Archive for August, 2011

Some thoughts on Kanye and Jay-Z (or “Don’t blame rappers for our mess of a society”)

Chuck D has responded to Jay-Z and Kanye’s single ‘Otis’ with his own flip of an Otis Redding sample. His YouTube uploader comment pretty much says it all:

This is a polite respect call to the troops, to continue to inspire but reflect the people better. OTIS Redding was a humble country man from Macon Georgia who bought a jet to work in, not flash. He perished in that plane. Here’s to hoping that the Jay & Kanye supergroup can elevate the masses and try a little bit more to reflect OTIS heart rather than swag, because they’re too good to be less.

Here are the lyrics:

Respect to you two heroes
But trickle-down got us less than zero
Respect, last I checked
Prison-industrial complex: no swagger
Millions, billions, trillions, whips, women
Is a million miles from what people’s feelin (no gas)
Try a little compassion, 2012 fashion
Style your insides, we outside
Fasten a broke seatbelt
Unemployed ride through hell
SMDH, OMG, no LOL

Notice! Know this. Got to… know this.

Have we all forgotten
Latinos and Blacks pickin electronic cotton, no stax
16.2% is depression inside a recession
Spending money and time on how we dressing
Losing money and homes, homes
These stats be on smart phones
Don’t need new slang to express the pain
Of what’s really goin on in the game of life
Please discuss with no education and knowledge of self
45 years of fucked up health

Notice! Know this. Got to… know this.

Chuck is making a valid but respectful request to these two legends to work harder in support of the suffering masses worldwide, especially the black community in North America. This is of course an entirely reasonable request from an innovator of hip-hop – an artform that was developed by (and for) oppressed people.

One thing I have noticed, however, is how much people *love* to criticise rappers for their promotion of crass consumerism. I mean… last time I checked, no rappers were involved in *creating* this society that’s obsessed with money and luxury.

It seems to me that the sociology of a Jay-Z is reasonably simple: you grow up as a marginalised, improverished black kid in a racist consumer-obsessed society; a society that constantly tells you that poor people and black people (and especially poor *and* black people) are nothing, and that the only way they can become something is by getting conspicuously rich. So you use your incredible skills to become conspicuously rich, and you say to the world: “Look! I *am* somebody – I have *two* expensive watches!”

So when we criticise Jigga and Yeezy for flaunting their obscene wealth, we are really just criticising them for not breaking out of the mental prison that has been built around them.

Would I prefer if more of our rappers got down like Dead Prez, Tupac, Chuck D or Mos Def? Hell yes! And the corporate colonisation of hip-hop is a profoundly negative thing. However, I don’t think the bulk of the blame lies with rich rappers, easy and obvious as it is to blame them. Advertising executives, luxury goods manufacturers, politicians, bankers, mainstream journalists – these people are all more deserving of our criticism than West and Carter. The people that run the music industry were *born* rich, but for some reason we have more to say about poor (and especially black) people who *get* rich.

I have listened to ‘Watch the Throne’ a couple of times. It’s aaaite. Couple of great tracks on there. Basically I’m not all that interested in the problems faced by supremely rich people, but we can’t forget that Jay and Kanye are two of the most important musical/lyrical innovators of our generation. Furthermore, they never completely forget their roots (as evidenced on the track ‘Murder to Excellence’, where Jay says “I arrived on the day Fred Hampton died / Real ni**az just multiply”, and Kanye says “What’s the life expectancy for black guys? / The system’s working effectively, that’s why”). As rich as they are, they still face racist judgement at many levels, and they still have roots in the black community, and these things are very clear in their music and their attitude. I didn’t hear any country and western artist saying on national television that “George W Bush doesn’t care about black people”!

So there you go. I like the respectful way that Chuck put his criticism. Chuck is an elder, and has earned his stripes in the rap game. He gave Jay and Kanye respect, and he told them how he thought they could improve. All I’m adding here is: let’s not fall into the blame-the-rappers game.

Miss Trouble & Agent of Change – London’s Burning 2011

Fresh new reggae track from Miss Trouble (over an Agent of Change beat) speaking out against police brutality and in defence of our youth.

Miss Trouble “Londons Burning 2011″ (prod – Agent Of Change) FREE DOWNLOAD by misstroublemc

LYRICS

They could have shot him in the leg but they didn’t want to
They could have shot him in the neck but they got him right between the eyes
There’s no turning back
No hearing the other side
‘Cause silence is golden with no compromise

They could have shot him in the leg but they’d be investigated
They could have stopped him in his tracks but there’d be retribution
It’s cleaner this way
No tongue to hold back
No court or judgement day
Now play the playback

Police cars on fire
Bus burn in flames
It’s the rage of the time
No-one wants to fight but you give us no choice
Violence becomes our voice
If you can’t hear us when we speak
Overshadowed by the beast

And I know you’re laughing behind our backs
But in this new age, its harder to fill your cracks
You’re so blatant its fantastic
And yet so many think our actions are drastic

London’s on fire
They don’t want us to see
What the root of the problem is
They just show us the burning police cars on fire
Don’t forget some yout them a’ killed in your custody
That’s why we roam the streets
Somebody started a riot

Don’t rock the boat
We’re happy being slaves
Yet you hold a grudge on your daily slave ship
This is our future you’re messing with and don’t expect us to sit back
This is our future you’re messing with ’cause fuck you there’s no turning back

London’s on fire
They don’t want us to see
What the root of the problem is
They just show us the burning police cars on fire
Dont forget some yout them a’ killed in your custody
That’s why we roam the streets
Somebody started a riot

Follow Miss Trouble on Twitter.
Follow Agent of Change on Twitter.

Jay Z and Kanye West ask “What’s the life expectancy for black guys? The system’s working effectively, that’s why”

‘Murder to Excellence’ is my personal favourite of the ‘Watch the Throne’ album. This track deals with the silent genocide that is ‘black on black’ gun violence. Pointing the finger squarely at the white power structure, Kanye asks: “What’s the life expectancy for black guys? The system’s working effectively, that’s why”

Amazing instrumental by Swizz Beatz and Symbolyc One.

(Jay-Z)
Bloody Murder, murder murder (x4)

(Kanye West)
The paper read murder, Black on black murder
The paper read murder, Black on black murder

(Jay-Z)
This is to the memory of Danroy Henry
Too much enemy fire to catch a friendly
Strays from the same shade, Ni**a we on the same team
Giving you respect, I expect the same thing
All black everything, Ni**a you know my fresh code
I’m out here fightin’ for you, Don’t increase my stress load
Ni**as watchin’ the throne, Very happy to be
Power to the people, When you see me, see you

(Kanye West)
And I’m from the murder capital, Where they murder for capital
Heard about at least 3 killings this afternoon
Lookin’ at the news like damn I was just with him after school,
No shop class but half the school got a tool,
And I could die any day type attitude
Plus his little brother got shot reppin’ his avenue
It’s time for us to stop and re-define black power
41 souls murdered in 50 hours

The paper read murder, Black on black murder,
The paper read murder, Black on black murder again
Murder again…

Is it genocide?
Cause I can still hear his momma cry, Know the family traumatized
Shots left holes in his face, Bout piranha-size
The old pastor closed the cold casket
And said the church ain’t got enough room for all the tombs
It’s a war going on outside we ain’t safe from
I feel the pain in my city wherever I go
314 soldiers died in Iraq
509 died in Chicago

(Jay-Z)
I arrived on the day Fred Hampton died
Real niggas just multiply
And they say 21 I was supposed to die
So I’m out here celebratin’ my post demise
If you put crabs in a barrel to insure your survival
You gon’ end up pulling down niggas that look just like you
What up blood? What up cuz?
It’s all black, I love us

(Kanye West)
The paper read murder, Black on black murder again

(Jay-Z)
It’s a celebration of black excellence
Black tie, black Maybachs
Black excellence, opulence, decadence
Tuxes next to the president, I’m present
I dress in Dries and other boutique stores in Paris
In sheepskin coats, I silence the lamb
Do you know who I am Clarice?
No cheap cologne whenever I “shh-shh”
Success never smelled so sweet, I stink of success
The new black elite They say my black card bear the mark of the beast
I repeat, My religion is the beat
My verse is like church, My Jesus piece Now please, domino, domino
Only spot a few blacks the higher I go
What’s up to Will, Shoutout to O
That ain’t enough, We gon need a million more
Kick in the door, Biggie flow
I’m all dressed up with nowhere to go

(Kanye West)
Yea it’s all messed up when it’s nowhere to go
So we won’t take the time out til we reach the T O P
From paroles to hold G’s, sold keys, low keys
We like the promised land of the OG’s
In the past if you picture events like a black tie
What the last thing you expect to see, black guys
What’s the life expectancy for black guys?
The system’s working effectively, that’s why
I’ll be a real man and take care of your son
Every problem you had before this day is now done
New crib, watch a movie
Cause ain’t nothin on the news but the blues
Hit the mall, pick up some Gucci
Now ain’t nothin new but your shoes
Sunday morning, Praise the Lord
You the girl that Jesus had been saving me for
So let’s savor this moment, And take it to the floor
Black excellence, Truly yours

Lyrics via KillerHipHop.

Something different from Young Jeezy: “CNN tryna get us to hate all the Muslims”

Interesting from Jeezy…

Government playin’ round with everybody money
Got us brainwashed so we all big dummies
War in these streets everyday like Libya
Will I get shot in the head? It’s like trivia
CNN tryna get us to hate all the Muslims
Them ni**as never talkin the truth so don’t trust ‘em
Ni**as out there die about true religion
Young ni**as over here dying over True Religions

There’s a lot that could be written about the lyrics to this song, but I don’t have time right now. Very interesting stuff anyway, and great beat.

Nekz – London’s Burning freestyle – best rap view on the riots so far!

Nekz – London’s Burning *Free Download* by Nekz Music

Excellent, insightful lyrics from my bro Nekz, an up-and-coming hip-hop artist from West London.

I liked it so much I typed the lyrics up.

The system’s fucked and the yout dem are rioting
Running round the city mad hyped on the violent ting
Look how dyou think it got to this, they lost a whole generation
Police is what I’m hating
Screaming burn the fuckin stations
I don’t care, let the p**syholes come for me
The city burned while you holidayed in Tuscany
And we don’t know luxury
Look can’t you see the poverty
I’m speaking for the unheard
Licence to kill, the pigs are quick to let their gun burst
RIP Mark D, Smiley Culture and everyone killed by police
And peaceful protest just don’t work
But it’s a shame a petrol bomb will get your voice heard
The situation’s getting worse
Youts need a help but who disowned and left them on the kerb
Think about it for a sec before you point and curse
The feeling’s so worthless
No jobs, so many futures are uncertain
And education doesn’t help
When you’re cutting EMA it’s like you wanna fail
9k for uni, I’m a hit the road and risk the jail
Is the mindset of most, the ones that need the help
To grow, to evolve into a fine man
People lets not harm our own
Spare the local shops and homes
Soldiers aim for the throne
Fight for the people bro
They wanna see us lose and they paint themselves as innocent
I swear they make 50 gs from the prisoners
I mean prisoner, that’s each one, do the sums
They slashed the throat of the slums when they made the cuts
But they don’t give a fuck
So I ain’t giving up
Cos one day we will rise and now they see it cuz
But they don’t give a fuck
So I ain’t giving up
Cos one day we will rise and now they see it cuz
They had them all running scared
Cos the feds were all unprepared
Stereotype the clothes I wear
Goes and causes fear
But so does the black and whites in their riot gear
Don’t be a slave to the system and the news you hear
They had them all running scared
Cos the feds were all unprepared
Stereotype the clothes I wear
Goes and causes fear
But so does the black and whites in their riot gear
Don’t be a slave to the system and the news you hear

Follow Nekz on Twitter

Heartfelt Cashtastic track opposing gang warfare

Thanks to whoever ripped this from the Charlie Sloth show last week! Inspiring lyrics from up-and-coming artist Cashtastic. Someone needs to play this to all the eedyats that are saying UK rap is the cause of the riots.

My little brother’s 10, I feel like I’m slacking
He shouldn’t be hearing me rap about gun-clapping

There’s bare mums crying round ‘ere
Cos there’s bare sons dying round ‘ere
If you think I lie, watch the news then
Every other week another ghetto yout’s dead
And I can guarantee that as I wrote this song
Another ghetto yout bled
Ghetto people, it’s time for us to rise up
And open up our eyes, cos our eyes shut
And we don’t seem to educate our minds much
Cos we’re too busy throwing gang signs up
Putting knife workin or gun blastin
We’re all pissed while the government’s laughing
Little man pay attention when I’m talkin
You don’t want your mummy paying for a coffin
Little girl stay in school, keep grafting
Allow the baggaman ting this ain’t Sparta

Follow Cashtastic on Twitter

Dubstep tribute to Mark Duggan. Rappers please record and upload!

Mark Duggan

Mark Duggan

This is a dubstep instrumental I made as a tribute to Mark Duggan, the young father-of-four recently killed in Tottenham by the Metropolitan Police.

The track is a reworking of Linton Kwesi Johnson’s classic ‘Reggae Fi Peach’. The LKJ original was made as a tribute to teacher and activist Blair Peach, who was killed by police at an anti-fascist demonstration in Southall in 1979.

Rappers: feel free to download the beat, spit on it and upload to Youtube/Soundcloud. Just let me know about it (preferably via Twitter: @agent_of_change).

Agent of Change – Dubstep Fi Duggan by agentofchange

Download the 320kbps MP3

View on Soundcloud

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