on the anniversary of al-nakba and the creation of isreal, i went to a hip hop show

with 2 acts:

opening was Invincible, as well as Finale, both of the finest in detroit MCs.

headline was DAM, Da Arabian MCs, hailed as the first and only hip hop group of its kind.

the twist?

Invincible is a jewish female rapper and DAM is composed of three arab muslim rappers from the slums of Lod, Israel, performing together on the sixtieth anniversary of a day celebrated by some as Isreal's birthday and others as Palestine's catastrophe.

crazy. the show was so so so hype and i thoroughly enjoyed it. sometimes one of the most important elements an MC has to offer - flow - is not easily translated into german, russian, thai - and all the languages on this green earth that hip hop infiltrated from its brooklyn birth, its graph/bboy/beatbox beginnings.

though i don't speak a lick of arabic ('cept Insha'Allah, Salam Alaikum and my names - that's bout it) i felt like 'yo, flow knows flow, and i know these MCs got flow though fe real' cause they were wicked on the mic, i mean wicked on the mic, crazy variation of rhythm/style, punctuation of beats, i even detected some joke-dropping - these guys were just doing what they do best.

And you know hip hop hands right? It is easy to fake the gestures that fly when a MC gets on a mic, but these guys were so genuine in their movements - but watch how culture contests - at one point, one fella held his hands almost in a gesture muslim prayer, palms up and open, fingers pressed close together held out in front of his chest; with the mic between one thumb and forefinger, head slightly lowered and eyes closed i wished for a picture in that instant - suppose i'll have to remember...

most impressive are their beats - wholly integrated hip hop and traditional music - ancient and present, rural and urban all at once. there was a point when the crowd was singing back salam alaikum to busta rhymes "touch it" beat - pretty nutso but trust that i was shouting my face off.

now I have yet to discuss the opening act- very very very talented MCs I felt and of course the beats were sickwickedgood (detroit kills hip hop beats, forget a too-easy sample or a cheesy loop, i'm talkin quality produced music) but the white female rapper ryhmin about apartheid raised a heated discussion amongst myself and a good friend of mine. now i can't completely relay her opinion but basically it went down like this

'black oppression ie. apartheid is off limits for a white MC's lyrics; when she and i are equal all over she can talk about it' vs. 'c'mon experience is not always tied to race, we all gotta cooperate to change, respect that she respects the cause'

i'll continue this later,


not normal

I am not normal.

I do not fit in (-side the box.)

I am not contented by weeks that go by the same (in fact I find the thought disturbing).

I am not amused by banter (in fact banter makes my ears bleed).

I am not interested in the norm (in fact disinterest is not severe enough a word, offended might do).

And I realize that I look outward (at my geographic location, profession or program) at times because it is only when all the tedious routines, all the shallow systems and structures, all the painful patterns fall away and I find myself in some foreign far flung place -

only then am i truly myself, truly at peace.

An Anniversary

Today is the 60th anniversay of al-Nakba.

Respect/Love/Care to all those still suffering out there.

Da Arabian MCs

Check these guys out here.

Get the story here.

Performing tonight at El Mocambo!!! (College and Spadina)

It's not a joke - rap lives abroad. It mostly died in this western hemisphere but it lives on and thrives in impoverished streets and slums all over the globe.

G-unit, Puff, Fat Joe and aaaaaaaaaaaall dem deh (meaning et al) ought to take a lesson from rappers like these fellas who still spit lyrics about the struggle against oppression and authority.

fe real. dem nah easy star.

zaki music

the concert was live.

zaki cradles the mic between her fingers like it's precious.

sometimes she opens her mouth so wide and the sound that flies out is like life, it's out side of her, reverberating, but also welling up in her chest and throat and her voice fills the space like waves rushing from her mouth.

no genre. no label. no hype. just sound.

check it out.


how they grow...

when i first arrived in this city I began working at Irie Food Joint on Queen West and I'm certain that the vast majority of my close TO relationships are in some way touched by my stay there.

If I were to get picked up by police, I would call my old boss.

When people hail me up in the street, it's often cause i used to serve them curry chicken communista, jerk chicken salad, rasta pasta or seafood gumbo (mmmmmmm...)

and many of the beautiful burgeoning artists and producers I know have passed through or worked there at times - one such individual is one lovely Zaki Ibrahim.

tonight Zaki is performing at the Mod Club (college and grace) to signal the release of her new (and second) EP Eclectica (episodes in purple). here's a preview.

this is music to support, to celebrate, to live to.

get this

South African Apartheid Suit to Proceed
The Supreme Court said Monday that it can’t intervene in an important dispute over the rights of South African apartheid victims to sue US corporations in US courts, because four of the nine justices had to sit out the case over apparent conflicts. The lawsuit accuses dozens of prominent US corporations of violating international law by assisting South Africa’s former apartheid government. Because the court couldn’t reach quorum, the court was forced to uphold an appeals court ruling allowing the suit to proceed. For the record, Chief Justice John Roberts owns Hewlett-Packard stock. Justice Stephen Breyer owns stock in Colgate-Palmolive, Bank of America, IBM and Nestle. Justice Samuel Alito holds shares in Exxon Mobil and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Meanwhile, Justice Anthony Kennedy sat out the case because his son is a managing director at the investment bank Credit Suisse.


i have an immense problem around crushing - point in case - i just fell deeply in love with a courrier.

i mean dude came out of the elevator and all i could do was exhale in a brother's direction, my eyes like saucers, heart beating out of my chest.

good thing dude didn't even notice - story of my everlovin life.

can't stop thinkin,

how lovely it is to bathe with a bucket.

have you ever bathed with a bucket?

a bucket and a small dish to cup water.

a rag and a bar of soap.

simple, brisk and frugal.

quick calculations of the requisite water to wet and to rinse come naturally

the dregs are not to be dashed, the dregs are heavenly -

i put my two hands firmly on the rim, raise it over my head and spill what my dish cannot scoop over my head, neck and face. done.


if you thought dancehall was all whine this, badman that, then watch this -

I love dancehall music. For all it's hyper sexualized lyrics and extremely violent content, I love dancehall. The homophobia makes me stop in the dance and frown I must admit, but that element is a sociocultural phenomena related to religion on the island (not historically local customs, rather it is a legacy of the king james bible of colonial powers,) related to the idea of the badman (a result of the returned deportees cycle; since independence men go abroad, see crime on a large scale, go to jail, get deported and presume to replicate it on a small, hot island accustomed to natural threats like hurricanes) and related to a certain macho attitude which I'm told began with exposure to westerns but is influenced by local customs and values.

we can't forget that music fertilized in "tha streets" always offers insightful social commentary that we all ought to listen closely to.

here's a brilliant example brought to us by vybz kartel -