|Fri, October 19, 2012 at 10:46 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
I started writing lyrics to inspire, challenge, and uplift. (I put partying and releasing stress under the inspire category.) I think about how much artists have affected me with words and I want to have that same impact on others. Yet as of late, it has become extremely difficult to listen to musical wasted potential. In a world full of turmoil with so many urgent issues facing us, it is difficult for me to tell you to wear Gucci belts and spend $300 for $30 bottles of liquor. So when given the opportunity to speak to millions of people, what will we as artists say?
I sat down to watch the Presidential debate and was utterly disturbed by Republican Candidate Mitt Romney's use of what some call "Coded Language." When asked about women's equal pay and equal opportunity, once you strip away the fluff, Gov. Romney basically said 'I made sure I hired a couple women for the sake of appearance and I don't make them work late so they can go home and cook.'
When asked about gun violence, Gov. Romney more or less landed on the topic of single parent families, citing them ultimately as the reason for deviant criminal behavior. When you think about single parent families, what demographic comes to mind? What is alarming is that you could feel the tone in his voice. He went on to address these underprivileged communities with an aura of judgment as opposed to empathy.
In my generation we refer to what Gov. Romney is doing as "Talking Slick" or "Talking Greasy." It is the age old art of subliminally trying to mind f-k the audience with an elevated indirect game of word association.
So right now you are probably thinking "J. Keys what does this have to do with the music of your generation?" The answer is simple - EVERYTHING. Through non-response, we are allowing one of our loudest voices to go unheard. By talking about bottles in the club in response to health care policy and about expensive foreign cars in response to stimulating the economy, we are complicit in the muffling of our own voice.
In the 80's and early 90's, hip-hop music commonly included content that challenged the status quo. In turn politicians, corporate America, and conservative government tried to ban and censor hip-hop artists such as 2Pac, Public Enemy, and N.W.A. In 2013, we have more mediums than ever to get our voices heard, yet we are censoring ourselves with materialism and monotony.
Let's resist y'all! Let's speak, be heard, listen, and be listened to!
|Fri, March 09, 2012 at 11:02 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
ts-jay-z-reference-99-problems.jpg">Two Florida state representatives got into a debate over the lyrics to Jay-Z's "99 Problems" on the floor of the Florida House of Representatives Wednesday while discussing an amendment to the Florida Evidence Code regarding allowing certain types of hearsay as evidence:
REP. ALAN B. WILLIAMS: I think one of the reasons why were supporting the amendment is because we got such a warm and fuzzy farewell from you to set the mood to support this amendment. To go even further, you think about a wise businessman. He even said he knows his rights. And Jay-Zâ€¦I think Jay-Z said it best and I'm going to quote for you. "I know my rights and you're going to need a warrant for that." And he even went further, "Aren't you sharp as a tack, are you a lawyer or something?" Members, when you look at it, support this. If you support Jay-Z, support this amendment. Thank you.
SPEAKER DEAN CANNON: I must respectfully disagree with a correction, Rep. Williams. In the song, it was the officer who said, "Aren't you sharp as a tack?" or something. "You should try for lawyer or something," so I got you on that. It's an unspoken rule, if you're going to invoke Jay-Z, you must get the lyrics correct. I'm not sure Jay-Z would support this amendment.
|Thurs, August 19, 2010 at 2:22 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Questions over whether Haitian hip-hop star Wyclef Jean meets the legal requirements to run for the presidency of his earthquake-ravaged homeland have stirred feverish expectation and fears that political tensions could bedevil the arduous post-quake reconstruction.
Uncertainty in the poor, volatile Caribbean state has jumped since the electoral authority postponed to Friday an announcement set for Tuesday of which candidates were qualified to run in the November 28 election. The poll will choose a successor to President Rene Preval, who cannot stand again.
Jean, a 40-year-old singer-songwriter and international celebrity who is widely popular in Haiti, figures on a list of 34 presidential contenders who include veteran politicians. His candidacy and that of several others is being challenged.
The political temperature is rising at a time when Haiti is struggling to recover from a magnitude 7 earthquake that struck the teeming capital and surrounding area on January 12, killing up to 300,000 people and dealing a crippling blow to the already underdeveloped economy of the poorest state in the Americas.
Here are some questions and answers about the issues and risks surrounding Friday's decision on Jean's candidacy:
WHY IS WYCLEF JEAN'S CANDIDACY UNDER SCRUTINY?
Haitian electoral law stipulates that candidates must have had five consecutive years of residency in the country. There are questions about whether Jean, who went with his family to live in New York at the age of nine and launched his music career in the United States, fulfills this requirement.
He and his lawyers argue that he does. They cite his Haitian passport, his rural family home at Lassere outside Port-au-Prince and his share in local commercial TV station Telemax. They say he has maintained a "constant presence" in Haiti since 2005, while arguing his appointment in 2007 as a roving "ambassador-at-large" for Haiti involved some inevitable absences from the country.
Jean's tax compliance situation has also come under scrutiny, both in Haiti and the United States. His lawyers say they have presented documents demonstrating his compliance in Haiti and the singer himself says he is dealing with reported problems with U.S. authorities over his U.S. income tax.
Besides these legal issues, Jean has also faced questions about whether an international celebrity with no political experience is the best person to lead a chronically poor and corrupt nation that is coming out of a devastating disaster.
He says that this international status will be an asset in securing funds and partners to help rebuild the nation.
"We are waiting patiently for the electoral council to release the results," he told Reuters Wednesday.
COULD THERE BE UNREST IF HIS CANDIDACY IS REJECTED?
Yes. Jean's presidential bid has galvanized the Haitian political scene, triggering enthusiasm among the country's restless, widely-unemployed youth, who see him as a refreshing symbol of home-grown hope, and alarm among the traditional Haitian political elite that feels threatened by him.
In the still rubble-strewn streets of the wrecked capital, slogans scrawled in Creole on the walls reading "Youth supports Youth" and "Wyclef means change" testify to the powerful political energy generated by his candidacy.
But this could turn sour and violent if the electoral council rejects his candidacy. Many may suspect powerful political and business elites had a hand in torpedoing his bi
|Wed, November 18, 2009 at 3:40 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Nas and Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley have teamed with National Geographic and V-Tech to present the "Distant Relatives" panel debate in Washington, DC next month.
The "Distant Relatives" panel debate will feature DJ Kool Herc, DJ Red Alert, dance hall legend Daddy U-Roy , Jeff Chang, Rakim and King Jammy.
The discussion will be moderated by radio personality/MTV host Sway Calloway. The event, which is being filmed for a documentary, will explore the origins of Hip-Hop in addition to the global impact the genre of music has had around the world.
For those who cannot attend the actual event, the discussion will also be streamed live and broadcast via National Geographic's natgeomusic.net website.
An after party and open-mic show at DC nightclub Zanzibar will take place following the discussion.
Nas and Damian Marley's "Distant Relatives" panel is slated to take place at National Geographic's Grosvenor Auditorium on December 12.
Tickets are limited...More NAS/DAMIAN MARLEY