Wednesday, April 26, 2006

EMAIL: "...what i'm talkin bout is militia. souljahs. and i know how it goes - its on u or no one."

whaddup dawg,

peace be with you homie, and sorry for the delay, i wanted to hit you back in-depth since you were holdin' it down like you holdin' down home-cookin'. it's all good, let me pick'n'parse ya prose in my own paralance, please see below:

On ?/??/06, [name withheld] wrote:

what up BK

not sure if you remember me. we met at the upski gig way back when. my name is (?), or (???), or (??), whatever the fuck i told u.

thanx for the charlie sheen info, for some reason, that dude has always been my favorite tv personality. after raymond. and carlton. and ahmad rashad.

i remember you man, it's dope we're connecting. i gotta say, hearing sheen on the radio like that was very cool, just an unnaturally long and candid interview with a real celeb dood who'd be fun to kick-it with. hey, he ain't brando, but i mean, even brando wasn't brando after he was brando, so fuck it, dood's cool with me...

anyways man i thought i'd hit you up cuz i'm in our motherland, or fatherland depending on how it happened for you - the subcontinent. i've been on a mural painting mission through pakistan, india and bangladesh,doing paintings for this project called

i checked the site man, it's a great idea, hopefully you can throw some pix up for us to see the bomb-ass bombin' too, and feel free to use any of my shit for your site - music, articles, poetry, etc.. i liked that talib kweli and k-os named their latest albums "beautiful struggle" and "joyful rebellion", and think that's the way to go. partyin' towards peace sounds like too much fun for the masses to ignore, and fuck it: i like getting my dick-sucked and shiny shit, so what? who doesn't?

the one thing that really stands out actually doesnt stand at all - hip hop. its dead man. there are a bunch of faux rappers - punjabi MC and then a bunch of DJs that mix up ja rule with bollywood singles. abishek bachan does some corny hindi pop rap trax and the1shanti from DC has made a guest appearance or 3, but thats it!

i'd heard that, and i've got some youngish cousins who recently emigrated to canada who let me know it's just not poppin' off over there - save for the MTV stars like Em'n'Fiddy. to have a real organic hip hop evolution would involve empowering and educating the illiterate masses and having them speak from the heart, or taking disenfranchised middle-class brownies and getting them to publicly mass-rebel. it's possible, but in a conservative country like india with unbelievable pressure and competition for upward mobility, it's also socially suicidal. there's safer and less-safe rebellions, and i think the "Ralph Macchio/Scott Baio" 80's bandana'n'jeans badass flexing has left some deep scars in our style'n'taste-buds. hip hop is naturally scary, and indians, despite a few crazies, are a billion-by-and-large anything but. it's hard to justify, but with life so cheap and opportunities growing, it's also hard to risk making waves when the revised global caste system demands perpetual obedience and want. besides, we don't do what we want, i mean, we've been making the same damn movie over and over and over again fantasizing about forbidden love. you'd figure we'd get it by now: our love-struck heroes always find a way to make something socially shat-on work, which means we don't like the rules we live by. i mean, how many flicks are there about a successfully arranged marriage?

still as my buddy c-murda noted, brown people are the "stealth race", and we often fly under the radar doing just fine wherever we land by easing into and adopting the local culture without making waves. my folks let me eat meat and spoke predominantly english - so i ain't half-bad at it, and even in india the poorer classes do the same - chasing the status above 'em for karma in this life or the next. hell - even in south africa, with the whites on top and blacks at the bottom, we found a way to fit right in in the middle. crazy. then again, the first dudes gotta plant the flag by opening a restaurant, once the white man taste butter chicken you damn right he want it again, and then we got 'im. we make their bland-ass food taste good anyway, and wasn't no indians a thousand years ago screaming: "we've got to find a way to cold-ass rainy old england! and hey, let's spend the next 6 months sailing treacherous uncharted waters! it's like totally worth it!"

yeah, right.

maybe i'm just too deep into it, but i couldnt believe how even the urban superpowers (kolkata mumbai delhi) are devoid of any roots rockin. shit i met rasta indians who dont listen to bob or buju! stereotypes aside, i think there is untapped market, not in the sense of making ruppees, which of course should not be overlooked completely, but in the sense that diasporic indian mcs should start this up man, cuz theres talent still, maad indians kids can move, and they are deep still.

hey dawg, i'm feelin' ya, and it's always a trip when cats ain't feelin' what they should. but, in defence of ignorance, i just got introduced formally to gil scott-heron this week, and oh man, he blows my mind. i'd heard "of" him and read a bit, but i just got "free will", "winter in america" and the best of the badass, "pieces of a man" off a buddy, and they're awesome. as long as it's a "don't" instead of a "won't" then there's an easy sell, and hopefully them cats'll at least break out the Bob with their bong and figure out he's the best ever.

i've wanted to be the brown puffy for a while now, and have a few thousand beats saved that i want to bring over and get live asian musicians to play their own way with their own twists, hopefully even breaking off a brown Kanye at some point. among the hundreds of songs i've written (long story) is ' B.A.C.H.-L.I.F.E.", a take-off on 2Pac's "THUG-LIFE" that stands for "Brown Artsy Children Live In Fear Everywhere", and the chorus is probably a take-off on Run-DMC's "Run's House" (i.e . "Who's house? Say what? / Run's house! Say what?") we know the kids got the soul for it, and if they got the balls they got the game. it's all good, and when the first rappers rap like they ain't copying anybody else then they got a shot at - just like the durrrty souf'. i don't care if they flow-slow, i love it on principle, as these po' black folks who've been down and marginalized for so long are doing themselves with so much pride and having so much fun with it the world gotta fuck with 'em. who knows? hopefully brownsville can rep it like that, and if they do they got the domestic mass-market to incubate and refine it for worldwide appeal. my shiny nickel - er, rupee? they gotta get chant-y, get some bomb-ass hook and slow-flow so everyone can understand, enjoy, and rap-along to it. i'm noticing the shit that's sticking with me these days is more like that, as beyond just hearing more of it we're really too busy to decipher the cypher of a fast-flow and reflect on it enough to grow. fuck NY, fuck LA, fuck everybody but your hood, and once your hood's singin' yo' shit sound good then you's on ya way...

its not even clear to me what i'm tryna do. hip hop 101 is not my cup of tea. never will be really. its somethin u gotta be born into. but at the same time if there is no legitimate influence available for these kids, they're all gonna miss that chance. if hip hop is truly global, its up to us to make it happen in our own land. i think that in real terms, i'm lookin to empower youth in the west as much as kids in mumbai gullys, cuz really it's thru their vision that we'll get a refresher on our own history and state of society...

i dunno about your first thought, it's one of those unproveable assertions that makes for a nifty soundbite. i think you can be born wherever and into whatever and still fuck with whatever you feel, though i will allow that it's easier if it piggybacks your previous experiences. still, as much fun as it is to be born into it, how else will your preferred hip hop revolution win? how can enough cats not born into hip hop be down to push this thing over the top? i think the worst thing we do in hip hop is make rules about what it is, when in fact, it is what it is: diverse and legitimate, with money corrupting it like it does everything else - no surprise. if the kids in mumbai jack beats or rhymes or flow or style from the West to sell it back to them, then hey, they'll show they can play and flex beyond that. or, hopefully in the rush someone will follow the trailblazer who broke thru and get some shine on some more unique shit. i catch beef with headz all the time on this, but one thing always rings clear: no matter how heavy in the game a given head is, they ain't all say the same thing. so, since one experts definition of "hip hop" consistently differs from another - and that's the "Nas vs. Rakim, etc." game they' slang back and forth in they' own cliques while shittin' on the whole game, no one can tell me what's hip hop and what's not. that's the beauty of it, and once more people figure out the freedom they have to interpret the genre they'll flock to it to create or enjoy it.

i mean, i totally contradicted myself here in suggesting cats need they' own unique style and that they need to cop what's hot to blow up they' spot. the moral? they're both right, they both work, and as preachers and reachers we've gotta make peace in Haterville and understand why each individual did what they did to blow. even Fiddy, the poster-child for all that's gone wrong in hip hop, was also a guy with a tragic history of violence and incarceration who - if he wasn't famous, would probably be dead or in jail. the fact that he wants to stack his chips and party doesn't surprise me, and understanding the game from a more humanist perspective will allow us to avoid alienating guys'n'girls going with their guts on what they like. i had to tell some conscious homiez of a successful hip hop group to chill for a minute, because if they say "Fuck 50 Cent!" then the 20 million fans who've bought 50 Cent albums might say "Fuck you!" back, and that ain't the way to win.

comin out here is such a catch 22 - so many of my instincts, impressions and expressions are guided by hip hop. i been through east africa, south africa, and there the thirst, the witt, the grime was exchanged, especially since heads there really had a thing for beats rhymes and life, for all aspects of the art. plus they were black, so they claim hereditary rights. but its gotta be besides that, and i think that if certain platforms are created in the urban centres of india, there is a substantial amount of innovative beat production and emceeing that can penetrate the airwaves, let alone the graf (cuz calligraphy is everywhre!) and the bboy- b girl spinoffs.

it's awesome you're travling like this man, that's an ill-sched you're keeping creeping through the O.G. Motherland, and i'm glad you connected with peeps in the know. i think there's a tendency to fuck with what's winning, and if i was black anywhere in the world and lowest on the race totem-pole, i'd definitely grab the hip hop life-preserver in my own way to handle the tide of disdain. we all want respect, money shows respect, and since other cultures are throwin' down to be down, you may as well grab the crown and throw 'em a pound. again on india, i totally agree the urban centres can work as long as they break down indian culture in a unique and fun way, both history and the present, and as long as they can use existing cultural touchstones vs. imports ( i.e. henna vs. tattoos) to define their own sense of the style. i'm a big fan of co-opting the likes and dislikes of the masses, and if it means i gotta chase bitches around trees in my videos 'cause it drives 'em wild... fuck it, looks like i'm chasin' bitches around trees...

its not like this is all new ish. since that truth hurts (Addictive) track then jigga and punjab mc and all that, even the tim maggoo track (i got my eyes on u) fuckin solitaire just had a track before i left - the india beat vibe is in full frontal exposure... i get it. i know that. i'm not talking bout that tho. what i'm talkin bout is militia. souljahs. and i know how it goes - its on u or no one. you cant force that ish. comes in time when u need to get that. maybe they dont need it. but His will says its on me, and i believe other indo-occidentals who are embracing hip hop for its love-2-hate attitude & prophecy-professing-funkadelics, to get grass roots with it in our origins. granted i'm canadian, but i cant deny my heritage cuz frankly i love india/pak, the food, the women, the beats, the hospitality the whole thing. but when our next generations are readily starting to look towards art/music as their most trustworthy source of inspiration and history, who are we to rob them of the opportunity to codify their past in the language of now?

agreed, and very well said. just like globalization is turning entire countries into suppliers of product lines and denying their value in producing or expressing uniqueness, our beats are not enough. i mean, the damn beatles were fuckin' with rishis'n'yogis'n'sitars back in the day, and the only dude who blew up was ravi shankar. it ain't enough that a dhol sample run through a computer is the illest sound timbo ever made, we've gotta claim an identity, throw up a mufuckin' jackie chan or some shit, get aishwarya rai to stay skinny-ass hot next time for a big international flick, resurrect apache indian... or some other new shit. as for souljahs... i agree, but i necessarily have to be contrarian to fulfill my role of nuancing established activism and exposing endemic hypocrisy. that's why i like Tupac or Kanye, dawgs who morph their common failings and weaknesses into engendering empathy, entertainment, AND enlightenment. hell yeah it's on you homie, just like it's on me and everyone of us who cares to stare at the game and figure out a way to make it work. beyond our ability or divine intervention, it's really a matter of applied time and effort above and beyond that of our smart peers - who gotta listen to us and trust when we bust. i really think as humans we're all equals, and generally morally equivocal, and if we had the same access to the same truths we'd come to the same moral conclusions that would lead to an open and free exchange of personalities. unfortunately, the bad guys want to chain us on some ol' slave shit, and fuck with tribalism to get us to tear each other apart... so we can't have it. you and i ain't on some "left/right" bullshit, we're on some "okay... these motherfuckers is lyin', and these motherfuckers is tryin', so: who you wit'?" shit. india got a beautiful ancient culture being hijacked by the same historic forces of money and power that the rest of the world is, and any tools they can use to reclaim it are okay by me. if it's beats'n'rhymes and good times, great, if it's guns...

...well hell, i'll quote da O.G. on this one:

"Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest."

- Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948), An Autobiography, pg 446

i got high ideals. ideals sure, but high ones. not just cuz this afghani black is that freakin good. because everytime i set out on a mission like this the haaaaters make me stronger, and then i meet agent X who's already down for the struggle. this is no different. for all i know there are umpteen indo-microphonists on the same mission, either for coin or fame or bollywood sluts. fact is this fusion of indo urban music cant end with rakim remixes and copped historical melodies. we gotta lay down the law, and set precedent so the abuse stops, and heads open their eyes to realness of the poly-ethnic poly-centric poly-technic call-centres-are-not-our-only-livelihood rhetoric of the indian spirit!

worrrd... i feel you dawg, i feel you.... and as long as you keep puttin' it down like that 'nuff cats'll feel you to push other cats to feel them, and some of these cats'll be able to wrap they headz around rap... and so, it begins...

thats my 8 rupees on the subject. i could be outta line, and this email could b caught in your junk for five days and dispelled. but after 4 months out here my thirst for a fuckin joe budden reality check has never been so great, despite my freestyle forays in masjids, temples and shitters.

hope you hear me bk


i feel you homie, i feel you, and i hear you loud and clear.

so, let me say you've still got the heart and passion for the game, thanks for sharing it here and inspiring me to rep it harder. please, go forth and multiply ya high. it ain't nuthin' but a g-thang bay-beh, and as long as you G-Up and reppin' yo' hood you'll be good. you can rep it O.G., or "original Gandhi", Black G, or "Malcolm or Martin", or G-Unit, "Fuck it - Fiddy Makes My Balls Bigger!" whatever man, the important thing is that the shit works for you and cats vibe on you. you've got a plan, now thinkin' it'll work 'cause you Da Man is your planacea, and trust me, you can pull 'em up with a chin-up - chin-up. yeah it's simple, but c'mon dawg, it's gotta be for everyone to play, and the trick is in the plays you runnin'. just 'cause you a star don't mean you don't need a coach, so getcha Phil of my Jackson before you fade away like MJ, trade flavours'n'favours, and hollatchaboy witcha whassup's on the regular... :)

Peace thru pimpin' partyin' politics...



Black Krishna Brand

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