KRS-One: ‘Obama is a Politician He’s not your homeboy, He’s not your man’-Our Rock the Bells Interview

It’s always fun catching up with Hip Hop legend Blastmaster KRS-One. He always has something colorful and insightful to say when speaking. Some you may agree with, some you may disagree with. No matter what you have to appreciate his passion and confidence..

When we caught up with KRS during the Rock the Bells 2010 in Mountainview he was on his way to the stage to perform the album ‘Criminal Minded’. He did not disappoint. In 10 minutes we touched on a number of topics including his thoughts behind his new book ‘The Gospel of Hip Hop’. KRS noted that this was the Gospel for the new millenium. He says every generation has their Gospel and that he wanted to put forth his vision of Hip Hop and remind the world about its divine aspects. He believes the culture touches on the spirit in ways we simply cannot ignore.

I asked KRS with all the wisdom he’s garnered over the years, what aspects of Criminal Minded would he change?

KRS said, he regrets how people mistook the meaning behind the album cover which shows him and the late Scott La Rock wearing an ammunition belt, holding pistols and having a grenade on the table. He said many thought he and Scott were the jump off for what would eventually be called ‘gangsta rap’ when in fact, they were attempting to put forth a ‘revolutionary’ pose.

KRS explained, that no gangsta would walk around wearing ammunition and holding grenades. He talked about how BDP was influenced by the Black Panthers and Black Liberation Army and wanted that album cover to be symbolic of the stances they took.

KRS also talked about how he regrets the harsh, sexist  words directed at Roxanne Shante. He noted that he was young and wild back in those days  and in hindsight  cringes at some of the things he uttered. He said its something all rappers will go through as they get older. How we express ourselves without full knowledge and understanding can be embarrassing once it’s obtained.

We concluded our interview by talking about President Obama. A couple of months after Obama’s inauguration , KRS came to Oakland and did a wicked freestyle where he talked about the biggest problem the president would have is the power and control of the Fed Bank. Over 100 thousand people viewed that video which sparked a lot of discussion. KRS caught al;ot of heat and was depicted as a hater. Nowadays his insight isn’t so easily dismissed or challenged

We talked about those earlier remarks and pressed KRS as to where he stands now. He stated that he respects the President, but make no mistake, Obama is a politician who runs a government.

“He’s a politician..he’s not your boy. he’s not your man”, KRS said.

He went to add, that we are now in a globalized world with a globalized economy and America has been resisting its entrance into it. KRS said, gone are the days when people could easily identify themselves as a race or religion. Things are changingas we are now in what people will deem a ‘New World Order’

written by Davey D

Here’s the link to the full interview we did with KRS at Rock the Bells.. let us know what you think..

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

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Oscar Grant Trial: Oakland Protestor Looks Back & Speaks out (Why I Engaged the Police)

Last year during the Jan 7th 2009 protest, (Oscar Grant funeral/ Oscar Grant Rebellion) many saw a young man with a black hoodie and locks engaging the police about their thoughts and feelings around the murder of Oscar Grant.. The man was seen on tape asking a series of questions about how the cops felt, their thoughts on officer Mehserle whose name was not known to the public and how they would feel if it was one of their kids on the Fruitvale BART station platform that night…The brother would not let up as he spent a good 30-40 minutes going up and down the police line asking each and every officer similar questions… He reminded them that he was a citizen, born and raised in Oakland and wanted to know if he should feel safe riding BART… It was pretty compelling as images of this brother engaging the police were seen all over the world..

I never caught dude’s name being that shortly after filming this, the police were given orders to clear the intersection of 14th and Broadway..The guy in the black hoodie and dreads was probably one of the first to be arrested and roughed up that night. According to him, the police wasted no time making a direct b-line to him..

We finally caught up with 23-year-old Jonathan Levy who was the protestor shown in the film..  Looking back to the events 18 months ago on the eve of the Oscar Grant verdict, Levy explained that he didn’t know too much about the particulars surrounding Grant until the day of the protests and his funeral. He said he felt compelled to go downtown and voice his concern and when he saw the line of police, he decided to approach them.

He explained that like most young men in Oakland his interactions with the police have not been positive. Oscar Grant’s murder struck a nerve. In engaging the police, Levy noted that he made it a point to stay within the lines of the law. In fact on several occasions he asked if his questions were illegal or if he was doing anything wrong. He never got a response.

Levy noted that his questions connected with a couple of the officers. He felt that all of them should’ve been out there protesting with the people and speaking out about the wrong doings of former BART officer Johannes Mehserle. Some of the other officer, were chomping at the bit as his questions got under their skin. As was mentioned earlier Jonathan was arrested, roughed up. His brother was beaten. He was charged with of failure to disperse and unlawful assembly. Charges were dropped the next day.

Levy explained that he had no regrets as to what he did. He was ready and willing to accept the consequences and in fact felt it would’ve been hypocritical to have runaway after asking those questions. He wanted to make a larger point about the importance of seeing justice for Oscar Grant and his family.  He also noted that he fully expects to be out there with the community on 14th and Broadway  6pm.. the night of the verdict.. He also said its important for folks not to riot out of respect for what the Grant family asked for.. ‘We still gotta live here’ , he noted..

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Attorney General Eric Holder Comes to Oakland-Speaks on Gang Injunctions, Immigration & Legalizing Weed

Yesterday May 11th 2010, US Attorney General Eric Holder swung through the Bay Area to visit Youth Uprising in East Oakland. For those outside the Bay Area, Youth Uprising is a state of the art community center located in one of Oakland’s toughest neighborhoods. It’s been an oasis of sorts where folks gather to do everything from learn how to shoot film and make beats on down to taking classes. Everyone from Too Short to Casual of Hiero can be found there working with folks. Over the past couple of years the center has made its mark as to being a ‘go to location’ that many feel should be replicated in other cities.

Apparently Eric Holder heard about the center and wanted to come out here to visit as he and other law enforcement communities are trying to find innovative ways to quell youth violence. Holder came and met with some of the youth from the center as well as stake holders like Oakland police chief Anthony Batts, Mayor Ron Dellums, folks from the probation department, school district and grassroots organizations. Sadly many who wanted to attend, including the community orgs that have been fighting Oakland’s proposed Gang Injunction did not get a chance to get inside.

In any case below are a series of videos documenting the occasion…I got a chance to ask Holder the first question, which centered around ‘How can we solve crime when the police are out and control and the community doesn’t trust them?’ I also asked him about Oakland’s controversial gang injunction. I also got to ask a couple of the youth who met with Holder privately if the issue of police brutality came up..

During the press conference with  Holder covered a variety of topics including California legalizing marijuana, Arizona’s harsh immigration law, racial profiling and the war on terror.. Below are clips from the Eric Holder event and press conference…

Clip 1– Attorney General Eric Holder came by Youth Uprising in Oakland to speak with community folks about Youth Violence. He got a tour of the place and then held a press conference. Here he addresses a number of issues. In this clip he weighs in on police brutality, gang injunctions and legalizing marijuana…

Clip-2-Eric Holder addressed a variety of issues including Arizona’s controversial immigration law SB 1070. He said it was divisive and would keep entire communities from working with Law Enforcement. He said the feds are looking to see if it violates Civil Rights laws…

Clip 3– Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts and Mayor Ron Dellums talked about what they discussed in their meeting and round table with Attorney General Eric Holder. . They talked about getting fed money which would free up city money for social programs.. Chief Batts talked about various methods he wants to employ to stop crime in Oakland..

Clip-4-We spoke w/ Netty & Marcus during yesterday’s (May 11 2010) press conference about their meeting w/ US Attorney general Eric Holder around the issue of ending teen violence. I asked them if police brutality was an issue. They talked about Code 33 which is supposed to help youth and police interact better.. Marcus and Netty spoke about the press always focusing on bad news in Oakland.. They wanted more accountability from the press. They said it hurts people to always see Oakland depicted in a bad light.

Clip-5-During US Attorney General Eric Holder‘s visit to Oakland’s Youth Uprising, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums and Police Chief Anthony Batts talked about Code 33 which is a program OPD has to better interact with youth.. Chief Batts then talked about the controversial Gang Injunction which he’s has been proposed for North Oakland. I wanted to know how he will balance police suppression and preventive measures..

Mayor Ron Dellums added to the discussion and then directed his concerns about the way Bay Area media often covers Oakland casting the city in a negative light. Dellums reminded the press that their coverage impacts real people and that they should be more mindful..

Clip-6-We caught up w/ Def Poet and community activist Paul Flores who was in attendance when US Attorney General Eric Holder came to Oakland. Holder addressed the issue of Gang Junctions, Immigration and racial profiling.. Paul Flores felt like Holder didn’t come correct.. Here’s his response to Holder’s visit…

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