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Rhymefest: The Everyday Low Price of Economic Freedom

“Now, I’m not one to judge a person’s political, religious or [even] artistic views; however, the reasons that this artist gave were so fucking erroneous and outrageous that it compels me to speak out, even if only to give fans the right information so that we are not following uninformed-ass rappers down the hole of ‘abstract nothingness.’

Rhymefest, MySpace blog (complete with “Intellectuals Only” warning)

I thought Rhymefest was supposed to be one of the smart ones. The way some of the writers at Okayplayer bump him, I thought he was Frederick fuckin Douglass. Then again, that great bastion of truer-than-true hip-hop and allied enlightened music gave Solange a blog soooo… I guess I can’t really call it, can I?

Fest, who ironically enough refers to himself as El Che, offered the above preamble as part of a nasty little quasi-intellectual spat with Lupe Fiasco, who I hear is still holding down the “Low Kick” button to charge up his bicycle kick for Byron Crawford. As both “conscious rappers” have exhibited, not every nigga who owns a Che Guevara t-shirt or sips a delicious Dwele-flavored McCafe is a revolutionary.

“Abstract nothingness”, you say? Put a pin in that. We’ll come back to it.

Rhymefest’s most recent form of political involvement involves an ongoing protest intent on creating jobs in a low-income (pronounced: “black”) neighborhood in Chicago. To counteract what he considers the ill effects of the current repression (recession + depression), Rhymefest lobbies Chicago’s City Hall to bring a Wal-Mart to the community.

“Mm-MMMM. These everyday low prices show-liz the key to social and economic justice! Daquan, get me two more of them 5 gallon Poppin’ Pink Lemonades!”

-Anonymous black mother

Do you know what Che Guevara would do if Wal-Mart came within stolen military jeep distance of his hood? The nigga would toss Molotov cocktails through the store windows every morning until he and his merry men could make communal use of the imperialist ashes.

What person with a 100-level sociology or economics education looks at an impoverished community and decides begs for Wal-Mart? That’s like walking around doused in kerosene and begging for someone to toss you a lit match. Rhymefest is focusing on 300 to 500 minimum wage jobs that may not all go to the members of the community in question.

Worse still, Wal-Mart is like a stage 4 malignant brain tumor for the small business network in a community. Every local small business owner and employee will end up assed the fuck out with little recourse except, maybe filling out a Wal-Mart application.

Hitting the ho stroll sounds like progress and economic empowerment to me.

This scenario reminds me of when simple house niggas like Magic Johnson tried to feed Harlem residents a bunch of bullshit about this mass economic development initiative called the “Empowerment Zone”. Basically, the Empowerment Zone was a group of corporations like Starbucks, Loew’s, Gap Inc. and Disney sounding the trumpets of colonialism. They no longer feared the heart of darkness. Late 90s Harlem was safe enough to open up shop without fear of busted out windows and stolen goods in the cover of night.

Okay, I wouldn’t go that far. They still had to fuck with the pull-down gates after closing. This is a Martin Luther King, jr. Boulevard we’re talking about after all. It even intersects with a Malcolm X. Wowsers!

The only benefit I could derive from the same minimum wage jobs we always had being a little closer was how much we could save in subway tokens. Otherwise, all that shit was gonna do was increase value of properties we didn’t own.

Lo and behold, ten years later, Harlem residents have become Alabama residents.

All Wal-Mart has ever done for an impoverished community is assure a life of virtually inescapable poverty line slavery. As for me, majority time I’m trynna stay above the poverty line. That’s a major part of my grind. The key operative, of course, being “above”.

Granted, I’d just come from Wal-Mart like 15 minutes before seeing this video, but I’m sayin. You boycott 90-cent dental floss then, Huey Freeman. I’m just a victim of contemporary economic slavery who knows better than to think my patronage helped anyone in or close to my situation.

On the other hand, “abstract nothingness” bangs pots and pans in the streets and draws attention to itself without understanding why.

Questions? Comments? Requests? I’ll boycott Wal-Mart if you do?

This nigga must have an everyday low-price CD deal at Wal-Mart or some shit.

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