From Matt Sonzala, formerly of HoustonSoReal and now of AustinSurreal
To Whom it May Concern,
And as this is an "open letter," I mean all y'all. All of you who are or should be concerned about the situation happening at 97.9 The Box in Houston."
It pains me to write this letter, as this week, I along with every lover of hip-hop music and culture have already been hit hard by the passing of Keith "Guru" Elam. When Guru, the voice behind Gang Starr, passed away on Tuesday, I and plenty of other people pulled out our old Gang Starr records and celebrated the life of one of hip-hop's most engaging and important MC's. We listened to his music as we mourned our collective loss.
As I listened, I personally began thinking hard about hip-hop, and what it has become. Listening to his deft word play and deep, meaningful lyrics, often about street life, I felt a jolt of energy flow through me, like something I haven't felt in a long time. I realized while listening to this music, some of which is 20 years old, how much hip-hop music has taught me throughout my life. This week - tragically through Guru's passing - I remembered that hip-hop music is a serious gift to our generation.
And the loss of Guru made me think about how much we need to respect its power.
When I heard about 97.9 The Box (KBXX) banning Trae tha Truth, I honestly brushed it off. Fact of the matter is, Trae has the support of the streets of Houston. And I figured that an MC of his stature in the community probably doesn't really even need a station like The Box.
Then on the night of Wednesday April 21st, I got the news that the Kracker Nuttz - a group of three incredible DJ's who have been on KBXX for over 12 years, and were always rated extremely high in the market as they were not afraid to take chances and play certain hip-hop music that exists "outside the box," - had been fired from KBXX for playing a Chamillionaire song that featured a verse from Trae.
I then realized that this situation affects a lot more than just Trae.