Emcee Classiq Sounds Off On Ferguson With a Furious Freestyle

Categories: Hip-Hop, politics

Local rapper Emcee Classiq dedicates an impassioned freestyle against police violence in Ferguson, Missouri. It's been 10 tension-filled days since police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown. The young African-American's death set off clashes in the streets between militarized police and angry residents that continued last night in more arrests and unrest. Like rapper J.Cole's raw tribute song "Be Free," Emcee Classiq took to the mic to express his pain.

"Just reading the news and learning another person, and a young person at that, died by the hands of the law, that was just enough to dive in and finally speak up," the rapper says. Emcee Classiq teamed with Weekly to premiere "Ferguson Freestyle."

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Why Popular Music Needs to Become Political Again

Categories: politics

By: Steve Brennan

Like it or not, Pharell Williams' "Happy" is likely to be the top-selling single of 2014. And yes, its buoyant '60s soul vibe and simple, positive message is modern pop perfection. But scanning the rest of this year's biggest hits, one is struck by a consistent theme: All of these songs are distinctly apolitical. Contemporary slang and the loosening of certain taboos aside, they could have been written in 2002, 1992, even 1982.

Granted, popular music is supposed to provide some kind of escape from everyday life. However, shouldn't it also sometimes reflect what is going on in the wider world at the time of its release? We are not living in a post-Auto-Tune utopia. Persistent economic problems, a deliberately obstructionist U.S. Congress, NSA surveillance, an expanding underclass -- these are issues that seem ripe for lyrical lampooning by contemporary musicians. But no, we'd rather just twerk across America with Miley Cyrus.

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Top Five Left-Wing Love Jams

Categories: Lists , politics

John and Yoko
Does that rabble-rousing agitator arouse flutters of the heart? Don't have the words to express that special kind of activist amor? Troubadours of discontent sound off on injustice but sometimes troublemakers need a little more. Sure, soul rebels like Bob Marley sang about plain ol' love with the best of balladeers. What of the bond between political partners though? Left-wing love jams are a rarity but the Weekly assembled the best in baby-making music for militants.

Hopefully the songs aren't too "problematic" or taken as a mixtape for macktivists!

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Lessons We Learned From The Chican@ Hip-Hop Nation

Categories: Hip-Hop, politics

What can the Chican@ Hip Hop Nation add to the remix of the United States of America? For Chicago State University professor Pancho McFarland, the question is more than worthy of examining and he does just that in his latest book, The Chican@ Hip Hop Nation: Politics of a New Millennial Mestizaje. As a self-described anarchist hip-hop head, McFarland, an Irish Chicano, takes a look at what raza rappers are and aren't saying on the mic about themselves and the world around them. He's principally preoccupied with the music's expressions of identity, potential for liberation politics, and limitations--mainly its sexist mindsets. McFarland teaches hip-hop in his sociology classes and sees it as an avenue to engage students in a form that's responsive to their interests.

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10 Songs to Celebrate the Defeat of DOMA

Thumbnail image for bigfreediapic11.jpg
Courtesy Big Freedia
Big Freedia
According to my Facebook feed, apparently the gays can get married. Or something like that (I didn't read any of those posts). I'm excited not only because legalizing gay marriage is the right thing to do, but because I've learned weddings are the best way to pick up chicks. So, more weddings means more girls, which is totally not gay (not for me, anyway).

Even more importantly, the term "holy matrimony" is single-person code for "massive party" where everyone gets wasted and has a blast. And you know who throws the best parties? The gays, which means gay weddings are going to be fucking awesome.

So hooray to all my homosexual brethren and sistren! You've now earned the right to be as miserable as every one of my married friends. But before you can be miserable, go weeks without sex, get hit with under-the-cover farts, feel the frustration that comes from your husband/wife's lack of dishwashing ability and sit through countless uncomfortable Thanksgiving dinners, you need to get wild.Here, to help you get wild, are 10 gay-friendly songs sure to make any party fabulous.

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Las Cafeteras Use Sign Language in Video Supporting Immigrant Rights, Urge Signing of Petition

Piero F. Giunti
Las Cafeteras! (Annette Torres front/left)

An apparel company raid in Tempe, Arizona earlier this year by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (or Arpayaso we like to call him!) has another immigrant family on the brink of separation. "We don't want our mom to be in jail. We want our mom to come back. Please, help us," 17 year-old Diana Blanco said in sign language during a press conference. Her grandparents are also detained and face a repugnant county attorney whose racist policies push for felony charges and deportations.

Los Angeles-based Chicano folk-fusion band Las Cafeteras first learned about the family's case during a stop in Phoenix along the way to the SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas. They had performed at an event for Puente, a local immigrant rights group, when the idea came from an organizer to link the band to the Blancos.
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Latin Grammy Nominated and Sin Papeles: The Story of La Santa Cecilia's Pepe Carlos

Not one more!
La Santa Cecilia's music video for its latest single "El Hielo (ICE)" premieres today, but this writer got a sneak peek two weekends ago! With Chris Newman of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) present in Anaheim for an event in celebration of jornalero Jose Ucelo, he took the occasion to screen the video before an audience of activists.

The Los Angeles-based Latin Grammy-nominated Latin Alternative band powerfully illustrated the anxieties of living in fear of deportation in the effort directed by Sleep Dealer's Alex Rivera. By the music video's end, the undocumented cast members featured in it were highlighted, including the band's very own requinto and accordion player Pepe Carlos.

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Top Five Anti-War Songs Ten Years After Iraq

Categories: Lists , politics
Ten years ago, "Shock and Awe" airstrikes by U.S. forces in Iraq marked the onset of another invasion of that country. President George W. Bush led a so-called "Coalition of the Willing" mocked by anti-war activists as a "coalition of the shilling" into hostilities under the pretext that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. A decade later, no WMD's have ever been found.

A Brown University study released to mark the anniversary states that at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed and that the war may have contributed to a death count as much as four times that number. Related costs to the U.S. have topped $2 trillion. Few, if any, gains were cited by the report as a rollback in women's rights, a weakened healthcare system, increased militant violence and squandered reconstruction funds were said to be the 'legacy' of the war in Iraq. What a fucking mess!

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Concert Organizers Pull the Plug on Lupe Fiasco's Pre-Inaugural Protest

Categories: Hip-Hop, politics

On the last song of Lupe Fiasco's Food and Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, the rapper rhymed, "And you know me / I don't vote / But the White House / You already know / It's hood now." The lyrics were a hat tip to Barack Obama being the first Black president of the United States. But for anyone wondering if Fiasco, who has been vocally critical of the administration, was softening up politically, they need look no further than what transpired last night at a pre-inaugural celebration concert in Washington D.C.

Fiasco staged a protest at Hamilton Live by repeatedly performing the first verse of his anti-war song "Words I Never Said" off of LASERS for about a half-hour straight as his backing band improvised musically through different instrumentals. He didn't self-censor and rhymed the lines, "Gaza Strip was getting bombed / Obama didn't say shit / That's why I ain't vote for him / Next one either / I'm part of the problem / My problem is I'm peaceful."

Refusing to move on to another song, concert organizers pulled the plug as Fiasco was escorted off the stage.
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Stevie Wonder Cancels Scheduled Los Angeles Performance for Israeli Army Benefit

Categories: politics
Christopher Victorio
The battlegrounds of Palestinian civil society's call for a cultural boycott of Israel usually play out in Tel Aviv or in the music venues of other cities, but this week a prominent cancellation was gained much closer to home. The legendary Stevie Wonder was all set to perform for an annual Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces (FIDF) gala on December 6 in Los Angeles when pressure started mounting from activist groups.

As word got out, the Grammy award amassing musician became the focus of efforts by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel to drop the date. The FIDF issued a press release just yesterday confirming that Wonder, indeed, will no longer be appearing at the event.

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