I’m Not Afraid of Ice Cube Anymore: Questlove offers some food for thought

I came across this missive from Questlove of the Roots today on twitter… I read it, then peeped the video he linked to and my mind went racing in a few directions all at once. First, I looked at the video from the perspective of the disgruntled fan. In today’s society so many of us attach ourselves to celebrity so much, that our identity gets caught up in what they do or don’t do. This is especially true if that celebrity fills an important void that society refuses or doesn’t seem to have the capacity to fill.When this happens we don’t want our celebrities to change. When they fall short we take it personal. I seen this happen with everyone from Public Enemy to Jesse Jackson.

The second angle I explored was how so many of us are allowed space to grow and evolve. Sometimes it’s our own fault. We don’t wanna take responsibility. We don’t want to endure the pain that comes with growth so we get caught up in what has often been described as the Peter Pan syndrome.

On the other hand , we live in a society that often doesn’t want us to grow. We’re to forever be child-like in our thinking and entertainment minded versus business minded. We’re to forever be the buffoon and never the scholar. When we stray away we get smacked down into place and severely criticized even from our own. So in this case ice Cube at age 40 is still supposed to be a hardcore gangsta riding around with an AK versus maybe be a family guy…For him to grow, he’s considered a sellout.. and not a fully well-rounded thinking man.

Third and most disturbing, is something that author/scholar Adam Mansbach often talks about. He describes the proverbial suburban white Hip Hop fan who grew up fascinated and intimated by Hip Hop which they fully equated with the totality of Black culture. He talks about how many would live vicariously through the words and videos of street oriented rap groups to the point that they would start mimicking them and adapt a worldview that would be warped to the point that anything not falling into the mold was somehow out-of-pocket.

Mansbach describes how those suburban white kids would listen to these records, watch those videos and not ever have to full experience the realities depicted in the songs. This would lead them to feel comfortable and believing that they were not only part of but definers of the culture. They would become embolden and ‘no longer afraid of the ghettos they vicariously visited..

Here’s what Questlove had to say…


tryna tell yall: this is why i cry out against the press/blogger minstrelsy embrace of hip hop (if its “scary” or “bright” “clownish”/”funny” or “oversexed” or “watered down apolitically” (no balls/opinion/position/eager to pleaseisms) its minstrel!!!! read this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minstrel_show

point is: this song is cute http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cjx8wg0hmY&feature=player_embedded#

but TRULY it is the answer to all the questions we had about hip hop’s demise.

it would be nice to say “oh…its an art form and treated as such” (remember that@harryallen quote about “hip hop is treated like its disposable. its not even considered ‘art'” on our Things Fall Apart intro?–well this is the dangers of embracing something for the wrong reasons:

hip hop’s MASSIVE success was running on the fumes of the “horror flick/roller coaster” syndrome: something scary and exciting you are curious about…but something you don’t take all that serious.

in other words: lets look at sting and lil wayne:

if both figures (both are massive sales figures in pop music)—if both made announcements that they were quitting music for a career in politics: and them in office position effected your life and you had to chose one—who would you be more inclined to take seriously to run your government?

(ill leave it up to you to get my point….but for those who say wayne, i can pretty much also guess that you too dont take life all that seriously or being contrary is how you differentiate yourself from others)

anywho….watch that clip.

reveals ALOT


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Hip Hop Wisdom: Bambu Speaks on Gender Politics, Filipinos in Hip Hop & Gang Life in LA

We caught up w/ Bambu who was on hand at Delores Park for the Eco-Fest 2010. He broke down the inspiration and the meaning behind the song ‘The Queen is Dead’. He talked to us about brothers using flowery words like ‘Queen’ and ‘Sista’ and not really meaning it. It called such cats ‘Macktavist’


We caught up with Bambu at SxSW last year  and he spoke to us about the Filipinos in Hip Hop and gang life in LA. He noted that he doesn’t say gang life is wrong.. He says it needs to be redirected and folks need to use their talents and intelligence to really owning their blocks


Below is a pretty cool video for the song ‘Pull It Back


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It’s More Than Just Money: When Capitalism Hits the Fan (The True Story of this Economic Meltdown)

This is an incredible lecture that everyone needs to peep that breaks down the current state of affairs with our economy. This cat Professor Richard Wolff is a beast when it comes to this as he lets us know that what is going down goes beyond money.. The quality on these clips aren’t all that great.. You can get better qualities at his website..http://www.capitalismhitsthefan.com/

Below is a more detailed description of what’s on these clips…They come in 9 parts

With breathtaking clarity, renowned University of Massachusetts Economics Professor Richard Wolff breaks down the root causes of today’s economic crisis, showing how it was decades in the making and in fact reflects seismic failures within the structures of American-style capitalism itself. Wolff traces the source of the economic crisis to the 1970s, when wages began to stagnate and American workers were forced into a dysfunctional spiral of borrowing and debt that ultimately exploded in the mortgage meltdown. By placing the crisis within this larger historical and systemic frame, Wolff argues convincingly that the proposed government “bailouts,” stimulus packages, and calls for increased market regulation will not be enough to address the real causes of the crisis – in the end suggesting that far more fundamental change will be necessary to avoid future catastrophes. Richly illustrated with motion graphics and charts, this is a superb introduction designed to help ordinary citizens understand, and react to, the unraveling economic crisis.

Capitalism Hits the Fan pt 1-Three Things the Economic Crisis is Not


Capitalism Hits the Fan pt 2-How We Got Here: American Exceptionalism


Capitalism Hits the Fan pt 3-History Interrupted: The Trauma of Flat Wages


Capitalism Hits the Fan pt 4-Coping with Trauma: The People’s Response


Capitalism Hits the Fan pt 5-The Meaning of the Trauma for Business


Capitalism Hits the Fan pt 6-Bust and No Boom In Sight


Capitalism Hits the Fan pt 7-What Won’t Work: Re-Regulation


Capitalism Hits the Fan pt 8-So What Might Work?


Capitalism Hits the Fan pt 9-Beyond Free Markets and Regulati


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