Black People Really Heart Progressive Hip-Hop…
Yesterday I skipped out on the ignoramus show also known as the XXL mag Dot Com comments thread to attend a concert organized by a progressive group called the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. These are the types of negroes that are all about trying to fight for equality and justice in neighborhoods where the impoverished residents are constantly being harassed and threatened by the police. These are the traditionally under-served areas where the schools are failing and falling apart. There aren’t any healthy nutritional options for the residents of these areas and these are the neighborhoods where the law UNforcement is actually state sponsored terrorism. Basically, poor Black and Latino communities.
MXGM has been organizing a music event every August for the last ten years. The Black August concert helps raise funds for the MXGM to run some of their operations which include the CopWatch program that uses video to document and expose police brutality, and the seminars they host which teach people their rights and procedures to follow when being terrorized by police. The MXGM’s goal is essentially empowerment through education and community development. That shit might sound lofty and pie in the sky to some of you people but after over ten years of active resistance to Supremacy I see that MXGM is dedicated to their cause. And that’s more than I can say for myself.
I stopped believing that impoverished communities could be saved years ago. I’m more concerned now that working class and middle class communities are adopting the values of the poor. It’s impossible to transfer the value of education to a person that is part of the classic poverty set. That’s like feeding milk to someone who is lactose intolerant. Their internal system can’t digest it. The same way poor people can’t appreciate the value of education or hard work that doesn’t provide instant gratification. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement has been defending a segment of the population that doesn’t even give a fuck about them. That’s some pretty heavy shit on my mind. I don’t know why some of the folks at the MXGM even carry on with their movement. It would be so much easier to just help lightskinned Blacks further assimilate like the NAACP does than to help the poor Black people find empowerment for their lives. Especially when those niggers will throw rocks at you at the end of the day anyhoo. But still the MXGM perserveres.
Yesterday’s concert was a tribute to all the political prisoners that the MXGM supports as well as a recognition of the 60th birthday of Assata Shakur. Blackstar was scheduled to perform and dead prez, who has been in the front of this movement from the gate was also going to bless the stage. In the back of my mind I thought that Common or KanYe might show up too since Chicago as a city has a long history in supporting grassroots movements. Whether it be for worker’s rights or anti-police brutality platforms. DJ Evil Dee and DJ D-Nice were listed as the music providers. This meant that I’d get to hear some Black Moon, KRS-1 and a whole lot of other rap music that hasn’t been on the radio in a decade, certainly no DipSet, Jeezy or Fifty Cent from the speakers on this night. I’m not complaining either, I’m just saying.
A couple of acts opened the show up that were diverse and definitely setting the mood for a classic backpacker vibe. I don’t know if you cats have ever heard of this group from Chicago called Rebel Diaz, but they got on stage first. They have a Puerto Rican chick in their group who has that rapid fire rap style that so many Puerto Ricans can employ. How do they do that? The next group was a Hip-Hop harmonizing quintet called something God Iz. I kind of forget their name because I went to the bathroom and the bar and the vending area. I could still hear them performing and they had someone doing a beatbox as their background music. Just the usual Biz Markie type sound and nothing along the lines of a Dougie Fresh or a Rahzel. I was starting to feel like maybe I shouldn’t have begged Eskay to give me this assignment. The concert was starting to have the feel of one of those talent showcases that you might see in a church basement, except we were in the Nokia Theatre in Times Square, NYC.
DJ D-Nice came on to do a set and he was having some technical difficulties with his equipment [||], he became so frustrated he cut his set short. Right behind D-Nice some of the RBG family got on the mic. Dudes name was Umi and I don’t know if he is part of the A-Alikes or not, maybe one of you white cats knows the deal on homey. White cats be knowing shit you don’t expect them to know. White cats were in the building too, but that’s always expected when I go to see good music somewhere. If you have a sick flow and a hard ass beat a white will get their bounce on to a song no matter what. Even if that shit is called ‘Kill ‘Dat Cracker!’. White didn’t overwhelm the audience this time like they did at the Rock The Bells show. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many Black people actually showed up for this event. My only explanation for this must be that MXGM was giving away too many comp tickets.
dead prez came onstage and that began the feature part of the evening. I have to give a shout to the show’s organizers for how they ordered the edutainment. Right after dead prez’ set they brought onto the stage several activists that defined the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and the purpose of the struggle at hand. Please take a few minutes to read their ‘About Us’ website page and support the movement in any way that you think is progressive. These folks are putting in the infantry work that ultimately doesn’t get recorded or respected, but without their efforts I wonder where we all would be right now with our struggle with Supremacy.
That’s when the show started up again and it didn’t stop until we were all Hip-Hop’d out. DJ Scratch did his turntablist thing. Mos Def came out and got the crowd rocking with his singing and emceeing. Mos Def is what being an emcee is all about. Most rappers don’t realize that being a Master of the Ceremony means that you have to keep the audience in check when tech problems arise. The Nokia Theatre sound crew had several problems with their equipment last night, but Mos kep everybody in the crowd laughing and ready to party. When a group of white up against the stage was yelling for Blackstar, Mos shut them down telling them that by yelling out it would not make Talib Kweli fall from the rafters. The show had an order and they were gonna have to wait. What we got for waiting was more than we paid for.
We got a set from Common, whose ‘Finding Forever’ was not lost on this crowd of fans who prah’lee didn’t read the internets reviews of the rap music experts. We got a long set from Talib as well as the Blackstar hits that we knew were going to drop. I’ve seen Mos and Talib perform prah’lee six billion times in my life and I never get tired of their sets because they add a new wrinkle every time. It’s like these two friends are in their parent’s basement just kicking shit passing the trees back and forth and just having fun. One of my favorite points in Talib’s set was when Jazzy Joyce put on the instrumentals for NaS’ ‘I Can’ and then Talib induced the crowd to sing the chorus with him. LOL and Purple Hulk were definitely not part of this engaged and willing audience. The show closed with Mos Def performing ‘Umi Says’ and the entire theatre singing along with him. Overall, it was a great evening for peace, love and unity through Hip-Hop, and what do you know, Black people actually outnumbered the white in the audience. I guess Black folks really do love the Hip-Hop shit.