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September 2005 Archives

September 1, 2005

Safe Mode

My PC is brutally spyware/virused out all of a sudden. Posting will thus be stalled for the moment. Hopefully these guys will help.

September 2, 2005

Why Can't We?

We got to make this land a better land
Than the world in which we live.
And we got to help each man be a better man
With the kindness that we give.

I know we can make it.
I know darn well we can work it out.
Oh yes we can, I know we can can
Yes we can can, why can't we?

I never thought this particular song would move me to tears. Such a simple message, believing that human beings will do what ought to come naturally, and show up for each other when times get hard. Seems like the simplest thing in the world, more common sense than optimism.

But right now I can barely stand to listen to it.. knowing the man behind that message, Allen Toussaint, is one of the 20,000 human beings who spent this week huddled in the Louisiana Super Terrordome. Fearing for their lives, wondering when we were going to show up.

We did not show up.

If you want to deny how race and class are factoring into this, have fun in fantasyland. But surely not even the most wilfully oblivious among us can deny the basic truth here: We did not show up, for the people who needed us the most. We failed. It did not have to be like this.

The poorest among us were forgotten and left for dead.

I don't really have words to go on from here.

(EDIT: According to more recent reports Toussaint was not in the Superdome after all, but holed up in a local hotel..)

  • hurricanehousing.org
  • secondharvest.org
  • indyvoter's new orleans fund
  • red cross
  • mayor nagin going off
  • ned sublette on the lost musical history
  • wonkette's coverage
  • poplicks' coverage
  • crooks and liars

  • VIDEO: Kanye West on NBC - "George Bush Does Not Care About Black People"

    Kanye was nervous, but boy did he ever represent. I hereby retract anything negative I have ever said about him.

    EDIT: A few thoughts.

    1. Kanye couldn't have chosen a better time to say what he said. The right time to speak is whenever people are listening. If anyone was truly callous enough to use his comments as an excuse not to help dying people, I'm hard-pressed to see how you call Kanye the bad guy in that scenario.

    And do you really think it matters, from a charity standpoint, what the celebrities actually say on these shows? That they're expected to win you over with the eloquence of their pleas? The celebrity's job is to put a celebrity face on the screen so people will watch the show and see the phone number.. Kanye's 15 seconds off the screen did nothing to impede that process, and he gave voice to the outrage many Americans are feeling right now, helped to spark much needed discussion on it. Plus brought the event far more publicity than it would have had otherwise. He did his job and then some.

    2. Many are taking Kanye's last comment to mean that he thinks Bush deliberately conspired to leave Black people behind, that he saw Black people waiting for help and held it back because they were Black. But that is missing the point.

    He didn't say George Bush hates Black people, he said Bush doesn't care about Black people. And it is ABUNDANTLY clear that those in charge of planning for this disaster, from the Federal government on down, DID NOT CARE about an entire segment of the New Orleans population. The poorest twenty percent of New Orleans were INVISIBLE to the powers that be, as they planned for this disaster, and they enacted a plan that FORGOT THEM COMPLETELY, abandoned them and left them for dead.

    The government showed without a shred of doubt, through their actions and inaction, that they DID NOT CARE about these people. And yes, the vast majority of these people were Black.

    Should we dismiss that as a coincidence? Could Kanye have been more precise by stating that America doesn't care about poor people? Maybe. Class and race are always intertwined in these issues, so deeply we could spend a lifetime sorting them out. But the basic truth behind Kanye's rage is clear as ray of sunshine.

    This is not about George Bush, the individual, seeing that Black people were stranded and holding back help because they were Black. It runs much deeper than that. George Bush didn't hate these people, he and his government forgot them, and that happened long before the levees broke.

    George Bush is at the head of a government that has abandoned and forgotten this segment of our society on every level, throughout the planning for this disaster, and for decades before that. This is the culmination of decades of America not caring. The only shocking thing about Kanye's words is that anyone is surprised by them.

  • Kanye West on the NBC hurricane benefit
  • more complete version

    and here's a transcript:

  • Continue reading "VIDEO: Kanye West on NBC - "George Bush Does Not Care About Black People"" »

    September 4, 2005

    VIDEO - Charmaine Neville: A Hero From from New Orleans

    This is testimony everyone needs to see. Everyone.

  • Charmaine Neville's story

    (yes, by the way, she is one of those Nevilles)

  • September 6, 2005

    Journal of a New Orleans Nurse

    This livejournal has a firsthand account, with photos, of what it was like being stranded in one of New Orleans' biggest hospitals. A couple of excerpts:

    ...One night, the generator died in the front building. They had to hand bag (Ambu bag) the ventilator patients. Everyone took turns. Patients starting dying. Our trach patient wasn't doing too hot either, but we couldn't move them to ICU (because it was a floor down--the patient was bedbound and there was no generator for venilator use). The doc came in and made him a DNR--"due to emergency conditions, patient's condition deteriorating. DNR." Later the next day, the manpower basically ran out and the docs in ICU decided to put t-pieces on the intubated patients (so if they could breathe on their own, they could. we stopped bagging). We lost 4, I believe. The new morgue was in OR suite number 5...God, I could only imagine the smell. No a/c. Dead bodies. Of course, we had NO MEANS to contact the families to let them know that their loved ones had died, and their bodies may not be recovered for weeks and weeks, making a open casket funeral impossible. Think about it, not knowing your family member died AND no body to have? The dead bodies in the morgue on first floor had floated away. Maintainance had to open the morgue doors to keep the pressure even (?), and those bodies were gone. No body of a loved one. That hurts...

    ...Also, our NOPD (cops) that we had stationed at the hospital, along with our National Guard boys (who were all teenagers and didn't help out worth crap) decided to use their "marshal law" and boat to Walgreens to get us supplies. They got some food products and water (which we got a small bottle of gatoraide and sparkling water, that's all. never saw anything else), but also went to Dillards and "used marshal law" to acquire expensive Polo shirts, jeans, Fendi purses, perfume, candles in which they traded (?) to family members on the floor. It didn't help patients or staff. I was disgusted about this. Our own cops LOOTED. They are all crooked. That's why I want out of Louisiana. You can't trust anyone...

    More Katrina linkage:
  • The college students who posed as reporters to sneak in and rescue people.
  • Rachel's Tavern on the race and class factors.
  • Celine Dion, in case you missed it. Now my second favorite artist. (via exo)
  • and of course The already infamous Barbara Bush quote: "What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this [chuckles] is working very well for them."

  • Revisiting Kanye

    I just jotted down some quick thoughts to my Kanye West post, and I'll repost them here below the cut, in case that now-humongous thread is too hard to load.

    Continue reading "Revisiting Kanye" »

    September 7, 2005

    Stating the Really Really Really Really Really Obvious

  • Our discussion on WBAI last Saturday about Bush, Kanye, Katrina and the "women and children last plan." Also the entire 2-hour show is here, with Geraldo, Mayor Nagin and others woven into the music mix.

  • Soul Imperialist's list of tips on how to avoid the racial dimensions of the N.O. tragedy

  • John Scalzi's "Being Poor" - A surprising number of people severely need to read this.

  • Jay-Z backs Kanye, as do TI and David Banner. (Interesting that there was no similar rallying behind his stand on homophobia)

  • Leaked internal memo removes any doubt that FEMA head Michael Brown is a monumental a$$hole.

  • But before you try to tell me this is FEMA's fault not Bush's, study up on how the Bush administration systematically wrecked FEMA, and reduced it to the cruel joke we're seeing now. Ask not for whom the buck stops, Dubya.

    And come on people, if even the fug yourself crew is stepping up with the charity, you know you can dig something out of those pockets. Talk to your business manager.

  • September 9, 2005

    FEMA's Michael Brown Out

    Looks like Mike is getting a forced evacuation from employmentville (EDIT: actually he's just getting shifted elsewhere, reports 1115.org). Too bad nobody underneath him is qualified for the job either. We need someone sharp to carry out the government's critical mission in New Orleans.. which is, of course, keeping the press from covering the story.

    Hip-Hop Reacts to NOLA

    Matt at Houstonsoreal has blessed us with a new track from K-Otix, "George Bush Don't Care":

  • explicit version
  • radio edit

    Mos Def gets his shots in on Katrina Clap (thanks to Mirateck for the tip.)

    And Davey D put a nice little mix together over here.

    Y'all know of anything else I should add here?

  • New Orleans Style Funeral for the Bush Presidency

    This Sunday at 3PM, in NYC:

    Continue reading "New Orleans Style Funeral for the Bush Presidency" »

    September 15, 2005

    Will Not Post Bathroom Break Photo

    Been away for a while, but Poplicks and Different Kitchen have been holding it down on the Katrina front and elsewhere. And in the meantime..

  • Pandagon on all that nonexistent racism you liberals keep talking about.

  • My WBAI colleague Rosa Clemente was arrested while reporting from Baton Rouge..??

  • Did Terrence Howard really say all that? I mean did anybody actually see this? Can't find any corroborating sources so I'm hoping, for his sake, this is just another Hilfiger-on-Oprah urban legend..

  • Bill Maher on Bush

    via guerillanews:

    "Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you any more. There's no more money to spend--you used up all of that. You can't start another war because you used up the army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people. Listen to your Mom. The cupboard's bare, the credit cards maxed out. No one's speaking to you. Mission accomplished.

    "Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service and the oil company and the baseball team. It's time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about cowboy or space man? Now I know what you're saying: there's so many other things that you as President could involve yourself in. Please don't. I know, I know. There's a lot left to do. There's a war with Venezuela. Eliminating the sales tax on yachts. Turning the space program over to the church. And Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote.

    "But, Sir, none of that is going to happen now. Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You've performed so poorly I'm surprised that you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe that walks like a man. Herbert Hoover was a @#%$ president, but even he never conceded an entire city to rising water and snakes.

    "On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two trade centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans. Maybe you're just not lucky. I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side.

    "So, yes, God does speak to you. What he is saying is: 'Take a hint.' "

    September 16, 2005

    Grim Reports From the Astrodome

    Jeff Chang passes on word from the inside:

    Frustration and Survival In the Astrodome

    ...At press briefings organized by local officials, the story was upbeat; a shining example of government, business and charity coming together to do good. Thousands of evacuees were being processed, more than 500 children were been reunited with their families, and life went on. But behind the doors of the Astrodome, survival and frustration were the order of the day. Jamel Bell, who fled his flooded Ninth Ward in New Orleans, found no salvation here. "Inside it feels like prison," he said. At curfew, he says, the evacuees were locked in.

    News teams from independent sources, such as our own, were continuously harassed by local officials and police. Reporters from KPFT, the Pacifica station in Houston, tossed their press badges for Red Cross volunteer badges in order to do their work. In Baton Rouge, hip-hop journalist and WBAI reporter Rosa Clemente was arrested and briefly detained after National Guardsmen attempted to confiscate her recording equipment.

    Despite news reports that evacuees were being moved through the system and out of the center efficiently and quickly, there were up to 35,000 evacuees daily in the building. Cots filled with weary people stretched across the floor. Celebrities, followed by television cameras, filed in and out. The food was terrible, the meat in the sandwiches sometimes served still frozen. Surveillance was heavy, and tensions on the floor remained thick...

    Davey D's New Orleans/Houston Audio

    Davey D has the Katrina radio coverage on lock:

    Cousin Jeff From Houston Astrodome
    http://odeo.com/audio/236102/view (radio interview)

    We sat down with Cousin Jeff of BET to get a run down of what’s going in with the evacuees in the Houston Astrodome. He and Kanye West were there the other day…Cousin Jeff explained that all is not good… The primary problem is that poor displaced folks from New Orleans are being pitted against poor people from Houston

    Cousin Jeff and Zin From Houston Astrodome
    http://odeo.com/audio/236103/view (radio interview)

    We continue are discussion with BET ’s Cousin Jeff about life inside the Astrodome for displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina.. he describes it as being very bad… We are joined by Houston Hip Hop artist Zin who confirms all that Cousin Jeff has mentioned… Both men lay out a number of solutions and plans of action to bring relief and resolve many of these issues in both the long and short term…

    Rosa Clemente Updates Us From New Orleans
    http://odeo.com/audio/236156/view (radio interview)

    We caught up with Rosa Clemente who is now leaving New Orleans and Baton Rouge after her arrest this past wednesday night.. She is doing ok.. but has al ot to say about what's really going on…

    Fred Hampton Jr Updates Us from Mississippi
    http://odeo.com/audio/236140/view (radio interview)

    We got a chance to speak with Fred Hampton Jr of the POCC the other day and he gave us a breakdown of what’s been happening in Mississippi, the plight of prisoners, displaced people in Chicago and the launching of the Black Cross…

    September 19, 2005

    NY Times on Hip-Hop and Katrina

    David Banner made a great impression on me when I interviewed him last year a few months ago (damn it's been a long year) for this very rushed piece on rappers with college degrees (note: I did not write the headline). I'm glad the world is getting to know this side of him (I am quite fond of parentheses):

    Rapping for a Hometown in Hurricane Crisis

    "I lost my house," said one victim of Hurricane Katrina, although this particular victim was equipped with some wildly refractive ornamentation and, more importantly, a very loud microphone. The crowd fell silent. "I lost my cars," he continued. "But it ain't about me." Then, without pausing to acknowledge the absurdity, he delivered an exuberant, bare-chested ode to the shiny rims on the wheels of vehicles he no longer had.

    This was, in a twisted way, one of the most moving moments of Saturday night's concert. The victim was the New Orleans rapper (and reality-TV veteran) known variously as Young City or Chopper, an aspiring star who joined loads of established ones inside the Philips Arena for a concert called Heal the Hood, a hip-hop fund-raiser for - and, in a few cases, by - victims of Hurricane Katrina. (A New York hurricane relief benefit is to be held Monday night at 10:30 at the B. B. King Blues Club and Grill in Manhattan.) On Saturday, Atlanta's famously competitive hip-hop stations had joined forces to promote an event that would be, as the jocks constantly reminded their listeners, historic.

    And they were right. The night was organized by the tireless Mississippi rapper David Banner. He had corralled an impressive lineup of rappers, especially Southern rappers: Young Jeezy, T. I., Big Boi from OutKast and many others. The cause had everyone excited, but the "because" had everyone even more excited: the night was made possible by the extraordinary continuing success of Southern hip-hop.

    No other event has ever mobilized so many rappers so quickly. Just about everyone heard Kanye West's impassioned claim that "George Bush doesn't care about black people." Fewer know that some stars (like T. I. and Fat Joe) hit the radio airwaves for impromptu telethons. Others, like Paul Wall, led clothing drives. And yet others, like Eminem, wrote sizable checks. Rappers from the fertile New Orleans hip-hop scene responded particularly gracefully: Juvenile was one who lost his home, but he plays down his own story, focusing instead on those who lost much more...

    September 26, 2005

    Kanye West Dropped by Pepsi... Or Is He?

    You may have gotten some form of this email, reporting that Pepsi has dropped Kanye West as a spokesman:

    SUBJECT: Kanye West Dropped by Pepsi!!!

    It's Their Loss; Besides, Pepsi is no good for you anyway!!

    Kanye West, former spokesperson for Pepsi, has since lost his endorsement deal with the soft drink giant due to his publicized remarks regarding the mishandling of the Katrina evacuees/victims. I mean if you're like me...just SICK and TIRED of being black in America and being mishandled, then do something. Our parents and their parent's SHUT DOWN an entire bus system during the Civil Rights era by CHOOSING to do something. Here is your opportunity. We're calling a boycott on ALL Pepsi products. If they want to drop Kanye,how about we DROP them!

    Umm, not to nitpick but I think the civil rights movement involved more pressing issues than the loss of a celebrity sponsorship? Either way, when I looked for confirmation of the story all I found was this reply from Pepsi, claiming it's just a rumor:

    Pepsi Says They Didn't Can Kanye

    Nicole Bradley, Manager, Public Relations, Pepsi-Cola North America:

    "Hello EUR: This note is to inform you that you've received an erroneous email regarding Kanye West and Pepsi. The letter said that Kanye has lost his endorsement deal with Pepsi, which is not true.

    Our relationship with Kanye has not changed and our marketing campaign is continuing as planned. In fact, his Pepsi commercial is scheduled to air several times this week. Thanks for giving us the chance to clarify the situation and please feel free to share this note with anyone else who may have received the message."

    Probably a good idea to stop drinking soda anyway. (not that i'm capable of doing it)

    September 27, 2005

    Stop Lying About the Mashups

    Any history of "mashups" that cites everyone from Frank Zappa to Andrew Lloyd Webber as antecedents, but does not mention Ron G or any of his blend brethren even once, deserves to be deleted. I mean seriously. Can anyone volunteer to edit that?

    EDIT: Even worse, I can only find two other places, in all my googling, where that connection has ever been made.. this baffles me.

    September 28, 2005

    Stevie Wonder "A Time To Love" Album Review

    Believe it or not, Stevie Wonder released a new album this week and nobody noticed. The actual "A Time to Love" CD doesn't hit stores until October 18th, but Motown quietly gave it a "digital release" on itunes last tuesday, presumably as a ploy to beat the Oct 1st deadline for Grammy eligibility. I got an advance copy right before my radio show on Saturday, and will now be able to tell my grandchildren about the time I world-premiered a Stevie Wonder album. (and on the same night that I interviewed the Skullsnaps!)

    I've given it a few more listens since then, and I must say this is not a bad album at all, much better than I expected. It's also good enough that, like "Musicology", it will be overhyped by many fans and critics as a "return to form" that is "on par with his classics." Do not listen to these people. This is strictly a Phase 3 Stevie album.

    Stevie's career has had 3 phases:

  • Phase 1: from "Tribute to Uncle Ray" to "Where I'm Comin From"
  • Phase 2: from "Music of My Mind to "SITKOL" (let's call Secret Life" and "Hotter Than July" Phase 2.5, and forget "woman in red" ever existed)
  • Phase 3: from "In Square Circle" to now.

    Phase 3 is similar to Godfather 3. Far, faaarrrrr short of the majesty that came before, but perfectly enjoyable if you block 1 and 2 from your mind, and judge it on its own terms.

    So don't get gassed. Keep your expectations realistic and approach it strictly as Phase 3 material, and you should me more than satisfied. I'd rank it way ahead of Conversation Peace and Jungle Fever (potentially his best Phase 3 album, had it not contracted a deadly strain of the New Jack Swing virus). Not quite on par with "In Square Circle" or "Characters," but close.

    Lately on his uptempo songs Stevie likes to spit big bursts of syllables in this RZAesque offbeat-onbeat flow, which I'm not always feeling, but on the better tracks here I can work with it. The best of these is the opener "If Your Love Cannot Be Moved", on which Doug E Fresh drops a beat that sounds a lot like "Freaks", and then Stevie builds a groove that sounds a little like "Another Star". This one keeps growing on me every time I play it.

    The first half of the album stays around this level, with at least three other tracks that compete with his Phase 3 hits (like say, "You Will Know"). "How Will I Know" is a sweet little jazz-lite duet with his daughter Aisha (the baby heard on "Isn't She Lovely"), whom I mistook for Alicia Keys. "Please Don't Hurt My Baby" is funkier than I ever expect Stevland to get these days, except for that one cheesy bridge thing.

    Honestly I kinda run out of steam during the second half, and the album loses me. But maybe this has more to do with my lack of album-length stamina after so much mp3-shuffling? Then again, I doubt I would ever run out of steam halfway through Talking Book, or Innvervisions, or Talking Book and Innervisions played 5 times played back-to-back.

    But of course this is breaking my own rules. Like I said, you don't want to think about that Phase 2 stuff right now. Just approach this as the album after "Conversation Peace", and leave it at that. You should come away very happy.

  • September 29, 2005

    AUDIO: Interview with B+ of Keepintime/Brasilintime

    This morning on WBAI's morning show we interviewed the esteemed author/photographer/filmmaker Brian Cross AKA B+ about his new film Brasilintime.. you can check out the audio here, about 40 minutes into the hour.

    And if you're in or near NYC you can catch a live Brasilintime event on Sunday night, with J Rocc, Cut Chemist and Madlib performing alongside the drum gods Paul Humphrey, Kerf Redlaw and Joao Parahyba (of Trio Mocoto). The details are here.

    September 30, 2005

    DJ Monkone in the UK

    For our friends overseas, here is where you can catch our DJ Monk One on his latest Award Tour:

    Saturday 1st Oct – Choice Cuts @ Hogans + RiRa, Dublin With The New Mastersounds

    Sunday 2nd Oct – Aficionado @ Arch Bar, Stretford Road, Hulme, Manchester
    Deep Disco Special!

    Friday 7th Oct – Plastic Soul @ The Reading Rooms, Blackscroft, Easport, Dundee

    Saturday 8th Oct– Trainer Trouble @ The Love Apple, Great Horton Road, Bradford (Adjacent to Alhambra Theatre)

    Saturday 15th Oct – Friends & Family @ Cargo, Kingsland Viaduct, Rivington Street, London
    With DJ Vadim and Beatphreak

    About September 2005

    This page contains all entries posted to hiphopmusic.com: in September 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

    August 2005 is the previous archive.

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