Pete Rock Issues Statement About Lupe Interview… (Here’s Some Food for Thought)

New York, NY – – In an effort to add clarity and insight into a recent controversy that has been stirring this week, legendary Hip Hop producer Pete Rock speaks about the matter of Lupe Fiasco‘s take on his classic song from 1992, T.R.O.Y. / They Reminisce Over You. Pete Rock offers these statements to set the record straight:

It’s true that Lupe Fiasco’s representative from Atlantic Records contacted me last fall and he did so while I was in mourning over the sudden death of my cousin Heavy D. I gave the representative a conditional “yes” to use T.R.O.Y. for Lupe’s album but only based on the condition that I be involved on the project. It’s what I always say when approached by people who want to use that particular song. I was never contacted again. At no point was there any follow up from Atlantic Records. Now, the story gets twisted and it’s being said that I said “yes.” The part about my conditions has been left out to make me seem like I’m a hypocrite. When I heard about the song again, it was done, completed, and playing on the radio…and that was Monday night.

It’s true that people have made T.R.O.Y. over. I can’t control what’s done with my work after it’s already out there but I can control who gets my blessings. Those who involve me and respect me in the process, get my blessings. Those who work behind my back – but all the while putting up a front like I’m down with it – don’t.

I’m flattered that they wanted to remake my song and that they respect it for the classic that it is. I just think they should have talked to Atlantic Records to make sure things were done right. The biggest violation is from Atlantic Records but what can you expect? Labels are corporations and their whole point is to sell records. If they respect the artist in the process that would be nice, but they’re not required. For as political as Lupe as, I expected him to know that and to have hopefully made them more accountable. I’m surprised that he’s siding with the corporation on this.

Technically, there was no crime committed with the release of Lupe’s version of my song. Technically, the song can be out there but I’m not talking about legalities. I’m asking: Where’s the respect for the code among artists?

No ego, but I know my place in this game. I’m recognized as a legend and I accept that. But most of all, I’m a grown man. The love and admiration that people have for me as a producer and as a man of honor has been non-stop, consistent for over 20 years. That’s based on something that can’t be touched. My music and my character stands for itself. T.R.O.Y was a career-defining song has gotten me invited to the White House. It’s not just because people think the production is dope. It’s also because of what the song stands for. I want my music to touch people but I don’t want to be walked over or lied on in the process.

I admit that my outburst on Monday night on Twitter was based on my reminiscing about Heav and Troy. I think about them every day. I apologize for being emotional about this. I had no intentions of hurting Lupe’s career. That’s not me. I’m known for building up not breaking down careers. Moving forward, I’m 100% in control and focused on what’s good.

When asked why he felt it important speak out again, Pete Rock went on to say: I’ve been around this game long enough to know controversies come and they go and a lot of times the facts of the situation get blotted out. This situation is hot enough for me to set the record straight. Like I said before, I’m moving on.”

-Pete Rock-

Davey D’s Food for Thought:

This is an industry where from time to time folks will have some serious disagreements..We’re talking about works of art and when it comes down to it folks are extremely passionate about their craft..I can easily see the passion that Pete has about TROY and I can see why Lupe would be so upset with criticism that Pete launched on twitter.

All this gets complicated by folks access to social media and the growing fickleness of fans.. We now live in a world where artists whether they like it or not are brands. Their names and work are businesses connected to many others who are behind the scenes and not on the mic or on the stage..Sadly we are at a point where a misplaced word or public critic can seriously impact one’s career or business. This is by no means unique to Hip Hop.. Talk to a business who got a bad review on a site like Yelp.

I hope that Pete and Lupe can retire their disagreement and talk behind the scenes. While public disputes & beefs  are good fodder for all of us who write or broadcast, it adds to an increasingly destructive climate that all of us should take heed to..This is not to say that Pete or Lupe would do each other harm, but its all of us who weigh in and offer harsh opinions and barbs..

For example, it was sad to see some of the vitriol directed at Lupe when Pete tweeted out his criticisms. I personally wish he had called him vs tweeting.. I felt it was unfair for Lupe to be on the receiving end of folks reacting to Pete to suddenly start dissing Lupe, especially when Lupe is really trying to put some social commentary and food for thought into his music…

Yesterday when Lupe expressed his anger and disappointment on Sway’s Morning show it was sad to see folks react with harsh negativity toward Pete..For many of us, Pete’s a legend, who’s earned his stripes and it’s never good to see our heroes and sheroes torn down. We have enough folks outside our community who do this day in and day out…It’s this type of weighing that leads to unnecessary drama.

I hope all of us take this incident as an opportunity to grow and learn from.. All of us should be reaching out to Pete and Lupe and insisting they resolve their situation behind close doors. And if its gonna play out in public hopefully they conduct themselves in away that sets a tone for all of us to follow.. A lot of eyes are watching both men..

For those of us in the industry, journalist and bloggers included we should be working overtime to bring this in a forward productive direction.. Peace is an investment all of us can benefit from..And if we’re gonna weigh in and highlight beefs, there have been close to 30 police killings of Black people since Trayvon Martin.. That’s some beef to sink into..

They just arrested a brother in Oakland the other day named Chris Moreland and charged him with 3 Felonies for stepping to a lying police chief over the killing of an unarmed youth.. That’s beef..

Last week they had drones flying over Chicago as people protested NATO and their policies to advance war.. That’s beef..

New York City police are on pace to Stop and Frisk over 800 thousand people this years.. That’s some beef to highlight..

Have any of us taken a look at Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget?  That’s beef..  Food for Thought..

-Davey D-

PS..June 9th marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Mecca and the Soul Brother. Pete Rock will announce his new projects on this milestone date. Follow him on Twitter at @PeteRock

Read statement from May 23 at

Hip-Hop Activists Host Live Discussion on Recent Cases of Police Brutality

A Conversation About Police Brutality
Paradise Gray and Jasiri X Will Host a Live Discussion Online


Every week, a new story emerges of a local community rocked by police violence. These stories typically follow a similar pattern: a young man of color, alleged to be carrying a weapon that is never recovered, gunned down by police officers in a mysterious altercation that, too often, disappears under a mountain of police pressure and legal mismanagement. Taken individually, these stories are surreal tragedies; viewed as a whole, they reveal a disturbing pattern of police abuse and a serious need for a commitment to a 180-degree makeover of community police procedures. This conversation will be a chance for us to work together as activists and Americans to discuss ways to rebuild the trust between police departments and the communities that they are sworn to protect.

WHO: Paradise Gray, Jasiri X, The League of Young Voters Education Fund

WHAT: Live Online Broadcast of the Summer Chat Series from Pittsburgh

WHEN: Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 4 p.m. EDT


WHY: To encourage a provocative and real conversation on how to deal with police brutality in our communities.

Opportunity to Join the Conversation:
Tweet your questions @TheLeague99 to get them answered live.

Brought to you by:

Paradise Gray is a founding member of X-Clan and the Blackwatch Movement. He is a dedicated activist and member of the hip-hop community. Along with Jasiri X, he is one of the founders of One Hood Media, which is a project to train urban youth on media outreach.

Emcee and community activist Jasiri X is the creative force and artist behind the ground breaking internet news series, This Week with Jasiri X, which has garnered critical acclaim, thousands of subscribers, and millions of internet views. From the controversial viral video What if the Tea Party was Black?, to the hard hitting hilarity of Republican Woman…stay away from me, Jasiri X cleverly uses Hip-Hop to provide social commentary on a variety of issues.

The League of Young Voters Education Fund is a non-profit political organization that engages young people who have been shut out of the political process. We train them to be sophisticated organizers in their own communities, where they learn to build multi-racial, multi-issue alliances.

For more information, contact Sarah Stern at (347) 464-8683 or

Police Brutality at Pete Rock Show…We Must Connect the Dots

The situation that took place the other night at Tammany Hall in Brooklyn where NYPD went wylding on innocent concert goers resulting in the arrest and brutal beating of 5 people, including the daughter of the co-headliner  Pete Rock should serve as a stark reminder just how such incidents are  all too common.

Those who attended this album release party described the event as peaceful. There were no problems inside and hardly anyone was aware that an army of police had amassed outside the venue. From the looks of things what took place  was a deliberate and a gross injustice…

When it comes to the issue of  police brutality many of us tend to focus on egregious scenarios where people are shot 50 times as was the case with Sean Bell in neighboring Queens, NY or shot at point blank range as was the case with Oscar Grant in Oakland, California. When these types of incidents occur we tend to rally the troops, hold loud demonstrations and demand justice as we should… After all, the police are on the taxpayer payroll and have been granted much power and authority. With that comes great responsibility. They are are there to serve and protect, not terrorize and oppress.

With that being said, all of us need to bear in mind that police terrorism goes beyond questionable shootings. Those  are just an accentuation of the day to day humiliation, harassment and beatings they put down on marginalized communities all over the globe.

Pete Rock

Many of us are weighing in and blogging about this unfortunate incident involving Pete Rock should ask themselves, would we have been speaking on this if this didn’t involve a Hip Hop star?  Even more importantly, if we heard about this incident and Pete wasn’t involved would we have brought into the ‘party line’ hawked by the police that these innocent concert goers somehow caused the beatings? Would we be saying to ourselves..’perhaps they weren’t so innocent?’

If we saw a video of a dread locked brother who wasn’t General Steele of Smif-N-Wessun explaining that the police were out of control, would we have dismissed it and said to ourselves  ‘That n– looks like a gang member or some sort of thug..He probably acted ill or  said something and deserved the beat down’?

It’s important that we NOT see what took place at Tammany Hall as something that was isolated. The beatings that took place that night are no different then the ones handed out to innocent concert goers at a dead prez/ KRS-One Katrina benefit show in Los Angeles several years ago.

dead prez

Here police interrupted the show by flying helicopters and shining lights on the performers (the stage was in a courtyard inside the venue). They then ordered folks to leave the venue. Shocked concert goers were greeted by a gauntlet line of more than a hundred officers who provoked and intimidated folks as left the event…Their rationale for shutting down the event was the same one used by NYPD when they shut down the Pete Rock/Smif-N-Wessun party..3000 miles away and 6 years later-there was supposedly a ‘fight outside’ the venue…

We’ve all seen and heard these type of stories before, so much so,  that we can no longer say they are  mere coincidents. They’re deliberate. Maybe its some sort of police training excercise where young Black and Brown folks are fodder. Maybe its something more sinister, where the cops are letting off steam and literally going on some sort of hunting expedition.

Chief William H Parker

Say what you will, but we know one thing, back in the hey days of former police LA police Chief William H Parker and later Chief Darryl Gates, they had a two fold strategy. One was to militarize the police force and make them an efficient take no prisoners entity.

The second was to make sure every Black and Brown male who lived in the hood had contact with the police before they were 15 to make sure that it was clearly understood who was boss.  Parker had a strategy of recruiting police from the south who at that time harbored prejudice and ill feelings toward Blacks. He was known for calling Black people ‘nigras’ and had an even lower opinion of Brown folks. He was LA’s longest serving police chief.

Darryl Gates picked up where Parker left off and in many circles was considered  even worse in his assessment and subsequent action directed at Black and Brown communities..It was under Parker that the infamous Watts Riots of 1967 took place. It was under Gates that the Rodney King rebellion erupted.

Rudy Giuliani

Why do I bring all this up? Because the tactics used by LAPD with Parker and Gates as key architects were held up high and adopted by police departments all over the country and the world. Folks in NY got a taste of this adaptation, when Mayor Rudy Giuliani took office and directed his police to come down hard on any person who committed the smallest and most harmless of infractions. His theory was if you crack down on the little things it will prevent the big things from happening. For many this was seen as a good move designed to make NY one of the world’s safest big cities. For many in Black and Brown communities it was an absolute nightmare. Once Giuliani took office, it wasn’t too long ago that one found themselves getting hemmed up by NYPD even if you crossed against a red light or

It was under Giuliani that NYPD put together their notorious Street Crime Unit that consisted of undercover officers who would walk up to people, stop and frisk un them to make sure they didn’t have guns. Hundreds of thousands of Black and Brown folks were subjected to this tactic. It didn’t matter if you had on sagging pants and your hat turned backwards or was wearing a suit and tie. There was a strong likelihood you were gonna get stopped and frisked by aggressive police who were given the green light to knock heads and take names and numbers later…It was this same Street Crime Unit employing Giuliani’s tactics that led to a young unarmed 23 year old  African immigrant namedAmadou Diallobeing shot on the front porch of his house 41 times by cops who were supposedly ‘trying to protect and serve’.

The Diallo shooting led to the disbanding of the Street Crime Unit, but it didn’t stop the tactics Giuliani implemented which had been drawn praise and adopted all over the world by police forces who feltl that aggression and terror are the ways to prevent crime.. It’s important to keep in mind that years after Giuliani has been out of office, NYPD as recently  as 2007 have stopped and frisked as many as 500 thousand people in one year alone.

We seen this type of tactic adapted with disturbing results in places like Pittsburgh, PA, as exemplified in the sad case of 17 year old Pittsburgh honor student named Jordan Miles.

Jordan Miles is a 18 year old violinist who played for First Lady Michele Obama

In Januray of 2010, just months after performing for First lady Michele Obama, Miles was on his way home, when he was subjected to stop and frisk tactics adopted by undercover Pittsburgh police who call themselves the Jump Out Boys.. Jordan fearing he was about to be robbed ran when a car pulled up and 3 large men jumped out demanding he give them all his drugs.. Jordan was quickly tackled as the Jump Out Boys, all martial arts experts, not only beat him senseless, but tore out one third of his dread locks.. Miles who had never been in trouble with the law, was told by the Pittsburgh Police Chief that he shouldn’t have ran, even though the officers didn’t immediately identify themselves.

Again this is all too commonplace.. It’s my hope that as we talk about and demand justice for what went down the other night in Brooklyn with Pete Rock and his daughter that we also push for systemic change. It’s my hope that all of us who blog, or have access to the airwaves not limit our outrage to incidents involving celebrities and rap stars..For those of us who cover Hip Hop, its important we remember the fans and supporter of this culture who are routinely at the short of the stick of police brutality incidents.

The Pete Rock that I know would definitely want justice and resolution to what happened to his daughter and all the others brutalized by the dubbed the Monumental 5..He would also want this tragedy to not be inflicted on anyone else.

Something to Ponder

Davey D

On a side note, it was not lost on me that this took place at Tammany Hall.. The history of Tammany Hall is a long and sordid one in New York City politics. It was a political machine for the Democratic party  which under ‘the Boss’ William Tweed routinely used violence to control elections back in the 1800s. It was also known for using a growing Irish Immigrant class to smash on Black folks.. Tammany Hall controlled NY politics up to the 1960s..

After seeing the attacks on African Americans the other night first thing that went through my mind was the violent history , but thats for another discussion at another time..