The FNV Newsletter In Today's Issue: April 25 2002 *HARD TIMES FOR HIP HOP WRITER CHARLIE BRAXTON *JAZZ HIP HOP LEGEND PASSES ON *HIP HOP NEWS SHORTS *HIP HOP PLACE IN POP? by Dove Send comments, questions and concerns to mailto:email@example.com mailto:Misterdaveyd@aol.com The FNV Newsletter written by Davey D http://www.daveyd.com http://www.rapstation.com c 2002 All Rights Reserved =================================== HARD TIMES FOR HIP HOP WRITER CHARLIE BRAXTON HIP HOP COMMUNITY STEPS UP The Hip Hop community is reaching out and reacting to some sad situations which have occurred over the past week. First we want to send out some hearfelt condolences and prayers to long time comrad, and West Coast Hip Hop pioneer Nasty Nes. Nes who is best known as Sir Mix A-Lot's DJ and was one of the first people in the country to host a rap show. He was on the air as far back as 1980 in Seattle giving us a Rap Attack. The other day he lost his dad which has only added to some of the rough days he's been having as of late. Collectively we wanna lift Nes up in prayer. Homeboy has always reached out, stepped up and pulled up a lot of cats in this Hip Hop game. Our sincere condlolences are offered to Nes and his family. The second scenario involves long time activist and writer Charlie Braxton. For those who don't know him, he is considered to be one of the most prolific and insightful writers Hip Hop has ever known. Way too many artists from the South have been put on the map thanks to Braxton who has taken the time to interview, write about them and chronicle their work. When it comes to Southern and midwest Hip Hop, he's the definitive expert. Based in Jackson Mississippi Braxton is the type of cat who clearly understands that 'It's Bigger Than Hip Hop'. Hence he brings to the table a keen understanding and a strong sense of commitment to the culture that gave birth to Hip Hop. A few months back he and writer Kevin Powell penned a series of essays that spoke directly to the issues surrounding 9-11 terrorist attacks. Kevin Powell wanted to make sure that folks were aware of Braxton's long standing history so here is what he wrote; "Charlie Braxton is a poet, playwright, and journalist currently residing in Jackson, Mississippi. He was born in McComb, Mississippi. Charlie s family was engaged in the Civil Rights Movement, particularly since a good portion of it took place in the Deep South. At Jackson State University Charlie was active in campus and community politics, working with several organizations: He was president of JSU s Student Government, a participant in the Free Eddie Carthan Committee, a supporter of the Black and Proud School as well as the anti-apartheid movement. Charlie worked closely with the now defunct Mississippi Institute for Economic and Technological Resources. He is also the former publisher and editor of The Hattiesburg Informer. Today, Charlie mentors young people around social issues and the music industry. In fact, Charlie either consults or manages a handful of Jackson-based hiphop artists and entrepreneurs. As a writer, Charlie Braxton's work has appeared in numerous publications including The Source, Vibe, Murder Dog, and Doula. He has written cover stories on various figures in hiphop like Outkast, Master P, the Notorious B.I.G. and the Fugees. His poetry has appeared in literary publications such as African American Review, Cutbanks, the Minnesota Review, Drum Voices Review, the Black Nation, The San Fernando Poetry Journal and Sepia Poetry Review. Additionally, Charlie's poems have been anthologized in Word Up: Black Poetry from the Deep South, In the Tradition, Soul Fires, Step Into A World, Bum Rush the Page, and Role Call. Charlie's Ascension from the Ashes, a volume of verse, was published in 1990 by Blackwood Press. Charlie is presently co-producing a documentary on the history of Southern hiphop, entitled Southern Explosion, and penning a book on the roots and evolution of hiphop culture....." That my friends is Charlie Braxton... so imagine our shock and horror when we heard what happened to him this past Sunday night in Jackson Mississippi. Wendy Day of the Rapcoalition wrote the following: "Last Sunday, after a high speed police chase through Jackson, Mississippi, a car being chased by the police careened out of control, smashing into the home of Charlie Braxton and family. The car burst into flames, and the fire department was called to pull all of Charlie's children, him, and his wife to safety. For those of you who don't know, Charlie is crippled, and was the last to be pulled to safety as the fire burned his home to the ground. He had no insurance and has lost EVERYTHING (computer, disks, photos, family records, etc). Charlie has written for almost every rap publication and has been instrumental in bringing national attention to the south and midwest music scenes. I'm not sure what we can all do to help Charlie, but I feel we need to do something. Please email me [firstname.lastname@example.org] if you have any ideas. Wendy Day Rapcoalition email@example.com I wanted to make sure the word went out regarding Charlie. As a fellow writer to lose everything especially all the projects you are working on is all but devastating. I know that feeling all to well after last year when some idiot stole my car which had in its trunk my precious laptop and the finished 'ready to go copy of my book' and the back up disc. It's been almost year and I'm still trying to recover from the loss. For Braxton to lose all his papers and his computer from which he makes a living is absolutely heartbreaking, hence we are asking the Hip Hop community to come together and reach out. This brother has paid his dues and has made sure that many of us were seen, heard and given the opportunity to eat due to his tireless efforts. Please drop a line to Wendy Day over at the firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to donate some funds, resources etc. Thus far we wanna give major props to those who have immediately responded to this situation. A number of prominent Southern artists are now in the process of trying to put together some sort of fund raiser. Things are still sketchy but we will keep you posted so I will hold off on dropping names for now until things are more in place. Props go out to Rev Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow Push Organization. For those who don't know, here in the Bay Area I am hosting the Hip Hop and Technology Panel for Reverend Jesse Jackson's Silicon Valley Project. Folks like Tajai from Souls of Mischief as well as cats from Thud Rumble will be on the panel to share their wisdom. I called Reverend Jackson and his staff last night to alert them about Charlie's situation and without hesitation they immediately offered to step up and help in whatever efforts are being put forth. The fact that Braxton is working and training local Mississippi youth really struck a chord with them and as a result the Rainbow Push Silicon Valley Project will be looking to see what sort of resources are available so Charlie can continue his work while he gets back on his feet... We'll keep you posted on this. The other sad news revolves around the sudden passing of jazz legend Weldon Irvine. If you recall last week I penned an article about how Hip Hop has successfully fused swith other genres of music. Jazz has long been a good friend and partner to Hip Hop. Cats like Irvine who has worked with everyone from Tribe Called Quest to Mos Def was one of the reasons. Below is an article that best exemplifies who Irvine was and why he was important to Jazz as well as Hip Hop.. ======================== JAZZ HIP HOP LEGEND PASSES ON Musician Weldon Irvine Dead at 59 by Louis Reyes Rivera "What does it take to love my fellowman His troubles are the same as mine. Why is it so hard for us to understand that love transcends all space and time." Abiola Sinclair (from Happiness) Wake and Funeral services for Weldon Irvine have been announced by his family and friends. The wake has been scheduled for Sunday, April 28, 2002, from 2pm to 8pm. Funeral services are set for Monday, April 29, beginning at 9:30am. Both services will take place at the J. Foster Phillips Funeral Home, located at 179-24 Linden Boulevard, in Jamaica, Queens (718/526-5656). The highly respected composer-playwright-pianist Weldon Irvine met an untimely death under tragic circumstances this past April 9. His body was not identified by authorities until April 17. He was 59. Known in Jazz and poetry circles simply as Weldon and within the world of Hip Hop as Master Wel, Mr. Irvine's skills as a musician and lyricist throughout his career were well demonstrated in just about every genre of African American music. With well over 500 compositions to his credit, much of which has been recorded on albums, audio tapes or CDs, he was the producer, arranger and conductor for an inestimable number of concerts, festival presentations, and staged musicals that focused on each of those genres: Gospel music, Rhythm and Blues, Be Bop, Hard Bop, Fusion, Funk, Free Jazz and Hip Hop. He has worked with such Jazz notables as Miles Davis, Nina Simone, Stanley Turrentine, Bill Jacobs, with Aretha Franklin and Donny Hathaway, as well as with poets Louis Reyes Rivera, George Edward Tait, Rich Bartee and the Griot Trio, and with such Rappers and Spoken Word Artists as KRS-One, Grand Master Flash, Gang Starr, Big Daddy Kane, Ice Cube, Black Star, Tree, Rah Goddess, and Mums the Schemer, to name just a few. Born in 1942 and bred in Virginia, after graduating from Hampton Institute (now Hampton University), where he majored in literature and minored in music, he moved to New York City in 1965, forming his own seventeen-piece big band, and was soon commissioned to work on Lorraine Hansberry's TO BE YOUNG, GIFTED AND BLACK, for which production he wrote the title tune. Throughout the '60's and '70s, he continued recording and performing in clubs and festivals, and premiered his first blockbuster musical at the Billie Holiday Theatre, in Brooklyn, YOUNG, GIFTED AND BROKE. It ran for eight months, won four prestigious AUDELCO Awards, and signaled the beginning of a decade-long relationship with that theatre, in which he produced well over twenty subsequent musical dramas. As he transitioned himself into becoming an elder of Hip Hop culture, many of the more politically conscious artists in that arena, including Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and Q-Tip, sought him out as teacher and mentor. As well, he was highly respected among political activist organizations and cultural institutions working in the African American community, including the December 12th Movement, Sistas' Place, Patrice Lumumba Coalition, the Afrikan Poetry Theatre, where he began the process of founding a church for artists, and among radio personalities Minister Conrad Muhammad, Clayton Riley, James Mtume, and Elombe Brath, among others. As the 21st century entered, he produced and financed THE AMADOU PROJECT, a CD commemoration of the 1999 slaying of the young and unarmed Amadou Diallo, who was shot to death by four New York City police. The CD features a host of Spoken Word Artists, Rappers and MCs, including close associates Don Blackman and Carla Cook, as well as voice-overs by the parents of young Diallo. "My sympathy and condolences go out to the community here, to his family, and to the international community as well," said Mr. Saikou Diallo, Amadou's father. "We have lost a great man." Before his untimely departure, Weldon was the recipient of a SPIRIT AWARD, given to him by the Medgar Evers Student Association and Akeem Productions, this past February, 2002. ================================ HIP HOP NEWS SHORTS.... I don't want to put everyone in a somber mood, but with all that is happening, it's important that we remind ourselves to take time out and really appreciate what we have and who we have in our lives. Ideally we should strive to try and make a difference in the lives of people around us. Life is too short and at any given moment our world can be turned upside down.. **On a lighter note I wanna remind everyone that UC Berkeley is hosting its first Hip Hop Conference. It kicks off today [Thursday April 25th and goes till Saturday] Its called 'Hip Hop and Beyond' and sports a stellar line up of people ranging from the Last Poets to Paris to Hip Hop pioneers Grand Master Caz and Grand Wizard Theodore. All sorts of scholars and activists should be on hand. For a complete run down and schedule please check the website www.hiphopandbeyond.com. Most of the panels are free. **If you are in New York City, please don't forget that Ice T is performing tonight at BB Kings on 42 cd street. He will be accompanied by Smooth Da Hustler, trigger Tha Gambler and Dice Raw among others. Doors open at 8pm.. **Big shout out to Crazy Legs, Popmaster Fable, Alien Ness and Fever-1 of the Rocksteady Crew. I was sitting up the other night about 4 am watching my Direct TV. I get the New York and LA channels and was watching one of the NY local newscasts and "BOOM" right after they did a story on the Middle East, I see these cats come across my screen busting moves. Apparently Fox News was doing a feature on Rocksteady as they get ready to celebrate their 25th Anniversary this summer. Big shout out to my man Fable who can still throw down after all these years... None of y'all cats reading this wanna battle him. **I have a bit of good news for myself. This Friday I will be penning my first column for the San Jose Mercury News which is the Bay Area's largest newspaper. I will be doing a Hip Hop column for them which is major. There aren't too many mainstream metropolitan newspapers who have regular Hip Hop columns. One of the things that's really cool about this gig is that I don't have to do the usual stuff like tell you about the latest album to drop or spill the latest gossip on P-Diddy and J-Lo. We'll cover all that, but I also get center my column around Hip Hop and politics which is what I have dedicated my site and many of my writings. So a big shout out is in order to the Mercury and their staff for reaching out and putting me on... They along with so many others Bay Area community members reacted to the my getting canned at Clear Channel station KMEL after 9-11 and created a space so that in some small way I could continue the work that we were doing on air. The really cool thing is I now have a bonafied copy editor so I won't have to worry about typos like I do with my newsletters :-) I will keep you folks posted for the columns and give you the URL when they run. **Finally KRS-One is gearing up for Hip Hop Appreciation Week, but has taken time out to respond to the lyrical battle emerging between him and Nelly... I will run his response tomorrow. **Question of the day for those living in the Big Apple. Now that you guys have 3 Hip Hop stations and Ed Lover and Dr Dre have returned to battle Hot 97, what's the verdict? Have things gotten better? Worse? Has all this competition been good for Hip Hop or is everyone playing it safe? Hit me back and let me know the deal mailto:email@example.com ============================== HIP HOP'S PLACE IN POP? By Dove ~Sheepish Lordess of Chaos~ firstname.lastname@example.org I spent last weekend at the Pop Music Studies Conference at the Experience Music Project (EMP) with Musicologists, journalists and professors from around the country. There were several Hip Hop related papers that were read, and hearing the opinions and research about various aspects of Hip Hop music was quite intriguing. The first Hip Hop-based panel was moderated by Oakland journalist/deejay Oliver Wang, who attends UC Berkeley. Mark Katz of the Peabody Conservatory gave a very insightful analysis of deejay battling. He likened the craft to 'reverse ventriloquism' - explaining how a deejay's hands create the sounds that speak for him. He used the infamous X-ecutioners vs. Invisibl Skratch Piklz battle as a reference point, and showed a video of Australia's DJ Dexta competing in a DMC Battle at the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC. Quotes from Rob Swift added extra flavor to Mark's research as he explained various strategies of battling. Felicia Miyakawa of Indiana University presented "(Re)Hearing Rap Remixes" with tables of information mapping the differences between original versions of songs and their remixes. There was nothing half-assed about her research - she included changes on songs from Stetsasonic, Queen Latifah, Paris, Lakim Shabazz, Brand Nubian, The Fugees, Outkast, Rakim, Scaramanga, Warren G and Missy Elliot to name a few. She explained that although there were some economic advantages to remixing songs after an album was released, the fact that many artists included remixes on their albums along with the original proved that it wasn't always a monetary decision. There were many factors involved, including the artists' ability to 'expand collaborative opportunities' instead of just changing the music in a remix. Joe Schloss, who attended the University of Washington some time back, flew out from Brooklyn to give his paper on "Making Beats: The World of Sampling Based Hip Hop". He raised some thought-provoking questions- Is it necessary to be an actual deejay to be a good Hip Hop producer? Has sampling made turntablism in Hip Hop recording obsolete? Joe offered several quotes from the Micronots' Kool Akiem Grand Imperial Allah Universal, and quoted Seattle's super producer Vitamin D and mixtape master DJ Topspin. In other Hip Hop related papers throughout the weekend, Harvard University's Hua Hsu (also the Reviews Editor for URB Magazine) discussed International Hip Hop in relation to American Hip Hop. Kyra D. Gaunt of the University of Virginia offered research from her upcoming book "The Games Black Girls Play - Learning The Ropes of Popular Music and Social Identity" (NYU Press). Her breakdown of how Hip Hop artists utilize little girls' handclap and double dutch chants to create popular songs was captivating. She explained how artists exploit girls' rhymes to make songs relatable to women. Think about that the next time you're singing along with the chorus to a popular song. Jon Caramanica, Deputy Music Editor at BET Interactive, columnist at the Boston Phoenix, and contributor to Rolling Stone, Complex Magazine, Mass Appeal (and many others) gave a rousing paper called "I'm Gonna Dis You on the Internet: Hip Hop After Race, After Space". I only caught the end of Jon's paper, but what I heard was as fierce and fiery as the man himself. I also had the pleasure of discussing the finer points of the X-ecutioners album with Jon. Agreeing to disagree is a beautiful thing. Much respect. Then there is always disagreeing in general. Joseph Drew of the Julliard Pre-College Division gave an interesting paper called "Satchmo to Slim Shady: Mapping the Parallel Evolution of Jazz and Rap". He brought up some fair comparisons of jazz soloists to Hip Hop emcees, however when he stepped into the realm of unmasking the early synthesis of jazz to Hip Hop and the 'evolution' of it, he called musical production and vocal deliveries on early Hip Hop 'square' and 'hokey' - enough to make an old school head cringe. In an 'Artists In Review' panel discussion, New York journalist Christopher O' Connor chose to speak upon the contributions of Afrika Bambaataa to modern music. His paper was entitled "Bambaataa's Bronx: Re-Tracing Footsteps at the Dawn of Hip Hop", and for the most part the paper was informative. It wasn't until he called the Zulu Nation website "gibberish-heavy" and "entertaining if you have time" that he lost me. More cringing. Unfortunately there was just not enough representation from the Hip Hop and Urban Music community at this conference. This was addressed publicly after Robert Christgau of the Village Voice gave his Keynote address on "US and Them: Are American Pop (and Semi-Pop) Still Exceptional?". Mr. Christgau, a veteran in music journalism, stated in his paper that he could find no good Hip Hop with 'African' samples. He suggested that African American artists "need to learn more about African music". I asked him to elaborate on this point so that I could fully understand what he meant, and he stated that he found some inspiration 'in the underground' but that 'we are in the time of the 'post gangsta' era'. Finding his answer somewhat dismissive, I asked him if the problem was that the music wasn't "black enough" for him. Of course he scoffed at my remark, as did some others - however several people stepped to me afterward and thanked me for asking my question. I suppose the reactions were all relative to peoples' personal preferences and perspectives. Professor Reebee Garofalo of the University of Massachusetts approached the microphone with some comments directed at the organizers of the Pop Studies Music Conference. He suggested that the itinerary for the conference excluded people from genres of music other than 'pop' or 'rock', and that more attention should be directed toward making people representing all genres of music feel included. He also addressed Mr. Christgau with regard to the keynote presentation, much more eloquently than I was able to in my moment. After all questions had been taken, a book (called a fest shrift) was presented to Mr. Christgau - a collection of essays and thoughts contributed by various journalists and writers whose lives and careers he has affected throughout his forty years in the business. All in all, the EMP did a wonderful job of bringing together some of the greatest minds in the country. Just know that when you see the words 'Pop Music' labeling a conference of this caliber that Hip Hop IS being discussed. The people who write these papers are teaching students and/or representing the music in mass media - we need to be active in the discussions that could potentially shape the attitudes about the culture worldwide. It will always behoove us to participate or at least to be present at these conferences to know the direction Hip Hop is taking in the mainstream eye. ==========END OF NEWSLETTER=============== Send comments, questions and concerns to mailto:email@example.com mailto:Misterdaveyd@aol.com The FNV Newsletter written by Davey D http://www.daveyd.com http://www.rapstation.com ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- To subscribe, send a blank message to FNV_Newsletterfirstname.lastname@example.org To unsubscribe, send a blank message to FNV_Newsletteremail@example.com To change your email address, send a message to FNV_Newsletterfirstname.lastname@example.org with your old address in the Subject: line To contact the list owner, send your message to FNV_Newsletteremail@example.com
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