Important Follow Story About Bay Area Rapper Saafir & His Health Challenges

Since we ran that story from Shock G about Saafir and his health challenges there has been massive response from all over world. It was one hardly anyone anticipated…Its been much appreciated..Many folks had lots of questions, concerns .. Many had lots of advice and wanted to help..  Below is the first of two stories that are important  follow ups courtesy of  Bay Area scribe Garrett Caples of the SF Bay Guardian. He reached out and did two stories.. One is called  ‘Injured Player in the Game’ the other is called Reality Rap which is an exclusive Q&A which you can access here…http://www.sfbg.com/noise/2013/03/27/reality-rap-qa-saafir-saucee-nomad.. Big salute to Garret for rocking this..-Davey D-

Injured Player in the Game

Saafir Photo: Garret Caples

Saafir  Photo: Garret Caples

MUSIC “I have a new respect for people with disabilities,” Bay Area legend Saafir, the Saucee Nomad says, sitting in his wheelchair in the East Oakland living room where he’s temporarily crashing. “I was aware of their plight, but I never imagined how much strength it took mentally to deal with every day, day to day. It’s a cold strength.”

The extent of Saafir’s disability, revealed last month by Digital Underground leader Shock-G on Davey-D’s Hip Hop Corner blog, took the rap world by surprise. I’d heard Saafir was in rough shape, following a 2005 operation to remove a cancerous tumor from his spine, though the release of his unexpectedly religious album Good Game (ABB, ’06) seemed to signify a recovery. Yet a numbness that began in his toes in ’08 gradually crept up his legs to where he can no longer walk or even stand. His inability to work coupled with his medical expenses has wiped him out financially.

Tweeted by Questlove to his two million Twitter followers, Shock’s account went mini-viral over social media and hip-hop blogs. Wanting to interview Saafir, I called Shock, who gave his number but warned, “He’s a little heated ’cause I didn’t clear that story with him and I got some details wrong. But he wouldna let me post it. He’s a soldier.” And it takes some convincing before Saafir grudgingly agrees to an interview, though by the time we meet, his anger at the unwanted attention has largely dissipated into relief and acceptance. He’s allowed Chris Clay, a protégé of Shock’s who’s also a web designer, to set up a site, www.tostandagain.org, where fans can make Paypal donations. He’s even plugged the site in a phone interview on Sway and King Tech’s Wake Up Show (Shady 45 radio).

That the Wake Up Show was the first national music media to reach out to Saafir is unsurprising; the epic battle between Saafir of Hobo Junction and Casual of Hieroglyphics that the show hosted in 1994 when it was on KMEL was arguably step one in a series that leads to Sway interviewing Obama. A high-water mark of Bay Area rap history, Hobo v. Hiero occurred the same year Saafir released his debut, Boxcar Sessions, on Quincy Jones’s Warner imprint, Qwest. Saafir scored the $250,000 deal on the strength of his performances on Digital Underground’s Body-Hat Syndrome (TommyBoy, 1993) and in the film Menace II Society (1993), but even those didn’t quite prepare the world for his surrealistic syntax stretching on Boxcar or the tripped out beats of Hobo producers JZ and J.Groove.

While it became an enduring underground classic, Boxcar dropped at a time when the golden age was giving way to the bland consumer-speak that still dominates rap. After another album, The Hit List (1999), Saafir left Warner only to sign with Dr. Dre’s Aftermath as a member of Golden State Warriors, a supergroup with Xzibit and Ras Kass. But the project ultimately didn’t yield an album.

“We didn’t get held up by Aftermath; we had internal issues,” Saafir says. “We did a lot of high-profile records but we could never push past that level.” Following the group’s demise and his cancer operation, Saafir had just relaunched as an independent artist when he began to experience the first symptoms leading to his present condition.

The whole persona of a rapper is about being extraordinary, but in many ways Saafir’s current situation is typically American, Obamacare notwithstanding. Like any rapper who signs to a major in his 20s, he bought “some dumb shit” with his Warner money and has regrets, but he always set aside money from his deals; he has kids he’s putting through high school, among other expenses. But even with some insurance, he’s lost everything, and it’s impossible for him to make money the way a rapper does— always hopping flights to the next show — when it takes him two hours to get dressed.

After last year’s failed quest for laser surgery, described in Shock’s post, Saafir’s again working with his original doctor to determine the cause of his loss of leg function. If it can be restored, he estimates he’s looking at over $80,000 of uncovered expenses for surgery and rehab. If it can’t, he needs to get himself into an accessible assisted living situation, because couchsurfing in his condition is untenable.

But wheelchair or no, Saafir plans to continue rap.

“I’m a boss but I’m an injured player in the game,” he says. “I’m a very strong injured player in the game and I can still make plays from my position.”

Below is a link to an exclusive Q&A with Saafir via Garret Caples of the SF Bay Guardian…

http://www.sfbg.com/noise/2013/03/27/reality-rap-qa-saafir-saucee-nomad

Rapper Rick Ross Explains His Song Was just a Big Misunderstanding-He Loves Women

Rick RossRapper Rick Ross appeared on a radio show on q93.3 in New Orleans and attempted to do some damage control by explaining the lyrics to his song..U.O.E.N.O. (you ain’t even know it)..In the song he describes what many call a ‘recipe for rape’ , where he brags about slipping a molly into a woman’s drink, taking her home and having sex, all while she is under the influence and doesn’t know..

The firestorm it set off has been widespread, including a big article in today’s Washington Post that includes a petition demanding key record executives be held accountable.. You can peep that article HERE..

In the article Industryears co-founder Paul Porter tells the Washington Post

Porter goes on to argue that artists should not be solely responsible for their lyrical content. According to him, the bar is being set increasingly lower and many are relying on shock value for mass appeal. This might explain why it seems the lyrical content gets progressively worse in its promotion of violence and drugs. And with media outlets not doing the best job in self-policing the airwaves, references to “Molly” and other drugs continuously get heard on the radio and in music videos.

“Somebody is responsible at every record label for what gets approved,” says Porter. “These are the people that we never talk about. The guys that profit the most never get talked about. Until the pressure is at the top – the bottom is never going to change. Rick Ross is just a pawn.”

There are times when I question the power of our voices against these massive corporate machines. What could we write/say that hasn’t already been written/said? What could we do that would actually hurt their bottom line? And if we reach one artist, aren’t there hundreds of others who are just the same?

Rick Ross in his interview says that he has love for women and they are sacred. He refers to them as Queens and says he condemns rape..He claims his lyrics were a big misunderstanding and that its important for artists to clarify.. He starts talking about the song 4;26 into the 8 minute intv..

It remains to be seen how Ross’s explanation will sit with folks.. Many are upset at the stations who promote such songs and are still pushing for them to pull that and other songs that celebrate rape culture..

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=lI7VOqLYLiY

Breakdown FM: End Violence Against Women (No More Tears, No More Shame)

logo-End-Violence-No-More-tears-No-More-shameIn recent weeks there’s been far too much violence directed at our sisters, mothers, daughters and women in general.. It ranges from the reaction to Steubenville rape verdict and the local NAACP President Royal Mayo saying she wasn’t really a victim to the recent Rick Ross song advocating ‘date rape’..to highly publicized gang rapes in India to on going assaults in our own military where they say as much as 30% of the women enlisted have been assaulted..

A couple of years ago we did this mix in reaction to the disturbing domestic violence incident between singers Chris Brown and Rhianna. We wanted to bring it back out and give folks something to think about..Much of what was expressed then is still relevant today, if not even more so.. We wanted to leave folks with a message that is hopefully uplifting and healing..  Consider it our Anti-Rick Ross mix..

Speaking of which folks should be aware there is a petition directed at industry executives around Rick Ross and his disturbing song.. Be sure to check it out,  sign it and pass it along

https://www.change.org/petitions/rape-rick-ross-and-responsibility-rrr

There is also another campaign designed to remind people about the horrors of rape and how we must draw clear lines.. The video below speaks for itself..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=lI7VOqLYLiY

Lastly with respect to the mix.. among the cuts we got hold of include jams from Brother J and X-Clan called ‘Wiz Degrees‘. Its a nice song about love and his appreciation for his partner and what she means to him. Its off the album ‘Mainstream Outlaw‘ which is banging.

Desdamona out of the Twin Cities has a searing song that’ll make you pause and think called ‘Faulty Fuse‘.

Two of my favorite songs addressing this issue comes from MC Hammer and Brand Nubian. Hammer’s track ‘Big Man‘, off the Family Affair album hits a homer as he reminds folks the harsh consequences of such behavior.

Brand Nubian‘s song ‘Sincerely‘ was completely overlooked when it was released on the 1st anniversary of the Million Man March‘. You will be asking yourself, why wasn’t this record being exposed to the masses? It’s an incredible song.

Two other songs to check is Bridgette Gray‘s heart wrenching Letter to Hip Hop. She lays out some serious questions that still have yet to be adequately answered.

We follow that up with a piece from fellow spoken word artist Amir Suilaman called ‘How Beautiful‘.

Anyway there’s lots of joints to get you thinking. Enjoy, reflect, pass along and most importantly Try to make a difference help bring about a world where the horrors of violence against women no longer exist….

Listen to 25 Joints by clicking link below:

25 Joints to Get U Through the Day #9
No More Tears-No More Shame-No More Violence

01-PSAStop Domestic violence
02-Tabb Doe ‘Sleeping w/ the Enemy’ (San Francisco)
03-MC Hammer ‘Big Man’ (Oakland)
04-Poetess w/ Def Jeff, Kool G Rap, Almighty ‘Love Hurts’ (LA)
05-Brand Nubian ‘Sincerely’ (New York)
06-KRS-One ‘Brown Skinned Woman’ (New York)
07-Bridget Gray ‘Letter to Hip Hop’ (LA)
08-Amir Suilaman ‘How Beautiful’ (Oakland)
09-Hard Knock ‘Hands of a Stranger’ (New York)
10-Sister Souljah ‘Relationships’ (New York)
11-Paris ‘Assata’s Song’ (San Francisco)
12- J Boogie w/ Zumbi ‘For Your Love’ (San Francisco/Oakland)
13-Michael Franti & Spearhead ‘Hey World’ (San Francisco)
14-Urban Ave 131 ‘Heaven Help Us’ (Washington DC)
15-X-Clan ‘Wiz Degrees’ (LA)
16-Bambu ‘Nicole’ ft Micah (San Francisco)
17-Desdamona ‘Faulty Fuse’ (Minneapolis)
18-NY Oil ‘You’re A Queen’ (new York)
19-M-1 ‘Love You Can’t Borrow’ (New York)
20-Gabriel Teodros ‘Warriors’ (Seattle)
21-Public Enemy ‘Revolutionary Generation’ (New York)
22-Queen Latifah ‘Nature of a Sista’ (New York)
23-Kofy Brown ‘Just a Woman’ (Oakland)
24-Michael Franti & Spearhead ‘U Can’t Sing R Song'(San Francisco)
25-Jennifer Johns ‘Afraid of Me’