HHF Opinion: Can Hip Hop Die?

Written by James “Nobodee Jones” Horton

 

It’s a funny thing, me being an atypical cat, Midwest rural born and southern deep fried upbringing. I been into hip-hop music since the era of the fat boys back in the gap. Over time I have seen the good bad and ugly.  There are artist that I try to keep tabs on and I have seen them grow and in fact they’ve helped me grow or at least gave me things to consider.  So consider this? Is hip-hop dead?

Not that old of a horse to beat since so many have an issue with calling trap hip-hop. (That’s another story). Yet hip-hop music, rap, wasn’t ever dead per se.  The craft didn’t die and ‘naw the industry couldn’t and wouldn’t kill it, too profitable. (Sidebar) The industry just gained more control but that’s been in effect since the mid to early 90s.  Industry built on catering to the dreams of folks who got less  and want more in the culture and playing advocate for that “I want that too, going to get that” mentality.  The truth of it all was that many mainstream artists don’t own a quarter of what they say they have or what the industry reflects they have. Didn’t the Tribe tell y’all about rule #5080? 

Anyway, to stay on topic; the heart of hip-hop flowed back home in the underground, it just flowed back to the hunger and desire that birthed it and away from the industrial issues with “successful” mainstream artist.

What I mean is so many cats get the game misconstrued. The ebb and flow of hip-hop has never been one of confinement or alignment. In the core of the art is that need; need, hunger, drive, experience, or that fire. That’s not even mentioning skill, know what I ‘m talking about. A cat gotta have skill in the game if he expects to play.  Yet the game gets a little throw’d when you speak to that need and skill because that need and skill changes with each individual.

That’s why the sound can change but the heart never does.  Nothing makes a cat go after his scratch like necessity. When the only dream you have is tied to a mic then by any means necessary (that’s where the hustle can come in). However that passion is reflected in not just the sound but the thought process.  

You cannot tell me that in a year’s time a cat went from po’ to paid and still has the same mentality.  It goes the same with artist; folks act like they aren’t people and subjected to the same laws as all us. Success has its way of changing perspectives and in hip-hop that can be detrimental to an artist work.  Then you add in the influence and pressures of the industry and when that next work drop it’s weaker and so forth with each generation of work.  

“I will never be able to top what my name is.” Eminem stated that and love ‘em or hate ‘em but the truth will set you free. So many mainstream folk lose there potency but through their name alone they can ride a good beat and still sell.  This is a good business plan in the mainstream industry because money is made. Why you think there are so many DJ and Producers now a days?

The point is the essence of hip hop is not found in the well fed. The essence, lies’ as that ish always has with the hungry, in the underground. So I can only reason that’s why it was said to be dead. Or maybe its mainstream hip-hop is dying.  I mean I expect maybe 2 or 3 dope albums from a good mainstream cat. That’s why if the cats do have some skill in the art their albums represent strength because them cats still hungry. In fact many need more scratch ‘cause the industry just reintroduced them to debt; which means it reintroduced them to control.

However the Underground are unsigned, unfiltered, and are always hungry; each body of work is a testament to the heart.  Shid, that’s why weak cats (mainstream or underground), weak in character, skill, hunger, delivery don’t last long. Hell in the underground, it’s a bit different. Mainstream artist, through name can often ride a smooth tune but underground artist will get murked by the same tune.  The hunger is there, the mind frame for most of the cats in the underground in still in that perspective of “gotta get it” and many, many of these cats are holdin’.  

It was just recently that I began to really dive in to the underground/unsigned genres. What I see is impressive but what I worry about is the industry getting a foot hold in the culture, the culture that represents the root of the culture. Chance the Rapper wants the Grammy’s to open the floor for mixtapes, for the underground. That may lead to the death of a culture.  

Nobodee Jones

James “Nobodee Jones” Horton, co-owner, online broadcaster, personality for RAWR Radio based in Ardmore, Ok. Born in Ardmore, OK raised in Atlanta, GA. Pays homage to hip hop culture through RAWR Radio weekend Show cast via Mixlr.com online. RAWR Radio itself grew from a personal need that mainstream hip-hop is failing to produce. Although still in the early stages the shows continue to see growth. We feature Unsigned Underground artist. Real radio, just like you like your Hip-Hop! From the heart but not for the overly sensitive. Check out the RAWR website and stay connected with Nobodee Jones and RAWR Radio on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Soundcloud, Google+.  RAWR!

Personal Response: Officer Nero judgement, Freddie Gray trial By Omi Muhammad

Personal response Article about the Officer Nero judgement, the officer involved in the Freddie Gray trial.

Written by: Omi Muhammad

 

May 23, 2016 11:13 AM

CBS Alert reads “Baltimore Officer Acquitted in Freddie Gray Case”.

My phone screen goes from red to blue and back to red again. I knew that it was due to a glitch in my filter app but all I saw was the symbolism. I stared at the screen, numb, not shocked just numb; I realized that in the back of my mind I expected this. I absent-mindedly logged onto Facebook where I saw all sorts of different reactions to the verdict. People were outraged and calling for blood. Parents were pleading for possible rioters to be mindful of their children’s safety. Some people agreed with the verdict. I know how I wanted to feel but in all honesty, the pain was too much for me to allow myself to feel at all.

Freddie Gray was another life lost at the hands of justice; and yet, no justice.

Over the years, countless minorities have been abused and even killed by police hands; and yet so few are mentioned. The numbers dwindle even further when asked about justice. The problem isn’t just police brutality or that this one officer was acquitted; the problem is the system that allows it. The system that enacted and later amended the Three Fifths Compromise. Over 150 years later, why are we still fighting to be considered human?

Minorities are taught as children how to survive before we even begin to learn how to live. Imagine being told that you and anyone who looks like you is a target, for anything from a mean look to death. Imagine being told to talk, dress and behave a certain way just so that you don’t arouse any more unwarranted suspicion. Think of the worried glances at the clock when you are late coming home. Tears dripping onto clasped hands as someone prays fervently that you’re one of the ones who makes it. We need a paradigm shift in this country; one that doesn’t create an ideology of selective humanity.

We need to reclaim our humanity. As a human being, I have choice words for the officers and the judge; but that doesn’t bring anyone back or prevent these situations from occurring. It doesn’t help us cope or build for the future. This is why I’m especially proud of the Baltimore youth. They have yet to lose their ability to feel, that was made evident by the explosion of art following the riots. From murals to national slam poems, our youth have been re-establishing their power. To Freddie Gray and all other lives lost, we honor you and will continue to reclaim our humanity.

West Baltimore native Omi Muhammad is an artist and writer, now based in Philadelphia. To read her work, please go to http://www.urban-gypsy.net/index.html

 

Omi Muhammad
Omi is part of the New Black Writers Program, managed by Hip Hop Forum Digital Magazine, to support, nurture and develop the talents of Black American journalists of the future.

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HHF Profile Interview: Changa Onyango, Executive Director at Community Mediation, Baltimore, Speaks following Officer Nero acquittal in Freddie Gray trial

As part of its community focus, Hip Hop Forum Digital Magazine reached out to Mr Changa Onyango, Executive Director at Community Mediation to hear how people in West Baltimore felt about the Officer Nero decision on May 23rd where he was acquitted of all charges over his involvement in the death of Freddie Gray in police custody. At the same time, we took the opportunity to speak to him about the importance of giving the local community a voice via mediation and his work with two local non-profits, OBI and Group Harvest.
Interviewed and written by Madeleine Byrne
Photo of young woman in Baltimore, keeping a smile on her face.
Photo of young woman in Baltimore, keeping a smile on her face.

‘Apathy is the word I’d use,’ Mr Changa Onyango replied via email when asked how people in West Baltimore responded to the decision that saw Officer Edward Nero cleared of all charges. ‘The people don’t hold out hope for justice in any tangible ways any more. Mainly they were happy to see that the world give them a nod for 15 seconds.’

Twenty-five year old West Baltimore native Freddie Gray died on April 19th after suffering a ‘high-energy injury’ an autopsy report said came from the sudden deceleration of the police van in which he was travelling, shackled and handcuffed, but not restrained by a seatbelt. As a result of his injuries – a severed spine and crushed voice box – Mr Gray fell into a coma and died a week after his arrest.

 

Baltimore’s former Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said the officers stopped three times: first, to put Mr Gray in leg-irons, second to ‘deal with Mr Gray’ and then to put another prisoner in the van. He also acknowledged that: ‘We know our police employees failed to get him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times.’ After a medical examiner’s report ruled Mr Gray’s death a ‘homicide’ six police officers were indicted on charges ranging from reckless endangerment, manslaughter to 2nd degree depraved-heart murder.

Last December a jury failed to reach a verdict regarding one police officer. During the most recent May hearing, Officer Nero was cleared of all charges (two counts of second degree assault; misconduct in office and false imprisonment). Legal commentators claim that the reasons for the acquittal provided by Judge Barry Williams might indicate a higher chance of a conviction in the remaining cases, especially in that he argued Officer Nero’s role was ‘secondary’ so he was not responsible for the fact that Mr Gray was not restrained properly.

The case of the officer driving the van, Caesar Goodson, begins next. He faces 30 years in jail if convicted of a murder charge. Considering the evidence that show Mr Gray’s injuries were caused by the van’s sudden stop and a proven history of ‘rough rides’ in police vans in Baltimore, many believe that the case against Goodson is strong.

And yet, as Mr Onyango explained this raises difficult issues for the local community. ‘A lot of people see it as a color issue or race issue and one of the key defendants is black. People don’t want to see at the end that their protesting etc ends up sending a black person to jail – cop or not.’ Caesar Goodson, the driver of the police van, is African-American.

During the first Freddie Gray trial, Mr Onyango organised a series of open mics across the city so people could speak and be heard. ‘A big part of the violence (following Freddie Gray’s funeral on April 27th) happened because people had no place to fellowship. Churches weren’t open,’ he said. ‘There was nowhere you could take refuge from all the negativity. Having places open their doors and posting a sign up that says…”no judgement zone…speak your piece” was a way for us to be cultural relevant in our response.’

Mr. Changa Onyango

With more than 20 years experience working in West Baltimore, Changa Onyango is the Executive Director of Community Mediation and also helped set up two other non-profits in the city: OBI and Group Harvest. He explained the importance of his work this way:

As a mediator I facilitate tough conversations when people have a hard time getting themselves heard. The main thing we do is modelling the active listening skill in the context of conversation. We know through research that the best chance for peace is when both sides feel heard and understood. We train volunteers to do the mediations and we use local spots like conference rooms or churches to have the mediations in the community. Our mediators are trained not to input information or restate people’s position.. we only reflect, listen… listen, reflect. It’s the key to people feeling like they own the solution.

OBI is a non-profit that provides training to local boys and was founded after Mr Onyango travelled ‘around the country doing the training for other groups on contract through the United Way and Youthbuild USA’. While Group Harvest ‘came as a collaboration between myself and Rodney Powell who is now an administrator in Connecticut public schools.’

As he explained: ‘We decided to create a company that would go around and teach teachers through professional development workshops and also engaged directly with students to help build climate that over time could change the culture of student teacher relationships.’

In a series of YouTube videos, Mr Onyango has offered up some interesting perspectives on the best way to motivate young people via a concept of ‘leverage’ without returning to harsh discipline, or physical punishment that can entrench a sense of disengagement. He describes how he tries to motivate his own children to strive for better, while reinforcing a spirit of collaboration, rather than a winner take all mentality.

I asked him to speak about this more:

‘My theory is there are three main ways to motivate people; the first being to influence their preference the second being to introduce a logical idea and the third being violence. If children are people then we have to use one of these three to get them to make decisions that are in line with what we think they should do. If children are not people and they are instead property, then we can just pick them up and manoeuvre them however we wish.’

He continued: ‘I don’t wish to treat my children as property so I have had to retrain myself to treat them as humans regardless of their size I’ve had to retrain myself to respect their logical processes and to introduce to them the reasons behind my decisions and actions as well as the reasons behind what I wish for them to do. I’ve also have to convince myself to be okay with the fact that this will not always work. In our society external influence is pervasive. In poor families it’s even more so.’

The neighborhood where Freddie Gray lived in West Baltimore faces a series of issues, Mr Onyango explained. One of the most important being the lack of good quality housing. This problem is not new. Indeed, Freddie Gray’s mother won a court settlement after laboratory tests in the 1990s found Gray and his two sisters had double the level the State of Maryland defines as the minimum of lead poisoning. The lead came from squalid walls of the home where they lived. While a 2014 Maryland Department of Environment report found that more than 2,600 children in Baltimore had dangerous levels of lead in their blood.

‘West Baltimore is a very complicated set of circumstances. There’s a lot of history that still effects and informs policy at high levels as well as individual decision-making at the lowest levels. There is still plenty of bigotry and hatred between disparate groups,’ Mr Onyango said. ‘The roots if you follow them deeply enough usually go back to resources and territory or property. Everyone wants to build a legacy and in America there’s really only a few ways to do it.’ And yet, ‘the problem with trying to build a legacy (…) is that you must own the means of production. In this case that means of production is usually space.’

‘Baltimore is one of the highest concentration of dissing franchise black folk in terms of real estate meaning that the ratio of people who own is extremely low,’ he explained. ‘The fact is that this was intentional and very evident, yet no effort has been made to reverse the very real and lasting effects so this is the biggest reason that the hate endures.’

In conclusion, Mr Onyango said: ‘Poor education, Black Afluenza, discriminatory hiring practices, and media stigma are all also real contributors to the current climate,’ but in the end, the ‘housing/space ownership dilemma is the biggest piece of the puzzle for Baltimore.’

To find out more about Community Mediation Baltimore, go to http://communitymediation.org/

Thank you Omi Muhammad for organizing this interview.

Thanks to Omi Muhammad!

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Dj Ready Red of the Geto Boys Speaks With Hip Hop Forum

Hip Hop Forum Digital Magazine interview with former “Geto Boy,” Dj Ready Red

Interviewed by D-Boogie

HHF: How did you become a Geto Boy, and where are you from?

Red: Well let’s see, I am from Trenton, New Jersey. It all started when I fell in love with hip hop, after going to a family reunion in 1979, and hearing the dj spin Grandmaster Flash and Grand Wizard Theodore. So I decided that I wanted to see if I could become a dj. I was not very talkative back in those days. There used to be a dj, who I called the Kool Herc of Trenton. His name was Kenny Beal and he was my inspiration. So it was a couple of disco twins, named Joe and Henry, (may Henry R.I.P) that I used to play hooky with. The twins lived right next to my uncle so that right there was pretty risky ha-ha. One time I was inside, and the twins showed me a lot of the technical aspects. This was late maybe late 79, early 80. So right around September I asked my mom to get me some turntables. So she came up and got me two Technique SLB 101s, from a place called Silos. So I got a little Gemini mixer, and it was on. I kept quitting for years though. I would start and stop, but I also wanted to play football. In my junior year, I ended up getting hurt so I started to dj more, and I started getting the hang of it, and decided to stick with the DJ thing. So I hooked up with a group called the Mighty MCs, but they had this female MC named Queen Equality She was my first Mc. Then I started working with the Mighty Mcs which consisted of Prince Johnny c (who would later become a Geto Boy), and Radee. Through about 1981 through 1986, we stayed in jersey battling crews. So in 86, my next oldest sister asked me to come to Houston to help her out, so I did. I decided to stay in Houston after I won a battle of the Djs and I ran into NC Trahan and Jukeboxx, along with Raheem, and K-9. So we started going through negotiations, and I became a Geto Boy.

HHF: How do you feel about your time there?

Red: Well let’s rewind, I first got to Houston in January of 87, and I ended up in southwest Houston. That was when I ran into John and Lee, two brothers from Brooklyn and Philadelphia. Their father, Dr. Freddie Brown, was a dj for WKPSU, he was the jazz guy. He had a lot of records so I made a demo tape called “Outlaw”, with a TR- 909 drum machine and took it to rap a lot records at this car lot. J said he wasn’t interested in a group at the moment, but who makes the beats? So I told him, man I’m down with the Def 4.(Originally known as The Casanova Crew) So I talked to the 4, which they knew I was kind of raggedy, and doing a lot of craziness out there, and told them huge opportunity. So the next day me and J went to a pawnshop and got some equipment ( 8 channel mixing board, tr-808, technique turntables, and 2 speakers, then hooked up system up on top of the car lot and stayed there.

HHF: Would you agree that the 808, 909 etc. helped to shape your sound?

Red: It played a big part because I didn’t know how to sample at first. I wasn’t that technical back then. I mean all I could do was run the record along with the beat. On the “Making Trouble” album, I was doing a little something, but I didn’t know how to sequence yet. That wouldn’t be until the next album. My first drum machine was the TR- 606. The 808 and 909 make a good combo. I liked the 909 but it came on to become the go to machine for house music. The 808 plays a big part and is a cornerstone in hip hop and many different genres. Now to me, that’s what everyone went back to now today. That would be the trap music. So I could be one of the first trap producers if you want to call it that, even though they keep changing names. I had to figure out, what is trap music, and I noticed that the only difference is the high hats. There is no set way of doing this. That’s why I tell a lot of young cats to come mess with me. I never knock, I always try to inspire others because a lot of cats encouraged me along the way.

HHF: Now back to the Geto Boys.

Red: So I went thru the bases with K-9 and Raheem, who was the first rap artist to be signed to A&M records, and then they signed Jukeboxx. So, 1 by 1, k-9 went to jail, Raheem left, and it was just me and Jukeboxx. J started looking for replacements, and I was not happy with who he was looking at. So I said hey, I got my boy Prince Johnny C I’ve been down with now for 6 or 7 years, and he came down to Houston. By that time most of the “Making Trouble” album was already written. So Johnny C wanted them to show what he could bring to table that he would feel good about. So he wrote the song “Assassins”, and about the time he wrote that, Ronnie Mac (R.I.P) introduced us to Bushwick Bill, who became our dancer. So one night at my crib, we were watching the movie Scarface. We had the VCR going through the mixer, the turntable going through the mixer, as well as the 808, and Bill sat down on the start and stop pedal. Right at the time Scarface says “Hey Sosa, all I have in this world…” and then the beat kicked in at the same time, and I heard something. I went to work and that’s how I came up with “Scarface”, made in the Geto Boys image.

HHF: So did you meet Scarface or Akshun as he was known then through Bushwick Bill?

Red: Nope, we met Face at the club. He always would come up and say “yo man I can rap”, and kept on to the point of irritating your ass. So J finally heard him rap. There was a battle over my house between k-9, who had just gotten out of jail, and Scarface basically blew him out the water. K-9 said, “Yea I see what you talking about.” Scarface was still Akshun at this time, so I said yo just be Scarface. So they wanted me to remix the original Scarface from Troy Records, at first I said hell naw. Then looking at it in a business perspective I agreed to do it. So at first I took some common break beats like, “gimme what you got”, and a couple other joints, put my touches on there, and it came out a nice way to where I liked it, and that’s how Scarface was born.

ready red 2

HHF: Now back to your time with the Ghetto Boys, how did the G-E-T-O spelling come about?

Red: Before that, Willie D came in and joined the Geto Boys, and I did Willie D’s “Controversial” album. I say Willie D is the true definition of a “get ya ass in a minute” 5th ward motherfucka. He was true about his shit. It was fun working with Willie, He was great, very talented. He still is, but ask me and I don’t think he is at his full potential. He is the original mouth of the south. So anyway, we put out “Grip It On Another Level”. That did well and that got us out of Houston. We went all over the country and all that. Then Rick Rubin gets involved. He is the one who suggested we change the name to the “Geto Boys”. I wanted to make a new album, and Rick says ” No, we are going to re-do the “Grip It” album. I said, “Man that’s not good for the fans”. So we ended up going to work with Rubin, who mixed it and brought out a lot of sounds and I liked it, especially because it was Rick Rubin. I thought we were on his label and things would get good. Then I called up there one day, and next thing you know we are back with Rap a Lot. Around that time I started to see some things, like yo where is this money at, what’s going on? I deserve and I thought everyone else deserved some decent compensation. It was around the time we were working on the “Can’t Be Stopped” album, which I did most of that album and did not get credit for it. So I decided I’m not going to keep doing this if I keep getting fucked. Then that was it that was it. Closed that chapter, which was in 1991. I got mad right before “Mind playing tricks on me”, which me and Brad did at my house, and you know what happened to that, it became the signature song of that Geto Boys….And uh, I’m still here! Yeah, that is the short version.

HHF: Do you have anything to say about J Prince?

Red: I have no hostility toward J at all. I did not allow him to make millions off me. He probably did though, but I didn’t stay long enough for him to do that. I can say some millions was made, but I have not been around him in over 27 years…I hear something now and then, and the courtesy call, that’s some funny shit ha-ha, but you know, you see nobody aint fuckin with me. I fuck wit J, but about my money I think he should be able to break bread with me. If he can buy pews and chapel steeples for churches, he can surely break off a piece to some of the people that helped him make it. Other than that, I really don’t got nothing to say than what has already been said.

HHF: Talk about how funky the industry is.

Red: I’ll tell any young artist this, before it gets bad, know your business. You can only have done to you what you allow to have done. Trust no one. Go get you a lawyer. Read everything that is on that contract, and make sure he tells you exactly what is going on so there is no surprises in the long run. Oh and if anyone u dealing with ever says “man aint no need to sign this, it’s just for when we got to show it to folks,” do not believe that shit, that’s how I was tricked. I was too trusting. At the same time, do not sign no manager contract if u aint got nothing to manage. If you do, do it project by project, don’t lock yourself down. You never know, you can make a hit and contracts will come out the woodworks. That’s the music business, take care of it, (your business) and with all this social media, you should know your business so you aint got to kill nobody out here for ripping you off.

HHF: As far as the Prison Industrial System and the secret meetings in hip hop, what do you know or have to say about that?

Red: Well you know the biggest trick of the devil was what? To show that it don’t exist. A lot of people don’t think that Illuminati and all that other stuff is there man. I happened to be a part of the meetings. They, and when I say they, I mean J and Cliff, went out to LA, and came back. Next thing I know we being told like, “yo man this what we got to do, this what we going to do, this how things going to be, we going to talk about bitches and hoes blah blah whoopty woo.” If you watch that Unsung episode, (about the geto boys) it plays out just like it. So there it is. That is the proof, its right there. Hell yea there was a secret meeting. Nobody wants to admit to that shit. You know back then before that meeting in 91, you had an even playing field. You had conscious, you had reality rap, everybody had they little part of what was going on. Now all of a sudden it’s just dark. It’s about rims, about bitches, about 9s, and about drugs.

HHF: – And everything good has been pushed underground?

Red: Pretty much. So when CEOs are telling you “yo man they don’t want to hear that good shit, come up with some of that gangsta shit and we will put u out.” So you got your good artist, and I aint saying they not good at what they do, but man after a while, after 20 something damn near 30 years, of being one of the head niggas behind this shit, I want to hear some new shit, I wanna hear some solutions. I already know that you hard. I already know you got rims, got bitches. Do you have any solutions for all this shit? If you got all this money, what you mad for? We need to save the youth man. As for me, I’m just sitting back working on some new records with some of the original Geto Boys, but it won’t be under the name Geto Boys. We have a name, we just have not released it yet.

HHF: What do you think, or is there a solution to change way the main stream is?

Red: Well you as a consumer, your dollar pulls a lot of weight, so stop buying the bullshit. Demand better. That’s what I would do. Tell the CEOs you don’t want to hear this bullshit. I want to see some happier shit, Sometime I want to hear some conscious shit.

HHF: So if you threaten a company with the dollar, it is more powerful than threatening with with a weapon

Red: Pretty much, got to hurt em in the pocket man.

 

Currently, Dj Ready Red is still making music and recently formed a group with a few former members. So be sure to look out for him!

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Donate To Help The Family Of Tamir Rice

Written by Madeleine Byrne

Soon after Christmas, Timothy McGinty the prosecutor overseeing the investigation of the police officers involved in the Tamir Rice case announced that the two officers would not stand trial.

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start with this case. With the shocking event itself (a child is shot and killed by a police officer, when playing in a public park with a toy-gun) or the investigation (the officers were never cross-examined, reports favouring the officers were publicly released) or last week’s final Grand Jury decision not to indict the officers.

Hip Hop Forum digital magazine stands with the Tamir Rice family and his courageous mother, Samaria as she continues her battle for justice. This is the reason why we urge you to donate to the Tamir Rice Justice Fund,

https://www.youcaring.com/samaria-rice-494325

(a fund set up by the Rice family, supporters and their lawyers). Please give generously.

KRS-ONE Rocks Richmond, VA; Says he is thoroughly proud to see the REAL VA

Written by- D-Boogie – Hip Hop Forum

After waiting over a week due to the snowstorm of the century, the people of Virginia; artist and fans alike, got exactly what they had been waiting for. On Thursday, January 28 2016, local Virginians witnessed what real hip hop is all about. With Mad Skillz, a hometown hero and worldwide superstar on the wheels of steel, and a few great opening acts, including 14 year-old phenom Young Prince Charles, who went bar for bar with KRS on stage, the show was hip hop from the start and would have been great, even if the headliner of the show would not have been there. Having him there was even more of a blessing.

Yes, I am talking about KRS-ONE. Due to the snow, KRS was stuck in Virginia for a whole week, and the central Virginia area, and KRS, took advantage of it. In KRS’s own words, “When nature moves, God is moving. So I asked, why does God have me here?” Answering his own question, he proceeded to tell the audience about the lectures he gave at 3 major universities, local churches and more. VCU had only 72 hours to make it happen, and they did. It was an absolutely beautiful week for central VA

Aside from preforming all his classic songs, he lectured the crowd about life and told them about the time he was homeless. “In ’83, I was homeless. Instead of thinking about where I was, I thought about where I was going. What you see now is not a rapper, it is the manifestation of my 1983 mind.” Pretty deep thinking is it not? He went on to talk about his time in VA and said “I can’t wait to tell the whole world about the REAL Virginia. Y’all don’t represent that mainstream bull, VA represents real hip hop. I got to see the REAL VA, and I am thoroughly proud of that sh**.

Not only did all this take place, he received a painting of himself from local painter Sista Beanz. The look on his face was of complete awe. KRS proceeded to say, “You made me look cute, you painted my soul.” He then held it up high and proudly, showing the entire crowd and saying, “This is better than any Grammy award or anything, f*** all that s*** the people have spoken and this is my award right here.”

The best of the show was still to come though. It was the end of the show. The lights had been switched off, and you hear KRS say “Shine that light on me, turn the lights on.” When they did, he was in the center of the crowd, with a mic, opening up a cypher with members of the audience!

Wow. What an absolutely incredible week for not only Virginia, but the VA hip hop scene. Whenever a legend in the game comes to town, and makes everything he did happen, and say what he had to say, it means so much to this state, that does not get proper recognition, that it really is very, very inspiring to have witnessed. We must thank all who made everything possible. This is the type of positive vibe Virginia needs to continue having in order to make it the place we want it to be.

 

KRS-One Drops Knowledge At HBCU VSU (Video)

Hip Hop Forum Digital Magazine Article/Video KRS-One

Article written By Andrew “D-Boogie” Smith

Video by Anthony Gilliam

It is Tuesday January 19th, 2016. On the perfect day, the day after the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, at Virginia State University, which is a “historic black” college founded on March 6, 1882, a crowd of people gather to “see” and “hear” one of the most brilliant souls to ever exist, give an equally amazing, very detailed lecture that included topics like knowledge and self-awareness, the difference between BLACK history and African American history, education, and much, much more. His name is Lawrence “Krisna” Parker, better known as KRS- One.

Sarcastically he said in his own words, “The discussion I would like to have with all of you here is about an eight hour discussion, but I’m going to try to break it down to five.” “Some of what I’m about to tell you, you will not find in books or on the internet.” KRS proceeds to ask “What is knowledge?” “Knowledge is awareness, knowledge is not books, knowledge is not words, knowledge is awareness.” “Information and education is not awareness, education is training.” “In fact, American education is all about training you for the job market.” “Education is good, if you are on your way to employment.” “You can join some company or corporation and rise up in that, there is a lot going on over there, not looking down on it or nothing.” Then he proceeds to say something strong that I have been preaching for a long time, “You will never be rich if you have a job. You will never be wealthy employed. Only the entrepreneur, the self-educated, self-employed, self-reliant, are the people that move forward through all obstacles in life.”

He continues on to say “Most people rely on information over knowledge, whatever they are told they believe. The last thing they were told is where they are directing their entire life toward.” That is amazing to me. It struck me because he proceeded to say what I was thinking. “So if the last thing they were told was on the radio.” “Yo I’m standing on the block, blah blah…” “You direct your entire life toward that.” So to me, it makes me want to push even harder to bring back that positive vibe in hip hop, opposed to what is considered “hot” in the mainstream, which I guess is at least 85% composed of negative vibes. If we don’t, hip hop will continue to lose the positive power it had, and to a certain extent still has, to have a great influence on not only the culture, but the entire world. Think about it, hip hop is 100% worldwide now, so if 85% of hip hop was 100% positive, maybe the world would be a little better.

So now that we know the difference between knowledge, education, and information, let’s jump back in to the lecture. KRS later goes on to say “On top of information, education, and knowledge, there is intelligence.” “Intelligence is the ability to know, it is not knowing, it is the ability to know.” “Having the ability to know, is what makes you knowledgeable.” “If you have the ability to know something, you become aware, and once you become aware, you’re free.” I don’t know how you feel, but that is some good knowledge, that you more than likely won’t find in a book.

After giving a very detailed explanation of how we create our own different realities involving a plumber, electrician, and a painter, explaining how awareness and knowledge influences those realities, he goes on to say, or by now scream because he is so deeply entrenched in his word, that “In the United States, we say man black people got it hard in the U.S.” Then after a three second pause he says something brilliant. “Black people should expand their vocabulary.” “The more words we know, the more things, or realities, we are able to see.” “We are not trapped by our government, we are trapped by our own ignorance, and the minute we get past that, there is no threat in this world.” “African Americans sit at the very top of African existence in the world today, but we don’t think that, why? Because we don’t have words like Pan-Africanism, Neo-Colonialism, Imperialism, or Slavery in our vocabulary. These have to be regular words in your vocabulary for you to see it because human beings cannot see reality without words.” “So I start here with knowledge, knowledge is about awareness.”

“So we have this word, black history. Black is a word and history is a word.” “If black is not on your everyday vocabulary you’re not going to really see black struggle, you will hear about it, you will be angry, but you will always be objective to it.” “We say America more than black woman or Africa every day, so how can we even see?” “Through education, meaning the training, we have been desensitized to our own self” “So the education or training is to approach everything objectively and not subjectively, to not be part of what you are looking at, that is the colonizers approach to reality.”

Attending this lecture was probably one of the best decisions I have never made. Even though I have covered a lot of knowledge, I have barely scratched the surface of what he said, but you are in luck. If you want to see the entire video, just click play on the video at the top of the page.

 I think I speak for everyone when I say we must thank not only KRS for taking his time out to do this, but everyone that took part in helping to make this happen. VSU Mass Communication, VSU’s own radio station 91.3 WVST, Doug Evans and Rodney Stith of “The Soul Logistics Radio Show,” which if you have not checked out you need to. Also the brilliant queen Dr. Zoe Spencer, Chill Will, Anthony Gilliam for the video, and anyone else I forgot that helped put this together and make it work!

Peace,

D-Boogie