We Gon’ Be Alright: Looking at the world like where do we go?!

My knees getting weak and my gun might blow, but we gon’ be alright. Some people say everything after but is bullshit. Well we can only hope that is not true in this case. At this point, and at so many points in our time here in North America we have needed a life line, a jolt of that soul power to reassure us that there was some light, some redemption, some better days ahead.

And we hate popo, when the kill us dead in the streets for sure. This song is serving healing right now for many across the country. We really realized the power of our music to be used in an affirming way most recently during the Ferguson insurrections when the young people were singing a LiL Boosie song that basically said “eff you” to all forms of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.

Singing the song, rapping it, gave them a power, fearlessness in the face of the police.  Of course they are young and there is the natural fearlessness that the youth have, yet you could see it in their faces, not just fearlessness, a joy, a happy liberation that was on them as they sang. Again I saw it when in Cleveland this past summer, the youth began singing, “We gon be alright”, again in the face of the armed police officers, fearlessly free and happy.

If God got us then we gon be alright.You know a Hip Hop song has moved you, or any song for that matter when you start to cry when you hear it. I am emotional anyway so I cry at movies and songs all the time. Yet when it’s a Hip Hop song its even more interesting to cry because Hip Hop is supposed to be HARD!! However as a Hip Hop girl/woman I have to admit there are quite a few songs/lines that have made me shed Tender Roni tears.

That is a part of the magic of music and the power of this musical genre that our foreparents have created. It becomes a way for us to release anger, soak up joy, process trauma, and shine through it all with that World Is Mine confidence that is Hip Hop.

The poetic intro discusses the pathos of a young rapper, feeling surrounded by D-Evils as Jay Z referred to them, screaming in a hotel room.  Everything is on my mama when it comes to Black people. He masterfully plays on words and codes dear to the African diaspora, from the Jamaican blow sound, “alls my life I had to fight” (color Purple reference), and shout out to the elders with the smooth jazz as the foundational melody to the track.

I know we are gonna be alright. We have to keep saying it though and believe it, keep saying it until we believe it. This is why I felt the need to start this blog. For Us. So we could remember and focus on OUR dopeness. So we could have gems and musical mantras to remind us; to be the soundtrack to our revolution.

Kendrick implores us to seek more and to articulate what we want (40 acres and a mule, a piano, a guitar), and to not, “talk about it be about it” as many have in Hip Hop. We have always stressed talking the talk and walking it as well. With this chorus, he is urging us to walk by faith not by sight and to affirm that we are gonna be alright until we are. He urges us not to misuse our power and our gifts and to remember (as some of us might from the children’s book from Virginia Hamilton), that the people could fly.

people could fly

Peace and Love from Soul Force Worker #1 Lola Fulani aka Bonita, Bonita, Bonita.

Making Funky Music is a Must-Im #1

Happy born day Teacha.

hiphoptaughtme

krs one by the window

Happy born day beloved Blastmaster, KRS-One, the Teacha, the scholar the five mic philosophy jewel dropping legend. Born in Brooklyn, struggled and survived the Bronx of the 80s. He is a God to us Hip Hop children, not just for his lyrical prowess but for his tenacity and determination to get up out of a homeless shelter and on the scene as one of, if not the best. He is 50 years old today! 50 My God! Brothers don’t live that long, sisters neither. I mean he made it through the black biker gangs and crack cocaine era that was the 80s, the rise of street gangs and influx of West Coast gang culture 90s, and the decadent 00s (I get money era). Most of us are still trying to navigate our 30s and approach 40 without being broke and/or broken. I salute his ancestors that paved the way…

View original post 1,059 more words

Straight Outta the Movie Theater: The Good the Bad and The Ugly about the NWA biopic.

hiphoptaughtme

Straight Outta the Movie Theater: The Good the Bad and The Ugly about the NWA biopic.

NWA

First of all, I am a fair-weather NWA fan. When the album Straight Outta Compton and then the subsequent Niggas For Life dropped, initially I remember laughing at their accents, their clothes and especially their jerry curls! We were still bumping A Tribe Called Quest’s Low End Theory and still picking our engine’s off the track with Black Sheep. That NWA ish came like a proverbial bat out of hell. All of sudden dudes I knew all my life were Crips and that B (bish) word started flying around so much brothers were getting the taste slapped out of their mouths. I was in 8th grade.

Very soon the album spread like wild fire and you wasn’t poppin unless you knew the words. Fuck the Police became the anthem, that was the draw to the…

View original post 1,012 more words

Making Funky Music is a Must-Im #1

krs one by the window

Happy born day beloved Blastmaster, KRS-One, the Teacha, the scholar the five mic philosophy jewel dropping legend. Born in Brooklyn, struggled and survived the Bronx of the 80s. He is a God to us Hip Hop children, not just for his lyrical prowess but for his tenacity and determination to get up out of a homeless shelter and on the scene as one of, if not the best. He is 50 years old today! 50 My God! Brothers don’t live that long, sisters neither. I mean he made it through the black biker gangs and crack cocaine era that was the 80s, the rise of street gangs and influx of West Coast gang culture 90s, and the decadent 00s (I get money era). Most of us are still trying to navigate our 30s and approach 40 without being broke and/or broken. I salute his ancestors that paved the way for him, whose shoulders and sacrifices he stands upon. I salute his family and friends, the cipher that has sustained him and the God himself.

krs-one-300

I miss him tho. Where he at? With all these shenanigans and tomfoolery going on it is interesting to me that the Teacha is not around. However they say when the student is ready the teacher will appear. I guess we not ready.

I think very deeply. Some days I do, some days I do not. I am thankful to have been a child while a rapper of his caliber was poppin.  You became smarter listening to KRS-One, even if you were barely listening.  He got the KRS from his interest in the Hare Krishna spiritual movement (all I knew about that was they had bald heads and they would spin around downtown-I actually read about them because of him!).  The One came from his graffiti days.

He made it clear that he came to teach (in about four seconds a teacher will begin….) in an edutaining way. As per my previous blog, no one wants to feel preached to at a rap concert. KRS made sure that your head was bobbing and your face was screwed as you got the message. 

He made us proud and even in his absence he has not done anything to my knowledge to malign his reputation. His legacy is stellar. He does not curse, disrespect women, hawk alcohol or soda, never wore clothes that did not fit him, or espouse niggerish behavior in any form or fashion. Sad to say yet in the pantheon of Hip Hop artists that is rare. I mean even the the beloved Nas now slings Henny and Sprite (typical).

You get the feeling that he really wants all of us to win and not fall victim to bad health, thoughts, and ways. However contrary to many elders’ stance and actions he does not talk down to the younger rappers.  He strives to counsel, he does the compliment sandwich that good teachers are taught to do. No one wants to hear that they are ONLY doing wrong! Son, is there anything I am doing well?!!!

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=krs+one+on+nicki+minaj

Peep when he says at 1:28, “is 50, Snoop, or KRS any better?”, when discussing Nicki, The Pussy is Free but the Crack costs Money!!! Ohhhh No.

Hence why I am not down with this team conscious rap vs. team trap/ratchet rap; it is ALL us. There was a time when you did not know what you know now said the beloved El Hajj Malik Shabazz (bka Malcolm X). Too often we forget this piece of advice and we talk shit! We talk nuff shit! And guess what? The babies don’t want to hear that bull shit we talking.  All the more reason why the good teacher is silent because he/she knows that learning is a process that is life long and they know that the greatest teaching is done through, with, and in love; in a lovely pursuit of peace, health, progress.

He kept his jewels surrounded in that 808 boom that transcends any words or imagery. It’s that knock in those early BDP days that we could not resist; that spoke to our souls. He then took his art and attempted to help our lives! Imagine that, an artist, a rapper trying to help our lives, by suggesting scholars, theories, using vocabulary words to expand our minds, espousing veganism and health as wealth, and creating a movement to try and Stop the Violence that still plagues our communities?! I mean the man created a Temple of Hip Hop with classes on how to teach Hip Hop Kulture (he spells it that way).

We were in 6th grade when Self Destruction came out and like 20 of us would walk home together and sing the whole damn thing! How dope was that for young children to be internalizing so many affirmations?!

“I never ever ran from the ku klux klan and I shouldn’t have to run from a black man or You aint guarding the door so what you got a gun for? America has a serious problem (Malcolm voice superimposed in the beginning). Man we urge to merge we live for the love of our people. The way we live is positive we don’t kill our relatives. Therefore we must ignore fighting, fussing, Heav (RIP) is at the door so they’ll be no bum rushing”.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=self+destruction+rap+video

As I matured from a fighting, confused, angry young girl to a more intellectually and spiritually grounded young lady a friend of mine who has known me through many phases and stages began to call me KRS as a joke.  Yet also as a way of acknowledging that I was often trying to kick knowledge. I didn’t even mind the joke, because it was an honor to be called KRS even in jest. If I could teach and drop some jewels in a fraction of the way he has, I will return to the source a peaceful and thankful woman.

We could never thank him, Rakim, Kane, Poor Righteous Teachers, Bran Nubian,  and Wu-Tang enough (so many others as well). They straight up made us smarter. Introduced many of us to concepts and people we had never heard of. I hope we seriously begin to think how we can help these artists that enriched our lives so much. They should not be just left to age, struggle, and die with no recourse.

KRS-One is never to be slept on (ask Queensbridge how damaged they were for years-as referenced by Nas in his documentary). He brought and still can bring heat to any function. We love him and salute him on his born day. May he live to be 110 so that our babies, babies can know the glory that is the Teacha. They dont know who he is now, I ask them, they look at me like Im crazy and that is a travesty. Honor him today by schooling your babies, nieces, nephews etc. Let them watch the videos on this blog and read the declarations. God is good, look at all that hip hop taught me!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUqRxSpaw2I (Im number 1)

Temple of Hip Hop: Declaration of Peace (Share with the babies-Lola is for the children!)

http://www.hiphopcongress.com/u_n_declaration_of_peace

Peace from Soul Force Worker #1 Lola Fulani

A HIP HOP GIRL GROWN UP AND CONFUSED (PART 2-LESS CONFUSED)

straight outta apologies

When Ms. Dee Barnes got slapped I did not care. There I said it.   I felt well that bitch got slapped and shit happens to bitches and hoes. I think we may have been like dayummmm (smokey voice-you got slapped son!), we may have even giggled.  We were sick. I was 13, around the same age as my daughter is now.  I had internalized these dismissive ideas to women, which DID NOT solely come from Hip Hop (family, the bible, school choose 1 or all), yet was encouraged by Gangsta Rap and are now being supported by Trap music.

What do I do with the “ratchet” girl in me? What do I do with these misogynist views I hold?  I know people who don’t listen to or like that kind of hip hop that degrades women yet somehow I do. I was raised on it, laughed to it, and had good times with female friends while we sat in a MVP, yelling “biatch!” to those who we perceived as bitches. How do I get away from it without getting away from that bass, that interesting word play, my people? I don’t want to be on that so called conscious head wrapped side wagging my fingers at the alleged ratchets. I don’t want to become the old guard who hates on the new and yet I don’t want to support foolishness that is detrimental to my people either. I swear to God some days I turn off all rap and new rnb and just listen to jazz. Don’t get me started though most of those dudes were addicts who probably beat their women too, at least they didn’t talk about it.

I went through a phase when I couldn’t even listen to “conscious” rap because I thought it sounded corny. Here I am an African American Studies major building with legends yet I only wanted to hear that Wu Tang, that Mobb Deep. Id rock deadprez yet they still had a touch of the ratchet I liked with that, “bigger than Hip Hop song”. Yet somehow I was outside of that sound, their words, and their message. I wanted to just be free, unbothered, not always thinking.  A lot of times non-conscious (whatever the heck that is) or “ratchet” “trap” rap is just that…a way to not think…a numbing. Well I don’t want to be numb all the time and as a human I am not, so some things hurt. Perhaps it’s the lack of balance. If I could play Future (lol Future is getting all this shine here yet that album is in my car right now) or Meek (yes I still like him) and then go to a sister who was spitting and not with her ass out, I’d feel better. Yet let me be all the way real, I don’t like those conscious rapping sisters either. Boom. They seem judgmental and again sometimes wack. Just cause you’re smart don’t mean you can rhyme or more specifically move the crowd, everyone standing around listening like you reading from a book! Is this rap or a lecture?

Young woman rolling her eyes --- Image by © C. Wilhelm/Photex/Corbis
Young woman rolling her eyes — Image by © C. Wilhelm/Photex/Corbis

It’s a new day. Sean Price is dead, NWA has a movie and Nicki Minaj is in Madame Tussads wax museum (even tho its…well you decide how it is). I never imagined being older than my favorite rappers, rappers dying (without getting shot or AIDS), movies about rappers or rappers with multimillion dollar brands. Perhaps this new day can also usher in a change in the way we treat each other, the way we see ourselves; not in a preachy way, yet in a dope reachy way, that turns the babies up, makes us bump our heads and has us all hand in hand, man, woman and child jamming at the function.

family love

Peace from Soul Force Worker #1 Lola Fulani

A HIP HOP GIRL GROWN UP AND CONFUSED (PART 1)

HIP HOP PLANET

I grew up on hip hop. Older cousins played Run DMC and Rakim; mother was bumping Sugar hill gang. Father lived in the Bronx where I stayed every summer and saw breakdancing on cardboard, graffiti murals, rap battles. I rushed home to watch Video Music Box and as I got older stayed up late to hear Stretch and Bobbito. Hip hop is one of my loves, much like Badu’s “Love of my life” song. Yet like love affairs and like Common’s “I used to love H.E.R” there have been some valleys in my love affair with hip hop that have been revisited with the Straight Outta Compton movie.

Rap doesn’t love me. Hip Hop neither. The me of whom I speak is ladies/women. It’s not rap’s fault. It’s a creation within a system/country/world that doesn’t value women so of course it would have those tendencies. However it is only as an adult woman I realize how far the disdain of women really goes.

I grew up singing, “bitches aint shit” and thinking well I’m like the Jeru the Damaja song, so I’m a Queen and not a bitch and position myself in a hierarchical ladder above the so called bitches.

I sang songs that judged a women’s sexuality and said, “Let a hoe be a hoe-and fuck a hoe”, because again I wasn’t a hoe and who cares about those girls/ladies of loose morals?  Well as an adult I do,  because in the mind of many average non rapping brothers on the street there is little difference between the sisters/queens and bitches/hoes. In seconds a woman can go from being thought of as a queen to being that bitch. As an adult I care why a young lady behaves a certain way….you know, “educate a woman educate a nation”.  As women we’ve internalized it as well and pull out our bitch tactics and hoe ways too like its cute.

I’m not as comfortable as I use to be with my lover, Hip Hop. All the years later and we are still trophies, sexual objects, side line participants in a boys/men’s club. The brothers don’t want to listen to us, don’t want to apologize for anything, and don’t want to be called on nothing they do not by us at least. Whenever you critique them you’re a hater or even worse in the hip hop circles you’re a dyke, anti-black man sell out.

Why cause I don’t want to be called out of my name? Why, because I want you to apologize for times you’ve hurt me? We are in the same place as a people in part due to our inability to come together as man and woman. Where are the brothers that stand for the women? Not just on Facebook but in their real lives? I know they are there yet I’m beginning to think they’re like good cops….an illusion, peas in rice, too little too late.

This is not about Dr. Dre, Tupac, or any artist really, it’s about us. We are sick. I am sick. I want to be well. I see the programming. I see the tricks and I want out. I want my brothers out. I do not want the babies to catch our sicknesses.

hwatwerk team

This is old news, an old conversation that I didn’t join as a youth because Ithought the ladies doing this talking were haters, biter, old, ugly you name it. I wasn’t down with their brand of activism. I wasn’t down with any woman activism, I was for the brothers. Yet I’m not sure the brothers are for me anymore. That hurts. I love Black men. I can’t see myself with anyone but a Black man, however what am I to do when that love is not reciprocated? And listen I’m light skin with the alleged “good hair”…if I don’t feel the love….then damn.

I know there are brothers who are conscious (so called) who do not support this music. Yet in their personal lives many of them don’t support women, don’t love the women in their lives either. So it’s bigger than music, bigger than hip hop. And the hip hop brothers I think who walk the walk and live a certain way in harmony with their women are silent. I know it’s always a few loud ones dominating the conversation and the other voices are there. I just don’t hear them and maybe that speaks more of my circle than anything else. Maybe I listen to the wrong stuff; maybe my collection of underground artists has slacked since the 90s; maybe I have really drunk the Kool-Aide.

deadprez

It’s hard. I want to bump Future, still how many times can I be a freak hoe? How many bitches does it take to go platinum? How many hoes? Yet I thought bitches weren’t shit but hoes and tricks? I still like that song though. What type of scientific experiment have I been a part of? How has this manifested in my life?

Some will say it’s just music; people make a choice which is true. People were who they were when they got here and many came from toxic environment and I have been empathetic for years.  I’m tired now. I’m a mommy now to a 12 year daughter who also loves Hip Hop. How do we not get hurt by what we love?

Loving Hip Hop as women is like being in an abusive relationship sometimes. You never know when something is going to pop up and trigger an issue. Straight Outta Compton is a trigger yet not the underlying cause of my discomfort with hip hop. It’s been there for years, festering, confused, ignored.

Only us can save us, yet we have to willing to talk, to apologize to do better. I still bump that Future cause I was raised on Luke’s “Doodoo Brown”, I’m West Indian, I like to shake my ass, and I like sex yet I don’t want to feel that that is the totality of how the brothers see us. I don’t want it to be ok to beat us (well I paid you so be quiet). I don’t want it to be how the world sees us (Nicki’s ass touted up on display).

How we gonna win if we aint right within? Calling all healers, mediators, bold thinkers, trap stars, hoes and queens, we all we got, and we need all hands on deck. It aint about the music, again, its about us, the music is just a manifestation of who we be, how we feel, and what the powers that be think we will gravitate to due to our patterns. If you want to change the world Lola, you have to change yourself.

save a dope boy

Peace from Soul Force Worker #1 Lola Fulani

 

 

 

 

Im Destined to live the Dream for all my Peeps who never Made it

lifes a bitch

The song this line comes from is Nas’ verse in the song titled “Life’s a Bitch”. It is a weeping and a wailing type of song; the type Jay Z spoke of when he said, “I can’t see it coming down my eyes, so I gotta make the song cry”.  The song sums up the dangers of living in the city, living just enough for the city, and the reality that we are all gonna die (some are resting in peace and some are sitting in San Quentin, others such as myself are trying to carry on tradition). The dice rolls and one never knows how the card they were dealt will play out. I study astrology somewhat, and my teachers will tell me that everything is written in the stars, and while that may be true, I feel man can misread the cues and mishandle the moods of the time and perhaps there are many paths that a soul could take depending how they stick and move. It’s a tough song to hear as a late teen twenty something year old Black child in America, who at that age lost friends or someone in their age group to police, street violence and by High School AIDS. We watched people mess up school and end up on the street and get kicked out their house for wilding and end up selling drugs, sex, or both.  You know that odds are not stacked in your favor and so for many of my generation and I see somewhat this generation people turn to weed specifically to help numb the pain.  Get high and get faded and all this trouble will pass by or will at least be palatable for me to get up and do it all again tomorrow ad infinitum.

additcted

The rapper AZ, who raps with Nas on this song, took his name from a Harlem street hustling legend (AZ, Alpo, and Rich Porter) mythologized by the rap group Mobstyle and in the movie Paid in Full. Both rappers and hustlers dreamed of, envisioned and worked for a life of extravagance that was beyond their physical realities. Hip Hop articulates that longing. Soul force is what it sounds like. It’s the power within ones soul that is made manifest in all creations of the soul, music being one of the most notable ones, art, construction, food, being some others.  Soul force is the power of those creations to move others in and on a spiritual, physical, and emotional/mental level.

soul power

A song, a line, a note, will touch your soul. It will touch a place that makes you sway, smile, close your eyes and nod, any one or all.  Even cry, especially when it makes you cry. I live for the moment I see a painting or eat something so good I tear up, that that ish right there. In this song, in that line there is some soul force and circle of life ancestral knowledge. Recognizing that we are all connected, the dead, the living the unborn, we are not dumb amoral children.

Historically, African Americans are mostly raised in churches or by spiritual salt of the earth people who stress family, always urging you to call this aunt, uncle, cousin, introducing you to new cousins almost yearly. Friends become family and for many the bonds of family are ties that never break, for better or worse.  When people are alive, we often live our lives for them, going to college instead of pursuing music for older relatives, selling drugs to buy food because relatives are not, joining the same gang, worshipping at the same church with rigid continuity.  Those kinds of connections do not die when the people do. We name children after deceased relatives, we pour out liquor for them, and we on some level, some of us, try to live the type of lives they would be proud of us for….again for better or worse.

Cuz, I’m destined to live the dream for all my peeps who never made it.  When you put that in a larger greater context of people classified as Black of African descent in North America, then you have the stories of Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, Mandela, Mansa Musa.  Who knows the dreams and the visions the pharaohs had of North Africa, Egypt the “Gift of the Nile”? What shores and peoples did Mansa Musa think he would find when he sent over 2000 ships from the West African kingdom of Mali? Where did those ships end up anyway? When you fast forward that story from glory to gory plantations, memories of children taken, men broken and women wailing, the dreams of those who didn’t make it has greater feeling.  Do you feel like dreaming a little bigger? Working a bit harder toward a dream?

mansa_musa

Initially when I was young and I heard it, yeah I liked the part that says fuck it all, “that’s why you get high, cause you never know when you’re gonna go”, young and carefree and a part of that is a problem, another part of that is the liberation.  You are going to die; we all know this, then why not live in pursuit of ridiculous dreams, pushing beyond for those who didn’t make it, coloring in an outlined dream with vibrant reality?

Peace and love from Soul Force worker #1 Lola Fulani