thumbnail of Evening Exchange; Post-Soul Black Culture
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
A misunderstood cultural phenomenon a rap star Some filmmakers and more next on evening exchange. Good evening I'm Kojo Nnamdi welcome to evening exchange in the last two decades we have witnessed a tremendous evolution in black urban culture music literature and film have mimicked in Quanah called an era that has kept the over 35 crowd kind of reeling and the under 35 crowd well rocking the house so to speak trying to keep tabs on and understanding these changing times is no small feat. Tonight we have a man who's been Quanah calling black culture for nearly 20 years. You've no doubt read his columns if you get the Village Voice newspaper in Washington or you may have read one of his books they vary from basketball to hip hop. I'm talking about the political writer and producer Nelson George. He's just written a new book
entitled Bucky's B-boys baps and Bo ho's notes on post soul black culture. Nelson welcome to evening exchange. And please first explain what is meant by post-soul black culture. Well I guess what I'm arguing or suggesting is that since the obvious triumph of the civil rights movement that is the Voting Rights Act. Those kinds of obvious barriers that we've had a change in the relationship of black Americans to themselves in fact we've had new opportunities we've had new abilities. We've had blacks in the film industry in ways you never had before except you're the same time. We probably had more reverses in terms of the community in terms of the drug problem and crime etc. than we've ever had. So you have sort of what I might say is both diversification and fragmentation. And black America the same time you used to be a writer for Billboard magazine in the 70s and you describe how the term post-soul in your own view came about because there was an evolution of music that simply could no longer be called
Soul. Yeah. Is about 1982 actually. And I come in there I was a couple years out of college. And I looked at the idea of so amusing the prince when he was just come out with a dirty mind. When Kurtis Blow was still a big rap artist and when Run DMC was coming up and I looked at the chart and didn't reflect this reality did so seem to me to mean a certain approach to music a certain sensibility about music which no longer was totally encompassing all of black music and you know you could call it the funk disco crossover hip hop chart and I opted for black at that time because I thought that was a more all encompassing philosophical phrase and I got a lot of flack for it. Both because a lot of white retailers did not want to have the signed black and their record store and a lot of artists at that time were and this was the era of member of the universal black man. You never want to be a universal artist and I wanted to deal with blackness as an entity it was like we were rejecting that out of the 70s it was so ironic is 1993 and we've come full circle and you talk about ghetto centricity which of the time we'll get into later but let us now explain
what is meant by the terms in the title of your book we know the title but these and what that means and if you don't we're not going to explain it. Who and what are the boys give us some examples. I think a B-Boy is a product of the urban culture of the last 15 20 years. Bebo is best epitomized by a rapper someone who's a product of this urban culture that is murdered. You know this is a very troubled 20 years back. I smell it before we go to bed. You have you used to describe yourself as an intellectual B-boy. Why because I felt like I came out of I came out of the projects I came out of Brownsville which is right now best known for Mike Tyson Riddick Bowe not a garden spot in America. But at the same time I was always a bookworm kid I was a kid who went by the Started smoking joints and stuff I would sneak of his and read a book. So I understand a lot of where that culture comes from. And you eventually went to St. John's University what is it that inspired your writing career as a professional. Wow. Well as a music critic It was inspired by reading reviews
in Rolling Stone magazine in particular the Brothers Johnson I don't know if you did and it was an it was a bland album and it had that specific review. Yeah inspired to some extent if you're a reviewer because it was about the I just we were reading and saying he doesn't understand the brother Jessica coming from who doesn't understand how Louis Johnson is getting them to base his stand how the records on this album are utilized by black people. He's writing about the Brothers Johnson if they were Bob Dylan. I just felt like his whole criteria for understanding the music was wrong and I just felt like if someone from my experience who'd gone to parties and dance to the music had a better sense of the music. And you also had an inspirational experience when as a young man in 1968 you went to a model cities program much of your writing is analytical and you give credit for that to one gentleman you met doing that model cities program. Yeah I'm definitely a product of that of the those programs that now are in such low regard by conservatives. But the program for those who remember and know was a program funded
by the federal government in the summer paid kids a small stipend to attend classes and we had a jihadist brother who became an afro. The Bohemian brother and we go in to late the day we all were kind of scratching our heads and he played Coltrane for us. He introduced us to a lot of different concepts and one of them was the idea of analyzing newspapers when they came in and I forget he came in with the Post the Daily News in New York Times three different newspapers and we already same story I believe about a robbery or some event. And by looking at how each paper presented the information we got a sense of the political slant of the paper. What facts were withheld were facts were minimized and it was like wow you know just like a blind in the right deal itself a.. Yes that there was more than this thing this objective journalism that I talk about. I didn't mean anything and I never believed in objective journalism ever sent. There is no such animal. And you have never forgotten that incident. Baps who and what about apps children of
I guess entitlement people who believe black American princes and princesses who have come out of a fairly privileged background to believe they're supposed to have things are supposed to have and don't have a real strong sense of the struggle it took for us to get it. I think Whitley on a different world is a perfect example of the bat. But those. Bonus comes out of bohemians and we've always had a Bohemian strain and African-American culture and you feel like the amount of them and their acceptance is wider. When you have a Tracy Chapman you have a Vernon Reed in living color when you have for that matter John Michaud Bastiaan the famous painter who died a few years ago. They let a alternative kind of life then return of you I think of black America black life it wasn't as if the stereotypes of either white people or black people were with Keith Jarrett piano player fall in that. Then I think he's I think he's both myself. Keith Jarrett you would consider a boho. Absolutely. Now but these big boys Babson Bo holes is a collection of articles written by you over the years on a variety of topics anything that
that came across your path or into your mind you allowed to write about for the Village Voice. Some of these were also from the board. No no I'm using but there's a couple from Musician magazine is I think the first piece in the book is about Curtis rapping one thousand eighty and. That was a musician that was the first piece that I know of that was written in a national music publication about rap. There'd been other pieces I think in some of the trades and how has the writing and the music exploded since that's a subject we'll explore more deeply as this discussion goes on. But I was fascinated by what you described as the article you wrote that received the biggest response ever and it was an article because you were angry. Well actually it's funny I wasn't angry when I wrote it but it's about angry and angry to me. I really think it's called to be a black man and the fact is a section of the book that is titled that and I'd be hard to paraphrase other than to say it's about the little daily aggravations of racism that they sometimes make you so mad as a black person. In fact one of things that happen to me I've been on a book tour I've been in San Francisco Seattle a few
cities and it happened to be in three different cities. I've come early to a radio station before the reception is in some going in and a security guard comes up to me and in three different cities. They haven't said good morning. They haven't said how it may help you they've said you have a package for me. Well this happened in San Francisco. This happened in Philadelphia. It happened in Seattle. So that's the kind of thing that I when I said I read I read this in Philadelphia talk about this and it's why God got so mad at me. How dare I say that. This happens to me too I said Look come on. Certainly not as frequently as it would happen in that order me for that matter. You also mentioned in that article one of the things I find interesting about your writing is how you seem at times to find in yourself. Different views of the same phenomenon. In that article you mentioned as a black man being played by what you call the gargoyles of woman isn't which as we know is a kind of ideological formation that Alice Walker and others subscribe to as distinct from feminism.
Yet at a later point when writing about the prospect of a New York high school that would be for black males you wonder if the works of woman this writers would be taught in the school because you feel that they ought to be. Tell us about what appears there to be a kind of feeling of uncertainty about women is I think that. I think that black women in terms of literature and I get a lot of flak from this from some of my voiced colleagues. Have had an unprecedented run of success. It's very odd with agree with you. It's been amazing since the mid mid 70s and I think that some some of that success is based on black women writers some of whom have made black white people feel very good about their views of black men. They've confirmed views that I think with submersion they were afraid to say the same time. There are things that are said in those books that need to be discussed by young black men and understood by young black men. I don't think that I would condemn every book Alice Walker
or every worker or any particular group but I would say that as a general group there's a problem I have with a lot of use of black men and I think black men do have a problem with black women particularly young black men right now. Do you think in part that was why the response to that particular article was so great because not only did it attack white people but it implies because he ended the article by saying essentially I'm having a bad week here and that it implied that a lot of black men have feel that they have bad weeks all year long and that a part of that has to do with black women. What is no question that the tension between As a black writer I mean it's amazing to be in this questions and realize that black male writers are not from the days of writing more we're a long way from that. If you ask someone who's leading black writers or is going to be women for the most part right now McMillan Walker Morrison what black male novelist has the kind of prominence today had not in quite a long time
maybe even a Charles Johnson who had a tremendous book the Middle Passage never received a kind of a claim of publicity as these women you are I guess what they would call down with the scene that is a part of hip hop culture. And you talk about how you grew up. Going to see blaxploitation movies with your friends and the influence that in your view his head and hip hip hip hop culture do you feel that that is indeed a very strong influence on hip hop culture. Oh yeah it's one of the things is so funny when blaxploitation was around people used to say it's going to change the mind of our youth is going to affect the minds of our youth. And I guess they were right. Because on some level they have I mean I have a story where I used to wear my black leather pants in my leather jacket and black turtleneck and I was doing my chef number for a long time and I think that in hip hop directly you see an iced tea especially in L.A. rappers are a direct influence samples I mean verbal samples from blaxploitation movies are used in these records. So there's a direct correlation with that between a gangster image that was preparatory to some of those movies and what goes on now in the music.
As a writer who has been in the business of working with Spike Lee you've co-produced your own movies strictly business and you're now involved with a new movie called CB for cell block 4. Have you found that you have turned to the medium of film and video because a lot of the young black males to whom you would like to get don't leak are going to tell you I think the future. A black education in fact is in visual media. I think that the challenge of a station like this or be a teacher any is to begin to utilize the tools that we have. And black film we are still embryonic. We are still not far from the level we are in music far from a level we are in literature I believe. But I think if we go into the next century the way to bring the excitement to bring the information to the black community will be through TV through films a visual medium that intersect with literature that you might have a book a home video and a film in a classroom. And in order to do this and his latest film see before Nelson George has combined his
understanding of rap music and his writing skills and his understanding of film which you're about to see is a clip from see before. All my life I wanted to be a rapper. But not them saying the word. Then I got a new idea. Let's turn ourselves in the gangsta. Are you aware that your band might be arrested for indecency tonight cellblock for was not afraid to go to jail cell block. What. Subject. You know to be like send them home. And under no circumstances are you to perform sweaters. My God I just love that I don't give a damn hip hop attitude it's so real. You have created something so steep that cause you to not see before is one of the hottest hip hop groups to come on the scene in a very very long time.
See gusta. But in prison not knowing has not given back the playful side to the stick and I don't think they like women. Elemental peace dashboard. This is not just a movie about rap music it's about much much more. The world's most notorious some. So. Tell us what are you doing with something. To. Put. The money that that's the best segment. Get your team to the house. I thought I was hardcore man. You only. There are some kids out there who are going to keep you you know. They need first America's past time by wearing a baseball cap backwards. Well that's an evil that speaks for itself. Tonight a city full of hate. It's my first drive by CBS poll featuring new music from Guess my and up. And up like it in black cannot play. Like. I couldn't play. Because I. Cannot play. You can dance and wacky dancing in your face yet my friends
scream but I can dance CD photo starring Chris Rock alum paint Bill Hartman and Chris Elliott. It's the right place for you as a role model in my son's eyes just ahead of me the delegates must see before Nelson George you also express acknowledgment to your home or Chris Rock or gratitude because it was it was his idea and he wanted to bring the noise. That was courtesy of Universal Pictures it's a comedy about gangsta rap obviously which is some of the one of the think one of the most controversial aspects of hip hop that we'll be talking about during the course of this program will be back in a little while with Doug E. Fresh and much more stay with us. Ah.
You know. People ask us a lot about that music that's Bobby McFerrin And now that we have the human beatbox here with us maybe we'll hear a little bit of that in the 80s black independent filmmakers broke new ground in an industry that neither welcomed nor understood their films. Today several black directors are making major strides towards inclusion in a once old white fraternity but they still have a long way to go. A new independent film company is taking on Hollywood in name and deed. The company is called Screw Hollywood productions it's a distribution company and is distributing a new film called Let's get busy. Carr clay is the award winning director and writer of the film. He's here to discuss it. And joining him is the star of this film Doug E. Fresh welcome to evening exchange. Thank you. Caro what made you decide to avoid Hollywood. Well it wasn't a matter of initially trying to avoid Hollywood it was it was a
matter of trying to take something that you consider to be important to the community and take it to Hollywood in the hope that Hollywood would embrace it. Unfortunately from the script level you know you take a script to Hollywood it's well you know look if you can get this raise some moneys and get the film and they can come back and work with you. So you go you raise the money as you come back and it's in the can and they say well you know if you can just finish it then maybe we can work something out and then you go back you finish the movie and everything and then they start running all these formulas that you know how many how many sex scenes do you have you know how many helicopter shots how many how much blood spat splatters on the screen so with all of that kind of confusion you go back to your roots you know my roots are from theater blackleg spectrum theory. There you go. And after 20 years it at which it's a theater it was born of the community. You look back and you say well how do you do what you've been doing and make that true so
you know the words cross the lips which was Screw Hollywood. Hey here we have black spectrum theater in Queens New York and you've won a lot of awards for short films and videos that you have done in the past yet in Hollywood still want to see some more blood on the screen. Yeah. Doug E. Fresh. Here's a guy who was avoiding Hollywood. You are a gentleman who has achieved international fame and nevertheless you decide to go with this production. Why. Well because when I met Call Call seem like a rabbit I had a good script from way out when I ran it and where was coming from was a real strong script caught me and I seen different things in it that you know I can relate to on a major level. So I said that I would get involved with it and make it happen because it seemed real positive and I've never seen a movie presented like that always seen movies presented in a way where the guy has to beat a certain type of person you know to come across in a certain
way to you know to get get this little response like you know he's the gangster he has a doubt but I've never seen somebody come from the perspective he came from. So I said I work with him to make it happen. And before you came on the scene a lot of people had never seen the kind of perspective that you came from We'll discuss that later but let us now take a look at a clip from let's get busy. You want to talk. To me clearly. Let me just. Cruel. I don't understand. I took my ass out of Colorado. Today. Because my mom was a motivated teacher and I was full while in South Africa they perpetrate. What are you guys going to do with your lives. Politicians always sell the Senate machines while all this hold on to old for a good. Deal is really not a scam the bill on the floor the first $2000 after
that. Everybody is going to know about Sam's. Club. Ticket. Did. You know. That. You. Can only get the best for the community well. Sometimes we have to say things we don't really mean son. First of all I'm not your son and I'm a kid from that you know. We're going to. Put up with. This in. The City. Within. The City. Sir. I'm here to represent myself. As an. Assembly man of. Those twelve hundred signatures. Say you got elected on that.
You. Get either one of you ever cross my path again. Not only will you wish you was doing it you will be. Now tell me all about that connection you've been working on. You know every last word or start one. The point. In this state. And saying we can't. Go into the. Annex didn't get it. Okay that's a clip from let's get busy Starr and Doug E. Fresh and it is the work of car click car. You take a group that apparently lives in and in a city community and move it away from gangsta rap into a more responsible community
oriented kind of role. The challenge as a black politician in the community. Were you trying to tell your viewers that gangsta rap and happen. Well I think it was more a question of trying to communicate the fact that rap is a very viable communications you know method it's how kids communicate today. And I think the question is is that when we look at you know everybody talks about the future and we talk about being at the edge of the 21st century. We look at Tim five 10 15 years from now we'll find that many of our leaders are going to come from the ranks of today's rap artist OK. They're communicators and Nelson George mentioned earlier about how the visuals are ultimately going to play a very important part will music is going to play a part of that also and I think that the idea simply was is to show what the possibilities are. I think that youth today are you know a dysphoric disenfranchised group as a whole in our
communities they suffer more from every type of social ill you can talk about but they have the most disorganized tonight. What I was simply trying to do is say that for young people that here's a compas that you know that's possibly usable in your every day about how you work and how you're represented as a youth in America. The reality however for Nelson is that gangsta rap still sells and your movie is apparently a comedy about a group of young people who turn to gangsta rap in order to make money. Can you expand on that. Well just the thing about going through it to make it so. So such issues because it really does crystallize a lot of contrast in the film that we did it's a matter that these guys are looking for own self image. They're very the middle class working class guys just want to be guys who think that by being against it by having the accoutrements of the goal and the guns they get some kind of self esteem and it obviously is not true and in fact they find it the reality is that you cannot be what you're not. I think you know that's why gangsta rap I think
is such an issue because it crystallized the heroism is a sense a need for heroism I think in the black community and a lot of guys go through the gangsta rapper. So Harold because he looks like a hero and that they sing he has a gun. He's doing violence and such and such and you say you cannot be what you are not and it's interesting the role of Doug E. Fresh plays and caused the movie because Nelson wrote of you in the Village Voice in 1907. And the whole Some Doug E. Fresh and still more human beatbox than rapper yet when you combine his rhyme sound f x harmonica dancing and Cheshire cat smile it's clear fresh is one of the music's most versatile live performances. No question. Doug E. Fresh is the Sammy Davis Jr. of hip hop. Have you ever thought of changing what you get. Well you know it's a long time you know and you know his viewpoints on me is cool you know I mean I respect him because I believe he's an honest person A says what he feels
so you know that. That right there is cool I don't have no problems with that in reference to me changing my style. I don't believe I have to because I believe that I can do whatever I want because I'm real. You know if I feel like making a record about violence I make a record about violence. If I wanted to make a record about stopping the violence am I correct about stopping the violence. And my audience don't. My audience is geared up from that because that's the way that they was that I came out. You know what I'm saying. I always took chances and I always try new things and I've always been an innovator of my own star created my own dimension and a game that that people classified as gangsta rap see because the thing is this. Most people only have. The Recchi viewpoint of rap music. I have the depth of rap music because I came from the streets of rap and I learned from the masters that most people
never heard about like the guys like Kurtis Blow used to bite the guy's rhymes that I know that I learnt from. So you know I'm not saying Kurtis Blow is not good but I learn from the people who doubt originated it and it was always based on saying something that was powerful whether it was about a gun whether was about Paudie has all different styles you had Paudie you had stars where people call themselves Mr. Ness because Iraq's the best because he's a lady's DURIE And you see what I'm saying. And it was it was always different style so it was never no one particular study only reason why gangsta rap is is on a level where it seems like that's very strong right now is because the youth is looking for that strength. You know and they see the strength in the gun. I got to take a few telephone calls because I know there are people anxiously waiting to talk to all of you gentlemen it is now your turn calling you on the air go ahead please. Oh yes thank you. You know look you can track to us first I want to
say first that I've read it for 50 years and I kind of like just do it. Right. Something I think is brilliant and on point. Well I want to ask you though specifically for a sister to see before and I've seen some of the I guess what they call the trailers and I love also what you've just shown and what I'm trying to find out is sometimes a positive message is sometimes overshadowed by the visual image you projected of failed and this would pertain to the other the other two gentlemen. Now what I've seen though I get some feeling of some of the same stereotypic stuff that I and I know many other folks don't want to see. So I'm just trying to get an idea for instance have you considered showing up the trailers that you think those are the trailers that are going to be most significant to get an audience because I don't like what I see in terms of it. OK thank you. Well I got a feeling probably not to like the movie too much that it is not it is a comedy is a broad comedy. It is in the tradition of Naked
Gun to dish and I'm going to get you sucker if you like living color you like it if you don't like living color which a lot of people don't you might not like it it's we make fun of gangsta rappers. We also make fun of black nationalists is one of the characters as we make fun of Republican congressmen as played by Phil Hartman. Everyone in the film is taking a piece out of and it is a very big comedy is very broad and it is a raunchy comedy. I'm not I'm not going to try and say it's not that was a conception that Chris Rock had about the film and I backed him up on because I believe that there was a way to look at this culture in a way that has been most of the films have been done about rap to be the I've had it was the hardest elements of it in a very direct way. And we try to take sort of a satirical look at it and the world surrounding it so. It is definitely film. Could you have let me get back to the telephone and certain call you on the air go ahead please. Good evening to you guess I guess first of all I just want to say that I sort of sense a ghost there. Greg Tate is not their son it's great to see things from the conversation but I'd like to ask
Nelson George a question about the apparent massage that is present in hip hop. One of the favorite songs one that my son particularly lacks is I want to gangster be and I think you know the song I'm talking about and you know I want to sort of talk about that because I think some of the problems that black men and black women have dates back to that the whole inability of brothers to protect black women doing the slavery period so it's a lack of protection I think that the anger sort of comes out of so dealing with that ancient root had a the prez and the Sachi sort of helped to to deal with that and then the lack of female directors Nelson do is have you been looking for any sources to direct any of the speeches that you've been producing. Well thank you. I can address the last one for us and that is I was involved with a film called just a little girl in our TV which is directed by a young woman in the early Harriss and it's the film that I think are becoming a problem or Max and is a film assisted in Brooklyn though much like the independent production and she raised money on a grassroots level and it's a film about a
60 year old black girl coming of age. So that is something that I've been involved in but what I didn't address or the wider issue about massage. You know there's bad there's something going on in the black community with young men and women that they need to be addressed directly by black adults in terms of dealing with them the way they were brought up because the idea of the gangsta B being the kind of woman God want is a growing one. It's not something that's in remission like femininity is not very respected. If we don't talk about that a little bit more I know Duggie wants to say something I wanted to get something done. He was staying with us so let me ask called this question right quick when can we expect to see let's get busy in the Washington. Well it opens February 26 over at the Capitol Hill cinema. And it's a premier opening here in D.C. And again we're going to have a queen Marilyn go get busy. And good luck to you when we come back more Doug E. Fresh and we'll be talking with the organizers of what has become the n you will hip hop conference here on the campus of Howard University Stay with us.
I don't know. My. Ear.
Welcome back. This week the third annual hip hop conference will take place here on Howard University's campus the initiated and those distracted by hip hop may say why a conference it will civil one of the founders of the cultural initiative incorporated the sponsor of this conference. Fill us in about the whys later. First meet our other guests David Mills of the Washington Post is here and David is significant because it was on this program that David Hurd then member of Public Enemy Professor Griff makes some anti-Semitic statements that caused David to slightly change the orientation of an interview he was doing for the Washington Times. And we all know how that interview with Professor Griffin led to his later suspension and then expulsion from the group Public Enemy David glad to have you back you and I with The Washington Post of course. Chemist count is with one magazine which is a new monthly coming out here in the Washington area. I think it is published by Eric Easter whom we all know chemical has a piece in the February issue in which he predicts the demise of
gangsta rap staying with us in this segment. Doug E. Fresh and car click thank you both for joining us. And April could you tell us what the focus of this year's conference is the focus this year as in every years just to give respect to hip I want the truth. In a nutshell we always want together or this to talk about social responsibility. We want to talk about our artists and their responsibility as leaders in the black community. We have a very particular in this is toward black youth with the conference. We understand and we're trying to promote that. Artists like his would say that at the first year there. The latest version are the second you know and because there's so much attention in energy this surrounds our are the artists they need to be more responsible in that they need to share that information and we need to definitely come together as a collective you know black youth artist to empower our communities economically
socially and also politically so we have a lot of different facets that we try to address political education so on and so forth part of the economic emphasis is trying to get artists to understand how best to deal with the business aspects of their business is the heart of the emphasis this year in terms of the art is you're talking about the impact of dancehall roots and reggae and the entire hip hop culture. Right. Exactly every year we highlight. Aspect of black music last year was a go go. If you remember our opening opening panel this year is the relationship between hip hop and dance hall. You know next year to be something else because just as the name of the company in the case we are the cultural initiatives so we even look to expand beyond hip hop music but that is our concentration because that's where most of the energy is right now. Back to the dates of the conference starting today. There for 18 20 it says they're standing at Howard University and one of the things that will definitely come up Doug E. Fresh is what we were talking about earlier and that is gangsta
rap but a lot of people in the public who are not a part of the hip hop culture culture especially parents in particular don't know rap music and hip hop like you know it don't know its origins don't know its varieties what they hear and see mostly in these days is what we are referring to as gangsta rap. Could you tell us where in your view that falls within the whole hip hop culture. Well the first thing I wanted to say was the person I call for the first time a reference to the trailer. I believe that he's right about the trial because me a caller was talking about the trailer before and we was gone have another version by what he seen from natural does not show the depth of that movie and he's right about the visuals sometimes cloud the underline meaning of what something represents and I believe that you know when he or if he does take the time to check the movie out he'll see that the movie carries much more weight than his trailer. But the lady that called and said something about the.
Calling the woman hating thing the sergeant as she called it. Yeah right well see this is the thing about gangsta rap right around the street. I just call it street. The street has a whole nother set of rules than. The way the world goes the the world looks at things in one way the street looks at things in another way in the street you might say you know this is how brothers rights are going to be so was up so was up you know and they might say yeah it was so. So what you want now and that's their way of expressing it in the street because it's it's hard it's it's real it's it's what everybody says is it's something that they say behind closed doors and something that they try to hide and they take it and in a sense they they look at it as well you know this is what it is and it's very wrong. And when you have a record like the one by patching the gangster racket
what he's what he's saying is that he had a lot of girls that he met. That was Hollywood. You know they had the long hair you know the perfect shape thing and now you know I'm sad I was and they came out to be very funny. So the one that he wants is a girl that's a gangsta B but the B word that he's using and he's saying it on a street level like he was say nigga whatever like that because they're in the woods which is what he's talking. Right right you know I don't want to you know of course you can say oh you know I mean if you give me the lane I'll go all out and I said that to you like if you give me the late Al Gore lout because now I'm talking slang that's not a street talk. But it seems that that's what has been selling lately and Kenneth you resit kids could relate to that. They can relate because it's not about the proper diction the proper language the proper All of these different things because I think it's kind of like a rebellious thing of the way America is structured as a world within itself so that it seems
that that's what white kids in the suburbs want to hear it seems that that's what black kids who lives and who live in Long Island want to hear because the white kids want to hear because now they want to be done now because and because what because what America was afraid of is that rap would blow up like it did. And then again on MTV and all of the white children want to come one down and say what you want you know I'm saddled on the crutches or I have to put it. Please know and do all of this. Now I'm saying that each person has an individual style. That's not my style. But at the same time I understand why is that. You understand. Kenneth Carroll you have written saying that you see the demise of rap that you see that groups like X call and others will be coming to the forefront in the 1990s or the latter part of the 1990s Why do you think gangsta rap is going away. Drab gangsta rap. Well in the article I was doing something and I'm also a creative writer actually I was sort of writing with a vision a sort of a more hopeful vision I know of what you were going to die so rapt is as alive today as probably will ever be. I mean it's
probably at its pinnacle now and if you just look at Ice Cube album comes out and rushes quickly to number one. W a release of their army runs number one Dr. Dre releases. It runs the number one gangsta rap and that is that is high. When I was building against that that I was coming out of certain kind of idea about struggle about where black people are in the struggle for liberation. And I think that gangsta rap a lot of n especially the west coast gangsta rap and Doug is important to have here because of you remember like in 86 when carrots when it came out were criminal minded there was a certain honest you know talk about being a gangster and what it took to be on the street a lot of the knout of Hollywood despite what you might think about easy and being a great gangster and that's part of what I was saying in an article is that most of these guys is just another extension of Hollywood the record industry and that that's where these guys are so. Is this honest on the part of a lot of these guys to sit around and talk about the way to do it with guns easy in NWA and Dr. Dre during
court with lawyers. See the guys has taken over I would go right they've got you know these like niggas with lawyers you know a current client is that a part of what you were trying to do with let's get busy to say that all of the anger and all of the fury can be turned in a more organized direction to do something for communities. And exactly and I think that you know rap is a very palatable form. And I wanted to basically use it as a communication tool and showed it can be used that way and I agree there's a lot of things being said. By rappers sometimes that are not really them. And one of the reasons why you know I think the collaboration between a Doug E. Fresh and an A in a Karl clay occur. You know I really respect Doug because he's always been about what he's what he's rapped about you know and what he's what he's been about has been about a community about bringing people together. And I
and to me that's what the movie needed and that's what I wanted to write about in that respect. But I think that you know I think rap can be used in a lot of different ways than well Nelson George talks about Kwanzaa nationalists gangsta rap the go ahead. They live to make a lot of the hardcore gangsta rap. They may sell a million albums but the stuff doesn't get on the radio. One thing is curious is that last year a couple of the biggest crossover pop hits by rap artist crisscrosses jump and jump around by house of pain. You wouldn't classify them as gangsta rap but there are elements to very subtle in that song in those songs that reflect the style and the aesthetic a gangsta rap that break down and jump where you get these two kids go or they want go vote and see people listen I don't know that's about going to see but what I'm trying to say is that I believe that a lot of black people and a lot of white people and a lot of older
people who don't understand the youth and bottom not understand you. They make false you know they see things in a false way it's not what you think that it is I mean even when they go boat boat like that that's a sign of of you enjoy something because in Jamaica when is a big event that goes on the the gods on the outside take their guns and 16s and shoot two three times in the air because they love the performance on stage. So when a young audience is on on it and he's on the little end of the boat. Oh that's me not I like it instead of going like this. They go. So in a way America has their blueprint on the way they do things like I said but Rupp and the kids in the story have a whole new blueprint a lot of people however will say that that may be true when it comes to some of the demonstrations of gunshots or other apparently macho demonstrations having to do with violence when it comes to do with how a lot of rap artists talk about
women. Then there's definitely an element of hatred involved. One how do you feel that should be addressed and is the conference going to address any aspect of it. Yes as a matter of fact we have a panel entitled sexism in exploitation in hip hop that definitely deals with you know those two particular aspects and. Be Young see rap music or hip hop always reflects what's really going on that never really gets talked about. You know in our community. So before we did dress it like in the artists arena has to be dress addressed behind closed doors into personal relationships and we have to always the funny how what are the parameters of our relation to the conferences have an influence on the artist themselves after that. I think so. One because I think that the artists respect that there are people coming together that are trying to take a stance in the music industry in a month's artist and that's really unusual to people trying to put pressure on artists to. Be more conscious and more responsible you know towards the community because we have certain principles that we
don't compromise on you know and I think of this well-respected So on the other hand you have the lure of record companies coming to artists who are saying if you're hard the harder you are the more money we can probably make for you the better your distribution how does an artist try to strike the balance between what is said of the conference such as this and the lure of the big money to just do anything hard. I don't have time for us to go into it no. You know what they were not an industry. And what I was saying is right because I always work with a will in reference to my position is like she always said you know you have a relationship with which I would YOU know which are people first you know because you have to teach them through song but I'm going to tell you that with a lot of August as sign they don't care about what she say and what we're what we're saying. They only care about I want to blow up. I want to get mine and I want to make people know that I'm here. And sometimes they sacrifice themselves because the people doesn't
control of the outlets that they have. They do things because they want to be accepted. Just like around the block. Well I never got I think one of the most important recent rap albums was probably arrested development. All right. Which went counter to all of those. A lot of the messages that are out there and particularly gangsta rap and the radio love that yeah I love that type of rap you know but the radio won't play a lot of see the radio as a funny thing see they try to destroy rap. I mean on radio they said no rap you know what I mean you know rap and I don't understand why you don't. We have no radio and that's why everybody started watching videos and and the videos is what sells rap music. And they tried to stop that but they can't. To what extent should reporting on hip hop culture reflect the kind of discussion that is taking place at this conference the kind of discussion that we're having and what Duggy points out as the various strains that exist within the music because most of the reporting we see is on
gangsta rap or hard rap. Why is one of the great things about him too is that it has brought with it a whole generation of black writers and cultural documentarians and analysts people like Joan Morgan and Scott pulls from Bryant and Kevin Powell. On some alone you can write out a list of them and you can read them in a sauce and give me a man Rolling Stone and span a hole is that one of the things one magazine wants to do. Well I don't know I'd agree that with this new raft thing that you bring a whole lot of different writers and a lot of younger writers who do understand who come from hip hop culture I still think that there are some fundamental issues in our respect to Duggy. I still think if you put out a song with a gangsta bitch that you can analyze the song to determine independently of where you are where the disc is positive or negative I don't think of Doug has a daughter he wants to be a gangsta bit you know and I'm afraid we're out of time in this segment but the conference at Howard University February 18th through the 20th. Yes. And the Nelson George movie before opens March
12th and the conclave Doug E. Fresh movie. Let's get busy. Opens February 26 we got to take a break we'll be right back. Ier.
No. Welcome back we're talking about hip hop culture in April so if I had a comment to make. Yeah I was commenting on nonetheless. I don't that was brought to the table about the lighters and the different ideas of hip hop now and I would really question whether or not everybody advocating hip hop now understands the depth of it which is appointed the board up early it just like I did the class of discussion between hip hop versus rap and the commercialism of hip hop and I think that that is really what is going on in a lot of the circles. People it's for the hip hop to make money. When you listen to some of the some of the critics want to be so down with the culture that is no need of criticizing anybody else. Exactly and that's a problem. You know I think there's there's a lot of times there's a too much of an effort to understand I think you know something the negative that is negative and we had to call them out sexism Assad's in the. You know that happens among rappers themselves where people criticize each other in private
discussions about stuff like that. Yeah rappers rappers don't like certain things other rappers say to us. That's real. You know black out but like I was telling you when you said the thing about you know gangsta bitch is that it's like when when the word came out that's the joint the joint was considered just when I say you know that's dope don't was considered something that's bad for you. And at the same time now where I'm whack you know with that you know it's a it's a what I said gangsta gangsta bitch or whatever like that. Not all those words right there something that I don't use to describe any woman because that's not that's not my style but I understand what they're saying and where they're coming from. You know this image of being you know cosmetic you know he said strip away all a cosmetic stuff. Let me see the real person. And that's his way of saying it. Now everybody might not understand his his way of saying it. And it might sound very harsh today. Yeah but that's where he's coming from as I see it.
You know what I was going to point out is that it's funny because the same conversation occurred in another air also when we talked about jazz and the origins of jazz and the language of jazz you were just and people talked about well what are they really talking about in this day. So a lot of things come back and I think that it's really a question of the culture now and it is arguably America's only classical music it's only overdrive and that's why I'm saying today it's rap you know and I want to be really an unknown issue. I believe one thing I want to say is that the parents who have to take time out to understand your children and let them show you what this means it is about because sadly we can not look at it and think that just because you hear me they're going to feel the need to convict somebody not in the headlines so much that I don't want it to all of our guests and to you for joining us this evening. We would like to tell you about a jazz concert in the soon as they show me that on the teleprompter I'll tell you exactly what we like to tell you about the hip hop conference is not the only music in town this weekend the
Evening Exchange
Post-Soul Black Culture
Producing Organization
Contributing Organization
WHUT (Washington, District of Columbia)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/293-31cjt22h).
Episode Description
The phenomenon of the "Post-Soul" movement in African American music, literature, and film is discussed by representatives of each field. Writer of "Buppies, B-Boys, Baps, and Bohos" and director of "CB4" Nelson George talks about the simultaneous diversification and fragmentation of Black America with the rise of "ghetto-centricity". Writer/director Carl Clay of the film "Let's Get Busy" from Screw Hollywood Productions talks about challenging politics and internal communications within the African American Community. Rapper Doug E. Fresh brings the internal dialogue of the gangster rap community to the table. The responsibilities of African American artists to their community as leaders first and artists second is discussed by April Silver of The Cultural Initiative, David Mills of The Washington Post, and Kenneth Carroll of "One" magazine.
Episode Description
This record is part of the Music section of the Souls of Black Identity special collection.
Episode Description
This record is part of the Film and Television section of the Souls of Black Identity special collection.
Broadcast Date
Asset type
Social Issues
Copyright 1993 Howard University Television
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Host: Nnamdi, Kojo
Producer: Jefferson, Joia
Producing Organization: WHUT
Publisher: WHUT-TV
AAPB Contributor Holdings
WHUT-TV (Howard University Television)
Identifier: (unknown)
Format: Betacam
Duration: 00:57:22
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Evening Exchange; Post-Soul Black Culture,” 1993-02-18, WHUT, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed November 26, 2022,
MLA: “Evening Exchange; Post-Soul Black Culture.” 1993-02-18. WHUT, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. November 26, 2022. <>.
APA: Evening Exchange; Post-Soul Black Culture. Boston, MA: WHUT, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from