Blog : Posts from March 2013

  • Daily Word: Become GREATNESS!!


    Happy Wins-Day my centers of influence! Welcome to the day that is reserved for winners and the day that you decide to be all that you can be! Today’s Daily Word is dedicated to becoming the greatness that you are! Who you are right now is nothing compared to where you can possibly go! You are endless possibility that can do and have anything you put your mind to. Today is the day that you finally make a decision on who you are going to be and then be it! No more waiting around for the right opportunity in order to be happy! Become everything your heart desires NOW! Becoming your best self is about feeling like a million bucks even if your account is overdrawn! It’s about walking like a boss even though you don’t sign your own checks yet! Its about fitting into the shoes you want before you can really afford them. How you feel and act will ALWAYS attract that outcome! Circumstances come and go but who you become is all under your control! Choose wisely!! Choose Greatness!!

    “Success is not to be pursued; it is to be attracted by the person you become”
    -Jim Rohn

    “Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be”
    -George Sheehan

    “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.”

    “You can attract only that which you mentally become and feel yourself to be in reality.
    -Ernest Holmes

    “We can’t become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”
    -Oprah Winfrey

    “Change is the essence of life.Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.”

    “Now is your chance to act like the person you want to be. Act like it, and you become it.”
    -Ralph Marston

    “Act as if you have already achieved your goal and it is yours.”
    -Dr. Robert Anthony

    “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”
    -Carl Gustav Jung

    Ash’Cash is a Business Consultant, Motivational Speaker, Financial Expert and the author of Mind Right, Money Right: 10 Laws of Financial Freedom. For more information, please visit his website,

  • Lil Wayne is a Better Rapper Than Tupac But He’s Not The ‘New Pac’



    The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of


    Tupac was no lyrical assassin. Tupac was no “MC.” I can name twenty (20) rappers that would s#*t on Tupac’s rhyme-scheme—Nas, Biggie, Jay-Z, Big Pun, Rakim, LL Cool J, MC Lyte, Lauryn Hill, Canibus, Eminem, Twista, JadaKiss, Busta Rhymes, Chuck D, KRS One, Andre 3000, Big Daddy Kane, Kanye West, DMX—and yes, Lil Wayne aka Lil Tunechi! (Follow me and don’t get side-tracked by my list of rhyme-spitters!)

    Having said that—Tupac Shakur was the greatest rapper ever! Great, in terms of his effect on hip-hop culture/rap. He didn’t have the rapid-fire raps of Twista and Busta Rhymes. He didn’t have the punch-lines of JadaKiss, nor the metaphors of Andre 3000, but what Tupac did have was the spirit of a griot—a raconteur—a story-teller who had the ability to make you see his rap truths. (The saying, “Sometimes less is more” has never been truer.) Tupac’s rhymes were simple and to the point. He didn’t mince words or do subliminals or try to rap over our heads like Canibus or get historically deep like KRS-One.

    tupac-shakurWhen it came to diss songs, Tupac’s “Hit ‘Em Up” was probably the best tongue-lashing ever!

    Arguably the most influential rap artist the world over—Tupac was an iconoclast who seemingly knew that his lifespan would be cut short—eerily similar to Dr. Martin Luther King, who, so bravely told us that, “I’ve been to the mountaintop! I’ve seen the Promised Land. I might not get there with you, but we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!”

    Enter Lil Wayne aka Tunechi.

    Over the 2013 NBA All-Star weekend in Houston, Lil Wayne tried to convince us that he was “Tupac-cian”—“Tupac-esque”—yea, the “second-coming” of Tupac by boldly proclaiming, “I ain’t Tupac! I’m the new ‘Pac!” Listen to his braggadocious proclamation!

    “I Ain’t Tupac! I’m the New ‘Pac!” Wayne insists.

    The problem with self-proclamations is that they aren’t cosigned by the masses. A true iconoclast doesn’t big-up himself! The people big you up! The people proclaim your greatness! The people put you on a pedestal! The people invoke your name in the pantheon of (in this case) rap gods!

    I’ve never read of Jesus proclaiming to be the “next Moses” (or Abraham! In fact, Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am!”)—or Muhammad proclaiming to be the “next Jesus”—or in our modern era—Jesse Jackson proclaiming to be the “next MLK” or Malcolm proclaiming to be the “next Elijah.”

    And certainly Tupac didn’t aspire to be the next Rakim!

    With all the money, adulation, fame and poontang that Lil Wayne gets—he still strives for that which is unattainable in the physical realm—greatness. He fails to realize that it is only through death that the masses will consider your greatness. Even with Tupac, no one had put him in the pantheon of great rappers when he was walking the floor of the MGM Grand Casino and stomping niggas out! Tupac was just another rapper doing ig-nant rapper s#*t. Oh, but in death, Hip-Hop began to assess his place as a great rapper—and shortly thereafter—when the mythology, martyrdom and that romantic yearning for a ghetto hero kicked in—like a phoenix rising from the ashes of Hades—Tupac ascended to the top of the rap pantheon.

    “I Ain’t Tupac! I’m the New ‘Pac!” Wayne insists.

    Tupac was shot five times! Lil Wayne was shot once by a self-inflicted wound at age 12. Tupac had records that spoke the truth about ghetto life—“Dear Mama,” “Brenda’s Got A Baby” “So Many Tears,” “Keep Ya Head Up,” “Holla If Ya Hear Me,” “I Wonder If Heaven Got A Ghetto,” “Hail Mary,” “How Long Will They Mourn Me?”, “I Ain’t Mad At Cha,” “California Love,” “Thugs Mansion,” “To Live and Die in LA,” and ”2 of Amerikkka’s Most Wanted.” Tupac’s discography was solid! Tupac dealt with the ills, which plague the hood—teen pregnancy, black-on-black crime, ghetto life, gang violence, losing love, death, the spirituality of heaven & hell and the religiosity of things to come.

    [ALSO READ: Consequence: Helping Bucked-Teeth Brothers Out!]

    Tupac was an avid reader and through his reading of such subjects as the “apocalypse” and the reading of “Machiavelli”—Tupac was able to apply that to his own life and record classic albums like “2Pacalypse Now” and “The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory (Makavelli).”

    Juxtapose Tupac with Lil Wayne, who has a slew of hits and bangers, but most are club s#*ts that will be forgettable in the coming years. Lil Wayne probably has more collabos and hits than Tupac, but they are fluff. The only song that I can possibly think of as “Tupac-esque” would be Wayne’s feature on The Game’s “My Life.” That was some introspective and heart-felt sh#*!

    Tupac was in classic films like, “Poetic Justice,” “Above The Rim,” “Juice,” and “Gang Related.” He had great acting chops! Lil Wayne has been in what movies? (Crickets)

    Tupac had a Movement—Thug Life, which represented the everyday man struggling in an unjust world. Tupac had a philosophy—T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E.—”The Hate You Give Little Infants F#*ks Everyone.” Tupac had a mission: End gang violence and curtail drug dealing. Tupac had a street code.

    Lil Wayne, thus far hasn’t even begun to stick his big toe in Tupac’s shoe! He’s all about that party life, that f#*kin’ bitches life, that snitchin’ on his dick life (“I f#*ked Chris Bosh’s wife!” Did Wayne say that because Tupac said he boned Biggie’s wife?), that braggin’ about his wealth life and his skateboard life. Tupac has a revolutionary pedigree—being the son of a Black Panther and having lived in Oakland, the most revolutionary city in American history! Lil Wayne is a spoiled brat from New Orleans’s 17th Ward (Hollygrove).

    50 Cent is a far more worthy candidate of the Tupac legacy. He is feeding the hungry in Africa. Fiddy has thrown off the shackles of South-Side Jamaica Queens and is becoming a world-wide brand. To become “Tupac-cian”—one must transcend the rap genre and become a world-wide iconic figure—not simply a rap star. As it stands, only in death will Lil Wayne’s place in Hip-Hop history be cemented. But right now, he’s just a whining, childlike, immature, imbecilic little imp with a short man’s Napoleonic Complex the size of the Miami Heat Big Three!

    Lil Wayne’s first step on the way to becoming “Tupac-esque” is to clear his head. Put that lean-purp-promethazine-sizzurp down! Erry’body knows you’re on that styrofoam cup! All this “Pop a molly I’m sweatin’ whooo!” ish gotta stop! I don’t need a medical degree to know you’re killing yourself with these drugs. Stop it! Your recent seizures are a combination of that weed, lean and not getting proper rest. As a fan of your music and a man who speaks truth, I wanna see you win in the game of life, but I ain’t gonna give you that watered-down milquetoast convo like these other industry folk. I said, “Stop it or you’re gonna die!”  That’s the problem with fans–nobody wants to challenge your drug addiction until you’re taking a dirt-nap! I’d bet a pretty penny that Baby & dem are covering up ish and blaming Wayne’s seizure on “work”–as if what he does is harder than the man working two jobs to support his family!

    If you wanna be great–change your life, find a cause worth getting deep about and spit that ism! That’s what Tupac did!

    Yes! Lil Wayne is a better rapper than Tupac was, yet Tupac is the greatest rapper evaaaar! (A case of one plus one equaling three, eh?) It isn’t Tupac’s wordplay that made him great. Nay! It was his delivery and subject-matter that makes him great!

    Perhaps Lil Tunechi is right! “I Ain’t Tupac! I’m the New ‘Pac!” By his works, we have to assume that A.) Lil Tunechi is unaware of Tupac’s progressiveness and revolutionary mind or B.) that the “New Pac” is a self-absorbed bastard. What say you?


    newyearskhalilKhalil Amani writes for DJ Kay Slay’s Originators Magazine & Straight Stuntin Magazine. He is the author of six books, including the ground-breaking book, “Hip-Hop Homophobes…” ( 07). Amani is gay hip-hop’s self-proclaimed straight advocate. Visit The Coonerific One at Follow on Facebook/Twitter @khalilamani. Youtube @ yahweh 12

  • Bad Religion


    The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of


    Last week the world was all abuzz over the Papal Conclave. The Pope remains a significant public figure and is highly influential not just because there are an estimated 1.2 Billion Catholics. (That’s approximately 1 out of every 6 people in the world). And while a Pope’s conservative stance on reproductive rights and contraception are a hindrance to stopping the spread of AIDS in Africa at the end of the day that power doesn’t affect most of us with first world problems.

    While religious faith plays a larger role in the lives of the truly devout, young people today are less religious than ever. There is a God Vacuum in the popular culture like never before. I can watch TV for hours without one honest representation of a person of faith. And no the buffoonery of Tyler Perry’s broadly stroked stereotypes don’t count. (Unless you people of faith want us to think of you that way).  People might mention God in passing but depictions of them actually worshiping are rare. You are more likely to see a church as backdrop for a violent shootout between a rogue cop and a mob boss than to see someone taking communion. Mosques and Jewish Temples are almost never seen on TV. As an Atheist I really have no problem with this on a personal level. But that’s not what this is about.

    My advice for the Pope or any pastor, imam or rabbi looking for a youth outreach strategy is simply this… embrace hip-hop. Hip-hop has been written, created, and performed by people of all faiths. One of the most legendary groups in rap history consists of three Jewish kids from the suburbs (RIP MCA). Lupe Fiasco the popular Chicago firebrand is undeniably a part of the legacy of Black Muslim truth-tellers that have been exposing racial injustice since the 50’s.

    [ALSO READ: Being Black While Reading ‘Being White In Philly’]

    Everything young people hate about religion can be mollified with the help of some good spokesmen. Like those churches where people can wear jeans, hip-hop has a shockingly low cost of entry these days. These rappers are effortlessly adept at connecting with today’s youth in a way even the coolest Sunday School teacher could only dream of. So when a rapper raps about Ciroc or Club Liv in Miami, or as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Molly and Bugattis these things become part of the pop culture lexicon.

    I’m not advocating gospel rap by any means. Gospel rap can be cool I guess but for most us hip-hop heads it’s corny. It’s a sub-genre for a niche market of those that already strongly identify themselves with their religion. But some of the most spiritual moments in hip-hop come from those who have been labeled “gangsta rappers”. Scarface’s Five Mic Album The Fix was infused with a spirituality that moved even the most ardent agnostics (which I was at the time). It didn’t feel forced, it didn’t feel like it had an agenda and although he has self-identified as a Muslim a lot of the songs felt like good old fashioned church.

    [ALSO READ: Along Came Molly]

    There’s a touch of the subversive in hip-hop after all the best music is rebel music. One of my favorite tracks is CNN’s “T.O.N.Y” with Nore’s famously defiant line “Fuck you and you’re weak religion”. It was bold, edgy and full of the renegade energy of youth. Today we have Tyler the Creator who’s shock raps and antics have made him the personification of all that is strange about being a black youth in America. But the majority of rappers are the unlikely champions of religious dogma. Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.a.a.d. city reminds at least twice a week that Jesus died for my sins.

    It’s almost cliché for rappers to thank God after they win awards for their sex and drug anthems. Rappers will talk about God and debasing women in the same verse. Some call it hypocrisy others say it’s an accurate reflection of the duality of man. I use it as just one of the many examples of how morality isn’t dictated, informed or very much influenced at all by religious affiliation. Last summer Meek Mill’s street anthem “Amen” featuring Drake was a massive hit. It also mocked and exploited Christian themes by espousing values counter to the conservative core of the black church. One pastor took umbrage with that and had a heated debate with Meek Mill on the radio. I kind of saw the pastor’s point even though the church doesn’t have a trademark on the word “Amen” I personally didn’t have a problem with the song but then again I’m the atheist here. I wonder if that pastor picked up Big Sean’s mixtape Detroit. The song “Mula” has a very interesting hook that I think would make him appreciate Meek Mill’s Amen a little more.


    E. Knight lives in Philadelphia. Check out his blog Read more of his AHH Blogs HERE

  • Daily Word: Accept and Expect Miracles!

    Happy Monday my blessed and highly favored! Welcome to the day that you realize that anything you want in life is yours already and the day that you begin to put your power to work. Today’s Daily Word is dedicated to accepting and expecting miracles. A miracle can either be defined as an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs or an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment. No matter what definition you decide to choose it is imperative that you accept them and expect them daily! Never mind those who say that if something seems too good to be true then it probably is… Those folks are pessimist who don’t realize the power of thought and they will bring you down if you let them! Your mind can have anything it puts its focus on and the more you exercise that power the more your miracles will become everyday occurrences! Life is good! Life is exciting! Life is EXACTLY what you make it! Stop using your powers to live in gloom and doom and do what you have to do to live a great life! You have miracles all around you… Recognize them and make them grow!

    -Ash’Cash“Miracles are like pimples, because once you start looking for them you find more than you ever dreamed you’d see.” - Lemony Snick

    “A miracle is often the willingness to see the common in an uncommon way.” - Noah Benshea

    “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” - Albert Einstein

    “I am realistic – I expect miracles.” - Wayne W. Dyer

    “Miracles are what happens when you get out of the way of yourself.” - Brad Szollose

    “To believe in miracles in one thing…to know what miracle you want to manifest right now, and accept it, is another.” - Michelle D. Rosado

    “A miracle is when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A miracle is when one plus one equals a thousand.” - Frederick Buechner

    “It’s not miracles that generate faith, but faith that generates miracles” - Fyodor Dostoevsky

    Ash’Cash is a Business Consultant, Motivational Speaker, Financial Expert and the author of Mind Right, Money Right: 10 Laws of Financial Freedom. For more information, please visit his website,


  • Consequence: Helping Bucked-Teeth Brothers Out!



    The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of


    I was born with an overbite—bucked-teeth! My mom had an overbite. I was called “Bucky Beaver,” “Chipmunk” and “Crunchy”—after the Cheetos character for having bucked-teeth. My mom and pop never saw fit to get their son braces, even though we were a military family with Champus insurance. Getting braces would’ve been practically free. Getting braces would’ve saved their son the heartache of being called names on the playground by cruel children.

    Awwww! I was a cute teenager! Bucked teeth and all!

    Having bucked-teeth makes one self-conscious. My smile is never a full-on smile. Over the years I’ve given less and less about what people think about my overbite, but it’s still a sore spot. It didn’t help matters when my oldest daughter, in the middle of an email argument said I had “ratchet teeth!” Damn! Yes! She went there on her own daddy! Shot waaaay below the belt and talked about her daddy’s flawed aesthetics—but I ain’t gonna blog about disrespectful chirr’ren—it would be like “The pot calling the kettle black,” because she was cursed with her daddy’s and grandmother’s overbite too—albeit, nowhere near as bad as daddy’s.

    Enter “Love & Hip-Hop…”

    Have you seen the new cast of “Love and Hip-hop” (New York)? They have a rapper, producer dude on there named “Consequence”—a Muslim who’s living with his beautiful white girlfriend “Jen the Pen.” Niggas in the blogosphere are goin’ in on his (bucked) teeth. Even a member of the cast of Love & Hip-Hop called him “Bucky Beaver.”

    [ALSO READ: Hip-Hop Rumors: Consequence Calls Joe Budden Gay?]

    Bucked-Teeth and all–don’t think that Consequence is of no consequence! Dude has a long resume’ dating back to A Tribe Called Quest–a Ghost writer of importance–someone who’s worked with the likes of Kanye West, Beyonce, Common, Talib Kweli and John Legend. Consequence is no upstart!

    Does he have bucked-teeth in the classical sense? No. Usually bucked-teeth are the two front teeth that protrude over the bottom teeth. In Consequence’s case, his whole upper teeth hang over protrude. I’m not sure, but I think he is a victim of dentistry gone awry. Those can’t be the teeth he was born with! I mean, they are white and straight and all—but appear to be a little too big for his mouf. They might be a partial plate or even dentures.

    With all the money that he has—or has had, I would think that he would’ve had the best reconstructive work done on his mouth—being in the public-eye and all. Whatever the case, if I were him, my main focus in life would be to get my jibs looking as natural as possible. (I’m still hoping to make a millli so I can have some porcelain veneers and a diamond in my mouf! Good-bye bucked-teeth!)

    Consequence is not the first famous person with bucked-teeth. Consider other celebrities who’ve rocked the overbite like Kerry Washington (I’d lick her teeth!), Eva Mendes (I’d kiss her all night!), Jennifer Simpson, Julia Roberts, Geena Davis (of Thelma & Louise fame), 50 Cent, Chris Rock, Cicely Tyson, Joe Budden’s girlfriend Kaylin Garcia and the First Lady Michelle Obama. Indeed, some overbites are sexy as hell!

    Another of the brothers holding it down for the big teeth crew

    Speaking of Bucked-teeth, has anyone spied Miami rapper Brisco’s teef?

    But I’ve gotta give Consequence props! He’s making us bucked-teeth brothas proud! He may even be making it fashionable to rock bucked-teeth! Say what you want about Con’s teeth—dude is getting paid—dude has a bad chick—and dude isn’t afraid of his own flaws. If bucked-teeth are the worse flaw a person can have—then is that really a bad thingy? It’s not like he’s ugly! There are a lot more rap niggas with perfect teeth who are uglier than a muthafucka! (Think Lil Wayne)

    Yeah, I’ll take bucked-teeth over ugliness any day! See? I have an bucked-teeth overbite too!



    coonerficKhalil Amani writes for DJ Kay Slay’s Originators Magazine & Straight Stuntin Magazine. He is the author of six books, including the ground-breaking book, “Hip-Hop Homophobes…” ( 07). Amani is gay hip-hop’s self-proclaimed straight advocate. Visit The Coonerific One at Follow on Facebook/Twitter @khalilamani. Youtube @ yahweh 12


  • Dear Rappers, Can You Tell The Truth?: An Open Letter from a Hip-Hop Dad

    Nelly, Sean "Diddy" Combs, & Jay Z

    Dear Rappers,

    I’m in dire need of your help. I know that I should be making this plea to fathers, pastors, teachers, community leaders, and politicians, but apparently you have trumped them all. There seems to be no one more influential in our children’s lives than he who can so eloquently poeticize ignorant shit and that’s you. You yourself must agree that the complexity of your influence is egregious. Rappers have become “he to aspire to be like.” I guess that’s better than our children dying to become drug dealers. But strangely enough, now even our kingpins want to become rappers, so it’s still a conundrum.

    Whatever the case may be, I’m in dire need of your help. Help me convey to my children that the majority of you are not being completely honest in your lyrics. Help me to inform my students that you all aren’t rich. Aren’t many of the cars and lavish homes in your videos leased and rented? Aren’t the majority of the scantily clad women in your videos hired “models”? Don’t most of the people you know who sold drugs and bang guns end up either dead or in prison and not top tier emcee’s? Can’t you only count on one or maybe two hands, the number of artists who have had success and longevity as rappers? Isn’t rap similar to the mob in the sense that most people don’t retire from it in the fashion of Meyer Lansky? Am I crazy for encouraging students to pursue another career?

    As satirical as I may sound, rappers I’m in dire need of your help. Admittedly, I’m not as cool as you are. I can not compete. My students see me driving a rimless Dodge Charger and not a leased foreign whip. My students observe me telling time from a real Bulova and not a fake Rolex. My stories about playing a year of college baseball can not compare to your stories of selling tons of dope in the hood. My scar on my knee is from a torn ACL and the two on my stomach come from additional surgery: gallbladder and hernia. I wasn’t shot, shot at nor stabbed. I ain’t shot nobody, to my student’s I’m a nobody and I don’t know nobody. By all accounts, apparently my story is not as appeasing and colorful as yours. I can’t afford to make it rain in nobody’s club. My students know that I don’t make enough money to throw it in the air. Hell, I presently owe two dollars to one of the hall monitors because I wanted to get something from the vending machine for lunch on Friday. I recently told one of my students that I got my sweater that I was wearing from Forman Mills and he laughed his ass off. When I inquired “where should we be shopping from” he said Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth, and Tyson’s Corner. Rappers, I need your help.

    Our children believe everything you say. Not just mainstream rappers, but also including the local “dope” boys who are dressing up in their finest attire that they purchased from either Neiman Marcus, Saks or Tyson’s Corner (let them tell it), video recording a performance of their whack ass songs and posting them on youtube or “hip hop” oriented sites. Now understand that I’m not against artistry or anyone pursuing their dreams. But isn’t artistry honesty?

    Rappers I need your help. You’ll make my job as an educator a lot more easier. All I need you to do is rap your truth. Tell our children that you are not invincible and that you do get scared. Tell our children that you’re really not from the hood and didn’t have a record until you made a record. Tell our children that you were never a “big time” drug dealer because all of the “big time” drug dealers that you know are either dead, in jail or on their way there. Tell our children that everything that they see in the videos aren’t actually real. Tell our children that for the most part, you’re just creating a fantastic fantasy. They need to hear the truth from you because apparently I’m just not cool enough to convince them otherwise. You can personally reach me by email.

    Thank you Rappers.


    Cornell Dews

  • Along Came Molly


    Hip-hop at its best is rebel music. It was born in an era where the dreams of Black America ever becoming fully integrated into the American Dream were fading away. So there was always a hint of subversion for American Ideals. The same way Rock N Roll was considered perverse in the 50’s, hip-hop was considered obscene in the 80’s.

    One of those subversive ideas has become the popularizing of a blaxploitation era myth: The hero drug dealer. In real life most sensible people rightly recognize the drug dealer as a scourge on our community. Perpetuating violence, preying on children, exploiting the vices of the most vulnerable among us, these are things which we look upon disdainfully. But you would never know it from the music we listen to. And when I say we I am including myself in this one. As I write this I’m heavy into my iTunes playlist. There must have been a thousand kilos of cocaine moved and hundreds of murders already today in my little slice of the hip-hop world.

    But I can deal with drug dealer anthems. Because I know that it’s not easy to emulate. If I have everything going for me I’m not going to throw it away to go try to live out Pusha T’s verses. I can admire that music and just say to myself “that’s not my life though”. No my beef isn’t with drug dealer rap it’s with drug user rap. I know it’s hypocritical of me to single out rappers who celebrate their substance abuse when said substance abuse has inspired classic albums like Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and classic songs like “Sippin on Some Sizzurp”.  And I know it’s not the responsibility of the artists, the labels, or the mass media conglomerates that deliver our music to us to promote healthy living. I just think this moment in time is a turning point in hip-hop that might cause it to become more like rock n roll and I mean that in a bad way.

    How many rock stars have gone out in a blaze of drug addiction and/or suicide? Enough to fill up several seasons of E! True Hollywood Story and VH1’s Behind The Music. There are already drug tragedies in hip-hop. Ol’ Dirty Bastard comes to mind. And the rehabilitation of DMX is an ongoing struggle. I’m not trying to equate “Molly” with heroin and crack mind you. It’s just that for years the gangja activists have been telling us that weed is not a gateway drug. But for mainstream hip-hop and its fans it has proven to be just that.

    Today we are just as likely to hear about lean as we are weed. Weed has become almost pedestrian. There are suburban soccer moms who smoke weed in their caravans after they drop the kids off at their swimming lessons. It has become basically legal in two states and unofficially legal in so many others. It’s not shocking or counter cultural at all. Face it, weed is boring. But musicians and artists (not just hip-hop artists) are always looking for an edge. Lean or Purp or whatever you want to call it, a mixture of cough syrup and other barbiturates has become a staple among the new generation of rap. It’s not quite as harmless as weed. At least with weed the argument went “It comes from the earth its natural”. You can’t make that claim with lean.  They also say too much weed never hurt anybody and nobody ever got locked up based on their weed addiction. The same thing can’t be said for lean. Ask Pimp C and DJ Screw about the death part. Ask Beanie Sigel about the getting locked up part.

    Today Molly is the popular drug in rap lyrics. It’s nothing new though. It’s basically ecstasy. And it’s hilarious that our nostalgia is for the early 2000’s suddenly E pills and the Harlem shake are popular again. But while the Harlem shake is merely annoying, the rebranding of MDMA as Molly is potentially dangerous.

    We can have an adult conversation about drugs. Sure I use “drugs” every day. Caffeine is a drug. Alcohol is a drug. Just like anything else it’s all in moderation. Cocaine started out as medicine. Ditto for Heroin. In the 60’s the dangers of LSD were exaggerated. In the 1930’s the exaggerated anti marijuana hype produced a cult classic film Reefer Madness. And there are plenty of people who go to a party take a pill that makes them feel funny and wake up the next day and go to work or class like nothing happened.

    But hip-hop doesn’t do moderation. Have you listened to rap lately? There’s nothing casual about its drug use. When our rappers decide something is cool they ALL decide it’s cool and they advocate for it loudly and repeatedly. Rappers are some of the best marketers and promoters in the world. And we as fans actually listen to it. I’m not saying we’re all sheep, but until a few weeks ago I didn’t know what a Bugatti was now I know I want to wake up in one.

    Hip-hop is still a youth culture despite the fact that all our favorite emcees are 30 plus.  Emcees are selling a lifestyle that may be at odds with the personal values of many of their fans. We already accepted that the drug dealer is just a character most emcees play. But the drug user is an extension of the opulent lifestyle of a successful artist. Sex Drugs and Rock N Roll has truly become Sex Drugs and Hip-Hop. Drug use is much easier to emulate than drug dealing and we’re all plugged in listening and watching. Future, Drake, Gucci Mane, Rick Ross and others have expressed preferences for females who “pop molly”. That’s all well and good until one of your daughters, sisters or wives makes their way on to the tour bus.

    Strangely maybe it’s a sign of maturation for hip-hop that any of our most popular artists is a candidate for celebrity rehab. To date Joe Budden has been the only emcee with any kind of an audience that has spoken out against the Molly trend. But that was only after experiencing it for himself. Indeed in regards to drug use as a negative Joe Budden and his Shady Records Boss Eminem have been two of the only popular emcees today that have detailed struggles with addiction in their music throughout their careers. The cautionary drug tale is all but dead in hip-hop. Perhaps drugs will have to do to an up and coming emcee what bullets did to Biggie before people speak more seriously about over indulging in these vices. Until then we’re in danger of entering the “Hair Band” era of rap.


    E. Knight lives in Philadelphia. Check out his blog

  • Being Black While Reading ‘Being White In Philly’


    When I got finished reading “Being White In Philly” I was a little taken aback. You see I would expect that an article called being white in Philly would mention the growing wage disparity between Whites and Blacks and how that was a distinct advantage for White People. I would think an article that is on the front cover of Philadelphia Magazine would mention the wealth gap or the sentencing disparity between black and white suspects. But no because in the world of the author, the white bubble that he and his fellow passive aggressive racists with good intentions have created for themselves, those are black issues. And White Privilege doesn’t even exist.

    The whole tone of the article is odd to me. It reveals what we Blacks know but most Whites don’t want to admit. Racism isn’t the sole property of the South or the obscenely rich or the extremely poor. Racism truly isn’t the sole property of White people. But we never get a naked look at the mind of someone who doesn’t realize they are a racist. And I applaud Philadelphia Magazine for that. The article focuses almost exclusively on the horrible experiences that the goodly white citizens of Philadelphia have had in their dealings with the unruly, lawless, feisty, uneducated, unsophisticated blacks in the city.

    WhiteInPhillyThe author refers to the these as “race stories”. He notes that all of his White friends have them. Because when you have a bad experience with a crook, or an asshole, if they are Black it’s a race story. Indeed this article would lead you to believe that White people never do anything bad to each other. This article treats Whites that live in Black neighborhoods by choice like they are brave pioneers surrounded by hostiles. And while the author does show revolt at the squalor and poverty that some Blacks have to deal with he doesn’t express any empathy for the people who actually have to live in those neighborhoods he drives through unless they happen to be White. He makes it seem as if the black on white crime rate is out of control making no note of the fact that Blacks don’t like being the victims of Black criminals either. The Author implies that bringing up the inner city’s problems with his Black Mt. Airy neighbors is Taboo because he would be accused of being racist. He then goes on to show that he is racist. He does this by interviewing other racists and validating their hate speech by painting them as sympathetic characters.

    Let’s see we have the naive Russian transplant with no knowledge or reference point for the cultural battles that shaped our nation’s race relation. She sees the welfare state as proof that blacks are lazy shiftless do-nothings her quote: “I’ve been here for two years, I’m almost done,” she says. “Blacks use skin color as an excuse. Discrimination is an excuse, instead of moving forward. … It’s a shame—you pay taxes, they’re not doing anything except sitting on porches smoking pot … Why do you support them when they won’t work, just make babies and smoking pot?…..”

    [ALSO READ: Rapper Meek Mill’s Lawsuit Against Philadelphia Police Department]

    Also one of my favorite recurring characters in this type of article is the quaint Archie Bunker-esque old white guy racist. The one who you’re supposed to feel sorry for because the world has changed so much and he’s so old. His antiquated, unsophisticated, views on race and his disgusting use of the word “nigger” is supposed to be able to be excused because he’s old and he’s from another time and he says earlier that he has no problem with “The Blacks”. (And no he doesn’t mean a family with the last name Black).

    His presence in this article is clearly meant to show us that the other well meaning Whites in the Article are not racist and are frankly perplexed by all the Blacks they deal with misconstruing their altruistic color blind intentions. I mean of course the lady who sent out a Facebook message asking if her classmates had seen her Blackberry wasn’t being racist. All the white kids in her group simply replied no. But to the Black girl in her class it was a loaded question.

    Since this article is called “Being White in Philly” we of course zero in on the perfectly innocent intentions of the main character. The Black girl seems totally ridiculous. “That wasn’t about race, you see that right?” The author seems to say. “That Black girls reaction was totally uncalled for”. But what the author doesn’t say speaks volumes on his understanding of race and his “want” to create a rational dialogue. Never stopping to consider the point of view of someone, who throughout her life despite whatever she may have struggled to achieve, is still viewed as lesser or strange or foreign. Indeed the fact that her story is in an article primarily about whites dealing with the criminal malfeasance of Blacks is itself a pretty good indicator that the kind of racism that primed her response is still in abundance.

    The whole point of this article seems to be that Blacks are the ones making it hard for the good non racist White people to create an honest dialogue because we obsessively pull the race card. Whites can’t talk to us about crime because we are all excuse-niks who will shrug off the ills of society and blame racism. And if you truly believe that then you might in fact be a racist.

    [ALSO READ: Cassidy Clears Up Rape Allegations, Explains Meek Mills Feud]

    “Being White”, was a painful but necessary read for those of us who know people like the author. I could paint a picture of the point of view of the post-racism racist but nobody tells it better than the source of that muted passive-aggressive hatred better than the racist himself. So crime perpetrated by Blacks in the inner city makes it hard for you to talk to your middle class neighbors in Mt. Airy? Why? What do those two groups of people have in common other than the color of their skin?

    I don’t live in Mt. Airy but I am nearby in West Oak Lane. I don’t like people who lack ambition either. But I would never chastise someone for being a welfare cheat in a country where the richest 1% willfully manipulate the law and rig the game against them. I don’t like crime either and I want to see criminals brought to justice. But I’m not going to pretend like institutionalized racism and the economic disparity, lack of quality education and lack of opportunities that disproportionately affect my people didn’t cause the conditions that foster criminality.

    The author seems to want to have it both ways. He wants to have an open dialogue with Blacks but he doesn’t want us to mention racism. In this piece he spends the majority of his time among whites perpetuating racial scare tactics. I don’t think he’s being maliciously hateful or disingenuous. But what he is doing is expressing a stunning naiveté about the current nadir in race relations among the dwindling middle class.

    To end this piece I’ll bring up another loaded term that educated Blacks often struggle with. Oddly it’s a compliment that prominent Blacks often receive. The media will compliment well-spoken Blacks in the spotlight on being articulate. And they don’t just say it in passing they really dwell on it. As if English isn’t our first language. We Blacks don’t particularly care for that compliment. I know for me personally I’m not impressed when someone has a great vocabulary and good grammar. Because I know that the ideas are more important than the words used to articulate them. So I’ll end this by saying the author of “Being White In Philly” Robert Huber is very articulate and well spoken. And hopefully someone forwards this to him and he sees it for the patronizing non-compliment it’s intended to be.

    E. Knight lives in Philadelphia. Check out his blog

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