The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. has been remembered, venerated and perhaps even idolized as a champion of non-violent civil disobedience. He and Mahatma Gandhi are often compared favorably in terms of the movements they led, the work they achieved, and even in the fact that they ultimately became martyrs to their cause at an assassin's hand. Their deaths did not slow down the pace at which change was coming as their killers hoped. If anything they ACCELERATED change as those in power feared the reprisals of an already unhappy populace who had just seen one of their leaders shot down in cold blood. Indeed the riots following MLK's death were a very foreseeable consequence of James Earl Ray's actions.
Some have come to believe over the years that followed that King would have been saddened or heartbroken to see people rioting after his death, seeing his movement marred by violence, seeing people respond to the hatred which caused him to be slain with even more hate. People love to quote from the famous "I Have a Dream" speech, but less remembered is a speech he gave at Stanford University now known as "The Other America." His views on riots were more nuanced than you may have thought for a man who is known for non-violent protests, and although he did condemn violence, he spoke about it as a symptom of the disease of racism which should be heeded as a warning to cure our collective ills. Riots were in fact the direct consequence of what the good Reverend called a "triple ghetto" for its black citizens: "A ghetto of race, a ghetto of poverty, a ghetto of human misery."
"I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality and humanity."
As we remember and celebrate the work that Dr. King did to overcome the evils that plagued our nation then and still do today, we must also remember that to condemn those who protest or riot is to also do him a disservice. The Reverend was a man of peace, but he was also a man of the people, and as surely as he embraced non-violence he also understood how racism made so many people so angry about the disenfranchisement and poverty they experienced. He did not ignore this anger nor did he condemn it -- he sought only to remind us that this anger would not go away just because you could call in the police or the National Guard to quell the riots. That just pushes the anger back down beneath the surface, waiting to boil up and explode all over again. His lesson to us is to do more than pay lip service to change. We as a society all have to address hatred and racism in meaningful ways that make a direct impact on the day to day lives of those suffering from its effects. If not we should become used to riots -- they are the inevitable outcome of opportunity denied.
It's time for another edition of The Hip-Hop Shop. Episode #409 is called Find a Way With Words. We have new material from Jorai, Milwaukee Monstas, Mr. Lif and more! Follow us @RapReviews so you never miss a new podsafe free show.
* Jorai - Find a Way
* Milwaukee Monstaz f/ Timbo King - Soldiers of Words
* Mpulse - The Storm
* Chino XL, Pace Won, Spider Da God - New
* Revalation (Rev of EMS) - Justice For Justin
* L'Orange & Mr. Lif - There's an Art to Sleeping
* Villain - So High
* Curt Digga - Pretty Thugs
Video: Professor Griff on Flavor Flav Doing Crack During Anti-Crack Music Video
Vlad: Public Enemy's Professor Griff set the record straight with VladTV on rumors that he kicked Flavor Flav in the chest during an argument. Griff explained that after looking for Flav and finding him smoking crack on a rooftop when they should've been taking care of business, he kicked a boombox that Flav was holding in front of him.
Dean: Nems sparks the song "Light One" with a telling line, "If I still smoked, I'd light one up now, cuz honestly, I ain't really write in a while". Quiet as kept he has built a successful brand via social media, traveled internationally and touched the people locally by selling his line of merchandise hand to hand. Nems has spent the last year making himself more well known on broader platforms while remaining locally respected in NYC.
Jazzmyn RED's 'Writing HERstory' LP Is Now Available Through All Major Digital Retailers
DM360: "I don't want anybody to feel voiceless, and if I can use my voice to make those stories heard, then that's exactly what I'm here to do." -Jazzmyn RED
Writing HERstory is the honest, soulful, and emotionally gripping new album from Jazzmyn RED, a multi-talented artist hailing from Taunton, Mass. who deftly blends genres and styles to create her own unique sound.
The music on Writing HERstory is shaped by RED's personal experiences and talents in addition to her love for musical greats like Tupac, Lauryn Hill, and Queen Latifah. RED then combines all that with a mixture of R&B, Neo soul, and Hip-Hop to create the album's instantly engaging atmosphere. She's also included spoken-word interludes throughout the project to showcase her poetic talents while further driving home her message-fueled narrative.
RED's story is one that touches on a number of topics, though they all strike a similar theme of rising above the hate to turn tragedy into triumph. That goes for when she grits her teeth and flaunts a versatile flow on the banger "Stay Grindin'," details struggles with substance abuse on "Fade Out," and promotes honesty and self-confidence on lead single "Positive Vibes Only."
And what's crazy to think about is that the album almost never happened. As RED tells it, she almost quit music entirely some years ago while going through "personal storms." But she was saved by her close friend and a fellow emcee, Carlos "Loko Los" Rivera.
"He pushed me to my limits and never allowed me to give up on music, or myself. For that he'll always be family," she says of Rivera, who died tragically in November 2016. "If it wasn't for him finding me all those years ago I wouldn't have accomplished any of this."
It's in honor of Rivera's legacy—in addition to her parents, who also pushed her to pursue art—that we're able to hear Writing HERstory. And everyone who listens will agree that we're lucky to have the opportunity to do so. As this record makes very clear, Jazzmyn RED is a special talent. Writing HERstory is now available through iTunes and all major digital retailers and streaming services.
01. Writing HERstory (prod. by Lingo)
02. Uncle Sam
03. Questionable Blackness (prod. by Lingo)
04. A Real Message
05. Know Justice Know Peace (prod. by Vinny Idol)
06. The Product
07. Stay Grindin' (prod. by Mikhail O. Johnson)
08. No One In
09. Good Girl Bad Attitude (prod. by HuanGi)
11. Fade Out (prod. by Montez "The Genius" Kirkland)
12. Rose Colored Glasses
13. If I Had a Daughter (prod. by The Arcitype)
15. Positive Vibes Only (prod. by The Arcitype)
16. Color Me RED
17. She's Not (prod. by Lingo)
"Jazzmyn is back with her sophomore project, Writing HERstory; a vocal rites of passage that combines her songwriting savvy, with spoken word interludes that weave between each track, bringing the full concept of 'her story' to fruition." -The Source
"The gifted poet/emcee connected with Boston producer The Arcitype to convey her message on the lead single for her upcoming LP Writing HERstory, due out on Martin Luther King Day." -2DOPEBOYZ
"Jazzmyn Red delivers such a refreshing record into the Hip Hop universe." -HipHopDX