FNV In Today's Issue: August 21 2000
*Ruff Ryders Sponsor Summer Camp
*MC Lyte Clarifies Rumors About Her and Lil Kim
*Oakland's T-Pup Etc Wins Bay Area Unsigned Hype
*Democratic Convention: Police Protesters, Politicians and Hip Hop
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The FNV Newsletter
written by Davey D
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*Major props to DMX, Eve, Drag On, The Lox and the rest of the Ruff Ryder's Camp for stepping up and giving back to the community. They are sponsoring a week long summer camp program called Ruff Ryder's Camp 2000 at the end of the month which will bring together 100 youth throughout the New York City area. Many of the youth chosen were rewarded for demonstrating good academics and good behavior this past school year. Also on board to participate is DJ Funkmaster Flex and comedian Jamie Foxx. Despite their rough and tumble image in videos and on mic, the Ruff Ryders have a history of trying to help out those who are less fortunate. Folks may recall how DMX reached into his own pocket and pulled out 200 thousand dollars to help pay off the mortgage to a church in his native Yonkers that was about to be foreclosed. Around the time of the tragic Columbine shootings in Colorado, DMX and other Ruff Ryders on the Hard Knock Life Tour pitched in with Jay Z and others to donate a part of the proceeds to help out.
As far as Hip Hoppers chipping in and helping out, The Ruff Ryders are among the ranks of artists like LL Cool J [Camp Cool J], Rocksteady Crew [Point Community Development Center], Sista Souljah and Puff Daddy [Daddy's House] who all reach out and do some positive things for the youth.
*MC Lyte has expressed some concern about the false conclusions people are coming to with the new song she recently did with Rah Digga. She dropped me a quick note with this to say;
I need a little help letting everyone know that on the Rah Digga song I am
not dissing Lil Kim. Seems like the younger generation doesn't understand
that HOT DAMN HOE were words originally written by me. I used them to begin
my rhyme for 10% dis in 1988. Because of everyone's reaction I reached out
to Kim to let her know that it wasn't directed towards her. On the other
hand the public hasn't been informed that Kim and I are cool, so I wouldn't
dis her anyway. Anyhow if you post a lil somethin' that let's your readers
know (the hip-hop world) how I feel about the subject, it would clear up any
rumors of fictitious battels between MC Lyte and Lil Kim.
I recently got a note from Common's camp who is happy that he was nominated for Lyricist of the Year for the upcoming Source Awards. He deserves much props especially after peeping the searing lyrics in this last album 'Like Water For Chocolate'. We wish him much luck. Not to cause no controversy or anything, but I was just thinking, if Common and Mos Def had a battle, who would win? MMM that's a tough one huh? In any case Common also gets props for participating in a forum at the Democratic Convention. He along with Erykah Badu and Russell Simmons came through and spoke about the importance of being politically active and aware of the what's going around you. Common as usual brought some very insightful and candid remarks. I wish I could quote him verbatim, but I wasn't allowed to bring any cameras or recording devices into the forum. This was by order of the Secret Service.. Oh well what can you say? Russell also represented on the panel as did Ms Badu. It wasn't until he left that I recall someone saying that Common goes out with Ms Badu..Maybe they they do, but during and after the panel the pair gave no indication. They weren't walking around being lovey dovey or anything like that but then again it was the Democratic National Convention.
Speaking of love birds, props to Mack 10 and his T-Boz of TLC. Over the weekend they got married in LA. According to folks who were lucky enough to get an invite, the ceremony was incredible. It looked like Mack 10 may have spent up to a million bucks on the occasion..Now that's a lot of money, but hey, if I was marrying T-Boz I'd gladly spend that mil ticket .
Big props go to the Bay Area's T Pup Etc. for winning the Bay Area's Source Unsigned Hype contest. T- Pup who rolls with Oakland based Roland Entertainment camp out of Oakland which includes Silk E and Dengee beat out 106 other emcees in what at times was a fierce battle. He will go onto New York to represent for the Bay Area. Other note worthy competitors included,a kid out of Denver named Earl Hayes who's laid back flow and sharp punch lines reminded me of Lord Finesse. Another competitor, Locksmith who hails from Richmond California came through and dropped bombs. He looked like a sure favorite especially after he clowned this one female opponent for having stretch marks and a weave. Unfortunately it seemed like both Hayes and Locksmith used their best crowd erupting rhymes in the early rounds and pittered out as the contest went on. T-Pup Etc's opponent who looked like boxer Evander Holyfield put up a close match. In fact there was some controversy as to who won in the end. One of the judges gave it to T-Pup's opponents, but before the could straighten things out T-Pup's boys who were rolling deep had already rushed the stage claiming victory. In either case it was a good match. We'll keep you posted as to what transpires in New York. Also repping at the Unsigned Hype contest was Tash of the Alkaholiks and the Brooklyn based Dwellers who did a dope performance.
The Democratic Convention: Police, Protestors, Politicians and Hip Hop
2Pac Shakur once suggested that in an ideal world, everyone would have the opportunity to switch places with someone else. The poor would be able to experience life from the perspective of the rich and vice versa. Pac felt that such a move would help foster better understanding. He also suggested that the homeless be allowed to live in the White House where they would have day to day contact with the President. He felt that this would help keep the President in tune with the 'streets' and the perspective of the 'people' when making major decisions. 2Pac's insightful words kept running through my head while I walked the floors of last week's Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. What went down was something I'm still trying to digest and recover from. The range of emotions goers from awestruck to anger and from excitement to sadness and everything in between. If I had to describe the Democratic Convention I would say it was a scripted four part play in which everyone played their role. Everyone came prepared in their Sunday best and executed their roles beautifully. It was the show of shows. Today I wanna focus on one of the stars in this event
The Police...The DNC was a display of police power and presence. They came out in force and numbered in the thousands. Everywhere you looked there was police on horseback, motorcycle, squad car and on foot rolling deep in paramilitary formation. The 'Popo' was constantly on the move. Not a moment went by where you didn't see them running up or down a street in an effort to protect us credentialed DNC attendees from the 'Protesters' who they referred to constantly as 'Anarchist'. There were hundreds of LA Sheriff deputies. They were like constant companions and escorts. They accompanied us on the special shuttle buses that took us from the hotel to the convention site. What struck me was the fact that thousands of people ride these city buses everyday through some of the roughest and most gang infested neighborhoods in the country without the benefit of a police escort. Even so most people would opt not to have them because far too often encounters with the LA Sheriff for many Black, Brown and poor aren't all that good. However for those of us riding these special busses that took us to the Staples Convention Center, these sheriff deputies were friendly, helpful and displayed a nice sense of humor. Why couldn't law enforcement be like that on the regular? That's the question that went through my mind.
There were literally thousands of California Highway Patrol officers. Some of them wearing their traditional tan uniforms with brimmed hats that you may have seen in the hit TV show CHiPs or they wore dark navy blue uniforms complimented by storm trooper boots and riot helmets that reminded me of something out of the movie Star Wars. These guys were everywhere. They were on roof tops, in the garage, rolling through the lobby of the hotels. They were at every freeway off ramp and on every corner throughout downtown LA. many of them stood out in the blazing hot sun that sometimes touched a hundred degrees, yet these CHP officers stood out side motionless like the Buckingham Palace Guards, watching waiting and protecting us from any sort of illegal activities or encounters from the 'Evil Protesters' and Anarchist.
What struck me about the CHP guys was how big they were. I'm talking husky, corn fed, midwest, football player big..They didn't seem like the type you would wanna mess around with, yet they greeted us DNC attendees with smiles and were more then helpful in directing us to where ever you wanted to go. If you asked they gave you the time of day, showed you where the bathroom was and on occasion even asked you how you were doing. What a change of pace. Now if only this upbeat behavior would continue in everyday situations things would be good. The other thing I noticed was the patches on their arms which sported the names of various counties in Cali. Some came from as far away as Eureka which was more the 600 miles away. I made a mental note that this was the week for me to let loose and check the engine power to my ride. There was no fear of getting a ticket because every CHP officer in the state was hanging out at my hotel..
LA's finest was out in full force and like their CHP and Deputy Sheriff brethren they too numbered in what seemed like the thousands. Unlike the sheriff and CHP, LA's finest came through with their top cop Chief Bernard Parks who was seen out and about on several occasions. LAPD represented on several fronts. Some rode majestic horses., Others rolled through on motorcycle while others came through in their traditional black and white squad cars. Still others were seen in constant flux in paramilitary formation. They would be walking up one street and then down another. LAPD was constantly on the move shielding us from the antics of the Evil Protesters and Anarchist.
The motto of LAPD to 'Protect and Serve'. It's emblazoned on every squad car and I gotta be honest when I note that these officers took that creed to heart and fully lived up to it. The LAPD officers were so friendly it was scary. I would come strolling into the Convention Center and see some huge battle tested officer who had 'that look' smiling at me. Folks who ever had a a bad or rude encounter with an officer know what I mean when I say 'that look'. It kinda like a cross between a mean mug and George Bush's cocky smirk. Its a taunting look that officers give you to let you know that they got the upper hand and while your being treated like crap there ain't much you can do about it for the moment. It's that look that makes you wanna ball up your fist and start swinging, but the minute you do it'll be all over. Either you'll get arrested, beat down, sent to jail or all three. It's 'that look' myself and 7 out of town friends all over 30 received this past February here in San Francisco when our van was pulled over and an angry officer called the driver a 'stupid fool' for making a mistake and turning into a bike lane. When I tried to explain, the driver was from out of state, I was told to 'shut up' given that look that said 'Yeah I told you to shut up! So what you gonna do about it punk? We never got a ticket, but the anger from being called a stupid and told to shut up still sits with all of us and makes our blood boil when thinking about it.
It was this type of memory that made the friendly smiles of LAPD so weird. I went into shock even more when I saw this woman delegate berate and curse this one officer up and down like a bad step child and he responded with a smile and showed extreme patience. It occurred last Monday night as we were leaving the Convention Center. Not one of the twenty or so thousand attendees was allowed to leave the fenced in areas because according to the police, the 'Anarchist' band Rage Against the Machine had performed outside the Convention Center and 'caused a riot'. The LAPD told us the we the Conventioneers had to be detained while officers worked to restore order. In the distance we could see helicopters hovering over the concert site. We heard siren after siren and could see squad cars speeding off. We caught glimpse of officers on horseback headed in the direction of the helicopters and of course there were the paramilitary squadrons of officers off to 'protect and serve'. They were protecting us DNC Conventioneers and enroute to 'serve up an ass whipping to those 'riotous concert goers'.
One smiling officer told me and dozens of others that '30 thousand' anarchist were trying to 'burn down the convention center' and for our own safety we couldn't leave the designated areas. One woman wanted to get back to her hotel and lost her cool and went off. This beefy LAPD officer smiled and showed patience. I couldn't belive what I was seeing. The LAPD showed no signs of agitation when other impatient delegates and conventioneers made off color remarks. I kept thinking to myself, this is my chance to run up and curse out one of these LAPD officers. I was tempted to do on behalf of all those who ever caught grief from them but they were so friendly it was hard to and as I said before a bit scary. I kept wondering if this pleasant demeanor was suddenly gonna change. It didn't in the four days that I was there. As long as I had my credentials and DNC badge I was cool.
Later on that night I discovered that while we were being 'protected' from Rage Against The Machine's anarchistic fans, all sorts of protesters were being shot in the back with bean bags and tear gassed. One of those who was seriously injured was a gentlemen by the name of Ted Hayes. He's a well known homeless activist who has always tried to represent and put it down for those who are less fortunate in LA. Out of ten to 15 thousand concert goers, 40 decided to throw plastic water bottles at the police and try to scale a fence. This was all that was needed for the crack down. The next day the police uprooted all the trees within the vacinity of the Convention Center. They claimed that the trees were potential weapons
Although I couldn't say they numbered in the thousands, the Secret Service was a constant presence throughout the convention site, the hotel and downtown LA. They didn't say much and just seemed to blend into the background like shadowy figures in the night. Call it a figment of my imagination, but I always felt like I was being watched and if I uttered any sort of ill thoughts about Vice President Al Gore, Senator Lieberman or any other powerful politicians, I would get picked up before I completed my sentenced. Who knows what sort of gadgets and gizmos these guys have at their disposal. It could be all hype or it could be something straight outta of Will Smith's movie 'Enemy of the State'. One thing is for sure, these guys are on some next level stuff. Its a special breed of person who's job is to take a bullet for the person they protect. I wasn't down for putting them to a test. Apparently some cat in New York decided to test the ability of the Secret Service earlier that week by calling into Howard Stern's radio show and threatening to kill VP candidate Senator Lieberman. He didn't leave a name or number, yet the following day Secret Service tracked this man down and arrested him. With friends like the Secret Service who could pull of things like that who needs them as enemies?
I came away from the Democratic National Convention remembering the well orchestrated show of force put on by the police. As one officer candidly told me, the protesters weren't really a problem. If anything, he described them as being co-operative and not to much of a bother. When I asked if he thought the police presence was a bit too much, he responded by saying the strong visible police presence was enough to keep folks at bay and prevent trouble from occurring The police definitely seem to outnumber the protestors. This same officer told me, all this really was a training exercise. These cats got to try out new techniques on crowd control. One day they used bean bags bullets, the next day they used horses. On another occasion, they employed the technique of negotiation. They rode motorcycles and flew helicopters and did elaborate paramilitary moves all designed to break down a out of control crowd. I over heard one officer talking to delegates how they would use horses to break up a large crowd and then use on foot officers to corral them into little groups which enabled them to disperse them. 'We have this down to a science' he said.
So how did the Police do in this play called the Democratic Convention? They did quite well, they played their roles brilliantly and with amazing historical accuracy. Back in the early days the police were formed to protect and guard property for the rich and powerful. And that's exactly what they did last week in LA-protect the rich the powerful and privileged. To that end the police succeeded. LA did not burn down. Not one of the rich and powerful got injured. The police did a wonderful job protecting us. The action was to say the least riveting. As I mentioned earlier, the police seemed like they were always on the move and on a mission. They were always marching or riding their bikes in unison like some large motor cycle gang. Squad cars lay hidden behind bushes at key spots along the freeways passing through downtown LA and command posts manned by intense looking law enforcement personnel dotted overpasses, rooftops and anywhere else that gave them an advantage to look down onto the pathways that were likely to be used by protesters.
The police did a fine job in reciting their lines. Ya see in this every good story, there's a good guy and a bad guy. In this play called the Democratic Convention 2000 starring Vice President AL Gore and Senator Joseph Lieberman the bad guys were the 'Evil Protesters and Anarchist'. The police made sure to always refer to the protestors as 'Anarchist'. When they uttered the word 'anarchist' or 'protester' they delivered their lines in such a way that the audience as well as the conventioneers would be impacted and come to see the protesters not as people trying to bring attention to some important issues and causes, but instead as players haters trying to disrupt a good show. The police may win an Emmy for the show they put on. They convinced us all that our tax dollars were hard at work and they did it with a smile. All you needed were some press credentials and a DNC badge to really appreciate the show they put on.
Next Issue.. The Protesters and Politicians.
========END OF NEWSLETTER================
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written by Davey D
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