Shock G of Digital Underground Shares His Inner Most Thoughts on his Friend 2Pac

Shock G of Digital Underground speaks on his time with 2Pac photo credit: ani yapundzhyan

As we look back on the life and times of Tupac Amaru Shakur we decided to dig in the crates and pull out an old interview we did with Shock G of Digital Underground. Here Shock G says his proudest moment was hearing 2 Pac talk about how his fondest years were spent being a part of the DU camp.

In this interview Shock G talks about the importance of 2Pac in Hip Hop culture and why he and his band mates would drop everything to accommodate 2Pac’s needs.

“There’s a time for comedy and being funny and there’s a time to be serious. When it came to 2Pac his message was too important to play around” , Shock G noted “He got the best we had”.

In this interview Shock G loans some keen insight into who 2Pac really was and they complimented each other. It’s a fitting tribute for someone who meant so much for so many.

R pt1

Shock G of Digital Underground speaks about the first time him and 2Pac met up. He explains why Pac became a member of  the group and who was the person most responsible for putting him on..

Shock G talks about the influence Digital Underground had on 2Pac and the influence Pac had on DU. In particular they focus on the way both had multiple personas  i.e. Humpty Hump & Makavelli that they build their albums around.

Here Shock G goes in and talks about the influence of the Black Panthers. What many people don’t realize is that DU started out being a militant, Public Enemy type group that was an off shoot of the Black Panthers. The only reason, why they didn’t continue in that vein was because Public Enemy hit the scene first. Shock talks about the ways the Black Panthers shaped 2Pac as both a freedom fighter and a rapper.

We conclude our interview with Shock G talking about why Digital Underground saved their best tracks and hardest efforts for 2Pac. Shock said Pac’s message was too serious to be playing around and so whenever he needed top shelf material he got it.. We talked about 2Pac and political prisoners and what he would be doing to help out his ‘aunt’ exiled political prisoner Assataa Shakur. Shock also goes in and explains what it means to be a revolutionary.

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Diddy’s Dumb Deed-Gets Elbowed by Black Women As he Seeks Lighskin Sistas


Diddy’s Dumb Deed-Gets Elbowed by Black Women As he Seeks Lighskin Sistas
By Pearl Jr.
Author, Black Women Need Love, Too!
Another attack on Black Women by one of our own! Diddy’s CIROC vodka sent out a cattle call looking for and I quote, “White, Hispanic and Light-skinned African American” women to represent his vodka. The arrogance to specify the type of Black woman has reached back to racism of the early 1900’s brown paper bag mentality.

The brown paper bag test was for admittance to Black social societies and certain, so-called, upscale parties. If a WOMAN was darker than a brown paper bag, she was disallowed to join certain social groups. This can be verified by watching old Black movies (usually in black and white) and you’ll see that nearly ALL females are light-skinned. Diddy’s Dumb Deed let’s us see that, even though, some progress has been made, real CHANGE has not occurred.

Imagine the mental abuse Black women must be going through thinking well, if I wear light foundation or bleach my skin through the night, I might be able to pull off being light-skinned, or dang I’m too dark; leading to self-hatred. Then imagine the thought processes in the waiting room with all the White and Hispanic women feeling superior because they are NOT melanin enriched and Black women feeling less confident because they are in doubt about their beauty and worth because of the color of their skin.

Furthermore, what would Diddy and/or his staff do when a dark-skinned woman showed up? Would “they” be rude and angrily reiterate that the requirement was for light-skinned Black women ONLY, and then she’d be shamed and embarrassed in front of the crowd of other women because she was told she wasn’t good enough due to her dark-skin?

What would Diddy do if Haley Berry showed up? She is technically a dark-skinned bi-racial woman. What about the beautiful Gabrielle Union, or modeling pioneers Grace Jones, Beverly Johnson, or Imaan? Would they be turned away because their skin was too dark?

And the biggest slap in the face would be the denial of our First Lady, Michelle Obama! She would, too, be turned away because she is not light-skinned, White or Hispanic.

There are so many racist ways of Hollywood, and yes, Diddy qualifies as a part of “Hollywood” because he is a celebrity. The propaganda in movies that seems to always match a Black man (with any useful skills) with a non-Black woman in videos, TV shows, and even blockbuster movies be THE catalyst for the lack of Black love within the Black race family? This propaganda campaign is using the age-old trick of dividing in order to conquer. How long are we going to keep falling for the same old tricks???

The only solution is to boycott racism in all forms, which means that under the devastating circumstances of the high amount of single Black woman/mothers, Black women should NEVER support anyone, especially Black men, that want to keep that status quo unchanged. The media and marketing executives will soon learn that to continue to devalue Black women will NOT render them much sought after profits.

And please, no one use the “it’s all about the money” excuse. Hell, slavery was “all about the money” and how many of us condone that behavior? Racism is racism, even when it’s racism within the same group, now called self-hate.

Well let’s use their own motivation to our favor, “if it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense (cents)!” Don’t allow your hard-earned dollars to be used from anything that divides the Black race and weakens our already weaknesses.

There’s no acceptable denial for Diddy. In fact, he purposely omitted dark-skinned women and there’s proof. On the black and white TV ad for Diddy’s vodka already airing, it only includes light-skinned women. Diddy’s ignorance is astounding because his twin daughters are dark-skinned. He MUST not connect the dots that he is devaluing his own daughters and insulting his own momma!

Now, this falls right in line with the marketing of Diddy’s perfume too. As I was shopping in Macy’s over a year ago, I saw a large advertisement for Diddy’s perfume with Diddy in the middle of two non-Black women. I thought to myself, I guess my money isn’t good enough for him because that ad didn’t speak to me; as a matter of fact, it was insulting that he CHOSE NOT to use, AT LEAST, one Black woman in his ad.

Don’t these fools realize that Black women are their MAIN market and will support a Black male, especially one in the music industry, in a quick second IF THEY FELT CARED FOR? Well according to the US Census Bureau, there are about 112 million White females and only 20 million Black females, so if this marketing of Black men with non-Black women WORKED, then why is today’s Black music sales by Black men so dismal and declining fast and in a hurry? If non-Black women were truly ALL INTO BLACK MEN, then why are these types of marketing strategies NOT rendering much higher sales figures? There are about 130 million non-Black women and I just don’t see the omitting of Black women in the lives of Black men working and equating to 7X more sales. It seems MOST of “them” don’t realize Black women are Black men’s BIGGEST supporters. As a matter of fact, sales figures are doing the opposite, they are declining! has been reviewing and tracing the sales figures of so-called Black movies and record sales for the past two and a half years religiously every week. Spike Lee, who is usually a shoe-in for making a profitable movie, failed miserable with his Miracle at St. Anna’s, where he promotes the heck out of Black men swooning over White women; so much so that I simply walked out the movie in disgust. The movie is his biggest loser to date.

Then examine the careers of Taye Diggs, Cedric the Entertainer and many others after they made shows/movies featuring non-Black women. They, too, are huge flops! Terrence Howard, who in an interview in Essence Magazine, a Black female publication, dissed Black women. Then when he released his debut album, his record sales were so low that many didn’t even check to see if he could sing or not. Black women just didn’t care and apparently, neither did non-Black women. His sales didn’t reach 60,000.

And since many people failed to realize that Michael Jackson suffers from the skin depigmenting disease, vitiligo, and seemed to have few Black friends, his sales have been declining for decades. And since he hired the Nation of Islam bodyguards during his trial, had a Black female publicist, was rumored to marry a Black African female, attended James Brown’s funeral and Jesse Jackson’s birthday party, he sold out nearly a million tickets in the United Kingdom in a matter of hours.

It seems even Whites respect people who respect themselves. Check out who Americans elected the President with the most votes in Presidential history? It’s a Black couple named Barack and Michelle Obama. The “sell-out” doesn’t work well for Black folks! Damn it, even proud sell-out Larry Elder, got cancelled due to his low TV and radio ratings.

Yes, people watched Will Smith’s movie, Hancock in large numbers, but he didn’t end up with that White girl at the end of the movie; besides the special effects and the magic of Will Smith’s charm works under nearly every circumstance, except for the movie, SEVEN POUNDS, where he is matched up with self-proclaimed Latina, Rosario Dawson (her last name sounds Black American and she’s quite dark-skinned as well). SEVEN POUNDS is one of his weakest films in recent history!

My “sistas” are finally waking up and no longer making excuses for self-haters. Black women have always purchased Black music, jerseys, and tennis shoes for their sons. Ladies, the proverbial “they” obviously believe we don’t have value, so we can keep our value in our purses. Why give money and power to those who don’t have value for you or, worse yet, don’t like you?

Well, the time has come to make a loud strong statement to celebrities, athletes, executive decision-makers, and anyone else NEEDING to please loads of people, that if you don’t like us, we don’t like you, or better yet, we’ll spend it on people that are showing some signs of support for our community and we’ll pay their bills.

We can forgive, but only with ACTIONS!

So last night a talent management company for Ciroc–Imperative Talent Management–sent out a casting call notice to their mailing list. Ciroc is taping a new commercial on Friday with Diddy and they listed their requirements. And if you fail the paper bag test, you need not apply:

Subject: Promo girls needed!!!
Date: Tuesday, March 24, 2009, 9:49 PM

Ciroc Promotion

Ciroc promo is this Friday, March 27, 2009
Time: 3:00pm – 7:00pm and 12:00am – 3:00am


Race: White, hispanic or light skinned african american
Height: At least 5’6 or taller
Size 7 or smaller.

This is a cash @ wrap job and the booking will be thru our partner. Please submit asap. Talent will only be contacted if the client is interested in booking you!!!

Compensation: $35.00 per hour

Imperative Talent Management
3500 Lenox Road, Suite 1500
Atlanta, GA 30326
404-419-2565 Office
404-419-2564 Office

Sadly enough, I’m not even surprised. Let the sh*tstorm ensue. Expecting a PTwitty response in 5…4…3…

UPDATE: Ciroc’s PR folks tell the following:

representative of the company called and sent me two statements that were issued 3/26/09. Ciroc stated:

CIROC Vodka has nothing whatsoever to do with this inappropriate and offensive casting call, which was done without the brand’s knowledge or consent. We are taking action in response to this issue as CIROC has never worked with the company in question. We find this particularly deplorable and outrageous because it goes against everything we stand for as a brand and a company and everything our campaign has been about. CIROC Vodka has created a brand that defines sophisticated celebration for all consumers, and in no way condones this despicable practice.
The talent agency that forwarded the casting call states:

Imperative Talent Management would like publicly clear any confusion that was caused by an email that was sent out to our talent that might have been forwarded outside of our database. We are a management company that books talent for promotional opportunities, and our booking agents aggressively search the net daily for modeling jobs. The promo job in question was found at <> and we forwarded to our talent. We have since learned that this posting was in no way authorized, supported, or endorsed by CIROC or Diddy. It wasn’t our intention to discredit CIROC Vodka in any way, and since learning of the postings inaccuracies, have revised it on our database and alerted everyone in our database to the error.

All of us can see the problem with these two statements: no one at Ciroc or Imperative is taking responsibility for the misconduct. Someone either authorized the casting call or failed to supervise the person(s) who issued the casting call, and those person(s) were not fired. Usually, in these kinds of incidents, a junior person is sacrificed, but even that step wasn’t taken here. No one was held responsible.

As we know, this kind of discrimination happens all the time, but this time someone put it in writing, albeit without Ciroc’s or Sean Combs’ consent.

The talent agency characterized this written posting as containing “inaccuracies” when, in fact, race and color discrimination in employment has been unlawful in New York State since 1962 and nationally since 1964.

Thus, it’s hard to credit statements that appear to:
blame persons unknown
hold nobody accountable, and
do nothing to prevent recurrences.

MMTC is not going to get involved in the matter – it’s not what we do – but I did want to be responsive to our many wonderful and alert members who’ve called and e-mailed today asking for a civil rights analysis of the matter. The bottom line is that this is unlawful. Those who didn’t exercise adequate supervision should be fired, and both the sponsor and the agency should take aggressive steps to ensure that there can be no recurrences.

Regardless of who authorized it or who knows who, this memo from Ciroc was still sent out by this agency as well as many others. And it’s still a mess

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Does The Music Industry Need A Bail Out Plan?

Trials of a Hip Hop Educator:
Accepting Responsibility to Build a New Music Community
Does The Music Industry Need A Bail Out Plan? – Part II

By Tony Muhammad

tonymuhammedchitown-225In the midst of Congress attempting to pass legislation specifically to recoup $165 million in bonuses that has scandalously gone to AIG executives, the House Judiciary Committee is seeking to pass H.R. 848, the Performance Rights Act. Under this law radio stations would be required to pay royalties to artists for the music they air. According to NAB Radio Board Chairman Steve Newberry, the current economic downturn has already forced radio stations nation-wide to layoff a considerable amount of employees and reduce wages by 5 to 10 percent. He warned in his testimony to the House that if the bill is passed, it will put a whole industry “at risk.” The radio industry currently employs nearly 106,000 people but yet is on the verge of bankruptcy, reporting billions of dollars in losses every year. Newberry adds that if the bill is passed it would force many radio stations to switch to more of a “talk show” format and make them even less diverse in their play lists. Currently radio stations throughout the country, especially ones that are oriented towards “urban” and “pop” music genres are criticized for almost strictly playing from top 25 Billboard chart playlists consistently and monotonously hour to hour. Under current circumstances, local artists receive very little to no play on local stations. The passing of H.R. 848 would most certainly make matters worse.

Most interestingly and most critically, Newberry said in his testimony that “At its heart, this bill attempts to create a conflict between artists and radio stations where no conflict exists. In reality, local radio has been supporting the music industry for decades.” He continued by saying that it “boggles” his mind that “a bill that is supposed to be about benefiting artists, takes 50 percent of the performance fee and puts it into the pockets of the big four record labels, most of which are not even American companies.” These four companies are Warner Music Group, EMI, Sony and Universal Music Group.

He argues that in the end “the record labels actually walk away with more money under this bill than do the featured artists.” “The real problem, which this bill does not address,” according to Newberry, “is between the artists and these mega-record labels. Artists, often find themselves in such difficult financial straights because of the one-sided, unfair contracts they signed with their record label. If these artists had fair contracts with their labels that included fair royalty clauses, they would have benefited from the promotional value of free radio airplay that they should have enjoyed.”

After so many years (especially in the past 10) of the radio industry contributing to the problem of musical monotony in expression and form and moral degradation in the content of not just the music, but on the part of many of its “urban” on-air commentators, why is it expressing all of a sudden such a strong concern for the artists that have received the short end of the stick in the whole process? The answer is because now a threat on its very survival is being made not simply by Congress, but by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) that has pushed the idea of a “need” of such a bill on behalf of the four major record labels.

Truly, the old system is destroying itself from within. These major record labels are collapsing just like the radio industry is; also reporting billions of dollars in losses every year. At this point they seek to “squeeze blood out of a turnip” in any way that they can, wherever they can find it, even if it comes at the expense of hurting relationships with websites that could aid in promoting their music and even its historic prized relationship with the radio industry. For many years the radio industry has benefited from underhanded payola (“pay for play”) deals with the recording industry. Payola deals in other words are bribes that are disguised in the form of (for example) “consulting fees” or “record pools” with radio DJs or sponsorship for the wrapping of radio station vans in exchange for the frequent playing of particular artists’ music.

Between 2005 and 2006 New York State Attorney General at the time Eliot Spitzer prosecuted payola-related crimes in his jurisdiction. Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group each settled out of court with Spitzer and agreed to pay $10 million, $5 million, and $12 million respectively to New York State charitable causes that work in the name of music education and appreciation programs. EMI is still under investigation for such activities. Now, if this was the case just within New York State, imagine all other places where similar activities have taken place and no investigation has ever been conducted. When pop and urban radio sounds almost the same no matter where you travel in the country, contain the same music playlists and in many cases have the same over-consumerist unintelligent expression it means that everywhere someone has been strategically sent behind the scenes to cash in on the peoples’ ignorance.

As I emphasized in PART ONE, many at times the music by-itself is not simply the product for sale; but much more so the jewelry, the apparel and the liquor emphasized in the song lyrics. Do not be surprised if the next stage of commercial-music survival will involve an adapting to brief radio announcements regarding the corporations that are sponsoring the artists showcased. It would sound something like … “And now this artist is brought to you by ….” Don’t think it can’t happen because we are increasingly and rapidly moving towards very desperate economic times. For many of us, especially in the music industry, those times are already here and they are about to get worse. Think about it! Very few artists nowadays make a substantial income on just the music alone. The most successful ones, by and large, depend on endorsement deals in order to live “lush.”

However, with the economy the way that it is, new up-coming artists and all current lime light artists that bind themselves like slaves to corporations (including the major record labels themselves) will fall just as the economy that they are so dependant on will continue to fall. In truth, the new model for artists and generally Hip Hoppers of today and of the future is (as I was discussing with artist NY Oil very recently on a phone conversation) to connect themselves with a cause – just as Wise Intelligent mentors youth in educational and music recreational programs through Intelligent Kidz and MEEN in New Jersey and Philadelphia, PA; just as the art of breaking is preserved through the efforts of Rokafella and Kwikstep of Full Circle Productions as they continuously instruct talented New York City at-risk youth to strive to reach their potential not just in the area of dance but in all aspects of life; just as Jasiri X works diligently towards establishing community justice through One Hood in Pittsburgh, PA; just as Hip Hop journalist and activist Davey D continues to expose the harsh socio-political obstacles we are all faced with byway of his own news website; just as community organizer Adisa Banjoko is uprooting youth into excellence through The Hip Hop Chess Federation in the California Bay Area –

Locally we all must play our part while having a national and a global vision of unity as to what we want our future to be. As conscientious artists and Hip Hoppers in general increasingly introduce cultural arts and literacy programs in the schools, the community centers and even the juvenile detention halls, they will most certainly cause an effect in the manner the youth perceive both the world and themselves. They will begin to gravitate towards what’s real and beneficial and step by step abandon what’s artificial and detrimental to themselves and others. By putting in the necessary community-oriented work, conscientious artists and their music will naturally build a following and guarantee longevity in the support of their craft. Besides the potential world-wide success that comes with proper Internet promotion byway of ever-growing social networking outlets, the development and maintenance of local relationships is key towards establishing local success. This would entail, as the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan noted nearly 30 years ago at the 4th Annual Jack-The Rapper Conference in Atlanta, GA, the development of alternative music distribution centers in the community (including religious institutions) that support positive expression through music. Dependence on major music stores such as Specs and FYE is fruitless since they are also on the verge of financial collapse and do not serve to promote local and conscientious music much anyway.

By working together we can develop a new model for how a music industry should run; one that would mutually benefit communities and artists. At which point radio stations will have no other choice but to take notice and move the direction community would be moving. This is possible if we desire it to be. We must begin qualifying ourselves to be able to bring it into existence.

More to come next time through Allah’s (God’s) permission!

Tony Muhammad teaches American, African American and African History at an inner-city high school in Miami and is currently involved in efforts to reform The African American Voices Curriculum for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Tony is most noted for his work as publisher of Urban America Newspaper (2003 – 2007) and co-organizer of the Organic Hip Hop Conference (2004 – 2008).

America’s New Racial Boogieman-An Interview w/ Rosa Clemente


 America’s New Racial Boogieman-An Interview w/ Rosa Clemente

by Davey D

Listen to this Breakdown FM Interview w/ Rosa Clemente

rosaclementepr-225We sat down with former Green Party Vice Presidential candidate Rosa Clemente to break bread about a number of issues. First and foremost we wanted to talk about the current speaking tour she is on that addresses the issue of America being a post racial society in the aftermath of the election of President Obama.

Rosa gives an in depth breakdown about this notion and concludes that racism is alive and well and may in fact if the patterns of history hold true, things may get progressively worse because of the economic downturn.

Rosa then talked about how the racism conversation needs to be extended beyond the traditional ‘Black and White paradigm. She says with 40 million Brown and Afro Latinos in this country, that we simply can not ignore the challenges they face. Some issues overlap while others like ICE raids and immigration detention centers seem to specifically target folks in Brown communities.

She expounded upon this and talked about how America’s new Racial Boogieman is Brown in particular Mexicano. She also acknowledged that racism amongst Black folks hasn’t stopped as evidence by the rash of questionable police shootings from Oscar Grant in Oakland to Adolph Grimes in New Orleans

We talked to Rosa about her thoughts around President Obama and US boycotting the Durban Conference on Racism in Geneva because of strong objections by the Isreali lobby AIPAC. She shared with us her experience of attending the first Durban Conference on racism in South Africa and what it was like to see Colin Powell lead the US delegation out the conference when the body declared slavery was a crime to humanity.

Rosa talked about how she was glad that president Obama was honest and upfront about his reasons for boycotting the conference. She said now we all know that he is powerless when it comes to standing up to Isreal which obviously control much of his agenda.

She noted that he has taken great strides to de-racialize all issues and that in many ways its easier for him to not talk about problems confronted by Black men.

We talked to Rosa about her experience in running for Vice President and what lessons she learned and what challenges she faced. She noted that she will not be leaving electoral politics and will keep her options open to run for another office down the road.

She talked about the current crises we are facing including not having Single-payer health-care and not seeing the foreclosure crises be adequately addressed. She talked about the 14 Tent cities around the country and how that was inexcusable for a country that has so many resources.

She talked about the opportunities and challenges facing the Green Party and what she would like to see happen for them in the future. She says with the Republican Party imploding and the democrats behaving more and more moderate the Greens have an opportunity to fill a big void for people yearning for more progressive politics.

We concluded by talking in great detail about the work she is doing with Amnesty International around the issue of Immigration and Detention. She talked about all the new policies, resources and laws being put in place to target those who fit the description of being undocumented. She talked about how many US born citizens are likely to be caught up in sweeps and other types of detaining procedures and may even be connected and accused of helping others come into the country ‘illegally’.

We ended our convo with Rosa talking about the role Hip Hop organizations have been playing in the political arena.

Rosa was very thorough and insightful in this must hear interview.

Listen to this Breakdown FM Interview w/ Rosa Clemente

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Raise Up Knaan is in the Building-Make Room at the Table


Raise Up Knaan is in the Building-Make Room at the Table

by Davey D

Listen to the Breakdown FM interview w/ Knaan by clicking link below:

Davey DI met Somalian born rapper Knaan about 3 or 4 years ago in his current place of residence Toronto. We chopped it up back then and he assured me that it was just a matter of time before the US Hip Hop scene would open its arms to rappers from other shores. At the time that seemed far fetched because even though we all know that Hip Hop is a worldwide phenomenon, very few heads in the states can cite more than 3 or 4 artists from neighboring Canada much less from overseas. Ask folks to name artists from Africa and the conversation is all but over…

On one hand we should not be surprised. After all, Hip Hop always reflects the mindset and cultural mores of the people and places that embrace it.Hence to the degree we can hardly name off any of the Provinces in Canada it should not be a shock that we can’t name off any of her artists.

Nowadays Knaan is increasingly becoming a household word here in the states. He’s already a superstar overseas. For many he’s a breath of fresh air who reminds us just how flavorful good Hip Hop can be. His creativity and overall conversation raises the bar. His global perspectives reminds us that this is a big big world and our country is just a small part of it..

We caught up with Knaan during his visit at SXSW in Austin, Tx and chopped it up with him. We talked about his new album Troubadour which is a monster and what he was trying to get across. We talked about the challenges of knocking down doors in the US. Knaan quoted Saul Williams by agreeing with the assertion that Hip Hop has been republican in the past 10 years. Its been about money, closing its eyes to the realities outside its immediate borders and very unwilling to change.
He sees things changing for the better and that’s a good thing.

We covered a variety of topics including the recent move by Homeland security to scrutinize Somalis living here in the US as possible terrorists. We talked about the whole Somali pirates thing and discovered that what we been fed by mainstream news is a big lie. Knaan explained that the so called pirates are actually more like Coast Guards. They been patrolling the waters and stepping to foreign vessels that look at the un-centralized government in Somalia and hence feel they can do pillage the natural resources like over the top commercial fishing and illegal dumping of hazardous wastes. The Somalia pirates have been stepping to vessels for violating their water space and have taken the matter up to the UN only to have the main violators France along with the US veto any resolution..

knaanWe talked about the make up of Knaan’s album and what it was like working with Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and Hip Hop legend Chubb Rock. He explained that Levine was a real cool and basically came through and laid down vocals for free. He just wanted to show respect and appreciation for the music.

He talked about admiring Chubb Rock’s rhyme flow and how it was an honor to have the rapper turned school teacher to come through and lace him up.

Knaan also talked about his rhyme influences which actually come from the Rhythmic Poets of Somalia. These wordsmith have been around centuries before the first rappers in the Bronx

Finally we talked about the state of the world and how US and US Hip Hop fit into things. Knaan noted that the US is now going a period where many of its citizens are feeling vulnerable and at ease. he noted its the same type of uneasiness that many throughout the world feel on a day to day basis. Our economic hardships are routine for the majority of the people around the world and now that type of situation is on our shores and we will have to not only rise to the occasion be much more aware of what the rest of planet earth is experiencing.

Listen to the Breakdown FM Interview w/ Knaan by clicking the link below:

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Breakdown FM-Taking Over Hip Hop-An Interview w/ Zion I


We sat down and talked with Zumbi of the group Zion I and celebrated the release of their much anticipated album ‘The Takeover’. Its a masterpiece of an album that features brother Ali, Courtney Holiday, Ty, jennifer Johns, Omega and more. We walk through many of the cuts and marvel at the group’s attempts to make a timeless album that journeys through the history of Black American music styles

In this interview we talk about everything from gentrification to life in the hood and the importance of  Black manhood and  Barack Obama.

You can peep the Breakdown FM interview by clicking the link below

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

CEDITORIAL: Why New York is not Winning

CEDITORIAL: Why New York is not Winning
Written by Big Ced

What made New York, in terms of Hip-Hop, the place to be, was the abundance of talent and the stories that needed to be told to the masses. It wasn’t the poverty or the ghetto life that separated New York from the world, it was the melting pot, the air, the uniqueness of the city that made it stand out. It was also the sights, the atmosphere, the grittiness of the city that made it a place that others either wanted to visit or stay far away from. Any way you looked at it, it was always a place that was the center of attraction.

And I’m not speaking only in terms of Hip-Hop or even music. We have the Broadway shows, Central Park, the Botanical Gardens, Coney Island, etc. I could list all the major attractions and still have more places and things that make this great city stand out. Malcolm X, the Civil Rights Movement and Gay and Lesbian protests. And let’s not forget the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Polo Grounds, Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden and the New York Giants. See where I’m going with this? It will never be just one event or attraction that makes us so notable.

Wall Street, the Empire State Building and the financial district. King Kong. All in the Family, the Jeffersons, NYPD Blue and New York Undercover. Union Square, the Tunnel, Studio 54 and the Palladium. Sylvias, Copelands and Amy Ruths. Damn, this could go on for days.

But the real reason for me writing this is the rumor (or is it truth) that New York Hip-Hop is dead, wack, stale, doesnt matter anymore. Why does it take Jay-Z or Nas to make NY relevant? Where are the new cats who were supposed to take off where Jay left off? Remember when Public Enemy, KRS-ONE, Das Efx, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G. Rap, Slick Rick and every other successful New York Hip-Hop artist was hot and doing it? Remember when MC Hammer, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Uncle Luke, Common and any other emcee outside of NY wanted to be accepted by New York? What happened to those days?

Now we all have theories. Its time for other regions, people were sick of the NY sound, cats outside the region didnt care about being accepted by NY. Maybe we are the victims of our own arrogance. Maybe there were too many hot NY emcees and the competition with each other allowed everyone else to sneak in and take it from us. Doesnt matter, we are officially wack right now and there is only one thing that will put us back on top again! And no, its not the Jay-Z/Nas collaboration we are anticipating. NY is missing a great big factor that was the VERY reason why New York is envied, yet targeted, even by terrorists. We have something that is built in us, especially if we are born here, others gain once they move here and others elsewhere try to duplicate it with their own twist. Once we get this back, WE WILL WIN and be BACK ON TOP! Its one simple word and all the great emcees, past, current and hopefully, future heads has had and/or have. Are you ready? SWAGGER!!!

Let me repeat that word for the people who didnt read it correctly the first time, SWAGGER. Thats what we are missing! I am challenging the new breed of emcees to start incorporating that in the way they do things. I dont feel that from any of the new, what I call, mentionables. Papoose, Jae Millz, Maino, etc. Granted, all are talented, some even lyrical, but I dont feel the swaggerness from them that I feel from a 50 Cent, a Ludacris, a T.I. when those guys do ANYTHING and Im not just talking about them rapping. They all have an air about them that makes you take notice to them, something this new crop is lacking. Once those young bucks realize that the swagger will make them hot, they will get it.

And on another note, New York Hip-Hop was always known for its diversity and grittiness. I had a conversation with Uncle Luke yesterday and he stated that you cant know the streets if you are not in the streets. I agree completely, every one is trying to be Puff and Jay and anyone else who is able to afford the bling lifestyle, yet they dont want to work to get there. And another thing, STOP TRYING TO MAKE MUSIC LIKE THE OTHER HOT REGIONS AT THE TIME! We were hot because we went to the beat of our own drum, but nowadays, if Atlanta is hot, niggas from NY are trying to be like Atlanta. When are we gonna say fuck everybody and lets take the lead once again? We NEVER followed, we may have borrowed and made it ours, but we NEVER followed, but the current crop, all they do is mimic what the others are doing and until the cycle is broken and the right emcees lead the way, we will always be lagging in the Hip-Hop world, a world WE created, nurtured and controlled. Now all we can do is look as everyone else surpasses us in EVERYTHING!

In closing, cause Ive CED a lot, I am from New York, I live in New York, I will always represent New York, but no one likes being on a losing team. Right now we are the New York Knicks. Several years ago, ok, many years ago (during the Charles Oakley, Xavier McDaniels, Jon Starks days), whenever a basketball team came into Madison Square Garden, they knew they were in for a fight and a loss, now, they come into the Garden knowing it will be easy. NY Hip-Hop right now is the New York Knicks. Regardless of who is coaching, the team STILL SUCKS.

We need to get the dynasty going again, like The New York Yankees. No one was beating the Yankees in the seventies, they went through a slump and who is beating them now (In terms of constantly being one of the better teams)? We need to be the New York Yankees, not the New York Knicks, but more importantly, we need to take the game back! We need to be the leaders! We need to be the trend setters again! We need to get down and dirty once more to prove that we can get dirty and come out on top again. But until that happens, we may as well stop claiming where were from cause it wont matter. Its not what we did yesterday, its what we are doing tomorrow!

Big Ced is the founder of Industry Cosign and one of the most respected executives in the entertainment industry. You can check out his site at

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Outkast Catching Heat Over New Movie


original article-August 31, 2006

I feel bad for these cats, because they really try to do the right thing. First they had major drama from the late Civil Rights pioneer Rosa Parks. Next they had Native Americans upset with them for their stellar performance at the Grammys and now they got folks in the real Idlewild getting up in arms over what many are saying is an incredible flick. Would they rather see these guys do another gang bang, pimp, hustler movie with no redeeming value?

Outkast Catching Heat Over New Movie

Idlewild, Mich. For moviegoers, Idlewild is the title of a new film starring platinum-selling hip-hop duo OutKast. For many others, however, Idlewild is a historical landmark. Andre Benjamin and Antwan Patton, known to rap fans as Andre 3000.. and Big Boi, respectively, star in the film, which is a musical drama set in the 1930s in Idlewild, Ga.

But theres one thing Idlewild doesnt exist. At least not in Georgia.

There is an Idlewild, Mich., and some who have frequented it arent happy because outside of the name, the movie has nothing to do with the small town in northwest Michigan.

Its an insult, said Coy Davis Jr., a Grandville filmmaker who directed the historical documentary Whatever Happened to Idlewild?

As a child, Davis spent many summers from the 1950s through the 70s in the Lake County town where his family owned a cottage.

They take something with such historical significance as Idlewild, take the peripheral aspects of it and turn it into a shoot- em-up, bang-bang minstrel show, he told the Grand Rapids Press for a story published last week. It demeans me as an African-American.

I understand its just entertainment. But call it Mishawaka, call it Schenectady. Dont call it Idlewild.

Idlewild, Mich., about 60 miles south of Traverse City, was a haven for black entertainment during the segregation era. Its rich, storied history is remembered mostly in glowing nostalgic terms. It was a place where black professionals from all over the Midwest vacationed and saw performances by legendary entertainers such as Louis Armstrong and B.B. King.

According to Ronald Stephens, a Detroit native and author of Idlewild: The Black Eden of Michigan, the movie draws a few parallels to the real Idlewild, but nothing more.

Its biggest asset is it puts the name in the publics imagination in ways the small town of Idlewild, Mich., couldnt do, Stephens said.

John Meeks, owner of the Morton Motel in Idlewild and the self-proclaimed unpaid, unofficial Idlewild ambassador, said prospective filmmakers have been sniffing around the town for years, but the makers of Idlewild never came by.

A lot of people are disappointed when they find out it isnt about Idlewild at all, he said. Its unfortunate that the name is being exploited, that it has no connection to the history of one of the most famous black resorts.

The film, which opened nationally Friday, co-stars Ben Vereen, Cicely Tyson, Ving Rhames and Oscar nominee Terrence Howard, along with musicians Macy Gray and Patti LaBelle.

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The future of the internet: an interview with Hip Hop journalist Davey D


orginal article-Aug 26 2006

This interview between two old friends, JR and Davey D, alerting us to a looming corporate-government threat to our freedom of information and communication on the internet is taken from the Aug. 23 edition of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, and we are spreading the word through this list until our website,, is back online. A popular website that drew 2 million hits a month, it’s been badly hacked and is now under reconstruction.

Check back in a week or so for a new, better than ever, more informative, inspirational and exciting Meanwhile, we’ll send out a few of the stories and features from this week’s Bay View and invite you to spread them widely.

The future of the internet: an interview with Hip Hop journalist Davey D

by Minister of Information JR

I remember when I first met Hip Hop journalist Davey D in the mid-90s, and he was talking about how big the internet was going to be; 11 years later he has one of the biggest Hip Hop websites on the internet, He has always been on the front line of trying to arm the people he has influence over to become computer literate and learn how to use the new technology and use it to our political and economic advantage.

In this current episode of the haves versus the havenots, AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are working with sellouts like Congressman Bobby Rush and others in Congress to jack up the price of internet service, which will ultimately result in less people using it.

This is a fight that we ask everybody reading this to inform themselves about as well as get involved with, because it will affect you and your family. Check out Davey D as he informs us about the Net Neutrality Act …

MOI JR: What is the Net Neutrality Act?

Davey D: Let me explain what net neutrality is. For people that are listening, it gets a little complicated, so it might seem boring, but it is real important because it is going to change the way that we communicate with one another. Right now if you go on the internet … the internet has been a real god-send for a lot of people. Whether youre trying to get news across, or whether youre trying to get your radio show, the Block Report, across to people, or whether youre just an artist trying to get music from one point to the other, the net allows for you to do that freely, meaning that youre just one click away. So in other words, if you have your Block Report, your Block Report can be as big as ABC or CNN, because the only thing that everybody has to do is know the address so that they can click to it.

And so thats been a big problem for the big media conglomerates and a lot of people in power. So lets say that you find out some dirt on a politician, you can go put it on your report, and all that you have to do is get the address to everybody, and they can access that. If they just click on it, they could get the information.

If youre an artist, and you dont have all the money that 50 Cent has, you could come out and do your tape, put the music on the web, and all you got to do is get the address so you can bump from 50 Cents site down to yours; its just one click away.

So now what you got is these big media outlets, in particular AT&T and Comcast theyre the leaders. This Congressman, who you should know, Bobby Rush, from the Congressional Black Caucus and a few of these other people have been leading the charge to change the scene.

So now what they want is they want to make it so if you go to a site, and you dont pay a certain amount of money, then the site will be slow. So lets go back to the example that we used with your Block Report versus CNN. Right now, its even. If I click CNN, Ill see CNNs site. If I click your site, I go to the Block Report. I can get the information freely.

Now theyre going to say, We want the CNN site to load up quicker and were going to have to charge you $10, $12, $13 extra dollars a month or maybe even more to have people easily get your site. So when I go to click on your site, it might take forever for it to download. If I go to click on CNN, its right there quick, fast, in a hurry.

So hopefully that makes sense to people. So they want to basically divide up the internet, so that people who dont have money, people who have a radical or different point of view, people who are competition for major record labels and industry, that their internet connection to the public will be real slow and everybody elses will be real fast. Thats the best way to kind of describe it.

MOI JR: Who are some of the key players, and how has the fight been going up until this point?

Davey D: Well, what they did in Congress was that they had a thing called the Cope Act, and the Cope Act was basically like the Community Opportunity Program something I forget the whole acronym but it was called the Cope Act. This is what Congressman Bobby Rush pushed forth.

Now his angle was that he was trying to tell people, look, if you vote for this act and we get it passed through Congress, this is going to allow peoples cable bills to drop down lower. And he also said that the money that people will have to pay is going to go for research so that the companies like AT&T, Comcast and these other service providers could come up with high speed internet.

So now on the surface, people are like, My cable bill is going down, and theyre going to use the money so that we could have a faster connection. So he might come to you as an artist and say, Man, just pay this extra money, and you could get the speed so that it is almost a hundred times faster.

It sounds good on the surface, but here is what he is not telling you. The first thing is that he got $1 million from AT&T. That should tell you something right there. The million dollars was so that he could run programs out of his own little building that he has in Chicago.

The second thing is, is that the technology is already there. About two or three years ago, I cut a deal where I was going to work with some people in South Africa actually the government over there to provide them content, and when we were talking about making the deal, we thought that we would have to Fedex all of our information. And they told us about how fast their technology was, and they said back then this was about 2003-2004 they said that the technology that they had was close to a hundred times faster than it was here in the U.S.

So in other words, if I wanted to download a movie in South Africa, I would do it instantaneously at the snap of a finger; music you can download entire albums real quick. So the speed is there. So if youre trying to get information to the masses of people, you could do it instantaneously.

Now at the time, they were saying that the U.S. was making it very difficult to get that sort of technology into the United States, that they were trying to find a way to monetize it. So they were working with Danny Glover, Michael Jackson, Will Smith, and all of these other people to get content, so that it could go to South Africa and they can take advantage of their technology. In Beruit, where I was at for a week, their technology was much faster than ours. In France, their DSL connections are about 50 times faster than it is in the U.S., and they pay only $6 a month.

So the technology is there and it doesnt need to be discovered; all theyre going to do is just open up the gate. And theyre just trying to bamboozle people by telling them, Pay some extra money and were doing research. The only research that theyre doing is just going to pick up a phone and call up somebody and say, OK, lets bring the technology in. So those are two things that we need to really keep in mind.

Right now, the main players are AT&T, Comcast, Verizon; you should really look twice when you see Verizon doing all these commercials about downloading music. Theyre trying to cultivate a habit for people so that you start to associate Verizon with music. And what will eventually happen once the Net Neutrality thing goes through, then theyll come back and be the ultimate music site. And then all of these independent artists who theyre not in favor of, who they dont have a relationship with, who cant pay whatever money, they might not be able to get on the Verizon site.

AT&T has already opened up a music portal, and theyve been advertising it as the ultimate place to get all of your musical needs. So, in other words, these companies that just provide phone service are now starting to move inside the entertainment arena in anticipation of being able to have these high-speed connections that nobody else will.

MOI JR: How do you think that that is going to affect the digital divide on Black, Brown, and low income communities?

Davey D: Youre going to see that immediately, because whats happening is that people in our community are catching the most heat. In Chicago, they just found out all of this information about Commander Jon Burge who was torturing people. Ok, now they might do a headline on the paper, but theyre not going to tell you the behind the scenes story; theyre not going to interview everybody who is there etc. etc. And people need to know about the information so that they can either come up with new strategies, find out who they need to talk to, or at least keep their eye on the case.

Well now, if you have the internet either inaccessible or somebody like you as a journalist want to provide some information or some insight, you cant communicate to one another. Thats basically what this boils down to.

Theyre trying to find ways to make sure that people who dont have a voice never get a voice. And the internet was providing that, and people were stepping up their game, starting to do their own radio stations online, do their own magazines, do their own websites, their own distribution, and all the sort of stuff that they were doing online, and it was bringing people to a point of parity with the big boys.

Now they want to change that and basically shut it off. So anything that we need to have exposed is going to be very difficult to do, because of the change that they want to bring to the internet. Some people might say that now well just go back to the traditional ways, which is, Ill go print my own newspaper or Ill start my own television station, or Ill do whatever. But what is happening with the price of energy going up and some of these new labor laws and these new copyright things that are getting ready to come down the pipe, that is going to be even more expensive than going online.

MOI JR: How can people keep up with the Net Neutrality Act. I know that you have, but how else can people keep up with some of the information in regards to this Act?

Davey D: The main site that you go to is or; thats the main one. Now just to show you how devious the people on the other side are, what they did was they used similar language to talk about this situation. So they have a campaign called Hands Off the Internet, and they have a nice little cartoon to make it seem like theyre down with the people.

So when you watch their cartoon, its like, Yeah, we dont want nobody messing with the internet, and thats why were saying Hands Off the Internet. Support that. If you see that cartoon or hear that title, Hands Off the Internet, thats AT&T trying to pull wool over your eyes and act like theyre your best friend, when really theyre trying to stifle you in the end.

The other thing that you need to know is that theyve been spending up to a million dollars a day talking to people in Congress, lobbying your Senators, so like when I called Dianne Feinsteins office, she still doesnt have an opinion. This thing has been in front of her for six months, and she still doesnt have an opinion, which means that she might be on the fence in terms of taking money from AT&T or Comcast or Verizon. So those are the people that you need to stay away from. or are the two places that you should go to, and they could give you all the breakdown on it.

Email Minister of Information JR at and listen to the Block Report at Keep up with Davey D at

POCC Block Report Radio is teaming up wit’ Flashpoints Radio to bring the people a live dialogue between some of the Bay Area’s biggest media makers  and commentators to talk about the Net Neutrality Act and how it will affect Black and Brown people, the recent hacking into the SF Bay View website and corrupting files, and independent media and its role
in shaping our world.

The guests will be Kiilu Nyasha, Black Panther radio producer, Davey D, Hip Hop journalist who runs the website, and Terone Ward, the San Francisco Bay View Newspaper’s webmaster.

You can join us live in the studio on Wednesday, August 30th, at New College, 780 Valencia between 18th and 19th, in San Francisco at 5pm. The studio has seats for 40. Let’s fill ’em up. Admission is Free…

If you’re not in the Bay Area or can’t be in the studio, listen to the show at 5pm Wednesday on KPFA 94.1 FM or To listen later, the show will be archived at

For more info, email JR at

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Hip-Hop In Germany


Hip-Hop In Germany

from The Bomb Hip-Hop Magazine #46 (April/May 1996)
by Boris Heimberger

When I went to the States for the first time in 1986 I would say I was the typical European kid. I was a MOD and Ska and New Wave music was the hype. I went to a record shop while I was out there and bought some promo copies of Sugarhill records with a lot of Grandmaster Flash on it. I had read some stuff on hip-hop but had never heard of Melle Mel. Then I went to a Whodini concert and guess who was the special guest that night, Run DMC… who at that time had not discovered Adidas yet.

Hip-Hop in Germany has a similar beginning like in the US. Although strongly influenced by overseas records and movies like Wild Style, it turned and flowed in a different direction caused by a different enviroment. Graffiti and breakdancing came out big but it only lasted for one summer. But hip-hop survived in the underground with people still bombing trains and rap jams at special clubs. At that time we did not have MTV or anything comparable in Europe – but with it’s start about three years ago hip-hop broke thru to get more popular and our own industry started to grow. The German equivalent of MTV’s Yo Raps is VIVA’s Freestyle which presents a comfortable mixture of US, GB and German Hip-Hop. Low budget bands sit together on the interview couch with the Beastie Boys and a crew of VJs travel around the country to make updates.

Special clubs that play 100% hip-hop are rare. In Hamburg you will find all those special clubs clubs in the Red Light district around the Reeperbahn, which is very famous not only for their prostitutes but also for the highest density of bars, music clubs, and discos. Due to the amount of sex and crime in that area it is not a beneficial enviroment. But the advantage of no limit opening hours makes it to be the most famous area of all of Europe. Famous clubs are The Mojo (more jazz oriented), Molotow (hardcore), and The Powerhouse which is separated in two parts – one for jungle music and one for hip-hop. The Powerhouse is the most favorite for US rappers who are touring and/or hanging out after a show. Last summer I met Ice T and his Body Count Crew as well as House of Pain at The Powerhouse. There are also a lot of jams all over the city where German DJs mainly play native music intermixed with live acts. Breaking is not very big in the clubs except for The Powerhouse and I have to admit that I do not know any breakers because most of those guys are from the suburbs. Live acts always depend on the season – which is Spring to Fall. Last summer we had a open air concert featuring Ice Cube and Gang Starr that was a highlight. Unfortunately the Amerikkkas Most Wanted Tour, featuring Ice T, Ice Cube, and Public Enemy was cancelled. Word had it that it was cancelled due to a management problem, same thing happened with the Warren G concert. We’ll see what happen this year.

Like the clubs there are not any pure hip-hop radio stations, but almost everyday hip-hop dj’s have their hours to play rap music. The good thing is that there is no censorship here. Example: Everday you can hear 20 Fingers original ‘Short Dick Man‘ on the radio.

Like in the states the US Rap Music market is very big and you can find everything in the big mall record shops including local independent German releases. But shops like Zardoz in Altona normally have the brand new releases first, that’s where I found the ‘Bomb Hip-Hop Compilation‘ on compact disc. The relation of import and domestic right now is 70% import to 30% domestic right now, but domestic is increasing rapidly. CD’s have practically taken over the market out here and cassettes are almost out and are just used for black copies. I think they keep a little bit of vinyl alive for the DJs to scratch with and sample. It’s hard to describe the scene in detail because even in the city of Hamburg different styles occur due to ethnic and musical background. Germany is full of immigrants from Turkey, former Yugoslavia and of course Africa. Consequently everyones rappin’ in the lanquage that he or she prefers. Due to a grand hardcore community, rock influences in German hip-hop are much stronger than in the states.

Graffiti artists like Hesh and Daim actually earn enough money from their art to live from and other groups like Fantastische Vier (fantastic four) are mega-stars. If you meet Miro (alias sprayer Mesh, alias rapper Masquerade) you might have the impression that you have just met a lazy bum (but this probably comes from his yugoslavian background) but once he starts working his creativity of music and graffiti it definitely makes him to be the GM of his hood Altona.

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