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<nettime> Bennu's piece & hip-hop digest
Paul D. Miller on Fri, 10 Jan 2003 02:38:03 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> Bennu's piece & hip-hop digest



HI Coco, Mendi, Ken, Art, Danny et al folks - sorry about the delay in
communications. I've been mad hectic with various tings... and that slows
communications down...you know how it goes...  Coco - your points in your
piece about intellectual culture and hip-hop are well taken. There's an
immense disconnect between those who think "theory"  and culture as it's
practiced are or should be divorced from one another. I tend to think of
everything in terms of blurs, and don't necessarily see any distinction
between race, class, social hierarchy, and sound as a signifier and emblem
of how culture functions in the age of cybernetic replication. For any of
us that take hip-hop seriously, this has been a grave issue for a while:
how to deal with turning your world inside out - private discourse made
publice, an artificial scarcity of expression in a world of hyper
controlled communications.


Does this sound too dry? Sometimes a story works better:

I remember being in Tokyo around this time last year and doing a show with
an old friend of mine, Dj Krush, and some new folks on the block, Anticon.
Anticon are young white kids from middle America.  They were doing a
collaboration with Krush - a song called "Song for John Walker" - the
white kid who joined the Taliban...  needless to seay, the backstage vibe
was all about dialog and we were all just kicking it. Krush's wife walked
in and handed him a samurai sword before his set, and everyone in the room
was... ummm... kind of silent. In a moment like that, the strageness
(strange-mess) of global culture, hip-hop, and the overall reality of my
surroundings as a dj who operates on a global level, crsytalized before my
eyes:  there was no way I was operating in the normal Aerican fashion of
taking things for granted. we all sat there and paused for a second (it
really felt like a video still in some art film - maybe I should do a
video short 'bout that - I wonder what Franklin Sirmans and Thelma Golden
would think about that... ha ha... but anyway...).  Krush doesn't speak
English, and me and him have communicated mostly with beats over the
years. The show was a benefit for Afghani war orphans at Tokyo's Liquid
Room in the Shinjuku district, and well...  you just had to feel the
strangeness of being in a room with some white Americans talking about a
Republican Lawyers kid who read Malcolm X and defected to a terrorist
organization, and a Japanese kid who prayed with his family and was into
Shinto buddhism chants before he went on stage to do turntable tricks...
stuff like that doesn't fit into any normal categorization of "hip-hop"
that normal America wants, and it never will. That's the joy of being able
to see how this stuff is unfolding in a real way across the globe - it's
almost exactly a social approximation of the way web culture collapses
distinnctions between geography and expression, and it's almost as if the
main issues of the day are all about how people are adjusting to the
strangeness of being in a "simultaneous" world - there's an old William
Gibson phrase - "the future is already here...  it's just unevenly
distributed." That's what it feels like these days as I travel and see how
different the layers of how people engage digital culture are, and how
hip-hop has become such a strangely grassroots phenomenon. I tend to think
of electronic music as the "folk music of the early 21st century." So who
is the folk of this folks? As Aldous Huxley in his "The Perennial
Philosophy" (one of my new favorites in these totalitarian times) said:
"to expiate further on the modern weltanschauung is unnecessary;
explicitly or by implication it is set forth on every page of the
advertising sections of every newspaper and magazine..." bounce this
phrase off of stuff like J-Live's "Not Satisfied" off of his album "All of
the Above"  (ummm... he's on my next album by the way... I just did a
project with Mad Professor and Lee Scratch Perry and had J-Live rhyme over
the first single from the "Optometry" album - free jazz meets beats in the
remixed city... or something like that.). Anyway, if you're interested in
the art-side of hip-hop, check out my Marcel Duchamp remix ( M.C.
Duchamp... ha ha) at L.A.'s Museum of Contemporary Art:
http://www.moca.org/museum/dg_detail.php?dgDetail=pmiller

or check out some of J-Live's Lyrics:

Check the lyrics to "Satisfied?" and you'll get a drift of what I'm 
talking about here (lyrics courtesy of the "Original Hip-hop Lyrics 
Archive" - http://www.ohhla.com/

Hey yo
Lights, camera, tragedy, comedy, romance
You better dance from your fighting stance
Or you'll never have a fighting chance
In the rat race
Where the referee's son started way in advance
But still you livin' the American Dream
Silk PJ's, sheets and down pillows
Who the fuck would wanna wake up?
You got it good like hot sex after the break up
Your four car garage it's just more space to take up
You even bought your mom a new whip scrap the jalopy
Thousand dollar habit, million dollar hobby
You a success story everybody wanna copy
But few work for it, most get jerked for it
If you think that you could ignore it, you're ig-norant
A fat wallet still never made a man free
They say to eat good, yo, you gotta swallow your pride
But dead that game plan, I'm not satisfied

[Chorus]
The poor get worked, the rich get richer
The world gets worse, do you get the picture?
The poor gets dead, the rich get depressed
The ugly get mad, the pretty get stressed
The ugly get violent, the pretty get gone
The old get stiff, the young get stepped on
Whoever told you that it was all good lied
So throw your fists up if you not satisfied

{*Singing*}
Are you satisfied?
I'm not satisfied

Hey yo, the air's still stale
The anthrax got my Ole Earth wearin' a mask and gloves to get a meal
I know a older guy that lost twelve close peeps on 9-1-1
While you kickin' up punchlines and puns
Man fuck that shit, this is serious biz
By the time Bush is done, you won't know what time it is
If it's war time or jail time, time for promises
And time to figure out where the enemy is
The same devils that you used to love to hate
They got you so gassed and shook now, you scared to debate
The same ones that traded books for guns
Smuggled drugs for funds
And had fun lettin' off forty-one
But now it's all about NYPD caps
And Pentagon bumper stickers
But yo, you still a nigga
It ain't right them cops and them firemen died
The shit is real tragic, but it damn sure ain't magic
It won't make the brutality disappear
It won't pull equality from behind your ear
It won't make a difference in a two-party country
If the president cheats, to win another four years
Now don't get me wrong, there's no place I'd rather be
The grass ain't greener on the other genocide
But tell Huey Freeman don't forget to cut the lawn
And uproot the weeds
Cuz I'm not satisfied

[Chorus]

{*Singing*}
All this genocide
Is not justified
Are you satisfied?
I'm not satisfied

Yo, poison pushers making paper off of pipe dreams
They turned hip-hop to a get-rich-quick scheme
The rich minorities control the gov'ment
But they would have you believe we on the same team
So where you stand, huh?
What do you stand for?
Sit your ass down if you don't know the answer
Serious as cancer, this jam demands your undivided attention
Even on the dance floor
Grab the bull by the horns, the bucks by the antlers
Get yours, what're you sweatin' the next man for?
Get down, feel good to this, let it ride
But until we all free, I'll never be satisfied

[Chorus] - Repeat 2x

{*Singing with talking in background*}
Are you satisfied?
(whoever told you that it was all good lied)
I'm not satisfied
(Throw your fists up if you not satisfied)
Are you satisfied?
(Whoever told you that it was all good lied)
I'm not satisfied
(So throw your fists up)
(So throw your fists up)
(Throw your fists up)


http://www.ohhla.com/



>Greetings all. I've never posted here before, but do read from time to time. I
>appreciate all the discussion on Pierre Bennu's piece. I want to add that it's
>important to realize that Bennu is not just writing as a former listener of
>hip-hop or not even just as an artist,  as a filmmaker - painter - DJ (all of
>which he is), but as a black man of that generation which is sometimes called
>the hip-hop generation. Perhaps because he and Jamyla Bennu are my friends and
>I have both danced to Pierre's mixes in public and sat on his floor and
>listening to his albums, I know that, whatever he may feel about "hip-hop" (as
>a signifier) he is also a lover of hip-hop (as a collection of aesthetic
>forms). But I think I also know these things because I can read the signs.
>
>Sure, you could say "ho hum, your generation is over" or "what is this essay
>supposed to do but be a minority perspective" if you believe that hip-hop is
>just some songs some people like and some people don't. But "Fuck Hip-hop"
>isn't just a way of saying "I don't like the kids' music anymore" or "What
>happened to the good old days?" I understand it as a way of voicing the
>frustrations of the many many many living breathing black artist-intellectuals
>who desire to speak through the forms which, in addition to being in some ways
>aesthetically attractive to us, define us in the eyes of so many AND of
>refusing to get caught by a stray bullet. But maybe I am presuming 
>to speak for
>him, which I probably shouldn't do.
>
>Speaking for myself, I know I want control over my own representation. I want
>hip-hop but I don't want hip-hop. So what, right? But it's not just a question
>of what I like, it's also what gets associated with me or with my people's
>music. "The consumption of racialized spectacle," as Coco Fusco wrote,  "often
>functions as a substitute for [interpersonal or inter-group race relations]"
>and that has real impact on our lives and the reading our or work. It's
>important to realize that some of us are just listening to the music we like
>and some of us had better duck when an industry head decides to make an image
>in the medium because whatever happens in it is read on our bodies 
>and our art.
>At many turns, I find it hard to (all at once) distance myself from what is
>hurtful about the way many industry players (of different races, in all
>positions) are playing (with) hip-hop, love my self fiercely and loudly, make
>art that is influenced by the other art I find attractive, and allow myself to
>be represented by forms that, while still moving, are often and perhaps
>inextricably woven with ideas which are against me. But as a woman I 
>am allowed
>less authority with which to represent hip-hop and therefore carry less of the
>burden of the violence and wastefulness which hip-hop has come to represent in
>the media. I haven't always needed to articulate my distance from hip-hop in
>the way Bennu and other black men in my generation do because not all of what
>is thrust upon them is thrust upon me.   I'll end by saying that I read the
>statement as a claim to power, a rejection of what hates us, and an 
>affirmation
>of Bennu's selfhood. But saying "Fuck Hip-Hop" is not a dismissal of 
>the music,
>it is the impassioned goodbye of one who, loving the sinking ship, 
>nevertheless
>chooses to swim.
>
>Peace,
>Mendi
>
>  nettime-l-digest <owner-nettime-l-digest {AT} bbs.thing.net> wrote:
>
>However I still think Bennu's piece did not display contemporary familiarity
>with the field he was talking about, and this limits its uses for critique.
>(I'm not saying he doesn't have that familiarity, but it's not much in
>evidence in the article). I'm really not sure how Bennu's article is
>supposed to do anything other than reflect a certain feeling that a
>well-defined minority of hip-hop listeners will hold. (I guess that makes it
>hip-hop in the sense that I can see all that groups heads nodding - "yeah,
>damn right!" :). But I don't think it's going to change the minds of anyone.
>As much for methodology as content, I'd prefer someone like Oliver Wang's
>take. He supports true hip-hop as critically as any other journalist out
>there (even venturing into areas like Spin to do it), rather than running it
>down.  check it out y'all if yr interested... (his mixtapes are also sweet)
>
>. . .
>
>
>      Carl Guderian <carlg {AT} vermilion-sands.com> 
>
>
>If Bennu's had it with hip-hop, then good. The sooner intellectuals write off
>hip-hop, the better. Then it can be itself, for better or worse.
>
>Carl
>(occasionally DJ REX84)
>
>#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
>#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
>#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
>#  more info: majordomo {AT} bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
>#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} bbs.thing.net



============================================================================
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe 
they are free...."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Port:status>OPEN
wildstyle access: www.djspooky.com

Paul D. Miller a.k.a. Dj Spooky that Subliminal Kid

Office Mailing Address:

Subliminal Kid Inc.
101 W. 23rd St. #2463
New York, NY 10011
--============_-1169992263==_ma============
Content-Type: text/enriched; charset="us-ascii"

<fontfamily><param>Geneva</param>HI Coco, Mendi, Ken, Art, Danny et al 
folks - sorry about the delay in communications. I've been mad hectic
with various tings... and that slows communications down...you know how
it goes...  Coco - your points in your piece about intellectual culture
and hip-hop are well taken. There's an immense disconnect between those
who think "theory" and culture as it's practiced are or should be
divorced from one another. I tend to think of everything in terms of
blurs, and don't necessarily see any distinction between race, class,
social hierarchy, and sound as a signifier and emblem of how culture
functions in the age of cybernetic replication. For any of us that take
hip-hop seriously, this has been a grave issue for a while: how to deal
with turning your world inside out - private discourse made publice, an
artificial scarcity of expression in a world of hyper controlled
communications.



Does this sound too dry? Sometimes a story works better:


I remember being in Tokyo around this time last year and doing a show
with an old friend of mine, Dj Krush, and some new folks on the block,
Anticon. Anticon are young white kids from middle America. They were
doing a collaboration with Krush - a song called "Song for John Walker"
- the white kid who joined the Taliban...  needless to seay, the
backstage vibe was all about dialog and we were all just kicking it.
Krush's wife walked in and handed him a samurai sword before his set,
and everyone in the room was... ummm... kind of silent. In a moment
like that, the strageness (strange-mess) of global culture, hip-hop,
and the overall reality of my surroundings as a dj who operates on a
global level, crsytalized before my eyes: there was no way I was
operating in the normal Aerican fashion of taking things for granted.
we all sat there and paused for a second (it really felt like a video
still in some art film - maybe I should do a video short 'bout that - I
wonder what Franklin Sirmans and Thelma Golden would think about
that... ha ha... but anyway...).  Krush doesn't speak English, and me
and him have communicated mostly with beats over the years. The show
was a benefit for Afghani war orphans at Tokyo's Liquid Room in the
Shinjuku district, and well... you just had to feel the strangeness of
being in a room with some white Americans talking about a Republican
Lawyers kid who read Malcolm X and defected to a terrorist
organization, and a Japanese kid who prayed with his family and was
into Shinto buddhism chants before he went on stage to do turntable
tricks... stuff like that doesn't fit into any normal categorization of
"hip-hop" that normal America wants, and it never will. That's the joy
of being able to see how this stuff is unfolding in a real way across
the globe - it's almost exactly a social approximation of the way web
culture collapses distinnctions between geography and expression, and
it's almost as if the main issues of the day are all about how people
are adjusting to the strangeness of being in a "simultaneous" world -
there's an old William Gibson phrase - "the future is already here...
it's just unevenly distributed." That's what it feels like these days
as I travel and see how different the layers of how people engage
digital culture are, and how hip-hop has become such a strangely
grassroots phenomenon. I tend to think of electronic music as the "folk
music of the early 21st century." So who is the folk of this folks? As
Aldous Huxley in his "The Perennial Philosophy" (one of my new
favorites in these totalitarian times) said: "to expiate further on the
modern weltanschauung is unnecessary; explicitly or by implication it
is set forth on every page of the advertising sections of every
newspaper and magazine..." bounce this phrase off of stuff like
J-Live's "Not Satisfied" off of his album "All of the Above" (ummm...
he's on my next album by the way... I just did a project with Mad
Professor and Lee Scratch Perry and had J-Live rhyme over the first
single from the "Optometry" album - free jazz meets beats in the
remixed city... or something like that.). Anyway, if you're interested
in the art-side of hip-hop, check out my Marcel Duchamp remix ( M.C.
Duchamp... ha ha) at L.A.'s Museum of Contemporary Art:

</fontfamily>http://www.moca.org/museum/dg_detail.php?dgDetail=pmiller


<fontfamily><param>Geneva</param>or check out some of J-Live's Lyrics:




Check the lyrics to "Satisfied?" and you'll get a drift of what I'm
talking about here (lyrics courtesy of the "Original Hip-hop Lyrics
Archive" - http://www.ohhla.com/


Hey yo

Lights, camera, tragedy, comedy, romance

You better dance from your fighting stance

Or you'll never have a fighting chance

In the rat race

Where the referee's son started way in advance

But still you livin' the American Dream

Silk PJ's, sheets and down pillows

Who the fuck would wanna wake up?

You got it good like hot sex after the break up

Your four car garage it's just more space to take up

You even bought your mom a new whip scrap the jalopy

Thousand dollar habit, million dollar hobby

You a success story everybody wanna copy

But few work for it, most get jerked for it

If you think that you could ignore it, you're ig-norant

A fat wallet still never made a man free

They say to eat good, yo, you gotta swallow your pride

But dead that game plan, I'm not satisfied


[Chorus]

The poor get worked, the rich get richer

The world gets worse, do you get the picture?

The poor gets dead, the rich get depressed

The ugly get mad, the pretty get stressed

The ugly get violent, the pretty get gone

The old get stiff, the young get stepped on

Whoever told you that it was all good lied

So throw your fists up if you not satisfied


{*Singing*}

Are you satisfied?

I'm not satisfied


Hey yo, the air's still stale

The anthrax got my Ole Earth wearin' a mask and gloves to get a meal 

I know a older guy that lost twelve close peeps on 9-1-1

While you kickin' up punchlines and puns

Man fuck that shit, this is serious biz

By the time Bush is done, you won't know what time it is

If it's war time or jail time, time for promises

And time to figure out where the enemy is

The same devils that you used to love to hate

They got you so gassed and shook now, you scared to debate

The same ones that traded books for guns

Smuggled drugs for funds

And had fun lettin' off forty-one

But now it's all about NYPD caps 

And Pentagon bumper stickers

But yo, you still a nigga

It ain't right them cops and them firemen died

The shit is real tragic, but it damn sure ain't magic

It won't make the brutality disappear

It won't pull equality from behind your ear

It won't make a difference in a two-party country

If the president cheats, to win another four years

Now don't get me wrong, there's no place I'd rather be

The grass ain't greener on the other genocide

But tell Huey Freeman don't forget to cut the lawn

And uproot the weeds

Cuz I'm not satisfied


[Chorus]


{*Singing*}

All this genocide

Is not justified

Are you satisfied?

I'm not satisfied


Yo, poison pushers making paper off of pipe dreams

They turned hip-hop to a get-rich-quick scheme

The rich minorities control the gov'ment

But they would have you believe we on the same team

So where you stand, huh?

What do you stand for?

Sit your ass down if you don't know the answer

Serious as cancer, this jam demands your undivided attention

Even on the dance floor

Grab the bull by the horns, the bucks by the antlers

Get yours, what're you sweatin' the next man for?

Get down, feel good to this, let it ride

But until we all free, I'll never be satisfied


[Chorus] - Repeat 2x


{*Singing with talking in background*}

Are you satisfied? 

(whoever told you that it was all good lied)

I'm not satisfied 

(Throw your fists up if you not satisfied)

Are you satisfied?

(Whoever told you that it was all good lied)

I'm not satisfied 

(So throw your fists up)

(So throw your fists up)

(Throw your fists up)



http://www.ohhla.com/




<excerpt>Greetings all. I've never posted here before, but do read from
time to time. I

appreciate all the discussion on Pierre Bennu's piece. I want to add
that it's

important to realize that Bennu is not just writing as a former
listener of

hip-hop or not even just as an artist,  as a filmmaker - painter - DJ
(all of

which he is), but as a black man of that generation which is sometimes
called

the hip-hop generation. Perhaps because he and Jamyla Bennu are my
friends and

I have both danced to Pierre's mixes in public and sat on his floor
and

listening to his albums, I know that, whatever he may feel about
"hip-hop" (as

a signifier) he is also a lover of hip-hop (as a collection of
aesthetic

forms). But I think I also know these things because I can read the
signs. 


Sure, you could say "ho hum, your generation is over" or "what is this
essay

supposed to do but be a minority perspective" if you believe that
hip-hop is

just some songs some people like and some people don't. But "Fuck
Hip-hop"

isn't just a way of saying "I don't like the kids' music anymore" or
"What

happened to the good old days?" I understand it as a way of voicing
the

frustrations of the many many many living breathing black
artist-intellectuals

who desire to speak through the forms which, in addition to being in
some ways

aesthetically attractive to us, define us in the eyes of so many AND
of

refusing to get caught by a stray bullet. But maybe I am presuming to
speak for

him, which I probably shouldn't do. 


Speaking for myself, I know I want control over my own representation.
I want

hip-hop but I don't want hip-hop. So what, right? But it's not just a
question

of what I like, it's also what gets associated with me or with my
people's

music. "The consumption of racialized spectacle," as Coco Fusco wrote, 
"often

functions as a substitute for [interpersonal or inter-group race
relations]"

and that has real impact on our lives and the reading our or work.
It's

important to realize that some of us are just listening to the music we
like

and some of us had better duck when an industry head decides to make an
image

in the medium because whatever happens in it is read on our bodies and
our art.

At many turns, I find it hard to (all at once) distance myself from
what is

hurtful about the way many industry players (of different races, in
all

positions) are playing (with) hip-hop, love my self fiercely and
loudly, make

art that is influenced by the other art I find attractive, and allow
myself to

be represented by forms that, while still moving, are often and
perhaps

inextricably woven with ideas which are against me. But as a woman I am
allowed

less authority with which to represent hip-hop and therefore carry less
of the

burden of the violence and wastefulness which hip-hop has come to
represent in

the media. I haven't always needed to articulate my distance from
hip-hop in

the way Bennu and other black men in my generation do because not all
of what

is thrust upon them is thrust upon me.   I'll end by saying that I read
the

statement as a claim to power, a rejection of what hates us, and an
affirmation

of Bennu's selfhood. But saying "Fuck Hip-Hop" is not a dismissal of
the music,

it is the impassioned goodbye of one who, loving the sinking ship,
nevertheless

chooses to swim.  


Peace,

Mendi

 

 nettime-l-digest <<owner-nettime-l-digest {AT} bbs.thing.net> wrote: 


However I still think Bennu's piece did not display contemporary
familiarity

with the field he was talking about, and this limits its uses for
critique.

(I'm not saying he doesn't have that familiarity, but it's not much in

evidence in the article). I'm really not sure how Bennu's article is

supposed to do anything other than reflect a certain feeling that a

well-defined minority of hip-hop listeners will hold. (I guess that
makes it

hip-hop in the sense that I can see all that groups heads nodding -
"yeah,

damn right!" :). But I don't think it's going to change the minds of
anyone.

As much for methodology as content, I'd prefer someone like Oliver
Wang's

take. He supports true hip-hop as critically as any other journalist
out

there (even venturing into areas like Spin to do it), rather than
running it

down.  check it out y'all if yr interested... (his mixtapes are also
sweet)


. . .



     Carl Guderian <<carlg {AT} vermilion-sands.com>                        
              


If Bennu's had it with hip-hop, then good. The sooner intellectuals
write off

hip-hop, the better. Then it can be itself, for better or worse.


Carl

(occasionally DJ REX84)


#  distributed via <<nettime>: no commercial use without permission

#  <<nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,

#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets

#  more info: majordomo {AT} bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg
body

#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} bbs.thing.net

</excerpt></fontfamily>




============================================================================

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free...."

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe



Port:status>OPEN

wildstyle access: www.djspooky.com


Paul D. Miller a.k.a. Dj Spooky that Subliminal Kid


Office Mailing Address:


Subliminal Kid Inc.

101 W. 23rd St. #2463

New York, NY 10011





#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo {AT} bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} bbs.thing.net