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Tommy Boy Records’ Tom Silverman * Cool Kids * Sol Munki * Zoila Mendez * Roneshia Williams * Adam Falkner * Alex Wand *Jonathan Desir * Atiba Edwards * Ashlee Arder * Kimikaa * Alma Davila-Toro
insight February 2008
Adam Falkner: Headline & Sinker. Ashlee Arder: Sol Munki. Cool Kids Alex Wand: Contra Dictionary Roneshia Williams: The Night My World Changed Jonathan Desir: The Hands of Time Atiba Edwards & Alma Davila-Toro: Tommy Boy Records Interview Photography / Illustrations: Kimikaa: Slow Atiba Edwards: Untitled Emma Raynor: Untitiled
Cover Illustration by Zoila Mendez
Insight is back and we present the Change issue. Change is neither good nor bad, it is simply change. We present to you various works representing the theme of change in this issue. Additionally, we continue to add new segments of the magazine and in this issue we present Spotlight which features various art related opportunities submitted to us by you. Keep the ideas flowing and we are always looking to for artists’ submissions. See you in the May Issue. Your Editors, Anthony Baber Atiba Edwards Marja Lankien www.onefokus.org/insight
Slo by Kimikaa
“Beware of those who speak of the spiral of history; they are preparing a boomerang. Keep a steel helmet handy.” - Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
HEADLINE AND SINKER by AdAm FAlkner
words of a service driver pitch-forked heavy like pig slop over his shoulder bus full of white folk (except one smudge) fall hush like fourth quarter foul stripe the barrel of a military discharge shoved down a young boys throat for holding ground in a front seat proud past gag-point defiant the headline “1st negro to crash majors!” “dodgers win: jackie breaks the color line!” the alligator nose of black america crackin’ the surface cleats up somethin’ serious a whitewashed pastime was to be smudged the color of southern fruit but it was 1947 (ready to be cleaned) coming hard off another new deal suburbia birthed mama-boom bargain diggers buyin’ cars, buyin’ tv’s comfortable southern whites shrug like “change done come, cut the hang rope but keep ‘dem hounds hungry” while the free states suck on they thumbs dumb-happy to finally be bandaging that gunshot scared that a domino rally of brothers would show up uninvited to the neon of our living rooms – pregnant for the rebirth of a nation – every morning coffee journal jam n’ toast tribune and weekly tailored up an image to be doorstep edible “a one in million obedient patient kid that could take it and say please” jackie …ask for more jackie
shoeshine smooth slidin’ ‘tween the lines of fine print newspaper lime-lit fire to a do-gooder (never to go back like climbin’ the ladder from field to housework) caked up face in a day made famous erased all struggle like he stumbled and fell onto every front porch in america jackie and we were happy with that cookie cut clean, cut safe suburbia birthed mama-boom bargain diggers buyin’ cars, buyin’ t.v.’s, forward with the stench of quota still sticking to our fingers and we bit it head line and sinker with a bruised up set blender-battered plum-gut knuckles knocking, for that hollow trap door to slide quick steal something, anything to turn a neck or two to make an overripe name pluck-ready “the black meteor” we bubbled up naked and bloody a newborn, baptized in bleacher-spat backwash we painted him ours like nothing before him but rags and ignorance ours like culture-knapping jazz outta harlem or rap out the hood when it outgrew the pot-bound fad of fedoras ours like three-fifths american and one-fifth black an image too clean to be muddied like that like bus laws pissed on chin up swallowed like gag-point gun barrel ours as though turning our heads was a choice
amputating history from headline precise like fleet-footed sprints down the base path could buff clean an uppity fuck you cold cheek champion that picked picket fences in the darkness we celebrate the nature of these triumphs exotic to keep the color brown too dark to blend we snap these stories at the root like ginger to chop and sell in textbooks palms too sweaty to rub the truth out the history lamp cause we don’t like what we cant own only let emerge what progress we’ve learned to skin, strip and mount above the fireplace as miracles
white folks founded america instead of stealing the gavel to play judge between borders like affirmative actions a has-been crutch the ball game’s tied – look at the cosby’s (let it go) like ground zero reeks of terrorism, but whip-welts, rape, festered and chained cargo stolen and pawned off crop blood money well, we call that there colonization like the only real account of what was is what’s cooked and bagged to slang in our schools to our children
like history will ever be free rosa’s feet weren’t tired, she’d been planning for that afternoon since she was twelve from the convenient amnesia of its authors but when the smell of other colors paint the air too thick, we panic, get to pluckin’ like rumors from the grapevine to turn or neck or two to make an overripe name pluck-ready reeling heavy is our bite on this bait rod-bending with the hook still lodged in our cheeks head line and sinker we’ve sunk line-heavy (but someone can swim) head line and sinker we’ve sunk line-heavy (but someone is treading water) someone is holding the stolen pens of history scripting in the dark the lies they want their kids to learn like like a headline on its own is a story
Do MoNKEY’S HAvE SoULS?
by Ashlee Arder
What started out as a boy’s question to his mother, has become an array of vibrant colors, sayings, and graphic pictures on hoodies and T-shirts. Sol Munki, an urban clothing line based out of Atlanta, Georgia, means Survivor of Life Manufacturing Unity Newness Knowledge and Individuality. Wall St., the line’s creator and mastermind, spent some time as a stockbroker (Hint: the name Wall St.), and later opened up a sneaker store in Atlanta. Sol Munki was originally the name of the store, and because of its increasing popularity, Wall St. and younger brother, Fruit, started the Sol Munki clothing line. viewed by its followers as not only a brand name, Sol Munki is a way of life. It represents excellence and creativity. Sol Munki was formed originally as an effort to change the mind of a mother who said monkeys didn’t have souls. Now in the closets of common folks and celebrities (Bow Wow, Young Jeezy, BET’s Terrance) alike, Sol Munki has not only changed the minds of nonbelievers, but has also introduced a new “swagger” to urban clothing! The answer is “Yes,” monkeys do have Sols!
Photo by Atiba Edwards
HIP HoP NEEDS ITS MESSIAH
apartment and you can go get another one Interview with Tom Silverman, founder of Tommy Boy Records (done in 05 (he wanted to take the apt also).” by Atiba Edwards & Alma Davila-Toro) It took me about a year to pay off all the debt and I kept building it at the same time. F.o.K.U.S: Tom, walk readers through the music was evolution of Tommy Boy from its disco days People were bringing inweren’tand Iyet or reviewing records that out to Tommy Boy Entertainment. were on little independent labels that were releasing a record for the first time. I was watching what was happening with “Rappers Delight” and would go to the stores and see the stuff blowing up and said why not start a record company. So I setup Tommy Boy around 1980 as a label in case someone bought music in. In 1980 I released a record called “Let’s vote” by Eric Nuri which was a Black voters registration theme song. It wasn’t on my label, it was on a label called Trial and Park records but I funded and put it out just so I could learn how to do it before I started doing it myself. Then I started Tommy Boy after I met Afrika Bambaataa. He turned me on to this record by a group called Cotton Candy [named] “Having Fun” that he was playing and that became our first release. The second release was an Afrika Bambaataa record called “Jazzy Sensation.” There was a big record the summer before, Gwen McCrae’s “Funky Sensation” and this was a rap off of it that we sampledactually it wasn’t sampled we just played it. I didn’t know about the publishing laws and we got busted and had to pay people. We just paid it and we made a lot of money. It got a couple of spins by Mr. Magic on the radio HBI and we got orders for 5,000 the next week. The record exploded and we sold 35,000. I paid my parents back the $5,000 loan they gave me to start the label and that was the beginning.
TS: I went to graduate school at Western Michigan in Environmental Geology after Colby College. My roommate from Colby College was the station manager at Western’s radio station and I was the music director. He got a job in L.A. for Cashbox, which was like Billboard at the time. Disco started to break out and I was playing that music before and he said “why don’t we go to NY and start a newsletter for DJs.” I left graduate school before I could finish my master thesis and setup shop in Manhattan. He quit his job and moved from LA and we started this newsletter for DJs called “Disco News” in 1978. Disco first started about a year after Saturday Night Fever but it was a year before Disco died. By 1979 - 80 they declared Disco dead. The press hated disco and we changed the name to “Dance Music Report” at that point and in 1980 we also started an independent distributor for music all different genres but it was mostly Indie Rock and a few other kinds of music. It was doing really well and turning over a lot of cash. Then my roommate came to me and said “oK, I’m getting married to this girl and I don’t really want to do ‘Dance Music Report’ anymore, so why don’t you keep it and I’ll keep the profitable record distribution.” I said “why don’t you pay off at least half of the debt of “Dance Music Report,” and I’ll let you go. I’ll keep the
I was writing about Bambaata for an article I was doing in “Dance Music Report.” There was a store called Downstairs Records on 6th and 42nd (where the subway station and HBo are located) that had a room called Break Beats or Break Room.
I went down to the [store] and saw this room with a table with all kinds of 45s and old albums like The Eagles, Long Run and Bob James. There were 15 and 16 year old kids that would come by, pool their money and buy doubles of records. I asked Roy, the guy who ran that room at Downstairs, how did these kids find out about these records. He said through a guy The guy is just like one of the high priests in the Bronx called Afrika Bambaataa and he of Hip Hop because he is so straight and he is totally committed to the future of Hip Hop. has this thing called the Zulu Nation. He is the one who put culture in Hip Hop and created the concept of the 4 pillars of Hip I went to visit him at a teach-in where he Hop that KRS-one, Chuck D and everyone was actually DJing once a week on White are always talking about. Plains Road at an place on the 2nd floor. Bambaataa, Red Alert and Jazzy Jay were Hip-Hop is about music, DJ’ing, graffiti and setup up there and they would take turns spinning. Jazzy Jay and Kool DJ Red Alert break-dancing and his 5th pillar is were sort of the proteges. There would be a knowledge because that is very important guy up there called Record Lenny who would part of Hip Hop. come with a boombox, record everything and I asked him can we make a record that then bootleg it. sounds like the stuff you are playing and I heard Bam playing records like Kraftwerk, he said sure. We sold about 600,000 of Planet Rock in 1982 with about 2 James Brown, Sly Stone and contempary WBLS records then he’d play The Monkeys employees and didn’t know what we were or Billy Squier. ‘How could you mix all these doing. We made it up as we went along and got ripped off by promoters but it didn’t records?’ but kids were getting off on it. Someone would hook a mic up on stage and matter because we were doing great; we had no over head and it got us in the game. freestyle but the most you would normally get was “throw your hands in the air” which Bambaataa did the A&R and found Johnson Crew, this group from Boston that had some was basically to keep the party going - it electric (he loved electric and Kraftwerk); was all about the party. Archie Baker produced Jazzy Sensation and found this group in Boston called Planet That was the early beginnings of Hip Hop. Patrol. We used most of same tracks from Bambataa came out of the Black Spades Planet Rock, using the same 2-inch tape where everyone was getting killed. He saw and replaced a few tracks and changed the a lot of his friends get killed. He went on his own and built the Zulu Nation a positive vocals. That was very productive 2-inch replacement for what the gang was kicking tape and we sold almost a million 12-inches and he gave people something to belong to. of that.
He was against the violence - he was like the Ghandi of Hip Hop. When he would play a Zulu Nation party and a fight would break out he’d stop the music. Scratch a few beats and then stop the music and say “you like that” then he’d play a few more times and say “stop fighting”.
The business plan for the label was to make 12-inches. My contract didn’t allow me to make an album so I had to go back and renegotiate with Bambaataa. They had a tough lawyer and asked for stuff I couldn’t give and we kept negotiating. We got an album out two years after Planet Rock was released and it was too late. In those days 12-inches only sold in NY and NJ so for me to sell 600,000 12-inches - if I had an album I could have sold 2 or 3 million albums but I guess I wasn’t supposed to get that hot that quickly, it would have made me stupid - I was supposed to stay hungry.
overhead. When you get to this place where you have to make and put records out to feed your machine and pay for your overhead, then you start doing things for money as opposed to art.
I wanted to sign crazy music and do fun things, but instead of becoming fun we felt the pressure of generating income. and the reason I got into the business was not just to generate income but to generate culture and ideas. When it turned to just generating income we became machines and we weren’t that fit. That was never my speciality but I got sucked into it. I never wanted the I was able to grow the company and then we company to be that big but I never stopped had a cold period. In 1985 I had to sell half it so its my fault for letting it get that big. the company to Warner Bros to bring money in and get access to pop radio and in 1988 F: What is your goal for “Hip Hop Essentials?” they bought the rest. We kept our own distribution and international. The only thing we ended up using them for was manufacturing. It really didn’t work out so well for us because they (WB) had all the bureaucracy and politicking etc. F: From your site: “The suits upstairs, did their job well: keeping shareholders happy with rising stock prices, but ultimately there were conflicting visions of the “bottom line” vs. art. Tommy Boy chose art.” TS: 1999 was the peak of the music business. and by 2002 the entire music industry was off 15%; now its down around 40% from peak. TS: I have a few different goals. My main goal is for it to be perceived as the most important Hip Hop compilation of all time and becomes the de facto standard that defines the history of Hip Hop musically. I’m concerned, Bam is concerned and Kool Herc is concerned that viacom and Def Jam are trying to rewrite Hip Hop History.
Bambaataa coined the term lyingeers instead of pioneers because they are lying. We are our business was changing and our ability to really thinking about the Russell Simmons who are saying Hip Hop started when he compete in Hip Hop was being undermined started and LL cool J was the first Hip Hop by viacom and Def Jam spending 3x what we could and they didn’t really care because artist. If you look at the vH1 Hip Hop Honors program, they leave out everything they had a lot of money. I couldn’t really important before Def Jam like nothing be competitive so I wasn’t able to sign and break the biggest Hip Hop acts after Coolio happened until somebody put on a Kangol hat or Russell walks in with Run DMC. vH1 and Everlast. Those were the two biggest records we ever had and those were in the probably asked Russell to do it and they just followed whatever he said but what about early 90s. Holly Robinson, Jerry Robinson and Stevie Robinson from Sugar Hill Records, people We built that company up until we had to who really started it? sell millions of records just to cover our
Where is Sleeping Bag, Select, Profile, Tommy Boy and Priority and so many important independent labels that created an incredible cornucopia of important music and it is all on Hip Hop Essentials.
F: With Tommy Boy Entertainment. There is a bigger sense to broaden the horizon. Do you think that is the best idea?
TS: There is no new genre that defines a generation the way Hip Hop used to define a generation back in the early period. After So that is what I hope is going to happen, that this becomes the sound bar none of Hip that period it became so mainstream that the Times liked it and radio understood it. Hop compilations. What I should try to do The marketers, labels and big corporations is get this in libraries and once the full 12 volumes are out it becomes an academic set. all embraced it. They sold out any way so it wasn’t really defining anything it was just lining the pockets of somebody. It became a I remember when i was going to school at question of who got the profits. Colby there was a jazz horn player, Marion Brown, who came to teach as a visiting professor. Its been 25 years now, when are The idea of free and unchecked organic system where the cream rose to the top was they going to do that with Hip Hop? history by 1992. It was a money game at I can’t even get Grandmaster Flash into the that point. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and I’m on the board. I put him up every year and he gets That is why this is beautiful because all the the most votes in the room and when it goes stuff that happened naturally. Stu (Fine of Wild Pitch Records) and I were careful in to the 600 he gets the least amount. Two years now and no Hip Hop artist in the Rock making sure we cover all the regional scenes of that period because you could watch how and Roll hall of Fame. See this is what we Hip Hop would sprout in different places. I are up against - the lyingeers on one side and the people who don’t consider Hip Hop was just in Morocco and [met] the biggest Hip Hop group from there. They were Rock and Roll. Hip Hop is more Rock and rapping in Arabic and you could see the Roll than fucking Billy Joel or Elton John. At least it stands for something and defines influence and how far its come. I kept asking them how come I don’t hear more of a generation like Chuck Berry and Little Richie did and they know it. All these guys your own instruments? Why are you using their tracks to rap over? Do your own shit. (writers, mangers etc) know it and cant deny it but when it goes to the heads of the Still all around the world they are making Hip Hop records that sound like our Hip Hop. label who vote, they all vote for their own. They have the opportunity to make some F: Do you think an answer is starting a Hip new shit that could be big over here but not if they imitate us because we’re not going to Hop Hall of Fame and pushing it? buy back seconds of our shit, we want some new stuff. These are guys who are just TS: That is like creating a separate bus doing their own thing and love Hip Hop. for Rosa Parks. You gotta say fuck it, I’m sitting in the front of the bus and that’s For them it defines a generation. They what I’m going to do. If the southerners love American Hip Hop and they would love were smart then they would have created America if it didn’t have a fucked up a whole separate bus line just as good as the ones for Whites for Rosa Parks. It may President. But they understand that there is have allowed racism to continue down there a difference between the people that run our to today but they were stupid and she was country and the people in our country and the reason they understand it is because of smart and brave. Hip Hop.
Jay-Z should go over there and do a tour of all of the places that hate America- I’d call it the “I Hate America” tour and we would go with Chuck D and other people and tour all of these places. Jesse Jackson can’t go there, they don’t care about him. They want to hear what Jay-Z has to say, they worship him. There would be more diplomacy done if we could get a rap squad who actually gave a fuck to go over to the really scary places where they don’t like Americans and say ‘look that’s not America, this is America. We are America too and because of our Democratic process misfunctioning, we have some fucked up shit happening over here.’ F: Do you feel music or art in general is being heavily commodified in a factory type setting where they want one-hit wonders using what has worked before? TS: They don’t want one hit wonders because they can’t make enough money on a one hit wonder. The majors are still looking for an artist that can have multiple hits but as soon as they think it might not be, they bail on it. They [major labels] can’t afford to take any risks. If you had a record that sold 1 million records last time but they don’t think you can sell 500,000 this time they might drop you because it could be costly for them to bring it out. They look at their numbers and they are very bottom line oriented and very risk averse. They spend so much money because they built this whole cost structure that they are aligning right now with higher expenses so they have to be careful of what they get behind. That is why they only want to get behind artists that have already blown up on some scene, are already selling records and have a base so all the label has to do get is their name. They don’t have to do the hard work of developing an artist. How many major labels have signed a new artist from scratch, one who hasn’t had a
record out that people are checking for. What if the A&R guy says ‘I just love this. Let me get behind it, spend two years building it and turning it into something great.’ That is not what major labels are doing. The indies are doing it, where they can, and those artists just have to be patient and poor for as long as it takes for it to happen. It works better in the South because they can do a lot of shows and make money. Also there are a lot of Black radio stations that will support local stuff - that’s how we broke Gucci Mane and Big Kap. [Down there] you can get 2,000 spins a week just off of Black radio and a few crossover stations and that is enough to set exposure for the rest of the country. F: Describe the people who wrote linings and provided photos for Hip Hop Essentials. TS: originally artists wanted to do original photography of kids wearing gazelle glasses or name belts but we thought it wasn’t going to look real - that would have been the way majors might have done it. I said the best thing would be to find classic things from that period of time, like fat laces and adidas shell toes and shoot that. But Stu didn’t like that idea and said lets find someone who chronicled the original stuff. We called Bill Adler who was the head of PR for Def Jam through the golden ages. I mentioned a few people including Martha Cooper. Martha was one of the people who we could get all the images from. She was happy to do it and do it within our budget which was really tiny due to our sales expectations for Hip Hop Essentials. I felt a quarter million people should have this kind of knowledge but people don’t want to take a spoonful of medicine. All I know is when I played a one for Queen Latifah, she flipped out and almost went into a trance.
If you were around during that period it is fabulous and nostalgic but the young kids that are into Hip Hop today aren’t necessarily the core demographic that we expect to buy it because we understand ignorance and how hard it is to break through it. But people who have a nostalgic attachment to this period- when they hear this they are going to go ‘oh my god, I have to have this. I’ll buy them all and relive that period that was so amazing.’ You talk to people who were into Hip Hop in the golden days and play any of these records for them and it’s like they have a heart attack. Martha was the first photographer that shot Hip Hop. She’s been around since the beginning documenting the pillars. It was the same thing for the writers. We wanted people who have been writing about it for a long time or wrote about it during that period and were champions of it when there weren’t many champions of it. You look for the early pioneers not the lyingeers. You want the ones who really put there ass on the line trying to push music that really was offensive to a lot of people and a threat. F: What’s the plan after the set is complete. TS: Export it and get it into other territories because it is important to get it to the rest of the world to know that Hip Hop grows here and this is where it came from. I hope that people don’t just burn them and give them to their friends. That is another reason we did the liner notes and the art because it makes it something people want to own. We picked the the big hits and the crossovers that still get play now and then we picked ones that were really important in the period but never crossed. Those that were only big in a scene; like if you were in NY but never heard “Egypt Egypt,” which was a gigantic record on the West Coast. So we tried to make sure we covered ones like that and Luke Skywalker.
We show Hip Hop for the cultural and amazing event that it was and is today. It is now a lifestyle and a whole business but in those days it was really an amazing group of events that all happened at the same time and the same place. What were the odds that graffiti writers, breakdancers, mcs and turntablists would be in the same location in the Bronx. Then a small infection would take off from there and spread to the whole world. It never has happened before- jazz and maybe the blues were close - but this is bigger than anything else Why won’t the more articulate of these guys get honorary degrees, like Chuck D or KRS-one? Why aren’t they speaking at institutions like University of Michigan? Why aren’t they getting honorary degrees like Bill Cosby or jazz players? How are they different? How old do you want them to get? Who deserves it more than an mc or a writer. You guys are in a place to do it and once you do it everyone will follow. Pretty soon all of these guys will start doing it and this changes the perception that [Hip Hop] is an art form. We are not just talking about 50 Cent and Eminem. We are talking about people like Grandmaster Flash, Queen Latifah and Will Smith. Spread the word about “Hip Hop Essentials.” Radio isn’t going to play it and its not going to be on Tv. The only way to know about it is to tell people. Each on teach one. This is our history. You think about Black History month and you can go back to Harriet Tubman but we have Black history within last 25 years that we wrote and is still resonating with current generation. So where did it come from and how can we use it as a teaching mechanism. once you go back to that, you can go back to funk and jazz and it gets kids into it. I can see academic institutions really embracing it. This could be the beginning of something very exciting. The most important new cultural statement that has been made in probably a century is Hip Hop and you have these people who are still alive.
Hip Hop can do a lot more than it is currently doing. It has become very complacent. The people who are running Hip Hop and are at the top of the game are thinking how they can get paid more as if they don’t have enough now. They are asking what’s in it for me rather than asking how can I share or serve. Until that dialogue changes we still will have a very big problem in the Hip Hop community. When Hip Hop started it was only ‘how can I serve’ that was asked. That was the spirit that created Hip Hop and all of the arts surrounding it. Nobody was making money doing it back then so what other question could you ask. If they were saying ‘what’s in it for me,’ then they would have gotten a job doing something else. [Instead] they just loved what they were doing and were doing it as a means of self expression which was pure. Then money fucked it up, it always does. I like to believe there is a way to go back underground and blast them with that kind of creativity but there can be alternate segments, different versions and other things that make it work. With 1 billion people going at it, there has to be one or two people that are into different things and doing something radical. Then you need people to get behind them and all of a sudden there is a following and hopefully a major doesn’t sign them and put them on the shelf or misunderstand it all. Hip Hop needs its messiah. There needs to be someone who comes back and says something but flips it in a way that nobody has ever done before and all of a sudden people will say ‘oh my god, we never thought about this.’ Hip Hop will have a whole new lease on life. The complete interview is available at www.onefokus.org/insight
Photo by Emma Raynor
Handsomely awkward and violent, impulsive serenity, idealemma, lust and love turning in circles, looking each other in the eyes, each one ready to attack, ready to make mushroom clouds in the sky out of the other peaceful and playful atomic bomb, silent last scream for help, locked in cages, starving in stark and utter blankness and consumed by a desperate insatiable hunger for liberationthe feeling of drowning with no one around to save you. Slow-motion chaos, the Sahara desert glazed with a sheet of petrified, crystal ice, Antarctica blazed with the fire and smoke of the ancient Aztec gods returning from their caskets, Siberia melting and burning with the spice and passion of lukewarm lava straight from the center of the earth. The sun turing into a circular ice cube and falling off the freckled face of a timid universe. The Black forest growing at the rate of bamboo shoots to the moon, as if to escape the atmosphere to become the first ones to enter the pearly gates of heaven. Calm and collect, stop, drop and (egg) roll, place oxygen mask over mouth, help yourself before assisting others. Deep euphoric breaths so as to survive up until the moment you become a fireworks display for a lonely Atlantic ocean.
THE NIGHT MY WoRLD CHANGED
by roneshiA WilliAms
“Ma’am, license and registration please” Those five words spinnin my head, Total dread , Realizin that the sweet life I had inherited was no longer afforded by the nice job my parents Had or the ties I had to the higher academic counsels. No, to this officer I was just another nigga wit a nice ride, No job in sight, Wit braided locks and no future.
As I flipped back and forth from the memories of the past to the idyllic missions of the future. So straight laced and apologetic I was to that man, The one who held my freedom, secured firmly in his hands And while minutes earlier I felt so free, I couldn’t help but wonder if that night I would just become another statistic, a distant memory.
Those 5 short minutes felt like 50 long days And Lord knows I even imagined the torture My free flowing signal had now been inter- in jail I figured the inmates knew so many Cause rupted by white noise, Spirit from the other side invading my privacy. ways. Re-focusing my attention to the rearview, Scared I flipped through all my belongings, The man approached my car and all time only to find my information sitting on the stood still. other side of the dashboard. The snow cascading from the sky slowed in Somehow adjusted to the idea that at any its course given moment, And I counted the seconds until my life was My blundering follies could be spotted and over. penalized . Still shuttering on the inside waited The movements were all too common and oh Ireported for the dreaded news that someone my car as stolen so automatic, or that I was somehow withholding With short no’s recreational goods And quick yeses or that I even had a mysterious busted tail No sudden moves light. And with eyes straight forward; The man looked at me and smiled. This was a typical night on the “other side He said you weren’t doin anything wrong, of town”. But next time you might not be so lucky. Hailed as a citizen, He walked away, But not really, And with each exhale I thanked the Holy Just as long as the taxes were paid Father that all had been forgotten. And there was blood money to be made. What once was second nature Thoughts of the family I left behind, Became a planned adventure All sure that the world was better now, while That we no longer had to struggle from day And done, those five words I heard once and was to day I knew they would hold real weight for As those in the past had done for so long. like voices from the years before, penetrated my others justyearsme come. For many to thoughts
CooL AS A FAN
by Ashlee Arder
Chuck English and Mikey Rocks, also known as The Cool Kids, have taken the underground Hip Hop scene by storm. The Chicago rap duo delivers catchy, positive lyrics over beats infused with soul trembling bass. What began as a Myspace friendship has transformed into a movement. Just as many other musical collaborations, by both big names and local artists, have originated on Myspace, Mikey and Chuck English swapped music via Myspace before ever hooking up.
Besides their ability to rap (especially about something other than bitches and hoes) The Cool Kids have incorporated BMX bikes into their creative equation. With their popular song “Black Mags,” the group brags not about the rims on their luxury cars, but about the wheels on their BMX bikes. The Cool Kids are not only fun to listen to, but also to look at. It’s as if these guys hopped into a time machine, went shopping in a 1988 street boutique, and then returned to 2008. Their wardrobe, complete with thick, gold rope chains and windbreaker jackets, is a statement on its own. These guys are all about change. They have shown that it’s not only cool to rap about bikes, but that self expression can come in any form. It’s ok to sound, look and act differently from those around you. Many would say that the rap game has been in need of a change for quite some time. How many more people are there to kill, bitches to fuck and ways to spend money? And although the dance-inspired songs that have taken over our televisions and radios are fun to imitate, how many more of those can we endure? The Cool Kids have not only thrown a monkey wrench into today’s rap scene, but have done so genuinely and positively.
THE HANDS oF TIME
by JonAthAn desir
A glorius plan indeed but you cannot escape my clutch I will find you, light from a distant star may once upon these hands, the sands of my take years for you to see, but thats ok, I essence was hastened by life I orchestrate that fact Now it seems like life, is merely time, merely will find you, because truth is I am why time I love to torture you, me feels shorter each and every day of your life I marvel at how I define your eternity but I am why time flies when you are having fun only humanity is my prey and so slow when you are bored, waiting to You see, mankind depends on its predator Since the dawn of my birth the universe was get up and Igo always around during Seems like was cursed with the worst plague that will one childhood, just think back for a moment, this day put the earth in a hearse ones on me There is not a single piece of matter that Didn’t days feel like endless imagination isn’t effected by me journeys through my fabric Though time is contingent on its Now its a shame you can’t buy some time environment, I am out of harms way with your fixation on the almighty multiI speak in sign language because actions colored new American dollar speak louder than words is And because I loathe the blackholes vacuum And they say timeme money, you will never be able to afford cove with the darkness and slight current of so keep worshiping the dow jones down atmosphere whisping through the void, syndrome, but you now shall sin alone whispering taunts of times kryptonite Don’t you just love time, time is like love This lack of presence disgusts me You cannot see me but you must admit that Its resistance prompted me to pummel the unfortunately presence with a powerful persistence pushed i’m there,my componentschocolate cannot replicate upon peons Go ahead and try to figure me out through Sometimes driving me to a globe of times chronemics, try cliche, time after time, I time travel through your chronological me through yourto communicate with schedtime zones just to stop time, but i’m always ules, palm pilots, computers, calendars and on time time and time again, wondering when clocks, day planners and data banks is irrelevant I am not listening, keep trying to find what My father time and grandfather clock makes me tick, your big business is small nicknamed me sundial time and your ticking me off, everyday you My head got so big that if you dialed nine question me, what time is it? what time is 144,445 times you’d get an outside line it? what time is it? Your manmade answers which would show you how many of your are meaningless, I will not respond planets could fit inside will only continue on my uninterupted path And once I go big bang, existence no longer Itoward forever, I am infatuated with the exists cycle of infinity, she has got the best of me In realizing this I am now taking over, its we reach the white dwarf showtime, history doesn’t repeat itself, I do until timelines timeless road thatatisthe end of this Second after second, you better watch your 2012 watch cause only time will tell I am of the essence, I heal all wounds, I am running out, don’t let me pass you by Pathetically you try to trick me by tripping my leap year tracks Coordinating your cosmic clocks with NASA trying to defy the aging process with speed
GYPA SUMMER 2008 ART SCHooL IMMERSIoN This June, fifteen American artists and students between the ages of 1830 will be selected to participate in GYPA’s International Art School Immersion. This is a unique opportunity to learn from Uganda’s best and brightest artists and instructors from the Makerere University School of Industrial and Fine Arts. The Art School will take place on the shores of Lake victoria at the Nagenda International Academy of Art and Design (NIAAD). Since the founding of the School of Fine Arts in 1937, Uganda’s Makerere University has been East Africa’s leader in innovative fine arts education, production and scholarship. Art School participants will experience a 2.5 week art-intensive program focusing on a variety topics including: African fine art techniques in disciplines such as painting, drawing and sculpture; African art history; African culture and its encouragement of industriousness and artistic expression; and more. These courses will take place in a variety of class settings that will include the incorporation of Uganda’s lush and beautiful landscapes. Contact International Art School Immersion Coordinator, Sharon Wolf, for more information: email@example.com; phone: 847.769.1338.