Archive for February 2017

Rap and Hip Hop’s Dark History: Hijacked by Greed   Leave a comment

 

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…Right.

This is the first of what will probably be a monthly series on the subject of Rap and Hip Hop’s evolution. I’ve thought about doing this for some time and more so after I wrote that blog post on why I never liked BET. I plan to write on this topic through June ^_^

Before we can talk about Hip Hop’s history over the last 30 years, we first need to talk about its origins. For those who do not know, Rap is basically poetry over beats. Rap as a genre dates back hundreds of years. Like Rock & R0ll, Blues and Jazz, its origins are African. The difference is unlike those three genres, it was not white-washed when it became popular in the U.S. Not until very recently, anyway.

Before it was…”re-discovered” in the Bronx in 1983, Hip Hop was lost to time. Much of that was due to the slave trade in West Africa that saw over 15 million Africans forced from their homes, packed on boats and sent to The Americas as slaves against their will. Before Slavery ravaged Africa, Hip Hop was used as a form of spoken word to preserve the histories of families, tribes, nations and traditions. Written literature did exist but it was far more efficient to use hip hop and rap to preserve and convey important and practical information.

When Africans were brought to the U.S., they used music to keep the old traditions alive as well as to communicate in secret under the watchful eyes of their new masters and overseers. The rise of Abolitionist Movement during the 19th Century saw most African American Slaves stripped of what was a way of life for them. They would begin to regain that lost knowledge before and during The Great Depression. As time marched on, old traditions long lost to time began to resurface.

 

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…It would be fair to say that Hip Hop was re-discovered in 1983 in the Bronx. Talk to anyone in the Bronx today and they will tell you that what Hip Hop was in the span of time from 1985 to about…I wanna say 2009 was not what Hip Hop was back then. What happened? Greed, that’s what. The Music industry wanting a piece of the pie and the allure of fame were the main reasons but they weren’t the only reasons Rap changed so suddenly and drastically in the mid-80s.

The message and Hip Hop’s purpose were what changed. Remember what I said at the top: Rap is basically poetry over beats. In the early years Hip Hop was used as a way to talk about politics, where you came from, who you are and what you’re about. You had rappers and artists talking about real issues, empowerment and learning from the mistakes of others. NWA’s “Express Yourself” is pointed to from that era as a song with positive messages though of course you had your occasional diss tracks. They were nowhere near as direct and person as they would become a few years later though.

Starting in 1985, we would see a dramatic shift in how Rap and Hip Hop would be used and how it would be viewed and consumed. People like to blame Public Enemy and later NWA for the dramatic shift but it would be more accurate to say the intentions of those who got into “The Rap Game”–and I will talk about this in a separate blog–were motivated by fame and fortune more than anything else.

…To Be Continued.

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The silence of the Dems is deafening in the afternath of the GOP’s hostile takeover of Washington   Leave a comment

…And no one should be surprised.

A few months ago, I made the case for need for a third party. Others across social media share my opinion on this. There are those feel “it would be more efficient” to reform the party from within than to commit to a new political party.

Recent history says otherwise:

  • How quickly people forget about the rise of the Tea Party Movement, which was the pre-cursor to the Alt-Right Movement within the Republican Party during President Obama’s first term. They came about in response to the implosion of the GOP during Bush 43’s 2nd term and the Dems regaining control of the White House and Congress in 2008.
  • Oh, how the Dems continue to insist on passing the blame for losing the 2012 election. They had a sure thing with Bernie Sanders but decided to bet everything on an unelectable candidate. It would be fair to say the Dems HANDED the White House to Trump and the GOP. When they pulled out all the stops to prevent Sanders from ever having a chance, that ensured Trump would win the election.

“Reform the Party”, Shaun King keeps saying. Yeah, that was why Bernie Sanders ran as a Democrat and they rejected him outright. “We need someone with REAL ideas”, Liberal Progressives said. “We need someone who can continue Obama’s legacy”, Establishment Dems said. THAT was why the Dems lost the election: They wanted someone who would maintain the status quo. Bernie Sanders ran to force the party to move in a different direction. So, to those of you who said “Sanders supporters need to get over themselves”, now you know how they feel.

…And the GOP is loving it. LOL.

Yes, the GOP is still divided but they are united when and where it counts. They know when to put aside infighting for a mutual benefit. The Dems haven’t had to do that since Reagan and Bush 41 were president (The last time a party controlled the White House for two consecutive presidencies actually). The Dems got lucky in 2004 when then senator Barack Obama spoke at the DNC in Boston. That set the stage for his run four years later and his subsequent two terms as president.

The Democratic Party revealed their true colors in the aftermath of the 2016 Election: Having lost the White House and are now at the mercy of the GOP–and EVERYONE should be concerned Trump supporter or not–the Dems have elected to still tout the same public shaming tactics that ultimately cost them the White House. That’s a waste to even try on the GOP, which doesn’t know the meaning of the word. The Dems had no contingency plan going into the 2016 election if Hillary lost. It was all or nothing as far as they cared.

…The GOP on the other hand did have a backup plan after the 2008 and 2012 elections: Take control of Congress, which they did. Republicans also control all 3 branches of government in all but 4 states. This is why the Dems lost so many seats in the 2010 and 2014 elections in traditionally “Blue” States and the “Battlegound” States: ALL of them have a Republican Governor, Congress and State Supreme Court. If the Dems want to regain power in Washington, they first need to focus on State and Local politics.

Take a look at my own state of Massachusetts. There have only been 2 Democratic Governors over the last 25 years: Mike Dukakis (early 90s) and Deval Patrick (late 2000s). Three Republicans held office on Beacon Hill after Dukakis: The Late Paul Celluci (died 4 years ago from M.S.), Jane Swift (first female MA Governor and the first U.S. Governor to give birth while in office) and of course, former presidental candidate Mitt Romney (also tried running for governor in New York after he left MA). Charlie Baker easily won the 2014 election to replace Deval Patrick (served two terms) and honestly, I don’t even remember who the Dems picks to run against him. I do know and I’m sure Baker knows he won’t get a 2nd term. LOL.

That same year, Massachusetts State Rep Marty Walsh was elected Mayor of Boston. after the late Tom Menino announced he would not be running for re-election. Menino died in 2015 after serving as mayor of Boston for 22 years. You literally had a whole generation who only knew Menino as the mayor of Boston.

Getting back to my original train of thought: The founders of this country actually warned against the dangers of a 2-Party system. There were always at least three parties until just before World War I. The other two most notable parties that no longer exist are the Whig and Federalist parties. This was wav before Perot and Nader championed the Green Party.

The first President, Washington was a Federalist. Federalists championed Checks and Balances. It stands to reason given Washington was the Supreme Commander of the U.S. Army, which fought and defeated what was then without question the most powerful military on earth. Sometime during the 2nd half of the 19th Century they merged with the then emerging Democratic Party. The Whig Party was basically the party for the Upper and High Class. They merged with the Republican Party in the years following the Civil War.
The thing about Donald Trump most Liberals and Democrats don’t care about is even though Conservatives and Republicans know he’s not one of them, he’s said and promised to do alot of things they agree with. THAT is why they’re tolerating him for the time being. As long as that remains true, they could care less about everything else about him.  The same can’t be said about most Democrats and Liberals, who like to deflect responsability to everyone but them.

It’s time to bring back a third party. The Democrats and the Republicans are tearing this country apart.

New England Patriots make history at Super Bowl IL; Alot of Super Bowl Babies gettin’ made!   Leave a comment

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…The Revenge Tour is complete: Almost 2 hours ago, NFL Commissioner Roger Gooddell handed Tom Brady his fourth MVP Trophy. Unlke Brady and Belicheck, Patriots owner Robert Kraft didn’t hold back in his comments on how sweet this Super Bowl Victory is. Non-Patriots fans be damned, the New England Patriots are America’s Football Team.

Damn those who had the audacity to compare the Patriots’ comeback victory to last year’s Presidential Election. The Falcons winning probably would have been best for business but in the long run, the Patriots ended up being the better team. There’s also this:
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As you know from my last post, the Celtics played Sunday afternoon in Boston. During last summers’ Kevin Durant Sweepstakes IT4 and TB12 met before they met with Kevin Durant. IT said in an interview in recent weeks he and TB have texted back and fourth since they met last summer. Isaiah Thomas is known as the King of the Fourth this season. He earned that title because he takes over the game in the fourth quarter. Brady was seen texting on the sidelines last night. I doubt either would make it public but I would not be surprised if the Brady took some advice from the King of the Fourth watching the game from Boston. As we all know, the Patriots won the game in the Fourth Quarter. It’s hard for me imagine the two didn’t exchange words before or during the game at some point ^_^

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…That brings me to this interesting statistic the NFL apparently started tracking two years ago (LOL!): There is a surge in births 9 months after a Super Bowl, most notably in cities and towns that are fans of the teams involved in the big game. In other words, some babies are gettin’ made!

All the more reason the day after the Super Bowl should be made a national holiday. LOL.

As Paul Pierce plays his final game in Boston, the future of the Celtics is bright   Leave a comment

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…Paul Pierce and Isaiah Thomas. One is sure to have his number added to the rafters after he retires. The other is primed to lead the Celtics to their 18th NBA Championship. This is the first time since the 1980s that the future of the Celtics isn’t in doubt.

Who could have imagined the Len Bias incident would have seen the Celtics drop out of the playoff picture for almost a decade? When Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish retired (1993, 1994 and 1996) and when Reggie Lewis died in 1995, there were serious questions as to weather or not the team could return to who they once were. The ill-fated Rick Pitino era–and then the now-imfamous “Larry Bird is not walking through that door” jab on his way out after failing to lead the Celtics back to the playoffs–made the possability of a 17th Championship feel more and more like a faraway dream.

Then the Celtics signed Paul Pierce in 1999. Three years later Danny Ainge hired Doc Rivers, who led the Celtics to the 2nd Round of the NBA Playoffs in his first year as Head Coach of the Celtics (2002). The untimely death of legendary Celtics coach Red Aurbach (8 Championships in 10 years) in 2006 reminded the team that although they were getting good, they weren’t good enough to contend with the then emerging superstar LeBron James or the favorite to return to the NBA Finals, the Detroit Pistons.

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So, during the summer of 2007 Danny Ainge pulled the trigger on a trade that brought Kevin Garnett to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Gerald Green (who is now back with the Celtics this year) and 3 other young players. A few weeks later, the Celtics signed Free Agent Ray Allen. Just like that, the Celtics were now contenders going into the 2007-08 NBA Season. 1 year later, the Celtics woyld raise Banner 17 to the rafters.

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As the last and most beloved member of what was then The New Big 3 prepares to retire, the Celtics firmly control their own destiny. Isaiah Thomas, who was drafted last in the 2nd round of the 2010 NBA Draft is 2nd in Points Per Game behind Russell Westbrook this year. He became the first Celtic since Paul Pierce back in 2006 to score 50+ points in a game in December. He has had SEVERAL 40+ games since mid-December including Friday’s win over the Lakers.

I haven’t even gotten to the supporting cast: You’ve got Al Horford (signed with Boston during the offseason), Avery Bradey (when he returns from injury), Terry Rozier and 1st Round Draft Pick Jaylen Brown (A workhorse with LeBron James’ basketball IQ). You also have Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, Jonas Jerebko and Kelly Olynik.

There’s also the Brooklyn Nets picks from the trade that sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett from Boston to Brooklyn. Looks like the Celtics are primed to hit it BIG in the next draft to boot: Last year’s draft was just about Ben Simmons (missed half the season with an injury) and Brandon Ingram but Jaylen Brown’s been having one hell of season. Don’t even get me started on the NBA Players who have come up in conversation for a possible trade to Boston before the deadline.

…Getting back to The Truth, he ended his final appearance in Boston with a streak that would remain unbroken: He has scored a basket in every game he’s ever played in The Garden. Fitting that Paul Pierce would score the final basket and his only basket of the game. It would not be enough as the Celtics would go on to win the game 107-102. The three-pointer was more of a token from the home team, who gave him the wide open shot. No doubt the “We want Paul Pierce!” chants during most of the fourth quarter will be a moment he will never forget. As many have said, you can be sure Celtics fans will see more of The Truth after he retires as a player.

 

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