Chuck D Speaks on the Hip Hop Summit


My personal notes on the Hip Hop Summit…by Chuck D.
A table fulla mixed emotions circled myself on the tailend of the HipHop Summit. First of all, when asked about it, my answers are definitely upbeat and positive.
In response to the question “Will it work?” My answer is that they always do, especially in the case of emergency. The Hip Hop Nation is in a position to recognize the importance of governing itself before the United Snakkes government steps in with censorship rules.
In 1997, I was part of another summit in the aftermath of the killings of Biggie Smalls and Tupac just six months prior, where Minister Louis Farrakhan gathered all upon his Chicago home and Nation of Islam headquarters. It was a recognized gathering amongst Hip Hop giants … Snoop, Russell, Suge, JT The Bigga Figga, etc.
What I remember most is that Ice Cube rented a charter jet from a movie set to get there to settle a supposed 3,000-mile east-west beef with Fat Joe, who drove 1,000 miles to Chi-Town. That summit was to save lives and it worked, although Min. Farrakhan was given very little credit for gluing the situation.
This gathering was quite different, but again, the Minister played a key role in the gathering in the days leading to and after, and yet again his importance was downplayed and even dissed. Which leads me to various [thoughts] on the speculation board.
In 1980, I was introduced to Min. Farrakhan by Professor Griff, who had been two years past his DJ days with Hank Shocklee’s Spectrum City. Griff used to bring records by occasionally and one record he brought was Min. Farrakhan’s address to the Jack The Rapper convention in 1979.
In that speech he (Min. Farrakhan) directly dealt with the co-opting of Black Radio, The DJs, Record Companies, and Artists for their use of the musical art form; and with the media for manipulating the Black community into a “take from, not give back” mentality.
The one-sided exploitive use of mass communication to influence the masses was nothing new, but now it was done by elitist thinking Black folks themselves, who thought of themselves as super-negroes. Above the public who gained their profits by the categorization of calling The Masses … Them Asses. The profound statement of 20-years-ago can be applied to right now. I sampled excerpts of that Jack The Rapper speech on “Terminator X To The Edge Of Panic,” which is on Public Enemy’s Nation album.
As I flash forward to the Minister’s N.Y. Hip Hop Summit speech, which many of you by now have read, heard or heard details from, I recall as I had the privilege of sitting two seats from the Minister with Queen Latifah between us, seeing the faces of the stellar audience witnessing the direct address.
As I looked to my right in the fully packed New York Hilton main ballroom, I saw LL Cool J, Afrika Bambaataa, Crazy Legs, Redman, Fat Joe in one glance. Another glance to the left picked up Puffy, Damion Dash, Sister Souljah, Grandmaster Flash. Not to mention the Manning Marables, Tricia Roses, Bob Laws and Cornel West within the mix with a gang of television cameras from the rear. From the beginning if there was any skeptical faces in the audience, they were scraped off with the look of undeniable clarity by the end.
In turn, I realized that this was the first time that many cats heard the Minister speak, and it was also the first time they heard him directly deal with a situation that is truly connected to everyone’s daily way of life. Many of them might’ve heard him before on tapes or even in person dealing with other issues, but this was frighteningly direct.
The big point that Min. Farrakhan addressed to the Hip Hop Nation was that now that the rap world was considered leaders of the youth around the planet, would it assume the same failings of the prior leadership they’ve tuned out and accused distant of its concerns? Or in other words as he put it “You’ve become fat and wealthy off the people as the leaders, now what are you going to do to feed back the people who’ve fed you?”
With that in mind, I told my Hip Hop brethren that we were fortunate to “borrow” the Minister for a few days of his important time. I told cats, “Don’t get it twisted,” although Hip Hop is large, it’s only a part of real life. And having seen the Minister deal with heads of state and presidents of other lands about economies and policies, the least we could do is take his words with weight and govern ourselves.
Which brings me to the pessimistic thide of sings … I give Russell Simmons props for using his star power for getting everybody to the same city and even the same room. It was pivotal and essential. In talking with Russell, I evidently saw a concern in protecting and yet bettering a situation needing his leadership.
After all, Russell’s involvement harks all the way back to 1979, as far as Hip Hop recorded music as Kurtis Blow’s manager; thus I’ve always deferred that power to him because of his seniority. It’s deserved to him the 100 or so millions that he sold Def Jam to Universal, because of his contributions.
However, as far as the culture is concerned, it is rather limited to think that because 5 corporations opened their wallets to a few, that they should think that they OWN what’s come out of the people. They own record masters and NOT the culture.
Thus, I was concerned with the omission of Conrad Muhammad and Rosa Clemente. At first Russell refused to bend his policy on not letting them in as well as Peter Noel, who I heard never made it inside to the minister’s speech. But myself and Pop Diesel and James Bomb of PE made headway to get Min. Conrad into the room, which he did and was able to hear the minister address him by name as well.
The summit before that seemed to address the issues protecting only the big business of Hip Hop, not the little man, the small entrepreneurs of Hip Hop who’ve been the foundation of the rap game. Yes, while the Summit addressed the protection and betterment of the Hip Hop world at the top of the food chain… there were small Black record companies from the Black communities of Chicago, Detroit, Philly and D.C. sitting in the lobby wondering why THEY were locked out of the Summit and STILL couldn’t get their records played on the same so-called ‘urban’ radio stations who broadcasted to the same community they LIVE in…

About Vic Da Rula

What more can I say? I enjoy Hip Hop, Sports, and living the good life! var a2a_config = a2a_config || {}; a2a_config.linkname = "Escobar300(Covering Hip Hop Culture, Sports, and Events)"; a2a_config.linkurl = "";
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