The Daily Show & Soulstice on Common x White House x Faux News

Posted in Artists, Comedy, Politics, Videos on May 14th, 2011 by Hyphen

When Sound Session debuted on KUBE six years ago, we had the pleasure of welcoming Common to the studio as our first guest.  We dedicated the entire show to his music and he regaled us with behind the scenes tales about his favorite songs off each of his classic albums.  Since then, we’ve had him on the show numerous times (remember this listening party?) and run into him at all sorts of events.  Throughout all this interaction, one thing has stood out to me above even the quality of his music: this is one of the nicest “celebrities” I’ve ever met.

Common has a way of talking to you so genuinely that you know he actually cares about what you’re discussing and more importantly, he cares about you.  Honestly, it’s kind of spooky.  Years after first talking about how I coached youth basketball, he asked me out of the blue: “are you still coaching kids?”  He’s just a great dude and an excellent representative of our culture.

This is not to say he’s without flaws, but much like 2Pac, he represents the natural duality that we all share in our morals/ethics and his music always reflects what he believes, even if it’s not popular.  He’s also grown as an artist and person over the years (haven’t we all?), which makes this Fox News pseudo-controversy all the more hysterical.  If you’ve been living under a rock, Jon Stewart can get you up to speed:

Not much more needs to be said (aside from PLEASE DON’T EVER EVEN PRETEND TO RAP, JON), but rapper SoulStice summed up his thoughts nicely in a recent email:

What’s the word?

I think I’m going to need a late pass on this one. I didn’t realize that Common had been invited to perform at the White House until after Sarah Palin had already gotten on the air and poo-pooed the whole thing.

My response to Common performing lyrics as poetry at the White House is probably as predictable as Sarah Palin’s. Yay! For me, this is a form of acknowledgement by those in power that the voice of my generation as expressed through hip hop is recognized not only for its entertainment value but for its social and political relevance. Never mind that this acknowledgement comes from a President that himself struggles for acceptance as part of mainstream America.

When Sarah Palin says that Common’s body of work doesn’t withstand the scrutiny of representing “all that’s good about America,” she does have a point. Common’s third album, “One Day It’ll All Make Sense (1997)” was a very influential one for me. On “Hungry,” Common raps:

“Downtown interracial lovers hold hands,
I breathe heavy like an old man…”

At the time, I remember reflecting on those lines for a while. Although in 1997 I hadn’t yet dated outside of my race (wasn’t the coolest move to make in my segregation-minded Chicagoland high school), I knew that one of my favorite artists and I felt differently on the subject of interracial relationships. Today, as part of an interracial marriage and father to a multi-ethnic child, my view on the subject is as diametrically opposed as ever to the view expressed on “Hungry.” Hopefully Common’s is too.

So no, Common’s body of work doesn’t withstand the scrutiny of representing “all that’s good about America.” But isn’t that bar too high? I wouldn’t pass that test. For that matter, neither would Palin, Hannity, O’Reilly or any of the right-wing (or otherwise) critics of Obama’s choice to bring Common to the White House. Even removing all of moral blemishes like the “Hungry” line from Common’s catalog, it wouldn’t clear the bar that Palin has set here. As an artist, Common has chosen to shine a light on some of the things that aren’t so good about America like police brutality and racial bias in the prison system. Would it be too much to ask for Palin and others to spend some time reflecting on the hard truths in lyrics like those before rushing to shoot the messenger?

I applaud the White House for hosting Common for a performance. Even with his imperfections, I think he’s done more to uplift America than any of the aforementioned pundits whose self-serving divisiveness does more to harm our social fabric than to strengthen it. On “G.O.D.,” another song from “One Day It’ll All Make Sense,” Common spit another couple of lines that have stuck with me all these years:

“Long as you know it’s a being that’s supreme to you,
and let that show towards others in the things you do”

Words to live by.

peace —


It’s one thing for Faux News to do this to other news stories, but when they go after one of the members of our community, it annoys me to no end. They really shouldn’t speak on things that they have no concept of, but I suppose that’s par for the course throughout media, not just on Fox.

As our generation gets older, it’s up to people like you, me, and SoulStice to continue to bring sanity to these “debates.” We have an obligation to push the discourse in the right direction and away from the silliness.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

SoulStice on Sound Session

Posted in Artists, Interviews, Sound Session on August 25th, 2008 by Hyphen

One of my favorite artists in the industry, SoulStice, came through Sound Session again recently to chop it up. If you missed our interview from last year where we covered a lot of his background (from the Chi, relocated to DC) and previewed his Dead Letter Perfect album, you can download it here. This time around, we talked about the reception that album received, his upcoming Beyond Borders project, the various hip-hop scenes around the world, the presidential race, how he balances his music career with his day job at the Department of Defense, and more.

It’s always fun to talk about substantive issues with real intelligent artists who are passionate about their music and their ideas. Sadly, that’s kind of rare in this industry, so I enjoy it when people like SoulStice come through. You can check out the entire interview, which also includes his “Bird’s Eye View” song with Kev Brown, through either of the links below:

SoulStice on Sound Session –
(back up / streaming link – )

Track down Dead Letter Perfect if you missed it from last year and be on the lookout for Beyond Borders. It’s shaping up to be a great record.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Sound Session #169 (8-24-08)

Posted in Episodes, Sound Session on August 25th, 2008 by Hyphen


Another dope Sound Session in the books, as we played great joints from artists like Q-Tip, Wale, Rhymefest, Bishop Lamont, Game, Shawn Jackson, Buff1, and many more. We also debuted an instant NW classic by our friends The Parker Brothaz, which features Talib Kweli, Big Pooh, and Naledge. Crazy track. We ran another posse cut that’s all over the net these days, the new one from T.I. featuring Kanye, Jay, and Wayne, when we gave away tickets to see Tip and Keyshia Cole at the upcoming Bumbershoot festival. Next week, we’ll have more Rock The Bells tickets for y’all…

Lastly, Maryland based MC SoulStice stopped by the show for the 2nd time (peep our first interview here), so be sure to check out the full interview through one of the links below. We talked all about his last album, Dead Letter Perfect, his upcoming Beyond Borders project, the international hip-hop scene, balancing his music career with his day job at the Department of Defense, the presidential race, and more. Also, shout to local artists Grynch and DJ Nphared for swinging through the studio as well. Be sure to check them out on Saturday at Bumbershoot!

Show #169 (8-24-08)

  1. Q-Tip – “Gettin’ Up”
  2. Buff1 ft. Tres Styles – “Love The Love”
  3. Kam Moye (aka Supastition) – “Black Enough?
  4. Shawn Jackson – “Feelin’ Jack”
  5. Parker Brothaz ft. Big Pooh (of Little Brother), Talib Kweli, & Naledge (of Kidz In The Hall) – “Text Me (Tha Bizness All-Star Remix)” (Local Artist)
  6. Wale ft. Young Chris, Freeway, & Beanie Sigel – “Cyphr”
  7. Strong Arm Steady – “Can’t Let Go
  8. Janelle Monae – “Sincerely, Jane”
  10. T.I. ft. Kanye West, Jay-Z, & Lil’ Wayne – “S.L.U. (Swagger Like Us)”
  12. SoulStice ft. Kev Brown – “Bird’s Eye View”
  14. Johnson&Jonson (Blu & Mainframe) – “TheOnlyWay”
  15. DJ K.O. ft. Torae, Talib Kweli, John Robinson, & Tiffany Paige – “Someday”
  16. The Let Go (Type & Kublakai) – “Sun Don’t Shine” (Local Artist)
  17. Fonzworth Bentley ft. Andre 3000, Kanye West, & Sa-Ra – “Everybody (Don’t Stop)
  18. Rhymefest – “Bring It Back”
  20. Neema ft. Mistah F.A.B. – “Light That Fire” (Local Artist)
  21. Elzhi – “Brag Swag”
  22. Bishop Lamont – “Can’t Figure It Out”
  23. Shad – “The Old Prince Still Lives At Home
  24. Game ft. Nas – “Letter To The King”

Link to download the mp3 of the show –
(back up / streaming link – )

Link to download the full interview with SoulStice –
(back up / streaming link – )

If you’d like to be added to our weekly email list to receive the playlist and download links after every show, just shoot me an email,

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,