November 8 2002
In This Week's Issue

*Zulu Nation: From Gang to Hip Hop Glory
*Run DMC Retires
*Self Destruction 2 Updates
*Philly Hip Hoppers Set to Boycott Philly Metro
*Kenji Jasper's Book Dakota Grand
*Oakland Hip Hoppers Step to Oakland Mayor
*Coalition Forms to Support JMJ's Family
*What We Should Do to Honor JMJ
*An Open Letter to Def Jam Records from Paris by Paris

* Check for HHPN Newsletter  November 13th Edition**

The FNV Newsletter c 2002
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by - Davey D

First thing we wanna do is offer up our congratulations to Hip Hop's
oldest and largest organization, the Universal Zulu Nation.  They are
set to celebrate their 29th Anniversary this weekend [November 8-10]
where they will be paying tribute to soul music and funk music God
fathers, Sly Stone, James Brown, and George Clinton.  They will also
pay tribute to Hip Hop's seminal figures Kool DJ Herc, Grandmaster
Flash and Afrika Bambaataa..  For those who are unfamiliar with the
Zulu Nation, they began as an organization founded by Afrika Bambaataa
at Stevenson High School in the Bronx.  Back than it was simply known
as 'The Organization'.

Bam who once lived the gang lifestyle and was a Gang Lord was trying
to change his ways and saw the newly formed group as a way out.  Bam
who was known for reading and staying up on the teachings of Elijah
Muhammad and other African American leaders, changed the name to Zulu
Nation after watching a movie of the same name that told the tale of
the well known South African tribe..  Bam was inspired by their
resistance to Dutch settlers.  As Hip Hop became popular, the group
became known as the Mighty Zulu Nation and as later the Universal Zulu

The story behind the evolution of UZN is significant.  Back in the
days Zulu's struck fear in many who lived outside of their Bronx River
Housing Project strong hold.  While they gave birth to Hip Hop's first
B-Boys and B-Girls, the group for the most part was made up of former
gang members.  Many of them from the Notorious Black Spades which once
reigned terror throughout the Bronx in the early to mid 70s.  It used
to be a really big deal for cats to hang out at Bronx River and not
get stuck up.  It was a sign of toughness and brought much prestige.

Many of the early crews tried to associate themselves with Zulu Nation
for protection from roving bands of stick up kids and other gangs
turned crew.  It was in this backdrop that Bambaataa and other
conscious brothers spent a lot of time teaching and preaching and
working with Zulu members to bring about positive change.  Bam often
talks about how he would do simple things like bestow titles like
'King' and 'Queen' upon Zulu members in an attempt to instill pride
and confidence.  His feeling was that if you treated people like
royalty then they would turn around and act like royalty in their
actions.  As Bam's recording career blew up, he saw too it that many
of folks who were from the streets got an opportunity to go on tour
with him and the Soul Sonic Force.  Sometimes they were employed as
roadies.  Other times they worked as security.  Again Bam's main
objective was to see to it that local cats got a chance to see there
was a much bigger world outside the Bronx.

Change didn't happen over night, but today the testament to all that
hard work is the fact that there are vibrant Zulu chapters in more
than 20 countries all over the world with estimated membership of over
10 thousand.  They have come to embrace and preserve Hip Hop's key
elements and have exemplified what is often considered Hip Hop's 5th

To me the beauty of it all is seeing what was once considered a
'ruthless gang' evolve' to a group that has strived and succeeded in
serving the community.  There are all sorts of stories about Zulus
ridding their housing projects of drug dealers and many of the older
guys spending time mentoring younger people.  There are stories about
Zulus escorting women to and from their apartments as well as looking
out and helping those in need.  This of course is in addition to
various Zulu chapters that have involved themselves in local politics
including the fight to Free Mumia and get him a new trial.  We also
can not overlook the fact that it was Zulu Nation members who put out
some of Hip Hop's first records as well as among the first to
establish Hip Hop's first radio shows.  Who could forget Zulu Beats
with Afrika Islam on WHBI.  It's a shame that there hasn't been more
of a public celebration and acknowledgment of this organization and
its accomplishments.  In any case, props to them on their 29th
anniversary..  For more information and a run down of this week's
schedule check out...http://www.zulunation.com/events.html

by Davey D



*By now everyone is aware that with the tragic death of Jam Master
Jay, Rev Run and DMC have announced that they are officially retiring.
As far as they're concerned, Run-DMC was 3 people and not 2.  To
continue on without JMJ would not be the same.  It's a sad situation
indeed.  My only hope is that we don't get a bunch of studio out takes
being pushed forth in some sort of posthumous album.  We have too much
of that already.  I'd prefer to simply remember JMJ in all his glory
sans a new album.


*Daddy O of the legendary group Stetsasonic reached out to me the
other day to update me on the progress being made with Self
Destruction 2 project.  Thus far a lot of artist have stepped forth to
participate including; Rockwilder, EPMD, Busta Rhymes, Chuck D,
Redman, Method Man, J-Live, WC, MC Lyte , Kool Moe Dee and KRS-One...

Daddy O is seeking out other artists to be down with this project
including; Nelly, DMX, Nas, Jurassic 5, Twista, Outkast and Goodie
Mobb.  If anyone is interested reach out to NASTYNES1@aol.com.

One thing I hope happens is that with the release of 'Self Destruction
2', is that there is comprehensive long-term follow up.  Back in '88
when the original record was released, it was done in conjunction with
the National Urban League and the newly formed Stop The Violence
Movement which was put together by KRS-One and author Nelson George.
There was a book that came out and there were a nationwide campaign
calling for folks to stop Black on Black crime.

Nowadays, we have a number of Hip Hop activists and their respective
organization that have been doing quite a bit of work around the
prison industrial complex and youth violence.  Some of these
organizations and groups like Michael Franti & Spearhead, Raptivism
Records in NY and Freedom Fighter Records in SF have actually done
full albums addressing some of these societal ills.  I would encourage
some sort of bridge building with the artists appearing on the Self
Destruction 2 project and these numerous organizations who already
have infrastructure and are already on the ground floor running.  I
would encourage those organizations to reach out to Daddy O and let
him know how their respective programs could help reinforce the Stop
the Violence Message and vice versa.  mailto: Nastynes@aol.com



It looks like Hip Hop folks in Philly have their hands full.  Last
week we announced that Phillyhiphop.com, Greater Philadelphia Hip Hop
Alliance and Maryland Hip Hop were coming together to do a tribute
album to help raise funds for the family of long time Philly community
activist Kenneth Bridges.  For those who don't know, Bridges was shot
and killed by the DC/ Beltway Sniper.  His death left the Philly
community shocked and in terrible grief.  All that got compounded with
the murder of Jam Master Jay.

While everyone is still recovering from that loss the Philly Metro
newspaper decided to take some cheap shots and deliver some below the
belt blows.  One of their writers [I refuse to name him and give him
any more publicity] decided to write an inflammatory article that
dishonors and ridicules Jam Master Jay.  This latest salvo has been
one of several that have come out in the past few weeks blasting Hip
Hop and blaming the music for everything ranging from the Beltway
sniper' influence to suicide bombers in the Middle East.

What has happened over the past year or so is that a cottage industry
has developed where folks in the media wishing to make a name for
themselves or bring attention to an important issue use their
platforms to take potshots at Hip Hop artists and the music.
Conservative talk show host Bill O'Reilly has gotten quite a bit of
mileage from his radio and TV attacks on rappers like Ludacris and
Snoop Dogg.  Last week USA Today found some out of touch racist cat
named Mark Goldblatt to write an article explaining how the Beltway
Sniper was connected to groups' like Wu-Tang's Killarmy.

This week the Philly Metro ran an article that basically accused JMJ
of being a gangsta and leading a lifestyle that led to his demise.  It
was an upsetting story that was designed to evoke reaction from those
reading it.  In typical fashion we as a Hip Hop community passed that
article far and wide as opposed to us sending everyone reminders to
vote in this past Tuesday's election.  Fortunately the heads in Philly
are organized and they intend to not let this slide.  They have teamed
up with Hip Hop organizations from neighboring areas.  They include:
Hip Hop Society & Student Community Breakdance Association,
BaltimoreHipHop.com, Tha Blaze, Back 2 Basics: Real Raps TV.  Together
they are launching a boycott against the Philly Metro and their

For more info on this campaign as well as a list of advertisers they
want the Hip Hop nation to boycott

On a side note next Saturday November 16th during the Rocksteady Crew
Anniversary celebration in Los Angeles, I will be hosting a panel
discussion that focuses on Hip Hop and media and ways we can make
things work.  This discussion is a crucial one in light of recent
events and the media reaction to them.  One of the things we will be
focusing on how to strengthen our already existing forms of media and
take them to the next level.  Folks like Sway, The Poetess of KKBT and
Kam are already committed to be on the panel.  We'll keep you posted
on more details.


Lastly since we're on the issue of Hip Hop and Media....props are in
order to author Kenji Jasper who has just released a compelling book
called Dakota Grand.  I just got and it honestly makes for good
reading.  I haven't finsished it yet, but Kenji reached out to me to
break down the premise of the book..  He notes:

Dakota Grand chronicles the story of a young Hip Hop journalist of the
same name, who moves to New York City in pursue of the glamour and
glitz of mainstream media.  When he gets an interview with a
fictitious group known as Arbor Day, it looks like he's on his way to
journalistic stardom.  The only problem is that Mirage, one half of
Arbor Day, isn't too happy with the piece Dakota writes, and decides
to beat him to a pulp to express his "disappointment."  What follows
is a war between a writer on the edge and an egocentric rapper who's
at the end of his rope.

Set in the city of eight million stories, Dakota Grand takes a hard
look at writer/journalist relations, and the power that the media
machine called the mainstream so easily gives and takes away.  My goal
in writing was to get the hip hop nation to take a look at itself and
decide if we truly like what we see in the mirror.



*Since were talking about Hip Hop activism, here's a couple of things
to be aware of.  I will provide more details next issue.  First, props
go out to Bay Area Hip Hoppers like 'Lets Get Free, Mindz Eye
Collective, Freedom Fighter Records and EBC to name a few.  The day
after the election they descended upon Oakland's City Hall with close
to 100 people to pay a surprise visit to Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown.
They were upset that Brown has been pushing to add 100 more police
officers to the city's ranks.  He wants to do it to the tune of 70
million dollars.  He claims it will help turn around Oakland's
skyrocketing murder rate which now stands at 97.  The Hip Hoppers want
the money and resources directed to social programs.

Brown had put on the November ballot Measure FF which would serve as a
recommendation for him to seek out the new police.  Voters went to the
ballot box and saw a measure that read as follows ' More money for
crime prevention programs'.  It was deceptively worded so needless to
say despite intense campaigning and dozens of rallies, the measure
passed.  Hence cats decided to pay the Mayor a visit.  Apparently he
wasn't too thrilled to see a 100 headz roll up to his office.  Many of
the Hip Hoppers wore blood stained shirts to symbolize police
brutality victims.  They announced to the Mayor that if he hires 100
more cops they will raise a 100 more Conscious Hip Hoppers who will
hold the cops accountable for their actions.  For those who don't know
many of these organizations actually patrol their neighborhoods armed
with video cameras and a sophisticated communication's network so they
can monitor the police and their actions.

The attempted meeting never happened, Mayor Brown or one of his staff
members summoned for the police even though the visitors came in
orderly fashion.  Once an alarm was sounded they responded by leaving
the t-shirts in his office and bounced.  More demonstrations and
actions are expected.

While Hip Hop cats in Oakland were stepping to the Mayor, several of
their Bay Area Hip Hop comrades have been made a dangerous trip
overseas to Palestine to see first hand what exactly is going on in
the middle east.  Among the folks who made the trek are DJ Sake-1 of
the Local 1200 DJ Crew and Samantha who is a spoken word/ rap artist
for Freedom Fighter Records.  For those who are here in the Bay Area,
she was the young woman who rocked the crowd during the Anti-War rally
which drew 100 thousand people the other week.  Thus far they've sent
back several disturbing eye witness accounts of what's been going on
over in the war torn zones.  We will share those with you next issue.
Props to our Hip Hop brothers and sistas for taking the initiative and
taking their activism to new heights.

Lastly props to the good folks who put on the Turning the Tables Hip
Hop Health Conference in Washington DC last weekend.  There's a lot to
share about that and I will do so in an upcoming issue.  It was an
incredible conference.  One of the highlights was all the Hip Hop
youth hosts/moderators who held down the panel discussions have
committed themselves to some intense training and are now gearing up
to put together policy papers and suggested legislation for elected
officials to consider when dealing with issues related to health and
well being and how it impacts the Hip Hop generation.  We'll keep you
posted on that...



In other news, a coalition has been formed to help support the family
of JMJ.  Shortly after his death news reports were released indicating
that he owed the tax man quite a bit of money.  Its a sad but all too
common situation impacting artists and entertainers.  To help off set
the burden his family would have to endure.

This past Wednesday an array of Hip Hop and music industry luminaries
including folks like Rev.  Joseph "Run" Simmons, Darryl "DMC"
McDaniel, Sean "P.Diddy" Combs, Busta Rhymes, Kevin Liles, President,
Def Jam/Def Soul, Dr.  Benjamin Chavis, President, HSAN, David Mays,
publisher of The Source Magazine, King Ad-Rock of The Beastie Boys, DJ
Hurricane, Andre Harrell, Doug E.  Fresh, Ed Lover and Dr.  Dre,
Spinderella of Salt-n-Pepa, Chuck D, Big Tigger of BET, Foxy Brown, MC
Serch, Chubb Rock, DJ Kut, and Juelz Santana of Diplomats came
together along with several record executives and held a press
conference at New York's Rihga Royal Hotel in midtown Manhattan to
pledge the following:

1-Raise funds towards the purchase of Jam Master Jay's home so the
family can maintain residence.  2-Provide financial assistance towards
the college education of Jam Master Jay's children.  3-Develop an
incentive for members of the community to come forward with
information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible
for this tragic death.

"The tragic death of Jam Master Jay should serve as a reminder of the
condition of poverty, ignorance and lack of opportunity inherent in
our urban communities across the country," said Russell Simmons,
Co-Founder, Island Def Jam Music Group and Chairman of the Hip-Hop
Summit Action Network.  "Young black men are being murdered in Hollis,
Queens and elsewhere every single day, but no one ever hears about
them because they aren't famous.  What the music reflects is the
environment in which people live.  Hopefully, the death of Jam Master
Jay will remind us all that we need to address the disease plaguing
our urban communities and not the symptoms."

If anyone wants to contribute to the family you can reach out to:
The Mizell Children's Fund
C/o Terri Corley-Mizell
PO Box 3497
New Hyde Park, N.Y. 11040

If anyone has information on regarding the murder of Jam Master Jay
call 800-577-TIPS.  A lot of artists have come forth and put all sorts
of money for a handsome reward.  I hope this is one Hip Hop tragedy
that is solved.  It will be interesting to see if the TV show
America's Most Wanted does a profile on this and helps shake things
up..  Again we offer our prayers and condolences.


For those of you reading this who really want to pay homage to JMJ, I
suggest we do more than a mix tape and shoutouts on the radio...
That's easy...  Anyone can do that..  I think we should step it up and
make a commitment to make a difference in our communities.  Jay's
death is just one of many that have plagued our respective
communities.  Its time for us all to start doing something different.
The opportunities are wide open, we can volunteer our time and mentor
young kids..  Or we do as Oakland rap artist Jahi suggested the other
day- Raise 100 conscious minds in your neighborhood.  For those of you
who are still scratching your heads, peep what Christie Z Pabon and
Hip Hop pioneer Pop Master Fabel of Rocksteady Crew wrote in their
online newsletter Tools of War.  I think their suggestions are worth

In light of the murders within the rap community, within the past few
years, we would like to challenge artists to put these suggestions
into action.

- Emcees: Do you really want to see 8 year olds reciting your lyrics
about dealing, drinking, being a thug, having sex, criminal activity,
etc?  Think of the kids who are going to hear your music regardless of
whether you say it's only for adults.  It always makes it back to the
kids somehow.  When you are performing -look at your audience.  If you
see a few kids under 12, are you going to continue to perform lyrics
that are completely inappropriate for them?

We are all responsible for what we put out there - and what we help
put out there.  Rather than simply asking the rap artists to clean up
their lyrics and include more positive content in their videos,

Why not pressure: - Producers to stop producing songs which include
lyrics glorifying criminal activity, misogyny, drug and alcohol abuse,

- DJs (radio, club, underground, turntablists, etc) to stop playing
songs which include lyrics promoting negativity.

- Dancers to stop performing to songs which incorporate these lyrics.

- Media: MTV, VH1, BET etc to stop playing the videos with
inappropriate content at least before midnight?

- Fans: The industry is putting out music with explicit lyrics and
negative content because there is a perceived demand for it.  Many Hip
Hoppers are now parents who can "ban" certain artists music within
their home (at least) and keep a closer eye on what their children are
listening to.  Why not expose your kids, if you don't already, to the
all age, wholesome Hip Hop events that might be taking place in your
area?  Tell promoters who you would pay to see.  Why not subscribe to
Hip Hop publications which give attention to artists promoting
positivity instead of sensationalizing artists who promote the

- Promoters/Events Coordinators: Demand that the artists who perform
for you or battle in your contests to "keep it clean".  Most artists
are very cooperative (esp.  when there's pay involved!!!).  Be clear
with your hosts for the night about not swearing and not making paying
customers feel alienated as a result of their gender, religion, color,
race, etc.

Yes, other genres of music promote negativity too.  We are not saying
it's just within the rap music.  We are saying, that the Hip Hop
community can set an example of positivity for others to follow.  The
excuse that if you don't do it, someone else will doesn't really cut
it.  If you don't do it - at least it wont be on your conscience




Hopefully this letter finds you all doing well.  I'm writing you
because you are all in definitive positions of power within what is
arguably the most powerful hip-hop label in the world.

The recent untimely passing of Jam Master Jay is causing many in our
communities to reflect on exactly where we are going as a collective.
In this age where life often imitates art, it is no longer acceptable
for culture-defining entities like Def Jam to claim that the material
it endorses simply "reflects the tastes of the street."  This is
definitely not the case, as the street usually emulates and embraces
only what is presented to it.  Without balance there can only be
turmoil, and without exposure to the positive folks can't want what
they never know.  Therefore, a blind ear can no longer be turned when
it comes to making decisions that reflect the messages and imagery
that will be infused into our communities.

I'm sure that there are many people currently working at Def Jam who
express both unease and displeasure at the negative, materialistic
direction hip-hop has taken.  But passive compliance doesn't change
anything, and the music is in this condition only because you and
labels like you have allowed it to become this way.  Somewhere along
the line "Ghetto" became synonymous with "Ignorant" - even though the
two are exclusive of one another.  Hopefully this tragedy, which I'm
sure has hit closer to home for you than most, will force you to
demand more of the material and artists you are willing to support.  I
say this because these negative messages and imagery have contributed
heavily to our current climate of violence.  Indeed, it never ceases
to amaze me what people choose to be upset and offended by.  Artists
like me, Dead Prez, and PE make records about challenging the system,
combating police brutality and fighting injustice - but are
consequently silenced and/or ignored by the same labels who profit
from our communities.  And yet the negative is continually supported,
and blood money continually enjoyed.  Why?  Only you know.

Hopefully your organization, with it's considerable resources, will
make the necessary arrangements to adequately provide for Jay's family
- especially in light of the fact that there would BE NO DEF JAM
without RUN-DMC.  I also pray that you will switch up your current A&R
policies to do right by people who love & support hip hop.

Peace & Strength,

The FNV Newsletter c 2002
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