Market is one of you most powerful pieces of poetry. What motivated you to write it?
The reason I wrote ‘Market’ is because one day I was reading an email that was sent out by the Latino community about a Latino rapper. It was talking about the harm that he was doing to the community by promoting the fact that he sold crack. They were saying we should get tighter as a community and take him out! They weren’t even talking about boycotting but I think they meant kidnapping him.
I thought that was a little extreme, but I started thinking about all the rappers in the black community that are doing the same thing. The problem is, as I see it, people weren’t analyzing it right. People are looking at the rapper as a successful person not realizing there are racist billionaires behind these artists making them seem successful while being used for sinister purpose.
It seems that the character of what black thugdom is what drives people to buy records in droves. However, a lot of people that are buying cd’s are not black.
They are not buying it because they think its gangster; they buy it because they think it’s a joke. They’re buy that music like they would buy a video of a black watermelon eating contest.
How can we keep our kids from getting infected by senseless music?
Obviously by educating them. I think it’s a good idea to turn the kids on to other alternatives like immortal technique and common. In addition, I think it’s good to dialogue and find out why they like what they like and point out anything wrong with it.
I think the video for ‘Market’ was a step. Some people would comment “wow, I never saw it like that” and some would say “I don’t care I’m a nigga and I’m fine with that.” The easiest relationship to draw with the word nigga is the three fifths of a man clause I the constitution. If you are a nigga you are not a man. In that word is the ideal that you are not a man.
It’s one thing to become a millionaire because of a skill that you have, it’s another thing to become a millionaire because you started selling incense and candy. If your money comes quickly usually it leaves quickly. Life is about art and images, and sometimes you have to make a choice.
In some cases, with the athletes they want to cultivate an image similar to the rappers, which is why a lot of athletes put out rap records. In order to portray that street image they surround themselves with people who are street. They then have to live up to those people’s expectations and impress the people they’ve surrounded themselves with.
Do you see this continuing?
I think there is a change on the horizon right now with platforms like your magazine. The fact that people are interested in positivity, I don’t think that would’ve been the case 5 years ago. The fact that ‘Market’ was watched by so many people and BET wanted to air it signifies a change.
I think you are going to see the record labels trying to do something to change their image. People gravitate to that which is organic when they know that what you are doing is who you are. A lot of these people putting out negative music should really put out positive music because that’s they’re experience.
What makes a young rapper still not change his message after listening too Market?
It’s to the point where people believe that by going to jail they become legit. Even Chris Rock said, “when a brother gets out of jail we have a party, but when a brother graduates from college no one is interested.”
These people are telling our kids stuff that they don’t even believe because it will make them money. That’s the definition of selling out. You will say what they fund you to say even though you know they want to destroy your community and you are helping them do it.
The same dudes that may have been in jail with tears in his eyes, completely demoralized will come out and glorify it because someone will give him money to do it. In doing that you are putting somebody in the same situation you were in.