IN THIS ISSUE OF THE FNV NEWSLETTER 7-19-99|
*Russell Simmons About To Be A Daddy
*Rocksteady's 21st Anniversary
*Public Enemy's New Album Is Dope!
*Bay Area Hip Hop Gatherings
*Rapping 4Tay Works On New Album
*E-40 Clears His Name
*Feedback Letters: What Do You Think Of Shyne?
*KPFA Saga Continues.. Who's Gonna Talk To The Hip Hoppers?
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The FNV Newsletter
*The Hip Hop industry is buzzing with excitement has Hip Hop's premier entrepreneur and promoter, Russell Simmons gets set to have his first child. He and his wife Kimora have announced that they are expecting in January. If it's a girl they will name her Ming. If it's a boy they will name him Malik. The question on everyone's mind is will either of them rap or be the next host of Def Comedy Jam.
*Folks are gearing up for the 21st Rocksteady Crew Anniversary which is set to kick off this Thursday July 23rd in New York City and last through Sunday July 25th. For those who don't know RSC is one of hip hop's most enduring pioneering B-Boy Crews. They first garnered national attention when they were featured in the movies Wild Style and Flashdance. They took things over the top after they were showcased in the movie Beat Street. Over the years, RSC have made their mark by consistently doing things help preserve Hip Hop culture. Their annual celebration is always off the hook and this year should be no different. Scheduled to appear is a whos who in Hip Hop including: Grand Wizard Theodore, Kool Herc, Evil Dee, Tony Touch, Grand Master Caz, Cash Money, Tragedy, Dead Prez, Common, Beatnuts, Coco Brovas, Helter Skelter, Black Moon, T-La Rock, Fearless Four, Non-Phixion,The Arsonists, Mos Def, A.L., Jurassic 5, Funkdoobiest, Click the Supah Latin and Rahzel to name a select few. Hosting the event will be Bobbito The Barber, Chief Rocker Busy Bee and Sway & King Tech.
The celebration will feature a B-Boy Battle, a panel discussion on the Art Of Battling, and a free outdoor concert at Gaelic Park in The Bronx. There will also be an International Turntable Federation Battle.. For more info hit up their website at http://www.rocksteadycrew.com.
*Tonite [July 19th 1999]. Public Enemy and Wyclef will be on hand at New York's famed Studio 54 for the second annual Yahoo! Internet Life Online Music Awards. The event is designed to bring attention to and celebrate those artists who have effectively used the internet to bring music to their fans. A couple of years ago my website http://www.daveyd.com won a Yahoo! Award. They didn't have no elaborate ceremony at Studio 54, but they gave me and Vibe Magazine a nice little write up in their magazine. On a more serious note, PE definitely deserves their props for embracing the internet. Their new album 'There's Poison Going On In Here' is by far one of the best PE albums I've heard in a long time. It reminds me of the PE from the 'Fight The Power Days'. We're talking funky head boppin' beats and scorching lyrics. Chuck D has without a doubt stepped up his rhyme skills in a major way. Last night when I played this before my show, heads who are deep into lyrics were really digging Chuck's rhyme styles and more importantly his lyrics. This is no hype, the lp is well worth the purchase. Since dropping their lp on the net at http://www.atomicpop.com, they've gotten more then 200 thousand orders. You can't tell me the internet is not the way to go.
*Folks came out in force for two Bay Area Hip Hop gatherings this weekend. First we had 'A Great Day In The Bay' project which took place at La Pena Culture Center. This is a non profit endeavor spearheaded by Jamal Williams of Bay Area Productions which brings all the hype concerts to town, Damu Daily who is a local promoter and spoken word artist and Taje of Heirogliphics Crew. They wanted to bring forth an event that featured Bay Area rappers positively expressing themselves and showing a commitment to stop the violence. A Great Day In The Bay was not only a dope concert where scores of artist came out in support, but it's also an upcoming documentary that will be released sometime in late August or September through the Academy of Arts. Prior to the event many of the artist went over and showed their support for the on going struggle to reopen community radio station KPFA. After shutting down two major streets in B-Town [Berkeley], artist like Dwayne Wiggins of Tony Toni Tone, Zion I, J Crow, Oakland Africans, 7ODZ, Omalara, Natural Fact, Black Dot Collective, Myran, Malia, Navotta, Tracey Bartolow and Rap Attack featuring Magic Mike and Rhyming Reg to name a few came through and got busy Friday Night. For folks outside the Bay Area who may not be familiar with all these groups, these are acts that specialize in ripping dope lyrics and given the opportunity will gladly battle those who step to them. In short the represent the lyrical side of the Bay Area's thriving Hip Hop community. Props to the organizers of this event for stepping up and making stuff happen.
The other big gathering where an estimated ten thousand people were expected to show up took place at Lake Berryessa which is about an hour North of San Francisco. This would be the 4th annual picnic put on by East Oakland's Hub O and The Deliquents. It was here that you find the street/ playa side of the Bay Area's Hip Hop community. Unfortunately many of The Bay Area rappers got turned away due to the fact that way too many people came through. According to reports by 5am Saturday morning, a nervous Sheriff department was blocking the road leading to the event. Many are charging that there was a racists sentiment at hand, while others are saying it was just too many people. In any case, things went smoothly and the folks like D-Shot and The Click came back having a lovely time.
*Rapping 4Tay is back in the studio recording a new lp entitled 'An Introduction To Mackin'. He will be hooking up with Kurupt of Tha Dogg Pound to help take this lp over the top. Thus far they've recorded a song called 'Sweet Love'. Daz Dillinger will produce several tracks for the lp. Right now 4Tay is enjoying the props he's been getting for his affiliation with the TWDY Project. Folks may be familiar with the popular song 'Players Holiday' which features a stellar line up of Bay Area artists including, Too Short, Mac Mall, Captain Save 'Em, Otis And Shug and of course 4Tay. 4Tay promises the album to be the ultimate Bay To LA collaboration.
*E-40 has been trying to clean up is good name which inadvertently got smeared last week in local newspapers. He was shooting a video for a new group on his record label called A1. They consist of D-Day and Bone from Richmond California. They were gathered at San Francisco's Pier 38 to shoot the video for their upcoming release 'Big Man'. 40 happens to be one of those people who takes precautions in protecting his reputation decided to hire SFPD to work security for the shoot. 3 blocks away from the video set two guys got shot in an unrelated incident. Some are saying it was an attempted car jacking. They managed to drive over to the video set in spite of their injuries where they collapsed in front of police. The police aided the victims and called the ambulance. E-40 and his crew had no idea who the guys were. In fact they weren't even aware anything had happened until the ambulance arrived. Unfortunately overzealous newspapers decided to try and make a connection and when things hit the mainstream media E-40 and his video shoot was somehow connected to this unfortunate incident. 40 has been calling local stations and newspapers trying to make sure that folks don't get the story twisted. The victims showed up at E-40's video set to get help. They happened to be the nearest people around. The whole thing had nothing to do with the private video shooting.. It was an unfortunate coincident..
Speaking of E-40 he is set to drop a new song called 'Big Baller With My Homies' which is a remake of Sir Mix-A-Lot's classic jam 'Posse On Broadway'. In fact Sir Mix-A-Lot returned from the dead and will be featured in the video. Produced by Ant Banks, the song is tight and should do well in these here parts.
*Feedback Letters On Puffy's new artist Shyne
'What Do You Think Of Him?
From the little that I've heard I was not impressed with Shyne. As more product from him surfaces, maybe we all can give an accurate assessment of his talent. Sometimes I feel that this is another character profiting off a well loved and successful artists' popularity. There are a few people out today who mimick quite a few artists dead or alive. It appears a little tacky for bad boy to sign a sound alike, but then again business is business I guess. Don't get me wrong, I'm not mad at brothers trying to make money or do their thing, but I just would like to see more artists make their own mark or pay more dues to build a following instead of this instant cocoa copy stuff. It does make it harder for people to take an artist seriously under these circumstances, but I do wish him well. Our collective opinions are what really matter & everyone deserves a shot at giving us a look at their artistic personality.
Beatz & Lyrics Show
WRFG 89.3 FM
I'll be the first to admit that I've had limited chances to hear Bad Boy's new rapper Shyne, but from what I've heard, and what I see in Puff as a business man, there's no doubt in my mind that PD is trying to juice B.I.G.'s fame and sound until the last drop. There was supposedly a big bidding war between Def Jam and Puffy for this unproven Johnny Come Lately, just because he sounds like BIG. Don't you think he knew he sounded like BIG. Has anyone ever heard of repect for the dead. I know this kid Shyne has to eat too, but it seems like he sold out before he was ever really put on. No doubt, he can flow. But over a Puffy loop, who can't? Does he have what it takes to make it in the rap game? He'll have an album. Maybe two. But the kid's hip hop life is ruined because he already has no identity. I heard Puff gave him a new condo, amongst other things. Translation: Puff now owns the poor kid's soul, and Shyne is obligated to do whatever Puff says; e.g. ryhme like BIG, talk like BIG, hold yourself like BIG, etc. Its a damn shame.
I actually happen to like Puff. This is how the man does business. Its not his fault he'll make you an offer that's hard to resist. But unless Shyne's whole reason to get into the rap game was to exploit and sound like BIG, it's up to him to make a decision that's in his best interest. At least before Ma$e signed with Puff, we all heard the real Murder Mase and he had already gained somewhat of an underground following/appreciation. I haven't heard Shyne on Clue? or Cut Master C Bill Gates tapes. He's getting no run. I haven't heard him on Stretch and Bob. The kid is doomed. I wish him well, strictly out of my love for hip hop as a whole, but he's always going to be in the shadow of a dead man. Why would one choose that route as a brand new artist? That leads to nothing but a career of obscurity. I just don't know why this kid would come out and no doubt deliberately try to sound like BIG. He'll say that he can't help how his voice sounds, but he damn sure can help how he rhymes, flows, his style, and his rhyme content. If he says he can't, then he's really doomed in this game, because immediately that is no versatility. If that's me and my voice sounds like BIG's, and we all know how BIG rhymes, I think my boys would let me know that I needed to switch up the style or something. Shyne's boys are probably all "yes" men who want him to get paid so they can get paid. I know you're not supposed to hate the player, only the game, but this "player" isn't playing by the rules of the game. He's trying to cheat the public into thinking that he's someone else, and that shouldn't go unnoticed. Shyne is playing himslef from the giddy-up. If he really wants money that bad, I guess I have to try to understand, but that's still not a reason to exploit one of the greatest. What would Shyne do if BIG was still alive and ever heard him? Answer: he would run for cover because he can't see BIG like that. So why is he gonna come out and front like he's all that? Please reference Jay-Z's track "Imaginary Player" on his second album for the answer to that question, too. Peace in pieces,
Big Bruce from the Benches
Davey, what gives with all this cloning crap? Biggie is dead and people should respect his memory by not supporting this copycat Shyne. Biggie was the east coast's greatest lyricist. Puffy is trying to recover Bad Boy from poor sales. Bad Boy has lost its 2 top stars, Biggie and Craig Mack and Puffy knows if Biggie was still around, his company wouldn't be in the crummy state it is now. I hate all these 2pac and B.I.G. clones. I hate everyone trying to gain money by singing songs about either of them (i.e. Master P, Scarface, Nas, Puff, and Yukmouth). Let them RIP.
*Friday-July 16th..KPFA Update
Who's Gonna Talk To The Hip Hoppers About KPFA?
by Davey D
This afternoon several hundred folks representing the Bay Area's Hip Hop community came out to show support for the fight to win back KPFA. They succeeded in shutting down University Avenue as well as a large stretch of blocks leading up to the boarded up radio station along Martin Luther King Way in Berkeley. The crowd which was made up of mostly young high school age people set up 'Camp KPFA' which was complete with turn tables and a dj. During the rally, an open mic was held as numerous rap acts and spoken word artist came through and dropped lots of 'science' around the issue of Free Speech and the importance of the community having access to the airwaves. It was great to see rappers like Keepers Of Tyme and Rizing Sun flip freestyles about the events surrounding the shutting down and subsequent lock out of KPFA. Youth organizations like Third Eye Movement spread through the crowd and passed out flyers and pamphlets explaining in detail the rights youth have when confronted by police.
In fact these young Hip Hoppers were so much on the ball that they actually organized a security force to patrol the crowd to monitor the large number of Berkeley police. These actions were encouraged by several unfortunate incidents that took place the day before during a Save KPFA Rally. Several people were beaten by police with bully clubs including popular Hip Hop reggea dj Brother K. The beatings took place when the police were outside the view of the numerous tv cameras and news crews. So armed with digital cameras and watchful eyes the Hip Hop youth of KPFA took special yet effective precautions.
The other incident that caused concern were attempts to discredit the peaceful nature of these rallies. Youth activist, Kalil Jacobs who served as the emcee warned the crowd to watch out for 'strange' 'unfamiliar' protesters in the crowd who may at anytime try to instigate violence or engage in some sort of provocative activity like bottle smashing or window breaking which would be used as an excuse to set off the squadron of Berkeley Police on to the crowd. Such actions would also serve as a way to perpetuate the negative stereotypes of the Hip Hop community. To some, Kalil's warnings may have come across as a being a bit far fetched or exaggerated, but there were reports of 'unfamiliar' types yelling obscenities and picking fights during the rallies. Such unwise actions raised a number of questions and during this Hip Hop gathering nothing was being left to chance.
Flyers were passed out reiterating the peaceful intent of the rally as well as informing people that there may be 'paid' or 'unpaid' individuals who want to disrupt things. Kalil asked the crowd to listen and follow the orders of the security monitors who were being set up as a way to counter act any sort of subversive actions. Props are in order to all who attended because the rally was spirited and came off without a hitch.
With the Bay Area's Hip Hop community coming out in force, a serious dent was put in the erroneous argument put forth by KPFA's owners-the Pacifica Foundation about the station being racists, non diversified and a haven for old white males over 50 years of age. For those who don't know, the whole issue of lack of diversity has been a major concern and ultimately one of the cornerstones leading to the Pacifica Foundation taking steps to shut down KPFA. While there is plenty of room for improvement in this area, the question that kept popping up and was on everyone's mind at the rally was why hadn't any of the owners sat down and spoken to any of the people of color or their organizations that were present on Friday. After all, many of these groups and individuals have been on the front line in combatting the issues of racism day in and day out. One would think that it would only be logical to sit down and receive input and insight on this topic from people of color who are not only a part of KPFA, but literally on the front line. This lack of conversation has left many people of color, especially the Hip Hoppers who were on hand feeling disrespected in the sense pacifically the race issue was used as a smoke screen. It seemed like it was a cheap way to divide people as opposed to seriously address and improve conditions at hand.
It was interesting to see the Hip Hop community taking such strident steps at Friday's rally. Back in the late '70s Hip Hop culture came into being for similar reasons-lack of access to the media. History will show that during the early 70s, Black music radio stations abandoned their traditional format of being an interactive medium that was seen as a community bulletin board. In an attempt to attract a more affluent and 'mainstream' [white] audience, Black radio stations in New York City started playing diluted disco songs from white rockers like Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart and The Bee Gees to name a few. Gone from the airwaves were popular songs and groups enjoyed by the majority of folks within the African American and Black community. There was no James Brown, Sly Stone, Barkays and Parliament/ Funkadelic for that matter, although Flashlight enjoyed some air play when it was released in '78. More importantly these Black radio stations that had once served as a community lifeline no longer attempted to be appealing to it's younger audience. Young Black and Puerto Rican kids who at that time listened to the radio more then any other ethnic group, began to listen to tapes on huge boom boxes. Folks who are old enough may remember the stereotypical image of a young brotha carrying a huge radio on top his shoulder while walking down the street. Well, back then that young brotha was indeed carrying the big boom box, but he wasn't listening to his favorite radio station. He was likely to be listening to the recordings of an early Hip Hop gig. He was likely to have an early Grand Master Flash or Cold Crush Brothers tape.
While Black radio sought it's riches from the hands of white folks, young brothas in sistas sought to find other forms of artistic expression. They began to write on walls and paint elaborate murals on the sides of school yard walls and subway trains [graffiti]. They took your basic turn tables and flipped them so they became instruments in which they would manipulate sound in a then strange 'scratching' motion. Groups of disenfranchised kids would illegally hot wire street lamps and hold block parties during which you would hear all those popular soul groups that were no longer being played on Black radio stations. These same kids would also take two copies of a record and with the aid of an audio mixer, indefinitely extend the percussion breakdowns of popular records [dee jaying]. Whenever these percussion breaks blasted across the speakers, kids would start doing contorted dance steps which would result in them doing fancy hand spins, back spins and even head spins [Breaking]. That sort of thing wasn't limited to an elite few. Back then damn near everybody busted a break move once the juicy part of the record started playing. Finally, it was during these early parties that kids who no longer had a voice began to create a vocal medium for themselves. They would get behind a microphone and while these percussion breaks and instrumentals played, they would recite rhymes that revealed their desires, fantasies and general set of emotions at the time [emceeing/rap].
Watching Friday's Hip Hop rally unfold, reminded me of Hip Hop's early days because it was this sort of activity of radio stations literally closing itself off to a community that lead to the creation of this new and vital form of expression called Hip Hop. Back then things began with a small group of people who were ridiculed and told that what they were doing wouldn't last. Twenty years later Hip Hop has become as American as apple pie. As one Hip Hopper after another got up and spoke elegantly to the situation at hand, I had to wonder what sort of creative steps they would eventually take to be heard. During the rally, the Hip Hoppers in addition to setting up turn tables to play the latest beats but they also set up a pirate radio station so they could be heard. They also laid down plans to hold another rally/concert for this upcoming Wednesday in Berkeley.
As the struggle over Free Speech radio KPFA continues..let it be noted that the Bay Area's vibrant Hip Hop community has come out in support of those who have been locked out.. If there's any group of people who should know about the serious consequences of being shut down and censored it would be the Hip Hop community. It was good to see Bay Area Hip Hoppers come out and show some activism. Eight years ago, the Bay Area Hip Hop community lead by Digital Underground and local rapper Chill EB had to come out in mass to force the City of Berkeley to lift a proposed ban on rap concerts. Shock G left an overwhelmed city council with a stinging quote about how DU had more then a million fans and it would be a shamed if he would have to remind them who voted against Hip Hop during the next election. KPFA has without a doubt played a central role over the years in helping break Hip Hop especially on a local level. It's a shame no one who owns the station had sat down and had a serious conversation with that community about the issues of diversity and how to achieve it. What other genre of music is more diverse? Perhaps Shock G needs to be given a call so he can come down to the next rally and remind the owners of KPFA the type of influence and tremendous impact Hip Hop will have on you if you choose to close doors and ignore it.
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The FNV Newsletter
written by Davey D
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