Jewelz – Brother Ali ” Mourning in America”

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What do I need to know?

The War on Terror in its current form began after the attacks of September 11th when terrorists committed attrocities on the U.S. It’s the military campaign that has taken soldiers to various parts of the globe to combat Al-Qaeda. It has also led to loss of life on both sides with no real end in sight.

What’s the story?

On Mourning in America Brother Ali aims to convince that a War on Terror and those perceived to be the terrorists is truly in the eye of the beholder. While Ali touches on the many issues with the military campaigns overseas, he mainly uses domestic examples of acts of terrorism and the ramifications of warzones that resemble any impoverished hood in America. This is important because it holds up a mirror to those who may be dealing with the exact same fears, challenges and issues of the “enemy.”

Who’s the true guerilla
When the bomb on your body killing innocent civilians
But a life is a life and a killer is a killer
You’re at a desk chillin’ push a button kill a million

See the anguish of the parents
When they’re carrying the body of the baby that they cherish
When innocent people perish
It’s a very thin line between a soldier and a terrorist

Is it any good?

The entire Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color album is a nice piece of sonic work by the Minnesota Rhymesayer. The title track along with Letter to my Countrymen are examples of Ali’s more overt political statements on the record. He can spit with the best of them but I am appreciating his increasing focus on statements and messages while avoiding being too preachy.

Type of knowledge dropped?

Political and cultural no doubt.
[message_box title=”Additional Details” color=”white”]Artist: Brother Ali
Album: Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color
Year Released: 2012
Producer: Jake One
Label: Rhymesayers

 

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Jewelz – Boogie Down Productions “Beef”

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What do I need to know?

Mr. Knowledge Reigns Supreme has so many Jewelz that we could make the entire section about his catalog alone. Throughout his career KRS has taken us on a journey that has seen his stances on everything from politics, religion and yes food evolve as he has grown. “Beef” comes off of the 1990 Edutainment album that covers a number of socio-political topics from the Blastmaster.

What’s the story?

On “My Philosophy,” KRS let us know he’s down with a vegetarian diet passing on “goat or ham or chicken or turkey or hamburger.” On “Beef” you start to understand why as he details the specifics on how meat gets to the supermarket and ultimately onto your plate. Not appetizing to say the least. In the midst of completely disgusting you with details, KRS calls out the FDA as legal drug dealers for slanging meat as a truly healthy and needed part of your diet. If the best way to get people to give up meat is to go to a slaughterhouse then this is the audio version of that experience.

Let us begin with the cow
The way it gets to your plate and how
The cow doesn’t grow fast enough for man
So through his greed he makes a faster plan
He has drugs to make the cow grow quicker
Through the stress the cow gets sicker
Twenty-one different drugs are pumped
Into the cow in one big lump
So just before it dies, it cries
In the slaughterhouse full of germs and flies
Off with the head, they pack it, drain it, and cart it
And there it is, in your local supermarket
Red and bloody, a corpse, neatly packed
And you wonder about heart attacks?

Is it any good?

One verse is all it takes and KRS goes in on the government, suggests reading material for you to improve your diet, educates on the unnatural way animals are grown to increase size etc. And this was way before cloning meat and pink slime! I could only imagine the sequel. Lyrics are still extremely relevant, however, the beat doesn’t have the same lasting appeal to me. Regardless, KRS is one of the best at edutainment and here knowledge was dropped!

Type of knowledge dropped?

Health Knowledge and even some political as well when discussing the role the government plays in the current American diet.

[message_box title=”Additional Details” color=”white”]Artist: Boogie Down Productions
Album: Edutainment
Year Released: 1990
Producer: KRS-One
Label: Jive/RCA Records

 

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Jewelz: Ice Cube – I Wanna Kill Sam (Death Certificate)

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What do I need to know?

Back in the early 90s Ice Cube was far from the guy you see in Coors Light commercials and big screen comedies today. He was the self proclaimed “Ni–a Ya love to Hate” and after leaving N.W.A and working with Public Enemy on his debut album “AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted” he was in full political form by the time “Death Certificate,” his second full length, dropped.

What’s the story?

On the surface “I Wanna Kill Sam” is Ice Cube’s straight up death threat on wax to Uncle Sam, the iconic personification of the U.S. government. After Cube dispenses with the specifics of the impending beatdown he starts explaining his beef with “Sam”. It’s here that if you dig slightly deeper and get your Michael Eric Dyson on you’ll find that Cube is juxtaposing the slave trade with the modern military. Throughout the song Cube drops clips of cliche Army rhetoric (“We do more before 7 am than most ni–as do in their whole lifetime”) and Uncle Sam going door to door recruiting through selective service (“I have reason to believe someone in this household is 18, am I correct?”) to show a few of the ways the government is trying to trick African Americans into enlisting with false promises only to realize later they were being setup.

“He came to my house, I let ’em bail in
Cause he said he was down with the L.M
He gave up a little dap
Then turned around, and pulled out a gat
I knew it was a caper
I said, “Please don’t kill my mother,” so he raped her
Tied me up, took me outside
And I was thrown in a big truck
And it was packed like sardines
Full of ni–as, who fell for the same scheme
Took us to a place and made us work
All day and we couldn’t have shit to say
Broke up the families forever
And to this day black folks can’t stick together”

Is it any good?

This song bangs!! Lyrically Ice Cube was on top of his craft and at this point in his career he was one of if not the best MC in the game. He was hard to the core but dropping knowledge and challenging the system all at the same time. Sonically, Sir Jinx kept it funky with Parliament and James Brown samples among others to keep your head nodding while Cube dropped more jewels “than Slick Rick and Mr. T in a fist fight.” “I Wanna Kill Sam” is just one of a number of tracks on “Death Certificate” that interspersed social consciousness in the midst of hardcore gangsta rap. Conceptually and musically “Death Certificate” is arguably Ice Cube’s best album and one of the greatest hip hop LPs ever made.

Type of knowledge dropped?

Definitely political but let’s be honest Ice Cube has a pretty jaded view of the government with his belief that everything from taxation to H.I.V are ruses to hold minorities down. But he is so in your face and drops enough truths and plausible arguments to at least make you think and challenge your perception of the system. Additionally, he was speaking for a subculture that really did feel this way and still do to this day! Regardless of President Obama’s residence there is still a lot of mistrust (some manufactured and some legitimate) of the government be it state, local or federal.

[message_box title=”Additional Details” color=”white”]Artist: Ice Cube
Album: Death Certificate
Year Released: 1991
Producer: Sir Jinx
Label: Priority / EMI Records

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