STFU Archives

April 8, 2003

Kevin Bray, please STFU

PLATINUM TAKES THE WHITE ANGLE: Drama to feature white rapper.

The upcoming UPN series "Platinum" knew they just had to get themselves a white rapper character after what's going down with Eminem an' what not.

Kevin Bray, who produces the show about two brothers who run a hip hop record label in NYC, says the show wants to reflect reality.

"Thanks to Eminem, hip-hop is an art form that's been made accessible to middle America, to every race and class of people, and we want the show to reflect that. We decided to have a white rapper as the biggest act at the label because that's being truthful to what's going on in hip-hop today."

Thanks to Eminem, hip-hop is an art form that's been made accessible to middle America, to every race and class of people?

Excuse me? So Hip-Hop was not accessible to middle America until Eminem came out? People of every race and class didn't listen to Run DMC, or NWA, or Will Smith? Lauryn Hill didn't have universal appeal that cut across all boundaries? White kids in the suburbs never listened to Pac or Biggie?

I'm sure Eminem himself would be the first to tell you how insulting your comments are, how disrespectful to the art form that happens to be making you rich.

Seriously, Kevin Bray. Just STFU. Never talk about Hip-Hop again.

April 11, 2003

Katie Couric, STFU

Can someone tell me what the damn hell Katie Couric meant by this? The tragedy was magnified by her background??

Bias in Today Show's Central Park Jogger Interview?

....the racial aspect of the jogger case was barely mentioned in the hourlong report. The tale of an upper-middle-class white woman attacked by a roving band of black kids played into the modern urban narrative of fear. The guilt of the defendants was taken as fact by the newspapers (sample headline: "Teenage Wolfpack Beats and Rapes Wall Street Exec").

It is, sadly, always a story when poor black men attack a rich white woman - - and not so much a story when rich white men attack a poor black woman. It's even less of a story when a husband attacks a wife, even though some of those batterings result in injuries as severe as those suffered by Trisha Meili.

Indeed, the NBC piece went out of its way to confirm that worldview. White people were shown in contemporary interviews, flatteringly lit, sitting in comfortable chairs. Black people were shown in black-and-white news footage, jostling or yelling or, in one egregious example, confessing to a crime that, it turns out, the confessor did not commit.

Even worse: Katie Couric said the tragedy of the Central Park Jogger was "magnified by her background." Shot of the facade of an Ivy League college, shot of the pricey apartment building where Meili lived.

So successful white woman Katie Couric said that the plight of successful white woman Trisha Meili was "magnified" by her circumstances. Had she been poorer, had she attended a state college in the Midwest or gotten her GED in an adult school, the crime would not have been as great. Had she been black, presumably Couric would have said the crime was "minimized by her background."

Enough rant. You get the point. Shudder.

April 12, 2003

Paul Cashmere, you too must STFU

I might have to change my website's name to "People Who Need To STFU". There are just so many. I mean, look at this guy Paul Cashmere at

Warning : Don't Call Grandmaster Flash A Rapper

Grandmaster Flash has considered cancelling his Australia tour all because Undercover called him a rapper.

In an email he writes "The article looks fine but this can cause me to totally CANCEL this tour ... be CLEAR I Grandmaster Flash am NOT a Rapper. I'm a DJ always was always will be. To the journalist who put this together you are causing mass confusion ...I repeat I am NOT a rapper would you please RETRACT and Correct".

The Undercover story of April 4 was actually a glowing statement of his career (we thought). It stated "Australia is about to get the grandmaster rapper of the all Grandmaster Flash. It was exactly 20 years ago when Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five released 'The Message', one of the most potent raps of all time. The follow-up a year later 'White Lines' is also now a rap classic". We thought we paid tribute to the man who is credited with being part of the very first rap song to make the Australian chart.

That wasn't good enough though. That "grandmaster rapper" comment, it would appear, was enough to make the 80's DJ throw a grandmaster wobbly.

...Okay, so we are sorry for calling you a rapper Mr Flash but wait … let me quote The Rolling Stone Encyclopaedia of Rock and Roll (Third Edition). "Disco DJ Grandmaster Flash and his rap group the Furious Five were the premier DJ-rap team of the early 80's". So it appears we aren't alone. Even Rolling Stone equates you with rap.

We did try and point out to the Flashy that Australian culture is quite different to the urban culture of the streets of New York and what are considered various genres in the US are often rolled into one in Australia, but hey, this is getting all too hard.

Here is the e-mail I just sent in response:


Granted, Grandmaster Flash was being a bit of a prima donna when he threatened to cancel his tour over your magazine's errant reference to him as a "rapper". But as errors go, that was indeed a doozy, and I'm afraid your attempt at a retraction (if that's even what it was) made you sound even more clueless.

This reference to the Rolling Stone book only serves to compound your folly. The quote you cite does nothing to bolster your case, as it does not call him a rapper. It merely states he was in a rap group, which is correct. Flash was not offended that you "equated him with rap", he would have no problem with that.

In case you still haven't figured this out: Rolling Stone called his group a "rap-dj team" because everyone in a rap group is not a rapper. "Rapper" is what you call the vocalist. The one who raps, get it? Grandmaster Flash was not a rapper, he was a DJ. The DJ is one who spins the records. Still will me? Grandmaster Flash is possibly the most important DJ of all time.

So this is not a matter of confusing obscure sub-genres. Calling Flash a rapper is the equivalent of calling Yo-Yo Ma a tuba player. It's not only disrespectful, it just plain makes you look dumb.

Jay Smooth, WBAI in NY

P.S. - You should really just STFU.

April 26, 2003

Tom Raftery and Michele Mcphee, please STFU

I'm sure you've all heard about the shooting of an obscure rapper known as Freaky Zeeky. Although I hope he recovers and my condolences go out to the family of his friend who died, I didn't really see this story as worth posting about.. it's getting more attention than it needs, to be frank.

However, I must comment on one line in the Daily News' coverage, yet another example of how all journalistic standards seem to evaporate when Hip-Hop is the subject:

Investigators do not believe yesterday's incident stemmed from an ongoing feud among rappers that heated up after last year's murder of rap pioneer Jason Mizell, better known as Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC.


There has not been any "feud among rappers" that was related in any way to the murder of Jam Master Jay, that is completely fictional. Where the hell did you people get that from?

Is this based on some vague fragment of a memory that JMJ was affiliated with 50 Cent, and 50 Cent also has some sort of beef? None of 50's beef has even the most remote connection to the JMJ shooting, and even the NYPD seems to realize that.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that such a major publication would state as a fact something that has no connection with reality whatsoever. This happens all the time, and not only in hip-hop coverage. But it's still jaw-droppingly ignorant.

Especially considering that four writers are credited for this story: Tom Raftery, Michele Mcphee, Maki Becker, and Edward Barrera. It took four people to come up with this crap? Four people, and you still couldn't manage the most basic fact checking?

So to whichever member of this elite think tank provided that sentence: you really, really need to STFU. And I'm keeping my eye on the rest of y'all.

EDIT: If any of you read this, please don't try to cop out by telling us that technically you did not assert a cause-and-effect relationship between JMJ's death and the current wave of beef, when you said this beef "heated up after" his death. You did not explicitly state it but the implication is unmistakable, and if you did not mean to indicate such a connection your writing skills are severely lacking.

ADDENDUM, 10-1-03: In the interest of fairness I should mention I just got interviewed by Michele Mcphee in reference to the Matthew Hall tragedy, and at the very least she seemed sincere in her desire to report the story fairly and accurately.. Afterwards I remembered posting her name here, and looking at it now I may have been a bit harsh. But just a bit.

May 1, 2003

We're Here, We Peer-to-Peer, Get Used To It (AKA: RIAA, STFU)

Yes, Jon is right.

Once a new idea has been discovered and implemented in the digital world, and the public has seen that it is useful, you cannot use brute force to make the public unlearn what it has learned. The meme cannot be un-memed, so to speak.

Any attempt to do so, in defense of that which has been rendered obsolete by this advancement, will accomplish nothing but further alienating the public from whatever product you represent in your quixotic misadventure.

File-sharing is here to stay. We're here, we peer-to-peer, get used to it.

For every finger RIAA lawyers stick into the P2P dike today (I mean dike as in dam, Beavis), ten new holes will open up tomorrow. If the music industry keeps flushing resources into this desperate attempt to flee from the 21st century, this is the surest path to their extinction.

The industry can only survive by learning to adapt to this new technology and live in harmony with it. Apple's latest attempt at adaptation, the iTunes Music Store, is a baby step in the right direction. But if they think the public is going to abandon Kazaa (or the other ones I won't mention, so as not to give the RIAA any ideas) for a system that charges a dollar per download, Q-Tip must be right about them smoking crack. The only hope I see lies in charging a flat monthly rate for unlimited downloads, and you'd better be offering a selection of files on par with Napster or Audiogalaxy in their prime.

I'm not even sure that would work. But I sincerely hope there is a solution, and wish the industry would take their heads out of the sand and start looking for it. Because in the long term, noone will benefit from anarchy. We need a system that ensures artists will be justly compensated for their work, I would never deny that this is a legitimate concern. The problem is that such a system has never existed, within this industry.

The RIAA's attempt to portray their war on file sharing as a noble defense of the downtrodden artist is the epitome of hypocrisy. They are fighting to defend a system that is obscenely exploitative of artists, designed to keep them rich by keeping the artist in shackles. The RIAA is basically an association of pimps, concerned about getting maximum profit from their hoes.

So although it is usually portrayed as endangering every artist's very existence, the file-sharing revolution may well bring about the liberation of the musician. Whatever system takes music through the 21st century will have to be radically different than the one that preceded it. It's quite possible artists will find themselves in a much more equitable position than they'd ever achieve under the current regime, if musicians (and the audience who values them) seek an active role in shaping the new system.

Because one way or another, a new system soon will be. The meme cannot be un-memed. And for the music industry, this is your final warning: it is time for you to STFU, and WTFUBYGE.

Your judgement day is at hand in the Court of Natural Selection. Your current strategy, pretending you didn't get the subpoena, is not going to save your ass. You must evolve or perish.


*WTFUBYGE=Wake the F*** Up Before You Go Extinct

December 10, 2003

Brian Batten, Please STFU

There have been so many clueless op-ed pieces about hip-hop in my lifetime, it's damn hard for them to really get my dander up anymore. But this one (sent to me by Jeff Chang) really is brutal. If you have any feedback for this guy, or just want to illustrate for him that hip-hop fans don't necessarily speak like the jive-talking grandma from "Airplane", please e-mail him at

Brent Batten: Why the Hip-Hop Winterfest in Collier went bust

An explanation of Saturday's abortive Hip-Hop Winterfest 2003 at the Collier County Fairgrounds, written for fans of the genre. (As a public service, the English translation is provided.)

Yo, dis here be the fo'-one-one on the show y'all, from the home boy dat was pimpin' it.

(Attention, here is the latest information on the show, as provided by the concert organizer.)

See, da brotha had some phat new school playaz lined up. Cris was in da house but 5-0 came down hard, wit Macs an' dogs sniffin fo' bud so da peeps all bailed.

(The promoter had assembled an impressive lineup of popular hip-hop artists, featuring headline act Ludacris, but a heavy police presence, complete with guns and drug-sniffing dogs, deterred many would-be attendees.)

Home slice was gettin' Cris at his crib when he gets a dime sayin' there's a sitch at the show. 'Fo he gets back to the areous, all the boyz and shorties rolled. So he's like, "This is wack."

(A representative of concert promoter Mojo Entertainment, who declined to give his name, said he went to the hotel where Ludacris was staying to bring him to the fairgrounds. While there, he received a phone call indicating there was a problem. He declined to go into specifics, but said by the time he got back, the concert had been shut down and everyone had left. "We've done shows in many cities and never encountered a situation like this," the nameless spokesman said.)

And it goes on and on from there.. ugh.

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