March 6 2003

*Hip Hop Journalists Brutalized By Police
*SF Hip Hoppers Take on Police
*Hip Hop News Bits and Industry Buzz
*Ice Cube Disses Samuel and Jesse Jackson
*Jermaine Dupri Named VP of Arista
*Tyrese Speaks Out Against War
*Al Sharpton Gets Down w/ P-Diddy
*Billy Jam Returns to KALX
*Hip Hop Speaks Says No to Mysogyny
*Bay Area Female Hip Hop Pioneers

The FNV Newsletter c 2002
Send comments to

by Davey D

There's some major drama jumping off on both sides of the Bay [San
Francisco and Oakland] as Hip Hop activist find themselves at odds
with the police...  Yesterday in Oakland 300-500 high school students
and Hip Hoppers from groups like Youth Force, SOUL, Street Academy and
numerous other organizations took to the street as they walked out of
classes and work to partake in a Anti-War demonstration....  The Walk
outs were part of the planned national Anti-war demonstrations that
took place all over the country.

The Walk outs in Oakland were of particular importance because it
marked one of the first time that you saw large numbers of Black and
Latino youth from the hood come out and voice their opinion about the
War.  In the past few weeks there had been some concern that the large
anti-war demonstrations did not have folks from the hood
participating...  Part of the reason is that many of the marches were
taking place across the Bay in SF.  Yesterday's event was different as
folks from around the way came out in full force.  Maybe that's what
led to the drama that took place...

According to a number of participants a number of police officers on
motorcycles followed the group as they started walking from down town
Oakland to the historic Jack London Square.  Apparently the march was
taking place without a permit and the police felt they needed to
monitor things..Long time Hip Hop journalist and community activist JR
who was taking pictures and covering the march for the SF Bayview
newspaper noted the irony of getting a permit to walk down the street
and let your voices be heard.  Its not like these groups were rioting,
looting causing trouble or even holding up traffic.  They simply
assembled which is their right and let their voices be heard...  As
the demonstration started to grow in size the motorcycle police moved
in and attempted to use crowd control tactics and split up the group.
According to several witness, young high school kids suddenly found
themselves being shoved and hit by officers on the motorcycles in the
process.  This activity set things off as folks began to yell at the
officers.  One young lady was pushed down on the ground by one officer
which prompted demonstrators to yell even more.

A young Hip Hop writer named Rashida ran to the aid of that fallen
woman only to be confronted by another officer who tackled her to the
ground and chipped her tooth.  JR who was traveling with Rashida
stepped forth to see what was going on.  He wanted to make sure that
what he was seeing would be documented on film.  He was carrying a
camera.  He suddenly found his camera being snatched from him and he
himself being slammed to the ground with an officer putting his knee
on his neck..  These harrowing images were caught on film by others
and JR was shown on the evening news being dragged to the ground and
arrested.  Both he and Rashida were arrested and accused of kicking a
police officer.  For those who don't know JR is around 5"4" and skinny
and would hardly be one to simply run up and start attacking an

He phoned into our Hard Knock Radio show from city jail and
emphatically explained that many people were in fear of their lives
when the officers started becoming aggressive.  He pointed out that
kids were being run over and shoved by the motorcycles and the police
seemed bent on intimidating people.  He also noted that most of the
participants were not out in the streets attempted to get arrested and
do some sort of civil disobedience.  In fact it had been advised to a
lot of the mostly Black and Latino crowd to not go out and try and get
some sort of police record.  That can only have negative effects in
the age of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act.  He also felt that
their were enough Black folks caught up in the system and we don't
need any more.

JR who has been covering a lot of stories around the activities of
Fred Hampton Jr including the recent assassination attempts as well as
a number of police brutality stories was well aware of how things can
be for young cats from the hood to be caught up in the system.
However, he noted that it was extremely important that folks come out
and be a part of the national Anti-war Demonstrations.  As he pointed
out, should war break out its going to be a whole lot of folks from
the hood who will be on the front line due to our large numbers in the
armed forces.  Hence we have a vested interest to weigh in.

JR also felt that the police were definitely trying to send a strong
message to Oakland youth with their aggressive tactics.  It appears
that they were attempting to discourage them not to participate and
let their voices be heard.  In fact as he was being driven to the
police station, JR noted that one of the officers callously remarked
that he should've 'used their gun'...  I guess you can't get any
clearer with that message.

If you contrast what went down in Oakland at 1 o'clock in the
afternoon with the anti-war demonstrations that took place in SF
during rush hour you will see the picture..In the SF demonstration a
contingent of mostly white youth took their antiwar protest to the
streets and blocked a main intersection causing traffic to back up.
Police on motorcycles did not roll through and brutalize the
demonstrators.  Perhaps that has to do with the fact that SFPD has
been underfire over the past week..  But so has Oakland with the
infamous Rider case on trial.  We will keep you posted on the outcome.

As of last night lawyers from the Lawyers Guild who are now looking
into the case reported that JR and Rashida were not allowed out on
their own recognizance and will most likely have to post bail.  On the
radio show JR asked that fellow journalist and news outlets monitor
this story closely and spread the word.  Because JR has boldly and
extensively covered a lot of police brutality cases there was concern
that he may have been targeted.  He also asked that everyone else
raise questions to Mayor Jerry Brown and other city officials to see
why this went down...How does a peaceful anti-war demonstration
involving young people who are often accused of being apathetic and
apolitical result in three arrests, a young woman getting her tooth
chipped and someone's camera being trashed?  Call the SF Bayview at
415-671-0449 for more info or drop them an email at
editor@sfbayview.com The Oakland Mayor's office is 510-238-3141...

To see some of the recent stories that Rashida and JR have recently
covered peep out these

Here Rashida follows up on a controversial case involving Oakland Rap
artist Asakri X who has been held in jail and forcefully medicated..


Here JR chronicles the recent assassination attempts on the life of
Fred Hampton Jr. For those who are unfamiliar he is the son of former
Black Panther leader Fred Hampton who was brutality murdered in his
sleep by Chicago police in 1969.  Hampton Jr a community organizer,
became known to folks when dead prez rapped about him and his plight
in the song 'Behind Enemy Lines'.

***We just got word as we are going to print that JR and Rashida have
been released...  However the injuries to Rashida are quite severe..
We will definitely keep you posted Look for a SF Bayview Press
release..  Even in LA a city known for police misconduct where one of
the largest marches in the country was held there was no drama like


by Davey D

As folks sort things out in Oakland, across the Bay the city of San
Francisco has been reeling with a major police brutality case of
historic proportions.  A couple of months ago three off duty police
officers seriously beat down two young men over a bag of chips as they
were leaving a restaurant.  The officers in question had been drinking
and did not know the men they are accused of assaulting.  One of the
officers accused is the son of the assistant police chief Alex Fagan.
If you want get the full details of that story...  you can peep out

Many thought SFPD were dragging their feet on dealing with this
situation which resulted in them being accused of a cover up.  I guess
enough was enough because last week the SF District Attorney brought
the city's first African American police Chief Earl Sanders and most
of his command staff before a grand jury and handed down indictments.
All the officers have been suspended without pay as this case gets
ready to go to trial...

Last night a number of Hip Hop activist from organizations like EBC,
Bay Area Police Watch and Freedom Fighter Records showed up at the
police commission hearings in SF to demand further action be taken...
For the past couple of years they have been monitoring a number of
police brutality cases in SF including the tragic shooting of 18 year
old Idriss Stelley at the Sony Metreon Theater.

This latest scenario was the straw to break the camels back..  One of
the points of contention involves Police Chief Earl Sanders...  He's a
popular police chief and in many circles iconic...  It was interesting
to see younger Hip Hoppers like Van Jones and Ying Son aka Sun Asiatic
stand before the police commission and demand that he be removed from
his position as chief.  They empathically feel that he's been part of
the cover up and that there's been some disturbing incidents of police
brutality that have gone down on his watch over the past year.  The
most troubling involves the brutalization of high school students at
the prestigious Thurgood Marshall High Academy, where 60 baton
wielding officers came through and went buck wild on the students.

Their remarks contrasted with older community folks like Rev Amos
Brown of 3rd Baptist Church who now heads the SF NAACP.  He described
the attacks against Chief Sanders as a modern day lynching.  Brown's
position vs.  those of the younger Hip Hop generation underscore the
type of generational divide that comes up from time to time over key
issues.  There have been a number of editorials and remarks made by
Hip Hoppers that definitely put them at odds with SFPD and the popular
Chief Earl Sanders How all this plays out will be interesting indeed.
All eyes around the nation are watching this situation.  We will keep
you posted as all this unfolds.

by Cedric Muhammad of Blacklectorate.com,

The industry is still buzzing about producer/rapper David Banner's $10
million deal with SRC/Universal, negotiated by power broker, Wendy
Day.  The platinum producer who has done work for Trick Daddy, Pastor
Troy, Snoop Dogg, and Lil Flip, signed the 5 release, $2 million per
release, deal with the Steve Rifkind Company (SRC) and Universal
Records Group for his southern flavored record label, b.i.G.  f.a.c.e.

Upon signing Steve Rifkind explained, "he truly has a vision from A to
Z - a whole complete package.  Plus, he is a great businessman and one
of the most talented people that I have ever met - and I have met a
lot of talented people.  I am really looking forward to working with
David Banner and his whole team."  Steve Rifkind is the former owner
of Loud Records which broke such international power houses as: Wu
Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Big Pun, and Three 6 Mafia.  "I have not been
this excited about a project since Eminem or Cash Money, and I am so
happy to see the major labels are back to bidding on multi-million
dollar deals.  This, along with 50 Cent's recent sales, is a positive
sign for the economy of the music business," an elated Wendy Day

...speaking of 50 Cent the Shady/Aftermath superstar is coming back
out with another release.  In April, "The New Breed" limited edition
DVD will be released along with new material - previously unreleased
music left off of the current album and just recorded material.  The
industry is still in awe over the Queens native's unprecedented (for a
hip-hop artist)mere 5% loss in sales in his second week out.  While
opening up with over 870,000 units sold, 50 Cent came back with over
800,000 in week two.  Most rappers lose as much as 50% in sales from
week 1 to week 2.  By the way 50 Cent, who was getting as little as
$7,500 per show early this year is now commanding up to $50,000 per

...Folks are still talking about the post-Grammy party at BB King's
blues club thrown by Erykah Badu and Common.  The star of the show was
the live entertainment which had, at one point, Brian McKnight on
keys, Meshell Ndegeocello on bass, Raphael Sidiq on guitar, The Roots'
?uestlove on drums, and Jill Scott on vocals.  Oh, and Prince in the
audience.  By the way, you heard it here first, the party hosts -
Erykah Badu and Common - are officially engaged.  Common is embarking
on a 35-city tour, rolling with a five-piece band...

...speaking of ?uestlove, industry insiders are remarking on Eminem's
snaring of The Roots as his live back up band for the recent Grammy's
while Jay-Z chose to use pre-recorded music for his Showtime
appearance.  The general word is that most were disappointed with
Jay-Z's performance which was perceived as lacking creativity, while
Eminem gets credit for keeping it simple with a live band that did an
excellent job rendering "Lose Yourself."  There is no doubt that the
Jay-Z/Showtime event would have been better with The Roots backing
H.O.V.  up like they did on MTV Unplugged.  Insiders say the almost
back-to-back events presented a scheduling conflict for The Roots.
The Jay-Z concert which led in for last Saturday's Mike Tyson-Clifford
Etienne fight was good for business with a record amount of new
subscribers for the premium cable channel in the northeast.  Of
course, we all know that many people terminated their service early
Monday morning.  Has anybody noticed that Jay-Z is taking it upscale -
Showtime concerts, Heineken commercials, and the video for "Excuse Me
Miss."  The suit is even back on the Brooklyn-rapper.  Smart move now
that 50 Cent is holding the streets, for the moment.  Roc-A-Fella
definitely understands marketing 101...

...Back in 1994, way out in Long Island, sitting in my car, Nas and I
discussed ideas for screenplays.  Nas told me back then that he
ultimately wanted to get into the movie business.  Well, aside from
his cameo in the movie Belly, it has finally happened for Nas.
Screenwriter Luce Gordon called me this week and gave me the good news
that his movie collaboration with Nas just made some serious noise and
was well received at the recent Pan-African Film Festival.  It turns
out that Nas and Luce Gordon sold MGM-based Absolute Entertainment
their creative effort "Cousins."  The story, produced by Saratoga
Films and Ill Will, follows a young inner-city man who inherits a
sprawling ancestral home in the Deep South - only to discover it is
haunted and its spectral inhabitants have decidedly comedic plans to
bring warring factions of his family home together.  The duo have also
produced an independent film, "Sacred"; a love story about a young
couple's journey from small-town America and the corrosive effect
success and fame have on their lives...

...It is good that Nas has a second career developing because we don't
know what the future may hold for Black music at Nas' Sony record
company.  The decision to lay off 1,000 employees, after a fourth
quarter $142 million operating loss, is sending shockwaves through the
industry with Black music employees at Sony not the only ones worried
about their professional futures.  Black music employees throughout
the entire music industry are fearing the worst with increased
competition for a decreasing number of employment opportunities.
While in NYC last week, an industry insider said that people are
beginning to see the handwriting on the wall and some expect that
sooner rather than later there will be unprecedented mergers taking
place among the major corporate music business divisions and the
multinationals that own them, leaving more people out of work...

...As much as everyone was ready to hate, it is overwhelmingly
accepted that R.  Kelly's Chocolate Factory is a favorite among
leading Hip-Hop artists, executives and opinion leaders.  Even the
hater-in-chief Star, from the Star and Bucwild morning show on Hot 97,
is singing the album's praises.  Chocolate Factory sold 532,000 copies
its first week, just a few less than R.  Kelly's pre-scandal peak of
543,000 for opening sales of TP-2.Com in late 2000...

...Speaking Of Hot 97, word is that Miss Jones, who is tearing up
mornings on Philly 103.9 FM will also be filling in for Angie Martinez
in her afternoon slot in the Big Apple.  Miss Jones, who was
originally on Hot 97 before heading down the New Jersey turnpike, will
be holding down Angie Martinez's spot for 6 months until the pregnant
host returns.  Hot 97 is providing Miss Jones a car service, perks and
5-figure salary for the half-year stint that will have her on the air
from 6AM to 10AM in Philly and then live in New York City from 2PM to


Ice Cube is mad as hell and ain't gonna take it no more...In recent
days he's returned to the studio to put the finishing touches on the
up coming Westside Connection album.  On a song called 'Lights Out',
which is featured on a soundtrack called 'Ghetto, Gutta and Gansta'
Cube takes swipes at actor Samuel Jackson and Reverend Jesse Jackson.

Cube was responding to remarks that Samuel Jackson made a while back
where he said he no longer wanted to star in movies featuring rappers
unless it was Will Smith.  As many of you may know, Jackson got his
start by appearing in a rap video.  It was Public Enemy's '911 is a
Joke'.  This is in addition to the fact that since those controversial
remarks were made rappers like Queen Latifah have been nominated for
Oscar and Golden Globe awards...  Mos Def was nominated for a Tony
Award...  Eminem received rave reviews for 8 Mile and was also
nominated for an Oscar.  Jackson who appeared in several movies last
year including XXX and Changing Lanes got no nods whatsoever...  Maybe
he may want to reconsider his remarks.

Cube saved his harshest remarks for Reverend Jesse Jackson who
advocated a boycott of the movie 'Barbershop' for the comedic remarks
fellow cast members made about Civil Rights leader Rosa Parks.  In the
song Cube tells Jesse to pay his child support and keep a rubber on
next time he gets busy.  We'll see if the Rev responds to Cube's dis..

by playahata.com

Jermaine Dupri has been installed as the new senior vice president of
black music at Arista Records.  Dupri replaces Lionel Ridenour who's
been black music v.p.  for over 10 years.  Some insiders think
Ridenour got the axe because Whitney Houston's album, "Just Whitney,"
has been a disappointment (the album's been out for three months and
it's only sold half-a-million copies).  Arista boss L.A.  Reid's been
talking about bringing Jermaine Dupri into the fold for a long time
now.  L.A.  Reid gave Whitney a $100 million deal to sign with Arista.
Whitney reportedly got $20 million in cash up front!  On a side note
Ridenhour and his partner Jeff House were one of the first cats to
establish and effectively execute a Hip Hop street team..  They
started out in the mid 80s from their Los Angeles apartments.
by playahta.com

Tyrese has added his voice to the chorus speaking out against a
possible war with Iraq.  Tyrese told the press at Saturday's Soul
Train Music Awards that there were enough "wars" to fight here in
America "such as the war on poverty and the fight for quality
education.  Tyrese said the Bush Administration is trying to make the
American public believe that we need a war with Iraq when we don't.
Tyrese added that the W in President George W.  Bush's name stands for
"What the hell are you doing?"  Note the lack of mainstream news
coverage on his remarks...  Perhaps they don't want his message to get
out to his inner city fans....

by playahata.com

Social activist and Presidential candidate Rev.  Al Sharpton will
appear in the new ad campaign for P.  Diddy's Sean John clothing line.
The Sharpton ads carry the tag, "Be The First Black President."  The
expanded campaign will launch in April issues of Vanity Fair, Vogue,
Maxim, Details, GQ, Vibe, The Source and others, and will run through
early summer..

On a side note: Folks may recall that last year P-Diddy brought a
Polling company..  It will be interesting to see if he uses this
valauble tool to help Sharpton or any other candidate with their
campaigns using his company..



Longtime hip hop supporter Billy Jam, who for the past twenty years
has done radio shows on numerous different type stations (ranging from
pirate radio to college & noncommercial/college, to commercial), has
returned to the station where he got his start in both radio and in
hip hop, Berkeley's KALX FM.  Jam, who left KALX at the end of 1991 to
go to KUSF San Francisco, had been at the University of California
station since 1983.  His first radio piece back in those early days
was a short interview segment he recorded in New York City with graf
artist Chico.  Throughout the rest of the eighties he did various
music and public affairs programs on KALX.

In 1986 after the overwhelming response to the Bay Area rap contest
that he produced on his Monday afternoon show he decided to, from then
on, commit himself to hip hop music and culture, with an emphasis on
the Bay Area's then burgeoning scene.  That was also the time he
started using the term Hip Hop Slam, now the name of the small indie
label and website he runs.  The similarly titled Sunday afternoon show
(Noon - 3PM) that he did on KALX in the later eighties immediately
followed and complemented the Sunday morning cultural affairs show
hosted at the time by Davey D.  Between these two Sunday shows KALX
listeners were guaranteed a steady flow of local and national hip hop
artists - at a time when there was no hip hop/rap on commercial radio
and not too much on college radio either.  Coincidentally Billy Jam
just recently rejoined the KALX Sunday lineup as part of the cultural
affairs show from 10AM - noon.

On March 2nd, his first day on the air, he interviewed both Charlie
Ahearn (Wild Style director/Yes Yes Ye'all co-author) and Jeff Chang
(hip hop scholar/author/activist).  On this week's show (March 9) his
scheduled guests are politically aware/outspoken/talented emcee Mr.
Lif and journalist Joshunda Sanders (culturally motivated young black
woman reporter & columnist with the San Francisco Chronicle).  "I love
KALX and am so glad to be back on the air there," said Jam who "hopes
to contribute to the KALX cultural affairs show by bringing in a
steady flow of stimulating guests that relate somehow to today's
culture which I see as primarily hip hop culture."

The Cultural Affairs Sunday Dept.  Sunday morning show (10AM - Noon,
West Coast time) can be heard on KALX 90.7FM and online at


Hiphop Speaks and Black Men in Support of the Film "NO!"  in
conjunction with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
present a screening and public discussion around the film "NO!"  a
documentary about rape and sexual assault in the Black Community
directed and produced by AISHAH SHAHIDAH SIMMONS Friday, March 7, 2003
at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture 515 Malcolm X
Blvd., corner of 135th Street New York City (Harlem)

Doors open at 7PM Admission is FREE and the program is open to both
women AND men Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis


"NO!"  is a documentary film written, directed, and produced by Aishah
Shahidah Simmons.  "NO!"  deals squarely with the issues of
intra-racial rape and sexual assault or, in other words, the violence
that far too many Black men have thrown, through the years since
slavery, at Black women.

Simmons has literally been working on this film for the past seven or
eight years, piecing together donations, grant money, and other
revenue to get it to its current form, a 74-minute rough cut.  A
Philadelphia-based filmmaker, Simmons has also had to deal with a
number of individuals and groups within the Black community who have
not endorsed this important project.  Sadly, few Black men have
supported "NO!"  publicly, hence the creation of Black Men In Support
of the Film "NO!"  and this community screening and forum.

The great tragedy of this is that MOST Black men know AT LEAST ONE
BLACK WOMAN in their lives who has been the victim of rape, incest,
molestation, or some other form of sexual assault.  And some of you
have sisters, nieces, or daughters who have been OR will be the
victims of rape, incest, molestation, or some other form of sexual
assault as long as we men, particularly those of us in positions of
privilege and influence, remain SILENT around this very serious issue
that plagues our communities nationwide.  And given that the music and
culture that many of us have grown up on, namely hiphop, has been
redirected, commodified, and reduced to very narrow definitions of
Black manhood where it almost appears that some of us now HATE Black
women, it is certain that young brothers coming up behind us
20somethings and 30somethings, regardless of their class or
educational backgrounds, will have attitudes and behavioral patterns
as bad as ours, if not worse, if none of us step to the plate and take
the weight of responsibility for this very serious crisis.

The days of rallying behind a Mike Tyson, a Jim Brown, an R.  Kelly,
or whichever Black man is famous and unapologetically abusive and
disrespectful toward Black women need to end, and we hope some of you
see the seriousness of this, and will come to this important event.

To drive the point home, here is a well-researched and detailed
paragraph that Ms. Simmons recently shared with us:

"There is a silent war going on in the African American community in
the United States of America.  It is a war by African American men and
boys on African American women and girls.  It is a war of rape and
sexual assault of African American women and girls.  Up until
recently, this war was not publicly acknowledged by the African
American community or the mainstream community because it wasn't
viewed as important.  This type of warfare being practiced against
African American women and girls is not limited to the African
American community.  Intra-racial rape and sexual assault occur in
every community worldwide.  Women and girls, regardless of race,
culture, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, class, and/or
physical ability, are raped, sexually assaulted, and molested
throughout the world every single minute of every single day.  One in
three women will be raped in her lifetime.  94.5% of the rape victims
are female compared to the 5.5% of the rape victims who are male; and
84.8% of the sexual assault victims are female compared to the 15.2%
of the sexual assault victims who are male.

Though Black women are 7% of the U.S.  population, they are 27% of the
rape and sexual assault victims.  Black women are raped at a higher
rate than White women.  For every one White woman that reports her
rape at least 5 White women do not report their rapes.  And yet for
every one African American woman that reports her rape at least 15
African American women do not report their rapes.  Black women are
less likely to report a crime of domestic violence or sexual assault;
are less likely to have their cases come to trial; and are less likely
to have their cases result in conviction than White women.  Black
girls between the ages of 9-12 are more frequently the victims of
child sexual abuse than White girls.  Today, 90% of the Black women
who are raped are raped by Black men, and more than 85% of rape
victims have some form of acquaintance with their perpetrators."  We
think you all should get the point by now.  Aishah Shahidah Simmons
needs to finish this film, and still needs thousands of dollars to do
so.  Again, what we will be screening on Friday, March 7th, is a
74-minute rough-cut, which means some post-production work needs to be
done on "NO!"  Here are the details to make donations, and/or to reach
out to Aishah Shahidah Simmons directly:

Donations: $50 and under should be made out to AfroLez Productions $51
and up should be made out to Women Make Movies All donations $51 and
above are tax-deductible (Women Make Movies is the non-profit fiscal
sponsor of NO!) On all checks and/or money orders write "Donation for
'NO!'" on the memo line All donations and/or correspondence should be
mailed to: Aishah Shahidah Simmons c/o AfroLez Productions P.O.  Box
58085 Philadelphia, PA 19102-8085 Phone: (215) 557-8154 Fax: (215)
972-8109 Email: AfroLez@aol.com (write "NO!"  in the subject heading
to insure a timely response)

We also highly encourage individuals/groups to set up screenings and
lectures for Ms. Simmons and this important film on your college
campus, or in your community/city.

by Davey D

One thing I've always said is that 'all Hip Hop is local'...  Meaning
that when we stroll down memory lane, it's important to note that
every neighborhood and every block where Hip Hop expression flourishes
there's an important tale to tell and a specific history filled with
unsung heroes and sheroes.  With the month of March being
International Woman's History Month, I thought it be important to note
some of the women who held it down and help lay the foundation for Bay
Area Hip Hop.

To start we have to acknowledge the fact that Hip Hop did not emerge
out of a vacuum.  Hip Hop was born out of a set of economic-social and
political conditions and for the most part-at least here in the Bay
Area it's a continuation of funk oriented musical expressions from the
60s and 70s.  Hence when we talk about Bay Area women who help lay
down the foundation we have to give props to a number of stellar
artists like Cynthia Robinson and Rose and Dawn Silva who all played
for Sly and the Family Stone Band in the late 60s and 70s.

The music of Sly Stone is one of the key building blocks for Hip Hop
especially Bay Area/west coast Hip Hop.  'History of Funk' author and
resident funkateer and radio deejay Ricky ' Uhuru Maggot' Vincent
explained that these three women were landmark individuals who
possessed the attitude, strength and raw talent that many in Hip Hop
strive for today.  For example, Cynthia Robinson broke new ground by
playing trumpet for Sly Stone in 1966.  She was described as a bad ass
woman who took no-nonsense from anyone who had an incredible stage
presence.  More importantly she can be heard playing on one of the
most used break beats in Hip Hop-'Sing A Simple Song' which was
popularized by groups like Digital Underground in the song Humpty

Rose was Sly Stone's sister and a stellar vocalist for the band.  Not
only did she have a Mahlia Jackson-like voice she also played several
instruments including the piano.  Like Robinson she had a take no
shorts attitude that came through on stage..  She also was the
inspiration for groups like Arrested Development especially when you
hear them sing the hook to the landmark song 'Everyday People'.
Listen to the original version by Sly Stone and you will hear Rose
driving that song.

Dawn Silva, another Sly Stone member replaced Rose in '75.  You hear
her shining through on songs like Green Eyed Monster Girl' which many
say was about her.  Dawn was significant because she was picked up by
George Clinton and became one of the famed 'Brides of Funkenstein'.
Also in the Brides was Lynn Mabry a Berkeley High School graduate who
Digital Underground's co-founder Chop Master J described as one of the
dopest singers around..She now manages Sheila E.  For those who are
unfamiliar Clinton and his P-Funk crew were the second pillar in the
musical building block to Hip Hop.  James Brown is the third.  Vincent
explains that Silva in addition to being sampled to death pioneered an
often imitated style and sound of Parliament.

Those three aforementioned women are key funk pioneers and precursors
to Bay Area Hip Hop.  Other key Bay Area women who help lay down solid
foundations include The Pointer Sisters who ushered in the Jazz Fusion
era of music.  Like their counterparts in Sly Stone they were
respected and accomplished musicians who got down just like any man..
Patrice 'Chocolate' Banks was the female vocalist for Graham Central
Station who deserves props as was Gail Muldrow who eventually replaced
her.  The Blusey vocals of Gail became a familiar figure to Bay Area
High schoolers in the Late 70s when Graham Central Station would do
free dances every Friday.

Lastly we have to give honorable mentions to Betty Davis who was wife
to Miles Davis and a off the hook Rock singer...  Rosie Gaines who we
know for the work she did with Prince.  and longtime vet Linda Tillery
who still packs night clubs when her band throw down..  All these
women were key figures in the Funk/soul movements which proceeded the
Bay Area Hip Hop movement.  Next week we will focus on the pioneering
sistas who put it down for Bay Area Hip Hop.

The FNV Newsletter c 2002
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