1/2/15

Be Free #Fight4Love - Lyrics

Be Free (P. Murray Remix)
#Fight4Love

Music & Lyrics: Jermaine Cole
Additional Music & Lyrics: Joseph P. Murray


VERSE

And I'm in denial,
And it don't take no x-ray to see thru my smile....
I know, I be on the go,
And it ain't no drink out there that can numb my soul...
No, no...


HOOK

All we want to do is take the chains off,
All we want to do is break the chains off,
All we want to do is be free,
All we want to do is be free,
All we want to do is take the chains off,
All I want to do is pull the reins off,
All we want to do is be free,
All we want to do is be free,


VERSE

Can you tell me why
every time I step outside,
I see people die?
Ooh, I'm letting you know
That it ain't no gun they make that can kill my soul...
Oh, no…


HOOK


All we want to do is take the chains off,
All we want to do is break the chains off,
All we want to do is be free,
All we want to do is be free,
All we want to do is take the chains off,
All I want to do is pull the reins off,
All we want to do is be free,
All we want to do is be free,


VOCAL INTERLUDE


VERSE

I’m losing my friends over this,
I’m at my wit’s end over this.
What is this fight for justice?
Is it history, or is it just us?

I’m taking up time over this,
I’m losing my mind over this.
Am I doing too much, or not enough?
Or am I too weak to fight 4 love?

They don’t understand what I’m trying to say,
They tell me relax, it’ll be OK.
But how can you go on back to sleep,
When you’ve seen all the things I’ve seen?

When you’ve learned all the things I know?
When the ones with the guns serve the ones with the gold?
When so many who never had a chance
Got cut down before they had a chance to grow?

Don’t tell me I’m wrong when this ain’t right.
Don’t tell me fall back if I’m ready to fight.
Oh, can’t you see we’ve run out of time?
I just gotta hold on to the light...

Just look around, look at what we’ve done.
Do we now tell our daughters and sons,
“This is the world we’re passing on,
Wish you the best, good luck, have fun?”

Well I refuse to wait & die;
I won’t let this moment pass me by.
Either I stand for something now,
Or all that I’ve said & done was just a lie...


BRIDGE

Are we all alone?
Fighting on our own?
Please give me a chance.
I don't wanna dance.
Something's got me down
I will stand my ground,
Don't just stand around
The time to move is now...


HOOK

All we want to do is take the chains off,
All we want to do is break the chains off,
All we want to do is be free,
All we want to do is be free,
All we want to do is take the chains off,
All I want to do is pull the reins off,
All we want to do is be free,
All we want to do is be free,
All we want to do is take the chains off,
All we want to do is break the chains off,
All we want to do is be free,
All we want to do is be free,
All we want to do is be free,
Be free,
Be free,
Be free...

12/31/14

Be Free: A Deconstruction of a Protest Song | #Fight4Love

I'll admit, when I finished recording this song, I was completely fucking scared.

There's no other way to put it, being polite about it doesn't do the feeling justice.
So, again, I was completely. Fucking. Scared.

I have said in recent interviews that until the spirit moves me to import my personal feelings about politics, the economy, and our social structure into my musical expression, that I would keep my words on these topics separate from my work. And up until now, I've lived up to that creed.

But it is clear these issues that resonate with me on various levels have come to a sort of breaking point. Fission, if you will. And I can no longer relegate my feelings to one or two social media forums. I can no longer feel comfortable only using my gift in way that other people feel I should be using it, or in a way that only represents the world we live in through a particular lens. Because the world doesn't work that way. Because there is too much happening in the world - my world, our world - that begs for the artist, the creative, the imagineer, to use their God-given gifts to bring to light all those things we'd rather keep in the dark. All those things we'd rather hide and hope that they go away.

The Hip-Hop artist and socially conscious musician Jermaine "J." Cole penned and recorded the track, "Be Free," as an artistic response to the incidents in Ferguson, Missouri. When he released the record, issued a statement, a kind of epitaph to the late Michael Brown:
Rest in Peace to Michael Brown and to every young black man murdered in America, whether by the hands of white or black. I pray that one day the world will be filled with peace and rid of injustice. Only then will we all Be Free - Cole
The original version of "Be Free" features Cole speak-singing his words, his voice twisted into a cry of pain and acute reflection of the current state of his people, his country, and his world. It's a tough listen; you can hear his anguish, the very real combination of despair and rage that seem to ebb and flow in sections, depending on the lyric. Interwoven is some of the original eye-witness testimony of the shooting. As we now know, a grand jury rendered a non-indictment of the shooter, Officer Darren Wilson.

J. Cole has since gone on to perform the song live, with his most notable appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. The intensity of that performance, with J. standing in a cold spotlight, dressed in all black plus a simple hoodie designed by his company, Dreamville Records, with the insignia, F.$.S.♥ (Fuck Money Spread Love), was so eloquent and moving, so driven with purpose, that if you didn't feel a need to react in some way to it, you were either dead or comatose. The song was given a skeleton-key-to-the-master-suite touch when he spit a quick verse in what would've otherwise been an instrumental bridge:
You wonder why it's been so many B & E's lately / While bruthas from the hood shootin' like this is TNT lately / And since all the ballers leavin' college early / I turn on the TV/ And don't see no bruthas with degrees lately
It was probably this line, and the overwhelming response from the audience, that prompted me to want to try & cover the song itself, and add my own spin on it. But I knew this wouldn't be easy, particularly because J. Cole's experiences are not mine, and the last thing I wanted to do was try and use this record as a means to wax sympathetic, or somehow justify my ignorance or wallow in self-pity. While grappling with these dilemmas, the epiphany came shortly, and with an abruptness:

It wasn't that I wanted to do my part to show support. It was that I had to do my part.

You see, there are many ways to be a conscientious objector to a particular institutionalized injustice or systemic flaws within a socioeconomic structure. At this point in history, I am convinced that we have run out of time to decide which ways will be the most effective. At this point in our history, our American history, the point needs to be driven home that all methods can be effective, and they can be used at the same time, so long as they are used with education and good intent.

For all I know, my covering "Be Free" will be the eye-opener, the fulcrum for someone else to become awake, aware, and involved. Any artist making the choice to create/perform for those who no longer have a voice has the chance to inspire new ones to speak up and stand against the injustices that occur in their lifetime. And, in a very real sense, since tomorrow isn't promised, I may never have the opportunity to put out a song like this again. So why not now? Why not take a chance on living for the present, and fighting for a more just future?

So.

I wanted to write this before I dropped the song to allow my fans/friends/family/followers the chance to get a comprehensive understanding of how I wish for my rendition of "Be Free" to be interpreted, so that there is unequivocal, absolute clarity about my intent for this cover. Kindly review the following:

  1. When I speak or sing about justice, I really do mean justice for all peoples. Admittedly, and unabashedly, I lean towards justice and recompense for the historical, systematic maltreatment of so-called minority groups in the United States, not the least of which include People of Color, and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex communities - inherent genetic traits which are identifying factors for my person - along with the intersectional subgroups therein. With these groups, I must be clear that I do not only speak of justice that has been undermined via outside forces (i.e. government, law enforcement, the justice system, media misrepresentation, social stigma, etc.), but also the injustices we have done to ourselves as both a result of these external forces and a product of our own self-hatred, misunderstanding, and prejudices. This quest for a more equitable society must include the work we need to do within our own communities, not as a show of public appeal, but as a step towards true solidarity and peace.
  2. Having openly talked about this particular lean, I wish to firmly repeat my appreciation for those of us who operate within these systems and do the fine work of upholding the true meaning of peace & justice within our nation and around the world. I would like to also extend to them the hand of solidarity in the knowledge that this system does not hold them as exceptions to the possibility of injustices being done to them. Like the above mentioned groups, these brave, upstanding men and women have also been victimized, ridiculed, persecuted, and altogether misunderstood as a whole for the actions of a misguided, ignorant few. Naturally, this also flows from a historically poignant relationship between those who are entrusted to uphold & carry out the law, and the minority groups who have, in many cases, been the subject of undue discrimination by them. But at the end of the day, injustice is injustice is injustice, and any action that generates from a place of ignorance or injustice isn't right, nor is it fair. 
  3. In the hooks of "Be Free," phrases include the lines, "all we wanna do is take the chains off, all I wanna do is pull the reigns off." The chains I speak of are, in essence, a metaphor, speaking about the chains of a structure that seems to keep the balance of power and fair treatment in a perpetual slant, benefitting many, but not all. When I talk about pulling the reigns off, I speak of freeing oneself from the reigns of self-doubt, oppression from any outside force, fear, and fear-based silence. Conversely, if we are to look at problems such as the school-to-prison pipeline or the Prison Industrial Complex, and the facts to support the notion that both institutional forms of subjugation are steeped in ignorant views of minority communities combined with Capitalist interests versus true correctional facilitation, the chains mentioned are, for some, a harsh reality, and not speaking about them would be a disservice to the essence of the song itself.
  4. In the trope of a verse I've written, there is a line that reads, "but how can you go on back to sleep / when you've seen all the things I've seen / when you've learned all the things I know / when the ones with the guns serve the ones with the gold." Of all that I'm trying to accomplish in this song, the one thing I do NOT wish to convey is the idea that this lyric - or this cover - refers solely to police brutality (see statement #2). It is true that there have been pointed examples of extralegal and illegal uses of force against civilians when such force was wholly unwarranted and has led to fatal consequences with little or no justice imparted to the responsible law enforcement parties. My overarching narrative with these lines, however, is meant to enlighten us to the idea that, just like criminal activity can be statistically attributed to poverty or dire circumstance, the use of deadly, even military force has been utilized at the hands of organizations whose power lay not in their political influence or social popularity, but in their accumulation of wealth & financial prowess. This can be proven on all points of the socioeconomic and moral spectrum, ranging from the deadly consequences of gang violence and organized crime, to the bloody offensives of a radical guerrilla faction, to the armed force of an oppressive, despotic government. A basic overview of any country's criminal history and world history in general will bear me out on that point.
I have been told that because of my love of words and desire for clarity and understanding of my perspective, that I still come off as misunderstood. Because this moment, this song means so much to me, and to those who will hear it & automatically understand its meaning, I wanted there to be nothing left to chance about where I stand going forward. Being that my major projects (e.g. my upcoming album, singles, promo audio, etc.) will most likely not include records like this, I cannot, in good conscience, allow for there to be any doubt about how I wish for this to be perceived. Having said this, should folks still miss the message here, and take issue with it, I will simply refer back to this statement.

Ultimately, what I've found to be true about people, regardless of their position on issues like social justice, law enforcement reform, political action, or economic divestment, we still, as human beings, want the same things: peace, love, understanding, happiness. But I am of the firm belief that because we have built a society based on unnatural fears of people or things that could be viewed as detriments to those goals, our search for them has become corrupted, violent, and for many, nearly extinct. I am of the firm belief we have lost far too many lives in this perverted quest now to turn around and be complicit with the knowledge that it can - and will - happen again...and again...and again...if we don't make major changes in the way we think, act, interact, and do business with each other.

This may mean a massive societal upheaval that involves major structural changes to our institutions of government and justice. This may mean a total reassessment of our economic standards. It may mean that we will have to sacrifice in ways that we've never expected to sacrifice, even in a state of affairs and an economy such as this. But, in my most humble opinion, those kinds of sacrifices pale in comparison to the idea that the outcome is a more just world, where decisions based on education, logic, and reason, are underpinned by peace & love, and not hate & fear.

I want to take this time - again - to thank everyone who continues to show me so much love for my music, as well as my message. I know that, just like the lyric, I'll probably end of losing some friends over this; I already have. But that will not change my mind about my feelings on these issues. Standing by and letting things you know are wrong in the world stay wrong that affect people's lives & livelihood is just as dangerous as holding the .9mm to an innocent man's head with an index finger on the trigger. In both cases, how one chooses to act in these crucial moments could spell life or death for someone who didn't deserve to be put in those kinds of situations in the first place.

Enough. The time for staying silent is over.


"Where there is love, there is no fear."
--Dr. Barbara Ann Teer

8/12/14

My problem with [bitter] fundamentalists


A Facebook friend of mine posted a status about how mainstream America was mourning the loss of Robin Williams, but disproportionately ignoring the plight of the recently killed Michael Brown. He went on to vilify Black Americans for appreciating Mr. Williams' career because he was successful with it, highlighting their hypocrisy feeling sorry for "a millionaire that lived his life and commits Suicide and [chose] to give up his life [rather than] a black man that was gunned down."

My response to him in the comments thread was as follows:
What the liberal media chooses to report is one thing, but I don't feel any guilt for expressing remorse for an artist who gave so much of himself to entertain and lift people's spirits + who openly addressed his drug issues and subsequent depression. Depression doesn't have a class or race. And I'm certain that any compassionate person who is outraged by the Mike Brown incident hasn't forgotten about it, present company included.

His follow-up to that was this:

Matthew 6:7 "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking" I can care less for that damn heathen. He was part of the society that took our birth right, funded the operation of taking away our language, putting us on slave ships, brain washed us with the WILLIE LYNCH LETTER, and helps to support keeping the real Jews of the bible in the low state that they are in now. And until his death he was a active Jewish person that still supported their wicked agenda. So anybody that supports his death just cause he makes people laugh but meanwhile doesn't feel pissed off cause he helped put our people in the conditions [they're] in and helps support the black genocide that you see everyday on the news is a fool. And I have no love for him. The reason you don't feel guilt is cause you don't even know who you are or care to know.

I responded:


[Who is] to decide who is wicked and who is just? Where do any of us get off deciding whose truth is more valid? And how dare you...make the completely subjective assessment that I don't know who I am? Outside of maybe a few hours, collectively, of direct conversation, and social media discussion, you know nothing about me. And your personal interpretation of the Scriptures means nothing to me; you're certainly welcome to make conclusions about God as it pertains to you, but to condemn anyone else according to the laws of your own personal vendetta is the same kind of intellectual suicide that's plaguing the Middle East conflict. God can decide for Himself my place in the Universal design. He certainly doesn't need your help, or mine.

I concluded by posting the news on the Instagram post left by The Roots' Drummer, Questlove, on his encounter with the actor (Williams was not only able to recognize the musician, but talk about his band's projects by name, via his son's listening palette).


I normally don't put folks on blast like this, but this exchange really irked me because, once again, fundamentalist believers in an Abrahamic religion are using their self-righteous bigotry to assert their beliefs onto other people (in this case, namely, me). I want to be clear that I'm not some sort of anarchist who thinks that people have enough inherent good to exemplify self-control and peacefully coexist with out help; clearly, that hasn't worked in like, ever. But I consistently take issue with individuals who believe that their preconceived notions about God are the only answer to the world's problems; meanwhile, it is an arguable point, but more wars have been fought in the name of God - particularly, an Abrahamic God - than any other man-made purpose.

We are hating, hurting, and killing each other over a concept which we are not at all fully equipped to understand, and I refuse to be victim of that hatred, or a perpetuator of it. I refuse to be told that how I'm living my life is wrong, or missing something, or needs to be set straight. And I absolutely refuse to be told that I've somehow confounded my "true" identity because I don't conform to standards that never applied to me. I hope someone who reads this understands my perspective, and maybe it can change some minds as well. 

6/21/14

Saggers are NOT the problem

So young men wearing saggy pants are ruining society? And they're the ones we need to watch out for when it comes to our safety & wellbeing?

Reminder:

Bernie Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 Federal charges, including fraud, money laundering, perjury, and theft. It is believed that he willingly swindled his investors and affiliate organizations out of their assets to the tune of billions of US Dollars, destroying the financial lives of countless Americans in the process.

Former United States Army psychiatrist and Medical Corps Officer Nidal Hasan took the lives of 13 people and seriously injured dozens of innocent bystanders when he opened fire at Fort Hood, Texas, "with a high-powered, high-capacity handgun he had fitted with laser sights." (Wash. Post 8.28.13) He has since been sentenced to death for his crimes.

In 1992, murderer and serial rapist Jeffrey Dahmer was tried & eventually convicted of raping, torturing, and viciously killing 15 people, most of them Gay or Bisexual men. This, apparently, was his method of "dealing" with his own issues regarding his sexual orientation. He was later killed in prison by a fellow inmate.

***

It's harsh, I know, but the reason I pointed this out is because I'd bet money NONE of these men were a part of the so-called "sagger problem" in our country. In fact, all three men were subject at one point or another to wear some sort of uniform or suit in order to conduct their daily business. Not only did their outward appearance allow them access to otherwise personal information & individuals, it provided them the perfect cover to CONTINUALLY commit their crimes of choice. To boot, these men were educated and did not come from struggling families, as so many Americans feel are also part of the problem with so-called "saggers." They were calculated in their actions, and unapologetic or indifferent when handed their punishment.

So before you decide to join the Don Lemon brigade and tell young Men of Color to "pull up their pants," take a good look at some history books & criminal court cases. Chances are you should probably stop complaining about the guy whose clothes you don't like and maybe keep an eye out for the suspicious smiling guy in the nice blazer. -_-

#STOPJUDGING #MindYourOwnBusiness

4/7/14

Hey. Old(er) Guys. Relax.


Of late, I've noticed several older artists, entertainers, producers, writers, and other music industry professionals have come out publicly to denounce the apparent disarray and dilapidated state of the business. Notable individuals such as Quincy Jones, Tony Bennett, Reverend Run, Rick Rubin, and even former industry guru Clive Davis have all, in some way, shape, or fashion, taken a moment to note what they have decided is the lowest point in Popular Music history. Out of respect for their body of work and influence over said industry, I have, to a degree, kept generally mum about my feelings regarding these statements. However, after reading some very recent (and very scathing)  blanket remarks about the business - a business of which I am, for lack of better assessment, a part, and hope to someday be a more active participant - the Gemini rebel in me could no longer stand by without offering my 2 cents, for whatever it's worth.

My problem with these kinds of statements when they're made, is a twofold caveat. The first fold occurs when one takes into account the wealth and notoriety of the individuals in question. I cannot take seriously the ranting and gnashing of teeth on the part of industry professionals who have not only made their bones, but invested them, gathered them up, stored them away, and have no problem living comfortably off of said pile for the rest of their ageing lives. To add insult to injury, it would hardly be disputed that this wealth and notoriety came from said individuals' dealings with the music business. In other words, these gripers are griping about the very same situations that helped get them their sack of gold. But, oh, I guess now, apparently, it's okay to be mad at everybody else trying to do the same thing.

You'll pardon the blankest of blank stares that I am now emitting as I type this.

The second fold of this issue takes into account the fact that the folks who are complaining about the state of the industry now have very much played a part in its apparent "demise." Members of the legendary Hip-Hop group, Run DMC, have said, for example, that they are fed up with the blatant, payola-style radio rotation happening today. I find their complaints humorous, since it was this very same style of playlist-based music rotation that allowed for groups like Run DMC to generate a radio listener fan base. I see way too many flaws in older producers whining about how the genre of Hip-Hop has lost its way in becoming a profit-based industry, when its innovators can't deny that, even in the genre's infancy, all some of them wanted to do was be able to make some quick money off of some rap songs. I also find it difficult to take seriously a statement about how music creators now are focused too much on profit and making quick money, when it was the revenue and bottom lines of these older creators and their brands that eventually - coupled with the advent of downloadable music and instant gratification technology - ran the coffers of the business virtually dry. Let's not forget that one of the main reasons Clive Davis was asked to step down from his lofty position at Sony/BMG was simply because Barry Weiss of Zomba Records was willing to accept a much more reasonable paycheck. Because Clive Davis the legend could no longer be financially supported by the industry he helped facilitate over the past several decades, via an economic lifestyle to which he had become quite accustomed.

I mean, really.

But I do think what is most troubling, and what hurts the most about these kinds of dismissive, virulent statements, is that they don't take into account the full scope of what's actually going on in the Popular Music industry today. It's obvious that these guys are just reading (probably skimming) the headlines of popular editorials like Billboard, Rolling Stone, or Spin. This - coupled with what I'm sure is a toxic mix of rumors, insider information, and some bitterness from their own experiences - is helping to fuel the flames of resentment for what is only a portion of the landscape in pop culture at this time. To be fair, no one individual could possibly take the time to really survey the entirety of the moves being made by different artists, writers, producers, and the like. However, when legends like Tony Bennett come out and say that music today is "terrible," with no addendum as to which music he's referring or why, I, by virtue of my profession and resume, have a right to be offended by such a blanket assessment. And to an extent, I am.

As a matter of fact, I'm pretty pissed off, if I think about it too much. And I believe the appropriate response to a most of this is, how dare you?

How DARE you.

For me, in the end, all I wanna do is make some great music, have people hear it, tour the world with it, spread love, and have a great time with the work that I do. What I wish these older individuals would do is stop seeing what they want to see about the music industry, and maybe take a deeper look into what's actually happening. There is some amazing music making going on right under their noses, that's also being shared and filtered throughout the business, but because they're so busy refusing to see past the end of their noses, they're completely missing out. What new music makers need right now from veterans like the above mentioned is positive support, encouragement, education, and solidarity. Stick to that formula, and it's almost inevitable that they, and all of us, are bound to see the kinds of paradigm shifts in popular music & culture that we so desire to see.

But if you're just going to go around and ki ki about all the things you don't like that are happening in the business right now, I have three choice words for you:


2/4/14

New Song, New Lyrics: The Darkness Behind

THE DARKNESS BEHIND (simple version)

Music & Lyrics: JP Murray
Produced by: JP Murray

Free Download Link: http://tiny.cc/tdbs
#tdbs

"The Darkness Behind" was one of the 17 tracks considered for my upcoming LP. After my private listening party during the Fall of 2013, 10 records were chosen, and "Darkness" didn't make the cut. However, I felt a strong attachment to the song, and wanted to share some of the work I've done for the project over the past three years. I hope you enjoy this "stripped" down version of the original record.

I would like to dedicate this song to Shaun 'Kashan Ray' Fields, a friend and fellow musician who made it his business to live in love and walk in the light.



VERSE:

I believe
I believe in second chances
Cause it's hard to get it right the first time

I believe
I believe in a higher power
And I love how what I do falls into the design

I believe
in the feeling that we are
a part of something bigger and hard to define

And I still believe
Life is for the living
And that we can be anything we set in our mind


CHORUS:

Anytime we step into the light
We’re bound to leave some darkness behind
I’m not gonna be afraid to shine
It’s time to leave the darkness behind


VERSE:

I believe
I believe that every one of us
Has a purpose and a path we’re led to fulfill

I can’t say
What that purpose is for sure
But I can tell you right now, not to doubt what you feel

You’re not here
By some twist of fate
There’s something in your being here that makes you you

So take a minute
To think about what you love
And that’s how you’ll find what you’re meant to do


CHORUS:


BRIDGE:

Take a look around us
Look how far we’ve come
And until I’m sure it’s over
I know I’m far from done

12/27/13

It's Just Radio...


I wrote the following in response to this interview between Hot97's Ebro/DJ Cipha Sounds and famed Hip-Hop group, The Lox. See below for that:





If you didn't listen, the convo is once again breaching the subject of NYC/Tri-State MC's and Hip-Hop artists having to struggle to get airplay in their hometown. I posted the original response via Complex Magazine's article on it. To see their full story, Click Here. As far as my retort, it's a long one, so I hope you have your reading glasses on. *grin*

I've said it before, but Emmis Communications, Hot97, and Ebro specifically get no love from me regarding this topic. Last year around this time, Ebro got on his proverbial pulpit to explain that when it came to NY Hip-Hop and getting airplay, the most important aspect for making this happen was about "earning" the "privilege" to be presented on a mainstream radio market. I would assume that he was referring to an artist's sound, visibility, crowd factor, digital buzz, and above all else, concrete numbers re: audience attendance + dowloads/purchases from which someone like Ebro could easily use to gauge the potential for spinning a record from a NY Indie or up-and-coming MC.

Aside from this all sounding like self-centered BS...

I responded via Twitter that were such a kind of "rising through the ranks" the actual method by which Radio conglomerates allowed their DJ's/VJ's to break records from unknown/underground artists, New York City would have no need to ever play ANY Hip-Hop outside of its own region, since it has already been proven that there are dozens - literally dozens (I'm being VERY generous) - of NY/Tri-State MC's with clout, crowd appeal, brand power, booked tours, indie sponsorship, and a healthy history of successful merchandising who have yet to have their single dropped on Hot97 or Power105, much less get them to go in on any sort of joint business venture. And if you strip away all of these so-called 'qualifications' for airplay, there are HUNDREDS of rappers here whose talent and skill alone absolutely shit on most of the so-called 'Hip-Hop' being spun by folks like Flex and Cipha Sounds during their sets as part of their weekly stints on the air.

The hard truth is, as I've noted multiple times before, any radio station, regardless of genre, is under multiple contractual obligations with both record labels and advertisers to repeatedly spin singles and promote artists whose brands are direct affiliates of said contractual obligations. This is a basic tenet of the mainstream radio business structure. It has nothing to do with "earning your place," and everything to do with financial + economic partnerships forged by Communication + Entertainment monopolies long before Hip-Hop was even considered a viable genre of music. The fact that non-label, independent records get any love at all is a miracle, and every DJ/VJ knows that while they may have an aesthetic goal of playing good music (in this case, good New York Hip-Hop Music), they are not about to compromise their positions - or their paychecks - simply because some skillful MC wants to be heard on their radio show; they are still bound by the agreements they signed when first employed by the radio to follow directives meted out by their superiors (e.g. Program Directors, network executives, ad affiliates, etc.).

In other words, and to make a fat story thin, the radio game is still just as it has been for the last 75 years or so: a business. Nothing more, nothing less.

What kills me - and what pisses me off about this particular argument - is how folks like Ebro can know all of these things, being in his current position, and still throw out the hypothetical carrot-on-a-stick for up-and-coming artists to try and catch, in the hopes of getting some spin time on a DJ's set on the world-famous Hot97. It would be fine if he actually meant what he said and followed through with some of his preaching, but at the end of the day, ain't nobody's Ebro about to break nobody's underground record if ain't nobody important at his job willing to cosign it. Ultimately, good, hardworking MC's from NYC know this, and have long since moved on from throwing themselves blindly at the doors of Emmis Communications for the slim hope of being heard. We as artists (singer here) are tired of the runaround for 3-5 minutes of attention, knowing full well that thanks to the Digital Era and some sleepless nights, we can build our sound + brand with hard work, and without the help of the 'powers that be.' And frankly, I'm pretty sure most folks - even Ebro - would agree to that.

P.'s Pal Ccounter