Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Live From The Clubhouse
(post game wrap up) Pt. II

This post is the 2nd installment of my special reportage on NYC HIP HOP outfit, The Dugout.

As you'll recall last week's episode focused on Dugout member Cavalier (Here)

Today we're getting post-game, post hip-hop-being-dead analysis from Dugout Power Hitter StarPower

When contacting StarPower for this post he included in his response, this explanation of the reason why he makes songs like "ClockWork.":

"I purposely sample white artists who I feel have gained great privilege on the backs of minority artists. I'll jack white artists of any era - I've jacked Bob Dylan, Coldplay, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Elton John, The Raconteurs, The Beatles, etc. Mad legends. I'll jack 'em for a freestyle or a whole song. For me, it's a new way of making conscious music. Instead of the consciousness being in the words, I'm always making a statement with the tracks I choose to sample, and usually they're very noticeable samples. So the consciousness is in the method of making the songs. It's my own little movement called "Taking It Back." Meaning taking it back to the past, and taking back what's ours. It's why I rarely sample soul records. I'm feelin' your posts b/c it's a way of just tellin' muthafuckas that you're someone who feels a certain way about hip-hop, and they can like it or not. I fux with that.

Excuse the length of this,

I just wanted to let you know that. Peace.

btw, I know the sample for Bachelor's Party is by a black act, but I did it for the sheer spectacle of it, lol."

StarPower: The Batchelor's Party
StarPower: Clockwork
StarPower: The Way I Die

and you should all watch This Video for ClockWork to get the full effect


Anonymous said...

I aint white or black... im brown...
it seem to me like this guy is misinformed though... minority is not a black thing... and Hip Hop isnt either... stop seperating... the same way 50cent wanted to get rich so did people like elvis/beatles etc.

its often poor people that are more creative... we have to be!

Also, most of them artists you sample are people who made their own music with their own creativity.
They wernt biting somone else... I aint feelin cold play... but they talented cats... they aint stole nothin from our race...
And Hip Hop... Lets not get it twisted.. in the south bronx it was latinos/hispanics/blacks... and dare i say it some whites... who started this CULTURE... (Go check Style Wars or Wild Style Kiddies)i jus think sometimes we tend to use situations incorrectly... dont be misinformed... this HIP HOP culture aint about race, and never was... when you know the real Past!

I say Create your own music... Maybe this is the way you want to get rich... but it seems like your fighting something without the correct weapons...

You a decent emcee yet you sound like your misinformed my brother .

Who Stole the Soul?!?!

kray said...

The poster above me said:

"this HIP HOP culture aint about race, and never was... "

I'm going to have to disagree with this statement.
It is not a stretch to say that Hip Hop is Black Music. That is not to ignore contributions by people of other races. It is just to be, what-do-you-call-it : factual.

And really, everything in America is about race (to some degree)

I will say that history is not as cut and dry or as black and white as people would have you believe (it never is).

As far as these artists "stealing" goes: every artist does this to some extent. when you start off you have to bite somebody. Nobody creates art in a vacuum. Nobody comes up with a whole new musical form out of thin air. The Beatles, for example, started off copying Little Richard and Chuck Berry but evolved into something quite different and something that Incorporated their own new innovations as well as older English-folk music traditions.

The histories are muddy.
Elvis covered Big Mama Thorton's "Hound Dog" but that song was originally written for her by two Jewish guys from New York (google that.) In fact all American popular music originally came down from the Appalachian mountains where the Blues as well as country and Bluegrass got its start. Up there in the mountains the musics of the scotch-Irish, Africans, Native Americans, and other European immigrants mixed and cross-pollinated.
The Banjo is an African Instrument (did ya know that?)

Should an artist only be influenced by artists of their own race?

I should say at this point, that I am a White MC and a friend and colleague of StarPower.

Since hip hop's infancy people been saying white rappers were gonna take over (or ever since Vanilla Ice came out they was saying that) But it never happened. Unlike Rock and Roll or Jazz, Hip Hop hit the mainstream as a decidedly BLACK art form. It's identity is undeniably tied in the minds of everybody with blackness and black culture.

With Rock and Roll; It couldn't have reached the mainstream unless it was with white stars. The white-supremacist power structure would never have allowed their daughters to cream their panties over Chuck Berry. It could only be acceptable through the face of a whiteman. But i would argue that what those screaming teenagers, fainting in the stands were reacting to was in fact blackness. even though it was coming out of this white man's mouth. The sexuality and emotional intensity of the music was like crack-rock to them what with their repressed puritanical upbringings.

The outcome though was that Black pioneers got eclipsed by White performers who went on to make tons of dough off of the shit. That's what StarPower is reacting to, I believe.

Although the same thing happened in Hip Hop though. Jay-Z was "overcharging them for what they did to the Cold Crush". But the Cold Crush Brothers are still waiting for their Jay-Z check.

I dunno.
Like I said it's complicated.

But basically my point is that StarPower is One of the ILLEST rappers I have ever met. And these songs are amazing.

-Kray Presley

StarPower said...

I just wanna say thanx for taking your time to write this and feeling like my art is worth discussion...

I feel you bro, I will always respect an opinion as long as one always understand that it is just that - an opinion. Trust me, when I say "minority," I don't just mean black people. My intent is not to separate, but separation is OBVIOUSLY necessary in some respect when you're talking about the empowerment of the oppressed minority. Of course 50 Cent wanted to get rich like Elvis/Beatles, what is the point? He did not have the same options. But that's another story...I don't see where stating you're brown fits into the equation. You say that we shouldn't separate, but right there it seems like you're stating that to say that you have a more valuable perspective than someone else, but I digress, and I'm not trying to wage a point-by-point defense...

Trust me, I ain't no young cat. There's very little I can be schooled about when it comes to hip-hop; I feel you, we have to be more creative, but that creativity comes in various forms. I'm making an argument plenty have made before, but I'm presenting that argument in a brand new way. Many people, for years, have talked about white artists prospering on the backs of minorities, I'm the first to say "hey, why can't I make a statement by doing the exact same thing that they have done?" You are totally missing the point and I hope that you're at least open-minded enough to consider that fact...And you have absolutely no idea if the artists I've sampled bit some of their shit or not...This is where I feel like you don't or possibly will not be able to understand what I'm doing: Coldplay is (arguably) talented; I never said that they stole anything, but the privilege they enjoy as artists is handed down to them because of people that stole before them. You're being narrow-minded homie, and I'm not being defensive. It's not just that Elvis and The Stones stole from others; it's the fact that institutional prejudice allowed them to do it with impunity. Institutional prejudice made it easier for them to get heard and seen, and not judged by the same standards as minorities. This is the same climate that Coldplay and other artists, actors, writers have enjoyed prosperity because of...I can look past the condescending tone of your comment (i.e. "Go check Style Wars or Wild Style Kiddies;" "when you know the real Past!" "maybe this is the way you want to get rich") because I assume that you know that it's very unwise to judge someone off of a blogpost, a video, and a coupla songs, and you were just writing off of the top of your head.

But I do want to say that, bro, I create more original, sample-free, vintage, futuristic, unique hip-hop than anyone you can imagine. I could care less if you take that as an empty boast because my influence among people I come into contact with proves it. I will combine those 4 year old songs with 14 others for my debut "Problem Of The Day." It samples and it has original material. Although I expect it to be effective, let God be the Judge. As far as hoping to get rich by doing this? God bless you're ignorance bro. I'd love it; but if I do get rich from doing this, I don't know what kinda weapons besides faith, will protect me from the negativity I will incur...

Thanx for the decent emcee comment. I don't mean that sarcastically at all; I appreciate the fact that you recognized some skill in what I do. I'm not the average m.c. and I know that I will always polarize listeners. Maybe you'll cross the path of my movement/experience ("taking it back" is the tip of the iceberg) in the near future and we'll see if your opinion changes. Peace.

-The Unforgivable StarPower

Anonymous said...

@ Starpower...

Peace my brother. Firstly i must state, that i am really pushed for time when i get on this internet thing, so maybe my comments are brief and sound condescending. I am not privalaged enough to own a p.c. of my own, but i am privalaged enough to have a great heritage in Hip Hop.

forgive me if i do not touch on all the things i need to here...

"The white black brown" was ment for someone who if they did have a history in this music to know what comes next..."from the Boogie Down..... onto "Let me show you something now about Hip Hop..." and the thesis of My Philosaphy! maybe i was to vague...

I come from the old old skool... but i have evolved with this CULTURE...

Excuse my ignorance... but from your original post i got the impression that you were trying to say what many others have said... but i believe (and i know so do many other) That we have to go deeper... From day one this music represented all cultures, all cultures of minorities... my white neighbors back in the late 70's/early 80's was jus as broke as my parents, and they was jus as much involved in the scene. Its just somewhere it got a little blurred.
I feel as a student of life, people should not need to distinguish race anymore.
Back in the 80's we did need to get up and stand up, and show the world our struggle. But we need to acknowledge, that this CULTURE was created for opressed kids, not the white, not the hispanic, and not the black, but all.

I have gained respect, from your reply, i just wish, you had given a more accurate vision from your original post...

I regret how i sounded, becouse, although i was a little annoyed by your original writings, i understood at the same time.

But i maintain, we must unite and not try to go over old ground (again this is not saying you are)

There is a system that wants seperatism, and at this time in the world there are more important things than white man stole from us.... im takin shit back... cos you will just end up in law suits.
And for what! i know (especially after your reply) that you dont need to sample giant portions of a record to make original creative music...
"Got to have Style and learn to be original..."

If this is mixed up, it is simply becouse i dont have the luxury to be as concise as i would like with this... So its kind of off the cuff.

Peace again my Brother, and thankyou for your reply.

p.s. the "Style Wars kiddies..." was directed at anyone who might read this and automatically go on the defencive...

I hope i have spoken with less fire this time and more from the heart.


The Unforgivable StarPower said...

I definitely respect where you're coming from wit' it big homie. I appreciate the exchange between you, Krayola (a great m.c. and live performer, who makes music I think you would really enjoy), and myself. Nowadays, passion is either missing from or artificially manufactured, in everyday life, and it's often disgusting. In these times, we see lots of people blowing smoke, but few have real fire. I fuck with anyone who's passionate about something. I see you're a bit older than me and I respect that wisdom. It's cool to see how my vision affects others, whether they experience the intended effect or not - that's what true art is about. You put it out there, and let the people decide for themselves. Like I said, the "taking it back" thing is only part of what I'm about. I love to do it, but I realize I can't legally continue - that's why I'm doing it now, while I'm a nobody and I can get away with it, lol! Anyway, thanx for the response, be easy homie. One.

MC K~Swift said...

I'm just gonna drop a couple pennies right quick.

Race conciousness is important in a racialized reality. Sure, we'd all like to exist in a state that is beyond race, like the days of the Moorish Empire, but today's classist structure is racist as well pretty much across the globe.

So as far as life scholarship is concerned, "people should not need to distinguish race", that's a matter of privilage on this planet right now. The Bronx is still the US' poorest congressional district while the illest arts culture on the face of the Earth today emenated from there! I think the fact that the residents of the Bronx are predominantly of color has alot to do with that.

Race is a social construct. There's only one race. Human. However, RACISM is real right now, and we gotta first acknowledge it, and then combat it. StarPower's approach reminds me of the 2Pac line, "They took from us, why the fuck shouldn't we take from them?".. maybe I'm paraphrasing. Anyway, Mr. Unforgivable Blackness himself isn't on some vengence tip IMO, he's simply putting the contradictions of society out there in the open.

Peace and Love
el swifterino


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