To The East My Brother To The East Pt. 1 by Delayne Whiteside
Can you hear that? No I’m not trying to be funny, can you hear that? It’s a soulful voice coming closer and closer from the distance. Yep, it’s distinct now. It’s that lil child from Mississippi, Samuel Cook singing “A Change Gon’ Come..Oh Yes It Will.” You still can’t hear it? Let me help you. You heard Beyonce sing it at the Halftime Super Bowl. You heard it from Kendrick Lamar at the Grammy Awards. You can hear it every morning on The Breakfast Club asCharlemagne The God hands out The Donkey of The Dayreligiously to overt racists bigots. And if you were at The Park Street Saloon last Friday night, you heard it coming from every Emcees rhyme that hit the stage. The X-Clan 25th anniversary Tourinvaded Columbus Ohio in a major way. A change was gon’ come and a change was definitely overdue.
I stroll into the club and as I made my way through the crowd, it looks like what a hip hop concert should look like. Gritty, Dark and Loud. SuperNatural is in rare form as he takes the audience of predominantly males on a journey of consciousness to musical Hip-Hop bliss. All he has are his drum/sampler machine and a microphone. He is definitely a one-man-show. Next thing you know, he pauses his set, to let the people know that he groomed and passed his legacy onto his son. As his son emerges from the smokey lights, the father and son do a duet leaving everyone’s hands in the air. His message promotes being better fathers to our sons and daughters. As he embraces his son on stage, I can’t help but reflect on the many fathers that will not get another chance to hold their sons because a police officer destroyed that chance. (RIP Trayvon Martin & Michael Brown) After he leaves the stage I ask him,
Q: SuperNat It’s 2016, why are we still under attack?
SuperNatural: It all starts with mind elevation. Only WE are responsible for that. Once the mind is elevated, then we can accept The Truth. It’s only being done to us, because we allow it. We will continue to be fed ignorance until we demand more from our outlets.
As Sup makes his way toward backstage another dynamic emcee is making his way to the stage. The legendary Mix Master Ice brings out 1/2 of Dead Prez Stic Man… but it doesn’t look like he’s ready to rhyme though…he looks like he’s ready for a boxing match. True showmanship at its best, he quickly explains the reason for the boxing robe. Don’t forget, that this is the man that influenced the world’s favorite rapper Drake. But stop the tape…The man that brought you It’s Bigger Than Hip-Hop is rhyming about nutrition and exercise. After a battle with gout and other health issues due to poor eating habits and chronic weed smoking, Stic decided that he would use his gift to promote wellness among the urban community. Rhyme after rhyme he drops knowledge on food and drug administration motives and how they profit from sick people. A very bold move considering it could be viewed as preachy. However, that is far from what’s happening. With the conviction in his voice, the audience can feel his genuine concern and they respond with gratitude.
Q: As the representatives, also 2nd wave of revolt music, why did you choose that route over subject matter that may have been more lucrative?
Stic.Man: You have to be true to yourself in whatever you do. It’s the reason I stand before you now and why I’m here. We were just continuing the legacy that Brother J passed down to us of awareness. We just grabbed the torch and ran with it. I feel like this, if music can be used to promote destruction, it can also be used to help my people. We can teach and entertain. Which is why I stress eating right to preserve our life. We only get one.
Last but not least, the man of the hour takes the stage. His name isBrother J from the group X-Clan of the early 90’s. X-Clan, Boogie Down Productions, Public Enemy and The Native Tongues and solely responsible for the conscious movement of that era in America. And as a true elder statesman, he pays homage and honor before he gets ready to do his thing. He brings out Paradise The Architect. He was X-Clan’s producer. A man that is highly revered by KRS-One, Afrika Bambaata, and any conscious brother you can think of. Paradise dropped so many jewels on me outside the club, that I have to give him his own blog in Part 2. But right now we’ll talk about Brother J . J’s word of the night was “BALANCE”His words told you that he was not there to bash any one style of music. His conviction was that it’s time for balance in radio and today’s music. “We can’t keep feeding these babies one thing all the time. The radio feeds them this ignorance Sunday through Saturday non-stop. They need to give us a least 2-hours.” He ran through a gambit of his classic hits but made sure we knew that he’s always working, and dropped some new gems on us as well. As I look over the crowd, I witness 70’s and 80’s babies reciting the lyrics word for word. Dommy Styles doesn’t usually show much emotion but I could tell he was geeked! The conscious minds that NWA & Too Short put to rest were slowing awakening like Michael Jackson’s Thiller.
I caught up with the legend for a photo and a few questions.
Q: Peace my brother that was a great performance. I know you gotta make moves but I have to ask you, what’s it gonna take to move our people in the right direction?
Brother J: It’s gonna take trust. It’s gonna take us putting our powers and trades together to build our own. Without outside influence controlling our business.
Q: Your Movement and the Native Tongues started a movement of consciousness. How did we let our music give way to the ignorance?
Brother J: A story is told based on an experience. I wouldn’t call it ignorance, I would call it the views of certain people. The ignorance doesn’t begin or end with me. It starts with the people.
Q: With the whole Beyonce thing that just happened, your 25th anniversary and The 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party, do you think there will be a reawakening in conscious music? Where do you see this going?
Brother J: I really can’t say my brother….I’m just glad we made it this far.
They say that truth crushed to earth will rise again. Maybe this is the reason for the recent unapologetic performances from America’s beloved pop and urban stars. They are ushering in an exposure of America’s 400 year dirty little secret. No matter what your decision is about the recent artistic expressions, it is creating dialogue in many communities. Some for the good and of course some for the bad, but one thing is for sure… We are only halfway through Black History Month and the focus has never been more clear. Mother Africa is commanding our attention back to the east my brother to the east.