Friday, August 24, 2012

Militant Minded

Militant Minded:
Is Edutainment Still Needed?

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott

"They schools don't educate/all they teach the people is lies"
They Schools Dead Prez

It was a typical day in Mrs. Lefkowitz's world history class. And, as usual ,no one was paying attention . Of course, she didn’t mind as long as she was collecting a paycheck. So while the gangstas were fightin' in the back of the classroom and the kids on the front row were snoring like barn animals she just kept on repeating the same lesson about the wonders of Greek civilization that she had been teaching for 20 years. That was until Tyrone Johnson , who had been listening to some ol school BDP on his iphone, yelled out “in a school that’s ebony/ African history should be pumped up steadily ! “ Although, his classmates gave him a standing ovation, the otherwise, mild mannered Mrs. Leftkowitz became enraged, called for security and had Tyrone thrown in jail for inciting a riot...

Since the creation of this country’s public educational system, the achievements of Europeans have been emphasized while the contributions of African people to civilization have either been downplayed or not mentioned at all. But for a brief period, Hip Hop shook up the academic world and flipped the script with something that KRS-One coined “edutainment.”

Although, the music of the conscious era of Hip Hop (1988-92) was portrayed in the media as something that was gonna make young Black kids wage an armed insurrection against the government , the real threat of the music was that it made Black youth read and question authority, thus having the potential to disrupt the status quo.

Many of us from that era can attest to the fact that it wasn’t third period history class that taught us about Black culture but the music of Boogie Down Productions, Public Enemy and Poor Righteous Teachers. The conscious movement was so powerful during that time that it even spread into the universities and forced reluctant administrators to open the door for many African -centered scholars to drop some science on the students.

So the question today is , can edutainment still move the crowd?

While some may argue that the kids of today will not accept historical information in music, that is far from the truth . If rappers can name drop old school wrestlers like Ric Flair and 70's sitcom characters like "Phil Drummond and 'em" from Different Strokes, then they should be able to drop historical facts in their lyrics, as well.
Every school year, there are meetings being held in cities across the country about "the plight of African American students" and how to prevent Black students from dropping out of school. Most of the time these meetings end with more questions than answers. Rarely, is the idea of a more African-centered curriculum given serious consideration nor is the idea of using Hip Hop to relay information.

Like most institutions in America, the educational system has been resistant to change. Teaching children that Christopher Columbus discovered America, works for them.

But we must make it clear that it doesn’t work for us.

Also, while many instructors may criticize gangsta rap, they feel more comfortable with their students listening to Chief Keef instead of Immortal Technique. And reading street novels like "Diary of a Broke Pimp" instead of books that might put them on the hot seat such as “Lies My Teacher Told Me” by Dr. James Loewen or “They Came Before Columbus” by Dr. Ivan Van Sertima.

Maybe, there is a reason for this.

According to a recent CNN article, the US Justice Department has accused the school system of Lauderdale County, Mississippi of operating a “school to prison pipeline” for sending mostly African American and disabled children to jail for minor disciplinary infractions.

Apparently, Dead Prez was right when they claimed on “They Schools” that “ the same people who control the school system, control the prison system.”

So, as we begin another school year, will it be business as usual or are we gonna put our heads together and come up with workable solutions to solve the education dilemma facing the nation ?

Although some may blame the lack of Black men volunteering in the school system as the problem, historically, those who speak truth are not exactly welcomed with open arms. During the early 90’s it was not unusual for Black leaders and scholars to be met by protesters when lecturing at colleges.

Today, Historically Black Colleges and Universities could play a major role in using Hip Hop to teach African centered though but instead of using their lyceum fees to bring in scholars and lectures, they rather blow the money on a Waka Flocka Flame Homecoming Show.

So If we can’t depend on educational institutions , to whom do we turn for help?

We turn to ourselves.

According to Durham, North Carolina activist Tim Smith, we cannot depend on a school system where the main focus is to prepare children to pass a test at the end of the year to solve our problem. The solution must come from the community.

“You have to make children realize why education is important, "says Smith. “There's nothing magic that needs to happen. It’s just hard work."
And some people are already doing it.

For example, Dr. Marc Imhotep Cray( aka The RBG Street Scholar) started the RBG Communiversity/RBG Street Scholars Think Tank in an effort to use the Internet as a way to bridge the gap between Hip Hop and African culture.

With the technology at our fingertips, there is no reason why we cannot create our own methods of making sure our children know all there is to know not only about Black history but current events and how they are going to impact their lives.

One simple solution that I am going to implement is to send out daily #militantminded tweets with a links to Afro-centric information, I suggest that others implement similar strategies.

As Public Enemy once had as its core mission to create 5000 Black leaders our task today is to develop 5000 street scholars.

Like J Ivy’s classic verse on Kanye West’s “Never Let Me Down”

We are all here for a reason, on a particular path/You don’t need a curriculum to know that you’re part of the math.

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott’s weekly column is “This Ain’t Hip Hop,” a column for intelligent Hip Hop headz. For more information about the No Warning Shots Fired lecture series contact or visit Follow on Twitter @truthminista

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Is Drake Guilty of a Hip Hop Hate Crime?

Every Brother Ain’t a Brotha:
Is Drake Guilty of a Hip Hop Hate Crime?

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott

"Every brother ain’t a brother/cause a color could just as well be undercover"
Welcome to the Terrordome Public Enemy

They had procrastinated for years, but unable to ignore the issue any longer, the Hip Hop Supreme Court put the hottest rapper in the game, Fake Graham aka Frizzy on trial for hate crimes against the Hip Hop community. The rap justices ran off a list of charges against the artist including tarnishing the legacy of real Hip Hop, disrespecting women and most damaging,excessively using the N word, when, technically, he wasn’t even Black. While the charges were being read, Frizzy just yawned and nodded in agreement. It took five minutes for the justices to come up with a guilty verdict. But when it came time to decide what the punishment would be, they argued and debated so long, that finally Frizzy told them to call his people when they reached a decision , got in his limo and sped away...

People have been complaining about the atrocities done in the name of Hip Hop for decades and how the rapper of the month has sold out to corporate interests at the expense of the culture. However, when the question becomes, “ So, whatcha gonna do about it” there is never a definite answer.

Perhaps the best example, today, is Hip Hop’s glamor boy, Drake. The issue here is not the former kid show actor's, lack of “street cred” nor whether you find his music irritating to the eardrums. But the fact that he drops the N bomb in so many of his lyrics. Even on his latest track, “Enough Said” with the late Aaliyah , Drake seems to have a certain affinity for the word.

In all fairness, rappers have been saying n**** since the first Hip Hop park jams and you would be hard pressed to name one Hip Hop artist that doesn't use the derogatory term. But the difference with Drake is; he ain’t Black.

If you look at the Jewish mother rule, if your mama is Jewish, that makes you Jewish. And since Drake's father is an African American but his mother is a white, Jewish Canadian, that makes him the latter. (I didn’t make the rule, I’m just telling you what it says,) This is also compounded by the fact that you would be hard pressed to see where Drake even identifies with the dark side of his family tree, unless you consider hangin’ out with Lil Wayne and excessive use of the N word as evidence of his African roots.

Although, one may argue that the one drop rule and the dominance of melanin in his skin may make Drake racially "Black", that has nothing to do with what that makes him culturally. So what we are dealing with here is not race but the politics of cultural identity.

Who can and cannot say n**** has long been debated in Hip Hop. Latino entertainers like Fat Joe and Jennifer Lopez have gotten by on the “Latino’s are n***** too” argument and white women like V Nasty and Gwyneth Paltrow, supposedly, have obtained signed ghetto passes from Hip Hop’s elite, allowing them to use the word. However, it is an unwritten rap rule, that while a Black rapper can use the word at will, a white rapper is subject to a beat down for even using “nickel” in a sentence without clarifying his statement.

And most white Hip Hop artists aren’t that stupid. Although, they may hire Black rappers to use the word on their Cd's. they will never utter the word, themselves.
Case in point is when Dave Mays and Benzino, formerly of The Source Magazine went on a wild, witch hunt to find evidence of Eminem saying something even remotely disrespectful about Black people years back and came up with nothing really tangible besides a lyric in a long lost unreleased track.

But what if the person has dark skin, but, culturally, is a card carrying member of another ethnic group.? Should he be given a pass to use racial slurs without being called on it?

Herein lies the Drake dilemma.

There is a certain amount of hypocrisy surrounding Drake's use of the word . Although he will ,undoubtedly, use the Black half of his genetic makeup to justify using the N word, I doubt very seriously if he would ever use his Jewish half to justify using the “K” or “H” word. Nor would he hide behind the First Amendment and get a swastika tatted on his arm.

Nor should he.

However, if Drake did use anti-Jewish terms with the same frequency as he uses anti-Black terms he would not be celebrated in the media as the greatest thing in Hip Hop since Run DMC, but would be demonized in the press for “spewing venomous hate speech “ and forever condemned as an anti-Semite on some organization’s hate group list. To date, nobody has tagged him an "anti-Hamite" or "anti-Khemite."

Every ethnic group has the God given right to defend its culture, that is the only way to secure its survival for future generations. However, it becomes problematic when the blatant disrespect of a culture is roundly applauded on one side but, vehemently, condemned on the other.

Ultimately, it is not Drake’s fault for disrespecting the Black community. Nor does the fault fall at the feet of any individual commercial Hip Hop artist. The blame lies with every rapper who grabs a mic, every Hip Hop writer with a laptop and every Hip Hop fan who listens to the radio because we co-sign the madness.

Even the most militant critic who continuously blasts the state of Hip Hop would become a 13 year old teenage girl if Drake just looked in his direction.

“OMG...Like...did you see the way that Drake just smiled at me? Awwww!”

At some point we have to begin to stand on principles.
Let's be clear. No one should use the N word , whether it be the hate speech of White people or the self-hate speech of Blacks.
And until we come to a general consensus as to what should be done to those who diss Black culture, we will still be talking about this 100 years from now.
Like Drake asked on the Aaliyah song, “Is this even still a discussion, don’t you ever wake up disgusted ?”

'Nuff said.

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott's weekly column is "This Ain't Hip Hop," a column for intelligent Hip Hop headz. He can be reached at His website is
Follow on Twitter @truthminista

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Powerless Pen

The Powerless Pen:
Why Hip Hop Journalism Sucks
TRUTH Minista Paul Scott

“Dull, void without substance or content/you need to slow your speed/stop the nonsense”
The Power- Chill Rob G

It had the potential to be the story of the decade. Tired of the current state of Hip Hop , legendary Hip Hop veteran, Ice Cold was gonna expose the industry for the illegal and immoral tactics that they use to manipulate rappers in an exclusive interview with Scoop Newsworthy, star writer for
Hip Hop X-Tra Large Weekly. For two hours, Ice Cold went on a tangent about how he was once poisoned at a strip club and forced to sign a 20 year contract to exclusively make murda music. He went on about how his infamous beef with the late rapper, Too Tall Short, was really an industry orchestrated move to sell cds. However, when the story ran the following week the headline was “Ice Cold Gets Tipsy and Starts Beef at The King of Diamonds...”
During the late 80’s, the power of Hip Hop was not only evident in the music but in the writings of those who exposed this rapidly maturing culture to the world. If Chuck D was right and rap was the CNN of the Black community, then Hip Hop magazines were the Time and Newsweek of the 'hood.

During that period, the bubble gum stories about Michael Jackson in teen magazines like Right On! and stories in Word Up Magazine where a young Christopher Wallace used to read about “Salt N Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine “ were being replaced by more aggressive, hard hitting magazines such as The Source and Rap Sheets. Not to mention there were Hip Hop journalists like Public Enemy’s “media assassin,” Harry Allen who defended the culture against the naysayers. Even as late as 1997, newcomer, XXL Magazine came out of the gate swingin’ with an article on Black Nationalist Dr. Khalid Abdul Muhammad carrying an AK.
But somewhere, Hip Hop journalism lost its heart.

Today Hip Hop magazines usually run the same ol' stories over and over again about redundant beefs, makin’ it rain in the club and how many blunts your favorite rapper smoked while in the studio recording his latest cd.

Not exactly ground breaking stuff.

However, there are reasons for the cowardly nature of today’s Hip Hop scribes.

Historically, being a writer has been a dangerous profession, especially if you were the type who was not afraid to speak truth to power.

It must be noted that David Walker, author of the extremely inflammatory , Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World died ,mysteriously, in 1830.

During the early 70’s, Samuel Yette was, allegedly, fired from his job at Newsweek for writing the controversial book, The Choice: The Issue of Black Survival in America. Also, William Cooper, whose book, Behold a Pale Horse, is the sacred text of conspiracy theorists, was killed by law enforcement officers in 2001. And in 2004, Gary Webb author of “Dark Alliance:The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion., allegedly, committed suicide by shooting himself twice in the head.

Though not to the same degree, Hip Hop writers have also suffered their share of bumps and bruises.

It was not unheard of for a rapper to threaten a mild mannered reporter for giving a bad review of his album back in the day. Also, one can remember the clash between the staff of The Source and the Almighty RSO during its early years. Female media personalities have not been spared as Dr. Dre once punched Pump It Up host Dee Barnes, as immortalized in Eminem's song “Guilty Conscience”. Also former radio host and now TV celebrity Wendy Williams was five seconds away from feeling the wrath of the Wu Tang courtesy of Method Man, a few years back.

Who wants to go through all of that when it's so much easier to tell a rapper how great he is, pick up your paycheck and head to the crib.

Perhaps the major reason for the lackadaisical attitude of Hip Hop writers is the myth that people who listen to rap don't want to be educated, they simply want to be entertained by mindless music and reality shows.

Although, Black Entertainment Television was once the home of legendary journalists Bev Smith, Tavis Smiley and Ed Gordon, their shows were canceled to make room for more music videos. And although the network may come up with a new news program every presidential election year, the programs are quickly replaced by Wayans Brothers reruns, shortly after the election is over.

Contrary to popular belief, the streets have always been hungry for the 411. And because of the work of Hip Hop on-line pioneers like the Bay Area’s Davey D and St. Louis’ B-Gyrl who laid the foundation over a decade ago, the ‘net has largely made Hip Hop magazines obsolete. Youtube, Internet radio etc have provided a forum for up and coming writers and provided a way to get around the gatekeepers of the more traditional media outlets.

A perfect example is that, although the talk of a “Hip Hop Illuminati” has been written off by some as a conspiracy theory, what is not theory, but fact is that it was not the traditional Hip Hop media that created the hysteria but a cheaply done, blogtalk radio interview with Professor Griff on Occult Science Radio. Although the interview went viral three years ago it still has rappers like Jay Z, Rick Ross and Meek Mill mentioning it in their lyrics, today.

Hip Hop needs its own version of Wikileaks that will expose what's really going on in the entertainment industry. We need Hip Hop journalists with the courage to ask rap artists the tough questions instead of just repeating propaganda that was co-signed by their managers .

That’s why this column is called “This Ain’t Hip Hop" because it's bigger than that. It’s about getting the truth to the people, by any means necessary, whether writing or rapping.

So, I rep for every truth-teller who has ever been banned, blackballed or boycotted for standing up for his beliefs.Those who dare to speak about reality, when everyone else is living in a world of fantasy.

Like Lupe Fiasco said on his song, "Real,"
That’s why I gotta give ‘em somethin’real /somethin ‘they could recognize/something they could feel.”
TRUTH Minista Paul Scott’s weekly column is "This Ain't Hip Hop," a column for intelligent Hip Hop headz. For more information on the upcoming No Warning Shots Fired lecture series contact Follow on Twitter @truthminista

Monday, August 6, 2012

Is Drake an Anti-Hamite for Using the N Word?

Why They'll Never Be Another PE

Why They’ll Never Be Another PE:
What Really Happened to Real Hip Hop?

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott

“Any artist can battle for glory/but to kick a dope rhyme to wake up your people’s another story.”
"Rappers RN Dainja" -KRS One
Once upon a time, he was known as “Militant Mike,” leader of the Mau Mau ,the most feared rap crew of the 80’s Now, he’s simply known as Mr. Jackson, the grumpy old dude who bags groceries at T-Mart. Catch him on a good day and he might take a break from sweepin’ the floor and drop some science about the good ol days of Hip Hop and how his music was gonna change the world,. But if you ever ask him the obvious question, what happened to those good ol days? All you'll get is a cold stare followed by awkward silence....

The history books are full of stories about the Civil Rights /Black Power Era ,and how thousands of young people took to the streets to fight for their rights. However, as for the conscious Hip Hop Era, the story ain’t never been told.


Like the song says “what’s too painful to remember, we simply choose to forget.”
For many of us the “conscious” Hip Hop era (1988-92) , was our Civil Rights movement. But although it is often thrown in with the so called “Golden Age of Hip Hop”, as they say, “all that glitters ain’t gold.”

Let’s be clear. When I use the term "real Hip Hop", I'm not talking about a rapper saying some witty, juvenile punch lines to make you giggle. I’m talking about (to borrow from Eric B and Rakim) songs that will actually “move the crowd” to do something.

Like all forms of history, Hip Hop is subject to revisionism. People would like to believe that for a period in American history, there was a time when everybody was fightin’ the power and wearing Red, Black and Green African medallions. This isn’t true of the Black Power Movement Era and it’s definitely not a true reflection of the Conscious Hip Hop Era.

Although it is true that many people in the 'hood were suffering from the effects of 80's Reaganomics, just like today, everybody wasn't sufferin' nor did everyone identify with "the struggle." Some people were living good in the ‘80’s and swore that “we had already overcome.”

Although some of us gravitated towards Spike Lee films and X Clan cassettes , there were others who were just as comfortable watching Molly Reinwald movies while listening to the non- political, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.

The conscious Hip Hop era came about at the exact time when Black outrage was not only a necessary evil but also profitable. And groups like Public Enemy were able to slip through the small crack in the impenetrable fortress of Capitalism.

Capitalism is not without its flaws and militant rap groups like Public Enemy were able to capitalize off of the major chink in its armor; greed. It has been said that Capitalism will sell you the rope to hang yourself.
But the major strength Capitalism is its ability to adapt and to absorb opposition. So a radical movement for change was transformed into a cheap fad.

Freedom does not come without a price. It never has and never will.
But for a brief moment, rap was the soundtrack of a revolution that the networks would not televise.
But for the artists who dared to speak truth to power, there was a price to be paid.

For those who argue that rap is “only music” tell that to the soldiers who survived the rap wars.
Just read the books of rap artists from that period like Professor Griff' s Analytixz or Ice T’s autobiographical, Ice as they reveal some very interesting war stories that many people would like to forget.

Although Ice T has been quoted as saying that he is waiting for the next PE , I’m not sure that Ice T would even want to be “the next Ice T” if you study all of the drama that surrounded his song “Cop Killer” which was eventually removed from store shelves. Like he wrote in his book ,"you don’t know what heat is until you’ve had the President of the United States say your name in anger.”

See, everybody isn’t built for that kind of stuff. There is a reason that one of the most powerful voices ever in Hip Hop, Sister Souljah, went from rappin’ about “360 Degrees of Power” to writing romance novels. Like she said in her book, No Disrespect, “the question is easy to ask. The answer is hard to find. But the search is essential.”

Ask anybody who has done more than send out an angry tweet in all caps, and he will tell you “these cats ain’t playin’” and the oppressors ain't gonna let the oppressed go without a fight.

In Russell Myries book, Don’t Rhyme for the Sake of Riddlin’, he wrote that once during the conscious Hip Hop era “someone was trying to get a number of rappers in one location so they could detonate explosives and do away with trouble-some Hip Hoppers."

Most people like the “idea” of revolution but facing the consequences of revolutionary actions are beyond their scope of comprehension.

Truth is, although many people make murda music few are willing to make martyr music.

Today , besides the Jasiri Xs and Immortal Techniques many of this new generation of rappers want consciousness without the confrontation.
Times have gotten so tough that even activists have been forced to pick up the mic to bring back real Hip Hop. ( Chicago activist, Chairman Fred Hampton Jr, recently did a revolutionary remix of Chief Keef's "I Don't Like.")

Just like it was during the Civil Rights era, it's much easier to turn on (get high) and tune out. Why risk your life trying to change the world when "a 40 and a blunt” will make the world go away for a few hours?

It’s one thing to get into a beef with another rapper, but it is another thing to go against Bill O’Reilly and get tagged “an unpatriotic pin head” That kinda stuff doesn't add up to increased cd sales anymore.
Despite all the revolutionary rhetoric, the real reason that there will never be another Public Enemy is because nobody wants to go through the hell that they went through.

Like ASAP Rocky would say “everybody plays the tough guy till some stuff pops off.”

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott’s weekly column is “This Ain’t Hip Hop” a column for intelligent Hip Hop headz. He can be reached at (919) 308-4233 or His website is Twitter @truthminista