While American troops grind their asses of in the desert half a world away I thought I’d take a minute to salute some of the record labels and musicians that they are dying for in order to protect their right to practice their art in a democracy (relatively speaking, of course).

The soldiers aren’t just defending the freedoms that are guaranteed under the Bill of Rights and described in the First Amendment. Shit like the ability to say bitch, nigger, ho and TPAR is a cocksucker are intrinsic American rights, and these soldiers hard work means that obscure music labels can continue to release music that most of us will never hear, or for that matter even care to.

Rhymesayers Entertainment – This label is responsible for artists and groups like Eyedea, Atmosphere, Psalm One, Micranots and Vitamin D. MF Doom’s album ‘MM Food’ was also released by this label. Their most recognizable (read: marketable) artist is a dude named Brother Ali. I met dude this past winter while I was Utah and I was surprised by his flow and stage presence. Homey can actually spit but y’all will never know if you leave it up to XXL (no subliminal disrespect to Eskay or E Dubbz). It’s just hard to get excited for rap niggas eating granola and talking that hippie shit about freeing your mind.

Uncle Howie Records – Most of you humps know bout Non Phixion and Immortal Technique, but how about Goretex, Mr. Hyde and Necro? Shouts to all the rap nerds that have the album ‘Sabacolypse’ on cassette. As long as you dinosaurs roam the Earth Hip-Hop will never die.

Screwed Up Records – Now before any of you jokers accuse me of “hating” on the south again I just want to say that Screwed Up Records has the illest lineup of artists if you just consider their names alone. Everybody already knows Z-Ro and Trae Bag, but how about all these other fools? Fat Pat, Big Hawk, Big Pokey, Big Jut, Big Moe, Botany Boyz, Lil' Keke, Lil' Head, and my GOAT favorite rapper name, Lil' 3rd. If you have any joints with Lil’ 3rd on them I suggest you keep them because they will be worth wild money in the future.

Peanuts & Corn Records – Shouts to Tara Henley who avoided me at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival as though I were a stalker (am not!). This label is the premier Hip-Hop imprint in Canada which might as well be the equivalent of Serbia as far as most rap fans are concerned. The label’s founder is a rapper named mcenroe and dude is hell’a prolific. As a matter of fact he has the work ethic of one of those slaves that ran non-stop all the way to Canada via the Underground Railroad.

Dame Dash Music Group – Nahh, never heard of ‘em.

There you have it party people. Just a few of the independent rap music labels doing their thing in 2007 to keep this Hip-Hop culture vibrant and viable. Almost makes me want to start a label my damn self. Speaking of starting my own label...