Monday 30 March 2009

They cut down the trees and name the roads after them

Architects of Control Program One - Mass Control & Future of Mankind
Michal Tsarion - "They cut down the trees and name the roads after them."

Stop the Clash of Civilizations

DR. Amos Wilson LECTURE

Rap Terrorist Goes To School
Watch Lavoisier talk to school kids about lying rappers, snitching, and more!
Feedback Welcome:

Gnosis Channel

Saturday 28 March 2009

Put People First!!!

Peace, Love, Unity, Justice, People Power & Equality!!!
Direct Link!!!

On 28th March thousands marched through London as part of a global campaign to challenge the G20, ahead of their 2nd April summit on the global financial crisis.
We marched for...



& climate (Omnipotent Eye in the Sky...)

They shall not cross!

Jarrow Man Remix

The Jarrow Crusade, Old School People Power!!!

"No More!!!!"

Tuesday 24 March 2009

Skin Teeth!!!

cutty ranks @ 1986 PNP Political Rally

Pinchers - Reggae Sunsplash '92

Wayne Wonder & Buju Banton - Reggae Sunsplash '92


ninja man vs junior cat Stone Love Sound1997

Mavado,Demarco, Vybz Kartel,Elephant, Busy signal
Shoot Out Riddim

Wednesday 4 March 2009

"This Beat Is Military" - Hip-Hop, Computer Games & The Military

50 Cent Blood On The Sand

Swordfish Studios and Shady Aftermath have just released a new 50 Cent computer game called "Blood In The Sand". Its described as “a loud shiny parade of gun violence and rap music.”

“Surprise bitches” 50 Cent in game dialogue

“Their world, his rules.”

In the Xbox game, you Dodge R.P.G.’s AK Fire, Drive around in Hummers (Military - no rims) avoiding Snipers in a poor war torn Arab country in a casual mix of Desert combat fatigues and Hip-Hop/Hood wear.

“THE ULTIMATE 50 CENT EXPERIENCE - Play as one of the world’s biggest hip hop stars.”

There is plenty of product placement as you would expect, G-Unit everything, Reebok G-Unit signature sneakers, it ends up as a symbiotic mix of hood wars and world wars all rolled (role modelled) up into very strange message.

50 Cent Still

Private Security On The Ground

50 Cent performing at an MTV event celebrating Military Veterans (in full fatigue gear)

It is nothing new for Rappers to dress in Military surplus, Marine caps, Desert Boots, camo jackets, Jeep Caps are all and have been for quite some time hip-hop staple wear. Army surplus is durable, practicle and cheap.

But looking at 30 plus Rapper 50 Cent and his slimmed down G-Unit entourage Lloyd Banks and DJ etc, conducting urban gorilla battles with masked terrorists, it looks so much like the footage of the private security corporations like Haliburton etc, of ex-military personnel with a loose collection of firearms and civilian and military uniform. As we know the U.S. military machine is winding down troop numbers in Iraq, these Security firms which almost outnumber Regular military personnel, will step in to fill the breach.

Controversial Private Security Firm Black Water

50 is one of the biggest selling Hip-Hop artists ever, so on a corporate responsibility level and the amount of impressionable young ears he has access to is “Intense High Body Count Gun play” such a good thing?

Aaron Blean, Producer on 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand describes the game is “a fictional Middle Eastern setting”, “war-torn country”. Although it is just a game at present there are only a few countries that fit this description, namely countries where the U.S. and various other European nations are engaged. Many of these same nations the U.S. in particular are the core target audience for the game.

Aaron Blean, Producer on 50 manning the gun on a Black hawk helicopter -
“Basically, 50 takes over a helicopter via a gun to the pilot's head and 50's manning a turret, raining death from above into this forsaken, war-torn area. It looks fantastic.”

“This city has the worst gangsters in the world” – Arab Character in the game remarks

“Just another day at the office” 50 Cent

“I’m a hustler, in God we Trust, ashes to ashes, we sling the dust” - 50 Cent lyrics in the game.

But Australian government was not so keen on the violent content of the game as explained by the producer to

IGN AU: Australia's classification board, the dreaded OFLC, actually banned the original game for a while. I'm curious, first of all, if you remember that, and secondly, if you're working with all the classification boards to make sure 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand gets through the classification process?

Aaron Blean: Oh, absolutely. When we first presented it to the board, we had some challenges. But we made a low-violence version for Australia, so it did end up shipping. As for the sequel, we're creating a mature title here for North America and we're getting heavily involved with not only our international partners here but also with the ratings boards, so that we get ahead of any concerns about the game that would hinder the game from shipping there. So, we're already taking the necessary steps to ensure that this game will be shipped in any territory that has violence concerns.

Advert for the original 50 computer game, which was a urban evironment "shoot 'em up".

G-Unit Rider Pt2

The advertising banner above the article for a computer page I took from had content specific advertising, R.A.F Royal Airforce, suggesting that the British military are also attempting to recruit from within the Gaming community.

Recent movie featuring 50 Cent as a Soldier in Iraq

80's recruitment advert for women

and for the Black community

US Army using Hip-Hop style Street Team Techniques for recuiting

“I done told you boy I'm a soldier boy, I got no choice but to be a rider” 50 Cent - RIDER PT. 2

Criminal Conviction Waiver to take the strain of drops in Military recruitment

Operation Hollywood is an excellent documentary exploring the relationship between the U.S. Military and Hollywood.

As the Computer Games Industry is bigger than the music industry and could overtake the Film Industry, is there now a clamour for using Computer Games as Military propaganda?

US Army Commercial Targeting Video Gamers

The Army Game Project description from the US Armies website:

Launched in July 2002 the America's Army game, which is rated "T" for Teen by the ESRB, has become one of the most popular computer games in the world. America's Army has penetrated contemporary culture and is one of the most recognizable game brands as a result of its unique inside perspective of the U.S. Army and its exciting gameplay. As the game's popularity continued to grow with each of its dozens of new version releases, the Army has expanded its brand through a variety of products including console and cell phone games, America's Army merchandise such as t-shirts, the Real Heroes program which tells the stories of heroic Soldiers, training applications for use within the military and government sectors, and the incredible Virtual Army Experience. In the near future, the America's Army brand will expand with the launch of America's Army: True Soldiers for Xbox 360 in the Fall of 2007 and America's Army version 3.0 next year.

In the America's Army game, players are bound by Rules of Engagement (ROE) and grow in experience as they navigate challenges in teamwork-based, multiplayer, force versus force operations. In the game, as in the Army, accomplishing missions requires a team effort and adherence to the seven Army Core Values. Through its emphasis on team play, the game demonstrates these values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage and makes them integral to success in America's Army.

In keeping with the dynamic nature of Soldiering, the America's Army game will continue to expand and will allow players to explore the Army of today, tomorrow and the future.

There's strong, and then there's Army Strong!"

"The armies goal? To educate the public about what serving in the Armed Forces is really like, potentially giving a boost to its recruiting numbers "

“War ain't no Computer Game!!!” A video made by a concerned parent read the side bar comment

America's Army

“America's Army - or the Army Game Project - is a freeware tactical multiplayer first-person shooter game -- owned by the United States Government. It's the first game that made recruitment its explicit goal -- and the first well-known use of computer gaming for political aims. Gamers should also realize that America's Army was originally designed to test military aptitude -- and that your online gaming data IS being collected.”

Americas Army Special Forces Trailer
“Empower youself”

Lil’ Wyte (Three Six Mafia)

Lil WYTE U.S.Soldier Boy'-Wyte/09FEF2F6CC19506D48256F2F0005E5CF

Crunchy Blac:
I'ma U.S. mother fuckin soldier boy/
Playin around with them army toys/
You wanna go to war then we can go to war/
See W.Bush he sent us over boy/
Them men all went and got some soldier toys/
Put 'em in a battle and we'll showed you boys/
That army fatigue we gonna make some noise/
And blow that mother fucker from shore to shore/

I’m one of the rappers that understands the difference between entertainment and real life.” - Lil WYTE

US Army Rapper on Recruitment tour

Tricked out US Army Reruiting Hummer

In the US the military is seen as a way out, a job for life, a way to pay for collage tuition. In low income areas recruiting offices are very common, and African Americans and Latin Americans make up a large section of the US military. So hypothetically what better way to target those particular groups, than through Rap music, Video Games and Films featuring "Hood Stars".

Recruiting in the Latino Community

1978 recuitment poster

After the Vietnam war for example, when a huge swathe of military vets returned to the US with no jobs, large scale gang networks started to appear, from L.A. to N.Y. in the 70's the seeds of the cross country gang culture started to appear. Some people say this was as a result in part of the Vietnam War. New York Times Reporters Sontag and Alvarez unearthed a study from 1988 that claims a link between increased Crime and Vietnam Vets.

"The National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study, considered the most thorough analysis of this population, found that 15 percent of the male veterans still suffered from full-blown post-traumatic stress disorder more than a decade after the war ended. Half of the veterans with active PTSD had been arrested or in jail at least once, and 34.2 percent more than once. Some 11.5 percent of them had been convicted of felonies, and veterans are more likely to have committed violent crimes than nonveterans, according to government studies. In the mid-1980s, with so many Vietnam veterans behind bars that Vietnam Veterans of America created chapters in prisons, veterans made up a fifth of the nation’s inmate population.

"As Iraq and Afghanistan veterans get enmeshed in the criminal justice system, former advocates for Vietnam veterans are disheartened by what they see as history repeating itself."

Gangs in the Military

School For LA Gangsters - US Military

Gangland - Gangs In The Military 'Basic Training' 1 of 5

People have said that Iraq was the first war with a Hip-Hop soundtrack, and there is some truth in that, but when you have a monopoly on every aspect of influence on young people and it is so highly charged with violence and singular aims, how does that expression play out in a cilvilian environment? Are we seeing unprecidented increased murder rates in the US and the UK, as a result in part by the militarisation of entertainment?

Teenagers with a Military Recruiter at Career day in New York

Iraqi child Malitia with 50Cent T-shirt

“Chess anyone?”


This article is in no way negative to the members of the armed forces or their families. It is just examining the milaterisation of young peoples entertainment.

"Grounding Wmp Ltd" Concious Bookstore

"Grounding Wmp Ltd" is an independent Conscious Bookstore, Clothing shop, also selling conscious and knowledge DVDs. The shop specializes in Kemetic studies and specialising in Egyptian Yoga, and is the sole distributor for Dr. Muata Ashby in the UK.

They stock Hip-Hop, Reggae, Mixtapes DVDs and clothing. The also have Rastafarian, books, jewellery and paraphernalia.

This is NOT an advert, it is just a suggestion for people who are looking for interesting information, and it is important to support Local Conscious shop keepers... As some of the cooperate bookshops have noticeably started to "dumb down" their Esoteric/Conscious sections

Grounding Wmp Ltd
Seven Sisters Indoor Market
Unit 29-31
321 High Road,
London N15 5BT
Tel: +44-208-800-2727
Email enquiries:

"There ain't nuthin' like (NEW) Hip-Hop music"

For those that say there is no new(-ish) music

Distrakt - Fire Escape

Az - The format (Prod Dj-Premier)“Did the 360, the cyphers closed!”

Muhammad Walks - Lupe Fiasco

Murs - Risky Business(ft. Shock G and Humpty)

KRS-One & Marley Marl - Hip-Hop Lives!

Tuesday 3 March 2009

Kool Sphere (CWK/Verbal Threat) Interview

Kool Sphere Interview

As writers from the Bronx and Manhattan gained much of the media shine in the early days, Queens borough graffiti contribution is undeniable but one that often gets over looked. Kool Sphere cut his teeth as both a graffiti writer riding the 7's surviving local hood wars, and later on battling MC's live on New York College radio, so he definitely knows the Queens County's legacy.

While moving back and forth between New York and L.A. over the years, he got to experience both coasts' hiphop scenes along with the familiar story of hustling to get equipment and studio time. It all paid off though, what with rocking shows with The Neptunes, Method Man, The Pharcyde, Slum Village, and recording with DJ Premier, Kool G Rap and Wu-Tang's Bronze Nazareth.

Sphere has kept all angles covered still regularly dropping burners designing graffiti t-shirts for clothing label Wild Style Technicians, and his music featured in the Interscope movie "The Next Episode". There is a lot in the works; as well as breaking into soundtrack work, there is a solo Kool Sphere project and a Verbal Threat album coming soon. Sphere took time away from the grind to talk to us about, the past, the future and keeping the love for the game alive.

What do you write and what crew are you in?

Kool Sphere, CWK, KDM, TDC, WST and Verbal Threat.

Where are you from?

Queens, NYC.

Who was the first writer you noticed?

[It was a writer called] Sick from the Bronx, and seeing him up on highways, as well as Saint and Sife UQA.

When did you start writing?

Around 1985 or so.

Outside of New York, a lot of people are aware of the Bronx through Subway Art; but the story of Queens graf is not a very well known one. What was it like back then?

Queens, just like the other boros in NYC, has a history of its own. The 80’s were a very real time in hip-hop, the graff and the music. Violence came hand in hand in both aspects, where as now it seems to be non-existent. There were many real pioneers that did their thing coming up in the game. NYC was a crazy place from the 80's through to the early 90's. We lived through years of roll ups, with 10 car loads of cats, packing bats, box cutters, mace etc. Years of chillin' on the corners, outside bodegas and liquor stores. So many good memories from the good, to the bad. NYC will never be the same again.

New York Bodega

Who are some of the Kings from Queens people should be aware of?

Saint and Ghost.

Ket&Ghost Clean Train from Press Pause's Flickr page

How would you describe your style?

Being from the old school, what do you feel about modern graffiti?

I'm not really feeling the new styles. I prefer the 80's NYC style of piecing, straight letters, throw-ups, handstyles etc.

How do you feel has graff influenced, or changed your life? For the good or bad?

For the good. I took the respect I had for graff into the hip-hop game, as an MC for my group Verbal Threat.

What are some of your graffiti memories?

Just rocking pieces with cats I respected over the years, Sketch CWK, Snatch CWK, SHO TDC, Zone, Dase WST.

What does it mean to you to be a member of your crew?

Its nice to be down with cats that have a high level of skill with styles, and pieces. It makes you want to step up your game.

Going forward what do you hope to accomplish with your art?
Just preserving styles from the old school and incorporating my style into that. I bring it back to life through my designs for Verbal Threat clothing and promotional material. Right now I'm liking the shirt design, I wrote Verbal Threat in a tag with a pilot [marker] for one. I'm starting a clothing line in 2007.

Who does Verbal Threat consist of?

Kool Sphere and MC Reppond, and we collab with Ray Rob on the drums, and DJ Flict for live shows.

As an MC, when did it become more serious, and less of just ciphering with your crew?

I started MCing around 1990 or so. Kool G Rap’s Wanted Dead Or Alive changed me personally, forever. We became more serious when the whole game started getting too commercial. We were heavily influenced by Gangstarr and DJ Premier Kool G Rap etc, so we felt the need to take the torch, and continue down the same road they paved for us. That’s the difference! I’ve heard rappers in the past that have gone commercial, cite people like Primo or Wu-Tang as influences… Then put out that typical radio garbage rap. Reppond feel and me that, if you really want to give props to the cats that influenced you, follow in the footsteps they were headed and put out legitimate hip-hop music. That is the ultimate thanks you could give back to the pioneers that came before you. Believe me… If it wasn’t for cats like Gangstarr, Kool G Rap and Wu?! We wouldn't be here today.

How did you first get introduced into the music industry?

Around 1994 me and M.C. Reppond starting getting access to recording studios, and began recording where ever we could, and just started to hit the streets.

Who are some of the artists you have worked with?

Kool G Rap, DJ Premier, Sadat X, Da Beatminerz, DJ Babu from Dilated Peoples/BeatJunkies, the Wu-Tang's Mathematics, 4th Disciple and Bronze Nazareth.

Verbal Threat with DJ Premier

How did you end up hooking up with Premier and Kool G Rap?

Many years of grinding in the game, and having mutual friends in the industry, who wanted to make the collabos happen. We've prided ourselves over the years by sticking to a real formula, and keeping the old school current.

When can people expect to hear some new releases from Verbal Threat?

Our new single Reality Check (produced by DJ Premier) is killing the streets, and we flipped the b-side with Kool G Rap, and production by the Wu's Bronze Nazareth. The new Verbal Threat album is coming soon, entitled The Golden Era and is dropping December 2006. We just got back from shooting the video for Reality Check in NYC last week. Locations from Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan to Brooklyn rooftops.

The Verbal Threat 12" single "Reality Check" is in stores now, and Autobiography/Boxcutter/BackStagePasses out now

- Originally posted on 24.10.06 by Shucks One
- Photo credit: Kool Sphere

Related Links:

Kool Sphere's Blog
Kool Sphere's Myspace
Kool Shere's Youtube Page
Verbal Threat Myspace

Also check The Kool Skool Interviews Tame One - Boom Skwad (Ex-Artifacts)