Hip-Hop Home of the Brave

B-boy provocateurs get organized this election

Hip-Hop Home of the Brave

"I see a message from the government, like every day, I watch it and listen and call them all suckas. They wanted me about Osama or whatever, picture me buying this scam, I say never." A longtime Bush-family provocateur, Paris attacks "Agents of Repression" as he evokes the great revolutionary spirit of Public Enemy. Reinforcing the sentiment of political rap as a lifetime process, Chuck D declares, "Déjô Bush, crushed by the head rush, 15 years back, when I wrote the first bum rush." In 2004, with "Buck Fush" appearing on MTV by way of a Jadakiss video, hip-hop maintains itself as a forum for such questions as "Why did Bush knock down the towers?"

In no uncertain terms, a wing of the B-boy kingdom has joined Saul Williams in his current pledge: "We believe that as people in the United States that it's our responsibility to resist the injustices done by our government in our names." Mr. Lif certainly wasted no time in pinpointing the underlying motivation for the invasion of Afghanistan: "What better place to start a war, to build a pipeline to get the oil that they had wanted before." And DJ Shadow and Zach de la Rocha reiterated the theme in their attack on Bush and his unjustified invasion of Iraq: "Here it comes, the sound of terror from above. He flexed his Texas twisted tongue, the poor lined up to kill in desert slums, for oil that burns beneath the desert sun." No wonder a recent nationwide Slam Bush competition incited such fervor, with Wordsworth succinctly summarizing the crux of the problem: "Iraq, Saddam Hussein, didn't find weapons, still went and bombed with planes."

Beyond mere lyrical criticism, the hip-hop nation is doing its fair share of organizing. Voter registration drives have become so commonplace that P. Diddy's marathon of media overexposure has been tolerated, if not admired. Aside from the weeklong National Hip-Hop Political Convention that was held in Newark during early summer, similar conferences have been conducted in Pittsburgh, Oakland, and San Jose, drawing such guests as Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, Tricia Rose, and Barbara Lee. What seems like the perfect time for journalist Adisa Banjoko's 12 Point Program for Hip-Hop's Revolutionary Rebirth, the utilization of rap music as a tool for positive change is as imperative now as it has ever been.

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