RAP: Where Did We Go Wrong?

Additional thoughts (Back to main essay

The Diallo verdict

In connection with this, another issue where we focus on the wrong things is the Diallo shooting. Many blacks of course wanted the officers hung, and it didn't seem to matter whether it could have been accidental or not. But I could imagine being a cop, and not knowing if the next call you get could be your last. And any move the person makes, you do not know what he is going to do. I admit that I couldn't do it. But the thing that gets me, which everyone seems to miss, is not that the officers were basically cleared, but the statement the defense won the case with: If he had only did what the officers said, maybe this wouldn't have happened". This basically blames Diallo for his own death. But recalling that these were plain clothes officers, I imagined how I might react if a bunch of ordinarily dressed white men pulled up to my door with guns. It could be a mob hit for some other person they think I am, or something. Of course, I'm going to turn around, startled, and if my hand is in my pocket, with something in it, the natural reaction is to pull them out. Even if it was a gun, since these are plain clothesed men, a person would have the right to defend themselves provided the gun was legal.

But basically, what the verdict said to me was whenever a white man tells you "stop" or "freeze", you must do as he says; whoever he is (assuming him to be a cop!) That speaks VOLUMES! All of these rappers, leaders and everyone else who want to cry "racism" at every incident should have jumped on that one! It sounds like right out of the Jim Crow South or something! Don't y'all dare get uppity when we approach you, now! Yet, this was basically ignored in favor of focusing on the cops being found innocent. I would say that such subtle nuances are much more important than some of the direct issues people focus on, yet it is these things racism-hunters miss! That is the real issue. A white cop can be innocently mistaken. They are not automatically guity of racism. But to blame the black victim, ignoring his perspective, and insinuating, basically, that we must always obey white commands, or we are responsible for our own death if he happens to be a cop; that is the real racism!

I wish the rappers focused on stuff like this, instead of cursing the whole white race or system, but without even answering the ideological rhetoric racism thrives off of. (Wyclef had a good rap called "Diallo" that made these points on his perspective. Never heard it on the air, though). I'm sorry I had missed Ann Trip and Joe Brag's rants on that, as I had fallen out of listening to KISS-FM by that time. They always stayed on top of every little thing people said about blacks, or that pertained to us.

Likewise, everybody jumped on the Mexican president when he said immigrants come to America and take jobs blacks don't want. I don't even see that is particularly offensive. The reason that is so, is because we are used to living here, and can't afford the American dream on low wage jobs, and are tired of living in rundown conditions, even if we do work hard! Many Mexicans and others, however, are coming from such squalor, that the worst American slum is a great improvement. So naturally they will take those jobs. But while Sharpton, Jackson and others screamed about this, where were they the past two decades when conservatives were blaming us for high taxes and crime, and all of the rhetoric of Rush, Republican campaigns, Bell Curve theories, etc. continued to demonize or mock us, and sway public opinion? Talk about straining at a gnat, and swallowing a camel!

Here I looked at the idea of KRS, from nearly 10 years ago now, to actually try to create a "hip hop nation" out west. Haven't heard anything about it since.


Thrasher Magazine, Jan, 2003 by Aki X


SEPTEMBER 11TH, THE TEMPLE OF HIP-HOP, BREAKDANCING BOULEVARD, HIP-HOP CITY, AZ--Blastmaster KRS ONE has always been ahead of most cats in the rap game. Back in '87 he was the first Emcee to pack a 9mm on an album cover. He was also the first Emcee to have his DJ shot and killed. Throughout the '90s he pioneered and lead the "Stop the Violence" movement. Now he is actively building the Temple of Hip-Hop as a global culture. This ministry along with the Zulu Nation is responsible for bringing cultural balance, education, and political awareness to hip-hop's biased, bling-bling, MTV culture. KRS ONE along with Kool DJ Herc, Kool Moe Dee, Afrika Bambaata, Xzibit and Grandmaster Flash all believe that gangsta rap is not hip-hop's problem, the problem is conscious rappers. Shelblack and I joined the hip-hop illuminati to discuss this, the responsibility to domestic terror, and KRS ONE building a one world nation called hip-hop. JMJ/R.I.P.


Are you ever going to run for president of America?

I hope not. There is a new kind of leader coming up, like a leader in hip-hop culture with more power and authority than a president. There is no system, it's just people dealing with people, and if I can somehow gain the trust of the hip-hop nation then I can be blessed with the trust of the real people. They know KRS and will know I have real solutions for solving some of our problems. We have a hip-hop agenda we are putting forward that will be released soon. I find more power in that than running for president. I'd like to take over a small town to be honest with you.

You serious?

Yeah. Take over a small town and build a hip-hop city where the mayor is all hip-hop, the police, the doctors are all hip-hop. I think we could really show up other cities. They ain't doing the service-to the people. Look at Vegas. It took the Mafia and the Church of the Mormons to get together and build a city that's the most profitable city in the USA. That city is built on prostitution and gambling. Hip-hop can take that model and say "We are a billion-dollar industry just on entertainment, let alone the turntables and the fashion. Why don't we grab a small town somewhere and blow it up and name it Hip-Hop City? You can come and enjoy hip-hop 24-hours a day. We'll have clubs-on every corner you can come get drunk, get high, have frivolous sex, and we will balance that out with some of the most profound ideas on spirituality, justice, law, and education. It can all be controlled so that people are not running around shooting and killing each other.

What town are we taking over?

I was looking at a small town named Kingman in Arizona just off I-40. I was so impressed with this town. It's like 20 blocks by 20 blocks. It started off as an old folks resort in the desert. Now the old folks' kids are living there and they don't have clubs, but they all listen to hip-hop. We'll take it over and have our own hip-hop city.

Why don't the hip-hap royalty like the Master Ps, The Diddys, invest their millions into real power like education and cities?

Because they don't have. it. The average rap artist is getting 50 cents a record and that barely pays for the video: The cars are all rented and the houses are on credit. Any rapper can get credit to buy a house.




It would be interesting if KRS was able to pull this off. It is basically the long dream of the Nation of Islam and others, for us to finally have a piece of land of our own in this country; the fabled "40 acres and a mule". Nobody ever came close to realizing anything like this, or even planning it beyond just a hypothesis. So for this rapper, who arose out of nowhere, from out of homeless shelters, in what was already late in the rap game, to take the helm and lead hip hop into having its own city, would be a historical achievement, that would be a milestone in future history books. 


But with much of the aggressive and narcissistic philosophy in hip hop, this will probably never work. If we rap about violence at concerts, and then fail to see why that might encourage the "one or two ignorant brothers" in the audience to actually start violence, as well as the way beefs with other rappers have been carried out, then any city we run would just be a larger scale of what goes on in those concerts and on the streets, with blame again just shifted elsewhere, and nothing done to solve the problem. Even this "control" measure itself might even be corrupt if it uses these same philosophies. So it would simply become the ultimate "Wild, Wild West". First, you plan for it to be for people to come and have frivolous sex, drug highs and drunkenness, but when people do those things, they never know when to stop. With so much sex, it gets boring, and then people start doing all sorts of freaky things (including child molestation, which is a big enough problem as it is). With drugs and alcohol, they lose all restraints, and often become belligerent and even violent. How do you plan to "control" all of that? You would end up shutting down the entire town every night. And then what sort of "profound spirituality" will balance this? From the "spirituality" many are already talking about, while living that way, all it will do is be bent to condone all the behavior. When people are in the passion of rage or sexual lust, all "spiritual" restraints go right out the window.

Then, we look to the Mafia, a criminal institution, as the example we try to copy. But the Mafia is white, and knows how to play the white game. They, for one thing, don't display all of the hatred against cops and America, and thus had a lot of respect, from the community as well as tolerance by the system. It wasn't until Giuliani and others began cracking down on them that any real effort by the police was made to stop them. Many just looked the other way, knowing full well what they were doing. If they didn't have a warrant, they wouldn't touch them. But we know that right off the bat, the system is often after blacks to begin with, as the rappers have complained. And then you all are showing all this disrespect to the system and you think they are going to grant you the same graces as they did the Mafia? Then, even if you did have your own police force, you still are under a state, and then a federal government. Also out West are all of the civilian militias, most of whom are basically racist and against us to start with. So just "taking over" a city out there, let alone running it under a "hip hop philosophy" will not be as doable as you think.

If you're not careful, it could become the travesty of the entire black history! Imagine some showdown with the state or federal government or the militias, with the leaders of this city employing the same attitude displayed in the raps, about being invincible and taking out the police or the system ("bounce white people like suspension (revolution)" the Mumia rap claimed). If you could beat the state or federal police, then eventually, they will get the National Guard. Now, do you still think you will be able to beat the US military with your Glocks, 9mm's and other little guns you brag about on the raps? So the most that will come out of it will be a small civil war, with your city being stomped, and the whole thing being a colossal embarrassment to the entire cause of blacks in America, and especially hip-hop, which would be forever stigmatized as the movement that tried to "jump up to get beat down" by the government. It would also be the ultimate proof to the racists that we cannot have anything of our own, because it will always turn wild like that. We have no tact, whatsoever; just a lot of big empty words! In Civil Rights days, the powers that be were alarmed at the potential power of the Nation of Islam, Panthers and other groups, and moved to pull whatever strings they pulled to ensure that those groups would collapse on themselves. We have still not recovered from this, yet we think we are in a position to pick up where they left off. But we are still too self-destructive, fighting each other, tactless when dealing with the system, etc. and misguided in our zeal. So with all the talk, we are not doing any more than the "house negroes" we criticize as being too soft.

If people are so against the cops here and the system, we perhaps should have gone back and built up Africa generations ago. But this "our own piece of US land" idea will never work when built by an industry displaying so much animosity to the US system.