Sunday, November 22, 2009

How the South Destroyed Rap

How the South Destroyed Rap:
Time to Stop Hee Haw Hip Hop

Paul Scott


"All my brothas eatin' chicken and watermelon
Talk broken English and drug sellin'"

My Philosophy- Boogie Down Productions



Hip Hop is many things to many people depending on which side of the planet you rest your head. New York is honored for being the birth place of the genre. Cali is known as being the place that capitalized off of gangsta-ism (for better or worst.) And the South is known for what can best be described as "Hee Haw Hip Hop"; that throw back to the era when people lived in the land of cotton, old times there are not forgotten.

Welcome to Dixie Land.


While many Hip Hop headz will, vehemently, argue against criticizing any one region for the demise of the genre, it must be admitted that the worst form of Hip Hop for the last decade has originated below the Mason Dixon line. While other forms of Hip Hop have at least tried to convey some sort of message, Southern Hip Hop is as devoid of style as it is substance, that is, unless you consider dudes with gold teeth rappin' like they have a mouth full of snuff some sort of swagga chic.

The rappers of the South Coast seem to go out of their way to rep the stereotype of country folks having the intelligence level of a watermelon to the fullest. Every time, I hear a Gucci Mayne or Plies song on the radio, I think that my IQ drops a couple of levels.

It must be noted that this has not always been the case.

The history of southern Hip Hop can be traced back as far as the early 80's with an artist named Shy D and his Planet Rock type rhythms. He was followed by Luke "Skywalker" Campbell and the 2 Live Crew who gained world wide fame for their mixture of Hip Hop and hedonism and their attempts to push the 1st Amendment to the limit by claiming that they could be "as nasty as they wanna be."

Like NY Hip Hop, the South also had a brief conscious era ushered in by the Dungeon Family (Outkast, Goodie MOB) in the mid 90's. However, just as gangsta rap replaced East Coast conscious Hip Hop in the early 90's, "Crunk Music" replaced the socially conscious rap of the South by the late 90's.

Much of the credit for this can be attributed to the mastermind Steve Gottlieb, at the time, owner of TVT records, a company that started off selling TV show themes but found out that they could make a whole lot more money popularizing retarded rap (Ying Yang Twins) and making, otherwise, intelligent black men (Lil Jon, reportedly has a Masters Degree) sound mentally challenged.

The question we should ask ourselves is how can an area with more than its share of black institutions of higher learning (especially the ATL) now be famous for producing music only suitable to step and fetch to?

Historically, perhaps, it has something to do with the post Civil War Era as many black folks left the South to go North where getting an industrial job required a higher level of education than it took to pick tobacco.

Also, according to Dr. Noliwe Rooks in her book, "White Money, Black Power," "southern whites feared that education for blacks would provide African Americans with the means to, eventually, upset white supremacy."

Dr. Claude Anderson in his book "Black Labor, White Wealth" argues that after slavery, "cultural customs and laws forced the newly emancipated blacks to conform to the historical image of blacks as common labors."

So the plot was clear, keep black folks deaf, dumb and blind to preserve white socio-economic hegemony. We see the same method of operation today with "Operation Dumb Down," today. This is why most commercially successful southern rappers sound like they are just two feet off the plantation.

In an effort to preserve the status quo, the powers that be are determined to destroy Hip Hop and take the minds of black children down with it.

If the rationale for "Operation Dumb Down," is, indeed economic, then the counter solution must also be economically based.

As Jay Z said, "men lie, women lie, numbers don't."

This, so called, holiday season is the period when the entertainment industry counts on making most of their money by pushing anti-conscious Hip Hop. This is why we are using "Black Friday" to kick off the "Black-out Ignorance Boycott." We are asking that those who truly appreciate black culture and want to save Hip Hop not purchase anything that disgraces our culture from November 27-January 1st (the end of Kwanzaa.)

Instead of buying music to put us to sleep, we must support artists that are trying to wake us up, whether it be internationally known Hip Hop pioneers like Rakim or up and coming MC's like Pittsburgh's Jasiri X. With the educational challenges that our young people face, we must also start buying more books and less video games. Also, instead of paying hundreds of dollars to turn our youth into walking billboards, advertising everything from Home Depot to Mountain Dew, we should seek out designers that have clothes with positive messages.

This makes a whole lot more sense in tough economic times than spending what's left of our hard earned cash on bamboozled bammas who happen to have hot beats.

Now we are aware that some folks are going to miss the point of this call to action and dismiss this as a case of "hatin' on Hip Hop" as that is what they have been programmed to do. Some will even argue that we are in control of the images of us that are projected around the world.

Dr. Bobby Wright put it best in his book, "The Psychopathic Racial Personality," where he discussed "behavior modification" by quoting psychologist Dr. BF Skinner who wrote "it is possible to delude people into believing that they have the essence of life-Freedom and dignity-and still control them."

So, as in the days of Harriet Tubman the condition of our people remains the same.

Some folks just don't want to be emancipated from mental slavery.

As the great heroine once said.

"I freed a thousand slaves..I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves."


TRUTH Minista Paul Scott writes for No Warning Shots Fired.com. He can be reached at (919) 451-8283 or info@nowarningshotsfired.com For more information on the Intelligence Over Ignorance Campaign visit http://www.ioimovement.com

Saturday, November 14, 2009

NWSF Bullet: Four Loko Update

You may remember, the NWSF article last Memorial Day that exposed Four Loko Malt Liquor.

Also, WNCN did a story on the product.

http://durhamcounty.mync.com/site/durhamcounty/news/story/35583/durham-man-thinks-malt-liquor-drink-looks-too-much-like-soda/

Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, the Feds are giving the makers of Four Loko and other makers of Malt Liquor "energy drinks" 30 days to prove that the drinks are not harmful.

In 1998, Paul Scott led a succesful campaign against Phat Boy Malt Liquor. For information about the IMANI (Inspiring Men to Act Against Negative Influences) lecture on alcohol marketing to young people, contact (919) 451-8283 or info@nowarningshotsfired.com

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The World is a Ghetto: Economic Apocalypse Now

The World is a Ghetto: Economic Apocalypse Now

Paul Scott



"Families buying dog food now. Starvation roams the streets."

Village Ghetto Land- Stevie Wonder




Back in 1972, the funk band, War, recorded the grim hit ,"The World is a Ghetto." I thought about this dire ditty when I read an article last week about a recent study out of the Sanford School of Policy that announced the shocking (yet, self-evident) revelation that poverty has something to do with drop out rates and out of wedlock births.

No shellac, Sherlock.

I wish that I would have been part of that little study, I could have given them a whole laundry list of social ills that are caused by being broke ranging from high blood pressure, nervous breakdowns to a rare form of Tourette Syndrome that makes one have the irresistible urge to kick the neighbor's poodle for no apparent reason.

Yeah, I've heard the talk about how the Reagan-esque voodoo economics of the stimulus package is finally beginning to bailout the average Joe and how the report of the 10% national unemployment rate is just an illusion or part of some vast right wing conspiratorial misinformation campaign.

I don't mean to burst any one's bubble or rain on your parade but I don't think that post recession America is going to differ ,significantly, from recession America. Kinda like when gas prices all of a sudden jump to $4.00 a gallon. Sure, the prices will eventually go down but you know in your heart of hearts that the days of $1.25 a gallon premium are dead and gone.

We are quickly moving into an era where there will only be two groups of people; the haves and the have nots. While in the past, the average homeowner may have been two paychecks away from the poor house, nowadays, a short bout with H1N1 will have you up all night trying to figure out how you're gonna fit your giant flat screen TV into the homeless shelter.

Welcome to the ghetto.

Although the term "ghetto" is usually meant to describe a place full of poor African Americans and Latinos, the term was originally used to describe a place where European Jews were forced to live around World War II and also places where immigrants resided when they came to America. However, in the 21st century, ghetto-ism has taken on a more universal meaning; a place of hopelessness and despair.

Contrary to popular belief, the ghetto doesn't start at the first boarded up house in Northeast Central and end at the first coffee house downtown. The ghetto is a village without boundaries.

While most well -off folks only know the ghetto as the home of 70's sitcom, "Good Times" reruns, those of us who have ever had to dine on "Oodles of Noodles Surprise" every night for dinner are well acquainted with the place

There was a time when poverty was seen as a condition of the chronic underachievers. You know, the kids who skipped Algebra class to hang in the hallway quoting Run DMC lyrics. But now, for many, unemployment is in the "stuff happens" category, striking even the most educated, hard working person for no rhyme nor reason.

The gainfully employed are now seen as those who have their positions simply because "somebody up there likes them." In this case, I am not referring to the proverbial "man upstairs" but the head honcho in the seventh floor corporate office who makes the hiring/firing decisions. We live in a time when a human resource department has become a virtual Mt. Olympus with folks with almost god-like powers granting favors to those who swear their undying allegiance, vowing to sacrifice coffee breaks, holidays and family time on the altar of economic stability.

So, the writer with the cushy job and the scenic view at the newspaper's corporate office may not, necessarily, be a better wordsmith than the poor, unemployed journalism major holding a "Will Write for Food" sign in the Herald Sun parking lot. Or the lucky sap who is charging $50 a pop for balcony seats to see him perform at the DPAC (Durham Performing Arts Center) may be no more deserving of the spotlight than the guy with the four string guitar singing his heart out on the sidewalk of Ninth Street.

Economic success is not an exact science.

So, are we quickly approaching a sci-fi -type Apocalypse where bands of roving poor folks will start rollin' up on suckas sportin' Argyle sweaters and drivin' Volvo's, jackin' them for their Starbucks money?

It's possible. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

As hardcore rapper, Freeway, once warned when facing economic uncertainty, "if my heat stops workin'...I'ma rob me a person."

Maybe there is a bright side to these days of gloom and doom. Perhaps the recession will force us to focus on the important things in life.

Maybe, we will stop being so blinded by the bling of celebrities like Jay Z and Paris Hilton and realize King's dream of judging a person by the content of his character and not the size of his paycheck.

I don't know.

But in the perpetual, purgatory of poverty, one thing is certain. We'll have more than enough time to figure it out.

As the late, great funkster, Rick James once said;

"One thing 'bout the ghetto, you don't have to hurry. It'll be there tomorrow. So, brother, don't you worry.


Paul Scott is a self-syndicated columnist and author of the blog, No Warning Shots Fired.com He can be reached at (919) 451-8283 or info@nowarningshotsfired.com . To join the "No Warning Shots Firing Squad" on Twitter visit twitter.com/NWSF

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thug-o-phobia: The Real Reason we Can't Stop Gangs

Thug-o-phobia: The Real Reason We Can't Stop Gangs

Paul Scott



"In Durham they say we gang bang.
All around the world it's the same thang."
Unless we're shootin' you don't know my name
That's the only way we gain fame."

Thug-o-phobia-TRUTH Minista




Go to any major city in America and ask residents what are the major problems facing their communities and you can bet somewhere in their top 5 will be gangs; that dreaded group of young'uns who go 'round robbin' and pillagin' innocent town folks. Durham, NC is no different, as since the late 90's, the city has been portrayed in the media as the gang capital of the South. This has resulted in an epidemic of "thug-o-phobia" that has town folks seeing gangsters behind every street light post.

In some ways, Thug-o-phobia has become the new radical chic of the 60's, as there is something dangerous, yet exciting about gangsta-ism i(n a James Dean kind of way) for many suburbanites . So, any O.G. (Original Gangster) Joe who rolls into town with a tall tale about how he "was a member of the notorious, Riverdale "Archie Gang" but experienced an epiphany on his way to Pop's Drive Inn to do a drive-by on rival gang "The Jugheads" is welcomed with open arms to "save Durham's youth."

While the local guy with a workable solution based on a strong socio-economic analysis of the problem may be ignored, any out of town slickster with a henna tattoo of Bugs Bunny on his shoulder is given the key to the city.

Since the gang problem has been an issue in Durham and many southern cities for over the last decade, we must explore the many reasons why a college town bustin' at the seams with smart folks, can't seem to get a handle on the problem?

First, there has been little effort to understand the history of gangs in this country. Although most people assume that gangs started in South Central Los Angeles with the Bloods and the Crips, the truth is that gangs in American started when European immigrants organized themselves into protection societies. Later, some of these organizations became organized crime families. This is ,somewhat, similar to the origins of the modern urban street gangs, however, the Bloods and Crips did not come into national prominence until the mid to late 80's.

While poverty and lack of employment may have played a major part in the criminalization of gangs, many will agree that it was the drug trade that gave rise to violent gang activity. Some have alleged that 40 years ago heroin was purposely introduced into black neighborhoods, as well as the hippie counter culture in order to stifle activism; opening the door for the problems we are experiencing, today. Also, authors like Gary Webb, in his controversial book "Dark Alliance," traced the government's alleged role in the crack epidemic in Los Angeles during the mid 80's.

It must, also, be noted that the act of "fighting gangs" is, in and of itself, a cash cow. Many people are depending on the continuous cycle of gang violence to pay their mortgages and to send their children to college. One can only guess the money that goes towards paying "gang experts," sponsoring gang awareness seminars and maintaining the prison industrial complex.

While the role of pop culture in promoting gangsta-ism is often discussed at anti-violence workshops, most presentations only deal with surface issues that begin and end with placing the entire blame for gangs on Hip Hop music. Although such rappers as Snoop Dog (Crip) and the Game (Blood) should be held accountable for the role that they have played in the destruction of our communities, most folks are totally oblivious to the names of the rich business men who sign their paychecks. Although many people would recognize rapper, Lil Wayne (Blood affiliated), they wouldn't recognize Jimmy Iovine (Interscope, which distributed Death Row Records) or Sumner Redstone (Viacom, parent company of BET,MTV, VH1) if they bumped into them on the street.

Hollywood's role in glamorizing the gangsta lifestyle also must not be ignored. While movies like "Colors," " Boyz in the Hood" and "Menace II Society" may have sparked America's fascination with gangs, HBO's 1994 documentary , "Gang Wars: Bangin' in Little Rock" served as a major recruiting tool for gangs outside of Chicago and California.

The key to solving the gang problems is as multifaceted as the reasons for their existence. Contrary to popular belief, one size does not fit all.

Although, gang membership is not limited by color nor class, the rationale for an African American or Latino child joining a gang as opposed to a white child may be ,vastly, different. There may, also, be different reasons for a kid from the 'hood gang bangin' than a kid from the 'burbs. Unfortunately, Durham has been slow to embrace the cultural educational solutions that have been effective in larger cities for fear that they may be seen as divisive. We must listen to those voices who can address the problem from a cultural perspective.

Also, the calls for more activities for Durham's young people are often drowned out by the traditional "tough on crime" rhetoric.
City officials must make funding youth activities more than just a slogan to get votes during election time.

Lastly, the city officials, educators and religious leaders must sponsor more town hall meetings to come up with workable solutions instead of the usual "An Idiot's Guide to Gangs" type format.

If we do not come up with new and innovative solutions to the problem, 10 years from now we'll still be jammin' to the same ol' song:

"In Durham they say we gang bang...."


Paul Scott is a self-syndicated columnist and author of the blog, No Warning Shots Fired.com. He recently launched the "Intelligence Over Ignorance" Campaign lecture series. ioimovement.com For more information contact (919) 451-8283 or info@ioimovment.com