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Rappers that incite social activism

Ella Seneres Staff writer for Cabrillo Voice January 17 1995

Chuck D from Public Enemy thinks anyone who steps up to the media are role models if they like it or not. Much of today's Rap is laden and laced with misogyny or women hating battle cries. Boasts of mental, physical, verbal and sexual violence, rape, gang rapes, battery, and killing. Five men chanted lyrics from a popular rap song as they sexually assault a 14-year-old in a NY City public swimming pool as 1,300 people watched. With Dr. Dre singing gendercide to the youth, the message becomes deadly. In One Less: “... she'll be pushing up daisies/ she was the perfect ho’/ but wouldn't you know the bitch tried to gank me/ so I had to kill her...” Or “If it ain’t another ho’ that gots to get with/ gap teef in your mouth so my gas got to fit... with my sack on your tonsils...I’m gonna smack your ass from the backside to show you how Def Row pull off the hoop ride.” Translation: I’ll sleep with you if a better woman doesn't come along. All your teeth are missing, so my penis will fit in your mouth, with my scrotum resting on your tonsils. Then I’ll hit you, do it doggie style, to show you how I and my friends at this record label get sex. Dre beat up Dee Barnes, the host of the nationally syndicated show, Pump It Up.

Alisa L. Valdez, a NY hip-hop dance teacher wrote in In These Times, “How can glamorizing the life of woman beating gangster rapists be so glibly condoned when one in four black men are in prison and more young black men go to jail than to college? In this country, a woman is beaten every 15 seconds by her companion. Four thousand women died a year from male companions ‘putting the smack down’ on them.”

KRS-1, from Boogie Down Productions feel violence against women is the first violence that must be stopped. “When that violence stops you'll notice all other violence's will end. The first violence is the mental, spiritual, sexual and physical violence against women.” At the Street Soldiers Knowledge Conference in May KRS-1 said, “humans are both feminine and masculine; the masculine is analytical, controlling, dominating, territorial and the feminine is creative, intuitive, spiritual. Civilization is predominately patriarchal males who get the rewards and rulership and the Goddess deity gets destroyed. When man is seen as the highest form, then god will be seen as male, too. The servant will be female. Anything that has power and authority will be male. Africa was the creator of civilizations, of art, technology, medicine, music, mathematics, and sciences; these were created under a feminine deity since Africans worshipped a Goddess. We are governed by the masculine. White men control the politics, religion, education, economy and are on the dollar bills in this country; everything is man. When you say ‘God help me,’ the image is male. You get war, territorial control. The first god was a Goddess. The solution to society's problems is to come to a balance spiritually by bringing the feminine out of the clutches of male supremacy. Balance yourself with creativity and analysis. Create new ways of viewing things otherwise there's no possible way you can save yourself and legitimately stop any violence. Violence will continue.”

Ama DeonBi at 15 uses her mind to end the violence with a positive message. Her involvement with Eco Rap broadened her perspective and kept her from losing interest in school. “It's everything in your environment, not just the green issues, not just saving the trees, the water. But it also has to do with the social environment and your mental environment. Many rap groups degrade women. A lot of women put out a bad name for the strong women trying to be independent, making things happen for themselves. It's up to me to teach those ignorant people, whether it be men or women, to have more respect for themselves. Tell them what I know and what I feel is right or wrong. They can only grow off that.”

AK Black says it's imperative to understand that society is in a frenzy promoting animalistic mentalities, with bloodletting movies like Terminator, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm St. America's youth are being nurtured on violence and madness, while they learn little in school. He began to rap in 1987 after hard times in LA as a competitive body builder. He got caught up in the street life to the point of suicide. A collapsed marriage and a drug habit led him to search his soul. He says he's not a puppet that hops, skips and jumps since African Americans have been playing minstrels too long. He thinks rap is a spiritual awakening tool that brings community back on track to reality.  AK Black spoke to teenage fathers about his life but their attitude was “we've heard this preaching.” He put his ideas to a beat and was able to reach them. Rap is a tool.

Then Eco Rap which addresses social and environmental issues was born out of a competition to win free studio time. AK Black wasn't interested in the environment, so with doubt, he went on the toxic tour. “Going through the ’hood, I'm going, ‘You ain’t showing me nothing, I grew up in this,’ but all of the sudden it dawned on me. We look at the conditions, run down and we say, ‘So what? It's supposed to be like that.’ In our mental environment, we had tried it on already and it fit. We say ‘Damn, this fits us because we're niggers or spics. This is cool we have drug abuse, crack.” The two biggest killers were drinking and guns. “Colt 45, Magnum beer- It's like, stick a Magnum in your mouth, stick a Colt 45 in your mouth, it's not even subliminal. There is a remedy in the poison. If you get bit by a snake, part of the snake venom is part of the remedy. But people try to hand out Band-Aids for hand grenade wounds. Before anything will improve, there will be chaos, the boil, the abscess has to be burst, so all the poison can run out. People who are cramming their fists down the throats of other people, the oppressors, are acting according to their nature. If we expect anything else from these people to change, we're crazy. It's up to us.”

Chuck D wants people to be leaders. He credited rappers for elaborating on what is going on, while others slink in the background as the communities are consumed by violence. “There's no such thing as a black gangster. You're talking about a country that used the gun to take us from a place that we were set up kinda nice. So they've been using the gun since day one. A gangster is someone who commits a crime, brag about it and get away with it. This country is doing that all over the world.” As leaders look within to their own leadership qualities. “Even if you are 16, one can help a 10-year-old. If you can't do that, you need to check yourself. Everybody can find it inside themselves to bring the next person up. It ain’t about money. He asked who was raising the youth, with so few adults as role models. Ball players make millions; life is not just one big hoop. Muhammad Ali always snuck something in. He'd thank Allah and go on before anyone could get that mike away. Today athletes are just as dumb as the next one. They want to talk about Ice Cube and Snoop Dog, but what has Luther said to us? Everyone who finds themselves in front of the camera should step up and educate. The US basketball Dream Team, waving this thing–the strips are for the whip marks in our back. The stars in our eyes when we got beat, the blue's for the sad, sad songs we sung in church thinking heaven is up there and hell is right here with us. And the white–well that's obvious. Dream team? Dream team, you're dreaming."