People have often talked about fighting wars using biological and chemical weapons. We came after Hitler for using them. We came after Saddam Hussein for using them. Sadly no one ever came after those who flooded urban communities during the 1980s and into the 90s with Crack. If this wasn’t a weapon of mass destruction, I don’t know what was.. One thing I can say about Hip Hop is that early on it confronted the problem.. Kool Moe Dee dropped a dope song called ‘Monster Crack’ in 1986..
Before him, we heard Cracked Out by Masters of Ceremony featuring a young Grand Puba who later went on to be a part of Brand Nubian.. Of course we all know the joint from Public Enemy ‘Night of the Living Bassheads which featured the debut of a young actor named Samuel Jackson.
Another landmark song ‘Batterram‘ came from West Coast Legend Toddy Tee.. who responded to the hateful orders of LA Police Chief Darryl Gates to use an armored tank with battering ram to break into fortified crack houses in hood. On more than one occasions, police got the wrong address and broke down the wrong house..
We also cannot forget Donald D who was one of the first rap artists to come out and blame the FBI for crack in the Hood. This Rhyme Syndicate member had a song called F.B.I. which stood for Free Base Institute. Before people got into crack, they free based cocaine..
A west coast anthem addressing this scourge was Dope Man by NWA..which gave keen insight into what was going on at the time.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqECIKQaPBk Bay Area pioneer Too Short’s ‘Girl’ was another early joint http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImviIbqI-8Q
In the same vein an anthem song that addressed cocaine and not crack was White Lines by Grandmaster Flash and Furuious Five. It was supposed to be an anti-drug song, but unfortunately many took it to be an endorsement of the popular drug.
Sadly one of the first crack songs I ever heard was one that actually came across as one that advocated smoking crack at least in the hook..It was called Crack it Up by Funkmaster Wiz. In the song Wiz says warns we better not crack it up, and in hindsight 20 years later we clearly hear it.. At the time..this song was an all out anthem that suggested we go for it.. For many its hard to believe Hip Hop went there, but let’s be honest, back in the early pioneering days it wasn’t unusual to hear popular artist of the day shout to high school folks, ‘If you snort cocaine- say yeah”
The song that really stood out for me but was definitely underplayed was this posse cut, done in the same spirit of ‘Stop the Violence’ and ‘We’re All in the Same Gang’. This was done by X-Clan leader Professor X. It was a 1993 joint called ‘Close the Crackhouse’ and featured an Allstar line up of Professor X, BrotherJ, Wise Intelligent, Big Daddy Kane, Digital Underground, Ex-Girlfriend, Chuck D, Sister Souljah, Mickey Jarret, Freedom Williams from C&C Music Factory and 2 Kings and a Cypher.
Kool Moe Dee ‘Monster Crack’
Public Enemy ‘Night of the Living Bassheads’.. This video is deep on so many levels..especially how they showed just how widespread the problem was.. from Wall Street to the Hood. I also like how they did this video as a news report..
Donald D ‘FBI’
Toddy Tee ‘Batterram’
Funkmaster Wiz ‘Crack It Up’… Can you believe there was a song that actually advocated for crack? When this song first came out the chorus was an affirmative ‘Crack It Up’.. Funkmaster Wiz claimed it was anti-crack song, but the hook left everyone believing it was a pro crack song.. People complained and Funkmaster Wiz went back in the studio and tried to clean up the song by putting the phrase ‘Ya better Not’.. Over the past year or so, the original version has been scrubbed from Youtube and whats left is the anti-crack version..
Here is a excerpt of the original version.. You can see how folks concluded it was a pro-crack song..
Mele-Mel– doing a live performance of White Lines..
Masters of Ceremony ‘Cracked Out’
Nice history, though I’m surprised you didn’t mention Funkmaster Wiz added “You better not” before crack it up because the song was being interpreted as pro-Crack. Wiz reads it back and suggests it was totally anti-crack but the lyrics really the capture the uncertainty of consequence in the emergence of crack. I like to use the song in my classes to explain how the arrival of crack was not at first seen as an epidemic, but shortly later would be seen as such.
I’m going back to how that song was first embraced. I recall very vividly that song was seen as a pro crack song.. People used to sing the chorus..It’s along the lines of White Lines.. They got stuck with the same stigma…. Also keep in mind cats like Mele-Mel actually shouted out at parties to scream yeah if you were snorting cocaine.. I have tapes of that going back to ’79.. But your right lemme add that addition cause people might not hear this ‘questionable’ anti-crack song.. LOL
hate to say it but wiz looks cracked out…
davey, you forgot shinehead’s rap/reggae anthem, “gimme no crack” –one of the better antidrug hip-hop songs of that time.
Yeah there’s alot.. cant remeber the last 10 years.. Shinehead is going back to the 80s.. wow..LOL
How about “Crack Killed Applejack” by General Kane…classic
ALL I HAVE 2 SAY..IS THESE SONG R THE REAL ROOTS OF HIP HOP WHEN HIP HOP HAD AND DID DO SOME MAJOR SONGS,NOW..ITS NOT LIKE THAT..WE HAVE NO REAL RAP VIDEO SHOWS..BUT BET WICH ONLY HAS THE PAY TOPLAY SYSTEM..DAVEY D YOUR THE SHIT! BEEN LISTENING TO YOU SINCE I WAS 16
Not every Balck History “fact” requires a video. Nine times out of ten, if the fact is on video, in a magazine, or on record or CD, Balck people do not own that fact. Melle Mel’s “White Lines” re-introduced to us what Richard Pryor told us; about like two years earlier, about being addicted to free-base cocaine. Everything rappers perhaps did to counter drugs, “Hip-hop” did the “opposite” to make individuals and record companies money while everyone suffered. Hip-hop did nothing to slow down the effects of crack on the Black community. It took time and a movie like “New Jack City” to wake America up. And don’t think they in Afghanistan with all those poppey seeds for nothing. Every twenty years they bring back ta new drug craze for the “next generation”. Be prepared for another war on “us”. Black Histroy Fact – Melle Mel inttroduced drugs to “Rap Music” in 1984/85 with “White Lines”. Boy, do our people get used!!! I wonder what “his” criminal background history is?
Deep article! It made me recall: Yo’ Mama’s on Crack Rock.
Robert-Mele-introduced this or did Sylvia??? lemme check… Yep it was Sylvia who had final say so as to what got presented to America.. mele did White Lines, she executive produced it…
Davey D, the person who sat down and wrote that song was Mele Mel – aka – Grand MAster Mele Mel. No excuse, but “SugarHill” was on its way out the door when that song was released. They say it was recorded in 1983, but I didn’t hear that junk until about 1984. Bronx rappers really couldn’t rock parties like the “Crash Crew” and them on “record”. May have been thorough live in the “parks”, but lyrically… Check the facts, there was actualy a person “behind” Sylvia and Joe, Sr. who had the say and “finances” on what America would ultimately be presented from “Rap Music”. Executive producing and controlling an industry and people’s minds are two diffent things. Sylvia wasn’t that diabolical. Mel was a pawn like “most” hip-hop figures. Bottom line – “Black History” doesn’t come from videos, records, and magazines, only those who control those forms of media and own them can change and distort. our history with them. We have to know our “own” history – “The Origin of Rap Music” – 1994 by Robert Jr. James McClendon. That’s where it starts – “Knowledge of Self”. Got tot stop being scared, people!!!
robert actually makes an interesting point, that hip-hop didnt stop the flow of drugs into the black community–in some cases it accelerated it.
i consider songs like cracked out, gimme no crack and night of the living baseheads public service announcements. but some people obviously weren’t paying attention.
the crack epidemic was a lot bigger than hip-hop, though–i’m not sure it was hip-hop’s fault. at least the music offered social commentary on what was happening at the time.
I haven’t seen that Prof.X video in years…thanks!
Yeah, the crack problem was way bigger than hip-hop. I don’t think crack fiends or their dealers cared much for those types of messages…same goes for many gangs during those anti-violence ensembles. That said, I do think it had SOME effect in thwarting potential victims or even getting into the heads of those with troubled lives.
The crack cocaine epidemic goes past rap music.The CIA flooded drugs from Central & South America into South Central Los Angeles in the early 1980’s. The CIA then sold the crack cocaine to The Crips & Bloods.That’s what touched off the murderous drug wars between the rival black gangs.The govt help spread drugs throughout the black communities across the US. There never really was a real “war” on drugs. It was all out war on Black People.Hip-Hop artists like Public Enemy,X-Clan,Toddy Tee were just addressing how crack cocaine severely damaged the black community.Can’t forget about the racist 3 strikes law in California and Rockefeller drug laws in New York State.Back then, hip hop had the guts to address real issues affecting our people. Nowadays, its turned in a sad joke. Radio became commericalized years ago and wickedness took over.Stop listening to commericalized radio in 1991.Its up to black people to support real rap misic with real messages. Not supporting people like lil wayne, young jezzy,50 cent, puff daddy,camron,lil jon,gucci mane, etc.They’re just a bunch of puppets with no backbone and the master pulling their strings.Keeping it Real. Yah, Right Keeping It Dumb and Ignorant Forever!!!!!
Fruitof Islam19, what those in Central Los Angeles or California, where ever, don’t ever tell is how the Government would ship guns and aaaualt weapons by trains and would just leave the high powered guns and ammunition for the young gang bangers to take off the trains just sitting stationary for days. Custom’s workers were not allowed to inspect these trains because this cargo was being shipped specifically to Cali. “This was how the war on Black people was fueled”. The gang bangerswould get the guns and ammunition from the trains and they had better guns than the local police, because the Government was supplying them the guns and ammunition. Russian AKA 47 Assault riffles, ect.?
Crack comes from the poppey seeds like in Afghanistan, but Crack was a “man-made” synthetic drug designed to addict people. Cocaine was a part of the drug, but “scientist” extracted the addictive chemical and defined the drug that was so addictive and under-cut cocaine with this chemical process. Watch a movie called “Deep Cover”, that’ll give you a good idea of who the under-cutting scientist with no regard for human life were. You’d get more time for “Crack” than coke, because Black people learned how to make the drug and sell it without control… Remeber in the movie “New Jack City” Nino Brown said ,”Our Dominican Brothers have shown us the way?” It wasn’t them, it was the “scientist” who extracted that powerfully addictive chemical and poisoned a nation. History is deep. People are scared to really deal with it. California did once have a Congress woman stand up to speak out about the Government’s involvement, but they payed that woman off and you don’t even hear from her no more. What’s that Black woman from Cali who used to be so vocal, until they paid her and her district off? All I say, is be prepared to the next go round. They ain’t in Afghanistan with all those poppey seed “coke” drugs all this time for nothing. “Those that do not know their history are doomed to repeat it”. Evil people are going to do evil things, Hip-hop just has to be Hip-hop – music. History is for those who aren’t afraid, so leave it alone…
The truth will set our people free. ignorance keeps us shackeld. Its easier to go to work on a 9-5 job and provide for your family than it is to scheme how to rip other Black people off. Truth. Its easier to do things right the first time than to try to get over and get caught. truth. Its easier to read for yourself than to have someone else telling you who you are, what your are to believe, and why you are inferior. Truth. The truth will not make you rich, but it damn sure wil get our people away from ignorance. The truth is- to all the ignorant ass brothesr and sisters from California and other states who were getting those automatic weapons and never told that they were getting them and the ammunition off the trains to this day, because of the ignorant ass “NO SNITCH CODE”. Not telling the “truth” only allows that type of ignorance to be repeated again by the Government.
If I was President for a day, I would straigten out Black America by erasing every ignorant Black person. I’d start with the prisosn, then the mothers and their unruly kids, all those black males who do not have jobs and sell drugs, and then every Black father who had more than two kids out of wedlock and didn’t support them. We may end up only four percent of the population in America as Black people, but we’d be “ignorant” free for a couple of decades. For real, the truth hurts, becasuse its just so hard for our people to let go of the ignorance.
Great article. There is a lot of good information here, though I did want to let you know something – I am running Redhat with the latest beta of Firefox, and the look and feel of your blog is kind of bizarre for me. I can read the articles, but the navigation doesnt function so great.
I wish I could have been alive in 1986. I would have sold crack cause I would have made a lot of money! Fuck the people would were addicted. That’s their problem.
Yeah there’s alot.. cant remeber the last 10 years.. Shinehead is going back to the 80s.. wow..LOL
thanks very good post
And then there came from the ashes, what Brother Malcolm would call “The hate that hate produced”…..
Artist who, myself included, were products of the crack generation who started to write about their struggles and experiences of an entire world fueled by crack in one way or another. Truth be told on wax you either smoked it or sold it; either way, the lyrics expressed how you’ve been touched by it in some shape form or fashion.
Then suddenly….when life imitates art we had artists glorifying the distribution of crack which in turn had a generation running to sell crack…not because they’re entire livelihood depended on it, but for no other reason than…that’s what the rappers were rapping about and glorifying.
Reblogged this on Maintaining Your World.
Yes, Black people, families have been swimming in hip hop rap sea of drugs every since the the white horse and flower power created diversity.in the trade of marketing pimping. and the K K K left their mark in the heart of America murdering the most powerful men in America. Let’s say at least 30 years ago