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Thursday, April 17 2014 @ 01:35 PM CDT

Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique

News ArchiveThe connection between Revolution and Gangsta Rap is not only unquestionable in my mind but also historically speaking. So much so that I'm forced to begin to elaborate on it now as I go to more prisons, juvenile centers and schools to talk with young people with uncertain futures about the industry. They ask me about the messages and images in the music. They ask about the origins of this street sound that seems to define what they see as their life and destiny. It is therefore my duty to remind them the way I must remind myself and all of you that even though I'm in my twenties, I am old enough to remember being in grade school and hearing the Ice Cube albums, Public Enemy, NWA, The Geto Boyz, Ice-T, and others. The connection between Revolution and Gangsta Rap is not only unquestionable in my mind but also historically speaking. So much so that I'm forced to begin to elaborate on it now as I go to more prisons, juvenile centers and schools to talk with young people with uncertain futures about the industry. They ask me about the messages and images in the music. They ask about the origins of this street sound that seems to define what they see as their life and destiny.

It is therefore my duty to remind them the way I must remind myself and all of you that even though I'm in my twenties, I am old enough to remember being in grade school and hearing the Ice Cube albums, Public Enemy, NWA, The Geto Boyz, Ice-T, and others. They, and those behind the scenes at the time, created projects that defined their prospective region for their hard-core sound but much more so for their rebellious nature, storytelling and political discourse. Just like most of our originators (RUN DMC didn’t start Hip Hop) Schoolly D is often overlooked as the person who in the mid 1980’s actually carved a niche and started to include these hardcore gangsta phrases into his music. But the expansion of the type of sound he made and the vivid imagery of the streets created by others such as Melle Mel helped the 80’s and early 90’s Hip Hop Artists take these building block concepts and become master masons of words. I personally always loved it-- curses, crazy concepts and all but I could see how some people who are not familiar with the culture of Hip hop could be apprehensive. They are filled with vulgarity, they're disrespectful to women, and they are horribly violent, but tell me isn't Revolution sometimes the same way? It's not what we would like it to be, because now more than ever it is romanticized and idealized. But even for the most just-cause there are innocent people that are killed or imprisoned and the theater of war always has a rape scene regardless of how beautiful the victory parade is weeks or year's later celebrating newfound freedom.

So please don't feed me Mythology and liberal bullshit about the nature of Revolution. It is often bloody and it's not always a surgical strike fueled by the political ego of a military coup. Many times it is done by the people themselves. Not “Professional Revolutionaries” rather, it's done by kids who are fed up with the world their parents and grandparents have left them. Sometimes these youth are manipulated altogether by other countries (ahem CIA) and special interest groups that see them as a way to gain economically and rise to power (ahem a correlation to Record labels)... But anger against the system and it's constant oppression is the cause of these words and actions. Gangsta Rap was another form of Revolutionary music-- it reached the unreachable, regardless of age, race, creed or gender. It taught the un-teachable. It made me (who at the time was hustlin', robbin' and stealing) truly listen because I felt like these people who were in the streets, who I could identify with, were talking about a world I could see but never had explained to me.

For example when I heard The Geto Boys' album We Can't be Stopped, Ice-T’s O.G., Ice Cube's Amerikkka'z Most Wanted and KRS-1’s Criminal Minded it made a strong impression of how the world really was. As I said before, it stated what I knew but could not articulate well yet. Also interesting is that Criminal Minded was considered Gangsta Rap (or as it was called then- “Reality Rap”) at the time but now (like the rest of these albums should be) is classified as being Revolutionary. Similarly, Public Enemy is renowned for being Revolutionary but is not considered Gangsta even though they had a violent and extremely aggressive attitude towards dealing with the government and its hypocritical foreign policy and urban domestic failures. Albums and artists like these and the works of people such as the legendary Kool G Rap who redefined wordplay though are not the face of gangsta rap today. Even the social commentaries that were found hidden among the genius musical works of Dr.Dre and Snoop Dogg are absent from the scene after the turn of the Millennium. And even though we always hear this theme repeated about the very nature of Hip Hop and how it has evolved or de-evolved some would say, if you look at Gangsta Rap now and then back then, the Revolutionary element is for the most part completely sanitized by the corporate structure.

Although I named mostly West Coast and Down South Artists, the East Coast had just as many Gangsta Rappers only we looked at them differently because they were not as openly affiliated with any noticeable gangs such as the Bloods and Crips. After all, New York’s Urban Empire was built upon street crews and educated hood syndicates such as the 5% nation at the time much more than colored rags even though some had several ties to local organized crime. (i.e.: Just-Ice, Wu-Tang, DITC, Nas, Biggie, Mobb Deep Black Moon to name a few...) But just remember that all areas whether they were the East, West, South, or Mid-West that even their most brutal musical origin are inseparable from the ideological Revolution that spawned them in the minds of urban youth. A factoid of information probably purposely forgotten through the years is that before it was labeled “Gangsta Rap” by the industry itself it was called “Reality Rap” by those individuals that created it, therefore that being the point of origin there is no way it cannot return to that, it just has to be done correctly.

Reality Rap, or as we know it now Gangsta rap, can be very Revolutionary, although Revolution is very rarely a part of the BUSINESS side of any genre of music and more specifically Hip Hop. Revolutionaries work for the people. They take it upon themselves to dedicate their passion, love and hard work for the cause. But without the direction of a vision and those that would have grown any sort of true leadership skills they are essentially the horse from Animal Farm. While the average Gangsta is not motivated by the community, but rather capital gain and avarice, the average rapper reflects the survivalist attitude often overblown and exaggerated into greed rather than any proletariat example. But it is because these young soldiers have no self identification and no knowledge of their people and that's why they cling to the imagery of 3rd world warlords, drug kingpins, and well known members of the Italian and Jewish Mafia. They emulate characters written by script writers and not the heroes of their own people. The argument can be made that they don't know them, but many times though they are familiar with the names of our Revolutionary heroes and have some idea of their impact they don't see their example as relevant in our daily lives.

Think about it... we can even name a Black basketball player or a Latino Baseball player before coming close to naming a Doctor or a Scientist of the same ethnic background. Our youth and young adults see these gangstas and other ruthless men as powerful beyond the scope of a government that holds them prisoner. People emulate their oppressor and worship those that defy him openly. That's why they don't respect a college graduate as much as a gang leader in the street or someone who survives prison unfortunately. They don't see assimilation within the system as the type of achievement that could lead beyond the scope. And even though we may reach for the stars, the glass ceiling doesn't even let us see the country around us let alone the world from the roof of our projects. All we see is the immediate route (which is wrong) and it becomes viable but understandable so, as this is not a criticism of young people today or people of color but of all OUR people today.

Remember also that the average Gangsta in the streets is not a boss he/she is a mid level manager of a criminal industry in which they own no stocks. They would be more like a little piglet or a dog in animal farm, not a big hog like the people who embezzle billions out of Iraq, War profiteers, Stock scammers, Corrupt CEO's, Renegade Lawyers, Publishing Giants, Record Label Monopolies, Global Conglomerate executives, Senators, Congressman, and local politicians. These are not just real gangsters, they are the realest in the world, the most powerful, the ones who don't need to step to you in front of a Bodega or write a song about you because they ruin lives, crush families and whole sections of society with an ink stroke from the top of a huge building. In other countries like Colombia and Brazil there is such a division between this class of people and the average citizen that the economic aristocracy has to travel from rooftop to secured rooftop on a helicopter rather than go out in the street!!!

You can see that as good or bad, pathetic, indicative of society... but that's gangsta.

And Hip Hop is a reflection of that.

Because it's our culture where we are now, and though it may not be where we want to be, especially not the people who read this... but if we do not acknowledge where we are then there is no point of reference or origin as I stated before to get where we need to go. (I had an old movie on bootleg called Stargate and the beginning of it explains this concept simply.) If we have to change the petty image of a crack dealer being held in the highest esteem then you must have a replacement for our youngest adolescents, not just Malcolm and Che, because they don't have any movies out right now. And this society is built on fast moving, split screen, ADD causing imagery and sound. Our true heroes don't have too many DVD’s out and they aren't being blasted into the airwaves, why do you think Tupac is still canonized in the hood?!?!?!? Even though he's been dead for 10 years he still sells more records than most other artists because he was a Gangsta Rapper in the truest sense of the Revolutionary doctrine. He made Reality Rap and put forth the example of a people’s legacy that went back beyond slavery and colonization where our history starts to get fuzzy. Our children should have heroes back home where we originate from, and ones that are prisoners of the system and fighting against it today. We should have people that are not glorified on T-shirts as often but who fought for independence celebrated more and studied, not just to examine their success but to learn from their failures.

But real the reason we do not have them as an example is that those predecessors of Revolution today are not on the corner of our neighborhoods being marketed to us, that’s why the average artist today no matter how manufactured their corporate bought thug image may be, are seen as legitimate by the youth.

After all you cannot just ask us to read a book, first we need to learn to read. I see that now.

Remember sometimes a Revolutionary has to do things that resemble a gangsta’s behavior. I myself have done things of that nature, not to call that a positive thing but we cannot ignore the fact that a closed mouth doesn't get fed. And most of the people that talk about Hip Hop for the love and just for music are usually getting paid while they want you to do things for free for exposure. We need to protect our people and sometimes we confront people who mistake us for ignorant hoodrats so my soldiers and warriors are strong and their resolve steadfast. I have often heard Frank Sinatra and others from that time criticized for having mob ties, but tell me who didn’t back then? Whether the music industry likes to admit it or not, Gangsters did not come into play when Black and Brown people started talking about Violence the mafia has always played a role in the music business. Not to excuse his tactics, but when people focus on Suge Knight all the time (the quintessential criminal involved in music) that’s laughable considering he wasn’t half as connected, ruthless or well paid as some of his predecessors who were not Black or as high profile. That’s not playing the race card son, that’s real talk. The business of this music after all was not built for the faint of heart, the weak minded or those who lack the ability to make decisions that have consequences. For the latter is the true definition of power.

Therefore a Gangsta can become a Revolutionary. It is a progressive step and a life changing process that forever restructures an individual such as Malcolm X and founding members of the Zulu Nation. However, a Revolutionary that becomes a gangsta is usually one that has become corrupted by power. A gangsta is in the business of extortion, gambling, murder, and prostituting our greatest resource and the soul of our people, our women. This is often achieved through glorified violence rather than fighting bitterly against an opponent that keeps them locked in their petri dish of a life. So tell me; how could that not corrupt anyone? If the strategy of using our position to fight a real enemy with violent tactics is driven by capital gain it is even more dangerous with the focus of accomplishing altruistic goals. But even in failure and that fall from grace there is the inspiration for other to continue the work. After the warriors of old have past there must be the young among us that rise to become greater than we could ever imagine in the 21st Century. For true greatness revolves much more around being consistently good rather and take personal responsibility as a people. Power without that perception is meaningless.

Fight hard my people. And learn your true history.

I look forward to seeing many more of my young soldiers rise to mature and become Warriors of all kinds, those move past their egos of being famous for being rappers and singers and control aspects of the hardworking industry, distribution, radio work, printers, engineers, CD manufacturing, graphics, independent media published and especially on the web!!!, IF we embedded ourselves in all these things to favor the Hip Hop we see as addressing real issues HALF as much as these industry roaches suck dick for some fake shit to make a dollar, we would push our agendas much further and to carry forth the true meaning of Reality Rap that became known as Gangsta Rap which can never forsake its Revolutionary origin.

And so, to my Revolutionaries of all walks of life...

Peace & Respect in the New Year...

Immortal
Technique
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Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique | 39 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, December 29 2006 @ 09:24 PM CST
Since when did infoshop publish Maoists work? IT is a Maoist. ie. "Industrial Revolution" No joke. Also the Coup are Marxists. Many songs refer to Mao- Boots was a member of the Mao-Mao Rhythm collective, as well. Dead Prez are confirmed socialists. ie. "Scattered people".

So- when do we draw the line in the sand? Can we be "comrades" with these folks whom identify with movements/ideologies that have in the past been a detriment to anarchism/anarchistic thought/action? Do we reach out to these misguided emcees and show that pumping Communism and Socialism is NO GOOD..?
Thoughts...?
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, December 29 2006 @ 10:30 PM CST
"...Boots was a member of the Mao-Mao Rhythm collective..."

Actually, he was part of the Mau Mau Rhythm Collective, named after the Kenyan Mau Mau Uprising. Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mau_Mau for details on that.
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, December 30 2006 @ 08:31 AM CST
ha ha! that is funny, can people please learn history before posting! AFrica not China.
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Collin Sick on Friday, December 29 2006 @ 10:35 PM CST
So, by this logic, should we also deny a voice for many of the political prisoners, such as Mumia, supported by the ABCF, and other anarchist prisoner support groups, simply because they're not anarchists? Should we write off Assata Shakur (after all, she is living in Cuba, a communist state, and she was broken out of prison by nationalists and communists), because she is sheltered from brutal American justice by a dictatorship? If the issue is that anarchists don't like communists, then where do we stop and when do we start to claim allies. I don't advocate a big tent approach to organizing for freedom, but if anarchists had not organized and communicated with Kuwasi Balagoon, would he have become an anarchist during his prison sentence(s)? Or should he have been abandoned because he was in the BLA/BPP and his comrades were communists? I think the answer should be clear.

I can't find one source in this essay that would represent his Maoism, he even criticizes "professional revolutionaries", aka cadres and vanguards, he describes an organic process of social revolution, as opposed to the communistic science of a political revolt. I believe in social revolution, but we can't always think with our hearts, honestly, most of the time anarchists are screwed by commies is because we're thinking with our hearts, not with our heads, not politically. We are political actors, whether we like it or not, now let's start to think of ourselves as such and act accordingly. It's okay to plan and strategize to win. Let's attack where the system is weak, and bring the fucker down.

Obviously we must differentiate between the ideologues: Lenin, Trotsky, Mao, Chavez, Bob Avakian, and those whom we can learn from: Angela Davis, Immortal Technique, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Bill Haywood. I also find it disheartening that many white anarchists (it's difficult to tell who's who on the net, so I'm not playing the blame game) are quick to write-off revolutionaries of color because they are not anarchists! The recent Sean Bell protests in NYC were not organized by anarchists, although I imagine some were there in solidarity. Does this mean we shouldn't support this protest or the struggle? Hell, no!

If our conclusions are that all communists are the enemy, then where does that leave us if communities of color organize to resist the racist state and capital? As a part of the white reactionary wave of repression that crushes the rebellion? Even though white anarchists will be saying "it's not because of race, it's that they're communists," would the reactionary white folks crushing the rebellion (alongside the state) even care why you're there(as they reestablish the white supremacist order)? We need to support our comrades who come from the ghettos and slums, the factories and convenience stores, but if we're out organized by communists, then who do we blame? We need to organize better, to do this we need to engage working white folks in critical discussions of race, specifically regarding white skin privilege, we need to go out and support the struggles of people of color, often meaning that you stand there with your mouth closed, at the back of the march holding whatever sign you're given (I mean this in the context of mass organizing: protests, marches, strikes, this still allows for autonomous affinity group solidarity that strikes at power structures of oppression).

I hope this contributes to a good dialogue on our relationship to communism, especially in regards to race.
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, December 30 2006 @ 08:21 AM CST
Thank you. When I read that original comment I was thinking the same thing.
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, December 30 2006 @ 12:57 AM CST
Clearly, it's pointless for anarchists to bother working with or even listen to non-anarchists. You know, since anarchism is theoretically perfect and all, and how the anarchists of the world are on the very cusp of achieving all of our stated goals. We have nothing to learn from people with other, inferior political perspectives.

- Jay Pee (is being sarcastic)

Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, December 30 2006 @ 02:26 AM CST
I think we should collaborate as much as possible. Collaboration with the workers state worked very well for the C.N.T and F.A.I.
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, December 29 2006 @ 09:31 PM CST
Immortal Technique, you should stick to your music.

This trite, commie bullshit could at least have been written better.
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Collin Sick on Friday, December 29 2006 @ 09:35 PM CST
Okay, how about some examples?
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, December 30 2006 @ 01:33 AM CST
I don't see overtly communist references in the article, though Che and Malcom X are presented as alternative role models without much criticism. I understand that isn't the point of the article, but I have notice that Immortal continues to express a certain reverence for Che, and as an anarchist, it makes me question his motivations. I also support Assata, but I'm critical of her position on Cuba, as well as different elements of the Black Liberation Movement. Having been part of an underground hip-hop scene for a little bit, I did notice a lot of uncritical, and sometimes admirative, treatment of different authoritarian leaders and struggles (particularly Che, Castro, Cuba, and the Panthers) by more explicitly political groups. This doesn't necessarily make me want to immediately disavow these musicians or individuals, but I'm critical and skeptical of their motivations. Another thing I noticed in Immortal's music is a certain degree of sexism and homophobia (and I think his closing statement treating "sucking dick" as a negative action is a relevant example of this). He has been called out on this at other times and should continue to be until he gets the point. I get a feeling from this piece and his music that he also has an image of Revolution as something somewhat macho, heroic, and largely a man's game. I identify as a person of color, but I also identify as an anarchist, and have notice that when it comes to critical analysis, a certain degree of slack is being cut to POC activist and POC struggles by other non-POC anarchist or anti-authoritarians. Quite frankly, I find that
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, December 30 2006 @ 06:11 AM CST
I think we're all missing an important point. The main point of his article is to tell us that gangsta rap is hip hop. Ok great, but what is hip hop? I'm sorry but in my opinion hip hop is as revolutionary as punk rock. It belongs to the ruling class, lock stock and barrel. Immortal to me sounds just like any 17 year old kid defending his choice in music and fashion. It reminds me of countless conversations about punk or hardcore. I think that's what it all boils down to for him -- he's hip hop before anything else. Before getting all fussy and debating his politics we should realize that. And people like that -- can't be trusted. Just look at some of the artists he mentioned. How comfotably are these "artists" living in our wonderful capitalist empire. Yes they were angry, but primarily they just wanted to sell records. I guess I'm too cool or something, but I never needed anyone to tell me "fuck the police". I knew that already :)
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, December 30 2006 @ 03:02 PM CST

Woah, fuck you, dude. Punk rock belongs to the working class to the
extent to which it is a commodified, hierarchical, ritualized subculture--
but it also can be a hotbed of autonomous creativity and cooperation.
D.i.y. music is a great introduction to the broader possibilities of
anarchist activity.

In all seriousness, how many infoshop.org users came into anarchism
through punk rock? Probably more than would care to admit it. Don't
discount the potential of resistance culture. You can say it's not
important for you, but I know it's been pivotal for me and countless
others, and many of us now are engaged in social projects that go way
beyond a subcultural niche.
OOPS!!
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, December 30 2006 @ 03:06 PM CST

In the post above, for "working class," read "ruling class." I got carried
away by my own vitriol.
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, December 30 2006 @ 08:03 AM CST
The problem with our lack of social movements is that they are based in these subcultures: punk rock, hip hop, house, electronica, artfags, hipsters, whatever. Most of these are self-contained microcosms of society (complete with their cultural mafia) controlled by the labels, publishing giants, fashion gods and power brokers. I think that tech's critique of such a system goes widely unnoticed.

I also think the last repliant is selling tech short on the question of his priorities. The man made himself heard upon the soapbox of hiphop and has radicalized a fair number of youth as such. I think hiphop is his means to the end of revolution.

Last but not least, yes immortal technique is macho and uses patriarchal and often homophobic language, but get real people. I wonder if any of those who wish to organize the working class have ever stepped foot into the bowels of reality. people are racist, homophobic, sexist, and fucked up by what they are taught. you first need to connect with them on common ground, such as class (or...). then you can work on negating the prejudices and destructive behaviors they hold and exhibit. i think tech understands this and has started addressing said shit.

all of this petty nitpicking shit will forever prevent "Anarchists" from inspiring/instigating/carrying out a revolution here in the states. drop the ego!
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, December 30 2006 @ 08:43 AM CST
Anarchists do not have a monoply on autonomous leftism!
I dont care what you call yourself all that matters is the practical! If you are waiting for everyone to wear black and us cool little activist words to discribe how they are feeling at any given momment you will be waiting a long time!


The "anarchist movment" is not a movement or a subculture so people need to stop acting like it is! Our past is laughing at us.
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, December 30 2006 @ 09:01 AM CST
Im the writer of the first reply. I don't identify as an anarchist- or a communist- or any other ist' for that matter. I merely had some questions and wanted to see what others were thinking- I guess I offended or maybe misled some folks and they appear to have become somewhat defensive. I agree with said poster that states that POC movements are cut 'slack', and are held to lower standards- that in itself is unacceptable. I love listening to DP/Coup/IT/Tahir/FTP/A-likes/etc/etc...but I get turned off when I hear refrences to communism it irks me and keeps me wary and I just remember the betrayals and backstabbing that communists have wrecked on anarchists and others that have attempted to form a semblance of solidarity with them or their offshoots. I suppose I was wrong about IT being communist. He however refers constantly to women as bitches and that alone pisses me off. You dont need to use that to "relate to the community" or "relate to a class". Many rappers dont refer to women as bitches and get by just fine- and their message is heard. Take Last Emperor. Take, well, even dead prez is shying away from their patriarchal past. I'll keep these emcees as arms length as 'comrades' and hope to talk with them next time I kick it- btw I know boots well and talk with him regularly, so there is a dialouge.

Oh yeah sorry I goofed on the Mau-Mau thing. I know that there are actual-self-endorsed lyrics in Boots' stuff that claims hes a Marxist. Guess I'm not perfect.

Oh and this isn't hate- its just to spark some thought- I see these 'political' rappers getting slack (where not should be given due to the seriousness of the scope of matters of which they speak) and if you claim militant, etc...then expect some analysis on your ideas and beliefs- because you need to know who your 'comrades' are before you jump in the tank with em'- so to speak.
~A
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, December 30 2006 @ 09:04 AM CST
oh yeah my source- on IT NOT claiming commie/anarchist/etc:
http://www.theog.net/article299.html

and the coup songs I'll pull up- just in a hurry atm
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Admin on Saturday, December 30 2006 @ 09:47 AM CST
I think that it would help our social movements if they were MORE based in these different cultures. A politicized culture is a positive thing, but these cultures aren't political enough. We know how political punk has been and how that culture got lots of people interested in anarchism and radical politics.

I think that it is a big mistake to distance our social movements from these cultures which have an affinity for our politics. Social movements in the past have had close relationships with social movements. The movements in the 1960s were closely associated with hippy and beatnik cultures. The social movements of the early 20th century were closely associated with immigrant cultures and avant garde art and theater.

The problem is when our movements are seen mainly as being associated with these cultures. For example, it would help if older anarchists were a bit more vocal, so outsiders couldn't dismiss our politics as some kind of "youthful rebellion."

Chuck
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, December 30 2006 @ 11:41 AM CST
I definitely see the importance of creating alternative cultures as another way of expressing ideas and practices. I was politicized in part by my own life experiences (being working class, getting you utilities cut off, wearing hand me downs, etc) but also by music and literature. The catalyst for me was, as clich
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, December 30 2006 @ 02:57 PM CST
"...prostituting our greatest resource and the soul of our people, our women."
That's serious. Reading in the context of the work of Malcolm X et al, that is an impressively anti-woman statement. I guess i could be off the mark here, but this seems to stick to the historical notion often accepted in the Black Panther Party and especially the Nation of Islam that women are a passive resource and revolution, theory and motion are the domain of the man. A statement like shuts wimmin out of even the audience by addressing it to men.
That said, it isn't up to me to define anyone else's struggle.
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, December 30 2006 @ 06:55 PM CST
A lot of the previous posts made really good points about the broader struggle, but what about this guy? If he's up on his history and concerned about "people's struggle" why is he a sexist and a homophobe -- isn't it pretty blatant? Is he too much of a tool that if he shuts it down he might alienate his target audience. You know the one, it's the same Limp Bizkit had. He makes music that "reflects the streets". I know I'm fishing for "you're a racist" or sometimes worse "you're from the suburbs" comments, but the streets he's referring to are disgusting. Does anyone hear really think that gangbanging is in any way revolutionary or at all positive. Outlaw corporations HOORAY!! I don't want to hear some story about latin kings giving food away or something. It's a smoke screen. Anyone here old enough to remember Nicky Barnes? Hip Hop might bring you to revolutionary ideas, but what do you do with them? I guess for Immortal Technique the answer to sell more hip hop.
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, December 30 2006 @ 11:46 PM CST
1. The roots of Rap music are sounds that were birthed and mixed together in the working class environments of mainly Black peoples, regardless of whatever gender issues and homophobic tendencies happened to be thrown into the mix at the time. Please do not make the mistake of supposing otherwise just because you walked into this argument with some preconceived notion of what Rap music is, whether you've "listened" to it or not.

2. After having interacted briefly with comrades who organized with the original Panthers, I came to the conclusion that despite whatever difficulties the Panthers faced in addressing issues of sexism or homophobia and despite whatever communist-flavored ideas they may have employed, they had an undeniably solid model for social change that they applied directly to the Black community's demands. The Panther model appealed to a lot of working class people of color. It did not come from white, American leftism either, which seemed to baffle a lot of goofballs and managed to light a fire under the asses of Black community members and white Allies alike. That movement emerged as a direct, effective response to the brazen, European-orignated imperialist attitudes that white, Christian men have based all institutions on since they fucking got here, and of Capitalism as an idea. Why do cops bother us so much? When our shit is effective!!!!! I'd like to reference anyone questioning this to the story of the people's struggle to improve the quality of life for themselves in and around the Desire housing project in New Orleans, LA, during the 1970's, with the organizational and financial support of the Black Panthers. The Panthers were not Black Nationalists. The Panther model emphasizes the necessity for Black peoples specifically and all other peoples in general who are involved in forms of class struggle to organize themselves and to strive towards achieving self-determination and detachment from the State.

3. I can't fucking write anymore because my friends want to go to some bougie ass party.

Okay. You can organize with revolutionary Socialists. Some of them are just as down to beat a nazi and smash the state as anyone claiming Anarchism, despite their commie flavorings. It's okay. Just expect to do most of the work in the str33tZ.


I hope this was an okay analysis. I can deal with it not being brilliant.


Oh yeah, and read "White Like Me" by Tim Wise. Now they are really whining at me so I have to go.


Francisco
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, December 31 2006 @ 12:23 AM CST
Assalamu alaykum, Eid Mubarak,

I know I'm fishing for "you're a racist" or sometimes worse "you're from the suburbs" comments, but the streets he's referring to are disgusting. Does anyone hear really think that gangbanging is in any way revolutionary or at all positive. Outlaw corporations HOORAY!! I don't want to hear some story about latin kings giving food away or something. It's a smoke screen.
---
I am just going to use you as an example. I do not identify myself as an anarchist, but as a muslim. I agree that gangsterism is destroying the communities. I think it is important to realize that many of the "gangsters" in these poor ghettos, barrios, favelas, are children. They live the lives that we despise because of ignorance and fear. As a former blood I can say that most of my comrades dealt drugs because they believed it was out of necessity. Nobody reached out to them. I myself was in the same trappings until an Iraqi muslim reached out to me as a muslim and as a friend at an inter-faith dialogue about the Iraq war.

Instead of writting off all poor criminals as "disgusting" perhaps you should try to act like a REAL revolutionary. Act like a brother/sister and help them to find their humanity again. I don't know how Immortal Technique treats women in real life - so I'm not going to say he's sexist; just like I'm not going to say that any of you are classist hypocrites. I'm not going to end this with a bunch of cliche "Fascist pig, pinko, neo-liberal" name calling either. The anarchist community from what I can see needs to stop rebuking every other political/religious group. It needs to take a long hard look at itself.

I already know what to expect as a response.. more sexist/authoritarian name calling from people who's main idea of solution to society's problems is a protest, mischief and minor sabotage. How many anarchists are fighting in Iraq against the occupation? How many are fighting in Iraq against the mistreatment of women? Or what about sex slavery? Sweatshops? Lets face it, most anarchists talk a good talk, but they are pacifists.
Francisco
Authored by: Admin on Sunday, December 31 2006 @ 02:07 AM CST
Spare us the generalizations about anarchists.

Chuck0
Francisco
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 02 2007 @ 12:28 AM CST
Dude, that was the most eloquant post on this otherwise-inane discussion, so far. Please lay off.
Francisco
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, December 31 2006 @ 12:09 PM CST
"Instead of writting off all poor criminals as "disgusting" perhaps you should try to act like a REAL revolutionary."

Sorry, the point I was trying to make is that the situation on "the streets" is disgusting. Not the individual people.

"I think it is important to realize that many of the "gangsters" in these poor ghettos, barrios, favelas, are children."

When I was a child I didn't have a good family situation, no support network, no one really to show me the ropes. I could've joined a gang. They were very prevelant in my neighborhood. I saw what that life was really about and made my own choice not to get involved. I was kind of a weird kid, maybe no gangs would even have me :) My point is, when you're a teenager you have to be accountable for your own choices and actions no matter how much hip hop glorifies your self destruction.

Much has been talked about on this site about organizing with people we don't like. The typical white union dude and so on. We should definetaly reach out to all people as much as possible. You have to draw a line somewhere. You will never be able to educate everyone and acclamate them to anarchism. Those peoples who aren't down have made their choice. We need to stop kissing everyones ass or dumbing people down. I think it's pretty clear anarchism or any philosophy were compassion and working together are key, will never fit with a subculture where all people care about are big homes, fancy cars, gangraping women, and killing eachother. The VAST majority of hip hop/gansta rap is bullshit. I'll even go so far to say that hip hop as a whole is the enemy. We're not abandoning Hip Hop, Hip Hop abandoned us! "Tech" is just another asshole selling himself. Maybe in ten years he'll co-star on the new hit series "Law and Order: Wait, Everyone's Already In Prison"
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, December 30 2006 @ 11:19 PM CST
I have to say that the people who mock the role of subcultures are predicating this on the idea that there is some homogenous whole of "people" out there whose minds can be changed for some mass event THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN! Open your eyes and you will find that the entire world is made up of various social clubs, be they punk, gangstas, opera goers, martial artists, bingo players, bla bla bla, it's a nebulous world we live in folks and not even capitalism changes that. The revolution will take on such a diverse form if it happens.

Wolverine
previous poster
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, December 31 2006 @ 04:41 AM CST
i understand how important reality is to a social revolutionary. in fact i just returned from a club. not saying that social networks and subcultures are invalid grounds for revolutionary struggle, i mean that radicals in said cultures need to use their networks as a base instead of a bank where cultural currency is stored.

"I
previous poster
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, December 31 2006 @ 05:01 AM CST
i didnt mean that "people" = white people by this last reply... also im not trying to cut p.o.c. any slack. but yeah, to be PC:

"people" are (strike racist), homophobic, sexist, and fucked up by what they are taught. you first need to connect with them on common ground, such as class (or...)
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, December 31 2006 @ 01:38 AM CST

"Think about it... we can even name a Black basketball player or a Latino Baseball player before coming close to naming a Doctor or a Scientist of the same ethnic background."

How many white people can name a doctor or a scientist? The reason we know the sports stars are because they are on t.v. all the time.

"Therefore a Gangsta can become a Revolutionary."

They can...once they get tired of ho's and bling.

To me a gangsta is nothing but a laissez-faire capitalist. Wouldn't every cpaitalist dream of a product that is addictive, brings ina lot of untaxed cash and you can wipe out the competition with bullets instead of marketing?
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, December 31 2006 @ 01:43 AM CST
One more thing: How many gangsta rap songs are there about people going to work everyday trying to make a better life for their families? What about the kid that makes it to college? Or starts their own business? Or starts a community organizing project?

Props to Immortal Technique. Whenever I forget what hip hop artist I'm listening to, he'll remind me every song.
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Collin Sick on Sunday, December 31 2006 @ 04:07 AM CST
On Scientists and Doctors

Just for fun (and because I think you're wrong), here's a few (and they're pop culture figures as well!):
Ben Franklin
Albert Einstein
Stephen Hawking
Isaac Newton
Benjamin Spock

On "gangsta rap"
You sound totally ignorant. There's a difference between the Young Dro's and Jeezy's and the Goodie Mobb's and The Clipse's of the artform. Hustlin' to survive is much different than being a laissez-faire capitalist, you can't seriously compare the two, the rich are accumulating resources for control and power, in addition they're not likely to be pulled over by the cops and be beaten, imprisoned, or murdered for doing so. It's a different story for poor folks who hustle to survive where every day "at work" could bring any number of unfortunate consequences (much like those who work in the legal economy). There's also a difference between MCs putting out songs about surviving in the streets by slangin' drugs (or hustlin'), and then the rappers who brag about truimphing by building crack/ho/theft empires that run the streets. Both of these visions are called "gangsta rap," but they're clearly not the same thing.
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, December 31 2006 @ 04:39 PM CST
Hip-Hop is hard, i definitely wish more hip-hop kids were involved in radical organizing, i grew up on hip-hop and i love the music and the culture immensely, but i definitely prefer the crust/anarcho-punk subculture to the political hip-hop subculture. It's so easy to be a "conscious" emcee, it doesnt really even mean anything these days, just release a record that doesn't mention shooting people or selling crack on every track and you're conscious. Also, in my experience, the hip-hop community has a much less action-based approach to radicalism then I would like. People say the right things on the mic and wear headwraps and kufis and we're supposed to think they are revolutionaries.

And yes I do believe that white radicals do expect a lot less of radical people of color in regards to comprehension or issues, political correctness, and refraining from talking about silly ass 5-percenter "scientifical" nonsense (white people being created in a laboratory, etc) and Alex Jones conspiracy theories. I'm black and I find these low expectations offensive and condescending, if an emcee calls people "faggots"they are treated like a 6 year old who just doesn't know any better.

Anyway, I love hip-hop and it definitely has a lot of revolutionary potential, but look less to the famous artists and more to the everyday kid with baggy pants and a long white t.
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 01 2007 @ 01:38 AM CST
Assalamu alaykum,

I don't think that social change will be found in the music that we listen to. Music is affected and accepted by so many variables and factors that it is a lost cause. Those with power will always have greater hegemony over the music industry. Change of society will not come with change in music, but change in music will come with change in society. When oppression is the norm it will be glorified. Black kids arn't listening to rap to be different, look around you, every SWF listens to rap these days. Like it or not it is "trendy".

So a few people drop some positive lines. You can't depend on them to change the system. That is laziness my friend. I've learned over the years the truth in the statement, "If you want something done right you have to do it yourself."

Expectations...

White people in general have always had low expectations of people of color. I think more importantly people of color have low expectations of eachother.. call it self-pity, perhaps it is apathy. Personally I think we need to stop seeing our differences in terms of race, and more in terms of class and moral/ethical behavior. I think that is something that is damaging the movement for social justice.

I don't think you being black adds to your credibility. Too often have I seen the "African Americans" mistreat the Africans from the "motherland" fresh off the boat. There is definately a strong cultural difference. The african american culture has the same problems as white american culture strongly embracing ignorance, ruthlessness, greed, vanity, conformism etc.

White america isn't in a position to save black america from its own cultural identity. White america has no credibility in the black community, rich or poor. Black america has to save itself. Back on the subject on street gangs I find it ironic how some of the street gangs were corrupted social improvement organizations. Some were street gangs that tried to reform to become social improvement organizations such as the Latin Kings. I don't think this is a smoke screen, but more as an attempt to do something positive with little education or know how. Many of these people are tragic heroes, King Tone, Stan "Tookie" Williams to name a couple.

I don't think we should lower our expectations of poor blacks, latinos etc. regardless of their criminal background. I do think that we need to look for ways to educate and either organize or include them within our own organizations. There is a part in Russel "Maroon" Shoatz' "Black Fighting Formations" that discusses the BPP's failure to recruit street gangs. This was a failure due to the BPP's expectation for all members to be politically educated which turned off gangmembers to recruitment. The quote Shoatz put was somewhere along the lines of "come back when you're ready to fight." When BPP members started getting assassinated and fighting in the streets they never went back to the gangs. Think about how much potential manpower that cost the BPP.

It is something to think about
-Francisco
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 01 2007 @ 07:22 AM CST
Regarding Boots Riley: He was a member of the Maoist group Progressive Labor Party between about 15 and 20 years ago, when he was a teenager. Last year, I asked someone fairly knowledgeable about these things to tell me a little about the PLP, and he said that the PLP were basically "pre-Cultural Revolution" type Maoists, very different from the RCP; and, obviously,they have nothing to do with Bob Avakian. I don't care for them (or any Maoist, because Maoists are basically Stalinists, and I would describe myself as a libertarian Marxist, with autonomist and council communist leanings, and don't start arguing with me about that :) ); however, from what I've heard and from seeing their papers, they seem a little more sane than the RCP. (Just a little...)

Boots had joined the PLP because his father was a member. (His father had joined the PLP after being in SDS.) So, when Boots joined the PLP, as a teenager, it was kind of like joining the family business. He left the PLP at the age of 19.

The commonly given reason that he left, at least as I've read in a couple of articles, is that he was "burnt out." He had done a lot of real organizing as a teenager; he deserves credit for that.

From what I know of his lyrics, there isn't any overt Maoism. I haven't seen/heard all his lyrics, but from what I've seen, they focus on class struggle and struggle against authority in a way that should get the support of people on this site.

I just listened to Immortal Technique last week. I thought there was some refreshingly good stuff and some not-so-good stuff; they reminded me of Dead Prez. There are not-so-great things about this Marxist/Gangsta fusion, but I think it's great that these groups are saying as much revolutionary stuff as they're saying; it's great compared to "bling bling" and all that shit.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with criticizing them for this or that problem if you like, but as far as I'm concerned, it's better to support them than to protest them - especially where and when they're sending out good social messages and inspiring real political thinking in people who might not be exposed to such stuff otherwise. (And especially when they do it with good music and beats.) However, everyone should be able to make his/her own choice about that. I don't think it's worthwhile to start making declarations about how an anarchist site should not support these people because they are communists, etc. If you disagree with these groups because of your own anarchist principles, that's one thing, but if other anarchists here see things in them that are worthy of supporting, there's nothing wrong with giving them a forum here to say why.

But that's just my opinion, of course...

RS
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 02 2007 @ 11:12 PM CST
i am always asked why i listen still in my thirties to that "gangsta music". i am a parent and am often puzzled myself cause i thought like a jazz singer friend of mine wrongly predicted that once i had my son my taste in music would change. it broadened to include more unknown independent artists who are considered alternative but i still love hiphop. i'm a beat chick. i love just blaze, swizz beats, kanye's tracks. i like carrot juicer rap like common and talib but when i'm in a truck there's nothing like biggie blasting off the speakers. a very good friend of mine is an anarchist, publishes a newsletter and is in general a lovely servant of the people who need serving. i do not believe in prisons or police as they are allowed to exist now and am very interested in self governed societies. i grew up in brooklyn first in bed stuy, then crown heights, then prospect heights. though prospect heights in now mostly unaffordable to poor and working class folks when i lived there it was called the wild wild west despite being in close proximity to the brooklyn museum, botanic garden, and main public library. in the library right now there is a photo exhibit of hiphop artists from brooklyn in the eighties like kane, lyte, shawn carter, big, milk d and gizmo, cocoa brovaz, black sheep, etc. there is also a lovely exhibit of jazz musicians who live in brooklyn now. my anarchist friend put me on to how our imaginations in this current society across racial and class lines are so under utilized. mental sweatshop colonization sucks. the music for me is really a release. there's something about it. and i know many think it's terrible. i'm not mad and respect the opinions here as harsh as they are. criticism is necessary always. i love to party. hiphop with its bravado and theater and movie esque dark glamour allows me that safe bad girl space:). i found an old journal of mine from 1988 when i was 15. i wrote a prose poem about a young man who starts out as a heroin addict becomes a crack addcit and then a murderer. a friend of mine who was muslim began selling crack on the block was murdered because he wouldn't sell a $5 rock to a dude who was short a dime and the piece was about that incident. crack was real heavy on my block and i had creative outlets not to get caught up in the pimp who lived across the street from me who ran a crackhouse, child porn ring, and prostitution ring. the girls in my building had mothers who were stay at home moms and part time prostitutes and boosters. my friends who were dancers and couldn't get into good schools or videos when rap was young became strippers. all life can be tough. black life as i witnessed it growing up and especially when crack broke through when i was a teenager was tough and more tough. i used to sit on my stoop and think if people think all this is bad wait until 20 years from now. it's gonna be crazy. these kids making "gangsta music" glorify a grim reality because they are somewhat messed up from a bad scene of drugs and it's subsequent social street ills. i had a mom who was constantly grinding and when i was 17 she moved us out of what i called the war zone. i was so embarrassed and ashamed for a long time while i lived there and only brought my one friend from school to my apartment the entire time i lived there. i listen to the music because i remember specifically even though i wasn't smoking or slinging just how terrible it was to watch people crumble into something other than human. my cousin was found dead this past summer, his body decomposed beyond recognition. he was a good kid, worked on movies in hollywood but could never fully kick his 20 year crack and heroin addiction. i remember women who were once fly, come scratching and twitching across the street with tufts of hair at all angles, concave chests asking to trade food stamps for cash. my life now is quite different. i have the pleasure of my child. i have traveled. i am a part of activist communities who seek to get rid of prisons. i live in brooklyn still but not in a tiny one bedroom like i did growing up. crack to me did it. it came in and just made a people, grandmothers trying to keep their kids from stealing everything while taking care of the babies exhausted and nihilistic. there are no excuses for misogyny and homophobia. i have watched at least 3 family members who are male die of broken hearts and hiv because our family could not accept them. i believe in revolutionary theories and history as catalysts for social change and i also know the ills of the street are very very real. i came out okay and recognize my trauma. i write about the hood all the time. i watch these kids especially young boys be deprived all the time. these kids earnestly look for jobs, try to learn to read, and are just shot down. all day. it's heartbreaking to watch this in your community. so no, i don't dig the whole rap scene as it exists today. but i do empathize. i do find a way to be entertained. in my heart i just can't abandon. i know die hard intellectuals and activists can't really understand, think it's bullshit and a joke, but i just can't abandon. maybe some of me feels guilty for doing so well while even those who exploit and are exploited no matter how fat their pockets are really suffering deep inside. everybody needs to feel important somewhere and "crack rap":) allows that for some. it's hard to not want to be rich when you've had nothing or you're scared of being nothing, of not being seen or loved. this site is cool. thank you for the read and all the thought provoking words. peace.
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 01:10 AM CST
this is the thing and i will run the risk of probley coming off ignorant in the eyes of you intellectual folk but i feel its worthy of commentary we glorify the gangsters because they are the ones who have the bozac they go bust they guns and put they asses out there for what they want and belive in as oppose to the tree hugers that have all of the wonderful grandiosa ideas about change but will never shed blood for any of them thats the diffrence between the revolutionaires of the 60's and the ones of today they got out there and fought the powers in a literal sence we just complain we dont make our presence felt the conversation is important for social awareness but it can only go so far im not in the know about what anarcist are really about so whoever wants to shine light on that for me i apperacite but we got to make em call the national gaurd if you plan on putting any heat on the men on top cause the truth is you can march and sing songs all you want but they dont give a fuck
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 05:56 AM CST
Well, lots of us who've been participating in this site for a while went out there to do direct action and civil disobedience in the anti-capitalist wing of the "anti-globalization" protests where they not only called out the National Guard but dressed them up as Robocops, armed like nothing anyone in the '60s had seen. Some anarchists still do this (though this writer admits not being so active lately). There may be a lull for now, especially in the U.S., but it's wrong to say that people in the '60s did all this stuff and characterize people on this site, or all radicals and anarchists since then, as do-nothing tree huggers who never put themselves on the line.
Gangsta Rap Is Hip Hop By Immortal Technique
Authored by: ForNanaHarriet on Friday, January 11 2008 @ 01:01 AM CST
Hey you know I listen to techs music too, but i cringe every time he says faggot.
I dont give a shit how revolutionary you are, i dont tolerate homophobia. if he cares at all about solidarity he would respect that. Its not as if i would discourage anyone from listening to his message, and its not as if im hostile to him. sure i would respect him as a comrade, but i would politely ask that he also respect that as queers we have also been in a long struggle and we should not be marginalized by our own comrades.
if that didnt work i would have to say fuck him, his music isnt so important that he can get away with his shit. all hiphopers need to know that, and fuck your rationalizations, we shouldnt have to waste our breath begging you for respect.