Remembering X-Clan’s ‘Day of Outrage’ in the Wake of the Michael Dunn Verdict

X-ClanWhen things don’t seem right and injustice is all around, sometimes you need a loud, booming song to re-center you and remind you that our people are resilient and that resistance to the evil all around us will be the order of the day.

A day after the incredulous verdict around Michael Dunn where jurors could not convict him of murdering unarmed Jordan Davis while simultaneously convicting him of attempted murder of the men who survived the shooting, has had me listening to the song ‘Day of Outrage‘ by X-Clan.  The searing lyrics has me wanting to hear more songs like this as I recall the climate that led up to the landmark song…

For those unfamiliar, back in August 1989, folks were feeling overwhelmed after the killing of 16-year-old Yusef Hawkins at the hands of an angry white mob who thought he was dating a local white girl named Gina Feliciano…About 30 men laid in wait near the house of the girl who was believed to be dating a Black men. They all had bats.

Yusef and his friends came out of candy store and coincidently walked by the building when the men with bats confronted them. No words were exchanged, No bats were swung, Yusef was shot twice in the chest and left dead holding onto his candy bar. The man who shot him was convicted of second degree murder the other main defendant was acquitted but found guilty on a lesser charges.. Yusuf wasn’t dating anyone, he and his friends were simply responding to an ad for a used car.

Yusef Hawkins Protest

Yusef Hawkins Protest

At the time New York City was in an uproar and the rap group X-Clan responded . They were  part of an organization called Blackwatch which was led by group leader Professor X who was the son of long time activist Sonny Carson who was one of the group’s mentors and advisors. .. On the Day of Outrage they led help lead 50 thousand people across the Brooklyn Bridge… The song they did ‘Day of Outrage’ was among the many songs artists were doing at the time to offer the community a soundtrack for the racial struggles they were battling.. Here’s an article on the day of outrage

Fast forward to today in the aftermath of Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride and  Jordan Davis to name a few of the many, one can’t help but wonder what it would be like if popular artists like Nicki Minaj had taken all their anger and frustration expressed in songs  like ‘Looking Azz N*ggas‘ and applied that same energy and venom to the racist folks in Florida who time and time again show disdain and disgust for our people.

Nicki MinajIn the video, instead of shooting guns at Looking Azz N*ggas what if she pointed those guns at Looking Azz Racists in Florida who set George Zimmerman free? Or what if she pointed the guns at ‘Looking Azz’ Jury members who got hung up and handed down a mistrial verdict to an un-remorseful murderer like Michael Dunn? Even better what if those guns were directed at the state prosecutor Angela Corey who lost two cases of unarmed Black teenagers being killed via Stand Your Ground, leaving many to believe she threw the case?

Maybe a venomous song could be done directed at George Zimmerman himself, who is seeking to capitalize off murdering Trayvon Martin and reinvent himself as a ‘celebrity boxer’…

Perhaps a stinging song could be directed at ALEC members or Stand Your Ground advocates who created this climate of fear, suspicion which is leading to the murder of innocent unarmed Black folks.

Where are our most popular and most visible artists with their lyrical take downs of this injustice system and the people who run it. ? How about a song directed at Looking Azz Government officials in Florida’??

Lookingazzracist-400Instead of distorting the image and legacy of Malcolm X, Emmett Till, Harriet Tubman, Harry Belafonte and other folks who symbolize our freedom struggle, some of these artists should go all out and lambast folks who actively and routinely work against us. For example, where’s the songs to bash Congressional leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor over their policies like cutting 40 billion dollars in food stamps and not extending unemployment benefits?

Where’s the songs taking down Bill O’Reilly? Sean Hannity? Rush Limbaugh who make a living off of demonizing and stereotyping Black folks day in and day out?  Where’s the take down songs directed at Megyn Kelly the Fox news pundit who blew up the spot late last year by announcing Jesus and Santa are white? Where are the songs that go HAM about them?  We need more songs that speak to our collective outrage about a system that is broke beyond repair and aggressively counter attack those who seeking to demoralize us.

And yes for the record I’m fully aware there are lots of artists who do speak truth to power, from Rebel Diaz to Immortal Technique to Yassin Bey to dead prez to Cihuatl Ce to Sa-Roc to Talib Kweli to Ras Ceylon to Killer Mike to David Banner to Boots Riley Alia Sharrief to Jasiri X to Toki Wright to Eseibio the Automatic to DLabrie to name a few. Their efforts should be supported and never discounted. Sadly they are not presented via mainstream outlets and in terms of pushing to get issues addressed we should all be thinking, advocating and noting what’s lacking in many of our circles during times like these.

Angela Corey

Angela Corey

If one wants to take this a step further, how about a few songs that challenge those in office and push for a changing of the guard? Many are upset with Florida’s State Attorney Angela Corey and her office who they feel did not give it their all both in this trial as well as the George Zimmerman/ Trayvon Martin trial which they lost.

Many feel they were skittish in talking about race and that they went light on the defendants. In this particular case, Corey’s office never countered all the testimony claiming Dunn was a nice sensitive guy by showing the racist letters he wrote from prison in describing Jordan and his friends. Corey needs to be removed from office.

Back in the days, when Miami residents were dissatisfied with their local district attorney, Uncle Luke (Luther Campbell) of the 2 Live Crew, had one of his artists named Anquette do a song that help catapult someone into office who they felt would do a better job. That individual eventually went on to become the US Attorney General.. Her name was Janet Reno. An interesting side note, Reno’s opponent, Jack Thompson was so enraged about the song, that he led a campaign to get 2 Live Crew brought up on obscenity charges because of their racy music. That case made its way to the US Supreme Court where 2 Live Crew was vindicated. Luke in later years said he had no regrets putting out the Janet Reno song. He felt it was necessary.

Day of Outrage.26.03 PM

Today I’m listening to that classic X-Clan joint ‘Day of Outrage‘ and remembering some pointed words put forth by the late Amiri Baraka when describing the purpose of Black Art  “Poetry is not, as art form, separate from the violent struggles of the people; it is and must be a weapon in that struggle..

X-Clan Day of Outrage



Remembering Malcolm X’s Long Connection to Hip Hop

In the aftermath of the firestorm Nicki Minaj caused soiling the image of Malcolm X El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) by using him as a marketing tool for her new song ‘Lookin’ Ass Nigga‘, we wanted to take some time out to remind people of the long history our Black Shining Prince has with Hip Hop.

Malcolm X had such a presence in Hip Hop because he was sampled so much and his image was put in so many videos, many would remark that he was an emcee. His words of wisdom and powerful voice was a part of Hip Hop’s soundtrack and it informed us.

Those who are old enough will recall the early days of Hip Hop, before records were made, pioneering deejays like Afrika Bambaataa would rock Malcolm speeches over break beats. Not only did it sound funky but it helped raise our consciousness. For many of us it was our first introduction to him. It inspired many to pick up his autobiography which was transformative.

In all fairness it should be noted that Bam was doing what many within jazz had already started doing in terms of inserting Malcolm’s voice within their work. Many did songs that paid tribute to him.. Hip Hop had joined the circle.

Audonbon BallroomIn the pioneering days of Hip Hop, Malcolm’s presence was felt because many of us one of the hot spots for early Hip Hop jams was the famed Audubon Ballroom.  Situated right across the street from Presbyterian Hospital on 168th and Broadway (where I was born), one could not attend a Hip Hop jam in the late 70s early 80s at the Audubon and not think of its sordid history. This was where Malcolm was assassinated (Feb 21 1965) . One could not enter that Audubon, see the huge hospital less than 100 feet away across the street and not wonder why it took over 45 minutes for the police and medics to get him inside that building after he was shot to work on saving his life..

It should also be noted that Malcolm’s presence was felt when folks picked up compilations of reissued break beats ‘Super Disco Breaks‘ on Paul Winley records. Winley also pressed up copies of Malcolm’s speeches. Many of us snatched copies of Ballot or the Bullet along with early recordings where Malcolm would spit fire. On some of the reissued speeches, Winley rearranged them to sound like press conferences. He had an announcer ask questions and than would edit in excerpts from one of Malcolm’s speeches.

Break beats and Malcolm X was the formula back in the early days. It was all crystallized in 1983 when Tommy Boy records released the song ‘No sell Out’ from drummer Keith Leblanc where bits and pieces of Malcolm were interspersed throughout the song.

KRS-One Malcolm XDuring the so-called Golden era you had everyone from Poor Righteous Teachers to Paris to 3x Dope to Gang Starr to Public Enemy all rocked Malcolm samples in their songs.. KRS One mimicked the infamous Malcolm X pitcher, that Nicki Minaj soiled, where he was holding a gun looking out the window, ready to protect himself after his home had been firebombed. Many say KRS kicked things off when he featured Malcolm X in his My Philosophy video … I miss those days..

Malcolm X The SourceMalcolm was sampled so much that he wound up being on the cover of the Source Magazine in 1990. Many forgot about that.  Say what you will, the powers that be (Cointel-Pro, J Edgar Hoover, FBI) worked overtime to remove Malcolm from our collective consciousness must’ve been fuming when that happened. At the height of the crack era, Malcolm had reached young minds from the grave and was helping reshaped them..

It wasn’t too long after that Source cover that we started to not see and hear Malcolm as much. Some said it was because labels and his estate were smashing on people for sampling him and wanted to collect money if his voice was added to any record. Others said he was over exposed especially after Spike Lee‘s movie came out in 92 and folks started rocking X hats thinking it stood for the number ’10’ vs Malcolm X…

Perhaps it was a new version of cointel-pro working in overdrive to stamp out his presence once and for all and make sure he never got that far into the mainstream undistorted and un-maligned. Perhaps it’s for that reason when future generations of emcees sampled Malcolm X and did justice to his image that the songs were uncelebrated and damn near marginalized. They range from David Banner‘s Malcolm X to local artists like D’Labrie‘s  It Aint EZ w/ San Quinn and Keyanna Bean to folks like DJ/ Professor Jared Ball (I Mix What I Like) taking it to another level and by editing and penning books about Malcolm X to keep his legacy in tact.. (A Lie of Reivention Correcting Manning Marable’s Malcolm X )

Nicki MinajMaybe it was this effort to erase Malcolm that artists like Nicki Minaj felt comfortable maligning him.. She didn’t see him as a peer as was the case with past generations, but instead as dusty irrelevant relic of the past.

Nicki was pressured to remove this image and issue an apology thanks to other Hip Hop community leaders like Rosa Clemente who were outraged, still saw Malcolm as a peer and launched an online petition that garnered thousands of signatures opposing Nicki’s latest offering which many found offensive.

Here are a few other  songs that were dope that came out at a time many were screaming for conscious music that evoked Malcolm and have gone unnoticed..

Killer Mike w/ Ice Cube ‘The Pressure’

Akrobatik ‘Remind My Soul’

Jasiri XUniversal Ruler

K-Hill For My People

Malcolm Meets Fort Minor Our Black Shining Prince (Davey D remix)

Many have got it twisted in thinking Malcom X somehow softened or lightened up in his final days.. This speech given in 1965 one month before he was killed is anything but soft.. He stays sharply focused and unwavering in his fight for freedom



5 Videos that Remind Us Hip Hop is Not Dead #2 From Eternia to Medusa & Beyond


Canadian born Eternia has been making a lot of noise lately. Seems like every time she hits the stage she brings high energy and leaves an indelible impression. I love this song ‘Goodbye’ which is off the album ‘At Last‘, but I think she has harder material. For example, I wish she had a video for the remake she, Jean Grae, Rah Digga, Lady of Rage and Tiye Phoenix did of the Main Source classic Live at the BBQ. She aslo has a song where she uses the beat from theDr Dre / Snoop Dogg classic ‘Deep Cover’.  For this video Eternia writes its a tale of industry vs. art through the eyes of Eternia, wherein she learns to trust her struggle, backed by MoSS’s post-apocalyptic, end-of-the-world sonic imagery.

Say what you will about Nicki Minaj, but I love the way she flipped Biggie’s classic Warning. There’s no denying the girl can flow and her lyrics to this song are good as she gave us an insightful female perspective to this tale of grit and grime. Personally I wanna see more remakes of songs, just to hear and see the way folks flip them..

Pittsburgh artist Kellee Miaze remakes the Mobb Deep classic 'Survival of the Fittest'

Kellee Maize is one of the best kept secrets in Pittsburgh. Not only is she a dope rapper who always pushes the envelop with politicized lyrics, she also is a local promoter. For years she’s been the force behind Nakturnal which was space where female emcees could come through and let loose. Her album Age of Feminine is dope and an underground classic. Her latest one ‘Aligned Archetype‘ has been explosive garnering over 300, 000 downloads.

The video below was inspired by Mobb Deep‘s ‘Survival of the Fittest‘. She said she always loved the group and especially this song. She wanted to experiment and see what it would be like to mimic their flow and add her own lyrical take. The cut is called ‘Revival of the Fifth Sun‘ and according to Maize was hard to do. She noted its easy to write for yourself. Its a challenge to try to go word for word with the same cadence as someone else. She would love to one day redo the song with Mobb Deep on it.. Here’s her version of this classic.

Medusa w/ KRS-One

The Queen of LA Hip Hop is Medusa. She’s the one who gave birth to all these emcees. Her reign dates way back to the Good Life in the early 90s when she used to step to the mic and destroy emcees to now where she still performs to packed houses all over the world.. In this video,she’s still repping as you can see with this live version of Cali Frame taken off her last album ‘Gangsta Goddess’. She is by far one of the most underrated and talented emcees around. She was rocking mics with a band long before the many who have jumped in that lane. Salute


There’s not enough words to describe why Invincible is dope and such an important figure in Hip Hop for both women and the city of Detroit. This video captures the essence of who is she is-a community activist who has true love for the young people in her city. She penned this about her latest video;

After several months of anticipation, two of Detroit’s most visionary hip-hop figures, Invincible and Waajeed, are finally releasing their single, “Detroit Summer” b/w “Emergence”. The passionate two-song project is not only being put out digitally and in limited edition 7″ vinyl format but it’s also being launched with a powerful double music video as well.

This stunning visual representation of the songs was shot on-site during the historic Allied Media Conference and United States Social Forum this past June in Detroit. The video also documents the Detroit Summer Live Arts Media Project youth program, in which Invincible is heavily involved

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