Lauryn Hill Pens Open Letter About Her Sony Deal and Money Woes

Many folks have taken shots at Lauryn Hill for a variety of reasons.. It may be because she is notoriously late for her shows.. For me it’s always been a good 2 hours. For others it’s because at times she’s come across as disjointed and not always clear with her thoughts. When folks heard that she might be going to jail for not paying taxes, the jokes continued, with the aforementioned problems being cited as the likely cause for her dilemma… Lauryn Hill decided to set the record straight and she does so in fine fashion.. Here’s her open letter.. A lot of ground is covered here, especially around the issue of artist freedom and commerce..

lauryn hillIt has been reported that I signed a new record deal, and that I did this to pay taxes. Yes, I have recently entered into an agreement with Sony Worldwide Entertainment, to launch a new label, on which my new music will be released. And yes, I am working on new music.

I’ve remained silent, after an extensive healing process. This has been a 10+ year battle, for a long time played out behind closed doors, but now in front of the public eye. This is an old conflict between art and commerce… free minds, and minds that are perhaps overly tethered to structure. This is about inequity, and the resulting disenfranchisement caused by it. I’ve been fighting for existential and economic freedom, which means the freedom to create and live without someone threatening, controlling, and/or manipulating the art and the artist, by tying the purse strings.

It took years for me to get out of the ‘parasitic’ dynamic of my youth, and into a deal that better reflects my true contribution as an artist, and (purportedly) gives me the control necessary to create a paradigm suitable for my needs. I have been working towards this for a long time, not just because of my current legal situation, but because I am an artist, I love to create, and I need the proper platform to do so.

The nature of my new business venture, as well as the dollar amount reported, was inaccurate, only a portion of the overall deal. Keep in mind, my past recordings have sold over 50,000,000 units worldwide, earning the label a tremendous amount of money (a fraction of which actually came to me).

Only a completely complicated set of traps, manipulations, and inequitable business arrangements could put someone who has accomplished the things that I have, financially in need of anything. I am one artist who finds value in openly discussing the dynamics within this industry that force artists to compromise or distort themselves and what they do, rather than allowing them to make the music that people need. There are volumes that could (and will) be said.”

3 Dope Songs from KRS-One that You Should Find Useful and Inspiring

KRSOne-bfresh2

KRS-One photo by B-Fresh

One thing we should do in this coming year is shed the industry frame-work that has been attached to our music. By that I mean we need to see Hip Hop offerings as timeless and something to be embraced when our spirits move us and not something that needs to be consumed to further a record label’s bottom line.. Far too many of us have been caught up in measuring the success of an artists or the importance of a particular song by artificial criteria like first week’s album sales or heavy rotation on the radio station claiming to be home to Hip Hop and R&B..

Even amongst folks who say they shun commercialism there is still a short-sighted criteria where the name of the game seems to be who got an album first or who got an exclusive..It’s a self-serving criteria that allows one to appear ‘hip’ and ‘cool’ but unfortunately what gets lost is the important messages and concepts put forth by an artist who finds him or herself quickly discarded and deemed irrelevant by the hipster type with the same reckless abandon as their commercial counterpart.

Music at its best is communal..It’s to be shared and upheld. It’s a sound track to our lives. Its healing to our wounded souls. It’s inspiring, in a world that seems hell-bent on keeping us down..Hopefully artists don’t get discouraged and start changing up their process by abandoning expressions that reflects what’s on their hearts to create throwaway product that fulfils the needs of  fast food consumers and not those who need true mental and audio nourishment.

So for folks who are tired of the same ole same ole, please keep in mind there’s a treasure chest of good solid music waiting to be discovered.. Lets go back to browsing and digging for music that moves us vs waiting for it to be served by the tentacles of an industry that doesn’t have our well-being in mind..

Click HERE to hear the Breakdown FM KRS-One interview we did at Rock the Bells

Today we wanna celebrate a tireless champion and prolific artist.. Blastmasta KRS-One tha Teacha ... Here’s 3 songs you should take in..The lyrics and video are on point, uplifting and stand the test of time.. Shout out to his producer who is also a dope artists Mad-Lion.

The first song is Aztechnical.. It came out late last year and addresses the issue of the Mayan calendar and prophecy and the Earth supposedly ending. Well as you know that day Dec 21 2012 has come and gone.. But as KRS explains, what was supposed to take place was us reaching a higher consciousness in our thinking.. He takes you there in this song..

The second song ‘Just Like That‘ deals with a topic that KRS has addressed on at least 3 or 4 different occasions.. His upbringing. For those of us who know KRS, we might be tempted to say ‘I heard this story’ before.. But for folks who are just getting acquainted to KRS, its inspiring as and gives us insight on how we might overcome rough times.. In short the message is timeless

The third song was released a few days after Hurricane Sandy… It’s probably his most important song and shows KRS at his best.. Here he gives sound advice as to what we should be doing in preparation for a natural disaster..The song is called ‘Disaster Kit

KRS-One Aztechnical

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5M7MZh_bvjg

KRS-One Just Like That

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q_C0o9GHsw

KRS-One Disaster Kit

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2g8cplYa_DE

The Revolution Has Come… Rebel Diaz Speak Truth in Times of Turmoil

I’m so proud of Hip Hop right now… Ice Cube,  Brother Ali, Boots from the Coup, dead Prez, Jasiri X and Invincible have all dropped material in the past few weeks that has uplifted the community and inspired us to fight for better tomorrows.. Adding to that list is Rebel Diaz who skillfully sampled and flipped the chant from the Black Panthers..’The Revolution Has Come‘ and added their own 2012 twist..

It was just recently we lead rapper Rodstarz on our Hard Knock Radio show to give us crucial updates as to how things were faring under Hurricane Sandy. The day after the storm hit Rod explained to our listeners how poor folks were getting mistreated and how Mayor Michael Bloomberg had shut off power to housing projects days before the storm came..

He talked about how folks in his community had to organize themselves and make sure the elderly were taken care of because the city wasn’t going to do it..The day we did that interview there was some criticism from punditary types who lived nowhere near Rodstarz’ South Bronx neighborhood, but insisted that he was wrong with his info..They were citing press releases from Bloomberg as their source to counter Rod’s arguments.

Now that the dust is settling and the waters are receding, we see that all over NY in poor communities, there’s been neglect in the recovery efforts and was Rod was accurate and on point to the fullest with his assessment and breakdown of the situation.

Him and Rebel Diaz are and true to the spirit of ones who loves their people and seeks justice..This is a song underscores that sentiment and should not be slept on.. Turn it up and let it be the sound track to your day to day struggle for freedom..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byL3o3VMUKk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byL3o3VMUKk