The Michigan Daily
Monday, February 20, 1989
The 'New school' of rap and hip hop
artists are more concerned with brands
of politics than brands of gym shoes.
comes to Memphis
BY SHEALA DURANT
L AST Monday, as part of Black
Istory Month, Black - or rather
Afican-American - students took
to the Diag kicking off a weeklong
celebration by the Black Student
Union of the life and work of Mal-
Wim X. Students proclaimed that
"Black is back," and in addition to
speeches, the music of rap group
Public Enemy was featured to further
the mood of the day's activities.
Many Black college students here
as well as at other campuses grew up
with and are still influenced by the
music of the rap/hip hop culture.
-Rap music, like other forms of
afro-American music (e.g., blues
and jazz), contains several African
musical elements - for instance,
tie traditional elements of antiphony
(tll and response) and syncopation.
Put nouns, verbs and superlative ad-
jectives are the primary tools of the
Gone are the "old school" days of
teenage kids - "ego rappers"
rhyming about who had the best
gymshoes, "I'm so and so/I'm
this/I'm that." The "new school" of
rappers are in their mid-to-late 20s,
college-educated, and speaking out
on political and social issues related
to the Black community. Two
groups, Boogie Down Productions
(BDP) and Public Enemy (PE) are
part of this cultural revolution in rap
Harry Allen, a Black journalist
d hip hop critic, said that
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"Through hip hop, using life stuff,
Black teenagers have made a musical
statement and begun the creation of a
musical language in their own
Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation
of Millions to Hold Us Back (Def
Jam/Colombia) sold 750,000 copies
in six weeks and has been called one
of the most controversial albums of
1988. Public Enemy is a five-man
group composed of front men Chuck
D. and Flavor Flav. Their "minister
of information" is Professor Griff.
Public Enemy is assisted by their
security force and on stage body
guards, the SiWs (Security of The
First World). Members of Public
Enemy describe themselves as Black
Nationalists whose raps are inspired
by the speeches of the Reverend
Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan,
Franz Fanon - and by life on the
Public Enemy uses raps, speech
samplings and syncopated rhythms
which put together and present lis-
teners with a sort of audio collage.
The entire album is a critique of
what Public Enemy perceives to be
the ills ravaging Black American
society - for example, television.
"She Watch Channel Zero" is a
commentary about a Black girl who
watches TV all of the time - the
group tells her to "go get a
book/read about yourself/learn your
culture." "Black Steel In The Hour
of Chaos" is a narrative about a
young Black man who refuses to
register for the draft and is arrested.
Public Enemy is also known for
Public Enemy represents the "new school" of rap music - educated,
concerned rappers who are speaking their minds about political and
social issues surrounding American Blacks.
their strong views and powerful lan-
guage. Public Enemy's front man,
Chuck D., told Rolling Stone, "I
curse a lot because I don't have a re-
gard for the English language. Eng-
land was the hub of Western civi-
lized culture, a culture which is the
reason Black people are in the situa-
tion we're in today."
Public Enemy is interpreted as
racist and militant by many whites
and music critics who've listened to
them. Lyrics from one of their
songs, "Party For Your Right To
Power, equality! and we're out to
get it/ I know some of you ain't wit'
it.! This party started right in
'66/with a pro-Black radical mix.! J.
Edgar Hoover/and he coulda' proved
to ya'/ He had King and X set up!
Also the party with Newton, Cleaver
and Sealel He ended so get up!
...Word from the honorable Elijah
Muhammed! know who you are to
In an interview with Fresh Mag-
azine, Public Enemy's Chuck D.
said, "We're out for one thing only,
and that's to bring back the resur-
gence of Black power. But we are
not racist. We're nationalists -peo-
ple who have pride and who want to
build a sense of unity among our
people. In the song "Don't Believe
The Hype," Public Enemy takes a
stab at the media institutions who
criticize them and label their sound
as being "Too Black... Too Strong."
Chuck D., who also claims his
phones were tapped by the FBI after
the debut of the group's first album,
Yo! Bum Rush The Show, supports
the idea of Black self-sufficiency:
"We are brainwashed to think noth-
ing of ourselves. You've got to
know the rules of the game so we
won't keep falling into traps."
The second of the "new school"
rap groups is Boogie Down Produc-
tions. Boogie Down Productions'
leader, 23-year-old KRS-One, said
that he does not consider himself a
Black Nationalist "like my friend
Chuck D." Describing Boogie Down
Productions, he said, "We are
presently one of the most politically
oriented rap groups out right now. I
say politically oriented, not because
we point fingers at political prob-
lems, but because we educate the
public on how to deal with them.
Our public is our fans, mainly the
teenagers and 20-year-olds." The
single "My Philosophy" from the
LP, "By All Means Neces-
sary"(Jive/RCA), sold 175,000
copies in only 12 days. KRS-One
seems to tailor his message more
toward college students and believes
strongly that knowledge is a tool for
liberation: "These people make me
laugh/ the way they like to change
up the past/ So when you're there in
class learnin' his-story/ Learn a little
of your story, the real story."
KRS-One has been even more
specific in terms of audience like
this statement: "I urge those of you
who are students of communication
to communicate to the young minds
in a positive, truthful sense." He
also tells fans, "Do not judge us at
face value. Find out more and com-
municate positive messages to re-
ceive positive responses."
In an effort to curtail teen vio-
lence in the Black community, the
two groups along with Hank
Shocklee, D. Nice, M.C. Lyte,
Stetsasonic, Heavy D., Just-Ice and
Doug E. Fresh form the backbone of
the "Stop The Violence Movement."
The end product of this collaboration
was a 12-inch called "Self-Destruc-
tion"(Jive/RCA), a song about
Black-on-Black crime awareness. It
was released last January in
conjunction with Martin Luther
See Rap, Page 8
BY MARK SWARTZ
IF beauty, as Roland Barthes in-
sists, "cannot assert itself save in the
form of a citation," then the music
writer must resort to references to
describe the beauty of Toots Hib-
bert's voice. Here goes: Toots Hib-
bert's voice is the only voice that can
be mentioned in the same breath as
Bob Marley and Otis Redding. Get
With his band, the Maytals, Toots
has assembled a discography that
spanssalmost 30 years of Jamaican
music. Emerging from the ska and
rocksteady scenes of the '60s, Toots
became a reggae star and a national
hero rivalled only by Godfather/High
Priest Marley. Like Ziggy's dad,
Toots' appeal spread to the outside
world, with hits like "Sweet and
Dandy" and "Pressure Drop," from
the soundtrack The Harder They
Come, scoring big on the English
and U.S. pop charts in 1972. Toots'
soulful, Otis-inspired vocals built a
sterling silver bridge between
Trenchtown, Jamaica and Memphis,
Finally, after all these years, Toots
has crossed that bridge with force and
style and soul intact. For Toots in
Memphis, recorded last year in the
same city where the late great Red-
ding first sang "These Arms of
Mine" so many years ago, Hibbert
assembled a crack band from both
musical meccas. With Sly and Rob-
bie cranking out the skanking rid-
dims, Teenie Hodges (from the Al
Green band) generating the guitar
gusto, and Toots belting out the soul
classics from way down in his gut,
the album crackles with excitement.
It's sweet soul music from the first
person who ever used the word
"reggae" in a song title.
Toots, like all the great ones, has
the ability to work wonders with a
single line, alternately caressing it
and wrestling it down to the ground.
It's been a trademark of his ever since
1969 in his autobiographical prison
drama "54-46 That's My Number,"
in which he jams on the single
phrase "he say what's your number
man." On the new one, he takes on
...mixes reggae and soul
the title to "Love The Rain," with
The intimacy of the Nectarine
Ballroom should prove to be an ideal
forum for his particular brand of
sweat-soaked rapture. Marley and
Redding are gone, but in Toots Hib-
bert we have some major consola-
TOOTS AND THE MAYTALS will
play at the Nectarine Ballroom
tonight at 10 p.m. Tickets are
$12.50 in advance.
MANY POSITIONS AVAIL AT PLVC, a
ap s inunderpriveleged kids. Lo. in
SW Mch igstf for counselors wa-
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PART-TIME babysitter for local famil be-
- /in_/20/89. Call Sandy collect at 419)-
PLEASE CHECK YOUR ADIIIII
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STUDENTS EARN MONEY
Dorm residents wanted for a study of peo-
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Are you interested in
PROMOTIONS or MARKETING?
The Michigan Ensian Yearbook is looking for an energetic and
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