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HIP-HOP IN THE 25360: Black History Month

Plus: Art of Emcee-ing

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Following his birthday celebrations in mid-January, it is always easy and fashionable to announce, declare and idolize Dr. Martin Luther King for Black History Month. However, he is often looked at in a one-dimensional, non-threatening and passive fashion, which is certainly not accurate. It is important to note along with his calm and firm stance of peaceful resistance and non-violent action was a Dr. King who toward the end of his life adopted a more stern and revolutionary stance. He was not an anarchist, but a revolutionary in thought, word and action. He became more demanding and insisted upon justice in a manner that spoke to the great frustrations of having to nearly beg for basic human rights since his campaigns in the 1950s. Black History Month is a time to look a lot deeper, beyond what is comfortable, kind and “undisturbing.” In fact, I think that looking at the inhumanities overcome by black folk in the Americas should disturb you enough so that you are inspired to get up, get out and get somethin’!

Here is a list of suggested figures and subjects to read, learn, research and wonder about: Hannibal, Shaka Zulu, Patrice Lumumba, Dr. Haki Madhubuti, Marcus Garvey, Cynthia McKinney, Booker T. Washington, Miles Davis, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Paul Robeson, Emitt Till, W.E.B. Dubois, Arthur Ashe, Melvin Van Peebles, George Washington Bush (settler of The South Puget Sound), Afrika Bambaataa, Malcolm X, Juneteenth, The Willie Lynch Letter, The Tuskegee Experiments and The Buffalo Soldiers. That’s just a short list to check out during your free time. Ayo … I know many of our leaders have been murdered and subdued by inhumanities, but black folks ain’t gotta be dead for you to study and learn something from them either.

Stic.Man’s Art of Em-Ceeing

A lot of cats claim to be MCs, but with his new book The Art of Emcee-ing, Stic.Man of Dead Prez takes readers on a hand-held work in the world of mic controllers. … Emcee-ing is an interesting read for me and any hip-hop philosopher. I embrace the original title of MC — meaning, Master of Ceremony … an earned title in the least. The emcee is a clever way to spell the esteemed title, but to me loses the “earned title” aspect. Philosophy aside, Stic.Man is certainly a master of words, vocals and microphones, and his life examples and detailed stories and lessons on rapping will be useful for novices and interesting to vets at minimum. Without being critical of his ability to craft a book, Stic.Man’s rookie debut is certainly worth the time of any aspiring MC — or emcee. Without bragging or boasting his way into the pages, the humble yet hammering Stic.Man offers ways for even the seasoned MC/emcee to refine, practice and move toward perfection. The one critical point that I have, not about Stic.Man’s book, but about the issue of learning to MC/emcee, is that the spoken word is an intangible skill and talent that requires more than reading, writing and rapping — but commitment, responsibility, passion, perseverance and attitude. Still, even these things require fuel and fulfillment at times and that is what … Emcee-ing delivers.

Of course last week I announced that it is battle time and just when the MCs and rappers began signing up and lining up to meet their dooms, one of the battles has been postponed. The Valentine’s Day massacre, Luvv For Hip-Hop at the China Clipper on February 14 is to be rescheduled. Beyond that point it has been a slow news week … 25360 artists, hustlers and businesses? Where are the PR campaigns … send press releases! Oh … hold up … just as I close, The 25360 Hustla of The Year, and always reliable MC/promoter, Jay Barz texts me … Catch him at Chop Suey Feb. 19 at 9 p.m. IT’S FREE!

Winners Train, Losers Complain … Do Yo’ Thang!!!

Peace & Love
Jose S. Gutierrez Jr. is an editor, writer and producer. A graduate of Washington State University and student at The Evergreen State College, he writes and edits the Pacific Northwest section of OZONE Magazine and hosts and produces Live From I-5 Radio (since ’89) every Friday at 3 p.m. on KAOS 89.3 FM ( in Olympia.

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