Okay... enough free chamber of commerce plugs. The Lord has granted the privilege of speaking with Anita Johnson on "Hard Knock Radio" about The Decline. I'm looking forward to the interview; Hark Knock Radio is a drive time "talk show for the Hip Hop generation."
On their website you can find this list of recent guests and programs:
KRS-One, Russell Simmons, Saul Williams, Sarah Jones, Yuri Kochiyama, Al Sharpton, Mystic, Cornel West, Ben Harper, Tavis Smiley, Sista Souljah, Blackalicious, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Dilated Peoples, Kool Moe Dee, Afrika Bambaataa, The Coup, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, Paris, Chuck D and Reverend Jesse Jackson to name a few.
Just reading the list of ol' school hip hop artists took a brutha back: KRS-One ("criminal minded, you've been blinded, lookin' for a style like mine? You can't find it..." or "1-2-3 the crew is called BDP. And if ya wanna go to da tip top, stop violence and hip hop, y-oh!"). Kool Moe Dee (pioneer of battlin'; do you remember his epic wars with LL Cool J?)
It irked my nerve
When I heard
A sucker rapper that I know I'll serve
Run around town sayin' he is the best
Is that a test?
I'm not impressed
Get real,you're nothin' but a toy
Don't ya know I'll serve that boy
Just like a waiter
Hit'em with a place of
These fresh rhymes and
Make sure that he
Pays the bill, and leave him standin' still
When he's had enough,hit him with a refill
And for dessert it won't be no ice cream
I'm just gonna splatter and shatter his pipe dream
Make him feel the wrath,beat him and laugh
Then when I finish them,
I'm gonna ask him
Who's the bests,and if he don't say Moe Dee
I'll take my whip and make him call himself Toby
Put him on punishment just like a child, then ask
How you like me now?
Okay... last one. Public Enemy. Sorta punk meets hip hop and urban rage and black nationalism. Probably the most politically in your face hip hop artists of their era. I wonder if you remember "Makes You Blind" on their '87 debut Yo! Bum Rush the Show? I can hear the royal jester of hip hop, Flava Flav, screeching in the background: "Ya blind baby. Ya blind from the fact that you can't see." This verse, in retrospect, is itself both sadly blind and appropriately critical:
UH PIMP OR PREACH
NUTTIN WORSE THAN A NEW BLACK CHURCH
LYIN ON THE TRUTH
CAUSE IT HURTS
BLACK MAN CAME FIRST
IN THE SWEET NAME OF JESUS
COST ME A DOLLAR
AT THE FLOW OF CREFLO
LIKE HOW THE HELL HE SUPPOSED TO KNOW
Now this is deeply sad because (1) the glory of the Savior is opposed; (2) his diagnosis of some preachers in the African American church as pimps (ouch!) could find justification; in 1987, long before many in the church world took notice, he called out Creflo Dollar in particular; and (3) he sees as clearly as any that the truth is in danger inside many black churches; now he'll have a different "truth" in mind, but he understands the bedrock issue.
Okay... for more edifying hip hop that brings you to the cross and the glorious Savior. Check out shai linne's new LP The Atonement (a review is here).
I'm not sure when the segment will air (it's a taped interview), but if interested you can find the show on kpfa.org. It airs daily at 4pm in the Bay area.