Friday, February 23, 2007
Chuck D Speaks
WEBULLUTIONARIES; Is There Plenty Webpollution Goin On?
February 22, 2007
Before I begin, maaaad props go to my heroes of the year so far. I'm venting in this terrordome but to show that I love more things and hate a minimal of stuff, I'm gonna start this one off by praising the work and counter imagery of ...
MR. BYRON HURT His documentary BEYOND BEATS AND RHYMES single handedly breaks down and diagnoses the problems that have been manifested through the portal of hip hop to the masses. It has aired on PBS and INDEPENDENT LENS this week. Only the guilty will run from this ...
TYLER PERRY This man has fueled the black community with reflections of real black people doing REAL things. His latest film DADDY'S LITTLE GIRLS is awesome in its storyline and tale of the struggle of a working, trying to do right black man trying to get back the custody of his three daughters from a mother who is unfit. TYLER PERRY has shown the most diverse array of black community on both stage AND film. Both the gangster AND the preacher; putting them in their proper perspective. GABRIELLE UNION was stellar of course (she always seems to avoid being in films that would tarnish both us and herself) LOU GOSSETT is a Hall Of Famer, c'mon ... But the role IDRIS ELBA played was the most representative reflection of the working black man I've seen in years. The dude made me proud, man. Sht, when was the last movie, TV show or video that made you feel proud to work and live regular ole life itself? ... which brings me to my vent section ...
Well here we are in '07 and although I am not beyond reproach let me tell you how I never take any criticism lightly. There's a world of opinion out there about almost nearly everything regarding what road we take as the darker of the earth. White supremacy is a bitch. We can't abolish the N word until we get rid of the radiation that creates that existence in the first place. There are myriad causes to our effect; of a people who have nothing and are yet taken away from. This understood, I've always been a supporter of forward movement and criticizing lukewarm situations with radicals, and the approaches that many have taken, is a waste of my time. Literally.
Now that we're seemingly wired through a database of Super Servers, I witness a lot of bashing at 'movement'. Dialogue is one thing. But what I read often happens to be venting just because a vent vehicle has been invented. So be it. I guess God gave brains and mouths with which to reason, think and talk; as well as buds for tasting the bitter and the sweet. Sometimes harsh words can be a motivating force to motivate a faulty motor or simply put cats in check. Raised by a man who's my superhero, my father taught me, we as men and people can agree to disagree but keep it moving forward; as a process and/or as a result. My mother taught me to hear out the other story and try to find a co - existing method as if life depended on such. I was raised to emphasize the 'we' as opposed to 'I' regarding family, the community, and the adult collective.
For some reason many 'peeps' that know better, based on their individual judgement have gone to the issue of bashing other's forward movement.This brother hit me up the other day to say I sold out because I do high priced lectures, am seen on television, and continue to sometimes interview White folks on my Air America show. He went further to say that PE is dead because the revolutionary spirit is missing ... to him. Maybe some others to. So let me put this to that, when in question of any motives I may have in the struggle to fight any powers, such as those identified as holding us back.
First of all I have never done anything in the business that I am in where I haven't split with a collaborator, partner, songwriter, etc. Ever. My donation in time and commitment to my family, group, local and global community is a great percentage of my life. As a parent I prioritize things in life and honor the position as a father to my children, as an older brother, unfortunately, to many men and women who have never experienced that framework. I have always looked at women as being equals, although our roles differ depending on the call.
Straight out, my definition is as a 'Man'. I was taught to not come up with bullsht excuses. Yes I can rage against a machine, but then what? It's better learn how to work through it or around it, simple as that. Damn if my ass takes a woman to a movie and we catch a flat and me not at least get out of the car and see what's wrong. Damn if I ain't gonna at least see if I can't turn the lugs first before jacking the car and THEN calling AAA. As black men we have been socially reduced and Amerikkanized into NOT being able to fix a door, window, toilet, or even our lives, if needed to fuel a movement. Every morning in Freeport LI there are scores of Hispanic men, many from South America who the country stupidly calls 'immigrants' who as a daily routine offer their basic life skills in carpentry, landscaping or whatever it takes to feed their family. Their definition of 'Man' in the face of Uncle Samism is management of time. They realize time is God and as a collective they've got nowhere else to believe but 'up'. We as black men, the half of the wretched of the earth, somehow have fallen into thinking we all are gonna make it on ballin' or beats.
Dumb sht. But I overstand it. I'm not here to bash those that don't know any better, like those under 18 ... children. But when we buy into this 40 is the new 20 thinking ... is this the pushing of the black man backwards headfirst into the womb of 20 being the new zero? (I talk about this further in the HIP HOP IS Dead piece following). Those that DO know better I'm at a loss of words for. And I'll choose to further NOT criticize them on their individual inadequacies. Waste of my time. So I'll be broad in my strokes. I've seen many who have it all figured out NOT being able to fix their own lives. Last thing I wanna hear is some bullsht about ' Yo Chuck, you don't know how it is in the hood'. Number one this usually comes from someone who knows of me and hasn't a clue of who I am. I am quick to tell somebody to mind their own business.
Recently a close source of mine couldn't give gddamn directions to his destination from nearby Queens (15 miles) which cosigns that fact that Amerikkans are piss poor on: 1. TIME . 2. HISTORY . 3. GEOGRAPHY. And we as black folk have the nerve to shape our belief under the smell of that same armpit. Can't read a map, 24 % of Amerikkans have a passport, 12% use them. When Amerikkans name countries somewhere, Rome and Africa slip out. Books are important but what fu-kin good are they if not comprehended and shared with other people? The more we become tech savvy, we lose the ability to read people. To look a person in the eye; not to size them up and take advantage, but see where sht can be built. And even if you're able to read a book or a map, you cant read people with MAPQUEST.
I say all of this to say that love is one thing, and I overstand love comes with excuses. But grown folks can't feed their families with 'em. I'm not frustrated ... but I got stories of grown folk that defy logic and this comes from both the bourgeois and the boulevard. Snowstorm predicted ... no one in my vicinity picks up salt in advance, I come back from working to find the terrain covered with a sheet of snow and ice. The excuse? No salt available in stores AFTER the fact. Now I say this not to pick on my surroundings, but to emphasize the fact, as black folk something has kicked in telling us that SOMEBODY else is gong to do the sht YOU'RE supposed to do. SOMEBODY else is gong to pick up the garbage set out. I'm in a black-Hispanic neighborhood where white men pick up the garbage, and they're building the schools.
Those jobs are soaked in select county racism yes, but I can't get a black man to pick up the trash on the lawn that the high school kids throw down on their way to and from school, or on the street where they park their shiny cars. Again I understand the kids, but....The infantizing and reduction of the black male has led to the two earringed, perfect mustachioed dudes prettying up their exterior, bordering on the 'metro' tip, covering up the lack of inner knowledge and substance, while on the other hand we find more black women age forty and under in Home Depot both shopping and working harder than our black male counterparts. Again this is a result of worldwide white supremacy but ...
Again the point is let us NOT be reduced into people waiting for our collective diapers to be changed. This is bullsht. We cannot abolish the N word when the behavior and attitudes are prevalent. It's NOT a word of love, but it's applicable like a MF. It's a created aura by white supremacy, endorsed by a willing 'Negro' nearest you. I've heard people criticizing me for at least telling people to understand the vote. Listen here and mark it on your forehead for all I care : If you're gonna be in the middle of something understand it. Then you can say yea or nay to it. Voting in the USA is akin to washing your ass in the morning. It's a local thing first and foremost before peeps think it's like some ESPN political match of selection. That's a whipping of mass distraction. School boards, local judges, and jail systems are affected by grown folk that know the box score. It requires effort to keep the process of whipping our ass. When we are affected, we are usually affected within a twelve mile radius of a so called home many of us don't even own.
As a world citizen, I have to keep a global perspective, as my ass pivots from the wilderness of North America. Not a wilderness of terrain, because having driven through much of it on a constant basis, it is a beautiful diverse and organized landscape. But its many opinions are floating to the front of a US nation that a government cannot answer. And they won't, in my opinion, answer to the slavery of the past, the present and future that many are volunteering for today. There's political prisoners and there's those that are volunteering for the ovens of the prison industrial complex because of the twisted hypocritical politics of the past 150 years.
Ok, NOW the fk what then? Does this mean you don't wash your ass in the morning? Does this mean we can't do simple sht like grow something in dirt other than weeds and tombstones? Does this mean because a niggative black image is on TV and media, we keep sucking it until we get a good taste out of it? Here's an answer for that: Sit in a car outside the CEO or executives of VIACONM, BET, MTV, CW, FOX etc. cribs like Robert Dinero did in Cape Fear. Guaranteed it'll make better noise than just ranting at each other and ONLY just doing that. For those that wanna take a physical approach then hear this....the ways of the caveman leads to a catastrophe of carnage that GEICO can't cover, because it's not in the heart and spirit and we ain't never been good at world destruction. Fight the Power means different techniques. Revolution means change, and real revolutionaries realize that humans err and are not formed in cookie cutters. A true society is built on agreeing to disagree; disparities are constant evolution if respect to a higher being, other species, and the world as we know it is in order. It is my opinion and if I stand to be corrected then ...
Like a true WEBULLUTIONARY, I've spent too much time typing this sht up on a Saturday afternoon when the sun is out. I gotta do some real sht like chop this damn ice off the stoop and walkway before somebody trips, falls and sues my ass, which is more likely to be another damn thread cats will spend their time on. I ain't gonna make no excuses and ask for any help either.
HIP HOP DEAD? Well how can we wonder about NAS' statement when again we've had a wave of incidents that reflect a crime blotter rather than a musical output. A lotta cats have used the rap game like a sewage refuge rather than an area one can connect themselves to and grow off of. Let's look at the statement. If death is more of a recurring theme in the genre than life itself, then Hip Hop IS dead. It doesn't mean it cannot continue on. It just will continue like some Night Of The Living Dead rerun. I simply suggest that maybe some cats go into the world of crime for real and stay away from the music. It's leading directly into the concentration camp industries of the prison industrial complex. Nobody seems to tell the stories of the dark long days behind the prison walls. This we expect from the rap world. And it comes up short here.
The reason that a standard must be met and achieved in HIP HOP is because it was built from the ground up from that premise. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five are getting elected to the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame purely on that pioneering, skilled standard. Not based on their money made or albums sold. Standard. The reason that this is important is that you have to have something that continuously works on the elevation of the craft. With the age of an emcee there should come some wisdom and accountability to the genre. If not then what separates a 10 year old from being the mainstream representative for hip hop? In the 5th grade they're making banging beats, the image is fresh faced and young AND the topics are NO different than the 30 year olds spitting them, while being marketed as 20 for teenagers. Somebody interviewed me on the growing number of 30 year old emcees in what he called a young man's game. I asked him his age, he replied 25. I then said that there are plenty of emcees 10-13 that consider that age over the hill. When I started, 'old ' for a emcee was 21. This has changed obviously with the aging of the genre. The widespread topics and diverse takes in the 80's were a reflection of the different approaches and interpretations of the day upon the transition-ing of the art form from a singles medium to an album format. The transition of vinyl, to cassette, to CD.
Knowledge, wisdom, and understanding don't come in a microwave, and you can't buy class in a can at 7 Eleven. HIP HOP can surely be injected with a mass dose of this. If hip hop's a young man's game then what's the cut off point? Is 20 the new 10? See how dumb we can get? The standard that JAY Z has set has been a high standard of skill AND wit ... A teenager can't get that overnight; it comes with some experience. Those that thought that Jigga's KINGDOM COME album was a bit heady had best to grow up or just checkout teenagers spitting street tales for the millionth played out time. If the theme is crime, and the usual fat rich white male at the top is licking the register at every influenced death, then rap needs to figure a way to head into the streets and jails to save, instead of feasting off the famine.
In an increasingly exterior judging society, we've seen rappers in the past five years at various social events and award shows wearing designer suits, sport jackets and attire. So the outside seem to have gotten past the saggin' a bit as THE major theme. But again it's the exterior. The interior seems to be antilecctual and dumbassified for the rebellious sake of keeping real by not elevating the topics of thought. Dr. King wanted his children to be judged by the content of their character, not their visual characteristics. This swings contrary to that. In a way the game of rap and hip hop is volunteer slavery to the almighty dollar. Fear of a dropped contract keeps many cats confronting the black family instead of the hand that pays it.
So is NAS crazy?
Hip Hop is a grossing industry whose net is disappearing like an ice cube in an unplugged refrigerator. That's no big pun knock on my good buddy who has diversified into multi media areas, but the record business on its last pause is still searching to sink its lawyers into some similar boom they experienced in the last decade of last century. It's over. Tell 'em. 1999 off the heels of Shawn Fanning, I said that the record business would shatter and splinter into millions of labels and artists. And now we have MySpace and YouTube amongst other super sites. Get over it. The majors only have money. I tell folks go into stockbrokerage if it's only about money, because the music ain't bringing it easy no more or they ain't sharing it as much. The majors just are admitting that DRM can help sell artists.
Bottom line, if HIP HOP cannot develop artists into an act, then the audience will lose its 'awe', regardless of what's said about sport, the audience is still awestruck by its performers because they realize that performing at the level they witness is near impossible. The Hip Hop audience FEELS that they can do even BETTER than the large majority of spitters they witness. In many cases it is true as the development into the performing area is null and void. Recording techniques have leveled to where an artist can record with the same tools and with less rushed, more committed and immediate results. Yeah, when the only thing separating the crowd from the mainstream is an advance then HIP HOP is dead.
I say over and over again that if HIP HOP is so alive and well, then how silly is it that women hardly own anything in the HIP HOP WORLD? They're used and abused here. It's perfect to say that HIP HOP is dead if there's little or no female involvement. Now dead does not mean it cannot come back alive like FrankenSENSE. It can exist just like the horror industry or the mortuary, casket, and tombstone business. But who's gonna be responsible to bury the dead? Somebody has to be grown here.
SO IS 20 THE NEW 10? This ain't a knock on JAYZ, although for some reason folks wait for me to say something wrong about him for press reasons or some fake hype sht. Truth is, I dig his standard of wordplay and always have, and when people say he should upgrade his topic I think he clearly elevated in KINGDOM COME. But what I'm saying is something that society has come up with that he commented on and co-signed about 40 being the new 30, 30 being the new 20. I know what's implied. The old adage about 'you're only as old as you feel' ... age is just a number ... Cool. But other societies honor the advancing years. It's ridiculous to think you can go back instead of forward. In a youth marketed society, advanced age is looked upon as a walk toward death itself. This is stupid. I suggest living everyday like it's your last and savior each growing year to know and do something better than the last. Is this new marketed coined phrase yet another form of escapism and dodging accountability and responsibility? Think about it, at this rate in the black community 2015 will 35 be the new 18 and 10 be the new 'tired' 30?
COMPLETED VOCALS AND PROJECTS Black History Month, yours truly completed work for four album CD's entering the market in '07. 1. TRIBB TO JB / PEEPS OF SOULfunk ; CHUCK D featuring KYLE JASON introducing the baNNed and the SLAMjamz Artist Revue. Ten tracks recorded and produced by DJ Johnny Juice with music by the baNNed, simply roasting reproduced tracks like Make It Funky, Soul Power, Get Up Get Involved, Its a Mans World, Super Bad, Talkin Loud Sayin Nothin, Say It Loud, and King Heroin 2. HOW YOU SELL SOUL TO A SOULESS PEOPLE THAT SOLD THEIR SOUL? The September 20th album nearing completion with recording of American Gangster as produced by Hank Shocklee and Abnormal Dubose, three tracks Scar Tissue, Mine Again and Stay@Me produced by Keith Shocklee, as well as Back n Black, Long And Whining Road and the incredible twenty year anthem Harder Than You Think amongst others by Gary G Wiz. 3. THE PUBLIC ENEMY COMICBOOK SOUNDTRACK Due in July on SLAMjamz is the official soundtrack for the PE comic. Various Artists on the SLAMjamz label as well as some new choice PE tracks. 4. The '07 SLAMpler New and artist label music and videos for promotion across TV, film, mobile, commercials, video games, downloads for the market.
PE BEATS TO MECCA TOUR #57 NORTH AMERICA March 7-25 Wed-Mar-07 Cincinnati Madison Theatre Thu-Mar-08 Chicago House of Blues Fri-Mar-09 Toronto Kool Haus Sat-Mar-10 Boston Worcester Palladium Sun-Mar-11 NYC BB King's Mon-Mar-12 Burlington, VT Higher Ground Tue-Mar-13 Baltimore Ram's Head Live Wed-Mar-14 Myrtle Beach, SC House of Blues Fri-Mar-16 Austin BMI Event Sat-Mar-17 Dallas Gypsy Tea Room ? Sun-Mar-18 Houston Meridian Wed-Mar-21 New Orleans House of Blues Thu-Mar-22 Orlando Hard Rock Fri-Mar-23 St Petersberg Jannus Landing Sat-Mar-24 Miami UltraMusicFestival Sun-Mar-25 ATLANTA GA. Sugarhill
LECTURE PATH Gotta love it and I do. Traveling down to San Antonio, TX - TRINITY University was a welcome escape from the Northeast snow. Packed house to the brim. A large hip hop contingent there, totally keeping the Texas good name contrary to one Son Of A Bush. I was asked to refrain from curses and bashing Bush, being that George H. Bush invested a gang of money there. Well as long as I didn't bash Bush, I knew I wasn't cursing anyway being I had to finish in an hour no more. Warm in TX ... I took my time getting back to NY.
KANSAS STATE was my second time there, first was originally on September 11, 2001 which got re-scheduled a few weeks later that month, that's right you can backlog my T-domes here to read all about it. This time I flew in and enjoyed a great vibe session in the same room I spoke in. On the way back, got hit by a snow and ice-storm. State shut down. I was 120 miles west of KC Airport driving 30 mph on a smaller route 24 that ran into TOPEKA. Then I got on I -70 where the ditches and sides were strewn with trucks and cars. Must have seen twelve disabled cars and three trucks. Still there was a great piece of serenity traveling the snow and icy road through the small KANSAS towns. Regardless. this is a great country to drive through.
FLEW from there to beautiful California first to record final pieces to September's 'SOUL' record then trek up the 101 to SANTA BARBARA for a interesting interview/lecture at the University. Sht you just can't beat CALI in February, especially the drives along the coast. The campus town as with many California colleges is very conducive to learning ... The wonderful Dr. GAYE THERESA JOHNSON did an awesomely stunning job of reaching back and asking me questions that required inner-spective, although I felt a couple occasions where I answered in tangents so long and fragmented that it changed her preparation. Everybody, including she, thought it was a riveting affair. But I must learn to keep things short and sweet because driving back past midnight was hardcore that night.
PRINCE My thoughts on Prince's Super Bowl performance was about taking a creative swipe at all the other lukewarm halfassed ones. I mean timely musical selections of years past. It was a journey AND a lesson through music itself. All that and kickin ass in the purple rain.
LISTENING TO BROADCASTS As far as the NBA I've listened to more games on radio this year than in the past twenty - five years combined. I've submerged myself into this KNICK season, and have lived and died with each win and loss. Promised myself I would do it, but there it is. I'm a fan of ISIAH, STARBURY, QRICH, CURRY, CRAWFORD, and FRYE are comin on. Well ... sht this is my 40th year of following the KNICKS. Also Chris Webber's going home to DETROIT has made their game gorgeous to watch.
ALM = ANTI LYNCHING MOVEMENT = MS RONNIIQUE HAWKINS
BEYOND BEATS AND RHYMES -MONTEL WILLIAMS Again about Byron Hurt's incredible docu-film. Myself, he, and Kevin Powell appeared on the show. Four black men building and not tearing down anything but the things that don't dig us as a people.
DC LEGACY BLACK DINNER. Got invited to a DC Black leader legacy dinner headed by Dr. Lonnie Bunch, Host Founding Director, Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. It was at Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. Ideas were discussed over some cuisine (I had trout) for a future televised program. Again I felt honored to express myself and be invited. There are pundits that may say it's typical intellectual banter, but I say it's necessary. And oh, yeah f-ck the pundits anyway. It's balancing the antilectualism and dumbassification. Who was there....
Donna Brazile, Founder and Managing Director, Brazile and Associates, and Chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Voting Rights Institute. Marian Wright Edelman, President and Founder, Children’s Defense Fund. Rev. Dr. Floyd Flake Senior Pastor, Greater Allen A. M. E. Cathedral of New York and President, Wilberforce University. Earl Graves, Founder and Publisher, Black Enterprise Magazine. Dr. Dorothy Height Chair, National Council of Negro Women. Bill T. Jones, Co-Founder and Artistic Director, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company Rep. John Lewis, Congressman from Georgia. John McWhorter, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute, and author of Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis of Black America. Dr. Ben Chavis Muhammad, CEO, Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, Suzan-Lori Parks Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Orlando Patterson Professor of Sociology, Harvard University, and National Book Award winner Deborah Roberts. ABC News correspondent, Theodore M. Shaw. Director-Counsel and President, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. Beverly Daniel TatumPresident, Spelman College.
GRAMMYS Didn't catch it, but I figure LUDA winning is good. He is rhyming his age. Smart dude. Now that Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five is headed to the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, I wonder if there'll be any retro awards to them or RUN DMC? No, I am not looking for one. I'm just saying those two groups no doubt have built this place as far as records go.
SHEPHARD FAIREY Signed 500 posters of famed artist Shephard Fairey at his facility at the art deco WILTERN THEATRE in LA. Mutual fans we are of each others work. http://www.anneezero.net/shephard-fairey/
TAVIS SMILEY In the process of driving the SLAMjamz van down south, I made some stops like a bus in Baltimore, DC, Arlington VA, and Richmond VA. Reading myself for Tavis Smiley's STATE OF THE BLACK UNION at HAMPTON VA on the fantastic waterside campus of HBCU HAMPTON UNIVERSITY
CANADIAN MUSIC WEEK Not only are we playing and headlining Toronto on March 9th but yours truly is keynoting the next afternoon...says DJ RED ALERT and GRAND DADDY IU but also MICHIE MEE and DOPE POETS SOCIETY. http://www.cmw.net/cmw2007/index.asp
SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST PE is headlining for Flav's birthday party March 16th in Austin TX , http://2007.sxsw.com/
LORD FINESSE BDAY PARTY In NYC this Friday hosting for LORD FINESSE of DITC birthday party at IRVING PLAZA..w/ performances by: DITC; Das Efx; Nice & Smooth; Grand Puba; other artists and special guests to be announced. Music by DJ Premier; DJ Boogie Blind (Xecutioners). Hosted by yours truly Doors: 9:30 PM
PRODUCTION VS EMCEES As I sign off on this T-dome with the point of how lopsided the relationship of song creation is in hip hop. Usually the producer gives the rapper a bare track with little changes other than a loop. The rapper performs on this loop and the producer goes from that point to embellish the track around the vocal. This process is 95% on how it's done from the 1980's. This is one of the fundamental problems with producers in hip hop. Few if any present complete musical songs that can influence a certain ad lib or inflection. Thus the rapper has to pretend and foresee the possibility of the track being at its best without actually being at its best. But producers always want the best vocal performance. This akin to a person making love to someone who's head is in a paper bag so they can pretend that person's somebody else.
In the 1960's Motown cut the full tracks in its entirety; verse, chorus and bridge with very skilled musicians playing with and competing against each other on each instrument. This telepathy often brought magic to a track that can't be explained other than feel. Thus the vocal was inspired to the highest ebb. STAX cut the vocals in the same room at the same time creating ad lib spontaneity on both the music and vocal. It's why emcees nowadays choose other records to rhyme off. It's beyond 'beats'. And it's something that today's producers need to realize. Everybody cannot be 'Prince', a cat who knows many instruments and how to play with and against them. Just my opinion that the music has suffered on both fronts because of individualism, but somehow producers think they're exempt from hip hop's demise. Bring back songwriting and production teams ...