Tuesday, December 05, 2006
THE 'I' VS THE 'WE'
By Chuck D. (courtesy of www.publicenemy.com)
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, SLAMjamz.com will emerge with SLAM TV using a stream from brightcove.com 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 laziness....so 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