Dark haired woman leaning over a keyboard with a band on a stage

In the beginning of 2016 I hoped: if we get over this election we will be one step closer to a social evolution. Today, I think. Well. 2017 brings us the dystopian future of 2004.  So forgive me how far this thing goes back.

Benefactor of the Unfortunate Election Columbus Hip Hop Album of the Year

Blueprint – Vigilante Genesis

Did I say 2004?

Well, I’m going to jump to 1988 when Iran-Contra proved the government can wage War on Drugs while selling guns on live television. George Bush Sr. used race-baiting to win the election despite the Iran-Contra hearings existing.

At the same time, Public Enemy’s “It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back” and Boogie Down Productions “By Any Means Necessary” are released.

The impact of the Futuristic Hip Hop P.E. created coupled with BDP’s illustration of how someone could be both a revolutionary, and a graffiti writing BBOY was obviously influential on the work by people like Aesop Rock & Blueprint who rose to fame in the Post-911 era where George Bush JR. lied to us to destabilize Iraq, which created ISIS.

In 2016, Donald Trump is using flag burning, and deportation threats to hide his investments in the Dakota Pipeline, the fact he might have the government rent a floor in the Trump Towers, and other various methods of using his office for money.

(At press time, Trump gave control of his business to his children. Would this be something the electoral collage could find problematic?)

Vigilante Genesis has Aes Rizzle producing Blueprint’s depiction of a graffiti-writing anarchist individual pursuit of justice once the government is rendered irrelevant to people’s lives. It’s one part murder mystery/one part afro-futurism set in Southfield Columbus. Blueprint’s use of stencils makes it perhaps more akin to Brexit. This is not a Public Enemy/BDP oratory of a leader but more of a story told by someone living in anarchist/fascist state that has to protect his neck.

Correy Parks BLM should’ve been the most relevant to Hip Hop. Unfortunately…. there are 9 innings in a friendly game of baseball.

RJD2 - Dame Fortune

Eye – Vision & Ageless Light

Connections - Midnight Run

Nuclear Moms

Hip Hop Reunion Tour

XCLAN @ Park Street

New York Rap collective X-Clan’s 1990 to the East Blackwatch was part of the same turn towards Black Militant Rap, which developed after people understood the Iran-Contra, crack selling and the Iran-Contra might have some sort of parallel.

X-Clan was led by a slick-tongue rapper named Brother J, the irrational response to absurd oppression spewing Lumumba Carson (RIP.) and Latin Quarter community organizer Paradise Gray.

X-Clan had a presence in Columbus during this era.

There weren’t tons of people at the X-Clan reunion show but this did not diminish the sense of history in the room when X-Clan rocked hits like “Funkin’ Lesson” and “Grand Verbalizer.” X-Clan performed new material that is fresher than a bulk of underground Hip Hop that claims to preserve some golden era not so well.

Paradise Grey gave a speech from the stage promoting to spirit of resistance in these times of uncertainty. Paradise just released a book about the Latin Quarter so it was humbling to be in proximity of such a tangible illustration of the past 30 plus years of both local and Hip Hop in general. The Latin Quarter was the venue Rakim, KRS-One, P.E., LL Cool J, and RUN DMX called home.

The Columbus show ended the show announcing that everyone in the room was protected by the Red, Black & Green with a key.

Strongest Attempt to Counteract Late 90’s Rap Nihilism

De La Soul & D.R.A.M. performed for a voter motivation event. Hillary Clinton had been using De Le Soul’s “Stakes Is High” for a campaign slogan. It appealed to me.

(I thought a song like “Redneck Woman” would’ve been more effective but it might have been off-putting to Clinton’s education background. I would’ve probably had liberals like Willie Nelson, and John Cena at county fairs and Nascar tracks. But maybe that would’ve turned off Millennial.)

As far as underground rap fans, when I was sitting at my neighborhood bars, one thing I noticed about fans of underground Hip Hop was they had internalized the illuminati talk, coupled it with legitimate gripes against the government without allowing the perspective of 400 years of America.

This isn’t a diss to rappers who don’t perform rap civics lessons. For me to say: I don’t like anti-social rap would be the equivalent of me saying I don’t like punk rock, or metal.

De La Soul rocked a medley of past hit and new joints directly after performing at the White House for Barack Obama.

I think Dave Chappelle probably mentioned this in his monologue. If you’re still wondering if who the president is matters.

Kanye West Was Waiting All Year for This

Kanye West brought his flying stage to town. His show exemplified why he is the best. He was playing the EDM game of sound, and crowd. Ye understood how people party in arenas but skipped the dub step. The music was things like Arthur Russell and is sounded like he had a live synth player. On one hand, the stage allowed Ye to become one with the crowd. One the other it should how lonely being in spotlight but having to keep your distance can be. The crowd chanted to “Famous” in the beginning.  The show ended with everyone singing Chance the Rapper’s opening track “Ultra Light Beam.” which is essentially a gospel song. Much has been made of Ye’s recent comments. However, I think he is just saying sometimes you got to talk in context to be effective. There are dialogues that are mathematically challenged in a historically racist country if that’s the only conversation that’s perceived.

 (If the voting machines aren’t hacked.)

Kanye West – TLOP

A Tribe Called Quest – Thank You For You Service..We Have It From Here.

Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid.

YG – Still Brazy.

King Push - Darkest Before Dawn

Times New Viking

During the release build-up for their album, “Rip It Off” I interview Adam Elliott (TNV’s vox/drummer) in 07. Two things: 1) This was on the tail-in of the last Bush Regime. We wondered if America needed something horrible to disrupt its complacency. The next election gave us Barack Obama. 2) Elliott wanted to get involved with teaching kids art. Beth Murphy (Keyboard/Vox) was working with kids. Jared was this really smart guy who would explain his refined art perspective.

During that era, TNV made everyone they were around believe they were artists. (If they liked you.)

It wasn’t just them. There was the history of Ohio punk, CDR, the aura of the Black Keys, the Columbus noise, metal, graffiti and Hip Hop scenes. But their vision and platform made every one think they were best.  So when they reunited for this summer, it was a reminder of their place in history and culture impact that’s still resonating.

They played everything from “Teenage Lust” to “In My Head” to “Fuck Her Tears.”

TNV thank you for the art comphrension you bestowed around.

The bulk of this year-end thingy is mired in cynicism and disappointment.

However as much as we don’t know what future brings. Remember: 10 Years ago George Bush Jr. was president.

Barack Obama is still around he is just isn’t president. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. Bernie Sanders is still around. Jill Stein has a podium to look into voting irregularities and to present ideas like ranked ballots.

 Vic Mensa is in Standing Rock while I type this.






















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