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Our Poet of the Year!

Brook Yung New Poem! ...................... KANYE WEST New Album ..................... HIP HOP BORE NO CHIDREN Cover Story


Brook Yung “Shes Been Absent for a While

Joshua Bennett “Ten Things I Want to Say to Black a Women”

Brook Yung “Speak Your Mind”

Aja Monet “At Ink Slam 09”


Red Electric Guitar

Red electric guitar, Mowing through the sky Dauntless beam of music light shattering the red mask of clouds O how they sit strong in the foot hills of heaven Gauzing the blood of god, Hard rock of hard rock Strong bubble of strings zinging and screeching Like a sword dragging through a chest of metal, sparks bleeding from the blade Electric ear picnic, network of human nerve bundling and thumping Through the arm like heroin Raging head hazard, each hard note crocheting like disarranged bones Eating through a white crown of day fuzz Truckload of loud noise rustling the brain, light bulbs hang in the head It’s got a spine of stone that guitar, that guitar there got its very own engine of thoughts, melodic mind razor Lasering the clouds, 5,000 watts of pure soul The prodigy of sound, slaved in the depths of its own prowess Defusing the sky, cleaving like four hungry wrist Original author of god, Jumbling heart volcano Hard ocean of sound, Cocktail of thumbs strumming its iron gills Fiery wells of electric sonance channeling the after life Translating time through vibration A bridge of hot soul, harnessing the secret of the sky Guardian of vibrant noise, in the heart the racket cracks In my head there is a guitar, in my head the guitar plays fat wads of crashing chords so loud, it’ll burn a hole through you © Protected by UCO. (Copyright 2009) Posted by Brook Yung at 10:17 AM 4 comments Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Ingrown germ, sleazy vein static Another awkward night, eh? Have you come to dine her brain, to drink away at the wine of her dreams? Were you watching from the window the first moment she fell from her head, When the pills gave her a bad twitch? How fur clouded in her eyes like a white bush of soap? How blue blood fell from the window seal of her skull? She says it feels like a centipede after the food Her head bends and straightens, bends and straightens Strange slinky vortex of mind Swaying like an ocean coral seesaw When she cries The tears fall from her eyes like quartz crystal Flopping into thigh, smacking and stinging the skin She doesn’t do it on purpose Sometimes they do it all on their own Disobedient little bugs; those too marbles swinging in her head At night, the T.V. glows like a campus of jackal lanterns She says she keeps it on so she doesn’t hear the moths She’s scared of the moths; her favorite color is outside I catch her playing with the light switch a lot Making wolves with her hands And alligators with construction paper She says her name is Fourteen She sews her words like a web to me, Precise and calculated She aint the brightest jellybean in the jar Give her a morgue and she’ll build you a tunnel of throats Give her a pair of wings And I’ll bet you she can find the pair of ankles they belong to

Hip Hop Bore No Children By: Dominique Wright

Hip Hop Bore no Children

Hip Hop is the mistreated child that lifted a cul-

ture whose power was frail, into positions you could never image. It is the savor to thousands of urban children who had been silenced by music they could not relate to. Though hip hop bloomed into many great things it cannot be personified and it will never be tangible. Hip Hop is not a mother or a father it is simply music and it is not responsible for teen misbehavior.

Rapper Wale performs at Hampton University Hip Hop rose from the trenches of the Bronx, New York in the early 70’s. The way artist such as Grand Master Flash and Furious Five combined sick beats with deadly lyrics was something America had never heard before. It was the child of African American culture, carefully nurtured and pushed into the greedy hands of mainstream America. Once Hip Hop was introduced to mainstream America the true to life, raw messages could not be tolerated by its new listeners. When rap groups such as NWA emerged from the means streets of California taking the world by storm. Hip hop suddenly became a parent’s scapegoat. Parents could now blame their children’s behavior problems on edgy rap music. When teens acted out in rage or demonstrated violent behavior, rap lyrics were responsible. It is parent’s primary responsibility to ensure their children behave in a civilized manner. Guardians are supposed to make sure their children are not doing anything that can potentially cause harm. For example, if a child drowns in a swimming pool, their

parents are put in jail. The police do not prosecute the pool for drowning the child. This should also be considered when discussing hip hops negative effects on the behavior of children. Although hip hop has both positive and negative effects on its customers, its sole purpose is to entertain. No matter how inspirational music may be, parents should never suggest there children seek guidance in hip hop or any other form of music. Although parents should never recommend their children mimic rappers, the reality is children do imitate rap stars. Hip Hop music became more than a form of music. Somewhere along the way hip hop evolved into a culture. Where people searched for guidance on how to dress and behave. The 21 year old rap star who had recently been released from prison was now your son’s role model. Even though the artist may have never wanted to become any ones role model, the truth is that is what he became. With that said that is still not a valid reason to blame behavior problems on hip hop music. Ultimately at the end of the day parent’s jobs are to take the images provided by hip hop and show them what was okay to imitate and what was not okay. Another thing parents should consider before they blame their teens outrageous actions on hip hop is the fact that all hip hop record are stamped with a sticker that reads parental advisory is advised. If you allow your child to purchase something that you don’t approve of there is no need to blame the artist who created it. The fact that the artist warns their audience about the product goes beyond their jobs. Parents need to take responsibility for their children and understand that hip hop music is not the cause. The beauty in Hip Hop music was the fact that it was laced with reality. The suburban child could pop in a Tupac cd and understand the struggles of a child raised in a urban lower income city. Hip hop united the world, exposed conditions and set trends. Though the lyrics were often controversial and raw, many things said were true to life. While Hip Hop bloomed into a lifestyle, it never took on the title mother and father and should never be held responsible for teen misbehavior.

Kanye West Releases New Album

Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Release Date: November 22, 2010 Label: Island Def Jam Table of Contents Abstract Details remained scarce for a while about My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, even to the point it was thought by most to be called Good Ass Job. But apparently it is his best hip-hop record yet, at least, that's what Drake implied in an interview with GQ Magazine. And it finds Yeezy is making his return to hip-hop and leaving the Auto-Tune behind after 808s & Heartbreaks. But don't be surprised if the vocal effect makes an appearance here or there as it's been featured on every one of his albums in some way or another. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy features Jay-Z, Pusha T, Big Sean, Drake and KiD CuDi, among others who appeared on West's series of G.O.O.D. Friday music leaks. The album will also include beats from outside producers, something West had done before but never to this extent. This time around, he will be joined by Q-Tip, No I.D., RZA, Pete Rock, and DJ Premier, the last of whom provided scratches on "Everything I Am" off Graduation. ~ Andrew Martin Review By Craig Jenkins Prefix Rating 9.5 Average Rating

service to the song, willing to call on whatever stable of talent and deliver whatever level of public self-flagellation that is required to get the point across. For that reason, watching Kanye’s meteoric rise has always carried a hint of voyeurism. When things were going well, Kanye’s albums were all-access passes to his newfound celebrity. Recently they haven’t been going so well, though. In the wake of his drunken gaffe onstage at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, Kanye quickly became the music industry’s biggest heel, enduring the ridicule of everyone from laymen to bloggers to fellow musicians to the president of the United States. Kanye seemed to vanish after the Taylor Swift fiasco, but it turns out much of the duration of West’s supposed exile was spent in Hawaii recording. West returned with the snarling, King Crimson-sampling “Power” in May and began a track-a-week music series called G.O.O.D. Fridays that gifted fans epic posse cuts that packed many of the music industry’s best and brightest into six- and seven-minute workouts. The G.O.O.D. Friday tracks were fantastic publicity: Not only did they slowly worm Kanye back into the good graces of the public, but they also prepared us, step by step, for what he had in store for us.


For a pop star, Kanye West has always been shockingly transparent. His debut album, The College Dropout, dissected the highs and lows of the twentysomething worker bee with relatable everyman charm. When his mother passed and his girlfriend dumped him a few years back, he took to the airwaves with 808s & Heartbreak, which was one long Auto-Tuned emotional meltdown. His persona has always thrived on his weaknesses as much as his strengths -- and his awareness of them. He knows his limitations, and if nothing else, his decision to write and produce his last few albums by committee communicates that. Only Jon Brion could’ve given Late Registration the orchestral, Ivy League pomp it deserved. DJ Toomp and Mike Dean’s bleating synths brought Graduation greater depth of musical character. Kid Cudi’s dejected but tuneful songwriting car- That next step is My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, ried much of 808s & Heartbreak. Kanye is forever in a lushly orchestrated, regal gala of an album that is

every bit as outsized and jumbled as its adjectiveengorged title. The album benefits from the shared production and songwriting talent of a pantheon of artists from all over the musical landscape. On the first song alone, RZA supplies a sinister two-note groove punctuated by gorgeous choral breakdowns, vocals from Bon Iver, and a narrative from Nicki Minaj in a faux British accent. Elsewhere Kanye tricks out Bon Iver’s “Woods” on “Lost in the World," adding tribal chants and percussion and a pulsating house beat. Bink’s beat for “Devil in a New Dress” peters out midway through, and a live band plays a sultry, emotive take on that beat.

That is to say, Dark Twisted Fantasy is an album full off melodic ideas, copious guest features, winding songs, unexpected twists, and improbable pairings. Its ethos is “more is more,” and where similarly extravagant outings have failed on the wings of their own excess, this one gets over for being rooted in Kanye’s most tuneful and accessible set of tunes in ages. The simple piano melody at the heart of “Runaway," the triumphant trumpet fanfares of “All of the Lights," and other flourishes cement Kanye’s skills as a talented pop architect with an undeniable ear for melody. Sweet as it may sound at times, though, this album is called My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy for a reason. The lyrics chronicle the flip side of the “Good Life” Kanye toasted on Graduation. Anger is its currency. Surface friends, hangers on, and doubters are decried on “Monster” and “So Appalled."

The first verse of “Gorgeous” is a bilious rant about racial inequality. “All of the Lights” details a man's struggle to restore communication with his family after domestic abuse. There's a lot of douchebaggery here, "Runaway" notwithstanding. “I embody every characteristic of the egotistic," he rhymes in “Power." Dark Twisted Fantasy is very much a reflection on what it means to be the bad guy. Ever aware of his own reception and bad press, Kanye skulked off and crafted his response: a meticulously constructed, bombastic fuck you. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, like 2008’s 808s and Heartbreak, derives its intrigue from the shortcomings of its creator. It’s a meditation on fame, on everyone thinking you’re the shit, knowing you’re the shit, and knowing everyone knows you think you’re the shit. It’s a sobering trek through the dark stretches of the mind of a notoriously hot-tempered musical visionary with a star-studded Rolodex. But all of the hands on deck are cast into roles that take advantage of their various strengths. Everyone involved in this thing kills, and Kanye has again pushed the envelope, filling these songs with instrumentation and structural elements that have more in common with progressive rock and the blues than with hip-hop. With My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West has lurched to the vanguard of modern mainstream music. Let’s toast the asshole.

Jay-Z's 'Decoded': From Hip-Hop to Barack and Beyond

The 20 Biggest Revelations on Rap, Race and More in Jay-Z's 'Decoded' By SHEILA MARIKAR Jay-Z is not your typical celebrity. His first book, "Decoded," is not your typical celebrity memoir. In it, Jay-Z (real name: Sean Carter, aliases: many) paints the portrait of his life by delving into his lyrics, unwrapping his metaphors and opening up his ideology. He reveals who he was before he sold 50 million albums, scored 10 Grammys and established himself as a fixture in Forbes (current net worth: $450 million) as well as music history. He also ruminates on politics, race, and what it means to be successful in America.

Ambitious man, ambitious book, ambitious mar keting campaign: Jay-Z teamed up with the search engine Bing to create a scavenger hunt that "hid" all 305 pages of "Decoded," which goes on sale today, in 200 locations pivotal in his life. The grand prize for a fan who "decodes" all the pages online: a lifetime pass that grants them free access to every single Jay-Z show on earth for the rest of their lives,

and lets them bring a friend along for the ride. But for any hip-hop fan, the ride contained in "Decoded's" pages is exhilarating enough. Below, 20 of Jay-Z's biggest revelations from his first tome: On why hip-hop is controversial: Hip-hop has always been controversial, and for good reason. ... It leaves s**t rattling around in your head that won't make sense till the fifth or sixth time through. It challenges you. Which is the other reason hip-hop is controversial: People don't bother trying to get it. The problem isn't in the rap or the rapper or the culture. The problem is that so many people don't even know how to listen to the music. On people who misread hip-hop: The art of rap is deceptive. It seems so straightforward and personal and real that people read it completely literally, as raw testimony or autobiography. And sometimes the words we use, n***a, b***h, motherf***er, and the violence of the images overwhelms some listeners. It's all white noise to them till they hear a b***h or a n***a and then they run off yelling "See!" and feel vindicated in their narrow conception of what the music is about. But that would be like listening to Maya Angelou and ignoring everything until you hear her drop a line about drinking or sleeping with someone's husband and then dismissing her as an alcoholic adulterer. But I can't say I've ever given much of a f**k about people who hear a curse word and start foaming at the mouth. The Fox News dummies. They wouldn't know art if it fell on them. Cops, Cristal and Crack Cocaine On how police target rappers, and a cop who tailed him for seven years: The hip-hop cop stayed outside the clubs I was in. Every time I walked into a club he'd joke with me. "You got a gun?" I would f**k with him right back: "Do you?" For seven years that cop was there, at every club, every show. But I still have to ask myself why. Rappers, as a class, are not engaged in anything criminal. They're musicians. Some rappers and friends of rappers commit crimes. Some bus drivers commit crimes. Some accountants commit crimes. But there aren't task forces devoted to bus drivers or accountants. Bus drivers don't have to work under the preemptive suspicion of law enforcement. The difference is obvious, of course: Rappers are young black men telling stories that the police, among others, don't want to hear. ... The fact that law enforcement treats rap like organized crime tells you a lot about just how deeply rap offends some people -- they'd love for rap itself to be a crime, but until they get that law passed, they come after us however

they can. On his denouncing Cristal, the champagne he once rapped about: A journalist at The Economist asked Frederic Rouzaud, the managing director of the company that makes Cristal: "Do you think your brand is hurt by its association with the 'bling lifestyle?'" This was Rouzard's reply: "That's a good question, but what can we do? We can't forbid people from buying it." He also said that he looked on the association between Cristal and hip-hop with "curiosity and serenity." The Economist printed the quote under the heading "Unwelcome Attention." That was like a slap in the face. ... When people all over started drinking Cristal at clubs -- when Cristal became a household name among young consumers -- it wasn't because of anything Cristal had done. It was because of what we'd done. If Cristal had understood this dynamic, they never would've been so dismissive. The truth is, we didn't need them to tolerate us with "curiosity and serenity." In fact, we didn't need them at all.

years of the crack epidemic -- the late '80s and early '90s -- there were literally thousands of homicides annually in New York. So juxtaposing Reagan and bin Laden isn't as crazy as it may seem.

Russell Simmons, Eminem and the Grammys On how Russell Simmons, the co-founder of Def Jam records, changed what it meant to be a CEO: Russell also made being a CEO seem like a better deal than being an artist. He was living the life like crazy, f**king with models, riding in Bentleys with his sneakers sticking out the windows, and never once rapped a single bar. His gift was curating a whole lifestyle -- music, fashion, comedy, film -- and then selling it. He didn't just create the hip-hop business model, he changed the business style of a whole generation of Americans. On his work ethic: When you're on tours like the ones I've done over the last decade, you're like a professional athlete, except that night after night, you're the only one with the bat. When it comes to signing up new talent, that's what I'm looking for -- not just On the n-word: Oprah, for instance, still can't get someone who has skill, but someone built for this past the n-word issue (or the n***a issue, with all life. Someone who has the work ethic, the drive. The apologies to Ms. Winfrey). I can respect her position. gift that [Michael] Jordan had wasn't just that he was To her, it's a matter of acknowledging the deep and willing to do the work, but he loved doing it, because painful history of the word. To me, it's just a word, a he could feel himself getting stronger, ready for anyword whose power is owned by the user and his or thing. her intention. People give words power, so banning a word is futile, really. "N***a" becomes "porch monkey" becomes "coon" and so on if that's what's in a person's heart. The key is to change the person. And we change people through conversation, not censorship. On crack cocaine's effect on Marcy, the Brooklyn projects where he was raised: No one hired a skywriter and announced crack's arrival. But when it landed in your hood, it was a total takeover. Sudden and complete. Like losing your man to gunshots. Or your father walking out the door for good. It was an irreversible new reality. What had been was gone, and in its place was a new way of life that was suddenly everywhere and seemed like it had been there forever. On his comparing former president Ronald Reagan and Osama bin Laden in "Beware of the Boys" with the lines, "Before bin Laden got Manhattan to blow," "Before Ronald Reagan got Manhattan to blow:" Ronald Reagan got Manhattan to "blow" -- slang for cocaine -- through the whole Iran-Contra scandal, which got the United States involved in the drug trade that brought crack to the hood so they could finance the Contras in Central American. In the worst

He left the game and came back and worked just as hard as he did when he started. He came into the game as Rookie of the Year, and he finished off the last playoff game of his career with a shot that won the Bulls their sixth championship. That's the kind of consistency that you can get only by adding deadserious discipline to whatever talent you have. On rapper Eminem's paranoia: It was 2003 and he was on top of the music world -- three major multiplatinum albums, twenty million sold, a number one film with "8 Mile," and on and on. He was probably the biggest star in the world. When we met at the studio, I reached over to give him a pound, and when we bumped, I could feel that he had on a bulletproof vest. Here was Eminem, someone who was doing the thing he loved and succeeding at it probably beyond his wildest dreams, and he had to wear a bullet-proof vest. To the studio. He should've been on a boat somewhere enjoying himself without a care in the world, not worrying about getting shot up on his way to work. On his not going to the 1998 Grammys because they wouldn't televise the rap awards: I was nominated three times that year, but when they told us they weren't televising our awards I decided to stay home. It wasn't a big-deal, formal boycott. God knows there were bigger issues in the world. And eventually I started coming to the show and even performing. But not until they started showing rap the respect it deserves. The larger point was, I wasn't going to be a partner to my own invisibility. Selling Out, Starving Artists and Success On his getting U2 frontman Bono to reevaluate an upcoming U2 album: One night I ran into him [at the Spotted Pig, a NYC restaurant Jay-Z and Bono helped fund] and he told me he'd read an interview I'd done somewhere. The writer had asked me about the U2 record that was about to be released and I said something about the kind of pressure a group like that must be under just to meet their own standard. Bono told me that my quote had really gotten to him. In fact, he said it got him a little anxious. He decided to go back to the studio even though the album was already done and keep reworking it till he thought it was as good as it could possibly be. On "selling out:" It's a recurring story in hip-hop, the tension between art and commerce. Hip-hop is too important as a tool of expression to just be reduced to a commercial product. But what some people call "commercializing" really means is that lots of people buy and listen to your records. That

was always the point, to me. After my first record got on the radio and on BET, it was wild being at home, feeding my fish, and suddenly seeing myself on TV. But it was satisfying. Hearing it on the radio was even better. There may be some artists who don't believe in radio, especially now, because the radio business is such a shady racket, but radio love puts you in the hood for real. I care if regular people -- sisters on their way to work, dudes rolling around in their cars -- hear my s**t. On the notion of the starving artist: There's this sick fascination with the dead artist, the broke artist, the drugged-out artist, the artist who blows all his money on drugs and big chains and ends up on a VH1 special. Or artists so conflicted about making money from their art -- which so often means making money from their pain and confusion and dreams -- that they do stupid s**t with it, set it on fire or something. This is a game people sometimes play with musicians: that to be real, to be authentic, you have to hate having money or that success has to feel like such a burden you want to kill yourself. But whoever said that artists shouldn't pay attention to their business was probably someone with their hand in some artist's pocket. On success: In America -- and in hip-hop -- success is supposed to be about accumulation and consumption. But the finest meal ends up as s**t, which is a great metaphor for the fact that consumption's flip side is decay and waste, and what's left behind is emptiness. Empty apartments, empty stomach, unused objects. Which isn't to say I don't like buying things and having nice meals as much as the next person (okay, maybe even more), but success has to mean something beyond that.


A publication by: Dominique Wright