*FNV In Today's Issue: June 27 2000
*Sway & Tech Anniversary
*Common Performs at Central Park
*Russell Loses TV Show
*Tours Tours and More Tours
*Drama at Hot 97 Summerjam Star& Buckwyld Arrested
*Furious Five Sueing Will Smith
*Queen Latifah Coming Through
*Eminem Has Movie Drama..he Wants Out of Blair Witch Parody
*Rap Cointel-Pro Pt 2 by Cedric Muhammed
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The FNV Newsletter
written by Davey D
All Rights Reserved
*Congratulations are in order to Sway & King Tech who are set to celebrate the 9 year anniversary of the World's Famous Wake Up Show. They'll be doing it in a major way when touch down in Pamona California and throw a concert featuring the entire Wu-Tang Clan minus ODB who has been sentenced to 180 days of drug rehab. Also on the bill will be Chino XL and dead prez. This should be quite an event. the event should be a precursor for the Wu's upcoming summer tour.. We'll let you know how it goes down.
It looks like Central Park is back to normal. After the horrific attacks on women that went down two weeks ago after the Puerto Rican Day Parade, more then a few people were weary of going through there. Well leave it to a guy like Common to turn things around. Apparently he participated in what is known as the Nature fest and wound up giving a free concert in the park. From what I'm hearing Common performed with a background band which included his background singer Bilal. He left the crowd mesmerized as he rolled through all his hot tracks like 'I Used to Love HER ' which talks about the demise of Hip Hop. He also ripped his new joints like, 'Funky For You', 'The 6th Sense' and 'The Light' which is blowing up the charts, but for some reason doesn't seem to get a whole lotta love on New York based radio stations. What's up wit dat? Anyway Common was off the hook. Bay Area headz will be able to peep him out this Friday at the Spitkicker Concert which is going down at Maritime Hall.
According to the NY Post Russell Simmons lost control of his TV show 'Russell Simmons' 'One World Music Beat' to the Source Magazine.. The name will be changed to 'Source All Access' and is scheduled to air after 'Showtime At the Apollo'...Wow!.. Apparently there were some disagreements between Russell and the African Heritage Network syndication company which recently brought the rights to One World from Warner Brothers. According to the article, The African Heritage Network weren't too keen on Russell's wife Kimora Lee hosting the show. They blamed her appearances on the show's low ratings. Russell pointed out that his wife hadn't been on the show in over a year. AHN also accused Russell wanting creative control and was trying to use the show as an informercial for his website 360 Hip Hop. In fact Russell wanted to change the shows name..
I'm sure there is much more to this... For example, why shouldn't Russell have creative control? Wasn't the One World Show recently cited as doing extremely well in the ratings? I recall reading a number of articles with regards to this a couple of months ago. Finally, why shouldn't one use another medium to help bring attention to their Internet ventures.. Everyone from BET to MTV to NBC does it so why shouldn't Russell? The TV show in its new incarnation will reflect the name of the Source Magazine. mmmmm Like I said I'm sure there's much more to this one.. and we'll just have to see what surfaces in the end.. Source All Access will begin airing in September.
This year seems to be shaping up to be a year for exciting tours. First we had the Ruff Ryders-Cash Money tour. Then we had famed Up In Smoke Tour with Dr Dre and company.. Next we have the highly anticipated Wu-Tang Summer Tour and the Spitkicker Tour featuring Common, De La Soul and Pharoahe Monch among others. Also in the mix is D'Angelo's summer tour which features Dilated Peoples and Lucy Pearl. Keep in mind D'Angelo is just completing a major tour which included dead prez and ?uestlove of the Roots playing drums.. Now folks have to get ready for the latest outing.. The Beastie Boys and Rage Against The Machine. Entitled The Rhyme and Reason Tour, these two acts are sure to raise any concerts goers consciousness while giving fans something to dance to... The tour will feature guests like Common, Busta Rhymes and Rah Digga to name a few. This should be the bomb... Y'all better save your money and get your tickets..
Speaking of tours..if you happen to be in Bridgeport Connecticut on Saturday July 22 you may want to peep out their annual Festival of the Elements and Arts. On that day they will be playing host to the likes of stellar Hip Hop stars like Mos Def, CoCoa Brovas and Masta Ace to name a few . The Festival is going down at Seaside Park and will include performances and showcases from local Bridgeport performers.. For more info: mailto:email@example.com
There's some troubling stories circulating around regarding some drama that went down during Hot 97s Summer jam which took place at the Continental Arena last Thursday [June 22]. The concert it self was supposed to be off the hook with performances from Jay-Z who headlined, the Ruff Ryders camp, The Cash Money Millionaires and reggae artist Sean Paul. There was a special guest appearance from Big daddy kane.. I wonder if that kid still sports a high top fade. Fans also got treated to a what we on the West Coast experienced when Dre, Snoop, Eminem and Xzibit hit the stage and wrecked shop. Someone told me Snoop came out wearing a Knicks Uniform.. mmmm I distinctly recall Snoop wearing his Laker outfit when he performed here in the Bay Area. Don't tell me Snoop's an undercover Knicks fan.. But its all good..
Anyway the concert went well but according to our sources there was apparently some drama for people who arrived late. According to our sources 'over zealous' security guards turned them away even though they had tickets. This resulted in folks getting upset and tearing down posters which led to the guards getting physical. Among the people caught up in the mishap were Star and Bucwild of Hot 97's morning show who got either arrested or detained. The word was their absence from the airwaves was due to them being on vacation. But we hear otherwise. they were temporarily 'banned' and not supposed to talk about their unfortunate encounter with security. I couldn't get a comment from Hot 97 with regards to this..
Last week we told you about old school pioneer Grandmaster Caz resurrecting himself to 'settle the score' with the Sugar Hill Gang for biting his rhymes over twenty years ago when they did the song 'Rappers Delight'. Well according SOHH, there's another old school group resurrecting themselves and fittin' to settle the a financial score. lawyers representing the Furious Five are after Will Smith for copyright infringement. In the song 'Will2K' off of the Willennium album, Smith takes a lyrical bite from the song 'Superrappin' which happens to be the Furious Five's first recorded song. In the chorus Will raps the hook and that was made famous by the Furious Five which goes;
'It was a Friday night everybody was drinking,
the highs was screamin' and the bass was shakin'
It won't be long before everybody knows....'.
In the original version the hook is is finished when the Furious Five sing; 'Flash is on the beat box going'. In Will2K sings something about '12 o'clock the roof will be blowing'. Apparently Will didn't give the Furious Five writing credit hence, they're suing for general damages, statutory damages and attorney fees. I sure hope the Furious Five lawyers don't come after K-Ci and Jo Jo and sue them as well.. Some of this stuff is ridiculous. The way Will flipped those lyrics was definitely in line with Hip Hop tradition where you sing familiar hooks. Its not like folks went out and brought the record just to hear a 10 second hook.. Oh well these are some interesting times..
Queen Latifah is blowing up the spot..First her popular talk show has been renewed for another year.. That's good when you consider how many other people fell victim and went to talk show purgatory after they attempted to try their hand..Second Queen Latifah has teamed up with Lane Bryant to encourage people to get out and vote. Apparently she wants people to know there's a lot at stake in the upcoming November elections..lastly Latifah will be making her way on the cat walk come September for the Venezia Jeans Fashion show..
Eminem is making noise, fortunately its because he's making some major moves. Em will be moving his act to the internet where he will be making some cutting edge moves. He will soon launch a site called http://www.slimshadyworld.com where he will voice 26 episodes of an upcoming animated web series. I'm not exactly sure what its about.. but it will no doubt feature a lot craziness and mad antics that we have come to associate with Eminem. In fact Eminem in recent interviews has claimed that the cartoon series will depict a more humorous and funny side to multi-platinum rap star. Look for the webs series to drop sometime in mid July.
While Slim is gearing up for that, he's trying to extract himself from another project that he's involved in. A few weeks back we mentioned how Eminem was set to make his screen debut in the straight to video movie 'Da Hip Hop Witch' which is a Hip Hop parody of the Blair Witch Project. It features Rah Diggah, Vanilla Ice, Pras, Ja Rule, Mobb Deep and Killah Priest. The problem is Eminem wants his scenes taken out the movie. reps for the movie say that its damn near impossible at this stage in the game. We'll have to keep you posted on the outcome of this. Look for the movie to be released in mid August.
Lastly in other Eminem news. His next single will be the serious and engaging song 'Stan' which is about an obsessed fan who kills himself. It features the sampled vocals of folk singer Dido. That's my favorite song off the album so it should be interesting to see what he did with the video.. Also Em has just completed a single with Redman which will be featured on the upcoming soundtrack to the Nutty Professor.
Rap Cointell Pro Pt 2
by Cedric Muhammed
Last week we raised the possibility that an organized attempt had been and still is being made to destabilize the Hip-Hop industry and thus the community. We briefly looked at the murder of the Notorious B.I.G. and raised some unanswered questions surrounding his death; introduced some important background information regarding the FBIs COINTELPRO which was dedicated to destabilizing Black and progressive organizations, especially in the 1960s and 70s; and posed a challenge to Black intellectuals to apply their knowledge of the tactics used by the U.S. government to oppose Black leaders, to Biggies murder in particular, and to the Hip-Hop Industry/Community in general. We also pointed you to a Brills Content article that shows how the L.A. Times has been involved in disseminating false information regarding Biggies murder. We also took pains to mention that it was this story and one prior to it that brought Suge Knights name into the mix as allegedly involved in Biggies death. We openly questioned that if the L.A. Times article is misinformation wouldnt that point to Mr. Knights innocence and we asked who was the original source in the FBI/LAPD that fingered Suge Knight? What was their motive for doing this, through the media? I hope that some of you, in your study of COINTELPRO and other programs, are familiar with the manner in which the FBI and CIA used reporters and media outlets, print and TV, to plant stories, have articles written and spread malicious lies much of which was directed at getting groups that otherwise could have worked together to fight one another.
Last week, I also openly stated that it was my opinion that the image and rumors of an East Coast West Coast Hip-Hop war were a fabrication of the media and perpetuated by local and federal police departments prior to and during the investigations into Tupac and Biggies murders, in large part via information fed to reporters in various media outlets. We will conclude this series next week on this crucial point of the role of the media, in particular its role in COINTELPRO of yesterday and its possible continuation today. This week we take a very brief look at a more recent situation in Hip-Hop that again raises the possibility that the Federal Government has ill- intentions for the Hip-Hop Community.
A few weeks ago, the Village Voice published an article alleging that over the last year a white government informant was in some capacity representing members of the multi-platinum group, Wu-Tang Clan, while the group was under criminal investigation. After reading the article, it is readily apparent that it was a sensationalized story designed to reflect negatively upon Wu-Tang. The story also appeared to be crafted in great part because while the headlines emphasized the supposed connection between this white individual and Wu-Tang, the article deals more substantively with the individuals alleged real connection to white organized crime figures in New York and Miami. The individual is reportedly a government informant in a case involving Mob figures in New York and Miami. So while real evidence allegedly links the individual to Mob figures, the Village Voice cover and headlines and subtitles focused on a very unclear connection between the informant and the Hip-Hop group. Most of the information on that front is anecdotal in nature that informs the reader of little.
The real story is this individuals relationship with white underworld figures and the feds yet the Village Voice markets the piece, which was picked up by news services all over the world, as quality reporting that somehow connects this individuals relationship with the U.S. Government with his relationship with Wu-Tang. The piece doesnt live up to that billing. It never connects the dots but to an unsuspecting and innocent reader, it does open the Clan up to suspicion not only in terms of a link to the feds but also in terms of criminal activity. I found that to be peculiar and yes, the deliberate intention of the Village Voice. In the weeks that have followed the piece, many people have spread more rumors, gossip and innuendo regarding the Clan over the Internet and many people seem to have only read the sensational headlines but have not analyzed the story or the motive behind it with a critical mind.
To me, the aim of the Village Voice and/or whoever may have helped them craft the story, was to discredit the Clan inside of the unforgiving world of the New York Hip-Hop community and to discredit them among their core group of fans. It also attempted to portray the group as unintelligent but it definitely did not seek to prove that the individual was really working on behalf of the government specifically against the Clan, though the article and headlines imply otherwise. This is one of the factors that makes me believe that someone bigger than just the Village Voice may have been behind the story how else could the government come off clean and the Clan looking rather uncomplimentary. Remember, the story is supposed to be about feds, Wu and this informant but it ends up really only being about the informant and Wu. What happened to the feds?
The reason why I stress that point is because I believe the writer(s) could have proved or disproved whether the informant was working against the Clan if they so desired and from reading the piece, I believe that the writer(s) has discussed the governments surveillance of Wu-Tang with enough people in the know, to be able to determine whether or not this government informant is directly working against Wu-Tang or if he is only with the group strictly for business purposes as he gives evidence on the alleged Miami/New York crime figures. The writer(s) simply asks why the informant was working with Wu-Tang in any capacity and spends the majority of the article lampooning and mocking the group. And again, he leaves the feds unscathed.
The Village Voice sought to harm the groups reputation by negative implication and innuendo. The story, to me, seemed designed to destroy the Clans street credibility not prove any thing about this informant working for the feds against the Clan. If they had done that (proved the informant was working against the Clan) the Village Voice would have proved the existence of COINTELPRO. No, the informant angle is the hook that draws you in to read garbage about the Clan. And I found it very interesting that no one in the community that prides itself on its consciousness came to the defense of the Clan, even to intelligently alert the public to the possibility that the Village Voice article may point to something bigger than Wu-Tang.
This could have helped others even those who I know do not like Wu-Tang personally or what they represent in music or ideology. If you are in the Hip-Hop community, personal dislike of the Clan wont cut it on this one. The Hip-Hop community owes it to itself to defend itself from what many people, more than just myself, know to be a deliberate attempt to destabilize and destroy the real and potential cultural, economic and political impact of Hip-Hop. From my limited vantage point, everyone seemed caught up in the sensational aspects of the story and not the potential threat it posed to the entire community. This is another aspect of the indolence of the Hip-Hop community that I referred to last week.
I personally served as management to Wu-Tang a couple of years ago. I no longer do so. To the best of my knowledge, which I think is pretty good, the Clan was never involved in any of the criminal activities that they were or are currently under investigation for. I do not and never have, for one moment believed that they are guilty. Of course, I did not see everything that everyone was doing but I am confident that I was certainly in a position to know whether or not a gun-running operation was being organized and ran by the group. I am not afraid to go on public record in defense of the group or the truth of what I know.
But the Federal Government wants to pin these charges on the Clan. What I can tell you that the Village Voice did not tell you, is that several individuals who have been arrested and/or charged with crimes in New York City and who have never had any affiliation with the group, have been offered reduced sentences or no time at all in exchange for either saying that they were connected with Wu-Tang when they committed their alleged crimes or in exchange for directly infiltrating the music group. This is a fact. A fact that the Village Voice should know about with all of its connections in the entertainment community and law-enforcement. And these individuals being approached are young Black males not an alleged white informant who is linked to some white mobsters in New York or Miami. That is the real story if the Village Voice is so interested.
The goal of the Federal Government, the FBI included, is to lie and link Wu-Tang and others to a supposed Hip-Hop industry- wide crime network. I know that as early as 1995, several young Black music executives, other than Wu-Tang, and their actual places of business were under surveillance and investigation by the Federal Government allegedly for committing various crimes. Not only have individuals under the supervision of the criminal justice system been approached in an effort to make cases against high-profile individuals in the industry but so have white lawyers and white music executives who deal with these individuals. This is common knowledge inside of a few circles in the music industry; even marketing plans of certain artists have been taken by federal investigators. We also know that the IRS has been and is unfairly targeting several Hip-Hop artists and their business enterprises for audits. One day, this will all come out.
For those who persist in wanting to see all crime-fighting efforts as above reproach and legitimate, I can tell you that for whatever illegal activities that may or may not have been perpetrated by various individuals in the music business, the Federal Government has gone above and beyond what is fair in their investigation of the Clan. Asking individuals to straight up lie and say that they are connected to crimes that never occurred and to make up affiliations and even to ask suspects to infiltrate Wu-Tang is not legitimate crime fighting. I also do not see it as simply a case of a few bad cops. I see it as a deliberate attempt to destabilize and discredit not only an influential group but also an entire industry and cultural force. To me, it is certainly reminiscent of COINTELPRO where the goal was not to arrest guilty individuals but to arrest a cultural and political movement. For those who have studied COINTELPRO, it is interesting to learn of all of the Black celebrities and entertainers who have/had government files. I hope everyone in the Hip-Hop community will become much more alert and those who have first-hand knowledge of what I am talking about will begin to compare notes with one another. This isnt a game or fantasy although some will persist in doubting to the very end. Next week at http://blackelectorate.com/ we will look at some historical evidence that shows that the FBI and CIA used reporters to spread pieces of misinformation to the public and actually helped journalists write false stories. Could this be happening today?
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