Letters To The Editor-April

What Rappers Will Endorse
Oakland's Next Mayor

These letters are in response to the recent Friday Nite Vibe Newsletter on Rappers and Politics..Go To FNV Article

BEST ARTICLE I HAVE READ SO FAR THIS YEAR. Newspapers, magazines ect... I hope you really wake some close minded individuals with this one. Keep that dedication for people, hip-hop and society in general.

One Love
Steve aka Quest

davey d...that was a fat letter man, i thought we were on the verge of what you're talking about in the late 80's/early 90's, but something happened. oh well, things come and go in cycles, and i think we're about to come back into an ear when people start giving a shit again. peace and keep it divine,

fritz the cat

Divine Styler Magazine/Mail-Order


I gotta tell you, bruh...you continue to make me check myself every so often. I share many of the viewpoints regarding hip hop and the Grand Scheme of Things, but most often you take it two steps further. I'm in Jacksonville, not exactly a Hip Hop Mecca, but we're slowly growing. Me and my camp (Southern Dialect) have always had aspirations beyond scoring a recording contract, and my own personal goals have been to eventually get into politics. I wanted to become a 'kamakaize' politician. One who wasn't there for a career, but who would make the decisions that no other politician would make for fear of jeapordizing a re-election. We just don't want to understand that decisions are being made behind closed doors and we are too apathetic or ignorant to do anything about it. It's scary. And we continue to talk about 'Illuminati' and the 'New World Order' because it sounds good in a rhyme but beyond that, nothing. Like I said, we need to move our asses...we need to take care of our tomorrow and stop letting tomorrow take care of us. I hope that Cube and other artists like him hear what you're talking about and decide that's what they want to do. Have a voting drive instead of another autograph signing. Hell, have an autograph signing AND a voter registration drive. Use your influence to better your world and the world at-large. I hope they heed the call...

Hank McCoy

Some of your audience may think what you just said was corny or cheesy, but it took as much genuine guts as it would for one of the rappers you named to come out and make a difference. Too many sucessful emcees are content to lamp like superstars and floss like millionaires but not enough are willing to do something for their community.

I'd go one step beyond having rappers endorse existing candidates; and I think you've suggested this before: have an MC him/herself RUN for political office. E-40 for Mayor. Too $hort for Treasurer. C-Bo for District Attorney. Why not? If the same 300K to 600K (or more) people who buy their albums were the same people to vote, they could win by a landslide of votes. Just think of the good they could do in office for the prestige of hip-hop alone as WELL as for the community; the possiblities are endless. A law which makes giving "preferential loans" to white entrepeneurs over blacks with the same qualifications illegal. A measure to decriminalize the sale and use of marijuana in Oakland (I know there's already a medicinal marijuana law in CA but decriminalizing recreational use would be big). Increased spending on schooling and decreased spending on law enforcement. THAT's getting back at po-po!

All these things and more could a man like Todd Shaw do in office. And I know that they care: all of the above named men have written heartfelt raps about the plight of black people and the wickedness of those controlling political power. Time to seize control then! Even if they lost an election they'd still make a difference by their participation; and a sizable vote would force the city to recognize their influence and the voice of the people.

Maybe we need a national 'Make a Difference' day for hip-hop. We got too many cynical people who say "What I'm gonna do now? It's all fucked up now!" (you *KNOW* who I'm quoting) and not enough people who want to fight for a better tomorrow.

Peace, Flash

Steve 'Flash' Juon --> dj.flash or hip-hop@pobox.com
Hip-Hop Lyrics Archive --> http://ohhla.com

I'm a "kid" from Northern Norway.......18 years of age,who was stunned by the newsletter. I was surprised by the level of interessing point of views (not suggesting that i thought you were stupid) in the article. I can't place my self in your position because of the fact that i've never been suppressed i.e. I'm just a kid who has been in to the hip-hop/rap-scene for a couple of years, but limited info etc.(not that Norway is a "slow" country) has made keeping up with new artists and so on difficult....But with the internet....informationn came along......an especially from daveyd.com...i'll have to give you major credits for the site....it's excellent.

Peace out :P
Per Elling Ellingsen


I subscribed to your news letter and recieve it whenever the time is due. The last one I got was about rap artists and their role in the political aspects of a nation, such as the United States. I thought to give you my two cents, not implementing that it is right, nor by anyway suggesting that my 17 year old dome even knows what it is saying. I can only speak on my views and what I view to be correct with respect to my morals and values. You talked about the fact that you believe that rappers such as Mack 10, or Ice Cube should endorse political candidates due to the overwhelming number of people that are influenced by the such artists. I totally disagree with such a propisition. It is very hypocritical to say one thing on a record and then propose something totally different. Most of the artist out today are talking about 'crystal', how rich they are or want to get, how envious they are of the next man for owning capital that they only dream of. Most of the artists that represent hiphop are too busy worrying about their looks, about whether or not they have their beepers or cellular phones showing during photo shoots and videos.

Most female rappers have fallen into the abyss of the stereotypical image of women: wearing tight close or bearly any cloth. This is not an act of freedom on the part of the ladies that embark in such acts. Most of the people that have foxy brown posters, or that flock like a heard of sheep to buy tickets to a lil' kim concert are men. It is men that force these women indirectly to wear what they wear. Everyone is entitled to express themselves in the way that they believe suits their moral values or emotional states. But "image" nowadays as I see it, has gone way beyond "personal satisfaction."

How does all of this relate to elections and rappers' influence? The crowd that these rappers draw are not university scholars, nor are they (for the most part) philosophical/social students. They are kids on the streets that scream "keep it real" instead of screaming "keep it right" (De La Soul). They are kids that gang-bang, and hold colours as a representation of their self, and shoot recklessly at anyone that makes them angry, mostly for the fact that they are afraid to admit that the ones that they most hate, are the ones that are most similar.

I did not write this to share my barely-descent philosophical views, I wrote this to tell you that crowds such as those cannot be expected to represent what is "right" for the community. If Mack 10 is, hypothetically speaking, endorsing a political candidate and actually getting him enough votes to win, then does that make your wish for more hip-hop-political interaction, fullfilled? No, because most of the people that listen to Mack 10 (well atleast the ones that I have met, and I have been all over the world) are stuck in their little fantasies pretending to be the next "G" to represent or hold down forts. On one of my visits to toronto, I saw some kids throwing up the W sign and frantically yelling out of the car, Westside!!! What is that? Is that an ideal candidate for the perfect voter? Hardly not. Because that person who votes for whatever Mack 10 is endorsing, is only voting for that person because Mack 10 got paid some money to represent. There are no personal investigation on what that candidate represents or opposses. It is a blind move done by a citizen to "represent" for the westside, so to speak. I do agree that politics have played a significant role in hiphop, perhaps a more negative one that a positive one. However, I also do understand that hiphop cannot be in politics because it is a different medium. It is influenced by politics and if hiphop was as pure as it was earlier, then the influence that it radiates throught the nation would be a more positive one that what it is now. Rap can play a critical role in pointing out the WRONGS in society, but if it tries to CHANGE society, then it will fail and the image of it will be batterred even more.

Puffy will be getting all the air time he can every dream of. But instead of complaining or attacking the effect of the "problem" of having commercial hiphop on the radio, why don't we look at the cause of the "problem" of rich "underground" rappers and asking them "what have you done?" Why can't the Wu open up their own radio station and support Underground rappers? Even if money was a problem, (which i highly doubt, but nevertheless must be taken into consideration) then why can't they join with other big "underground" artists, like Too Short and open a station together?

Most of the rappers do not even know where they are heading so how can we expect them to lead a flock of people to vote for some political candidate that they probably have no personal info about him, besides his name? I am a radio DJ, and in one of my interviews with the Whoridas, i asked them "Why are you in hiphop? What are you going to give the culture that is not already there?" and you want to know what they replied to me and said? They said, "Umm....we are honestly in hiphop for the money...ummmmm...ummm....what do we have to offer?....ummm....some real gangsta shit....'cause we keepin' it real!"

Your dream of having Mack 10 on a commercial saying, "If y'all wanna really get your bang on.. vote them fools outta office and put my man Al Sharpton in there.. He'll take care of things...He'll make the Westside worth something when it comes to education..' is such a wrong thing to say. You should not get people to do things to represent or please someone else. They should do it for themselves. Kids should become smarter because it allowes them to explore many things, of which include themselves, not because they saw some big rap star say so.

My point is, (if indeed I do have one) is that we should worry about fixing hiphop before trying to influence or fix politics. No one is going to take us seriously, until we can take ourselves seriously...on that note, I say peace and salaam alaikum...

Dj Complex a.k.a. Ahmad


I feel you, but that's always been one of Hip-Hop's short comings ... back away from the system and standing back pointing the middle finger. Yet, not being involved and engaged. I'm happy to see your response and outrage.

True that, if Hip-Hop was engaged as well as enraged, the senseless violence would have been squashed long ago from within the community. It's good that you're addressing it, yet, the issue is much deeper than elections, it's education, values, morality and honesty. It's time for the Hip-Hop community to step up to something other than a Mic.

You keep on keepin on.....

Bill McGee...
class of '69, when being involved was essential for survival

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