Colorlines: Why We Need (Real) Gangsta Rap Right Now

This is a pretty good article penned by long time journalist Eric Arnold where he talks about the deliberate de-politicization of  rap and the rise of gangsta rap..It was in response to an erroneous article that came out a a couple of months back where the writer claimed gangsta rap had gone mainstream..-Davey D-

Eric k Arnold

The story is an all-too-familiar one: On Labor Day weekend, a Guatemalan immigrant named Manuel Jamines was shot in the head and killed by LAPD officers. The police claim the man charged at them with a knife, but at least one eyewitness says he was unarmed. The killing has inflamed long-simmering tensions between the police and immigrant and minority communities in Los Angeles, resulting in protests and arrests. Adding fuel to the trash-can fires are reports that the officer was involved in at least two previous shootings.

Jamines’ story comes as part of what seems an unending line of police violence against black and brown folks, from Oscar Grant in Oakland to Aiyana Stanley-Jones in Detroit to systematic racial profiling in Brooklyn. At a time like this, when calls for police accountability are rumbling from grassroots activists coast to coast, our movement for justice needs a soundtrack. It needs music created from the same inner-city streets whose residents have borne the brunt of police brutality since before Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale formed the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. It needs gangsta rap.

Some critics have hastily written gangsta rap’s obituary. But in 2010, the genre remains a commercial force; what has declined is its gravitas as protest music. Once outspoken on the subject of police violence, in recent years, hip-hop broadly has been all but silent on politics of any sort, at least from a mainstream perspective. Back in the days, gangsta rappers faced off against label executives in corporate boardrooms over freedom of speech; now they entertain marketing meetings over energy drink endorsements.

This change didn’t happen overnight. And it didn’t happen on its own. The de-fanging of gangsta rap has paralleled the corporatization of hip-hop—and the resulting de-politicization of what was once an inherently political art form.

continue reading this article over at Colorlines.

Q-Tip and the Roots Redo the NWA Classic ‘Straight Outta Compton’

NWA helped break the stranglehold New York had on Hip Hop. They snatched the spotlight in the early 90s and made Compton Hip Hop's Mecca

I’ve always loved NWA‘s classic track ‘Straight Outta Compton’.. When it dropped back in ’88 it clearly captured the energy and urgent vibe at the time. NWA had broke on the scene and wanted West Coast rap to be heard and respected. At the same time they wanted to shatter all the myths about LA being a place with palm trees and beaches. LA was about hardcore gang bangers, vicious police and cats from Palm tree lined neighborhoods with a fearless attitude. That song and video definitely did the trick in terms of putting all the above mentioned on the table..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJ0_HYuR_fk

Over the years various groups have attempted to recreate that energy by doing their own versions of the song.  One of the best parodies was highlighted in the movie Cb4 featuring comedian Chris Rock.. Y’all may recall when he dida video for his fictional gangster rap group ‘Straight Outta Locash

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwc4gCVXTcM&feature=related

Q-Tip

Over the past couple of years the Roots have re-done the NWA songs when doing tribute sets.. Usually its been Black Thought and Skillz holding down the vocals.  This past weekend tin Chicago, the Roots took it new heights when Q-Tip from Tribe Called Quest hit the stage to join Black Thought with an incredible rendition. Also on the mic doing Eazy lyrics was guitarist Captain Kirk Douglass. Later on in the show Erykah Badu graced the stage..I wish sometime in the future the Roots do a special NWA project with guest emcees like Q-Tip as well as original members and maybe even go on tour..

Since we’re talking about Q-Tip you should know he’s currently producing some tracks for and with Kanye.. He’s also producing tracks for band member Phife Dawg‘s up and coming solo album. He’s also doing stuff for Mary J Blige

Here’s a couple of angles of the group ripping this NWA classic. The first one is an up close angle at the start of the song. The second video is the longer more complete version..which unfortunately missed the beginning.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYiBXvSUb40

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFyC1b-sin0

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