"Rappers are in danger!" —KRS-One
Well, no shit, and even dead rappers' murder cases are still unsolved; the main witness in the Biggie case recanted his testimony recently. Some might even say our whole culture is in danger these days. Bankrupt American culture, sure, sure, but I'm referring specifically to what the kids call hiphop culture. Congress is having hearings to... actually, I'm not sure what their point is, except to officially sanction hiphop from on high and give Master P a podium to further sell us out from. BET, which was until recently the go-to spot for the ultimate in female degradation set to music, is hosting a lively panel on "Hiphop vs. America." Bush-pumping right-wing pundits can't wait to call "Nass" a gangsta rapper. It's clear that hiphop's ass is in the fire... RIGHT. Let the corporations fall the fuck out of love. We definitely need a change, but we don't need theirs! Anyway, let's talk about the biggest trend in mean, ignorant, scourge-of-America hiphop this week: benefit shows!
On the night of Saturday, October 6, Fremont is where it's at—the good folks at KEXP are doing their live Audioasis thing at High Dive, presenting sets from Common Market and Dyme Def. Proceeds go to Power of Hope. The very same night, right down the street at Nectar, you can catch Inglewood, California's Pigeon John (who recently dropped a memorably dark verse on Grayskul's "Dance the Frantic" off Bloody Radio), Tulsi (celebrating the release of his new album, Waterflow), Ohmega Watts (who's dropping a new album, Watts Happening, this week), the sublime Specs One, and turntablisms from the Elefaders. Part of the proceeds go to Bands Without Borders.
Then on the night of Tuesday, October 9, Nectar hosts a massive lineup of local hiphop acts, all to benefit breast cancer research. Neema, Grynch, D.Black, Jay Barz, Positive ID, Anomilie, Terry Radjaw, Type, Black Senate, and the Parker Brothaz all perform, and the whole shindig is hosted by DJ Money D and MC Joseph Average, who recently put out his solid debut album, Walk with Me. The following evening, Nectar plays host to a very special benefit, as local hiphop for once looks out for its own. This month's chapter of Graffiti Rock features Dyme Def, Dimmak, Graves, Bedroom Stompers, Phil in the Blank, and Neezie Pleaze to benefit the fellas from local crew N/NW who lost their home/studio in a fire a few months ago. Check it out, stare at djblesOne's dookie rope, and maybe cop a copy of that N/NW album, too.
"So if hiphop is about the people," Mos Def once asked, "and the hiphop won't get better until the people get better, then how do people get better?" "Well," he answered himself, "people get better when they understand that they are valuable." Dear hiphop: I'm not worried. The kids get it better than we ever did. Hold tight!