Thursday, December 15, 2005

Indie Hip-Hop

By: Jose Andrade, Age 19

“You can find me in the club, bottle full of Bud… I'm into having sex, I ain't into making love …so come give me a hug if you into getting rubbed… When I pull out up front, you see the Benz on dubs…when I roll 20 deep, its 20 knives in the club” . . . and the song continues, rapped by 50 cent from his hit “In Da Club” on his best selling record ‘Get Rich or Die Trying'.

Sure enough, many who read these lyrics will conclude that they are violent and demeaning to women. To have a better understanding of Rap music, which originates from Hip-Hop, one must try to have a comprehensive understanding of it as a whole and all its transformations. Rap used to be created for the love of the music.

Now the music industry has capitalized on it and created a formula that helps records sell. Unfortunately, the formula calls for a “gangsta” image, jewelry and dehumanizing women.

And it’s not the record executives or producers who are looked down upon, instead its rap music in general, and Black and Latino people in general.

Hip-Hop is really the progression of an underground culture that was created about 25 years ago. A culture that evolved from a neglected and civil rights deprived generation. This was the generation whose fathers had been part of the civil rights movement and revolutionary movement of the sixties and seventies.

These inner city New York kids invented some of the elements of Hip-Hop which are beat-boxing, break-dancing, graffiti art, rap or MCing, and DJing. Hip-Hop was community oriented; you could go to the club and see break dancers and rappers working the crowd. That was Hip-Hop. The love for the music and creativity was what Hip-Hop was supposed to be.

Corporate American began to monopolize when the Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper's Delight” sold 2 million records. America had just found a new pot and ethnic group to exploit.

In Hip-Hop, there’s a separation in the rap element; Commercial Rap vs. Underground Rap.

“I wanted to spit on the radio since I was eleven/ But I can't afford the pay for Hot 97's”. This is from the song Positive Balance
which was written by Immortal Technique an underground rapper and community activist in Harlem, New York.

This is a common occurrence in Hip-Hop; if you don’t have the money and corporate monopolizing on your behalf then you don’t get radio play. America is listening to a pseudo-rap that is about generating hate and advocating for violence.

“I would like to send a
message to all the underground emcee’s out there, working hard, the time has come to realize you're being networked in a market so stop being a f**king commodity,” Immortal Techniques warns underground rappers.

What transforms underground rappers is necessity. They see that commercial rappers are making millions selling fictitious songs over candy beats to the public when they are only making a couple pennies a month. This temptation is what is giving Hip-Hop as whole a bad name.

So the next time someone tells you that rap or Hip-Hop is bad, remember to tell that person that a lot of what's on the radio is a fabricated cartoon of the real thing. We must encourage each other to find and support underground music and artists, or those who have made the big time, but are still keeping it real.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


This is a thank you to the man who pushed LaKeisha down the metro escalator on Friday. We know probably you didn't mean to or anything, but next time don't be in such a rush. She bled through her bandaids, man.
Aqiyla Edwards and Danielle Kurzweil

Body by Victoria?

How do you feel about this picture? What do you think is being portrayed in this image about models and young teens who strive to have model body types?

Some may say that photographers take pictures and post images of models in magazines that appear to have health problems, and it also seems that they project themselves to have bulimia or to be anorexic. Teens may take these images and try to mirror a body image that is unhealthy and unrealistic, that subconsciously plays on their self-esteem.

Others may find this post offensive saying that it's biased to say that all models do is puke in toilets to keep up a small physique.

The question is, Do images in magazines have an effect on how young teens feel about their self-image? What do all think?

By: The Most Known 'Unknown'

Monday, December 12, 2005

Things Aren't What They Seem

By LaKeisha McKinley

Hurricane Katrina has left a long list of problems to fix. There have been a lot of changes in the community for residents who live there; some for the good some for the bad.

I personally know some of the people who live there, such as my grandmother, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. and they have told me that a lot of the conditions that have been set by FEMA and other organizations are causing problems. My grandmother who lives there told me that in the projects where it didn’t flood, people who live there aren’t allowed to go back. There are also a lot of people who come back to check on their houses who get arrested for breaking curfew.

I was watching a show where a lady speaking on behalf of her community statedthat it is literally to the point where the people of New Orleans are asking the government and FEMA to just leave and let them fix the situation themselves.

This is a very disturbing situation to think that just like that someone can tell you that you are not permitted to enter your home without being obligated to give you an explanation. The thought of not knowing where you’re family members are is enough to worry about without having to think about police harassment.

Why is it that we can afford to build stadiums and start wars but we can’t manage to properly repair damage in a poor city?
Please Comment.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

$25,000 Bonus in Janey's Stocking, Piece of Coal for DCPS

Hey, this is Denisse coming to all you readers out there once again. So, I was reading the newspaper and I came across this article in the Washington Post. After I finished reading, I realized that not a whole lot has changed since I graduated from Bell Multicultural High School last year.

We always had to experience a lack of textbooks as well. I mean, it just used to frustrate us because not only did we have to share textbooks, our library was worthless too. We literally had old textbooks from like the 80's, and when it was time to type up our research for reports, our computers never worked. There was this one computer in the library that would actually eat our disc. Then, we’d try to use one of our teacher’s computers, and it would eat our disk for real.

At YARG, we wrote a research report two summers ago, about the root causes of youth violence. From the stories that we heard from other young people, and our own experiences, we wrote about the lack of resources in DC schools as one of the root causes of youth violence. Some people might not understand how it relates. But if you think about it, young people see what’s going on in their community and in their schools and it makes them feel like the city could give two squirts of piss about them.

When the new baseball stadium had its first game, YEA, the Youth Education Alliance, took a stand and protested about the government having money to build the stadium, but not putting enough money towards public education in the city. YEA is another youth-led organizing group that focuses on the better development of the schools (i.e. lunch, bathrooms, books) in D.C.

It’s definitely not right that the superintendent is getting a bonus of $25,000, and is getting paid $250,000 a year, but, DCPS is lacking textbooks.That money is just going down the toilet. I felt like I needed to respond to this article because I can really relate to the little girl’s situation. Thanks for reading!!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Denisse's Poem

What's up everybody! This is Denisse and I just wanted to post up one of my poems. Respond if you like.

Ode to Racism

How can one be portrayed to be beautiful, yet have such a hideous soul?
Like evil demons, you had us shipped on a boat. . .
Our children went overboard, and so did we.
Your authority intimidates me; you know exactly what I’m talking about. . .
You would look at me with eyes of fire that could control my every move.
I remember that day you took my mother away from me. . .
It was our very last day.
That day, my eyes remained swollen from the tears that could no longer be held back.
You were powerful enough to have my people:
Snap, and
Deteriorate into ashes of
Important history.
But whenever your ‘white power’ discouraged us,
We would sing our way back to the road. . .
The road to freedom where you would no longer exist. . .
Well, at least that’s what we hoped for.
You were too ubiquitous to get rid of.
Up north, your presence seemed to be sneaky. . .
Down south, you always walked proudly.
Have you destined us to rot with nothing to live for?
Nope, I don’t think so.
We’ve come a long way. . .
From getting stung by fire hoses,
To being able to sit wherever we pleased
For centuries, your hatred has been quite overwhelming!
Thanks a lot, if it weren’t for your ignorance, M.L.K. Day would not exist.
Neither would his beautiful dream.
Was it all a dream?

The Girl - A Short Story

The girl saw love but it had no face. The girl smelled love but it had no taste. For years and years she searched with fear, but ended up with sobs and tears. So she decided to give up, to hell with all the love and luck.

Then one day in walked love with a face clear as day. She almost passed out as he walked her way. But when he approached she didn't give him the time of day. Then one day she looked love in the eye, and said love tell me why, it took so long for you to come and where are you from?

He said I'm from your heart and I've been here all along, you overlooked me for infatuation and his friend charm. Then you dumped him for patience who is my cousin, he also associates with good luvin. Anyway I got your number and I wanted to know, Could we slumber for the rest of our lives?

She said I don't normally talk to strangers, but your friend called game says you're no danger. Well Mr. Love, I am attracted, but sorry my heart is fractured. He said, Girl, my brother's name is healing, my middle name is passion and I got answers to all the questions you're askin. So open up and let me into your world.

She said ok with no delay. Then the girl and love were on their way.

By: LaKeisha McKinley a.k.a. BEAUTIFUL