The Hip-Hop Purist: Stink Is Good

I am happy there is a stink over Henry Louis Gates getting arrested.

Do I think he should have been arrested? No.
Do I think the officer was doing his job? Yes.
Was it “stupid” to arrest this man at his own house? YES!

Gates was born in 1950 in West Va. That place still has race problems, like so many other places in the USA. I cannot even imagine having to grow up in the 50s and 60s in that place, but Gates did do it and he rose up the ranks to eventually becoming a Harvard professor.

gates arrestAs a black dude in America, I am often targeted by C cipher Powers. I work everyday. I don’t drink, smoke, do drugs or go to clubs. I am stopped for various frivolous reasons on a pretty regular basis—the last time I was stopped for my tag light being out (actually, based on skin color, I was in the wrong neighborhood at the wrong time). When Five-O pulled me over, he asked for my ID. I did my best Annette Benning “American Beauty” impersonation (the tiki torch scene) and politely handed them over. In the process of him running my ID, he took the liberty to shine his flashlight all over my backseat and the floor of my car. He sent me on my way with a warning. After the ordeal I felt violated, as I always do.

But, standing in my house, I cannot do Annette very well. And after playing the role over and over again away from home, I am sure Gates found it hard to hold in all of those years of being targeted based on melanin. His door was already jammed and he was already pissed. But when po-po showed up asking for some ID while he was already at home—oh my.

Could he have risen above the occasion, just gave his ID and bowed down? Sure.
Could the officer have let the old man vent and just bounced? Sure.

Why is Gates the one who should have let it go? HE WAS AT HOME! Gates was not arrested for refusing to show ID, he eventually did. He was arrested for following the officer out of his home and asking for the officer’s ID (gosh darn right gosh darnit) and making a scene. The officer could have just gotten in his Caprice and bounced—but his fellow officers probably would have made fun of him back at the station.

“It’s harassment and the complex you carry when you’re running shit” – Slug, Scapegoat

As ideal and unbiased as I try to be when I look at life in America, I am a prisoner of my experiences. I am not a big fan of the police (though I do like “Zenyatta Mondatta” and “Synchronicity”). Many of my peers feel the same way I do. Only the police can fix this.

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The Cambridge Police union to shut the fuckkkkkkkkkkk up. I’m nearly speechless at the brass balls it took for cam-ma-policethem to demand an apology from THE PRESIDENT. Not even the soldiers who left limbs in Ramallah demanded an apology from George Bush. And Cambridge Po-Po’s drawers are in a knot because Obama called their actions “stupid?” It WAS stupid. And they have a Fox News-inflated sense of their own importance. Shut up and get back to rolling drunken Anthropology majors. 

bow-wow1Bow Wow that it is over. It was recently reported that (Lil’?) Bow Wow tweeted his public, wondering what direction his career should now take. Should he get back with Jermaine Dupri, or hook up with TI and his Grand Hustle Crew? While it’s almost never a bad idea to seek a second opinion (or in this case, HUNDREDS of second opinions), we think Bow Wow overlooked one tiny detail regarding his options: Bruh, ya done. Maybe he didn’t get the text, but it’s looking pretty official for our canine little buddy. His last two albums went double lead. Time to focus on that acting career, son.

The Democrats to get on the ball. The Democrats FINALLY have 60 votes in the Senate, but some “Blue Dog” Democrats (so called because they lean right like Republicans on certain issues) are not being team players. One thing you can say about Republicans is that they stick together. If they had 60 votes in the democrat-donkeySenate, they would steamroll anything the Dems wanted to do. They’d turn into DJ Khaled: “We da best! We run this!” But the Democrats have 60 votes and STILL can’t get the job done. We here at Grownheadz are all for having different opinions in a party, but DAMN y’all. It’s time to take care of business. We’ve got the ball, now take the shot. Baby needs a new pair of mammograms.

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IMO: Music vs. Motherhood

I Stopped Loving Hip Hop: Music vs. Motherhood
by Shonda Tillman

I stopped loving hip-hop. Well, not exactly. But I came close – way too close. You see, when I was a teenager I loved and lived hip-hop. Those were the days of NWA, the D.O.C., Salt and Pepa, Too Short. The music was rebellious, edgy and LOUD. And the beats, oh the beats! There was nothing like hearing a Too Short beat bumping from the car of a fine chocolate man. Doomp, da doomp, dooooom, bu-na-na, doomp da doomp dooooom…

Then I became a

“Don’t play that in front of the kids,” I heard myself screaming at my husband. But we continued to pump our music when we were alone. And I began to hear the words with my new “mom” ears. How could they promote this type of violence? How could they talk about drugs and call women “hoes” so freely? Why are they creating this picture of madness, of the worst of the worst for all the kids to hear and copy? How could I have ever been so stupid as to listen to this SMUT!

Indignant, I boxed it all up—but still could not throw it away.

My boycott lasted for several years, until the other day when one of the television stations showed a documentary on hip-hop. I found myself excited to hear the songs I once loved. I remembered how exciting it was seeing NWA’s new video on MTV, waiting for the Roxanne responses to come out, getting my first pair of Salt N Pepa earrings, using my after-school job money to buy Guess jeans and gold rings with my initials on them. God, I missed those days.

I almost stopped loving hip-hop. Until I remembered that there are many neighborhoods where drugs are rampant and a walk to the corner store can cost you your life. My high school classmate Tanisha was killed by a stray bullet while walking down the street. Rodney King proved to the world that police brutality does exist. In college, I spent an afternoon at the studio with Too Short. He was extremely polite, talented and never once called me a B***tch. And last but not least, many women honestly do conduct themselves as “hoes.”

The reality is that rappers are expressing the hardships of everyday life, the same way the Furious Five told us that they were close to the edge. Rapping was a way to be heard, to scream out the hurt. These were my brothers, and they deserved to be heard.

I can not stop loving hip-hop because it helped my brothers and sisters escape a hard life. I can not stop loving hip hop because of the extraordinary entrepreneurial skills each artist showed by creating something from nothing. Dr. Dre turned out to be a musical genius, Ice Cube is putting out great family movies, Russell Simmons has created an empire which will influence generations to come, Run-DMC was able to merge rock with rap – all of them just needed a chance to shine.

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Where Is My Gold Watch

happyretireby Xavier for Ethos Magazine

Retirement in the music industry? Is it even possible? What does it even really mean?

The music industry, more specifically, the hip hop industry has been notorious for the play on “retiring”. More and more often we have all heard news of some artist supposedly “quitting” their careers. Some claim they are simply retiring from making their own music (meaning you will see them producing or appearing on another’s album someway) or that they are just stopping all together. These are not even artists who are past their prime, aging like hell; rather they are youthful, “fresh” talent who in the eyes of many, have no right to even publicize “retirement”.

Jay-Z, the hip hop “mogul”, is an artist who pretty much set the precedent for the reoccurring “retirement” theme. Coinciding with the release of his album, “The Black Album”, back in November of 2003, the artist announced his departure from the industry. He hyped up his retirement so much he even held a “farewell” concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City which led to his film, “Fade to Black”. Can you say “added publicity much”?

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ALBUM of the WEEK: Mr. Lif – I Heard It Today


If you like to mix your hip and and politics, then Lif is your man.  In age of hip hop where many feel not a lot is being said about what’s going on then I Heard It Today is for you. Even in the age of Obama Mr. Lif is still watching his back. I could keep going but i think you get it. Don’t forget, these are not the complete songs—just 90-second clips so you can get a feel for the music. If you like what you hear, go out and buy the CD.  Quality hip hop grows when we support the artists.


MySpace Playlist at

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Words From Lif Himself

by Jay Boller for

Mr. Lif first made a name for himself with the release of his 2002 EP “Emergency Rations.” That EP, released in early summer, was a fierce indictment of post Sept. 11 Bush politics and balanced raw, militant production with Lif’s cerebral, monotone verses.

Come fall 2002, Lif struck while the iron was scorching and wowed critics with his debut LP “I Phantom.” The disc, mrlif1largely produced by Definitive Jux label head El-P , drew praise from the likes of Village Voice , Pitchfork and Rolling Stone .

If baggage and stress latched onto Mr. Lif since 2002, his spring 2009 LP “I Heard it Today” appears to be evidence much of it has been shed. Lif released the album not on his longtime home Definitive Jux, but on his own label, Bloodbot Tactical Enterprises. Also, the record is free of El-P’s celebrated production. While context has certainly changed, Lif’s ability and smarts are ever present.

What do you hope the listener walks away with when they hear “I Heard it Today?”

I just hope that people recognize that my passion is at an all-time high for making music and for the art. And that I’m still coming through vicious with it, speaking what’s on my mind, not pulling any punches.

Bush spawned a lot of good protest rap. How do you anticipate writing in the Obama era will be?

I can write about anything in the world, man. I wrote those songs because I was pissed off. And “I Heard it Today” kind of says there are a lot of problems still. Don’t just think they’re going to go up in smoke because there’s a new administration. We’re still going to be struggling. The American government is not all of a sudden this bright, happy entity that functions for the good of its people, for any people. It’s a business, and it functions for the sake of commerce. Our lives will fall wherever they may in the process of them making money.

I have way more insight into the realm of relations then I do into politics, man. I’m much more of an expert on relationships between men and women. Lots of great ideas on how to progress family structure and just better understandings between men and women.

I’d rather write songs about that. People think I’m so angry. I’m actually a very happy person. I’m very much at peace with myself. I laugh constantly. I keep a very tight-knit group of friends. They mean the world to me and they’re always very supportive. I’m a very happy person; I just don’t have any tolerance for bulls–t and I don’t really see why anyone else should.


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Gay Rappers Blaze the Mic

by Shelby Powell for Plant Ill

When the average rap fan considers homosexuals in Hip-Hop they probably imagine prancing, stiletto wearing men with lisps and women who look like they could kick Chuck Norris’ ass behind the mic. Armed with this preconception, the path of logic will inevitably lead to a decision that Out Hip-Hop is an oxymoron.  gay-flag

Rap is driven by stereotypical presentations of machismo and femininity.  Men are uber-aggressive in their narrow minded pursuits of money, power, respect and most importantly…pussy.  Women connive their way into status by using what they got to get what they want; normally from that uber-aggressive caveman character.  While all of those components can be found in the realm of Homo-Hop, the fact that these artists are openly gay is enough to weaken their commercial viability and keep them on the mainstream sidelines.


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Grownhead Check: 50 – 56


Periodically, we need to check credentials to weed out the spies, posers, and undercover gangsters (reformed gangsters are fine) and make sure you are a real grownhead. Soooooo, you truly are a grownhead IF….

50)…all the latest hits on the radio sample songs from when you were in high school and college.
51)…you knew the choreography to Beat It and Thriller.
52)…you remember when Tom Joyner didn’t play ANY rap songs.
53)…you remember the last episode of Good Times when they FINALLY got out the projects.
54)…you won’t let your kids listen to Lil’Wayne but YOU used to blast Too Short all day.
55)…Black Lightning was your favorite Superfriend.
56)…you actually prefer the clean radio mix of song now instead of the dirty version.

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