Rollingstone Magazine Fails by Having Only 4 Women featured on its 50 Greatest Hip Hop Song List

Missy elliotThis is the time of year a lot of publications put out End of Year and Best of All Time lists. They’re fun to read as they can take you down memory lane or give you some new perspective on things… At this point in time, you understand there will be a certain bias and there may be one or two names tossed in a list to get people talking. You try to take these things with a grain of salt..

The other day Rollingstone Magazine put out a The 50 Greatest Hip Hop Songs of All-Times. It’s a list that was compiled from a panel of 33 artists, journalists and industry experts. You have luminaries like Def jam co-founder Rick Rubin, former Source editor James Bernard and legendary A&R Dante Ross. Also in the mix were artists like Busta Rhymes, Q-Tip, Nas, Questlove, Boots Riley of the Coup  and Chuck D of Public Enemy just to name a few..You can peep the entire list of judges HERE

You can peep the entire List of 50 songs HERE

When the list came out I went from panel to panel and and what stood out was the glaring omission of women. In fact we don’t have a female artists being ranked for the first 38 entries. That came in the form of Missy Elliot and her song Get Ur Freak On…Personally I thought Missy who definitely deserves a spot has better songs.

The next entries are Lauryn Hill‘s ‘Lost One’s (45) and Salt-N-Pepa‘s ‘Push It’ (46) . The Greatest Hits list list rounds off at entry 47 where have Funky 4 Plus one More. The ‘one more’ of course is pioneering female emcee Sha Rock..

MCLytehat-150Initially I wasn’t gonna weigh in on this, but damn in 2012 and you would think at this point in time folks would know better and do better. Its time to expand our mind and make room for other voices, mainly women in our collective thinking. I don’t know what the process was when RS did the final editing, but no one at that magazine looked at that list and asked ‘Where’s MC Lyte’s ‘Cha Cha Cha‘ or ‘Cappuccino‘? Did anyone at RS bother to check out her site Hip Hop Sisters?

No one at RS or on that panel gave a second thought about Queen Latifah‘s ‘Ladies’ First‘ which featured Monie Love and its impact? No one thought about UNITY…No one? Really? Cmon now..

None of the folks at the panel gave a thought about the 33 songs that were released around the whole Roxanne Roxanne saga? Some of those songs were landmark.  They gave birth to artists like; Sparky D, Roxanne Shante and the Real Roxanne.. None of those women were good enough to be included? There was no room for an artist like YoYo? No Lady of Rage‘s Afro Puffs? No love for Mystic’s ‘The Life’? No choice cuts from Foxy Brown, Eve or Lil Kim made the list?? How is our collective thinking so narrow in 2012?

Luther Campbell of the 2Live Crew was among the panel of experts  that Rollingstone assembled. Did he or anyone mention Anquette‘s Janet Reno? Luke in the past has been very clear to talk about how that song which was done by his cousin helped Reno win an election for DA against a lawyer named Jack Thompson. Luke explained that Thompson became enraged as a result of this and wound up coming after 2Live crew for having obscene material. The case against 2Live crew went all the way to the Supreme Ct.. If one record be the source of all that, should it not be on the RS list?

LaurynHillside

Lauryn Hill

With respect to Lauryn Hill who won more Grammys than many of the artists featured and the experts assembled should’ve been further up the list, like in the top 15 or 20. I would’ve picked Doo Whop (That Thing) which charted on Billboard as number 1 or Everything is Everything..

Considering Rollingstone’s glaring omissions I guess it would be too much to expect them to have even considered a Jean Grae, Bahamadia, Rah Digga, Conscious Daughters or Medusa?

All I can say at this point is to Rollingstone and its panel of experts which included only 2 or 3 women at the most. that was big miss to only have 3 or 4 females on that list of 50 Greatest songs. It was a big miss and just plain wack.. For those who need more info on women making moves.. Here’s playlist I put together earlier this year.

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4DA130E1819B4915

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhW_ph0ipp8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8cHxydDb7o

Uncle Luke of 2Live Crew May Be Running for Mayor of Miami-Dade County

While reading our friends over at the Loop 21 I came across a couple of stories today that peaked my interests…one centers on Luke Skywalker aka Uncle Luke aka Luther Campbell founder of the infamous 2-Live Crew contemplating a run for Mayor of Miami-Dade County.

Yep you read that right, and as outlandish as it may sound given Luke’s music career, I wouldn’t immediately dismiss the idea. The Luke I known has long been civic-minded in terms of being strong advocate for folks to get involve and vote..  I recall he used to damn near make that mandatory  if you worked for his label. He’d shut the office down and make folks go do their civic duty. In addition he’s best known for meddling in one key election that eventually landed him in hot water.

This goes all the way back to 1988 when Luke teamed up with a young artists named Anquette to do a James brown inspired song called Janet Reno. This is the same Janet Reno who is best known as US Attorney general under President Bill Clinton. At the time Reno was running for District Attorney when Luke released Anquette’s song. Reno who was locked in a tight race got major nice boost from this song that extolled her legal prowess to go after dead beat dads. Anquette rapped:

You think you’re so slick, that you won’t have to pay

You slay, get a baby, then run away

Oh, but I got a trick for your monkey ass

The boys that don’t pay get cased up fast

You ?answer to? Janet Reno and she lays the law

And when she’s through with you, you’ll wish you never saw

Me or the baby or the place where we met

Digging up old gold that you wish you could forget

The proof is here, it’s livin and breathin

And Janet Reno’s makin sure that I start receivin

All the money you get, all the checks you make

Janet Reno will make sure and TAKE

*singing to the tune of “Yankee Doodle”*

Janet Reno comes to town collecting all the money

You stayed one day, then ran away, and started actin funny

She caught you down on 15th Ave., you tried to hide your trail

She found your ass and locked you up, now WHO can post no bail?

(Bust it!)

The song helped Reno win the election which in turn angered her opponent a lawyer by the name of Jack Thompson. Thompson sought revenge on Campbell and launched a campaign where he pressured officials throughout the state including Governor Bob Martinez and Broward County sheriff Nick Navarro to go after the 2 live Crew for violating state obscenity laws. Eventually Navarro won a ruling that deemed the group’s album As Nasty As They Wanna Be as  obscene. Thats how and why 2 Live Crew had all that drama over free speech which went all the way to the  US Supreme Court. It was his political activities not his song being so over the top. What’s ironic is that the Janet Reno song had some raunchy lyrics. It was enough that they had to release a radio edit…

What’s even more ironic is that Luke himself was arrested two years ago for being deliquent on child support payments. He owed over 10Gs.. To his credit Luke said he’s willing to address all the controversies he’s been involved in.

With all that being said, will Uncle Luke make a good Mayor and can he even win?  Well for starters Luke has promised to make his office one that his transparent like a reality show. Thats in response to the recall efforts that are underway to get rid of the current Mayor Carlos Alverez. Folks are upset because he was giving out secret raises while the county is in a major recession. He also had some shady dealings with the Florida Marlins.

Luke told the Miami New Times:

Cameras are going to capture when some lobbyist comes to see me to lobby me on some shit they want approved. The cameras are going to be rolling when a commissioner meets with me when I want to talk about the things we need to build for this community. The voters are going to know who is full of shit and who isn’t if I am elected mayor.

On the campaign trail, people are going to learn about the more mature Luther Campbell, the grown man who is working for the kids in the inner city and who is dropping knowledge every week with his own column in the New Times. With Rick Scott winning the governor’s seat, I don’t see how I could lose. I’ve been a successful businessman in this community for years. I was born and raised in Miami-Dade. No one can question the love I have for my home county.

I feel it’s time to clean this shit up. Our community has been divided for too long. If there is one person who can unite voters from every nationality in Miami-Dade, it is Uncle Luke. I can relate to young and old people from Haiti, Cuba, Nicaragua, and even Israel. We need to start thinking about the future of Miami-Dade. We’ve need to change the status quo. Nothing is getting done.

Time will tell if this is just a big ole publicity stunt or if Luke is in this for real… It will also be interesting to see if Luke is his own man or if he somehow becomes beholden to the billionaire Norman Braman who sponsored the recall. Hey if Arnold Schwarzenegger can become governor off a recall why can’t Luke be mayor.. After experiencing the mess Arnold caused, Luke can’t be that bad..

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The Election Aftermath:Hip Hop Where Do We Go From here?

The Election Aftermath:Hip Hop Where Do We Go From here?
By Davey D.
Rock & Rap Confidential
November 2, 2004
http://www.rockrap.com/

I would be lying if I said last night’s election results were not a big disappointment. It’s not so much that I thought John Kerry would be the answer, but a Kerry win and a Bush defeat would’ve helped the momentum and further ignited the excitement and passions held by many within the Hip Hop community who went to the polls. Instead what we’re left with his a Bush Presidency. Adding insult to injury is the fact that he went from being a guy who was selected to being a guy who now holds the record for receiving the most votes ever in US history. If that’s not enough four new seats went to the GOP and they gained several more seats in the Congress. The toughest pill to swallow are the newscasts and articles where the question that is mockingly being asked-Where was the Youth Vote? How come they didn’t show up? Etc…

Leading up to the yesterday’s election there was a long list of things that we could point to that suggested that we were gonna make a huge difference:There were numerous Hip Hop Summits and Conferences. The registration and get out the vote efforts within Hip Hop was unprecedented. Over the past couple of months, there were at least 8 mixtapes and compilation songs released encouraging the Hip Hop community to go to the polls. The participants ranged from artists like Wyclef Jean to Jadakiss to Eminem to WC and Mack 10 to Cypress Hill to the scores of underground artists who participated in the Slam Bush project.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txnD03oVULA&feature=related

These artists’ efforts complimented the day to day organizing and important groundwork that was undertaken by numerous Hip Hop organizations and their members around the country who were the unsung heroes and sheroes, yet critical backbone in all these Hip Hop meets Politics activities. For example, the night before the election it was encouraging to get a late night fall call from one of the many members of BayLoc (The Bay Area Hip Hop Local Organizing Committee) asking me to Vote Yes on Cali Proposition 66 which would’ve reformed the dreadful three strikes law. I was also told to vote ‘Hell Naw’ on Measure Y in Oakland. This was an initiative that would add more police to the city’s payroll. I was told to go to the BayLoc Website to get more information on other propositions and asked to come out the next day to a Get out the Vote Rally that was going to be held at Oakland’s City Hall.

What BayLoc was doing was just an example of the dozens of similar efforts that were going down all over the country. For example, members of the Los Angeles Hip Hop Local Organizing committee were so determined to impact the outcome of the election that they dipped into their own pockets and brought plane tickets to go to Milwaukee after they got word of bogus fliers being distributed in many of the Black communities telling people that they risked arrested if they voted and had not paid their parking tickets or child support or had voted in any prior election this year. The sentiment amongst the LALoc was that there were enough troops on the ground holding it down in the Golden State and that they play a more effective role helping their Hip Hop counterparts in Milwaukee monitor polls and do outreach and voter education.

It was encouraging to do my radio show, reach out and get reports from Hip Hop organizers stationed in various cities around the country like; Columbus, Ohio, St Louis, Missouri, Phoenix, Arizona, Sante Fe, New Mexico and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to name a few, and hear how about how they had been registering people and their plan of action to get folks to the poll on election day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtGHUP9h2aU

Such efforts were underscored by the League of Hip Hop Voters and the League of Pissed off Voters who had meticulously researched and put out more than 115 different state and city election guides for folks to download off the internet and take to the polls. What was even more inspiring was seeing that while most major news outlets and so called Hip Hop and R&B radio stations completely ignored these newsworthy efforts, that the League was able to get the word out via all the large Hip Hop websites and listserves like AllHipHop.com, OkayPlayer.com, Industrycosign.com and RapAttacklives.com to name a few, and reach thousands of people who eagerly and used them.

During the 04 elections Missy Elliot paid for buses to get people to the polls

It was encouraging to read about Missy Elliott renting a bus in Miami and pitching in to take voters to the polls. It was encouraging to hear about Questlove of the Roots hooking up with actor Ozzie Davis to combat voter suppression efforts. It was great to hear about comedian Steve Harvey bringing together a coalition of rap starts ranging from Warren G to MC Hammer to Ice Cube and E-40 to ask for support on passing Prop 66.It was encouraging to talk to a Rev Gundy on our national broadcast and have him point out the important role the Hip Hop community had played in terms of getting the vote out. He spoke about the Black college tour that artists like Trick Daddy, Trina and Luther Campbell (Uncle Luke) put on and how they helped get hundreds of people registered.

Whether it was mainstream icons like P-Diddy and his Citizen For Change or Russell Simmons and his Hip Hop Summit Action Network or grassroots organizations like the Hip Hop Political Convention, the Hip Hop Assembly or Hip Hop Congress, lots of people stepped it up and got involved. For most it was their first time. For many they had to learn on the job. The collective efforts for these organizations and people should be commended after all, its a lot more then what was done in previous years.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q490KKZmzWc

With all that being said, after the dust has settled and folks get some time to reflect, there will be some important questions that will have be answered thoughtfully and honestly. Questions like ‘What could’ve been done differently?’ Did the numbers of people who came out to the polls add to up the expectations? In short, did the hype match the reality? Did we overestimate? Did we underestimate? Was too much weight put on the shoulders and expected turnout of the youth/Hip Hop vote?

Were the approaches used by organizers as well as politicians the right ones or the most effective ones to engage the Hip Hop Community and younger people in general? After all, when iconic figures like Russell or P-Diddy show off new clothing styles, introduce new slang or put forth a new trend folks seem to follow in masses, why was this not the case with yesterday’s election or was it? These are some of the hard questions we need to seriously look at.

Yesterday, during an interview with MTV P-Diddy said something very profound. He admitted that he may have been a bit reckless when he said he was going to rally people to ‘Get Bush’s Ass Out of Office?‘ He said it was reckless for him to say this and not have a viable, suitable candidate in to replace him. In some ways P-Diddy’s remarks seemed similar to ones made a few month’s back when Boots Riley of the Coup wrote a letter to the Eastbay Express Magazine asking that he not be characterized as an anybody but Bush type of guy. Boot’s noted that its not just enough to vote for someone, but it needs to be connected with a larger plan of action and education. Folks have to really understand the process and the issues that you’re asking them to vote for.. If there’s no connection at the end of the day folks will not only not go to the polls, they may actually become disillusioned with the process. They’ll be even more disillusioned if they discover that those who are advocating don’t really buy into the process.. Such may be the case today when folks woke up and found that some of their favorite celebrities while advocating voting, never went to the polls themselves.

When we look back at this election the fundamental question we have to grapple with is , was it enough to simply hate Bush if you weren’t feeling Kerry? Talk show host Tavis Smiley spoke to this issue last night during his ABC News broadcast when he noted that one of the things that may have effected John Kerry in Ohio was that he simply didn’t pull out the large numbers of Black people in places like Cleveland as was expected. He explained that a lot of folks did not connect with Kerry and that the word was ‘he was no Bill Clinton‘. This reality was conveyed to me earlier in the day from folks on the ground who had noted that in spite of all the rallies and media attention and speculation, the numbers were lower then expected in some of those critical Black communities especially around Cleveland.

Much of what Tavis spoke to could easily be juxtaposed with the larger Hip Hop community. The reality we may have to face is that folks simply could not buy into the whole voting/ electoral politics hype with Senator John Kerry has the big door prize. The end result and purveying attitude was likely to be similar to the one reflected by artists like Method Man who when asked who he was going to vote for, told allhiphop.com in a recent interview ‘F**k both them mother f**kers. I’ma play Soulcom2 online like everybody else. F**k Bush and Kerry. Both them n***a’s is cowards.’

One of the important lessons that we will have to come to terms with is not falling into the trap of leading or organizing by proxy. By this I mean, we needed to have in place a methodology and a way to really ensure that the folks we reaching out to be in agreement and had good understanding of what was being advocated. In other words, a possible mistake that may have been made was us not being clear as to what was being asked. Were we asking people to go to the polls to vote FOR John Kerry or to flex our power and vote Bush out of office just to prove that we could influence an election?

Ben Chavis and Russell Simmons of Hip Hop Summit Action Network

If we were asking folks to vote for John Kerry did we present a compelling set of arguments connected to a larger end game that folks would buy into? In other words were we voting for Kerry because he would appoint fair and balanced Supreme Court judges? Were we voting for Kerry because he we would be better positioned to maneuver about the system under him versus Bush? Did the potential voters see and understand those sorts of points? Did John Kerry himself ever really pay attention to the issues on both on the platform voted upon during the Hip Hop Political Convention or the similar platform being championed by Russell Simmon‘s Hip Hop Summit Action Network?

More importantly were the larger critical mass of people who never attended these Hip Hop summits, who we needed at the polls in agreement with and aware of the platforms?Lastly, did we expect too much too soon? Yes, it was an important election? Yes there was a lot of hope, hype and anticipation around the role Hip Hop would play in this election, but was it realistic to expect us to hit a homerun on our first at bat? Was it fair for us to allow ourselves to be put in that position? Conventional wisdom suggests that we look at and build around small, achievable victories versus trying to get it all in one shot. While hitting a homerun on the first try is great and will get you lots of props. Having to play the game where your forced to run the bases and deal with striking out from time and not getting any hits at all, will be best in the long run, because it allows you to build a solid long lasting foundation and establish important meaningful relationships with the people you are trying to reach. It will also allow you to do the important work at hand minus the roar of the crowd and all the hype that comes when you hit it out the park.

The bottom line is this.. The election results are disappointing and not all of our expectations have been met, but no means did we fail? All those collective efforts did indeed increase voter turnout.. A lot of folks came in and gave it their best shot and did some really good things that made a difference and will continue to make a difference. Fortunately many of the Hip Hop organizers like the folks from BayLoc, Hip Hop
Coup, LaLoc and others all throughout the country have embraced the attitude that the work they are doing is for the long term. It’s all about building a solid foundation that will not fold up and crumble at first windstorm or setback. The 2004 election is a setback from which they will learn from and will not paralyze them. One thing you can always count on is that the very essence of Hip Hop is that it always able to create something out of nothing and overcome insurmountable odds. The question that Hip Hop has to humbly ask at this point in time is where do we go from here? I believe bigger and better things are in
store…

written by Davey D

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