What do we own?

What do we own?

A simple question with a not-so simple answer. I was trying to think
of what we actually own; what we as black people can call ‘our own’.
My immediate focus was BET, Black Entertainment Television, then I
realised it was bought out by Viacom. Still concentrating on
entertainment, I gathered that as musicians we own our masters to our
songs. However, upon further research, only a handful of artists
actually own their music. Classic nostalgic artists such as Michael
Jackson and Chaka Khan are still fighting with their respective labels
to own their music.

I subsequently thought about the financial industry, but to no finding
of any black ownership. It’s rare to find a convenience store that is
black owned, or a gas station, franchised grocery stores, or
restaurant. Furthermore, if there is a black-owned restaurant, it
will only sell food that we can relate too. In theory that is
acceptable, however why can’t we sell to others? Meaning instead of
the Asian selling us our food & clothing, we should sell the Asian his
food & clothing. Our businesses are to niche; not utilising a full
spectrum approach. As a people we need to be concerned of business
ownership that sells to a wide-range of folk.

Furthermore, not only concentrating on entertainment, but also media, financial, amongst others. Only when we start owning a bigger piece of the pie, then we can demand how the pie is baked.

Think about that …


Stymie180 Archive – 2002: Bring in the Homies

Stymie180.com 2002: This is from an article that I wrote in 2002; its a bit out of date, but the context is still relevant, check it out and see if it makes sense to you:

Lately its struck me just how low people will sink for cash. At a time when Hiphop is at the peak of its popularity, when you can’t switch on the TV without hearing a rapper trying to sell you a shirt / a watch / a drink, when you can’t walk down the street without passing someone who’s followed their advice and is now driving that car, whilst drinking that drink, and rocking that shirt and shoes, its become plain how much Hiphop is being prostituted.

Stating the obvious? Maybe. But something has to be said. When LL Cool J would rather spend more time shooting FUBU ads that proclaim him as the G.O.A.T. and less time working on an album that proves it, something’s wrong. When Busta Rhymes would rather throw a Mountain Dew at you, than a dope track, something’s wrong.

Don’t get me wrong – I understand they’re taking advantage of their popularity to strike out and get that dollar while its good for getting. I also understand that this is not the first, and certainly won’t be the last time that Hiphop goes through a cycle of unbelievable popularity with the youth (hands up who has an MC Hammer doll?)

But first and foremost these people have risen to popularity through the hard work of the people who bought their music. What do I mean? Let me break it down for you… where were corporate America and the rest of the world, when LL was “saying the kind of rhymes that make emcees wish that I’d die”? Where were they when Busta and the Leaders were telling us of their “Case Of The PTA”? They weren’t around then, simply because Hiphop wasn’t popular… there was no money to be made… and therefore in those early years, it was me and the millions of other “REAL” Hiphop fans who put a roof over the heads of LL’s kids, who bought that one raggedy piece of gold around Busta’s neck.

Where am I going with this? I’ll tell ya… I’m pissed off with being taken for granted by artists who owe their success to their REAL fans, yet desert them at the drop of a dime. I’m tired of being told that this latest piece of shit that they’ve decided to throw onto wax is the best record they’ve ever done, when in fact it’s little more than a studio out-take.

I’m pissed off with an artist blowing up, and before you even have time to cop an album, he’s talking about bringing through his homies and THEIR album, despite the fact that it often sounds that they’ve just walked in off the street, and never even LOOKED at a microphone before. Some might say, this is admirable – one blows up, and then brings his team through to share his success. Bullshit. Check out Ja-Rule as the newest example of this trend – he’s about to bring through his crew, who will sell simply on the back of his name. Now are you telling me that he’s isn’t gonna make a load of cash on the publishing of his crew’s record? Shit, if I stood beside Ja-Rule for long enough, I could get a fucking deal too. There’s no love here at all, its all about getting that cash while your name’s in the frame…

But that’s POP music, you might say. That’s what commercial Hiphop has become, you might say. I totally agree. But even when Hiphop was selling commercially before, it was always different from the run-of-the-mill pop music that normally infested the charts. Now, its EMBRACING it. The major players in Hiphop are selling it’s soul to line their own pockets, and its a fucking disgrace. But there IS something we can do… you can rest assured that Hiphop will fall out of favour with the mainstream sooner or later. And when it does, and when all these fakes come running back, telling you to cop their new “grimey” album, that takes it back to the streets, and is the best thing they’ve ever done…

Don’t be a sucka – vote with your wallet… vote Hiphop.


No, I don’t Have any weed

Has this ever happened to you
Several times while I was at University, in the mall, walking down the street, minding my own god damn business – people would approach me to ask if I got that ‘sticky-icky’. You know, that chronic, cheeba, herb, dro, hi-grade, gunja, and whatever other terminology is out there for weed.

I guess my attire labels me as a certain type: you know, that young black hip-hop male who probably has no education or job, so naturally he must be involved in ‘pushing’ some kind of illegal drugs (of course, to afford his flossed-out name brand attire). So I guess I just fit a stereotype, thus I should accept all of its parameters …. I think not. One should only change behaviour or style because of their own intuition – not society.
So in the future if I am asked for any ‘hi-grade’, depending on the race of the questioner (even if black), I will respond with an equal or greater level of ignorance.

Yes, I know ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’, but if someone slaps me, and I turn around and stomp them f— out, then they are less likely (deterred) to ask that type of question to a dude like me.

Get High Mofo’s….


BET on Mute

Random thoughts:
at the gym the other day, trying to get my work-out on. So, I am on the exercise machine and I am watching various mute channels on the multiple TV’s that are overhead of these machines. On one TV, a rerun of CSI Miami was intriguing, another TV had CNN with the daily fear-fuelled news, but what caught my eyes was the TV showing some hip-hop music video on BET. No all of these TV’s were muted; no sound emitting – which is an important fact in all of this. The particular music video on BET was your derivative content for the average hip-hop song; ice-flashing, booty shaking, hood themed, and of course the new crave — the obligatory regional dance. This one in particular was the ‘snap dance’.


What was shocking was that with no sound emitting from the tube, to attempt to correlate meaning to the visual mess in the music video, the music video seemed almost comical — even amusing. Without sound, the people gyrating, and jumping around looked so funny, and even asinine. I guess sound, at least attempts to give the viewer a sense of meaning to what is going on in the video — and even in the presence of sound, most music videos on BET look ridiculous. So imagine, how when other cultures view BET who do not understand the language or culture …. they must be laughing and having a good time watching the perception of black culture.


Thus, try watching BET with no sound … get the popcorn out.


Can we really be mad at BET for this? I don’t know …..




Producer of Things