Rappers Willie D, Immortal Technique & Rebel Diaz Speak out on Trayvon Martin Tragedy

Houston rapper and Geto Boys member Willie D Near Tears After Getting So Angry About Trayvon Martin in FOX 26 Interview!

One thing I can say about Willie D and the Geto Boys they have always spoken out and given tons of money toward causes like these.. I remember talking with Willie and Bushwick Bill about the topic of political prisoners and finding out how they had laid out several hundred thousand dollars so folks on death row could get lawyers and fight to prove their innocence.

I recall being with Willie D years ago at Minister Farrakhan’s home when he got artists together to help put an end to the so-called East -West Coast beef.. Willie was one of the key speakers that day..  We need more Willie D’s

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzJfAhIMYDo

Immortal Technique is someone who is grossly under appreciated. He’s long spoken on issues like Trayvon. As noted in this video below he connects the dots and sheds light on the rise of vigilante killings. He talks about how there are so many victims who are unnamed.

He’s absolutely correct. It’s crucial that folks take note that vigilante killings are happening with increased frequency along the borders in states like Arizona where, Neo-Nazis and Minute Men are jamming up immigrants and members within the Brown/ Latino communities with reckless abandon.. Peep tech’s wise words below

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwC0KUNZ43E

Rodstarz of Rebel Diaz

Along the same lines of connecting the dots and bringing attention to the rise in vigilante killings where folks are deemed ‘suspicious’, we recently held a round table discussion on the topic…Our guest included Bronx based rapper Rodstarz from the group Rebel Diaz.. He talked about how the Trayvon Martin killing came on heels of the Ramarley  Graham killing in New York..

Here you had police officers who decided that Graham who was standing outside his home was ‘suspicious’.. Graham who was well aware of the police Stop and Frisk policy wanted to not be one of the 680 thousand people who police stopped, so he went back inside his home. Police had not warned Graham to stop. Nor was he detained. However cops seeing him leave considered it a ‘furtive’ movement which is the basis on which they can pursue subjects.. They ran after Graham thinking he had a gun.. They busted into his house.. They never rang the bell or asked to be let in.. Ran upside his house and shot him in front of his grandmother. No weapon was ever found..

Rod recently penned a powerful article called the Fleeting Whiteness of George Zimmerman where he offered up some good solutions

In the video below we talk about that shooting as well as the culture of suspicion and how it plays out in Black, Muslim and Latino Communities.. Our other guest are; Cephus Johnson aka Uncle Bobby (He’s the Uncle to Oscar Grant), Zahra Brillo of the CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations ) and Isaac Ontiverous of Critical Resistance.. This is a powerful discussion that all need to see so we are familiar with how this Trayvon tragedy is not isolated

http://cdn.livestream.com/embed/tradiov?layout=4&clip=pla_ea43e1b3-f630-4da1-b562-08a505eb10cb&height=340&width=560&autoplay=false

tradiov on livestream.com. Broadcast Live Free

Scarface Reminds Us Houston Rappers Are No Joke-He’s the Latest to Speak Truth to Power-Turns Down VH1 Honors

We have to show love and give props to Houston rappers for always stepping up to the plate over and over again, no matter what.

Case in point, when the Geto Boys came out, many did not know  but they would often lay out money and pay for legal counsel of those who were locked away in jail and needed to prove their innocence… I remember doing a show with Bushwick Bill and Scarface and them talking in great detail about the prison industrial complex, the horrors of the death penalty and why they had spent well over 200 thousand bucks trying to free those locked away on trumped-up charges…

What impressed me most was the fact that they were doing this without a whole lot of fanfare. This wasn’t a publicity stunt or anything like that. In fact the way we even wound talking about the topic in the first place was I had asked them about the uproar and controversy around the execution of Shaka Sankofa.

I recall when Katrina happened and interviewing Paul Wall and him talking about the work that him and many of his fellow Houstonian artists were doing to help victims. He talked about the clothes they had donated, much of it new. They talked about money they were raising and how they were doing what they could to make folks comfortable. The list of names involved was a who’s who. It was very impressive. I recall my man DJ Zin doing a number of radio shows from the Astrodome highlighting the efforts that many of the Houston artists had undertaken..

Speaking of Paul Wall we got to give him dap for making a trip to Africa,  learning about Blood Diamonds and then returning to Houston and firing all his suppliers to his grill shop until they could prove they weren’t using conflict diamonds..This was shown in the documentary Planet Bling.

I recall the 2008 election and getting involved in efforts to register the over one million voters not registered in Houston and radio hosts like Matt Sonzala introducing us to everyone from Slim Thug on down to K-Rino who all spoke passionately and insightfully about the day’s political climate and things they felt needed to be done. Artists after artist came through, donating time, videos, music and their likeness for a Get Out to Vote documentary we put together called ‘Texas is in Play‘ . Even though Barack Obama was making his historic run, many of the artists we ran into spoke about local issues and how folks could impact things. End result was record turn out,  all but 4 judges being swept from office and the ouster of a tyrannical sheriff named Tommy Thomas.

Bun B

We saw other Houston artist like Bun B step up. He attended the Democratic Convention in Denver and weighed in on important issues. We saw him recently get down and put together a successful fund-raiser for victims of the Haiti earthquake. Again Houston’s rap community came out in mass to show support..

Over the years we’ve seen artist like Trae Da Truth step up and do everything from visit juvenile halls to put on a festival to raise money and school supplies for kids. Recently we saw him put the gauntlet down and launch a lawsuit against powerful broadcast company Radio One and their station KBXX. This came about because Radio One decided to ban Trae and anyone associating with him after he responded in a mixtape with verbal jabs to being falsely accused by a station jock of ‘attracting a bad crowd’ to his Trae Day community event. Trae was not allowed himself to get bullied by some big time corporate media outlet..

The list of community events engaged by Houston based artists is a long one. The point being made is that many do step up to the plate, speak their minds and try to do what they think is right.

One of the people garnering a lot of attention is Scarface who recently penned an article for Ozone magazine explaining why he wasn’t gonna be apart of VH1′s Hip Hop Honors. Personally I’m  a bit conflicted because I know Fab 5 Freddy who produces the event is my man and he seemed genuinely excited that there was finally an opportunity to honor a region and many of the artists for their accomplishments which he feels are often overlooked.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvjcaVYJXn0

However, Scarface in his essay lays out some compelling points and left many of us both marveling at his conviction and re-assessing our own place in this culture we call Hip Hop.

Below is Scarface’s article.. Check out Ozone Magazine for more info..

http://www.ozonemag.com/2010/05/13/scarface-speaks-on-vh1s-dirty-south-hip-hop-honors/

Scarface

I was nominated [to be honored at the Dirty South Hip Hop Honors] but I declined to accept because I don’t wanna be classified as just “Dirty South.” I’m Hip Hop, man. I’m not going because I feel slighted. Even though it was a nice gesture, I feel like it’s just a pacifier. They’re like, “Let’s give these niggas down there a pacifier so they can stop feeling left out. We’ll make Luke and all these niggas down there look funny,” you know? “Let’s put a plate of fried chicken and some watermelon and let’s just do some nigga-ass shit.” (laughs) Quote, end quote. “Some nigga-ass shit.” Fried chicken and watermelon. “Shit, the faster we get this over with, the better.”

Honoring [Uncle] Luke and James [Prince] and [Master] P and Timbaland and JD and Dungeon Family is a good thing. I don’t wanna fuck their Honors up. They helped lay the foundation. More power to ‘em. I respect what they do and I respect what they’ve done for Hip Hop, but to put us in a category is disrespectful. Why would you categorize us as “Dirty South”? Why can’t you just honor some muthafuckers from down here and leave it like that? You ain’t gotta make us look extra country. We know where we’re from and we know where you’re from. We know where Hip Hop came from, man. We’re cool with that. I’m proud to be from Houston but don’t make a mockery of my accomplishments. We’re not “dirty” down here in the South anyway. This shit down here probably cleaner than the rest of the country, cause we got grandmas down here. Our grandmas don’t play that shit.

I was a part of the Slick Rick and De La Soul and Too $hort and Public Enemy [Hip Hop Honors]. I felt good about being a part of that. I went [to Hip Hop Honors] when they honored Def Jam because I wanted to be a part of that. I felt honored that they would even call me to do it. But this year, I totally disagree with how they’re trying to categorize us. You know how they make us look on TV? Like we live on the front porch with flies and shit flying around us, with our stomachs all big eating watermelon rinds? That ain’t us, man. Don’t fuckin’ make a mockery of us because we come from down here and you have no fuckin’ idea what it looks like. They’re gonna try to put us with some cows and just make us look fucked up, man, like we don’t know what the fuck we doin’ down here. We’re smart, man. Our life is slowed down so we don’t miss nothing. When shit gets moving too fast you miss everything. Shit’s slowed down here so we see it all.

I come from the era when New York and L.A. had the only Hip Hop, and they weren’t fuckin’ with us, at all. If you think I’m lyin’, check the history of Hip Hop. Try to pull up some footage from the 1989/1990 New Music Seminar. That’s what I base my whole fuckin’ life on: the New Music Seminar 1989/1990. They was NOT fuckin’ with us. We sold records all over the fuckin’ country and New York made a mockery of it. They fuckin’ booed the Geto Boys in New York. They sure did.

Back when Luke had Skywalker Records and J had Rap-A-Lot Records, they weren’t tryin’ to do no South shit. “It didn’t come from New York, son, so fuck that.” That was their attitude. Just because a TV was made in Japan, is it a Japanese TV? Or is it just a fucking TV? If a lightbulb was made in China is it a Chinese lightbulb?

It was hard breaking through. It was hard getting respect from the East Coast. We didn’t get no fuckin’ love from nobody. Fab Five Freddy came down here early in our career to see what we were really about, and I respected and appreciated that. But we been having money down here. We been rollin’ fuckin’ Bentleys and Ferraris down here since the 80s. Muthafuckers ain’t just started rockin’ gold and platinum chains. We had that shit in high school. Shit, we just now started running out of money. (laughs) That’s how long we been had money down here.

Everybody throws up a fuckin’ smokescreen to make the picture look how they want it to look, but I know shit stank. I ain’t no goddamn fool. I was there in the beginning. We were fighting the power for real. Our raps were considered negative rap, and we got a lot of fuckin’ flak behind that shit. And we were just telling the truth. We were under immense scrutiny, from politicians to radio stations to the media. Luke got up there talkin’ about “Pop That Pussy” and had naked hoes on the stage; they were going to jail and shit. The Geto Boys were talkin’ this politicially-charged, racist-ass, system-ran, gangsta-ass dope-dealing whoopin’-ass shit, and it wasn’t accepted in New York.

Eventually New York came around and started fuckin’ with us. But for an East Coast-based show to call themselves showing some fuckin’ love by making a Southern watered-down version of what the show is supposed to be or what Hip Hop really is, man, I feel fucked up about that shit. Because we fought harder than a muthafucker. When [Ice] Cube was on Hip Hop Honors, it wasn’t the “Hip Hop West Coast Honors.” Every part of the ghetto is the same mu’fuckin’ story. Hip Hop is one machine, regardless if you come from New York or Bareback, Africa. It’s fuckin’ Hip Hop.

But that’s just [my opinion], and fuck me. I don’t mean nothing. I’m just a nigga who fought harder than a muthafucker to get our records played in New York and on the East Coast period. And now all a nigga needs to do is fart on a record and it gets played. So it’s fine by me. I’m cool with that. I’m not mad about it, I just feel disrespected. Whoever goes [to Hip Hop Honors], it’s fine and dandy by me. But if you wanted to do a Southern-based show you shoulda got a nigga DOWN SOUTH to do it in the South.

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Now that Lil Kim is Free Will She Fight For Other Prisoners?

Now that Lil Kim is Free Will She Fight For Other Prisoners?
by Davey D-

Davey D Archived articleLast week during the BET Awards, Lil Kim’s mother and brother came into the press gallery to field questions about her incarceration. They emphasized how unfair it was for her to be locked up and how the justice system is screwed up.

I think it was her brother who pointed out how all sorts of people who have committed heinous crimes do very little time, while Lil Kim got locked down for perjury. It was also pointed out how there are many who done more egregious white-collar crimes and have gotten off the hook.

When the BET press monitors finally called on me, I asked them what sort of plans they or Lil Kim had to do work with prison advocacy groups now that they’ve seen first hand how jacked up the system is. Could you imagine they type of attention some one like Lil Kim could bring to the plight of political prisoners like Mumia Abu Jamal, Herman Bell or 2Pac’s father Matulu Shakur just to name a few of the many? Can you imagine the type of attention that she could bring to the plight of the legions of Black and Brown folks who routinely get railroaded by the system?

Lil Kim’s mother said she was not aware of any plans Lil Kim had in the works and they moved onto the next question. Granted things are still early and the Queen Bee is probably still recovering from her 10 month bid. However, it’s an idea that should be seriously considered. After all, her incarceration was highlighted with a BET reality TV show which netted high ratings.

Many big time celebrities ranging from comedian Kat Williams on down to celebrity gossip reporter and former MTV host Ananda Lewis have spoken out about how the system was unjust and was railroading Lil Kim. Very few of us within the community who have family and friends who have done time, would argue with the assessment. Ideally it would be nice if the spotlight to the criminal justice system doesn’t start and end with Lil Kim.

Now that shes out she has a great opportunity to bring attention to those who dont have a celebratory rap career. Hopefully she wont follow in the footsteps of Martha Stewart, who talked about how unfair the system was and how she lived alongside women who were unfairly locked up, but once she left she went back to being the media diva and multi-millionaire business woman she was prior to going in.

lil kim

lil kim

If Kim speaks up, she would not be alone in terms of speaking out. In the past there have been a few rappers who have done prison advocacy work including Hip Hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa who back in the early days of his career routinely took a lot of brothers who were getting out the pen and put them to work. Many of them went on the road with him as he attempted to stir them away from their troubled environments. Later on artists like Ice T and MC Hammer did similar things. One of the reasons Hammer went bankrupt was because he had employed scores of people with nice paying jobs who were fresh out the pen. This was in addition to paying for cats lawyer fees and related expenses.

Of course we cannot overlook some of Hip Hops biggest champions of prison advocacy work, The Geto Boys, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Boots of the Coup and dead prez stand out. Many people don’t realize that over the years the Geto Boys along with Rap-A-Lot CEO James Prince have sunk hundreds of thousands of dollars paying for legal expenses in their attempt to get brothers out of prison. While their advocacy work hasn’t been well publicized, it was and is well-known by folks in power who have grown angry with the group for reaching out.

A couple of years ago I spoke with Bushwick Bill about this and he speculated that the groups willingness to underwrite legal fees and try and prove the innocence of those railroaded into Texas jails may be one of the reasons that Rap-A-Lot found itself being aggressively investigated by the feds several years ago. Things got so heated for them that Scarface launched a song putting them on blast and naming one of the chief haters within the FBI who was pursuing them. The song was called Look Into My Eyes. Later on Congress woman Maxine Waters intervened on their behalf to help turn the tide, but not before it set off a storm of controversy that landed on the feet of former Vice President Al Gore. But as Bushwick confidently pointed out their decision to help out folks behind bars is not one they regret or would change if they could do it all over again. What the Geto Boys was doing is ideally what more artists in their position should do, especially when you consider how out of the 2.5 million people on lock down damn near half come from our community.

A couple of years ago when Suge Knight was on lockdown he actually took out ads in several magazines offering to pay lawyer fees and related expenses to help get cats out of jail. In his ad he had noted that there were way too many innocent people on lock down who needed help and he was throwing his hat into the ring.

Michael Franti has not only dedicated entire albums to addressing the Prison Industrial Complex, but for the past 8 years he has done a 9-11 Festival which includes a free concert at Golden gate Park in San Francisco which draws more than 40 thousand people. The festival started off as a way to bring attention to the plight of political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal and has since expanded in both concept and sheer number of people who show up. Over the years everyone from Digital Underground to Talib Kweli to KRS-One have all graced the stages of Franti’s 9-11 festival.

deadprez-uk-225The work of groups like the Coup and Dead Prezs is more than obvious and speaks for itself. Over the years Boots has not only done concerts to raise money for Prison advocacy groups, but he himself was known for doing his own political education classes to help bring people up to speed on impending legislation like California’s harsh 3 strikes law and later Prop 21-the juvenile justice bill, which allows for the incarceration of 14 year olds in adult prisons.

In the case of dead prez, their songs as well as their direct involvement and membership in organizations like the POCC (Prisoners of Conscience Committee) have set the standard for the type of work artists like Lil Kim can either support or be involved in. Both M-1 and Boots are quick to point out that they are organizers first and artists second. In fact during a recent Hip Hop conference at Stanford University, Boots noted that if Hip Hop wasnt the platform being embraced by people hood, he would be doing another genre of music, as long as he could reach the people that need him most.

Now granted Lil Kim may not be ready to do the type of work we associate with groups like dead prez or the Coup. However, it would be ideal if someone like her who has such high visibility and is now having the spotlight put on her because of her situation would consider taking things a step further by aligning herself with those who fight the prison industrial complex and criminal injustice system everyday.

what do you think?

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