An Open Letter to Rick Ross from Uncle Luke- End Your Beef or Wind Up Dead

Unckle luke-campbellDear Rick Ross:

As someone who survived several rap beefs, I’m going to give you some advice. You need to seriously address the threats and attempts on your life. You have worked hard to become a big name in hip-hop. You’ve paid your dues and you’ve grown lyrically since the release of your debut album, Port of Miami, in 2006. You’ve arrived, buddy.

But all this gangster bullshit is jeopardizing your career. No club or arena is going to risk people getting shot. You can forget about doing any tours or CD signings. And if you can’t make money, watch how fast Warner Bros. Records turns on you. I know from experience.

You have the Gangster Disciples breathing down your neck because you’ve named-dropped Larry Hoover, the gang’s founder, in your music. Unlike the record and book publishing industries, these bad dudes don’t understand the concept of public domain. They see you getting rich forever by rapping about their leader, and they don’t like it. That’s why they’re on YouTube talking about how you need to go see them and cut a check.

It’s a shame you can’t enjoy life without spending part of your earnings on heavy security or risking your freedom by purchasing an arsenal. Remember, that’s what landed T.I. and Lil Wayne in prison. You don’t want that to happen to you. However, those are the consequences of rapping about being something you’re not.

Hip-hop has a rich history of college guys who never committed a crime rapping about moving kilos of cocaine and taking out snitches. Every gangster rapper takes on the role of a real hood legend to build up street cred. But don’t fall into the trap of believing you are really a gangster.

Trust me, you don’t want to go out like Biggie Smalls or Tupac. It’s time you squash your beefs.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.

rickrosscover

 

Today is Bob Marley’s Birthday-A Man of Love Placed Under CIA Surveillance

Bob MarleyToday February 6th is Bob Marley‘s birthday… It’s interesting to note that as folks will lionize Ronald Reagan who shares the same birthday, they will overlook the fact that Marley not Reagan was the one under surveillance by the CIA. Reagan was all up in the Iran Contra Scandal, yet our government   considered Marley and other Rastas threatening..His message of love which was empowering to folks was in conflict with those who did not like to see bridges being built and communities coming together..  Many folks don’t realize this.. and when you take this into account, it may shed some light as to why Marley in spite having world-wide popularity, never really had a home on Black /Urban radio here in the US….

Below is a cool article from  http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/48516  on Marley and him being surveilled.

The Bob Marley songbook is bursting with eloquent social protest, exposing the poverty, oppression and injustice endured by inhabitants of the “developing” world.

“Burning and Looting”, for example: “This morning I woke up in a curfew. O my God I was a prisoner too … Could not recognise the faces standing over me, they were all dressed in uniforms of brutality.”

Or from “Slave Driver”: “Every time I hear the crack of a whip, my blood runs cold. I remember on the slave ship, how they brutalise the very souls. Today they say that we are free, only to be chained in poverty … slave driver catch a fire so you can get burn, now.”

This is a message as relevant today as it was when Marley died from cancer 30 years ago in 1981 at the age of 36.

“Check my life if I am in doubt,” advised Marley to any who doubted his authenticity.

The Jamaican roots reggae superstar of the 1970s was never motivated by fame or money, though Marley did acquire these things when reggae went global under his stewardship.

These materialistic trappings were regarded by Marley as the “tools of Babylon”, which he would use to raise consciousness and spread a revolutionary message.

As a “mixed-race” child of rural Jamaica and, later, the working-class Trenchtown district of Kingston, Marley experienced the inequities of the post-colonial system.

Selling records and filling concert halls was never a vehicle for the gratification of Marley’s ego. It was for the transformation of a conflict-ridden world divided between exploiters and exploited to a new order of peace, harmony and understanding — “one love”.

At times, Marley encountered temptation and sometimes strayed into the path of excess.

Yet, as Chris Salewicz’s definitive 2009 biography Bob Marley: The Untold Story shows, Marley remained uncorrupted by the music business.

Although Rastafarianism (like any religion) contains its fair share of irrational dogma, Marley’s emphasis was on “redemption” in the here and now by toppling “Babylon” (i.e. the racist imperialist system of oppression).

“If you know what life is worth, you will look for yours on earth,” sang Marley in “Get Up Stand Up”.

Like “liberation theology”, a strand of radical Christianity that made a welcome contribution to the anti-imperialist movement in Latin America, Rastafarianism is compatible (in many respects) with the secular struggle against capitalism.

Marley’s dissent made him a target for surveillance and harassment.

His militancy was too much for the US intelligence establishment, which regarded Marley and other Rastas, such as fellow Jamaican reggae musician Peter Tosh, as dangerous subversives.

“Rasta”, as Bob defiantly stated in “Rat Race”, “don’t work for no CIA”.

The dramatic implications of this line can only be understood when viewed in the context of Jamaican politics.

Following the “loss” of Cuba in 1959, Washington sought to contain the spread of genuinely independent Caribbean regimes.

By the mid-70s, Jamaica was in a state of unofficial civil war. Two political parties, each equipped with armed gangs, battled for control of the island.

On the mainstream left, there was Michael Manley’s Peoples National Party (PNP), which held government.

It was opposed by the deceptively-titled Jamaican Labour Party (JLP) under Edward Seaga, whose funding came from the domestic Jamaican “white” elite and foreign corporate interests involved in the mining industry.

The US government interfered to help fuel the political violence. It openly aimed to install Seaga (or “CIA-ga”, as he was widely known) in power.

Manley’s offences had been to pursue greater state control over the country’s plentiful bauxite reserves and engagement with Cuba’s revolutionary government.

The CIA, through the JLP, conducted a campaign of destabilisation against the Manley government.

Marley refused to be directly associated with Manley’s 1976 re-election campaign, but he did identify with Manley’s anti-imperialist policies.

At Manley’s request, he agreed to perform at the “Smile Jamaica” concert organised by the PNP.

In apparent retaliation, a squad of four JLP-affiliated hit men tried to assassinate Marley and his wife Rita on the eve of the concert.

Rita, with blood streaming from her scalp, only survived by playing dead at the wheel of her shot-up VW.

Marley’s manager stepped into the line of fire just as the gunman opened up, taking four bullets.

A ricochet struck Bob in the arm after grazing his chest. “If he had been inhaling instead of exhaling”, notes Salewicz, “the bullet would have gone into his heart.”

Two days later, the injured Marley performed at the concert.

A few days before the attempt on his life, Marley was visited by an official from the US embassy.

Salewicz said the official “advised the singer to tone down his lyrics, and to stop aiming at a white audience in the USA; if he didn’t, he would find his visa to enter America had been taken away”.

Whether the CIA ordered the assassination attempt or not, it is beyond doubt that the shadowy, murderous organisation was supporting right-wing elements in Jamaica that wanted anti-imperialists such as Marley dead.

There were thousands of JLP/CIA-orchestrated political killings during this period.

Having terrorised Jamaica for years, Seaga took power in 1980, severing relations with Cuba and implementing neoliberal policies.

Embracing neoliberalism, Manley returned to office with US backing in 1989.

After a succession of “business-friendly” governments, most of the island’s population remains mired in poverty.

For people of the left, Marley should be remembered as a comrade in the common struggle.

Although he mistrusted Jamaican “politricks” (with good reason) and was never an orthodox “socialist”, Marley was nothing if not a vehement critic of the global capitalist “Babylon System” — which he memorably described as “the vampire, falling empire, sucking the blood of the sufferers … Deceiving the people continually”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQb7Fk3Vikw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQb7Fk3Vikw

The Connection Between Hip Hop, New Wave and Punk

Davey DThis past Monday, Spinderella of Salt-N-Pepa, Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park and myself among others, participated in a panel discussion at UCLA that focused on the business workings and current state of Hip Hop. Before we launched into Q&A from the audience all of us were asked ‘What CD we were listening to in our ride?’ The audience seemed a bit surprised when I mentioned that in my CD deck was the 1981 album ‘JuJu’ by new wave/punk act Siouxsie & the Banshees. Songs like ‘Spellbound, ‘Monitor’ and ‘Into the Light’ brought back fond memories. More importantly the whole early new wave/punk scene was a very much apart of my early Hip Hop experience.

For those who wish to walk down memory lane, how could we forget when New Wave/Punk acts like Thomas Dolby, Tom Tom Club, The Clash, Blondie, The Thompson Twins, The Police, Depeche Mode, Human League, Tears for Fears and David Bowie to name a few were regularly heard within Hip Hop circles especially in many of our ‘hoods’.

No offense to Run DMC, who are often sighted as the first Hip Hop group to merge Rock and Rap, when we really go back and look at what was happening in the late 70s early 80s, we’ll find that there was an often under reported important conversation and cultural exchange that was taking place with hardcore b-boys from the South Bronx and the disenfranchised rebellious New Wave/Punk kids in downtown Manhattan on the Lower Eastside and in the Village.

It really began when acts like Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash who were just starting to record records were starting to be invited to perform at some key downtown spots like the Mudclub or the Roxy which was frequented by punk/new wave kids. The parallels between the hardcore Hip Hoppers from the Bronx and the Rebellious Punk Kids soon became obvious. Both groups had reacted organically to a stale, formulaic music industry that was serving the public watered down disco and arena rock. The Blacks and Puerto Ricans in the Bronx embraced the classic James Brown Soul and Funk music of Sly and the Family Stone and developed Hip Hop, while their Lower Eastside white counterparts got into the British import punk and new wave.

Debbie Harry

Debbie Harry

People like Bambaataa, Fab 5 Freddy, Debbie Harry of Blondie and British New Wave icon Malcolm McClaren would wind up being key figures in Hip Hop’s first cross cultural exchange. The B-Boys from the Bronx would get nice gigs at the Punk/New Wave spots while the punk crowd would literally be granted safe passage to Bronx River or the PAL up in the Bronx. It’s important to note that this was not a natural occurrence which has often been erroneously stated, especially with the white kids coming up to the Bronx. It was a deliberate attempt on the parts of folks who had mutual respect and vision to build with one another.

When you look back into time you’ll find that both the early Hip Hop and Punk/New Wave groups equally influenced each other. This admiration was reflected in Blondie’s pivotal song ‘Rapture’ where lead singer Debby Harry after being escorted up to a B-Boy party at the PAL club where Grandmaster Flash was playing gave props to Fab 5 Freddy as well as Flash who blew her away.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHCdS7O248g

Soon after you had people like Malcolm McClaren teaming up with 5 Percent cats like the World Famous Supreme Team who hosted a radio show to do songs like Buffalo Gals (which was named after a London clothing store-not the size of woman’s butts), ‘Hey DJ’ and ‘Hobo Scratch’.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DeTR8n7eTU

History will show that others like the punk rock group known as the Beastie Boys would start to embrace rap and put out songs like Cookiepuss and go on to become Hip Hop’s first meaningful white act.

Pioneering groups like the Cold Crush Brothers would release songs like ‘Punk Rock Rap’ while Flash and his crew did songs like new wave influenced songs like ‘Scorpio’. Bambaataa himself would go onto to form a group called Time Zone and would record a huge song called ‘World Destruction’ with punk icon Johnny Rotten.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPHDQLuZaGo

Thomas Dolby

Thomas Dolby

The whole time this was happening between the years 1979-1984, you saw the musical walls of segregation come down as artists from both genres would become familiar to both audiences. In other words during the early 80s you would hear Thomas Dolby’s ‘Blinded Me With Science’, David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’, Devo’s ‘Let It Whip’ or Tom Tom Club’s ‘Genius of Love’ not only being played on urban radio, but also at popular Hip Hop night spots where playing them would help set off the party.

It was amazing to hear the types of early reactions to last year’s Mobb Deep hit song ‘Got It Twisted’. First, many younger folks had no idea that they had sampled the main riff that gave the song its entire flavor from Dolby’s ‘Blinded Me with Science’. When it was revealed, the reaction ranged from ‘Who in the heck is Thomas Dolby’? to ‘Wow, Mobb Deep is so adventurous, groundbreaking and experimental for going there and sampling a rock act’. For some the Thomas Dolby connection was strange for others who fondly remember those early days, what Mobb Deep did was a natural fit.

More importantly we need to remember that it was Thomas Dolby who actually stepped up and produced Whodini‘s first record ‘Magic Wand‘.In fact we need to also shout out folks like Trevor Horn and Rick Rubin who stepped over from the world of New Wave and Punk and got down on the production tip within Hip Hop.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9fjN5lUgYo

We also need to keep in mind that these few examples I mentioned are just around the early Hip Hop scene in New York. If you go back and look at what was happening 300 miles away in California you will find similar exchanges between the early emerging Hip Hop community and the new wave punk sects. In places like Los Angeles where racial segregation is more pronounced and ethnic groups are really removed from one another, to see the early Ska and punk scenes make their way to early Hip Hop clubs and eventually see it reflected in the music with folks coming from places like South Central is significant.

Uncle Jamm's Army

Uncle Jamm’s Army

If anyone remembers back in the days when KDAY was jumping off in LA, then you know it was not usual to hear a Thompson Twins song or a Clash song being mixed and cut up by the famed Mixmasters at that time. It was not out of place to go to an Uncle Jamm’s Army set at the old Coliseum and here some of those aforementioned new wave groups. And of course Hip Hop was not out of place in those New Wave Punk clubs.

Today in the age of music industry consolidation and corporate radio owning multiple stations in a market has resulted in what is best described as music segregation. Industry proponents would argue and say its niche marketing, but really it isn’t. You have a group of ‘experts’ who sit around a table and devise elaborate marketing plans which run along the lines of station X owned by company A will go after Latino women 18-34 and will play a particular style of music with very little room for deviation. Station Y, also owned by that same company will go after older white men 25-54 and will also embrace a particular music genre.

This process goes all the way down the line until there are no more stations for the company to play with. The end results are a series of unintended consequences, some of which I touched upon in a previous column where I asked ‘When is Old School Too Old to Play’ as well as what I would call increased music segregation. Sure we can look at recent examples like Fred Durst and Limp Bizkit doing songs with Method Man or the upcoming Coachella Music Festival or a Warp Tour where there will be a healthy dose of rock and rap acts. However, the cultural exchange seems to be very one sided at best and contrived and forced at worse.

hip_hop_is_punk-rock-finalIt’s one sided in the sense that you have rock oriented outlets with a predominantly white audience embracing Hip Hop. Yes, you can tune into a radio station like KROQ and hear rap alongside the usual rock offerings and lastly we have all the mash up projects, with the most noticeable being Collision Course with Linkin Park and Jay-Z. However, you will not see similar attempts in many urban outlets that target African American audiences. Yes believe it or not groups like Linkin Park as popular as they are are still relatively unknown in many Black circles where BET and commercial radio are the main conduits to things outside the community. I’m not sure what needs to be done to change that or if it even needs to be changed.

I guess I just yearn for the days when the Hip Hop and Punk and New Wave communities were known to each other and me, a Black kid from the Boogie Down Bronx, mentioning I like Siouxsie & the Banshees or the Split Endz is not met with shock and surprise because I defy a stereotype but with approvals or moans because everyone in the room has strong opinions about my choice of groups.

written by Davey D May 2005