A Great Speech from Immortal Technique on Immigration, Race & Hip Hop

It’s always a pleasure to sit down and chop it up with Immortal Technique or to be in the audience when he speaks. The man is full of wisdom. When he addressed the large crowd at an event in Los Angles for the Soundstrike he did not disappoint. This is an incredible speech on immigration, race relation and the current state of affairs…Props to tech for bringing the heat..

Click the link Below to peep this speech from Immortal Technique

Columbia Records Falls Flat w/ Kreayshawn Record Low Sales

About a year or so ago Columbia Records got wind of Kreayshawn and saw she had millions of hits via Youtube for her song Gucci Gucci.. They saw this Oakland based white girl as a major cash cow and figured she would take music and record sales to new heights.. So Columbia did what they didn’t do for artists like Nas, dead prez, Public Enemy and few other notables who at one time or other graced their ‘esteemed’ label, they wrote a rumored fat check for almost a million dollars so this new internet sensation could produce her debut album..

They followed up with that fat check, by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars more to make sure she was on every radio station in heavy rotation.. Not a day went by that we didn’t hear Kreayshawn. Columbia then  spent truck loads to make sure she got to co-host parties and events at big time music awards like MTV Video Awards.. Yes indeed Columbia dropped duckets galore thinking that Kreayshawn was gonna attract all the nice little white boy and girls from the burbs who have long been rumored to be the primary purchasers of rap music.

In the minds of Columbia executives, Kreayshawn was hip and happening. She was connected to Odd Future who were already making noise. She had produced videos for Lil B who was also making noise. She was managed by the same team that managed Oakland rapper Mistah FAB.

V-Nasty

On top of all that Kreayshawn had a healthy dose of controversy. Her partner in crime half white/ half Asian V-Nasty of the infamous White Girl Mob which is Kreayshawn’s crew insisted that she had every right to use the N word. There were videos surfacing of her standing on a street corner calling a Black dude ‘nigga’ and daring them to do something about it..Her rationale for using the word, was she’s from the hood, that’s how she talks, she’s been in and out of jail and she’s always packing.The controversy around V-nasty in many ways overshadowed Kreayshawn’s music..but at least people were talking.

Next controversy, some semi nude photos of Kreayshawn surfaced...From Pamela Anderson to Paris Hilton to Kim Kardashian to now, Kate Middleton of the Royal Family, you seemingly can’t go wrong with a sex scandal of sorts in today’s sex crazed world..Hence Kreayshawn was in good company.,

Lastly Kreashwn also saw herself embroiled in some beef. She took shots at Rick Ross on a freestyle resulting in things almost coming to a head at the MTV Music Awards when Kreayshawn was hosting a segment and her crew and his crossed paths.. All big selling rappers need beef of some sorts..

With all that said, everything was in place and ready to go..The tried and true formula to make noise via a major label was in place..Columbia made this big time investment and released her debut album ‘Something About Kreay‘ The end result was them selling a whooping 3900 albums.. yep you read that correctly 3900.. Making it one of the worse major label album debuts in history..

As for Columbia records.. a few things to keep in mind.. First just because an artist has 4 million youtube hits doesn’t mean they’re gonna sell 4 million records.  For starters youtube numbers can be gamed and you may also have a significant amount of people watching a video repeatedly. I know I watched that Gucci Gucci video at least 654 times, but have no intention of buying the record or album..

Second..it serves Columbia and any other label right that went for a gimmick vs cultivating and nurturing talent. In this case they saw white girl rapper from the hood who is down with Odd Future and figured that was all that was needed. That was a big time fail..One should not put art and culture into nice little boxes.

Lastly if history is any indication, we should never forget  that this is the same Columbia records that refused to put out Billy Holiday‘s Strange Fruit because they hated the message.. This is the same Columbia that refused to put out Charles Mingus anti-discrimination song Ode to Faubus because they didnt wanna anger racist white folks.

This is the same Columbia records that refused to let dead prez release their original album cover of the Soweto protestors from South Africa holding guns during an Anti-Apartheid rally while this same label was simultaneously promoting sipping on syrup by 3-6 Mafia by sending blow up dolls and whine flasks to urban retailers radio station jocks all over the country…

This is the same Columbia records that Michael Jackson said was shady and did him wrong by ripping him off  when it was headed by Tommy Motala. I can go on and on.. reciting the missteps of this company and I shall not shed any tears..

-Davey D-

The Drama Around Street Vendors, Oakland’s Art Murmur & Gentrification

The city of Oakland, has long been a place where people ‘steady grind‘..By that I mean, folks have long hustled goods and services on the city streets to ilk out a living. Rather than sell drugs or turn to prostitution, many have hustled their own music, homemade DVDs, offered up hair breading services, car washes and car repair and most recently food. For most, the extra income has allowed folks to just barely get by.

Every so often someone would blow up and makes it big, resulting in Oakland garnering a ‘rags to riches‘ reputation. The most famous of these tales is rap star Too Short selling home-made tapes out the trunk of his car and getting a big time record deal. Later on other artists like Hobo Junction and Living Legends would follow suit selling tapes in front of local record stores leading to international reputations.

In recent years the city of Oakland has undergone a lot of changes, among them a significant amount of gentrification. Newer more affluent residents have come to Oakland and have made moves to push out long time street vendors and hawkers. They been doing this by going to city council demanding that folks get expensive permits and for those selling food, purchase expensive equipment.

They’ve also pushed to limit the amount of space available for setting up shop and if that’s not enough they have positioned themselves to be the ones to decide who gets to use public space and who doesn’t. These gentrifiers have also lobbied city hall to dispense undercover cops and have them patrol the streets seeking street vendors who would now be deemed illegal operators. All this has led to protests around this new permitting process.

Long time Street Vendor Needa Bee

In our Hard Knock Radio interview long time Oakland resident Needa Bee speaks out about these new regulations coming at the behest of newly formed community associations who are paying big money to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars to establish themselves. Needa details how  out-of-town merchants who have come to Oakland and set up shop and have taken over popular homegrown activities like First Friday Art Murmur which was an 8 year ‘epic street party‘ that allowed local folks to sell their homemade fare. Now we see mostly people of color being pushed to the fringes resulting in what she describes as the poor being criminalized.. Peep and reflect on what Needa B lays out in our interview by clicking the link below

-Davey D-