Chicago’s very own Dj 5ifth Element has blessed us with yet another banging mix following his ode to Dilla. This time around his needle landed in Shaolin with this Wu-Tang mix. Check out Wu-Tang is for the Children: Vol.1.
Here we are at the last Two’s Day of this Black History Month series. And I’d say it’s time to celebrate. We aren’t just celebrating our culture, but the universal culture in which we’ve made significant contributions to. We are celebrating our resilience. We are celebrating our strength.
For years we’ve been fighting for the opportunity to be human. To be given the same rights to humanity that are freely given to the descendants of this nation’s “forefathers”. We haven’t been fighting because we wanted to, we’ve been fighting because we have to. We’ve had so many victories along our journey and have overcome many trials and tribulations. We’ve built bridges to cross into environments where we were shun. We’ve constructed houses of our own when they said we couldn’t live in theirs.
We went from chattel to CEOs. From being owned to becoming owners. And although we have quite a ways to go (Re: Eric Garner, John Crawford, Mike Brown, etc), we have so much to celebrate. Through our progress, we’ve turned our tears into resounding sounds of triumph. A rhythm that can’t be muffled or silenced. Let’s keep progressing until the whole world is dancing.
James Brown – “Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud”
Stevie Wonder – “Black Man”
West Coast repping with Fashawn and Evidence. Two of the best out the West…
Evolution and growth is linear, but life (or more specifically, culture) is cyclical. Old things become new. New things become old. Trends inform culture. Culture informs new trends. We see images and absorb certain trends that inspire us. In turn, we internalize and emulate – putting out similar, or exaggerated, images that reflect what we’ve taken in. Those looking to monetize culture then flock to what sells.
There’s nothing new about that model, but access and exposure are at an all-time high. And there is the issue. We have to break the cycle of exploitation. We can’t be mad at the images that are being exploited as if these “characters” don’t exist in the real world. They do. And they’re more prevalent than we’d like to admit. But they aren’t the only images that represent us. Music is not (and has never been) dead. All of our actresses and actors and models didn’t get their start on reality tv/social media. Our leaders take a different shape/form, but they do exist. We have strong, positive, intelligent, young voices that speak for us. They just live outside of the spotlight, which is usually controlled by people outside of the culture that are only looking for what generates clicks, likes, page-views, and dollar signs.
So what do we do? We take more responsibility for what we take in and what we put out. We break our gaze from the machine-controlled spotlight and shine our own lights on the images we prefer. Images that build instead of images that destroy. We redefine the paradigm. The machine already knows that the power is with the people, they just do a better job and rallying the people around their preferred images. It’s up to us to decide where we place our power. We amplify the good and avoid exploiting the bad. We don’t blindly accept what they want us to consume. We start to better understand that in a lot of ways we are what we consume. We start to consume more of the things that are meant to inspire, nurture, and grow us. We demand more of those that are . We demand more of our peers and those that influence us. We demand more of ourselves. We turn off the radio. We become our own curators. We break the cycle.
Talib Kweli – “More or Less”
The Roots & John Legend – Shine
Another gem from Chicago emcee, Chris Crack
One of my favorite things about February is Harold Green‘s Flowers For the Living series. It’s a beautiful marriage of poetry, music, and energy. This is just a taste of a more extensive multi-course meal.
Get the rest here.