Masta Ace & MF Doom. Way to fresh!!!
Masta Ace & MF Doom. Way to fresh!!!
Taken with Instagram
Watch the first 7 minutes of Red Tails. #SUPPORT THIS FILM!
George Lucas on the Daily Show with John Stewart talking about the movie “Red Tails” opening on January 20th.
Last night, Talib Kweli and Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon doing two numbers, “You Already Knew” and a rendition of “Little Brother” to pay respects to the late J. Dilla. Two of my favorite emcees doing what they do best, rocking the mic!
(I respect this man so much, and I tip my hat to him for expressing his viewpoint on President Obama’s performance in such an eloquent fashion.)
In a Jet article that is coming out soon (is it already out? I’ve only seen excerpts on line) I was “quoted” (quote marks definitely intended) as saying I wished that our president had been more gangster in office. This apparently incendiary word set off rumbles with certain people who conflated my use of the word gangster with stereotypical depictions of black men in society today (even though I also tweeted that in my opinion Mandela and Clinton as well as a mother and father who raised their child in a hostile environment and grew a fully realized, free thinking human being would also be considered gangster. Oh well…).
I realize that when speaking to reporters who are looking for the juiciest comments to print, a word like gangster in connection with a black president uttered by a black celebrity can almost be too much to resist. I also realize that when you do an interview you are likely to at least have your comments reduced and constructed to fit into a required space and never do you have say over the final edit. I say this not in defense but to offer some perspective.
I believe I used the word gangster and I meant it. But I wasn’t talking about pants sagging and forties and “hoes” or any of that other nonsense and I find it hard to believe that that is what some people thought I was saying. I was talking about wish fulfillment; my own and my desire to witness something more than I had. When I was called by then Senator Obama to stump for him in 2008, I was honored and eager to do so.
I took my two daughters with me to college campuses and rallied the troops for voter drives. Every opportunity I had to speak in public about my support for him, I did and still do. He is the clear choice in my opinion for 2012 and I will again support his re-election but those facts don’t mitigate what I earlier expressed about gangster, they coexist side by side. Coming out of eight years of a president who I believe in many ways took us as dangerously close to the brink of destruction as any before him, I was hoping for a seismic shift in the other direction. I don’t think we’ve had that.
Many of my friends and family are scratching it out somewhere decidedly south of the ever widening gap between the haves and have nots, looking at losing their homes, colleges they can’t afford and healthcare they can’t avail themselves of. They’re the ones I’m thinking of when I say gangster. I understand the constraints of the president when dealing with a congress apparently dead set against working with him and I know how a bill becomes a law (I used to watch Schoolhouse Rock too).
President Obama inherited a broken country mired in two wars, a financial crisis, a mortgage mess and more than we all probably even know about and has in my opinion brought us back from the brink. But I still see my friends in no better shape and the gap widening. I am not a policy maker and have no desire to be one. I am not running for office and would never be elected were I to. I have no designs on becoming a lobbyist. I am a father, a “husband”, an actor and a citizen of this country and planet who flippantly expressed on a press tour, a desire to see our president riding roughshod over his adversaries to get the job done for the least represented amongst us. I still want that.
I still want that with full knowledge that it might be an uphill fight that ultimately proves impossible given the hostile impasse our president faces. I still have a fevered dream of the POTUS smacking up John Boehner in a public forum in middle America and making him defend support of tax cuts for the super rich. I want to see somebody go to jail over the financial crisis and not just black, brown and poor whites over humbles and minor drug beefs.
I want the president to bail out homeowners who fell for the okey doke from predatory lenders and are two seconds from living on the streets or are already there. I want to see industrial polluters who are killing all of us slowly by poisoning our fragile environment swap places with the kid doing 15 years in Chino for shoplifting shoes. I want him to stand in front of the haters and go all Bill Duke on them and say, “You know you done fu**ed up now, don’t you?” I kinda want a gangster president.
I was about to write that in the future I would chose my words more carefully but I’m sure I won’t. Besides, I think the debate is more enriching. I appreciate all the articles I was directed to and will try to find time to read them although I don’t need any more proof to support President Obama. I’m glad he’s at the wheel and not me – I woulda swung at somebody by now. I wish you all peace in the New Year and let’s keep on keeping on.
1. Stop playing the same 5 songs on the radio.
2. Stop listening to radio stations that play the same 5 songs.
3. Stop blaming Diddy.
4. Stop Diddy.
5. Stop dubbing every new jack “the next great” this and that.
6. Stop charging body parts for shows.
7. Stop fabricating feuds to sell records.
8. Stop putting Lil Wayne on every song.
9. Stop saying hip-hop is dead.
10. Stop hating Kanye for being weird.
11. More battles, less beef.
12. Stop biting Jay-Z’s flow.
13. Stop biting Biggie’s ad libs.
14. Stop putting weed carriers on your album.
15. Stop trying to please everyone.
16. Stop leaking entire albums song by song.
17. Stop making posthumous collaborations.
18. Stop getting arrested for dumb things.
19. Stop being homophobic.
20. Stop blaming record labels.
21. Stop whining about how much you miss the golden age of hip-hop.
22. Stop cluttering albums with corny skits, unless you’re Prince Paul.
23. Support creativity with your wallet.
24. Stop making 50-song albums with 90% filler.
25. Stop faking the funk.
26. Stop calling people who disagree with you “haters.”
27. Stop hating.
28. Stop kissing ass for favors.
29. Stop saying you miss “real” hip-hop.
30. Stop hating Jay-Z.
31. Stop saying you’re carrying ___ city on your back. That’s not even possible.
32. Stop acting too cool for school at concerts.
33. Stop rapping about the same three topics.
34. Stop rapping about UFOs.
35. Stop promoting sexual violence under the guise of hood reportage.
36. Stop defending misogyny.
37. Stop being a Twitter groupie.
38. Stop taking contrarian views for the sake of being different.
39. Stop hating people who disagree with you.
40. Stop dissing Soulja Boy.
41. Stop Soulja Boy.
42. Stop dissing people who make dance-tastic rap. It’s been around forever.
43. Support innovative DJs.
44. Actually make the effort to move the crowd.
45. Stop radio payola.
46. Stop blog payola.
47. Push the envelope.
48. Stop biting.
49. Stop yelling on mixtapes.
50. Stop blaming bloggers.
51. Make meaningful music.
52. Stop obsessing over airplay (or lack thereof).
53. Stop showering undeserving veterans with blind praise.
54. Stop sleeping on unsigned talent.
55. Stop hopping on trends.
56. Stop making everything a race issue.
57. Stop being so gimmicky.
58. Stop calling everything a concept album.
59. Stop making tinkerbell beats.
60. Stop blaming skinny jeans.
61. Stop blaming hipsters.
62. Stop explaining your art.
63. Let your music speak for itself.
64. Stop playing it safe.
65. Invest in better artwork and packaging.
66. Stop promoting ignorance.
67. Stop burning bridges over stupid things.
68. Stop bragging about sales.
69. Stop showing up six hours late to your own shows.
70. Stop blaming the South.
71. Stop putting people in a box.
72. Stop tossing “classic” around.
73. Stop congratulating yourself on every other song.
74. Stop trying to sell the same album twice.
75. Stop looking for the next 50 Cent.
76. Stop hating people who color outside the lines.
77. More rapping, less singing.
78. Stop wasting your budget on video hos.
79. Do tell me, how do you get in those jeans.
80. Stop getting murdered by Eminem on your songs.
81. Stop telling me to “bring that sh-t back!”
82. More improvised freestyles, less written freestyles.
83. More originality, less biting.
84. More RZA, less Bobby Digital.
85. More effort, less ghostwriting.
86. More albums, less mixtapes.
87. Stop using auto-tune to mask a lack of singing talent.
88. Stop making contrived girl songs.
89. Stop wearing obnoxious gold chains.
90. Stop calling everything a movement. Civil Rights = movement; Bugatti Boys = not a movement.
91. Stop shooting up the clubs.
92. Stop wearing jackets that look like LV handbags.
93. Stop nominating idiots for Hip-Hop Honors.
94. Stop handing out awards to the same 5 people every year.
95. Stop sending impostors to your show (I’m looking at you, DOOM).
96. Ban Diddy from Twitter.
97. Stop putting baby pictures on your album cover.
98. Be aware that the roof is not literally on fire.
99. Retire the word “swag.”
100. Stop trying to save hip-hop. It doesn’t need saving.