Sunday, October 31, 2010

Why Hip Hop Must Return to Rap

Why Hip Hop Must Return to Rap:
Lyrics of Fury

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott

Last week , Hip Hop headz gathered for the 20th annual, "Emergency Meeting to Save Hip Hop" Conference to discuss, once again, ways to save the dying art form. All was going well until underground emcee "Intellect" suggested that the lack of lyricism was destroying Hip Hop culture. Outraged, platinum selling artist, " Mo' Ron Nik," busted him upside the head with a bottle of Rose' and left the building with his gangsta goons as the crowd applauded his "reppin' real Hip Hop." Not realizing that they were part of the problem....

The debate over Hip Hop vs Rap has been a source of heated arguments for almost a generation. However, most of these arguments never rise above the level of semantics or someone quoting KRS's oft used line "Hip Hop is what you live, rap is what you do."

However when Hip Hop artists stop "doing rap" we are stuck with a bunch of knucklheadz promoting swagga over substance. What we have seen over the last decade is a steady decrease in lyricism, which is why Hip Hop has ceased to be a source of social change and is now just a weak marketing tool used to pimp ignorance, death and destruction. In essence, we have lost respect for the power of the spoken word.

Respect for "the word" goes back thousands of years. The scriptures teach us that "in the beginning was the word." Also in his book , "The Afrocentric Idea" Dr. Molefi Asante discusses the concept of nommo in traditional African societies which he defines as, "the generative and productive power of the spoken word."

Although the power of the word has been traditionally revered by civilized societies, it has also been feared by those who seek to exploit the masses of the people. The goal of the oppressor has always been to control "rapping" or the transmission of thoughts and ideas that challenge their rule.

Kwame Nkruimah said in his book "Consciencism ," "social revolution must, therefore, have standing firmly behind it , an intellectual revolution; a revolution in which our thinking and philosophy are directed towards the redemption or our society" which is in sharp contrast to the Hip Hop artists of today who are determined to put us back on the plantation.

While some may argue that Rap is just one of the elements of Hip Hop which also, includes "B-Boying, Graffiti and DeeJaying," it must be noted that break-dancing never sparked a social revolution, graffiti on a subway has never challenged the socio-political domination of the world elite and neither has deejaying ever contributed to the protracted struggle against Imperialism. However, rapping in the form of words of power that "moved the crowd" (to borrow from Eric B and Rakim) has done all the above.

We must be clear, it was not Hip Hop "swagga" that sent shock waves throughout America during the late 80's-early 90's but the rap analyses of artists such as Professor Griff and Sister Souljah. Also, the mixing of rap lyrics with the speeches of Malcolm X, Dr. Khalid Muhammad and Minister Louis Farrakhan during that period, blurred the line between where rap ended and revolution began. Not to mention that many artists of the period were, merely , doing rhythmic versions of the information of black scholars and researchers such as George GM James, Steve Cokely and Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, making it more palatable to the masses.

It is for this reason that the industry has waged war against lyrics , with MTV even elevating self- proclaimed ,non-lyrical Hip Hopper Waka Flocka Flame to one of the top 10 artists of 2010.

One must remember that back in 2002, the same company censored Public Enemy's video "Gotta Give the Peeps" which included the lyrics "Free Mumia (Abu-Jamal) and H. Rap Brown (Jamil Al Amin)." Although, members of Public Enemy were know for their intellectual statements, perhaps the greatest fear of the industry is that on any given day, even a dumb rapper might say something smart.

We must remember that back in 2007, it was alleged that a certain "Lyric Committee" at Interscope records prevented the release of an anti-police brutality song by former G Unit member, Young Buck.

In our current political climate, it is more important now than ever to hear strong black voices. It is doubtful that Hip Hop can be that instrument, as commercialism has rendered it impotent. According to activist, Sham Pu Keilyn, "Rap is the art form not Hip Hop." He argues that while anybody can claim Hip Hop, only a "highly skilled melanated being can truly rap."

This is why we are advocating that members of the "conscious" Hip Hop community reclaim the term RAP, which, in this case, could stand for "Revelation And Power." We are calling for a "conscious coup;" an overthrowing of the Hip Hop oligarchy.

Karl Marx once suggested that the seed of the destruction of Capitalism lies within its own contradictions, so it is with Hip Hop, as it strives to be simultaneously, the voice of the oppressed and the tool of the oppressor.

Although some Hip Hop purists will consider tampering with Hip Hop, sacrilege, it must be done. While, some my feel that they have an inherent right to define Hip Hop, no man has a monopoly on Rap ( nommo, the spoken word) as it originates from the Creator and has been passed down through the ancestors. It is on this principle that we take our uncompromising stand.

Even the most dogmatic defenders of Hip Hop will have to admit that it is time for a change. We can no longer engage in what Dr. Frances Cress Welsing ,in her essay "Black Fear and the Failure of Black Analytical Commitment'" calls "circular thought: moving from problem perception, away from problem solution and back to problem perception." She argues that " there is never constant motion towards problem solution because to do so would " challenge and alter the power dynamic of oppression. "

So, as they say, "it's been real" but this is where we part ways. Those who want to use music to elevate the consciousness of the people rollin' with RAP and those who want to keep the masses deaf, dumb and blind going down with the sinking ship of Hip Hop.

Unless we reclaim Rap we will be still complaining about "what's wrong with Hip Hop" 20 years from now and even then, as Fred Hampton once said, still "coming up with answers that don't answer, explanations that don't explain and conclusions that don't conclude."

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott can be reached at or (919) 451-8283 For more information on the Intelligence Over Ignorance lecture series contact

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rappers Need to Be Scared Smart

In the late 70's a movie called "Scared Straight" was released that featured juvenile delinquents being scared out of lives of crime by hardcore inmates. This week, as many people prepare to celebrate Halloween, a NC minister says that many Hip Hop artists need to be "scared smart."

Paul Scott, a minister and activist in Durham NC, is outraged by the amount of Hip Hop that promotes ignorance that is being spewed across the airwaves and is calling on the community to take a stand.

According to Scott, top selling rappers like Waka Flocka Flame need to either smarten up their rap games or feel the wrath of the black community.

"If Waka Flocka Flame was on "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader, he would lose in the first round," says Scott

Unlike the Hip Hop of a generation ago that featured uplifting lyrics by rap groups such as Public Enemy and The X-Clan, many people believe that the Hip Hop music of today is purposely used to dumb down inner city youth.

"In every city in America, people are talking about closing the achievement gap between black children and white children , Hip Hop should be closing the gap instead of making it wider, says Scott.

Scott is urging the black community to demand that Hip Hop artists produce more intelligent music and radio stations play such socially conscious rap or face boycotts by the African American community.

He says that this is especially critical in today's heated political climate where some have accused the Tea Party and other conservatives of racism and "trying to turn back the clock" on black progress.

Their biggest fear is an educated black man, says Scott. "Racists fear that more than Freddy Kruger and Jason put together."

"TRUTH Minista" Paul Scott is a minister, writer, and activist based in Durham NC. He first gained national attention in 1998, when he led a successful boycott agsinst Phat Boy Malt Liquor and ion 2003 when he protested rap star Nelly's "Pimp Juice" Energy Drink.

For more information on the Intelligence Over Ignorance Campaign contact or (919) 451-8283 website

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rapper Challenges Pre-Midterm White Racism

Plies: Why They Really Hate You

Like many of the commercially successful rappers coming out of the South, a release from Plies usually guarantees heavy radio and video play. However, I doubt that his latest release is going to be welcomed with open arms by the powers that be.

Last week, Plies released one of the most thought provoking videos to come out of the "Dirty South" since the days of Outkast and the Goodie MOB called "Why U Hate ?" The song and video, which features the artist rapping with a noose around his neck , poses the question, "what is white America's beef with black folks?

Parental Guidance Suggested (Language Not Content!)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Plies: Why They Really Hate You

Plies: Why They Really Hate You
The Education of Algernod Washington

Paul Scott

Like many of the commercially successful rappers coming out of the South, a release from Plies usually guarantees heavy radio and video play. However, I doubt that his latest release is going to be welcomed with open arms by the powers that be.

Last week, Plies, born Algernod Wahington, released one of the most thought provoking videos to come out of the "Dirty South" since the days of Outkast and the Goodie MOB called "Why U Hate ?" The song and video, which features the artist rapping with a noose around his neck , poses the question, "what is white America's beef with black folks?

Although the self proclaimed "goon's" sexually explicit songs such as "Becky" and "Bust it Baby" have received heavy airplay, one has to wonder what reaction "Why U Hate " will get from Hip Hop radio stations and video programs like BET's 106 and Park . The concern being, it might inspire Plies's fellow goons to begin to conduct in-depth analyses of America's race problem. In other words, it might make people think.

The question that Plies has posed is complex and can be answered on many different levels. However, to get to the root of white hate you must go back thousands of years. According to Canadian writer Michael Bradley, in his book "The Ice Man Inheritance: Prehistoric Sources of Western Man's Aggression, the problem stems from the hyper-aggressive nature that the European developed as a survival technique for coping with a frigid climate. This led to their need to conquer the whole planet.

Also during the Transatlantic slave trade the Europeans used the myth of racial inferiority to justify slavery. After the Civil War, according to WEB DuBois in his book, "Black Reconstruction," Northern industrialists and members of the Southern aristocracy (the planters) manipulated poor whites into hating the newly freed "slaves" in order to exploit them.

It must be noted that much of the hatin' on black people is based on fear. Dr. Frances Cress Welsing author of "The Isis Papers" has suggested that Caucasians have a fear of genetic annihilation; believing that eventually ,through the amalgamation of the races, the white race will cease to exist.

Also there is the fear of "the big pay back" where African Americans will seek revenge on whites for the atrocities committed against them. Over 200 years ago, as Bradford Chambers writes in "Chronicles of Black Protest," Thomas Jefferson predicted that the "deep rooted prejudices of whites" and the "10 thousand recollections by the blacks of the injuries they have sustained" would produce a division that "would probably never end but in the extermination of one or the other race."

Also, black psychiatrists William Grier and Price Cobbs wrote in their 1968 book "Black Rage," "long after slavery, many whites are haunted by a vision of being oppressed, exposed to the whims of a powerful cruel black man."

It must also be noted that this fear also influenced public policy, as during the Civil Rights/Black Power Era, FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover, set up COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) to prevent the rise of a "black messiah" that could electrify the youth. Which leads us to why "they" hate political Hip Hop, since it has the potential to convert rap fans into revolutionaries.

However, white America does not really hate "gangsta" rappers like Plies; she created them. What they fear most is Algernod Washington, the business man who is rumored to have been valedictorian of his high school class and a former college student; the proverbial "fear of an educated black man." The Plies's of the world are just thugged -out versions of Frankenstein's monster who have been programmed to never turn on their masters.

That is until one of them is deprogrammed and starts making songs like "Why U Hate ?"

For most folks, Plies is an unlikely candidate to spark the Hip Hop revolution. However, the same might have been said about Detroit Red before he became Malcolm X or Eldridge Clever before he wrote "Soul on Ice" We must also remember that many black leaders from Abubadika Sonny Carson to Bunchy Carter and John Higgins were former gang members. Even one of the fathers of Hip Hop, Afrika Bambaataa was a gangsta at one point.

As Jabari Natur, chairman of Solvivaz Nation said "The spirit of Black Liberation is in all of us. " This is a chance for something to blossom in the millions of people who will watch the video."

What Hip Hop needs is a movement to raise what the late chairman of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party, Fred Hampton, would call "antagonistic contradictions." We must aggressively question radio stations who will play Rick Ross's "BMF" every five minutes but refuse to play "Why U Hate." Since many DJ's claim to play negative Hip Hop because "that's what people are requesting" we should immediately start calling and tweeting radio stations, asking them why they aren't playing Plies's song. That way we can monitor the tweets and expose Hip Hop radio's hypocrisy.

Perhaps this is a one shot deal for Plies and next week he'll go back to being "the thug you love to hate. Time will tell.

But as Kwame Ture once said, "Every "negro" is a potential Black Man."

I guess that goes for goons too...

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott can be reached at or (919) 451-8283

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Waka Flocka Flame: Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader ?

Waka Flocka Flame: Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?

Min. Paul Scott

"All my brothers eatin' chicken and watermelon, talk broken English and drug sellin'"

My Philosophy-Boogie Down Productions

Last night, during the premier of the Hip Hop version of "Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader," 24 year old Waka Flocka Flame, went up against nine year old up and coming rapper, Willow Smith. However, the show ended, abruptly when during the introductions, the host asked Flaka how many years he had been rappin'. After counting on his fingers for several seconds, a puzzled Flame stormed off stage, cussin' at the audience and accusing the host of asking him a trick question...

Waka Flocka Flame is, undoubtedly, one of the hottest artists in Hip Hop, right now. You cannot turn on any Hip Hop radio station in the world and not hear one of his songs blastin' through the speakers. However, what is making Waka most famous these days is not his music but his interviews. Grandma used to tell me that it is better to keep silent and be thought a dummy, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Apparently, Flocka didn't get the memo.

On a recent episode of BET's 106 and Park, the host, Terrence J asked him about education and Flame responded by saying that he was going back to school to study "geometry." Later when the other host, Roxie asked him about politics, the boy genius said in classic Captain Caveman fashion "oonga boonga...votin' cool."

What is most disturbing, however, is the follow up interview that he gave on a radio station where he suggested that " Waka Flocka Flame" was just a character that he created in order to relate to the boys in tha hood. So my issue is not really with Juaquin Malphurs, the product of the American mis-educational system, but with his alter ego, Waka Flocka Flame that is being used by the industry to make being dumb, cool. A classic case of "I'm not really an idiot, I just play one on TV..."

The popularity of black folks actin' the fool has its roots in the mid 1800's with the black face minstrel performances. In the book, "Split Image: African Americans in the Mass Media," (Janet Davis and William Barlow) historian William Van Deburg is quoted as saying that in a time when many whites feared slave insurrections "the early slave image offered white audiences a comforting , psychological reassurance." He writes that "such intellectually inferior clowns posed little threat to white hegemony."

Such as it is today with black rappers in black face like Waka Flocka , who, despite all the hood talk are only a threat to the residents of the hood and not the socio-economic well being of those in the suburbs.

What is most disturbing about Waka is that he plays into the hands of those who still believe that black folks are more "Straight Out the Jungle" than "Straight Out of Compton." It must be remembered that barely a hundred years ago, African people were being locked up in monkey cages at zoos and forced to perform for white folks. According to Dr. Harriet Washington in her book, "Medical Apartheid," around 1903, a missionary explorer, Samuel Phillips Lerner, captured Ota Benga, an African "pygmy" and gave him to William Hornaday to put on exhibit in the Bronx Zoo. However, in 2010 they have stopped putting black men in cages but place them on stages.

To hear Malphurs tell it, the Flaka Flame character just represents the collective mentality of young urban males who have been victimized by society and he is only using rap music to express their collective point of view. Anyone who knows anything thing about Hip Hop history will tell you that that is a bunch of bull.

Back in the early 80's during the Reagan Era ,when times were ,arguably, socio-economically worst for black folks, rappers like the Treacherous Three and Funky Four Plus One More , expressed themselves very articulately, despite coming from conditions that were worst than those faced by the multi-millionaire rappers of today. We must ask ourselves why do the rappers of the 80's who were teenagers in the Reagan- Bush Era sound more intelligent than grown men in their 20's and 30's in the age of Obama? Just compare the lyrics of a young Kool Moe D or Grandmaster Caz with the ramblings of Waka Flocka or Gucci Mane. So the "product of my environment" excuse just doesn't fly in the face of facts.

What we have is the mass marketing of ignorance, a classic case of supply and demand. There are people who want to see black buffoonery and an industry more than happy to give it to them in large doses.

As we enter into an era where some people are trying to "turn back the clock" on African American progress, the actions of Waka Flocka Flame cannot be viewed in a political vacuum. In a time when many people want to put us back on the plantation we don't need rappers to supply the lyrical whips to beat us into submission.

So, what should we do? In truth, legitimate illiteracy is a major problem in poor communities. However, these folks should be helped and not exploited on TV. Perhaps there should be some "United Negro College Fund" for rappers to encourage artists like Wacka Flaka to obtain a higher education or develop a Hip Hop Rites of a Passage where more socio- politically conscious rappers take artists such as Flame and mentor them.

If that doesn't work, then it is time for some tough love. Like the old "scared straight" program, stupid rappers need to be "sacred smart" or risk being pulled off stage like KRS One did PM Dawn back in the day by crowds of disgusted black folks who are tired of seeing us portrayed as buffoons.

Either way it goes down, a change must come.

These are critical times for African Americans and we are in the fight of our lives against ignorance. We are at the bottom of the ninth inning; the end of the fourth quarter; down by three points with two seconds on the shot clock. There is a time for subtle diplomacy, but as Waka Flocka Flame said himself, there is also a time to "go hard in the paint."

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott writes for No Warning Shots can be reached at For more information on Intelligence Over Ignorance lecture series contact or (919) 451-8283

Thursday, October 7, 2010

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott discusses COINTELPRO

Radio program WE All Be Rsdio discussing the COINTELPRO's effect on the Black community.