Buff1 – Dream Streets (video)…and the Chop Suey shooting

Posted in Artists, Music Videos, Random Ish on January 8th, 2009 by Hyphen

With the latest video off Buff1’s excellent There’s Only One album, Buff took it to the streets, literally, and put his money where his mouth is by putting food where theirs are.  Great stuff from one of my favorite MC’s and one of the nicer dudes I’ve worked with in the industry.  Shout to Buff and the whole AML & A-Side families.

Seeing a video like this reminds me of all this f**kery we’ve been dealing with here in the Seattle hip-hop community in the wake of the tragedy at Chop Suey last week.  If you’re unaware, you can read the basic details here.

I don’t really feel like writing an entire essay on the issue, but one of my biggest problems with the aftermath has been how people within our community have handled it.  I know every hip-hop head is used to defending the culture from the moronic comments and accusations that pour in after any violent incident (in this case, from the Slog comments), so we’re automatically programmed to respond in the usual fashion: it’s not hip-hop, it’s society.

Yes, completely true.  Absolutely.  Problems like this are indeed a reflection of the worst aspects of our society, and the blame can be spread out to every participating member…from gang member up to President.  I agree with this.

My problem is that many of us in the hip-hop community, myself included…at times, don’t react strongly enough against the negative parts of our own culture.  We know damn well that when artists are presenting themselves as ‘uber-gangsters’, it directly affects us, especially the next generation.  There’s a difference between rapping about the violence you see in your hood and glorifying it.  There are far too many artists, in every scene around the country, glorifying ignorance, stupidity, violence, misogyny, homophobia, and countless other negative traits.  Aside from the fact that 80% of the music is straight trash from a quality standpoint, we do ourselves a disservice when we condone this.

As a listener, participant, and DJ in this culture, my tastes have changed over the years, and quite frankly, at 26, I’m too old for this.  I’ve been doing my best to showcase the positive side of hip-hop since I started college radio in 2000 and every year, I’ve taken that more and more seriously.  As we enter 2009, I’ve been a DJ for almost a decade now and we’re in our 4th year of Sound Session on KUBE, a 100K-watt Clear Channel station.  Think about the reach we have each week.  I’ve always strived to provide quality music on my shows, mixtapes, and now blog posts, but that’s just not enough anymore.

I need quality music and quality messages.  I need quality artists and quality people.

I’m going to hold myself to a higher standard in 2009 and beyond, and I hope other members of our community do the same.  Remember what Barack said?  “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  Every day that I get older, I think more and more about life as a whole and what I want for this world, specifically the next generation.  I can’t imagine having a kid and trying to explain to him why we allow these morons to pollute our culture.

Outsiders know they’re wack.  Outsiders know they’re stupid.  We know they’re wack.  We know they’re stupid.  Why do we condone it?

Improve yourself this year and demand better from everyone around you.  I’m not religious in the least (I’m spiritual, big difference), but it’s true: “do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”  Help people.  Get involved.  Make a difference.  It doesn’t have to be something huge, just make an effort and you’ll be amazed how quickly things will change.

Buff bought some sandwiches.  Maybe you can do the same the next time you see someone homeless asking for some change.  Better yet, go mentor a kid from a troubled neighborhood.  Teach him how to fish.  Feed him for a lifetime.  You’ll see your perspective change.

I promise to step it up this year too, but not in that played out “grind” sense.  Who cares if you “get on your grind” in 2009 and become a better artist/DJ/writer/athlete/etc.?  Be a better person.

“Harder, better, faster, stronger.”

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