From the desk of 4Sight Media straight to the readers of RapReviews.com, here are the responses of Prodigy, Cormega and Lee to the Sean Bell Verdict.
** PRODIGY **
"First of all, rest in peace to Sean Bell and I want to send my condolences to his wife, kids, family and friends and all the Sean Bell boys - Hold your head.
We lost a lot of battles but we will win the war. The decision in the Queens courtroom on Friday, April 25 was simply a display of power. The NYPD is just a branch of corruption connected to a giant corrupt tree called the United States government. This tyrannical corrupt tree has its roots planted deep into the United Kingdom.
The Sean Bell murder coverup is less about race and more about power. This evil family tree of corruption will do whatever it takes to remain in a position of power. They will put a judge who they can control on the case, in order to get the outcome they want and eliminate the risk of being exposed and exposing the higher ups. I want to be very clear that all judges, DAs, lawyers, cops are not corrupt, just most of them.
People of all races need to come together to control our government and run a giant comb through it, so we can see the filth that comes out. Right now we have a government that controls the people, instead of people that control their government. Until we can do that, there'll be several more incidents like the murder of Sean Bell.
America is under a spell and we need to snap out of it."
** LEE ** "There's always the constant message of disregard being sent to the Black community from the government's justice and social systems. I've witnessed verdicts like this be handed down from city to city all over the country with the same message echoing: "You don't count." I saw it with the William Lozano case in Miami years ago. We can see it most recently with the Jena, Louisiana case.
I am often reminded of the early day's when this nation was born and the 13 colonies. Blacks lived in fear of this country and the government even before the Pan-African slave trade began. Once slavery began freed men were forced to carry papers to prove their God-given right to walk among free men always in fear that some clan of men could come along and take them from their families and sell them like cattle at their discretion. All through this country's history this fear has been cultivated into the hearts of Blacks. We've been conditioned to fear the very government that is to protect us.
Even now after the Civil Rights Movement and the days of burning crosses and public lynchings remnants of that old justice and social system still live on. And the fact that all of the officers were not Anglo means little within in the context of the grander message: "At any time and any place you will be reminded that you don't count. You can always be put down." It's not about taking our leaders away anymore, as there are few or none with a real voice. It's about letting everyday citizens know that they don't matter. It's the message that's sent to young Black children that they should grow up in fear of this government because they simply don't have a voice in the justice/ social system. This system does not care for them or speak for them.
That is the pervasive message that is sent to our communities and its objective seems to have been to constantly plant seeds of hopelessness so that we never share in the American Dream."
** CORMEGA ** "The Sean Bell murder itself was a reflection of how expendable black men are in the eyes of many. The verdict was a far worse crime because it stripped a dead man of his rights and it stripped a community of hope. We came so far as a people yet gained little momentum but I would like to thank society for re opening my eyes to the myth called equality and the justice that eludes just us! Power to the People!"
Growing up in a bad neighborhood oftentimes leads young men and women down the wrong path in life. Loj’s parents weren’t about to let that happen to him despite their address being in South Jamaica, Queens. Loj remembers “growing up was an interesting experience because Southside is a rough neighborhood, but my parents did everything they could to keep me off of the streets. They put me in Catholic school all the way in Rego Park, which is a nice neighborhood, and they also put me in a number of after school activities.” When Loj turned 17 his family moved to Flushing, but well before that move happened Loj discovered Hip-Hop. “My sister is an emcee, Helixx C. Armaggedon, and she was rockin since she was like 14, so that means I was like nine when I started getting into it.” Loj is now more than just “into it” as he’s been making considerable noise in the NY scene as an emcee himself. This week I sat down with him to find out more about his fascinating life, the concept behind his album, No Labels, and where he finds his inspiration.
Yesterday Wesley Snipes received the maximum jail sentence of 36 months on three misdemeanor tax evasion charges, AND he also faces a $5 million fine for failing to pay $15 million of income taxes over the last decade. The prosecutors called his failure to pay straight up "fraud". Let this be a lesson to you sports and entertainment stars out there - the fed does NOT play when it comes to paying your shit, so pay early and often. Thanks to www.udubnews.com for this tidbit.
I can’t tell you how many times someone asks me which rap artists I like that are well known and I respond by drawing a complete blank. Yes, I prefer a lot of lesser known emcees, but it has nothing to do with the fact that they’re lesser known, it’s just that I think they’re making better music than what I hear on the radio. Of course, before I can explain this my initial reaction of “I can’t think of anyone off the top of my head” quickly gets me labeled a “hater.” Well, I’m not a hater and today I’m going to prove it. That’s right, today I’m going to list, to the best of my ability, the mainstream artists I will actually turn the radio up for.
Artist: Problem Title: I'm Toe Up Label: Universal Republic Records
There's a problem with "I'm Toe Up" right from the jump off, and it's not the sentiments expressed in the song. After all there's no shortage of people over 21 who know what it's like to get stupid off the drink and hit the dancefloor. The problem for Problem is his boy Disko's production work. On the one hand "I'm Toe Up" is catchy because it's immediately familiar. On the other it's about as creative as slapping two copies of MIMS "This Is Why I'm Hot" instrumental on the wheels of steel and doubling up the beat. This is no happy accident - he either intentionally jacked the track or went into the lab with the goal of imitating the song in mind. This one will probably get play for all the wrong reasons, but if they acknowledge the bite by doing a "This Is Why I'm Toe Up" remix with MIMS I might be cool with it in the end.
Artist: Brentley Willis Title: Southern Boi Label: Bout Dat Entertainment
Brentley is an r&b singer from Chicago by way of Texas who does the same kind of rhythmic singing that has made R. Kelly a bundle, and gave Montell Jordan a brief glimpse of fame back in the day. "Southern Boi" is a club jam that celebrates all things Southern. It feels a little late in the game to be singing about diamonds in your grill and candy painted rides - it's 2008, not 2005, right? Anthony "Tonye" Newsome mixes up some pop hip hop and studio tricks ala T-Pain. It's innocuous and mildly entertaining. It didn’t make me want to either dance or move to the South, but it didn't make me race for the skip button. He has a new album set to drop on May 6, so you'll probably be hearing more from this young singer soon, although after listening to the other tracks on his Myspace page, I think I'll be steering clear. "Southern Boi" is the best of the bunch.
Artist: Yung Ralph Title: I Work Hard Label: Universal Republic Records
There's nothing like working hard to get ahead to get your slice of daily bread, and Yung Ralph seems to have a firm grasp on the concept. Producer P-No rocks out the "Rockin Chair" sample with horns that give Ralph solid ground to stand on as he spits his traditional values. "I go hard when I'm writin my lyrics/Why you think the O.G.'s and grown folks feel me/Grew up bein broke so I'm careful with my money/Good advice and business sense, and I think big tummy." Ralph certainly seems to have his head screwed on right and his priorities straight. Other newcomers might cash that advance check and go buy a Bentley but I'm willing to wager Ralph invested his in a money market account and only drew the funds he needed for studio time. That kind of hard work almost always pays off in the long run, and this single should too.
Artist: Tigga Bounce Title: Stand Up Label: 2G Entertainment
Unless I missed something in "Keeping It Real 101" I never hear anybody talk about Winnie the Pooh when they mention the old school. Perhaps it's weak to admit Hundred Acre Wood sounded like a nice place to chill. If you get right down to it though a lot of hip-hop's cocky self-assured hip-hop bravado talks like Tigger, the brother with more BOUNCE to the ounce than any man or animal alive. BET's Big Tigger sullied the name to me becaue he was more Carlton Banks than Roger Troutman, but the self-produced Tigga Bounce is trying to bring it back to that old school rap. With his first single TB is professing his affection for a babe so bootylicious he has to "Stand Up" in her presence. It may be that TB was afraid he too would be perceived as a cartoon, because he loops a crunked out voice saying "GHETTO" behind the vocals for the entire instrumental. My advice to Tigga would be to embrace the funk and ignore the haters. He's no T-Pain as a singer and he's no Too $hort as a pimp, but everyone can relate when he says "I'm keepin it cool, cause you make me feel it, want to cut up/But if you keep on, you gon' make me have to pull that skirt up." Bounce Tigga Bounce Tigga, gi-gi-gi-geah.
Artist: Nyce Da Future f/ Kool G. Rap Title: Target Practice Label: Shake 'Em Down Music
It's a bit of a mystery who produced this track, but as far as I can determine the song comes from a Whoo Kid mixtape called "38 in the Head." What IS clear is that the producer flipped Beethoven's 9th Symphony, which is a dope move for two reasons - no sample clearance, and properly looped strings really energize a track. The song was already off to a hot start when Kool G. Rap unexpectedly showed up to spit bars. Even though it's nice to hear the legend rapping about the "Symphony" days Da Future is the star here: "Still got a boulder on my shoulder, I'm tryin to yank it/'Til these bullets'll make dirt be your new blanket." Sure it's a prototypical gun-toting machismo rap, but at least Nyce is trying to get nice and inject a little humor and wit into it. I'm not mad at the track and I'm willing to check for a future single to see if he's still Nyce.