak his name.

Also on television coming quite sooner is ALI RAP, a celebration of Muhammad Ali's sixtty - fifth birthday. It will be on ESPN December 9th, Yours Truly is the host, added to the fact that a video and song called ALI RAP THEME is done for December release to promote the program. Again here’s the point of sports being on the organized front and never being sloppy with their timing. Damn , why can't the rap game be the same?

Can't look to VIACOM for the answers, although VH1's HIP HOP HONORS totally makes the BET Awards look like a high school talent show. All hype aside there are nuances and statistics that seem to elude these broadcasts. It seems that actual facts have given way to hyperbole.

Public Enemy's fifty-sixth tour starts off on the Western side of the country. Alternating as PE DJs will be DJ LORD and hall of famer DJ JOHNNY JUICE. LORD will be doing a month of DJ residency in CHINA and ASIA and JUICE, who has been with PE since day one, will man the decks at the start of the tour. Also JUICE will debut with the baNNed, the backing musicians behind PE. Their album will debut on SLAMjamz early March 07. As for now there is no second band to the ROOTS. Hopefully the baNNed can get all those gigs the ROOTS don't want. Brian Hardgroove, Khari Wynn, Michael Faulkner respectively come with bass, guitar and drums, with Lord and Juice manning turntables. Add the possible occasional Professor Griff a percussionist as with JUICE and FLAV, and KASUF on keyboard, trumpet, sax ... is the making of something very sonically interesting and funky. I say JUICE is a hall of famer for his essential cuts and scratches on our two benchmark albums YO and MILLIONS, as with AL KOOPER when he played organ on Dylan's 'Like A Rolling Stone in 1965. Juice will be on his first PE tour, long overdue and fitting.

It's funny catching millennium commentary when explaining the recorded vocals behind early PE performances, such as the 1987's London gig at Hammersmith Odeon. Again I add that we stayed true to tradition in the beginning, using records instead of tape. It was the blessing and curse as a shaken stage resulted in a needle jumping across the disc. We were a very active act. We had special instrumentals but when they jumped, it was nearly impossible to pick up the spot where the disc jumped to. To alleviate much of this, the recorded vocals were EQ'd lowest as much as possible coming from the turntable, with myself an Flavor shout rhyming over the top. Lucky we had the voices that sounded just like the recordings. It wasn't until 1999, we did perform on hard disc rather than live turntables, although we do it in selected instances. But no, our attempts were the complete opposite of much for tradition.

An email going around has one figuring out the spelling of s-a-g-g-i-n backwards ....yeah check that out.

Also speaking of the N word I'm so tired of hearing about who has the right to use it, like its some savored term. Michael (Kramer) Richards goes berserk and spits the N -word six or seven times. I wonder what Jerry Heller, Jimmy Iovine think about it, since those are two white guys who've profited off it; not on the endorsed name but the attitude with it as well. When Kramer went off in a comedy club, I'm pretty sure it wasn't the first time uttered in that building. Different context yeah, and I'm definitely ain't defending him. But I think it was a 'white guilt' thing happening as well as a black wake up call. As said before, I do believe it's a word, any way you spell it, or smell it, but not a word of love. A fighting word I've maintained. The comedians make a living of walking the line of dangerous rhetoric. He said it with venomous anger, thus that's where he's guilty, but also saying it with a smile is both just as harmful and ignorant.

Similes and metaphors were a hot enemy board topic, as I choose to stay away from using rhymes with the, 'The word' like in them.

Calling for retirement I saw on some site that some rappers should quit. Will somebody tell somebody that artists never stop making art. The business of commerce is entirely another thing. Rappers need to think of themselves as artists and less on a hustler tip.

Air America is supposed bankrupt, but it's for restructuring purposes. The general public totally misunderstands that term. MC Hammer and LUKE are still alive and doing well, and Delta is still flying while expanding to cities across the entire planet.

The Sundance Channel could be the home of a show called the Chuck D Musician's Studio, which is a takeoff from the Actor's studio on Bravo. In the pilot my first guest will be the likes of Quincy Jones, Others like Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Bob Dylan ... yeah those types of giants are planned. Well, past the jitters this looks to be a natural televised fit for me. Taping pilot the day before tour , wish me well, if not, oh well. stay@me

Brigadier Jerry Live Pon Sound System....

The legendary Brigadier Jerry doin' the thang live 'pon Jack Ruby Sound....

Friday, December 01, 2006


How much did Beenie Man's album really sell?

What's the deal with Beenie Man's album sales? There has been a lot of debate about the sales of Beenie Man's album especially since last week when we reported on the website that Beenie Man claimed his album had sold over 300,000 copies. Well, our checks reveal that he may have shipped that amount, but to date, according to the Nielson Soundscan figures reported by the Billboard Reggae charts, he has sold 52,507 copies of 'Undisputed'

Sean Paul leads the pack of reggae artistes on the Billboard chart with impressive sales of 1,228,148 of his 'Trinity' set while Damian Marley has sold 596,946 copies of 'Welcome to Jamrock'. Matisyahu's 'Youth' album has sold 497,256 copies and his 'Live at Stubbs, Austin, Texas' set has sold a muscular 616,623. Dancehall act Baby Cham has sold 46,914 OF 'Ghetto Story' while Buju Banton has sold 10,081 copies of 'Too Bad'. Bounty Killer's 'Nah No Mercy - Warlord Scrolls' sold 862 copies after three weeks of release.

After 13 weeks, Beenie Man's 50,000 plus sales mark has not set the world on fire. His previous albums fared much better. 2002's "Tropical Storm," which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Reggae Albums chart and No. 7 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums tally, spawned the hit "Feel It Boy" featuring Janet Jackson, and moved 272,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. 'Art And Life', widely considered a commercial disappointment for executives at Virgin Records, did not move mega units even after Beenie Man teamed up with then-pop sensation Mya (on Girls Dem Sugar) and Wyclef Jean (on Love Me Now). It sold 386,000 copies in the United States, again according to sales tracker SoundScan.

Remember that Beenie Man broke through in the US market in 1998 with the 'Many Moods Of Moses' set for VP Records which contained the hit dance song, Who Am I, which had a strong run on the Billboard Rap chart and leading urban radio stations like Hot 97 in New York City. That album and song actually gave Virgin administrators the impetus to sign him in 2000.

Posted by yardFlex at December 1, 2006 08:44 AM