FNV NEWSLETTER #110
December 5 2002
In This Week's Issue
*Source Youth Foundation Drops New Album
*Bay Area Hip Hoppers Return From Palestine
*Producer Fredwreck Set to Do Anti-war Song
*Mixtape Awards Marred By Altercation
*Kool Keith Crew Returns Money To Slims Nite Club
*Twin Hype Is Back
*A Review of Nas's New Album God's Son
*Supernatural and Brand Nubian Rock the Bay Area
*INS Tries to Force Slick Rick to Sign Deportation Papers
*An Interview w/ Damon Dash
The FNV Newsletter c 2002
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HIP HOP NEWS SHORTS:
SOURCE YOUTH FOUNDATION DROPS NEW ALBUM
Big shout outs are in order to Edward Dejesus and Derrick Dolphin of
The Source Youth Foundation. They are attempting to do a series of
Youth Strategy Summits throughout the country and to something that
they feel is lacking in Hip Hop -Be more RESPONSIBLE.
The duo has just released a compilation CD called 'Strength of a
Nation Vol. 1, which I got to peep. To be honest its really good.
Its totally clean-curse free CD with 14 tracks about major social
issues and an accompanying educational facilitator's guide. Dejesus
and Dolphin are using their talents, connections and resources to
create a record label [Alive and Free Records] that creates music
which does not promote violence, materialism and/or misogyny.
DeJesus and Dolphin have launched "Fair Chance for Youth" (FIFTY) - a
national effort to promote opportunities for the young people who are
trying to make it up off the streets. Starting in four cities and
with the backing of more than 300 youth programs across the UP.SO.,
DeJesus and Dolphin will host a series of meetings with inner city
youth to allow them to voice their concerns about the status of
hip-hop and what can be done by the hip-hop industry to help increase
opportunities for youth. They are actually holding one today in Miami
Florida. The next one will be December 12th in South central LA. For
more information please call 301-216-2050x203.
HIP HOPPERS RETURN FROM PALENSTINE
Last week we did a radio show that highlighted the return of Hip
Hoppers Sake 1 of Local 1200 and Samantha of Freedom Fighter Records.
They along with a number of folks went over to Palestine and Israel to
get a first hand look and assessment as to what was going on. As far
as they were concerned the US media has been totally onsided and
imbalanced with their perspectives. In past newsletters we ran some
of their daily updates which were pretty intense and eye-opening.
This evening [December 5th] they will holding a huge press
conference/meeting to give a full report. If you happen to be here in
the Bay Area head on over to the SF Women's Building [Audre Lorde
PRODUCER FREDWRECK SET TO DO ANTI-WAR SONG
As for the radio show we had producer Fredwreck who is best known for
producing tracks for Xzibit, Nate Dogg and Snoop. He announced on our
show that he Snoop, Xzibit and a number of other popular Cali artists
are going to be doing an anti-war song. Apparently more then a few
folks aren't too keen on this impending war with Iraq. Fredwreck
explained that when you turn on TV you never hear the perspective of
younger people, cats from the hood and people who are down with Hip
Hop. He noted that when he walks around and talks to folks like Snoop
or the Eastsidaz they express some very strong concerns about us going
to war. They fully realize that the first folks to go will be cats
from the hood. Hence he felt it was important that folks voice their
opinion and give the public another perspective to think about before
rushing off to war.
During the show we spoke about what sort of reaction would take place
if an artist like Eminem got on stage and said 'Do Not Go to War'. We
speculated that things would change in a heartbeat. A lot of these
artist have tremendous power and the potential to shift public
opinion. Its no wonder Hip Hop has come under attacks in recent
months with government officials trying to draw connections between
certain groups and terrorists.
In any case Fredwreck the current media coverage is way to biased and
it needs to be countered. We'll keep you posted on the details of
that song. When we last spoke we Fredwreck was attempting to connect
with Daddy O to see how their anti-war song could be included with the
Self-Destruction Stop the Violence Project that is underway.
MIXTAPE AWARDS MARRED BY ALTERCATION
Sad news regarding the 7th annual Mixtape Awards which took place at
the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan. According to the folks over at
allhiphop.com, the vent was marred by an altercation between DJ Kay
Slay and DJ Pudgee P. Things spun out of control to the point that
cats started picking up awards and smashing them...Hip Hop pioneer
Kool Herc came on stage and chastised the DJs for allowing things to
get out of hand. He also made reference to an on going rivalry
between Kay Slay and DJ Clue. Kay Slay responded to the criticism by
noting that he would not allow himself to be disrespected by
anyone..The award ceremeony eventually took place at Britney Spear's
old restaurant NYLA where Kay Slay was named best mixtape king..
KOOL KEITH CREW RETURNS MONEY
In other news, last week we ran a story from Billy Jam of Hip Hop Slam
who reported a bizarre incident involving Kool keith's posse at Slim's
Night Club. Apparently Kool Keith Never showed up but folks from his
crew jetted from the spot with the gate receipts. Shortly after the
story ran the money was returned. Here's what Billy jam wrote
regarding the incident:
"After Kool Keith's peeps (inc. Tim Dog & Jacky Jasper) fled Slims
nightclub in San Francisco late Weds night (11/20) with the club
receipts: as reported here yesterday they ran off after Kool Keith
never showed up to join his crew in concert onstage. That was about
11:40PM after announcing onstage that "Kool Keith was arrested....on
Reportedly a few hours later, at approximately 2:30AM, Keith's manager
came by the club, returned the money in full and apologized.
Apparently he was prompted to do so upon learning that the club had
called the cops on the rappers who wouldn't have been too hard for the
SFPD to find in their big marked tour bus. And what about Kool Keith
getting arrested by the cops on Mission? Or the story that he later
managed to bail himself out and then take a cab to the getaway bus?
Well, the SFPD have no record of any arrest of a Keith Thornton. To
Kool Keith and his management's credit however he did offer to do a
free show at Slims. Stay tuned for details. Meanwhile press folkers
for the official word contact Dawn at Slims.
TWIN HYPE IS BACK
The year was 1989 when Twin Hype released their first self titled
album and two singles with videos for "Do It To The Crowd" and "For
Those Who Like To Groove" on Profile Records. Then in 1990 they
released an EP called "Double Barrel" with a video for "Nothing Can
Save Ya" also on Profile Records. Twin Hype toured the world till the
twins were incarcerated. Now soon to be 2003, the twins are back and
ready to attack.
Twin Hype is currently in the studio with DJ King Shameek working on
their new album. "Being away from the seen since 93 has not stooped
the twins from doing their homework, the rhymes are more clever" said
Shameek. After being incarcerated for 5 years, and seeing where the
state of Hip Hop has gone and is going, the twins hooked back up with
Shameek to "Do It To The Crowd" once again. But this time more focus
"We were like 18 years old with money and little knowledge about the
biz or investing" said Slick (one of the twins). Twin Hype is not
officially singed to a label just yet, but has a few offers on the
table. "We've seen about 20% of the world so far and can't wait to
pick up where we left off" said Sly (the other twin). Twin Hype is
available for bookings drop them a line at email@example.com
A REVIEW OF NAS' NEW ALBUM GOD'S SON
by Kweku Obed
Whoa, whoa, whoa, 'God's Son' is the bomb and dare I say it, another
classic that has been notched up by Mr. Nasir Jones.
Why a classic? Firstly, the lyrics are seriously on point. Secondly,
the beats are tight, mad tight to be precise. Thirdly, dude's style.
My man rips the Mic with a vengeance in fact Nas sounds like a man
that's still waiting for a record deal. Finally, in the wake of all
the violent BS that has surrounded hip-hop (Pac, Biggie, Big L, Freaky
Tah JMJ..why?) the content of this album is refreshing, Nas stays
positive by narrating on the negative. The first track, which
resourcefully samples James Brown's 'The big payback' , has a deep and
simple message. The narrative deals with revenge retaliation and get
back i.e. following the ethos of an eye for an eye is what people do
to 'get down'. At the end of this song, we are asked a simple
question, how are we going top come up, if that' s how we get down?
This tone sets up the message of the album which constantly asks its
listeners young and old to question how they are living/not to be
seduced by the world around them "Warrior Song' (ft Alicia Keys) for
example, is an ode to the (misguided) youth of today as it lets them
know that despite the BS, regardless of the obstacles, they can become
whatever they want to become but please, please just stay strong
remain focused, check who you hang with and you'll be surprised at
what you can achieve.
The beef with Jay-Z and Nas's simmerings with the late BIG is also
dealt with on 'Last Real Ni**a Alive'. This track, I guess is a
combination of 'we will survive' and 'Ether', it's kind of a diss
track, but it doesn't go to far. It's kind of apologetic but it's not
too soppy. For the record, who's better Nas or Jay-Z? Who cares,
we've received three solid albums from 2 MCs that have been forced to
step up their respective games as a result of their lyrical beef -
you've got to love hip-hop.
'Book of Rhymes' shows Nas at his untouchable best, the man
demonstrates that he can seriously seriously flow on this track, which
(surprise surprise) is a collection of unconnected rhymes ranging from
dating to father infant relationships. Also, there is a version of
'Thug Mansion' which has a different intro and opening verse to the
one that's found on 'Pac's 'Better Dayz'. For good measure, there's
also the Eminem produced 'the cross', which is another stellar effort
on this amazing album.
If you're into hip-hop, this is the time of year where you're most
likely to get burnt by money hungry companies churning out albums for
quote unquote Christmas money. 'God's son', guaranteed, is a good
buy, not only does it give us the golden sound of hip-hop that was
given to is a la Public Enemy (peep Zone Out feat. Bravehearts) and
NWA/Eric B Rakim/Ice Cube (peep 'Made You Look') in the early 90s,
furthermore, this album will silence those who said that Mr. Jones
could not produce an album of equal caliber to illmatic. Praise the
Lord for hip-hop!
written by Kweku
SUPERNATURAL AND BRAND NUBIAN ROCK THE BAY AREA
by - Furious Styles
This weekend there was a lot going on for Hip Hop lovers in The Bay
Area. Although I think the promoters of these events should have
linked up to make one big night of Hip Hop, folks came out to support
local and national acts.
First up was Pharoahe Monch, Supernatural, Kardinal Offishall, and
Jahi at The Justice League. Even though Jahi went on way too early
for folks to feel his energy and presence, he gave high energy and
razor sharp lyrics. Supernatural stole the whole show with his
phenomonal presence and freestyles. I mean this cat is unoffically
the #1 freestyle king right now. From taking random objects out of
the crowd and busting verse, to taking three different words and
creating hot verses, Supernatural shit is hot. You have to respect
The T.O. (Toronto, Canada) was well represented by Kardinal
Offishall. With his blazin blend of reggae dancehall and his lyrical
skills, this cat from the cold warmed the place with songs from his
first album Firestart Vol. 1. What was nice about his show was the
unity on stage. He was teamed up with Choclair and Sakrates, who all
have big things going on in Canada as well.
Pharoahe Monch closed the show and made the whole night worth waiting
for. Eventhough he spent almost 2 hours doing a soundcheck (which was
ridiculous), Pharoahe's kinetic presence on stage took the crowd to
higher levels with songs like Oh-No, Get The Fuck Up, and he even did
Stress from his Organized Konfusion Days. Other notable mentions
about this Friday was True-Skool @ Storyville, where the legendary
Bobitto aka DJ Cucumberslice from NYC was spinning old school, rare
grooves, and vibes from the global Hip Hop underground.
The spot of the night though goes to Mission Rock. Their set, called
the Blueprint II, featured Brand Nubian, and Bay Area wordsmith Pitch
Black. They definetly did their work on the promotional side because
they had about 1000 folks in the house. Pitch Black, and the rest of
his 7 Generation Crew (Ameen & Shon Rich) tore down the house with new
songs from Pitch Black's new album, The Insperience. By the way, if
you haven't checked out this album, go cop it because it is the next
THE INS TRIES TO FORCE SLICK RICK TO SIGN DEPORTATION PAPERS
It seems like the more time progresses the crazier things become. By
now folks are probably aware of what's going on with legendary rapper
Slick Rick. About 6 months ago he went out on a boat cruise for the
Tom Joyner Morning Show. When he returned he was arrested and put in
a detention facility by the INS [Immigration Naturalization Services].
According to the INS Slick Rick was not an official US citizen. Rick
was born in England and moved to the US as a kid  in 1976. He was
never given citizenship status.
Unfortunately for Rick he ran into trouble with the law. I'm sure
most folks remember that highly publicized altercation which went down
in 1990s. Rick wound up serving 5 1/2 years in jail. During his
incarceration the INS tried to have Slick Rick deported. According to
the US Immigration laws, anyone who is not a US citizen and is
convicted of a felony and spends more than 5 years in prison can be
deported. Rick's lawyers realized this and got him an official waver.
Rick was given a waver and obtained 'permanent residence' status in
He got out in 1996 and since then has been on the straight and narrow.
He's been a loving husband and father and gainfully employed. He is
also a property owner. Even more important he never veered in the
direction that got him in trouble in the first place. Unfortunately
the INS would not let the matter lay to rest. They appealed the
decision and got it overturned in 1997. Thus Rick was subject to
deportation. This led to Rick filing for an appeal to that decision.
So we now fast forward to that dreadful day in September when Osama
Bin Laden and his Al Queda terrorist network struck terror into the
hearts of the US. In the aftermath all sorts of new laws got passed
and all sorts of other laws got selectively and rigorously enforced.
One of the major concerns was the easy accessibility for non US
citizens to come into the country. People are confused. people are
frightened and the present administration decides it wants to clamp
down. This is where Slick Rick gets caught up.
On May 28th of this year, Rick was hired as an entertainer on the Tom
Joyner Foundation's Fantastic Voyage 2002. The floating show cruised
the Caribbean - including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands - on a
ship called The Explorer of the Seas and featured such other
well-known performers as Erykah Badu, Angie Stone, Yolanda Adams,
Earth, Wind & Fire, the O'Jays, the Gap Band, Third World, and the
Baha Men. When the ship docked in Miami on June 1, Rick was arrested
by the INS. The agency charged Rick with 'deporting himself' and
illegally re-entering the United States. He gets arrested and held
without bail at an INS detention facility right outside Tampa Florida.
The INS claims that Slick Rick was a 'flight risk' despite the fact
that he's a well known famous rap star who's main job is to perform
and record records. How does one hide from law enforcement when you
are that visible? The INS was unmoved by any sort of appeal and
maintained their position despite Slick Rick being a homeowner who is
married to a US citizen and having young kids.
So Slick Rick has been in jail all this time awaiting a decision which
finally came down earlier this week. A judge issued an order stating
that Slick Rick could be deported. An appeal was immediately filed as
people like Congressman John Conyers who is a ranking member on the
House Judiciary Committee and Russell Simmons and Minister Ben
Muhammed of the Hip Hop Action Summit Network got involved. Conyers
placed some calls to try and get an appeal overturned while Slick
Rick's case was appealed. The plea was denied and Slick has been left
in a position where he could immediately be deported.
Yesterday [December 4] we had Minister Ben come on our KPFA Hard Knock
Radio show. He explained that a couple of hours prior to doing the
interview he had gotten word that INS officials had entered Slick
Rick's cell and tried to 'force' him to sign a document that stated he
intends to become a Citizen of the UK. [England]. Rick resisted the
attempts and still remains in jail.
Cedric Muhammed of Blackelectorate.com who was also on the radio show
explained that what has happened is the INS has decided to selectively
interpret the current laws and apply them to folks. Slick Rick is
being used to set an example, probably because he's so high profile.
As far as Cedric was concerned, Slick Rick's case was one in which the
INS had violated his rights. Slick Rick was granted a stay and was
never told that by him going on a boat cruise he would be seen as
'deporting himself back to England'. Ced saw the attacks on Slick
Rick as a continuation of a bigger pattern where Hip Hop itself is
under attack from various aspects of the government.
While Rick is going through all this drama we should note that over
the past year since 9-11 the INS has been vigorously applying similar
rulings to the Southeast Asian/Cambodian community. We recently did a
radio show that focused on the large number of Southeast Asian cats
who as kids growing up got arrested for things like fighting or
smoking weed. The new laws allow the INS to go back and deport them
for having a criminal record 15-20 years after the fact. In other
words there were guys who as teenagers in the 1970s and early 1980s
who messed up as do many kids. They are now in their 30s leading
trouble free- productive lives and the INS is going back and using
their teenage/childhood dramas as an excuse to deport them.
So folks welcome to the new America. All those people that you hear
who are locked up in INS detention camps are not suspected Al Queda
terrorists. Nor are they folks running around illegally here in the
US trying to hide from the law. Many of them are folks who have been
here for a long time as permenent residents who under the new laws are
finding that past infractions which they have done time for and paid
the price are now grounds for them to be indefinitely 'detained' by
the INS and deported.
We will keep you posted as to Slick Rick's current situation..
written by Davey D
BAMABATAAA TOUCHES DOWN IN THE BAY
by Davey D
Before we kick things off I have a 'beef' with Afrika Bambaataa. If
you see the Godfather of Hip Hop Culture please tell him I need new
shoes and I'm still trying to catch my breath after running around
record shopping with him.. For those who don't know Bam came through
the Bay Area over the Thanksgiving Holidays and hung out for about 5
days. Hence while he was in town we got to hang out with him... Let
me tell you folks, he put new meaning to the term digging in the
crates. Bam doesn't dig through crates he digs through entire record
stores. If you ever hang out with Bam you will clearly see why he was
called The Master of Records.
First, he just doesn't go into a store and go to the break beat
section where all the compilation albums are. Nor does he limit
himself to the 'Hip Hop' section. He goes to every part of the store.
We took him up to Amoeba Records in SF and dude was deep into the
Calypso section, the Peruvian section, the Blues section, the
Afghanstanian section. You name it he was digging and coming up with
stuff... He just doesn't look at the eye level bins, Bam will look
under the counter where they have the unopened stuff.
The one cool thing about record shopping with Afrika Bambaataa is that
he'll start talking with store owners who will pull him to the back
room and pull out all the hard to find-one of a kind 'good stuff'.
You would hear remarks like 'Here's that special import from
Scandanavia where they only pressed 4 copies' or 'Here's that special
James Brown-Public Enemy-Big Daddy Kane-George Clinton-P-funk record
that was only pressed up once or 'Yes Mr. Bambaataa I do believe we
have that Frank Sinatra-James Brown-Perry Cuomo record from Peru...
It's our only copy but for you we got you covered'... Bambaataa finds
all kinds of crazy stuff I never knew existed.
So here's 'my beef' two hours later we leave Amoeba with a handful of
records. I'm thinking we're about to head home. Naw man.. we went
to another store and then another record store and then another record
and another and another and another. Afrika Bambaataa found record
stores in San Francisco that I never knew existed. I would walk into
places and be like 'Damn I never knew there was record store behind
this barbershop in the basement of a fast food joint'. We swooped
Bambaataa up around 11am.. we didn't finish record shopping until
7:30 that evening and that's only because cats was about to fall out..
The other thing was shopping with Bam will make your wallet
considerably lighter. I had no intention of buying anything but we
would roll into a store Bam would find some off the wall never heard
it before 12". They would play it, Next thing you know your opening
up your wallet telling the store owner 'Yo can I get a copy as well'.
I spent all my X-mas money on records.
In the end it was worth it.. we swung back to Oakland where we
touched down at Everett and Jones Soul Food Place.. Then we did my
radio station where Bam dropped tons of jewels. He opened up and
spoke in-depth about the days before Hip Hop emerged when the Bronx
was being over run by gangs. To hear all the details to those stories
was priceless. He had folks riveted as we spoke for more then two
hours. Sometimes we forget just how deep and how important a role
some of the pioneers played in the evolution of Hip Hop. We also
forget how much knowledge they have. We really got a chance to build
with Bam he had a lot of knowledge to impart and to be honest I'm
still processing all of it.. We are gonna hear that show in two parts
sometime next week.. You can peep the show on the web at KPFA.org if
you are outside the Bay Area.
So major props to Afrika Bambaataa for touching down..Its not everyday
you get to hang with the Godafther of a major cultural movement.
Props to the folks over at Tru-Skool who brought him out. The gig he
did at Berkeley's Shattuck Down Low was off the hook.
****SPECIAL SCREENING TONITE-REDEFINITIONS****
-The Roots and Future of Hip Hop
filmed and directed by Jahi for Onefam Music
Our patna in rhyme Hip Hop artist JAHI, fresh off performances with
the likes of Public Enemy, Pharaohe Monch, and Kardinal Offishal, has
proven himself to be a multi-talented brotha. This cat has produced a
documentary on hip-hop culture, in DVD format featuring live footage,
interviews, and original music. The flick is called REDEFINITIONS and
it will be world premiering this tonight, THURSDAY, DEC. 5 at the
Black Box. [1928 Telegraph Ave] in Oakland.
Big up to the MINDZEYE COLLECTIVE for puttin the hand down . . .
for more info contact Mindzeye Collective @ (510) 238-8080 x 304
MALE & FEMALE Performers
FOR HIP HOP / R & B / TRIO
MUST BE ABLE TO SING AND DANCE or RAP
MUST BE BETWEEN THE AGES OF 13 & 20
December 5th, 6th, & 7th / 2pm - 7pm
Location: 3575 Cahuenga Blvd. Ste 555 - LA, CA 90068 /
FOR MORE INFO PLEASE CALL 818-771-7049
DAMON DASH- ROC-PAPER, VISION
By Dove ~Sheepish Lordess of Chaos~
The world's first billionaire, Standard Oil mogul and philanthropist
John D. Rockefeller, once said: "If you want to succeed you should
strike out on new paths rather than travel the worn paths of accepted
success." Whether or not Damon Dash knew of those words when he
ventured into Roc-A-Fella Records is irrelevant - the fact is that he
lives by them.
In the early 90's Damon Dash set out with his friend Jay-Z to light up
Hip Hop with progressive sounds, and they formed Roc-A-Fella Records
in 1995 when they decided that working for someone else was not going
to work for them. Over the course of ten years in business together
they created one of the most successful record labels in history.
With their talented roster of artists, they have since taken on
clothing lines, sports management, a non-profit community outreach
program called Team Roc, and major motion pictures. They have also
extended their Roc-A-Fella label into the R&B and rock genres.
Aiming to set trends in cinema in the same way his label blazed trails
in music, Damon began by flexing his ambition in the 2000 documentary
Backstage in alliance with Dimension Films. The popular movie
chronicled the reality of life on the road during Jay-Z's 1999 Hard
Knock Life Tour. The second phase of film for the budding producer
was the gritty State Property in conjunction with Lions Gate Films,
which starred Beanie Sigel as a volatile drug lord. The 2002 release
enjoyed success despite some biting reviews.
While the label was putting out platinum records, Dame pressed on with
his cinematic passion to complete Paid In Full, a reality-based story
about three legendary Harlem drug kingpins played by Wood Harris,
Mekhi Phifer, and Cam'ron. Dealing with his original distributor,
Dimension Films, Damon faced some challenges with regard to timeliness
of getting the movie into theaters. "I'm happy it's finally coming
out after all the bootlegging," he says with a resounding sigh of
relief. "It lets me know the serious void there is for product like
that - so on one level it's almost a compliment. Every single cut,
from the rough cut to the last cut - except the final cut - was
bootlegged. Also, I got a good response on it. It just kinda bugged
me out that Dimension didn't see if there was such an urgency on the
street for it, it must be urgent that we put it out."
The production team selected Charles Stone III - famous for his
'Whassup?' Budweiser commercials - to direct Paid In Full. "I wanted
an objective perspective, someone that wouldn't glorify what it was
these cats did - someone that would present it in the perspective I
wanted it," Damon says. "I didn't want it to seem like we advocated
anything or were glorifying anything. [Charles] is the type of cat
that would get the emotions like - why are y'all doin this?"
With each new film, Dame plans to use directors with various
backgrounds and experience levels. "There shouldn't be any prejudice
or any limitation to it. It's not like I just wanna make movies that
I consider urban or for rappers - I just wanna make movies that are
for everybody. We should be putting out good stories, that's what
movies are - they're about real situations - and literal in a rapper's
life," he explains.
In a summer 2002 interview with the Sacramento Bee, Samuel L. Jackson
was asked his opinion about the increasing popularity of emcees taking
on movie roles. He said: "To take people from the music world and
give them the same kind of credibility and weight that you give me,
Morgan Freeman, Laurence Fishburne, Forest Whitaker -- that's like an
aberration to me. It's not my job to lend credibility to so-and-so
rapper who's just coming into the business." Needless to say, many
emcees-slash-actors did not take kindly to the remark, and the
Roc-A-Fella CEO expresses his own disdain about Mr. Jackson's stance.
"I'm just a little surprised that would come out of a Black man's
mouth. For someone like me, especially a Black man in Hollywood
knowing how hard it is to get work, and how your creative control.
they tie your hands - you know how hard it is. I would never say
anything about anybody in my culture. I'm just a little disappointed.
like, I'm almost thinking he didn't say it - like I can't believe he
would say something like that in public," Dame says with a soft,
The media is something that Damon has to deal with whether he likes to
or not. Any conversation, good or bad, that is even slightly
overheard or passed along from 'inside sources' becomes instant fodder
for the masses. Over the past few months the rumor mill has run amok,
citing various beefs within the Roc-A-Fella camp. The most recent
gossip pits Dame against his partner Jay-Z - and Dame realizes that it
has become as though the public can't live without tidbits of turmoil
within the Roc. "What people don't understand [is that] me and J sold
the company," he explains in a soothing tone. "They just cut us a
check for a couple million - like thirty - they owe us another twenty.
At this point we're still running the company for the love, for the
team. It's really nothing that him and I could ever be upset about
that would hold any kind of weight. As well as being business
partners we've always been good friends. It really bugs me out that
we have this kind of power - that if me and him have a disagreement
about something, or even almost have an argument, it hits the news.
That just turns any problem that we did have into a joke for us - like
'yo, look at this, it's on the news'. There's never any issues, and
him and I don't have egos like that. We've always known our positions
in the company - we're two different kinds of people - we act about
things two different kinds of ways. We have many disagreements - they
just weren't so powerful. Friends argue, friends have disagreements,
but never like 'let's part ways' or jeopardize the friendship."
Always keeping it moving, Roc-A-Fella Films' next production, Paper
Soldiers, has already been completed. Dame directed and was involved
in the script writing for the comedy, which stars Michael Rapaport,
Stacey Dash, and Memphis Bleek. Even with his track record of
success, Damon is still facing some of the same frustrating
challenges. "I'm looking for distribution - again I'm coming up
against people that don't understand. You would think after the
success of Barbershop the people would [see that] we need to put this
out, but still people don't understand the power," he says.
Next on deck is Death Of A Dynasty, a film that Damon is producing and
directing - hopefully with less stress in the distribution department.
As can be expected, he has a plan of action in mind. "I'm trying to
make my own studio - I'm not trying to listen to nobody. I'm sick of
people telling me what to do. I don't do it for the record company, I
don't do it for the clothing company, so I'm just trying to ultimately
grow that business to where I can have control over everything. I
just want to have to appreciate anybody's help - I just want to do it
- that's just coming from a frustrated producer." he huffs.
Dame plots moves as strategically as a chess master, refusing to
succumb to the pressures of the day-to-day hustle. He realizes that
in order to maximize his vision he must be willing to delegate duties.
"I'm always gonna be involved in the music," he explains, "but you
know, there's only twenty-four hours in a day and I really want to
focus on the movies and the clothing. That's still gonna be a feat,
but I think the company's been running - J's been doing his thing for
ten years and Beans and Bleek, they' ve all got their own companies to
where they can run it a little more themselves. Definitely from a
distance I'm gonna advise and just keep making those dream team
albums, make sure things are going correctly, but it's time to pass
the torch. I've been doing this for ten years - it's hard to keep
fighting for the same little piece of land, so I'm just passing that
on. For the music like Samantha Ronson and the soul music and R&B,
I'm still 100% because we haven't taken that over yet. It's just I'm
falling back a little on Hip Hop - I feel like my artists got that
'Paid In Full' may be more of a motto than a movie title for this
dashing entrepreneur, but for the moment Dame's energy is focused on
the success of this film and the accompanying soundtrack - a double CD
featuring one disc of 80's music and one disc from his Roc-A-Fella
dream team. Ever the businessman, he is equally a creative soul. His
hope is that people will see Paid In Full with open minds. "This is a
well-scripted, well-acted, well-directed, well-produced movie. It's
colorless, it's beyond 'urban'. Just give it a shot and look at it as
that - a movie. A colorless, good movie."
Courtesy of RIME Magazine
For more info: http://www.yahoogroups.com/group/rimemagazine
The FNV Newsletter c 2002
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