Posts Tagged ‘RapRehab’

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Dear JT,

I’ll make this quick. I’m sure you’re still busy trying to clean up your Twitter mess. If only you would’ve called it a night after kindly complimenting Jesse Williams on his amazing acceptance speech, you’d probably have awakened this morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

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But the force that is #BlackTwitter was not going to let you ignore the fact that many of the issues Williams brought up in the very speech you congratulated him on are partially about folks like you. The cornrows, overall swagger-jacking, and leaving Janet high and dry when it was convenient instantly come to mind.

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Truth is, there isn’t much you could’ve said to justify your history of cultural misappropriation but the condescending tone with which you chose to reply represents everything wrong with this colorblind fairy tale so many “well-meaning white folks” subscribe to. Your response is vomit-inducing.

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Oh, wise one, please enlighten us with your superior knowledge of racial equality and justice for all.

GTFOHWTBS!

Your arrogance is out of this world. What planet are you living on? What did Jesse Williams’ speech actually inspire you to do? Whitesplain to Black people how they should feel about race and then shut down the conversation with a dismissive “Bye”? Did you really think you were going to walk away from this exchange unscathed? I’m glad Twitter jumped on your ass with a quickness. And then…

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Oh, you sweet soul, feeling misunderstood. So sad. Look here JT, why don’t you go cry a river of white tears to your fans? You have plenty of supporters who undoubtedly feel just as misunderstood as you do. That’s a legion of people from all walks of life, teachers, doctors, lawyers, police officers, and other folks we interact with everyday, who don’t see anything wrong with what you said and use colorblindness as a way to deny/ignore people’s experiences and identities.  You’re right, you probably shouldn’t have responded.

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Damn it, Justin! You must’ve been listening to a speech by some other Jesse Williams. The Jesse I heard on the 2016 BET Awards delivered a no-holds barred critique of systemic racism, white supremacy, and cultural appropriation while praising the strength of Black women and the work of community organizers who tirelessly fight against racial inequality. Nowhere did I hear Williams deliver some Kumbaya, we’re-all-the-same, feel-good speech. Yes, we’re all part of the human race and should be living in peace with one another. I know it, Williams knows it, and his mom knows it. But we’re not all living in peace. That’s the problem people like Williams are boldly addressing. You confused a Black Lives Matter message for an All Lives Matter moment and that makes you the type of person Williams was talking about.

To quote the very speech you obviously misunderstood: “If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest in equal rights for black people, then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.”

– Jesse Williams, BET Awards 2016

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I’m glad you decided to stop digging your own grave any further and finally apologized, the same way I’m sure you eventually apologized to Janet, right? But at the end of the day, you’re just an entertainer, no more, no less. I shouldn’t really expect you to be an expert on social justice, institutionalized racism, and every other overlapping issues beyond the scope of your comprehension. I just figured that a white artist who’s established a career as an R&B artist with a significant Black fan based would have learned a thing or two about the very real, ongoing legacy of racism in America.

One thing’s for sure, and I’m sure you’ll agree with my advice, the more you acknowledge how little you understood about Jesse Williams’ speech, the more we can have a conversation.

Bye.

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On the 3rd episode of Take No Prisoners Radio, hosts Seb and Camille H discuss the rise of socially conscious mainstream rap, “ratchet rap” and cultural misappropriation. For the second half, Paul Porter, entertainment industry veteran & founder of RapRehab joins the show to reveal the music industry’s dirty secrets. Also, check out new music by Open Mike Eagle, De La Soul ft. Chuck D, RA the Rugged Man and Sa-Roc.

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Hello Azealia,

Your interview with Ebro, your beef with Kendrick, T.I. and Iggy, and your public Twitter war with Lupe piqued my curiosity and compelled me to reach out to you directly.  You’re everywhere these days. Half of the posts on my Facebook timeline are about you.  Music blogs report every little thing you say and everything you tweet, hyping up the drama, but overlooking the deeper points you make.  As a Hip Hop culture critic and writer, I’m much more interested in those deeper points that cornball bloggers and dime-a-dozen racists seem to gloss over.

Truth is, I didn’t know much about your music except for that “212” joint you dropped a few years ago.  It wasn’t really my thing.  I’m more of a traditionalist so if it’s not Boom Bap Hip Hop, heavy on dusty chopped up samples and grimy kicks and snares, it usually doesn’t resonate with me.  But out of fairness, I decided to check out your latest project before writing this letter and sharing my unsolicited 2 cents. While your album didn’t really move me, as someone who grew up with House music, I respect what you’re doing and recognize that it’s light years ahead of the trash on the radio.  But at the end of the day, I’m just not the audience for it.

With that said, after having read countless comments from people calling you crazy, a bitch, a dumb hoe, and other derogatory terms for simply voicing your mind, I want to let you know that I’m proud of you for boldly speaking up about the bullshit plaguing mainstream rap music. Too many popular rappers use their platform to spread mindless gossip rather than sharing thought-provoking ideas.  Everything you’ve been saying about Iggy, cultural misappropriation, and the state of Black culture is worthy of public discourse and likely to motivate your fans to do some research…even if the part about Black people being “Naturally Born Seers, Diviners, Witches and Wizards” may confuse a whole lot of folks.

While your delivery may be “rough around the edges”, given a little bit of time and experience, I trust you’ll be able to express your views in a much more polished manner.  Still, I agree with your stance on Iggy. I agree with your perspective on the watering-down of rap music. I agree with everything you said regarding Black culture around the world being erased. This shit has been going on for a long time.  And for many years now, rap artists have been silenced, muted, neutered, and verbally castrated by mainstream media for speaking about social issues and challenging the status quo . It’s good to know that things are changing with artists like you leading the way.

Surprisingly, your music doesn’t reflect your social awareness…or maybe I’m missing something.  However, now that you have the world’s attention, it’s the perfect time to infuse some of your insight and socially relevant themes into your music. While promoting your new album, it would be dope to release a few free joints on the side, basically speaking on the issues you seem passionate about (i.e. reparations, African traditions, etc). It would be a perfect opportunity to educate your younger listeners, and even adults who may not always understand what you’re talking about on Twitter or your various radio interviews.

We’re at a point in Hip Hop right now, at least in the mainstream world, where rappers with meaningful content are becoming more accepted. I hate to bring up the same rappers that everyone keeps naming but Kendrick Lamar and J Cole are two artists who are definitely at the forefront of bringing lyricism back to mainstream rap.  Of course, I know you’re not feeling Kendrick but it’s hard to deny the fact that he’s impacted popular rap in a big way…even if you feel he’s a sellout. Bottom line is, the world is sick and tired of hearing the same garbage that commercial rap has been selling us for the past 15 years. That’s why I think it’s a perfect time for you to rap about the issues you unapologetically express outside your music. I’m sure you’re probably tired of hearing people giving you their opinion about what they think you should do, but please believe me when I tell you that I have your best interest at heart.

Even though some people have ridiculed you for being emotional during your interview with Ebro and Rosenberg, I really felt your spirit, and I was happy to see you being so open and unafraid to be who you are. With all of these frontin’ ass rappers out here, talking loud and saying nothing, your vulnerability was a breath of fresh air and proved that you have a bigger heart than most of these industry clowns.  In a world where artists, especially rappers, are being constantly dehumanized, it’s refreshing to see someone who isn’t afraid to be human.  Don’t let the industry ever take that away from you.

Peace,

Seb

This article is also published at http://raprehab.com/open-letter-azaleia-banks/

Welcome to the 3rd edition of Seb’s Top 5 Hip Hop Picks where I pick my top 5 favorite Hip Hop related items for that month. This can include artists, videos, songs, events, books, shows or anything else that represents the best in Hip Hop culture. Keep in mind that my picks are strictly a matter of opinion. In no particular order, this list is just my way of celebrating what’s right with Hip Hop. Readers are free to agree or disagree. Don’t hesitate to share your feedback. Enjoy! Peace.

1. Rapsody – “Beauty and the Beast”

This gem is a must-have for any legitimate Hip Hop head. This is an amazing follow up to her last two releases, The Idea of Beautiful, and She Got Game.

Stream “Beauty and the Beast” here.

2. Diamond D – “The Diam Piece”

Legendary MC/producer Diamond D drops his long-awaited album “The Diam Piece”, featuring Pharoahe Monch, Talib Kweli, Masta Ace, Grand Daddy IU (yes, you heard that right!) and a host of other guests who deliver the goods over sample-heavy boom bap.

Stream “The Diam Piece” here.

3. Ghostface Killah & BADBADNOTGOOD – “Gunshowers” featuring Elzhi

Ghostface Killah has joined forces with Canadian band BADBADNOTGOOD and released the guitar-laced “Gunshowers” featuring Elzhi. The word is that Ghost and the band are working on a full-length project slated for early 2015. This joint is a hell of a way to build anticipation!

4. Jay Electronica – “Into the Light”

The trailer for “Into the Light, a forthcoming film featuring Jay Electronica, shows the many adventures of the world’s most mysterious MC as he travels the world, hanging out with monks and living amongst the people.  The cinematography looks amazing and I’m looking forward to checking out the full-length film.

5. Dynamic Equilibrium – “Dear Father”

This NY duo recently completed the video for “Dear Father”, a single off the album “Post Crack Era” released earlier this year. Sometimes,we just need to be reminded that you don’t have to be a household name to make quality Hip Hop!

You can also find this Top 5 at http://raprehab.com/sebs-top-5-hip-hop-picks/

Every month, I’ll be picking my top 5 favorite Hip Hop related items.  This could include artists, videos, songs, events, books, shows or anything else that represents the best in Hip Hop culture for that month.  Keep in mind that my picks are strictly a matter of opinion.  In no particular order, this list is just my way of celebrating what’s right with Hip Hop.  Readers are free to agree or disagree. Don’t hesitate to share your feedback. Enjoy! Peace.
 
1. The Masters of Ceremony Hip Hop Reunion

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When was the last time you got to see EPMD, Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, Biz Markie, Naughty By Nature, DMX, and more together on stage? Kicking off this July, the show will hopefully make its way to your city soon.

2. Chuck D Interview on the Combat Show

This is possibly one of the best interviews I’ve heard in a long time. Listen to Chuck and Keith Shocklee from the Bomb Squad share insight about Hip Hop culture, the origins of Public Enemy, the music industry, their work with other artists, and everything else you’d imagine the perfect 3 1/2 hour Chuck D interview to sound like!

 

3. Interview with Bob Power, the man behind the sound of A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, The Roots, Erykah Badu, and more.

Legendary recording engineer Bob Power talks about how he helped create the sound that some of Hip Hop’s most iconic artists are known for. If you’re into what goes on behind the scenes, this interview is a must!

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4. Sa-Roc’s new album, “Nebuchadnezzar”

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Craving conscious Hip Hop? The Goddess Sa-Roc doesn’t disappoint with a full-length offering featuring the likes of Wise Intelligent and David Banner. Can’t think of too many other MC’s who can touch her right now! Stream it and buy it here.

5. Jay Electronica at The Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival

The always anticipated Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary with many performers including Jay Electronica who repped the Nation of Islam to the fullest and surprised the audience by bringing Jay Z on stage to do an almost 15-minute set. I wasn’t there but here’s the video.

You can also find this on RapRehab at http://raprehab.com/the-top-5-hip-hop-picks/