New Proposed Indecency Bill Threatens Rap Music Industry

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New Proposed Indecency Bill Threatens Rap Music Industry
by J.D. Cooke
Washington News Wire
original article: march 31 2006
 
WASHINGTON DC-Last week’s intense debate on the plight of this nation’s immigrant population led to massive rallies and student walkouts in many cities throughout the country. The largest occurred in Los Angeles and Detroit where 500 thousand and 200 thousand took to the streets respectively to protest the bill HR 4437 that would make it a third class felony for anyone caught administering aid to those who are in this country illegally as well as for those caught without the proper pare work and visas.
 
Up until now the focus has been on the nation’s Hispanic population which now numbers more than 35 million. They have been the most visible and most outspoken on this divisive issue, however, if Congressman Richard Desour (R-Indiana) has his way, the protesting Hispanics may have unintended ally in the form of the music industry, in particular those who are proponents of gangster rap. He says that criminal behavior in the recording industry has tore away at the moral fabric of the American public.
 
Desour has quietly introduced what some are describing as a far reaching amendment to HR 4437 that would do the following;
 
1-Make it a felony punishable by fines up to 250 thousand dollar and up to 2 years in jail if one advocates, promotes or admits to the commission of violent crime in a commercially released recording.
 
2-Disallow anyone who has a felony or is incarcerated from being signed, employed or affiliated by a major record label. In language similar to the one found in HR 4437, anyone caught harboring or providing gainful employment to a convicted felon in the music or broadcast industry will be charged with a felony.  
 
3- Clears the way and makes it easier for parents, victim’s right groups, church organizations and Civil Right groups to sue artists and hold them liable for song lyrics that are deemed criminally prone and can be proven detrimental, pernicious and undermining to local and federal laws. 
 
Initially this provision was written so that it would make it easier for consumers and the aforementioned groups to go after the deep pockets and resources of the record and broadcast industry. However, recording industry lobbyists were successful in working out a compromise and having the language specific to them removed from the proposed bill.
 
Desour’s office noted that in exchange for the compromise, the Recording Industry would set aside funds and pledge other types of resources to help fight the tidal wave of illegal immigrants.
 
Broadcasters agreed to refrain from using their airwaves to promote, marches and rallies and to no longer provide an on air platform for organizations that help illegal immigrants. Both the Recording Industry and Broadcast Association agreed to vigorously enforce immigration laws at concerts, award shows and other industry related gatherings.
 
4-Desour’s amendments would make it easier to apply hate crime provisions to artists, record label owners and broadcasters who allow the recording and dissemination of racial and sexually oriented disparaging epithets.
 
Broadcasters were unsuccessful in winning a compromise on this provision. Disparaging words like ‘nigger’, ‘bitch’ and ‘fag’ which are commonly heard on the airwaves and in recordings will be added to the current list of seven dirty words that are prohibited from being broadcast in public space.
 
In a strange and somewhat ironic twist, radio broadcaster’s have hired high powered lobbyist Simon Dennis to represent them. They believe the proposed amendments reach too far and would have long range unintended economic consequences and stifle free speech.
 
Dennis accused the 7 term congressman of being culturally insensitive and a borderline racist. He noted that it was unfair for the Congressman to try and ban word ‘nigger’  which he claims is a universally used and accepted term in African American dialect especially if its pronounced and spelled with the letter ‘A’ at the end and not the letters ‘Er’
 
“It’s an important part of Black and Hip Hop culture”,  Dennis said. “Today its actually a good thing to call someone a ‘nigga’ because it means you are a friend. It’s the community turning a positive into a negative. That should be celebrated, not criminalized. To disallow the N word’s usage via the airwaves could prove to be economically disastrous because Black and urban Rap listeners would tune away in droves”.
 
Simon pointed out the recent decline in ratings by Los Angeles based urban radio stations  which once dominated the LA radio market as Top 5 positions are now not even in the Top 10. He argued that these stations in anticipation of this bill voluntarily restricted the use of N word on their airwaves and now the ratings have dropped precipitiously.
 
Despite the broadcast industry’s compelling arguments all signs indicate that Congressman Desour will push to make the use of the ‘N’ word in both recordings and broadcast as part of the Hate Crime provisions. In other words, use of the N word in a criminal context within a song can get you slapped with a hate crime which carries mandatory punishments.
 
Famed author, photographer and Hip Hop pioneer, Ernie Paniccioli’s of the newly formed The Universal Federation for the Preservation of Hip Hop Culture reacted to the legislation placed before Congress; “From what I read,  this bill seems far reaching. Many of us who love, respect and strive to protect this culture we call Hip Hop are in total favor of cleaning up the airwaves and making sure our house is in order. Many of us do not approve or support the use of the ‘N’ word in public space, however, we are not in favor of only criminalizing the artist while allowing his oppressive colonialist of a master who runs the record label to be given a pass.”
 
Long time Hip Hop journalist and radio host Davey D said; ” I’m concerned that while this bill is an attempt to clean up the airwaves, and the music industry in general, it will most likely be used selectively against Hip Hop artists and may even be twisted to go after artists like Dead Prez or The Coup who say harsh things about the political system.”
 
To support these first two provisions of his bill,  Congressman Desour referenced a newly released report that was put together by law enforcement officials who oversea the Hip Hop Task Force that is currently based in New York City and the main focal point of a soon to be released motion picture. The task force’s exhaustive two year study concluded that there is a direct correlation in the rise of gang activity, drug dealing and other violent crimes with the high visibility and ultimate rewarding and endorsement of rap artists who have a criminal path.
 
“When young people witness artists like Snoop Dogg, Youngster Jeezy, Nas and other gangster rappers being coddled by the music industry it sends out the wrong message”, said HHTF spokesman Lynn Franks. “It leaves young people with the impression that the only way you can be successful in the music industry is to first be a career criminal”
 
Franks went on to point out that the HHTF discovered that many record labels were secretly orchestrating and encouraging their artists to engage in criminal acts and behavior as a way to spark controversy which in turn would lead to increased record sales. The report discovered that if an artist actually served jail time, then their album sales would shoot through the roof, because of the heavy promotion and endorsement by both the record labels and broadcasters who used their incarceration as a key selling point.
 
Franks also noted that many gangster rappers were communicating secret messages to fellow gang members and criminal enterprises around the country in recordings using coded street lingo, by adapting certain nicknames or wearing particular clothing and fashions.
 
During a press conference Franks asserted; “One popular artist from Atlanta named Youngster Jeezy calls himself ‘The Snowman’. His name and his lyrics are really street lingo advocating for people to steal cars. There’s been a huge spike is grand theft auto throughout Jeezy’s native Atlanta since he started releasing albums”.
 
Currently the HHTF is trying to build a case against Jeezy saying that his lyrics were premeditated.
 
 Franks went on; “There are two popular rappers out of Houston we been studying. Gangster rappers Paul Jones and Mike Wall has recorded numerous songs where they encourage to purchase false teeth filled with diamonds and other expensive  jewels that they nickname ‘grills’
 
Our study concludes that Wall and Jones and many of these other rap guys who are wearing these so called grills are actually smuggling diamonds filled while smiling for cameras. When these rappers describe the jewels they have in their mouth, they are actually sending secret messages to fellow diamond smugglers about the type of stash they are delivering”
 
Franks also pointed the hit song ‘Tell Me When to Go’ by popular artist E-40. “Here you have a young man who is blatantly advocating that young men and women participate in perverted sexual activities. When he instructs listeners at the end of his song to ‘Ghost ride the Whip’ . This is Bay Area street slang for bondage and S&M of the most dangerous type. Using whips while participating in sex acts is not only quite dangerous and can cause serious injury, but it’s also a violation of the law in 37 states. Because Mr 40 has such a young audience he can be in big trouble with the law where bondage sex is illegal”.
 
ACLU spokesperson Harry Thompson said that they fully intend to challenge the Constitutionality of this law should it pass along with the other provisions of the Immigration Bill. However, he acknowledges that in today’s political climate it will be along hard struggle.  He encourages people to call their representatives and Senators to oppose Congressman Desour’s New Indecency Bill HR 3312.
 
To see a full copy of this Draconian bill Click Here:

Breakdown FM: The Historic Immigration March in Downtown LA

Breakdown FM: The Historic Immigration March in Downtown LA

We Didn’t Cross the Border-the Border Crossed Us!

by davey D

original article: Monday, March 27, 2006 

Listen to this historic event here;

http://odeo.com/audio/964057/view

Don’t believe the hype I was in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday when the historic march to protest the racist anti-immigration bill HR 4437 took place. For those who don’t know, this bill would make illegal immigrants felons as well as anybody, including family members who help them in any sort of way.

This means that if you have a cousin living in Mexico who comes over here and his paper work ain’t right, even if you didn’t know, you could face jail time. This means if you unknowingly hire somebody to haul away trash you could be in trouble. This is not about giving the government the power to build a wall at the border. This is much deeper then that.

As for the march, the mainstream news media claim there were 500 thousand people on who showed up. Keep in mind, this is after they tried to hate on the march and say only a few thousand were going to show up the night before. Trust me more than a million people showed up Anyone who was there could attest to that. All the blocks around the courthouse for as far as the eye could see was a sea of people. It was wall to wall. The rally started at 10 am. Folks showed up in masse around 6 am and it stayed packed with people until 3 or 4 that afternoon.

Also it was a beautiful thing. The vibe in the air and the overall energy was infectious as you saw everyone from church goers to gang bangers all fighting to keep this oppressive bill from passing. There was an enormous amount of young people. Many came with their families. Its been a while since I been to a rally or march where I saw Grandmas, parents, young adults and little kids all in attendance.

I talked to cats who were all tatted up carrying signs that said ‘Stolen Land Defeat HR 4437‘ and college cats carrying signs that read ‘Where was George Washington’s Green card’ carrying signs You could feel the spirit of resistance in the air. People are waking up and ready to hold people accountable for being so mean spirited

Also as you listen to the audio clips just don’t think this immigration thing is only gonna effect Brown folks. I guess the media doesn’t like to show what we all have in common, but bear in mind there’s a whole lot of Black folks like Haitians who this bill is designed to smash on if passed..

Listen to the audio clips and call your Senator to urge them to vote against this bill..

http://odeo.com/audio/964057/view

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Breakdown FM-Ghostface Killah: Mature, Focused and Elevating Hip Hop

Ghostface Killah: Mature, Focused and Elevating Hip Hop

By Davey D

original article: March 26 2006

We sat down with Wu member Ghostface Killah and had an enlightening conversation about the current state of Hip Hop, the role he now needs to play as a rapper and as a Black man trying to uplift the community and his new album ‘Fishscales’.

Ghostface talks about the big changes he’s made in his life including giving up weed and becoming diabetic. He talks about how he’s become more mature and focused and how he has made a committment to reach out beyond the usual crime and murder raps that put him on the map.

His new album definitely has songs in that vein, but he’s clearly pushed the envelope with great results. During our interview Ghostface goes into depth about the types of maturity level he wants Hip Hop to reach and how we all have to be aware of the impact we are having on kids. He also talks about the types of steps we need to take in terms of uplifting women and holding up our responsibilities in order to make sure they have an easier road especially when it comes to raising kids..

Listen to the interview on Breakdown FM

Download and listen to Breakdown FM Intv

Download and listen to Breakdown FM Intv

Download Breakdown FM-intv w/ Ghostface Killah 06

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zUDcdH3OI4

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Breakdown FM-Professor X was Vanglorious

In Remembrance of Professor X

original article-March 18 2006
Check out this special Tribute Mix we did in Memory of the Late Professor X .
Special Shout out to Paradise the Architect of X-Clan

odeo.com/audio/904888/view

By now folks may have heard the news about the sudden passing of Professor X of X-Clan.. I got off the phone with Brother J who was the lead rapper of this legendary group who delivered the sad news. We believe he died from spinal menegitas.. Tonight there will be a special tribute to Professor X on Divine Forces Radio 90.7 KPFK starting at 10pm if you are in Los Angeles. Brother J will be on as well as Paris..

 The passing of Professor X is sad indeed.. For those who are unfamiliar with Professor X please read the statement released by Afrika Bambaataa… X was the guy who coined the phrase “Van Glorious This is Protected by the Red, The Black and The Green“…What’s so sad and crazy is that nowadays when you talk about Professor X to today’s younger Hip Hop audience, they immediately think of the guy from the comic X-men..

Professor X aka Lumumba Carson was a good cat..who will be missed…

Davey D

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Professor X Was Vanglorious
by Wendy Day

I received an email from Afrika Bambaataa and Yoda today saying that Professor X had passed. I rushed over to allhiphop.com to see what happened to him. They confirmed Lumumba Carson passed from Meningitis. I am devastated.

In 1992, I started Rap Coalition out of pure disgust after seeing how my favorite rappers were treated– specifically, Eric B and Rakim, and X-Clan. In the late 80s and early 90s, these were my favorite rappers.

Lamumba Carson was great because he stood for something. He had something to say and he said it. He was the son of New York based (now deceased) activist Sonny Carson (how difficult it must be to be the son of someone so driven, focused, and important to humanity). Lumumba always rose to the occasion.

I always avoided meeting Professor X and Brother J (who, together, comprised X-Clan and heavily promoted the organization Black Watch), out of fear that they may not be what their image portrayed. At that point, I had met so many of my rap heroes and been disappointed in the past because of the diachotomy between image and reality (a painful lesson for someone devoting a career and life to helping her heroes for free).

I found that J and Lumumba were serious about what they were accomplishing. And while I found Professor X to be human with all the human frailties (thank God!), over the years I have found both of them to be exactly who they portrayed themselves to be–strong Black men, loving and caring for a race of people often too tired to fight for themselves. They were not hypocrites like soooo many others.

Like most rappers, and certainly like the majority of rappers from their generation, they did not make much money from their art form. In fact, they had the further degradation of watching others become wealthy on what they built, and on their art form (a BIG @#%$ you to Lou Maglia and 4th and Broadway).

I just spoke with Lumumba for the first time last year. I had received an email that was making fun of him because he listed himself on eBay, and was auctioning off “a day with Professor X” to the highest bidder. How he must be struggling financially to do something like that, I thought to myself. I became the highest bidder. The fact that I could barely afford to pay my rent at the time did not enter my mind. I was determined to buy a day with Professor X.

He ended the auction before the final deadline (doesn’t matter, I would have won regardless) because of the hateful emails circulating on the web about him putting himself up for auction. I was disgusted by the reaction. It was a f*cking lunch date with Professor X. Had it been Justin Timberlake for a charity, no one would have said @#%$. But a hungry man was not supposed to eat this way, I guess.

Somehow others who have made a career from (read: pimped) Hip Hop had the right to say what was acceptable or not for one of the Legends. All of a sudden, people making money critiquing what others create had the power to say what was the proper way for Professor X to make income. It pissed me off beyond words. I received disrespectful, opinionated emails from self-appointed authorities asking me why I supported such a gimmick. I got emails from fake-ass Hip Hop “journalists” spewing negativity and condescention without having all of the facts. I was disgusted with our community for not supporting Professor X and everyone else like him who needed our support and got jeers instead.

Lumumba called me. He knew who I was. He was excited that I had been bidding on his post. I had the opportunity to tell him what he meant to me. I told him how he influenced me to go down the path I am on without ever having met me. Now THAT’S power. He shared with me some of his industry expereinces and his hopes and dreams.

The price for Lumumba was high on eBay. Not high financially, but high in negative reaction, high in lack of support, and high in the realization that this unforgiving industry has no love for those who have come before when the @#%$ VH-1 cameras aren’t running. I think my last bid was under $100. I would have bid $1,000.

We quietly disrespect our artists for not being Billionaires, and then we disrespect them if we perceive them to “sell out” (read: earn a living). They can’t win. We bemoan artists today for selling misogyny, crime, violence, and materialism, but we didn’t support the ones who had a positive message once they were no longer perceived to be “hot!”

And God forbid they try to earn a buck on eBay selling the opportunity to spend time with them before they pass.

I wanted to spend a day with Lumumba. He would not take my money. We spoke at length about the industry and Afrocentricity. We discussed his father and his legacy. We discussed a lot. It was the first, and last, time we spoke.

I never got my day with Professor X. But what I did get was far more priceless. I got the real Professor X, and he is and was what he always said he was. He was REAL. And he loved people. Especially Black people. He will sorely be missed!

Please understand if the next time you see me I am stomping in my big black boots.

http://www.wendyday.com

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To the East Blackwards-The Story of X-Clan

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The story of  X-Clan
To The East, Blackwards
(1990, 4th & Bway)
by Brian Coleman
March 16 2006

 xclan

When a young New Yorker named Lumumba Carson became immersed in the hip-hop world of the mid-’80s to help bring the sound to even more of the masses, his family wasn’t happy about it. But it had nothing to do with fears that he was staying up too late, out partying. Lumumba’s situation was a different one, since his father was Brooklyn-based black nationalist leader Sonny Carson.

 The pro-black side of my world thought I was stumbling from my mission in life,’ says Lumumba, aka Professor X, today. ‘I wasn’t being appreciated by them. I was torn between two lives.’ Elder Sonny eventually came to realize the power of hip-hop in spreading black nationalist thought, after his son formed X-Clan, who released their funky, intelligent and powerful debut in 1990. Their Blackwatch crew (with Isis, Unique & Dashan, Queen Mother Rage and others) came before the X-Clan, and it was much more than a fan club. X explains: ‘I always watched how music groups became successful and I knew that fanbase was very important. My idea was to make our fan club base into a movement.’

The seeds for the four-member X-Clan ‘ rapper Brother J, DJ Sugar Shaft and producers/elders Professor X and Grand Architect Paradise ‘ were planted when X and Paradise met in the mid-’80s, introduced by Russell Simmons’ right-hand-woman Heidi Smith. At the time Paradise was working a computer job in Rush Management’s first offices on Broadway, and X was interviewing Rush clients there for a radio station in Detroit, also road-managing Whodini.

Eventually Paradise began managing the famed Latin Quarter club in midtown Manhattan and the two friends started a management company called Scratch Me Management, working with artists like Stetsasonic, King Sun, Just Ice and Positive K. Their touch spread over much of the New York hip-hop world during the years 1985 to 1987. ‘We were very serious when we did X-Clan,’ says Paradise. ‘We were really trying to do something new, after being instrumental in the careers of so many other cats. Back then we knew everybody in hip-hop, but once we focused on X-Clan we kind of became reclusive, because we wanted it to work.’

In 1985 Paradise and X had met two young men who would complete X-Clan as a foursome, although they didn’t know it at the time. ‘I first met Sugar Shaft at the Latin Quarter, and Brother J was his best friend,’ recalls Paradise. ‘But back then we hadn’t ever even heard J rap. His affiliation with us was just as one of the young brothers in the [black nationalist] Movement.’ Sugar Shaft was a DJ on the rise back in the early days, and a member of Red Alert’s Violators crew. Brother J soaked in the teaching of elder Black Nationalists and also continued to perfect his MC skills. But J’s skills got pushed to the side for a year or more, because of the fact that X and Paradise were working with so many other top-level MCs at the time. In 1987, Paradise recalls taking J and Shaft to Ced-Gee’s ‘Ultra Lab’ home studio in the Bronx, where they cut a demo for a song called ‘It’s a Black Thing.‘ With the beginning of Blackwatch, put in motion with Unique & Dashan’s debut album Black To The Future in early ’89, their plan to start X-Clan was about to hatch.

After many passes through the A & R maze of Island Records and its hip-hop subsidiary 4th & Bway, X-Clan were signed for a single deal, directly by Island founder Chris Blackwell. Releasing the powerful double a-sided single ‘Raise The Flag’ and ‘Heed The Word of the Brother’ in 1989, the group became actively involved in the much-publicized ‘Day of Outrage and Mourning’ to protest the killing of Yusuf Hawkins in Brooklyn’s Bensonhurt neighborhood in August of that year. 4th & Bway knew they had a firebrand group on their hands, in certain ways akin to the controversial and popular Public Enemy, and they signed them for a full album. To The East, Blackwards was recorded in one month’s time and put on a full-steam-ahead promo track by the label.

Perfectly described by the opening track’s title, ‘Funkin’ Lesson,’ the album mixed bouncing old-school funk samples with pro-black words of wisdom, perfectly and powerfully expressed by the muscularly-voiced Brother J. Professor X offers this distinction for those who grouped X-Clan and Public Enemy, two different sides of the same struggle, in the same boat: ‘Public Enemy should always be protected, so don’t misunderstand me. But their message, what it was and how it was delivered, just seemed so complicated. We felt that blackness was easier than that. If you were a brother or sister in Brownsville, it was right up under your nose. You only needed to talk to your grandmother to know how proud you were supposed to be and who you were.’

 Although it didn’t contain any crossover smash singles to push it into sales nirvana, the album put X-Clan at the front of the list of groups addressing black struggles in cities around the world, and for that they are still respected today. Professor X says, looking back: ‘I didn’t think the album would explode like that, right away. I had planned on a two-year development process, over probably two albums. But all we needed was one. Everything that happened back then was much more than we could have ever dreamed of.’X and Paradise lovingly drive their 1959 pink Caddy past selected tracks from their debut:

Funkin’ Lesson

Paradise: We definitely combined our message with some funky music. But that’s a pretty obvious thing, since people don’t respond to @#%$ if it ain’t hot, whether there’s a message or not. We were all about walking the walk, not just talkin’. We just really wanted to be funky and put the lesson in the funk. That’s what the song was about. We were trying to redefine something, and have more culture in the music.

Professor X: I was a funk-head from back in the day. That was my contribution to our earliest music. The George Clinton vibe we brought. I mean, who would have thought that the funk explosion in hip-hop started from a group in New York! At heart we were just some funky niggas, trying to connect anything we were saying politically, to funky music. It was just natural for us. It all fell into line, we all clicked into that George Clinton spirit.

Grand Verbalizer, What Time Is It’

X: The ‘crossroads’ I mention in that song, and in other places on the album, was very important to us. We wanted to give recognition to all those who didn’t know where they were at in life. It was the point in their lives where they were trying to get clear. We were drawing a picture where you were at so you could make decisions. And decisions start at the crossroads, and you’re protected there.

Tribal Jam

Paradise: A lot of people take Brother J for granted as a rapper. A lot of the things that he said were things that we or our elders lived personally. Everything we wrote came from the cultural experience of black people. It was all real. And we used the music to build a strong movement.

A Day Of Outrage, Operation Snatchback

X: The Day of Outrage was the day when the Brooklyn Bridge was taken by 20,000 or 30,000 people, with Reverend Al Sharpton. That song is about how we were there [in Bensonhurst], fighting for the right of recognition. We were also deeply involved in the protests in Crown Heights, later on [in 1991].

Verbal Milk

X: Ah yes, the Pink Cadillac! I mention that on that track, don’t I’ We wanted to tell people to celebrate themselves. When I think of a Pink Cadillac I think of my uncles, who were from South Carolina. Those guys had a Caddy every year. It meant something to them. We were talking about a 1959 pink Caddy because it represented a point in time. Once the elders saw that we were talking about that, they knew that we recognized the transition between a certain kind of negro into a certain kind of black man. We wanted to celebrate the Caddy, too, because we had a little pimp in our crown. We got style from that. It was a metaphor. We wanted to celebrate things that some black people wanted to hide. Corn bread, grits. In every video of ours, Sugar Shaft is eating something. Chicken or watermelon. We love that food and there’s no reason to be ashamed of it, in fact totally the opposite!

Shaft’s Big Score

Paradise: Shaft [who passed away in the mid-'90s] was my best friend. He was quiet and funny and an incredible DJ. Very quite and peaceful. A couple times when I was down he even bought pampers for my kids. Food, whatever. He was amazingly generous and we all really miss him.

X: Each person in the group was a piece of madness, that you’d never believe could get along with the other three [laughs very loudly]. You’d never think we could be in a room together. And that’s why it was magic together, too. Sugar Shaft had such an energy! We had to buy him new Technics turntables every two weeks because he destroyed them, just doing his cuts. They would literally be no good to anybody after he was through. He would sweat so much when he cut, too. He just had so much inward energy. He also cut with his left hand, so he’d have to cross one arm over the other. I think that Shaft’s influence is where the bounce in our music came from. We miss him. That particular track, which features Shaft’s DJ skills, was a very hard track to do, because back then there was no automation. We had to do it over many times to get the punches in there correctly. We heard Terminator X’s tracks and we wanted to counter them, on that level. Because we respected him so much. We all motivated each other in that way.

Raise The Flag

Paradise: That song was actually originally signed to Warlock Records, before 4th & Bway. They loved that demo we did so much that they gave us money right there on the spot with no contract. So we took that money and used it to record an album for the group Uneek & Dashan who we were managing at the time. Warlock ended up signing them and Isis, too, and then we went to 4th & Bway after paying Warlock back. Basically, once we started recording the first 6-7 tracks for X-Clan, we didn’t think that Warlock could do enough with it. We needed something bigger. That was the first studio song that we did. I got that sample from a neighbor of mine in Crown Heights. She heard Run-DMC blaring through my walls and instead of yelling, she wanted to hear more about them, and borrowed the album from me. Then one I day I heard that Roy Ayers ‘Red, Black and Green’ song blaring through * her * walls. She had a crazy loud system that put mine to shame. She was a jazz lover more than hip-hop. So I banged on her door and asked her what the hell that music was.

 X: That was our first single, the song we got signed to 4th & Bway for. When the single came out in 1989 it didn’t do good in New York, even though we had stuff like my father [Sonny Carson] putting us on a float during the David Dinkins campaign [for mayor of New York]. After two or three months there was nothing going on with the record. And we went to do a show in Detroit, with I think Kwame and Special Ed, in front of like 5,000 people. It was a talent show, I think. We went out on stage after those guys finished and the place went CRAZY, which was big news to us. So much so that they had to bring in the police to calm things down. I don’t even think that 4th and Bway knew we was that big in Detroit.

 

 Heed The Word Of The Brother

X: We had ‘Raise The Flag’ done and ready to go as a single but we felt that we needed something even stronger to go along with it. That was the beginning of me making enemies at the record company. They didn’t want a b-side and they just wouldn’t do it. So we financed ‘Heed The Word’ on our own, all the way through the mastering. I was right about it and the record company was wrong. It was a perfect example about how they didn’t even know what they had. On that track, other people, like Heavy D and De La Soul, had used that music already. So we made our song even stronger than what they had done. We called the 45 King and he put a string of horns at the end of the beat, and that’s why ours is different.

 

 

Paradise: That was the only song that anybody outside of X-Clan ever collaborated on with us, as an outside producer or artist. Mark the 45 King made the beat, and I produced the song. I put in the hook, and the ‘Flashlight’ stuff in the intro.

 

In The Ways of the Scales

X: That is definitely one of my favorite tracks on the album, if not my #1 favorite.

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