New Hip Hop Song feat AshEl & Sticman of dead prez Smashes the Food Industry

Junk Food Food FightI love when Hip Hop artists do songs like this.. The beat is hitting. The lyrics are on point.. The concept is scorching.. What a great way to talk about the evils of the Food Industry.. This song called ‘Food Fight‘ comes courtesy of Oakland artist AshEl “Seasunz” Eldridge of Earth Amplified and Sticman of dead prez/RBG..I like how these cats flip the script and make u wanna put down any and all junk food with this song.. There hasn’t been a food justice song this good since ‘Beef’ by KRS-One.. and dead prez‘s Be healthy

Maybe our good friends at the NAACP who went out and supported Monsanto when Prop 37 came up on the Cali ballot which would require food companies to label all GMO foods, should see this video.. Mad Props

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mu8QthlZ6hY&feature=youtu.be

KRS-One Beef

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86E9cX28jsQ

Dead prez Be healthy

http://vimeo.com/17489151

A Few Thoughts on Nas, dream hampton, Ghost Writing & Hip Hop Losing its Integrity

The controversy around writer dream hampton (she spells her name in lower case) sending out a tweet where she asserted rappers Stic.man of dead prez and Jay Electronica were ‘ghost writers‘ for Nas is interesting on several levels. First, a lot of folks saw the tweet or heard about it and immediately jumped up to defend the Queensbridge emcee claiming that him having a ghostwriter is an assault to the ‘integrity of Hip Hop’ and that dream is somehow a bad journalist who should be tossed under a bus. I’ll let folks marinate on that for moment..

For those who aren’t up on what happened, here’s the tweet that dream sent out a few days ago…People went ape shyt over this..

“I think Jay writes what he believes. Nas’ “Nigger” album was largely written by Stic of dead prez and Jay Electronica @JusAire…”@dreamhampton

I found the angry reaction curious because what Dream tweeted wasn’t uncommon knowledge. Back when Nas was working on the Untitled album, there was lots of banter, speculation and hope that because he was working with dead prez, they might pen some tracks for him..Many felt such a move would give Nas sharper and harder hitting political content in his songs.

Ain’t nothing wrong with that when you consider over the years we’ve seen percussionist Duke Bootee do this for Grandmaster Flash & Mele-Mel with the landmark song The Message. We recently saw  Bay Area rapper Paris do this for Chuck D of Public Enemy on the album  ‘Rebirth of a Nation‘. No one would ever deny Chuck or Mel’s writing abilities or political prowess…In the case of Nas and Sticman, whether what resulted was co-writing, producing where hooks, ideas and a few bars were provided, scoring of tracks to model for Nas or ghostwriting in the technical sense where full songs were penned minus public credit, none of that seemed shocking, out of the ordinary or a bad thing. There’s a long tradition from  Billy Holiday’s Strange Fruit penned by Abel Meeropol to Stevie Wonder penning songs for Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson & even Michael Jackson to Ice Cube and DOC penning songs for Eazy E and NWA to Prince penning songs for everyone from Chaka Khan to Sheila E to Rhymefest penning Jesus Walks for Kanye West.. Hip Hop and music in general has not lost its integrity because of it.

Over the years, I been in enough recording sessions with artists big and small to see first hand how the process plays out..People share ideas, verses get traded, shifted around, reassigned, some are written and then rewritten, some are imposed etc.. How things get publicly credited and monies divided up in the end is one aspect..but for the most part, the end game has been to put out the absolute best product. The bottom line is no matter what folks like to believe, not everything recorded is written by the one spitting verses. That applies to folks who some might consider the very best and it applies to some who are relatively unknown.

We see similar process in beat production. Not everyone who is deemed ‘the producer‘ works the drum machine and craft the melodies. By now its common knowledge that revered producer Dr Dre is not in the studio coming up with every single drum track, it doesn’t mean he’s not capable nor would anyone deny is skill as a producer?

On a side note, we also know that over the years everyone from Eminem to Jay-Z have penned raps for Dre.. Have we stopped liking him because it or do we give him dap for doing great records and using the best talent around him..

When you’re making records and you have money invested, in particular major label money, it becomes a team effort. It’s very collaborative where lots of folks have a hand in it. I don’t think the recording process as I’ve seen/ experienced takes away from the writing prowess of an artist, especially someone of the stature of Nas. If anything, one getting co-writers etc is a smart move especially if you’re trying to bring fresh perspectives or push boundaries musically or subject wise.

With all that being said, at the end of the day both Jay Electronica and Stic.man have denied ghostwriting for Nas and unless we were there in the studio with them, we’ll have to take their word for it… Sticman has been particularly humble in terms of expressing his long time admiration for Nas and further explains their recording process in a recent Vibe Magazine interview.

From where I sit, I think folks instead of getting upset at the possibility that they ghostwrote for Nas, they should’ve seen such a move as monumental.  Stic and Jay working with Nas, that’s a powerful team. People are acting like these guys are some Johnny-come-lately slouches or some no-name rookies to scoff at..They are not.. They are top shelf artists. If someone like Stic is penning songs, whether it’s for Nas or the guy down the street, its worth a listen especially if it’s on the political tip. Very few do it better.

dream hampton

With respect to dream hampton sending out a tweet which was directed to someone whether right or wrong is not an indictment on journalism-its a tweet. Yes it came from popular person who is a journalist, but a quick look at Dream’s twitter time line, will quickly reveal everything she tweets is not a news story. Far from it.. She shares many opinions, debates folks,  shares speculations and gets snarky at times.. Who hasn’t on twitter? It’s barbershop/ beauty shop talk..Media types should not be mining twitter for news stories unless they tend to do due diligence, put things in context and journalistically follow-up.

dream’s penning of Jay-Z‘s Decoded, her brilliant columns and insightful articles over the past 15 years covering everything from rape to Too Short and sexism to her film on Black August all go out the window over a tweet?? Really?

If folks are really concerned about the Hip Hop journalism and faulty information being passed along to the masses, before going at dream hampton how about we go after those multi-million dollar corporate radio giants that run commercial sponsored gossip/ entertainment reports on the daily. Seems like I’ve heard more foul stuff said about Nas and his failed marriage to singer Kelis and his child support payments on those outlets then I ever seen Dream tweet or write. How many of those stories were accurate?  Was Nas really a dead beat dad? How many ran to the bank on those stories without checking to see if it was true or not?  Was Hip Hop’s integrity destroyed over those claims or only when it was asserted that Nas may have had some stellar artists pen songs for him?

The harsh and sometimes threatening response to dream was over the top and to be quite honest, cowardly. Was this really because she suggested Nas had ghost writers or because she was a woman? I didn’t see a whole lot of folks getting froggy a few years back when Suge Knight made unsavory remarks about Nas appearing on the song Thug Mansion on 2Pac’s album.. Where was all the ‘you’re a bitch’ and ‘you’re groupie’ rhetoric then?  Are we silent when it folks making remarks who are not afraid to talk greasy and mix it up physically with those who are opposed?

Seems like it was just a few short weeks ago when many were coming down on Nas for defending actress Gwyneth Paltrow and giving her a pass tweeting the N word.. Quite a few folks went in on Nas after he claimed Paltrow was a ‘real nigger’, some accused him of falling off and selling out. Some said they’d never listen to a Nas album again..Where was all the tough talk in response to those critiques? This is not to say that folks can’t get at dream hampton and express disappointment or disagreement over her remarks..She is not above criticism. I’m simply suggesting that all of us can come at things a different way.. We can be passionate without threatening, vicious and over-the-top demeaning on the misogynist tip.

For those who feel passionate about Nas and feel he needs to get more shine, here’s something to consider..I checked the recent issues of Billboard, their August 25th Rap Charts and their August 25th Top 50 R&B/ Hip Hop Charts, and you know what was missing?  A song from Nas. The man just put out a brilliant album and thus far it seems to be shunned for a whole lot of mediocre stuff..

We should be upset more radio stations aren’t rocking cuts off Nas’ new album Good Life

Outside of Hot 97 in New York and a handful of station here there, most stations according to their playlist ain’t rocking Nas at all..Many feel Nas is a stellar lyricist who helps raise consciousness, so how is that Nas is news worthy enough to be gossiped about when his marriage fails and he’s deemed a dead beat dad, but now worthy enough to be played on some of those same outlets? That’s where people’s anger should be directed..

Let’s not make excuses for these public airwaves to not have songs like Nas’ Daughters being heard 8-10 times a day. We should be angry that young impressionable minds that tune in, are not being exposed to a song that gives encouragement for men to step up and be present for their kids. Why can’t these outlets show any love for the incredible joint he recently did with Knaan called ‘Nothing to Lose? Was there no songs off the dope album ‘Good Life’ to expose to the masses?

If folks are gonna ride for Nas, ride for him on some real impactful stuff..Like I said earlier, sure folks can call out dream for being wrong, but how about calling those folks out who really influence and shape minds? If we concerned about the integrity of Hip Hop, get mad and shut those outlets down.. Call those owners and program directors who talk to millions of people at every given moment to do right by Hip Hop if that’s really the issue..Lets’ push to make sure Nas is performing at the next Grammy or BET Award vs someone who has a fraction of his talent.. There’s simply no comparison between dream hampton’s tweet and the powerful forces at work day in and day out systematically undermine Nas and Hip Hop. Let’s get mad at that..

Something to Ponder..

Davey D

From Oscar Grant to Pace University Student Danroy Henry-Remembering those Killed by the Police

Bay Area Residents were insulted to see this sign calling for Freedom of a killer cop during the SF Giants Playoff game.

This past week the Bay Area and those who want Justice 4 Oscar Grant were insulted when the father and supporters of killer cop Johannes Mehserle showed up to McCovey Cove in a Yacht next to Candlestick Park during the Giants playoff games and unfolded ‘Free Mehserle’ banners. The signs were seen nationwide as TV cameras would show the signs when panning into the outfield.

Bay Area folks weren’t having it and dispatched a boat of their own to the cove to unveil large Justice 4 Oscar Grant banners. Police supporters driving the Yacht attempted ram the Grant boat and now the Bay is on fire as the November 5th sentencing looms near.

This Saturday at 12 noon there will be a huge rally in downtown Oakland in front of City Hall.. The rally sponsored by the Longshoremen’s Union will be accompanied by them shutting down ports on the west coast to bring attention to the Oscar Grant case…

As folk here in Cali rally for Oscar Grant, many will also have their hearts, minds and attention on the recent police killing of 20-year-old star football player and Pace University student Danroy Henry aka DJ Henry.

For folks who don’t know the story, last weekend, Henry and fellow teammate and best friend Brandon Cox were parked in the fire lane in front of a bar in Westchester County near the Pace University campus, when a chaotic fight broke out. Henry and Cox weren’t involved. In fact Henry was the designated driver and was waiting to take his friends home.  When police showed up on the scene and did what they normally do, start barking orders with a ‘take no mess‘ attitude as they began ordering folks around, trying to clean up the scene. Among those ordered was Henry.

According to police they tapped on the window of Henry’s car and ‘he suddenly sped off hitting an officer and putting his life in danger‘. Police claimed they were fearing for their lives as one officer was supposedly clinging to the hood of the car, thus compelling them to shoot and kill Henry. Note this is the story the police told and its been debunked by dozens of witnesses on the scene.

According to passenger Brandon Cox and witnesses to the horrific scene, cops tapped on the window and Henry slowly drove off believing he was being ordered move away from the fire lane. He didn’t speed off and no officer was hit and left clinging to his windshield, yet shots were fired into the vehicle killing Henry. This was a popular well mannered young man who was not a known troublemaker, had no criminal record and who was unarmed.

Our hearts go out to Pace University football player 20 year old Danroy Henry who gunned down by police & handcuffed while he lay dying. Thousands came out for his vigil. This week's Pace games were canceled

After the car was stopped/crashed, Henry was pulled out and handcuffed while he lay on the ground dying. His friends rushed to his aid and were tasered and handcuffed by Mt Pleasant police. . Some of his friends knew CPR and wanted to keep him alive. They were in shock he was shot by the police. It was only after witnesses, many of them white screamed at police that what they did was wrong that they relented and took the handcuffs off the mortally wounded Henry.

When the ambulance arrived, medical workers were directed to the police officers who were hardly injured (they got hurt after shooting Henry). While they looked after the police, Henry lay on the ground with bullets wounds for over 15 minutes before he was tended to…As we know he eventually died from his injuries.  More details around this are still forth coming. Thousands came out for a vigil to honor Henry. This week’s Pace football game  was cancelled

Our experience with Oscar Grant, had many of us here in Cali wondering if police in Mt Pleasant, NY employed similar tactics to cover up their wrong doings. If folks recall, in the first hours after Grant was shot, police funneled reports to local media about him having a criminal past. This was aired and used as some sort of justification for him being killed that fateful New Years morning. We’re almost sure police were looking for dirt on Henry. Fortunately this was a good kid and so the typical police narrative of the bad apple being shot doesn’t hold water.  As we speak police have been combing the area ‘looking for witnesses to collaborate their story’ that Henry was in the wrong and put officers lives in danger.

Oscar Grant

We don’t think so. For many of us this is Sean Bell and Oscar Grant all over again. Our condolences and prayers to the Henry family. They stated in interviews that they want the truth. We hope that’s afforded to them and that the police do what never happened with Grant, apologize to them for this inexcusable behavior.

We also hope that good minded peace officers will take bold steps forward and speak out and say ‘enough is enough’. It’s good to see Republican Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Henry’s home state, is speaking out and calling for an investigation. Hopefully President Obama will speak out the way he’s done when officers have been slain.

Many of us will be speaking out both today Oct 22 and tomorrow during the rally as we pay tribute to Grant and other victims of police violence. We leave you with some videos that will hopefully raise awareness about the gravity of police brutality.

written by Davey D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXQmeT9nmLw&feature=player_embedded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOk7Elnv79w

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-4o1CxvKfE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSFs1CQYDgY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMgccsq1IyM

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