Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chuck D's Open Letter: Never Have So Many Been Pimped

At the beginning of this month rap icon Chuck D issued an open letter to and from his then location of Capetown, South Africa that really I'm sort of ashamed to say I'm just now catching up to...

Raised in this portion of the letter are Chuck's concerns about Hip-Hop, it's direction and how the system of major radio oppresses a culture and art form that began as a pure form of black music.

tune in..ya elder is talkin'....


I really don’t know what constitutes for “relevant” coverage in  HIP-HOP news in America these days, but I really want to give you all a heads up. As you know I’ve been through three passports, 76 countries on the regular in the name of Hip-Hop since 1987 and in 2010, although I’ve never stopped traveling the earth this year, I’ve seen, heard and felt some new things.
As far as RAP and HIP-HOP, it’s like USA Olympic basketball, the world has parity now and have surpassed the USA in ALL of the basic fundamentals of HIP-HOP – TURNTABLISM,  BREAKING,  GRAFFITI, and now EMCEEING with succinct mission , meaning and skill. Skill-wise rappers spitting three languages, have created super rappers to move the crowd with intensity and passion. The “arrogant” American comes in blackface, but if there was a HIP-HOP or Rap Olympics, I really don’t think the United States would get Gold, Silver or Brass or even ass for that sake.
Personally, Public Enemy has been setting records in a record book that doesn’t really exist. The 20th year anniversary of FEAR OF A BLACK PLANET has become into a year and a half celebration of eights legs and five continents. All the while, looking at a HIP-HOP Planet across 25 countries while still somewhat supportive of American rap, the rest of the world has surpassed the U.S. in skill, in fundamentals and commitment to their communities. Public Enemy’s mission is to set the path, pave the road for cats to do their thing for a long time as long as they do it right.
Because of the lack of support from local radio, television and community in the United States, the ability for “local” acts to thrive in their own radius has killed the ability to connect and grow into a proper development as a performer, entertainer and artist. Rappers trying to get put on to a national contract hustle from a NEW YORK or LOS ANGELES corporation has caused the art-form to atrophy from the bottom, while never getting signed to a top echelon that really doesn’t exist, but to a very few.
HIP-HOP NEWS spreads like any other mainstream NEWS in America. The garbage that’s unfit to print has now floated on websites and blogs like sh*t. For example a rapper working in the community gets obscured while if that same rapper robbed a gas station he’d get top coverage and be label a “rapper” while getting his upcoming or current music somewhat put on blast, regardless of its quality which of course is subjective like any other art. RAP sites and blogs are mimicking the New York POST.
This is not mere complaint , this is truth and its coming down on Americans like rain without a raincoat with cats screaming how they ain’t wet. This is real. The other night upon finishing groundbreaking concert performances in Johannesburg we followed a special free concert in Soweto. To make a point that our agenda was to “show? and encourage the Hip-Hop community to be comfortable in its mind and skin without chasing valueless Amerikkkan values.
It does the people of the planet little good to hear that an an artist is famous and rich, will wear expensive jewelry straight from the mines, show it off, stay it the hotel, ride in limos, do the VIP with chilled champagne in the clubs, ape and monkey the chicks (meaning not even talking) and keep the dudes away with slave paid bodyguards when real people come close. The mimic of the VIACOM-sanctioned video has run tired, because it shows off, does NOT inspire and it says NOTHING.
Here in South Africa PUBLIC ENEMY has done crucial groundbreaking performances. Its the same level of smashing the house that we’ve done this year in Moscow, New York, Paris,  London , Chicago and other places this year. This is not news  We are not trying to prove any point other than to show that a classic work is timeless and doesn’t have a demographic per se. The Rolling Stones and U2 are NOT measured by mere tracks’ they are measured by the all-around event they present. The art of the performance has left Hip-Hop whereas somebody has led artists to do more performing off the stage than on it. The agenda here is to create artist exchange
This serves as a call to the infrastructure-less Hip-Hop game in Amerikkka. We know what your hustle is, but what is your work and job here? Faking it until making it runs its course in a recession, which is a depression for Black folks who increasingly are becoming more skill-less as they become jobless.

Read the rest here 

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