Saturday, May 28, 2011

gil scott-heron - Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji'un

Just some of my favorites from this great artist who will be missed.

His most famous (and commercialized, and copied, and parodied) piece is:

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

But some less well known pieces are:

Ghetto Code (Dot Dot Dit Dit Dot Dot Dash), an inspired meditation on the United States government's role in the world.


H20-Gate Blues, on the moral aftermath of the Watergate scandal. (I'm not certain if an honest-to-goodness sample was used, but the music and some lines from this piece also inspired KMD on the piece Bananapeel Blues which has nothing to do with Nixon, but is instead a breakdown of Five Percenter theology).

Wikipedia: Gil Scott-Heron
NPR Music: Gil Scott-Heron, Poet And Musician, Has Died by Daoud Tyler-Ameen

Saturday, May 07, 2011

the five percenters: islam, hip hop and the gods of new york

I recently finished reading Michael Muhammad Knight's The Five Percenters: Islam, Hip Hop and the Gods of New York. The book is a pretty informative and detailed treatment of the early history (birth record) of Clarence 13X and the Nation of Gods and Earths. I definitely recommend it if you want to learn more about the movement.

My initial impressions: I was surprised at the extent to which Five Percenters seemed to get in trouble with the authorities for petty crimes even after being "civilized". (And Knight describes how he himself would "elevate with equality" i.e. smoke weed, with other Five Percenters). At the same time, I also was surprised by the extent to which Clarence 13X seemed to get along with with the "powers that be". (He had a good relationship with the New York City bureaucracy including the mayor and he was even a supporter of the Vietnam War.) Personally, I wish he been more thorough and in-depth when it came to the Five Percenter teachings, but all in all, it was a decent book.

See also:
Hip-Hop Linguistic: Interview with Michael Muhammad Knight

Grenada's Past:
Blue-Eyed Devil

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

black in latin america

PBS recently had a special on Blacks in Latin America hosted by Henry Louis (Skip) Gates Jr. I only caught part of the special myself but here is the corresponding page with a number of clips, episodes and essays. The series focuses on Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

imam zaid on nationalism and the recent muslim uprisings

Two articles from Imam Zaid Shakir:
Islam and the Question of Nationalism [1]
Reflections on The Islamic Legitimacy of the Muslim Uprisings (Expanded)

muslim responses to the death of osama bin laden

The Goatmilk blog has put together a pretty good round-up of individual Muslim commentary on OBL's death. In addition, Muslim poet, Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore, shares his own thoughts in his blog entry on the Death of Bin Ladin. Finally, the Huffington Post has two pieces: NYC Muslim Community Reacts To Bin Laden's Death and 'Muslimericans' React to Bin Laden's Death