The FNV Newsletter
In Today's Issue: June 5 2002
*BREAKING NEWS: R KELLY INDICTED
*SHUT 'EM DOWN SHUT'EM DOWN: RALLY DRAWS THOUSANDS
*SUGGESTIONS TO MAKE HIP HOP BETTER
*CONFESSIONS OF AN INTERNET BOOTLEGGER by SOHH.COM
Send comments, questions and concerns to
The FNV Newsletter
written by Davey D
c 2002 All Rights Reserved
*BREAKING NEWS: R KELLY INDICTED
Singer R. Kelly just got indicted for 21 counts of child pornography.
A warrant has been issued for his arrest. If convicted he can get
15 years in jail. The charges stem from the widely circulated video
tapes which show him having sex with an underage woman. Kelly
maintains that the tapes have been doctored and it isn't him being
Kelly being convicted comes at the heals of Houston rap artist SPM
being sentenced to 45 years last week for sexual assault on an
underage girl. Now we're waiting to see if any of these so called
priests who have been running around molesting kids are gonna be
convicted and sentenced. This whole situation is disturbing and sad..
SHUT 'EM DOWN SHUT'EM DOWN: RALLY DRAWS THOUSANDS
'Put Education First' was the theme although yesterday's massive rally
in front of New York City's city hall was billed by local media as
'Hip Hop vs. City Hall!' or 'Russell vs. The Mayor.' Whatever the
case, the teachers union, Russell Simmons' Hip Hop Action Network, dozens
of big name rap stars and anywhere from 20-50 thousand people showed
up to shut things down... From P-Diddy to Dougie Fresh. From Chuck D
to dead prez. From Jay-Z to Alicia Keys to LL Cool J. Even my boy JT
the Bigga Figga from out here in San Francisco showed up. The biggest
names in Hip Hop came out in support of an event designed to send a
strong message to NY's Mayor Michael Bloomberg... 'Do NOT front on
Our Kids'. Do NOT put more money into prisons versus schools'.
The show of force obviously worked because the meeting to finalize the
budget cuts was postponed. Although I must admit watching Bloomberg
at press conferences he seemed to downplay the rally and act like
it was no big deal. He gave some sound bites about how this a great
country and its nice that everyone gets to voice their opinion. When
tens of thousands show up at your front door its more than just folks
voicing their opinion. It's the people demanding that you be
accountable to a job they elected you to do. And if they don't want
education cuts then they don't want education cuts.
Chuck D said it best both on stage and later to TV news reporters;
'You've got a mayor who's a billionaire, who wants to take the
opportunity away from you to become the same type of person.'
So how did the rally go? To say the least it was massive and pretty
successful. As should be expected there were more than a handful of
folks who tried to find ways to completely hate on it. First, when it
was announced that all these big name Hip Hop artists were coming out,
you heard all sorts of criticisms. Some said it was hypocritical,
since many of the artists never finished high school themselves.
Others questioned whether or not it was a rally or a concert. When
the local TV stations showed the rally they kept showing the footage
where eager kids rushed through a barricade to see Jay-Z. They tried to
paint a picture of out of control crazy, rioting kids which was far from
Also you had some news agencies trying to suddenly downplay
the numbers. When I first saw it on CBS at 4:30pm they announced that at
least 50 thousand kids showed up. Later you heard estimates ranging to 70
thousand. Today when I read the local papers and they're saying only 20
thousand people showed up. Yet the entire area downtown was completely
shut off and packed with people. It was definitely more then a stadium
filled with people.
I didn't understand the first two criticisms. We hear so many people
complaining that big name Hip Hop artists don't do anything. 'How
come P-Diddy doesn't come to these rallies'? 'How come Jay-Z don't
speak out'? Well, they showed up and spoke out. To me that's a good
thing. Can you imagine what people would be saying if they didn't
show up? One young woman said it best; 'We support them by buying
their music. I'm glad they showed up to support us.'
It's obvious these artists have the attention of our youth for
everything else. Did we not want them to come to the rally? Do you
think all those people would've showed up if they didn't come? Do you
think all this attention and news coverage would've happened if they
didn't come? It's a sad situation, but one that we collectively created.
This is a celebrity driven society. Unless you're famous and on TV,
way too many aren't trying to hear you. Remember, the first time many
people even became aware of the education budget cuts was when HBO's
Cynthia Nixon [Miranda] stepped up and allowed herself to get arrested
during a protest last month. There had been protests prior to that,
but it was her visibility that caught everyone's attention. Russell
and all the Hip Hop involvement took it step further.
Let's be real, many Hip Hop artists are not organizers or day to day
activists. That's not what they do. It would be great if they did,
but why spin wheels and hold our breath waiting for them to move in
that direction? That's not their best position. They're good at
bringing attention to a particular issue and in some cases putting
some financial backing to a cause. So we have to create the platform
where their talents can best be used. They speak and a lot of people who
you and I would like to reach suddenly listen. After they get
everyone's attention it's up to the rest of us to follow through with
of more substance.
People complain about our youth being sucked up by too much P-Diddy,
Jay-Z and Ja Rule. Hopefully, those same people were out there
at the rally handing out flyers, CDs, tapes, etc., with some viable
alternatives. If we don't like the fact that celebrities have so much
juice over our kids ask yourself what steps are you taking to change that.
Don't turn on Hot 97. Don't watch BET and don't give your kids money for an
album that you never sit down and talk them about. If we're not out
there trying to hold those media outlets accountable or be strong presence
in the lives of young folks, then let's not act surprised when Pookie says
he relates more to Snoop Dog or Magic Don Juan the Pimp than his own parents,
teachers and local minister.
As far as cats not finishing high school and then speaking at a rally.
Since so many kids are dropping out who better to speak to them then a
high school drop out who now realizes and can speak from experience
about the importance of education? They're the ones that can
connect...Again its up to us to follow through.
There were some people complaining that there were Hip Hop street
teams out and about passing out flyers. Some felt that was out of
place since the focus was on education. That may be the case, but if
there are 50 thousand people in one place who wouldn't try and take
advantage? That was the opportunity for community workers, organizers
and anyone else who had something to offer to be out in mass and
hollering at the youth to let them know what you had going on... Yesterday
was the time to be out there talking to all those kids who we say need
to educated and help bring them up to speed. For example, there were a lot
of high school seniors out there yesterday, hopefully the voter registration
people were on hand introducing them to the voting process.
At the very least, yesterday offered an opportunity to go out and
speak to kids and find out what they are really thinking and why.
You'd be surprised and disheartened to see how many people
never ever talk directly with the youth. A lot of kids while excited
about seeing their favorite rap stars were also pretty clear that their
schools are messed up and a change is needed. All these kids
showed up to a rally and I kept wondering where were their parents?
I can understand if they were working but hopefully these parents
will show up in such large numbers on days that they aren't working to
reinforce the message from yesterdays demonstration. Even better hopefully
they make phone calls, write letters and make their presence felt with
Lastly there were 13 arrests including Wyclef Jean. Of course that
was played up and used as fodder to discount the rally. However, lets put
this in perspective. There were no kids running around breaking windows,
fighting each other, lighting fires or anything crazy like that... You have
more arrests and drama at football games. What you had was kids rushing
through a barricade trying to get closer to the stage where all the action
After a certain point if you arrived later in the afternoon you would be
stand 10 blocks away locked in barricades that would completely confine you.
It was unfortunate the police felt it was necessary to use pepper spray.
It was sad that so many people were expecting the worse..but it never
happened which is a good thing.
As for Wyclef Jean getting arrested, initially the news reports said
that he was acting rowdy. What really happened was he got into a
dispute with police because they would not allow him to sing to the
crowd. The rally permits said that only speeches could be given and
no singing. But earlier that day Big Kap and Tigga from BET did a
routine. Also P-Diddy did a little call and response routine. Heck
everyone knows Wyclef can reach people better through his guitar and a
song. He usually has a positive message, they could've cut him some
slack. Music can soothe or enrage the soul.
The question on everyone's mind 'What next?' Russell and the
teacher's union promised to stage more massive rallies if these cuts
go through. Hopefully the mayor will treat the education budget the way
they treat the military and police budgets and leave them alone. As
for Hip Hop and its ability to be a political force? That all depends upon
what people who are down with Hip Hop want to do?
Here in the Bay Area there have been massive youth led walk outs and
rallies with people speaking out about education concerns. Currently
there are folks putting up a vigorous fight to shut down the building
of a super jail. In New York there are headz holding community
townhalls, theater festivals, etc. The point being is its up to us to
get in where we fit in and work the angles the way we know best. The
opportunities to effect change are wide open we just have to step to
the plate. Here are some suggestions to consider:
SUGGESTIONS TO MAKE HIP HOP BETTER
1-Call a local neighborhood youth center and volunteer your time.
Offer to come in one afternoon or one evening to speak to the youth
about a particular subject. Maybe it could be a group of you who come
in to speak to cats about anything ranging from how to make money to
how make it in life etc. Once a month is not much to ask but could
make a major difference in their lives.
If you really wanna step it up offer to sponsor some kids to an event.
For example, in NY they are gearing up for their annual Hip Hop
Theater Festival [ www.hiphoptheaterfest.com ] It will last for ten
days June 18th-June 29th and tickets range from 10 to 20 bucks. 200
bucks can send a bunch of kids to see one of the stellar performances
being offered up. A group of you who pool your money can really do
some good by exposing young cats to another side of Hip Hop.
Here in the Bay Area there will be a Hip Hop Film Festival from July
4th-15th. There are dozens of local youth centers that are strapped
for cash that would love if you could sponsor their kids to go see an
incredible flick like 'Freestyle' or some of the other movies they are
2-If you're an artist or dancer or deejay offer to do a free
performance at that youth center. This is especially for those who
feel like Hip Hop is headed in a wrong direction. If you feel there's
too much P-Diddy and not enough underground stuff, offer to do a free
show for the youth. Lets keep it real, there's more than a few of you
who can actually use the practice getting your stage show together.
Come in do 2 or 3 songs and then sit around and talk with the kids
about what your doing in Hip Hop.
When I started deejaying I used to do free parties for local youth centers
so I could get some exposure. Bay Area rappers like Midnight Voices or
Basbombing Sounds used to teach young cats how to rap. Currently
like Youth Speaks work with the schools to teach spoken word. The Rocksteady
Crew has consistently taught b-boy classes as does long time b-girl Aioko
of San Jose. There's nothing preventing us from reaching out. It could be a
win win situation. You get to practice and the exposure and they get the
show. More importantly you get to give back to the community.
The irony to this is that a lot of commercial Hip Hop stations do this
all the time. Check around and you'd be surprised at how many are
doing free lunch time school dances or sponsoring concerts.
How many Hip Hop artists who hate the way things are going are willing
to the same thing? It might be hard to get into a local schools because of
liability issues but it should no problem to perform for a youth center.
3- Go to a local record store ask what the top 3 rap albums that are
selling. Get some music that you think is banging. Get together with
some neighborhood kids and listen to the albums together. Hold a
discussion where you do a lyrical analysis and break down about the
albums. Find out what they like and don't like. Listen to the new
BG, Petey Pablo or Cam'ron joint and introduce them to the Mystik
Journeymen, J-Live or Demigodz LP. Better yet pull out an old X-Clan
album or an old PE or even an old Bambaataa album to play alongside
the new Cam'ron and discuss the pros and cons of the music you all are
4-Borrow a page from the organizers of Hip Hop Speaks. Hold an open mic or
emcee battle where folks have to rhyme on a certain topic. You could
host an emcee battle or open mic at church and have cats rhyme about
spirituality and God. Have them rap from the perspective of a
Biblical character. Someone be Noah, Someone be Mary. Someone else
be John the Baptist, etc.
You could host an open mic at a youth center and have the topic be
about the War on Terrorism. Prior to the contest offer up some
information so they can build upon the topics. Offer up some nice
prizes like tickets to an upcoming concert or trip to an amusement
park, etc. Be creative and let your imagination run wild.
5-Print out a list of positive Hip Hop albums and songs that people
should be listening to... Get a group of people together and head on
down to the local radio station and demand that they start adding this
to their format. If you get rebuffed gather up some more people and
hold your own 'shut'em down' rally.
written by Davey D
with additional reporting from Grouchy Greg of Allhiphop.com
CONFESSIONS OF AN INTERNET BOOTLEGGER
Real Talk Undercover: Confessions of an Internet Bootlegger
By: Anonymous (Courtesy of SoHH.com /
My name is "Stitch" and I'm a bootlegger. If that's what you want to
callme. But I don't download albums from the net to sell. I'm not
the guy with the table set up on 125th street with the fake full color
CD packaging that looks just like the original. I don't have an "in"
at the studio who
supplies me with a digital perfect copy of the album along with bonus
tracks that is duplicated at a full scale production operation.
Nah... it's for my own personal stash. Of course, I share my stash
with my crew, and they share it with their peeps and so on and so on.
Just call it "crew love."
And me and my crew get everything. Of course, we had Eminem's new
joint like 2 months ago. And Jay's joint " my man copped the
unmastered version of that one and downloaded it again once Jay tried
to flip the script and change tracks on us.
It's not that deep if you know where to go and who to roll with.
Yeah, Napster (RIP) was great, Audiogalaxy is all good and Kazaa is
nifty to " but these are for the mainstream. It gets more hardcore
than this. See, me and my crew, we get a rush from digging real deep
and cracking shit wide open.
Then, we stamp our name on that joint and send it out for the world to
experience. We hear all the talk from the RIAA and Hilary "Ho" Rosen
about how bootlegging is bad business. Bootlegging is music industry
business " how do you think this stuff is getting out there? It's the
thriving, pulsating underbelly of American business " how do you think
the Rockefeller's got rich? Dude, don't get it twisted.
These cats just don't understand. We do it for fun. We do it for the
challenge. We do it for the people. Call us your "super-millennium
consumer advocate." We believe that the consumer shouldn't consume
unless he's first and tasted the goods. They offer free samples in
K-Mart all the time and nobody complains. We test drive cars before
we buy them. We have sex before marriage to make sure the goods are
in order. Sampling is the American way.
Hilary and the labels are anti-American. They're fascist. They want
to shove this garbage music down our throats and pay radio stations to
They want us to spend our hard earned money on a $20 album when we've
only heard like 2 hit songs out of the 15 tracks. It's a recession
damnit! People are unemployed! And we choose where we're gonna spend
Trying to "crack down" on bootlegging is like trying to stunt free
Yeah, they might have killed Napster, and they might be suing Kazaa
and Audiogalaxy, but they can't stop the hustle. And we already
cracked those bullshit music disc copyright protection schemes (Cactus
Data Shield 100/200 and Key2Audio) by using a basic felt tip marker
pen and/or electrical tape to cover up the outer ring of the audio
The fact is that nothing can stop a movement once it's started. They
couldn't stop British defectors from founding America, they couldn't
stop the Civil Rights Movement and the "Free Music" movement won't be
stopped. We forced the industry to push up Jay-Z and Eminem. They're
just scrambling to keep up. But they'll never stop this.
The industry needs to stop blaming bootlegging for the decline in
sales and focus on creating quality shit! If it weren't for
bootlegging and the Internet, the music industry would probably be
dead right now. Wake up...people aren't buying music because you're
putting out garbage! That's as simple as it is.
Power to the people! ("Stitch" is a righteous 23 year old from Nevada
who is part of a worldwide bootlegging crew called CMS. He "bootlegs"
hundreds of songs on a weekly basis, but admits he bought Eminem this
week to get the original album artwork and free DVD.)
(Editor's Note: Since the printing of this anonymous Real Talk
confession, SOHH.com was contacted by "John Kress" who claimed to be a
ringleader in bootlegging crew CMS. Via email, he warned SOHH.com not
to attempt to track his location and stated that "Stitch" is not with
CMS, but an imposter possibly from a rival crew. Checkout John Kress'
Real Talk reply, 6/7 on SOHH.com.)
end comments, questions and concerns to
The FNV Newsletter
written by Davey D
c 2002 All Rights Reserved