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Fighting Obstacles Knowing Ultimate Success

October 2005

"There's a lot of people in any given community - rural, inner-city, or whatever - who have simply no access to the arts." ~Jane Alexander


[ MIND THOUGHTS ] .........................................1 Atiba Edwards [ POETICS ] ...........................................................2 Daddy Prevented Her From Playing Piano Ode To New York Our Liberty Bell El Umbral – Come Inside Scotch and Soda Island Love Nanny Miss Lou (For Louise Bennet) Stupor [ PIC’D ]...................................................................7 Lennon [ SALUTE ]..............................................................7 Mi Gente Dead Prez Blue’s Traveler [ UNDER THE NEEDLE ]...................................11 Welcome To Jamrock We Got It For Cheap Vol. 2 War Games

canvas, 2005

Back cover: “Untitled” by Mindy Steffen.

am pleased to welcome all of the new writers and artists that we have in this month’s issue. It is a beautiful thing to see people getting inFOKUS. We are a movement ready to change the face of everything you know, so I, along with all of the C.R.U., welcome and invite you to get [FOKUS]ed. We have consulted and collaborated on many projects on deck for this year, so we have already achieved a name and respect for what we can do and will make happen. It is that time that I and the entire graduating component of F.O.K.U.S., prepare for the next steps after college. I look at what we have done so far and I am happy but I see what we plan and can do and it makes me even happier. F.O.K.U.S. is gearing up for a great year, both in events and also internal structure and longevity. There is an opportunity for you with us. I ask all of you to get in[F.O.K.U.S.] because with us you will get it done. F.O.K.U.S. – we moving, moving, moving, ehh! -Atiba



Front cover: “Hypnotize” by Hana Murray.


Oil on

Alma Davila-Toro • Atiba Edwards [ CONTRIBUTORS ] Oneca Hitchman • Hana Murray • Ali Lasky • Samantha Jean Strand • Mindy Steffen • Sagar Chadha • Ariel Jones • Dave Kempeinen • Lorna Goodison • Winston Nugent • A. Mari • Claire McTaggart • Terra Bogart • T. Pace • Marja Lankinen • Rachael Hudak • Leah Yurasek • Oneca Hitchman • Christie Z/Tools Of War


Fighting Obstacles Knowing Ultimate Success

October 2005

[ POETICS ] .: Daddy Prevented Her From Playing Piano :.

~A. Jones & T. Pace

Daddy prevented her from playing piano Momma told him he could not draw Now they are both criminals Both are now in and out of trouble with the law She screamed daddy I can sing Daddy screamed, “Stay in the books” I ride pass the corner where she hooks She no longer uses her voice, She suffers spousal abuse… He no longer speaks out, He does everything the “superior” race shouts Because their parents made them take the calculator out We’ll never understand Their parents will never understand He now strokes the jail bars Like he used to strum the guitar She use to dance like the red paint on a canvas Vanished Before her eyes The life she wanted to have His dreams drowned in tears At his funeral Momma cried, “Come back! Why did you have to go this way?” “BECAUSE YOU! TOOK MY DREAMS AWAY TOOK APART ME I’VE BEEN DEAD SINCE THE DAY YOU TOOK MY ART AWAY I COULDN’T BE ME MY SOUL WAS LEFT ON STAGE MY VOICE WAS LEFT IN THE MIC MY THOUGHTS WERE LEFT ON CANVAS and this…. I SUNG LIKE A HUMMING BIRD I SPOKE LIKE A LION I DANCED LIKE A SWAN I PAINTED LIKE A BEAUTIFUL BUTTERFLY IN A SUMMERS SKY And none of this flourished Because you took my FOKUS

.: Ode To New York :.

~Claire McTaggart

89.99 the price of walking flash crisp cut white and khaki Nikes copped straight from Transit my man you showed me why to keep ‘em clean on your catwalk sidewalk advertisement page you spotted them first at Rucker park I know this much From you I know this much Hey I heard Jesus at the Gyro stand had to relocate You sent him stumbling uptown “fooock peeg sheet man you foocking cunt” Better luck on 28th , right That’s tough love my man for your standard city prince Its just a story I heard A headline at that From the Canal St Muslim preaching My daily news I haven’t seen you in 3 weeks And I wonder Between sheets of Shakespeare and Kafka Whether the weather today called for umbrellas or Aquafina shoeless Henry always knew 5 minutes before the crowd that instinctive hustle my man that’s the smarts we both liked best you heard that new AZ joint? I heard it’s hot Can’t hear it here though On WJLB Can’t see it shaking through the pool hall Dancers on Gun Hill road while players and their Marlboro menthols nod their head Puerto Rican Martin probly knows the words by now But I can’t taste Cece’s turkey wings and rice she stirs To the beat Nodding her head while her hoops and bracelets jingle My man you kept me fly in dark stretched denim jeans I bought at 11pm some Thursday night in Union Square shoulda rocked ‘em right then


Fighting Obstacles Knowing Ultimate Success past the breakers on 14th and the obese Jamaican goddess selling 3 dollar dangles I still wear or sometimes don’t truth is I’m scared of losing these cheap things these dollar discounts we’ve both learned to live for Cause for the hourly rate at Coldstone in Times Square My man I coulda kept another piece of you with me Red and grey with black looked sick On a petite white tee Big John’s graffiti always on point But my man I gave it to my girl See she’s from north MI So I lent her your style cause she wanted something real you must know how it is its all good tho cause I’ll be back this time for hats and sneakers sometimes I wish they could dance like you pop their chests like the boys in little Haiti strut their stuff on streets that pack like clubs or fill their bellies with grease from Ruby Foo’s watch the Wall street ties toss out business cards round 9pm for cocktail hour at Tao I’ve been away sometime from you I know this because my pockets still have cash from last week my house has 5 beds a dog and a cat I wear flip flops outside all day and my feet my feet are clean what would the watchers on the downtown 6 train think about my clean toes or that on Sunday I saw corn not Edna’s from the stand on 86th and Lex I mean corn still growing on a field that stretched… Well maybe I shouldn’t say how far

October 2005

Your maps and buses couldn’t possibly understand I think about you daily about your breath and stench and sweat and old gum I daydream back to days we spent together and feel nostalgic for the fact that My man My city My New York City You have no idea I’m even gone

.: Our Liberty Bell :.

~Terra Bogart

Our Liberty Bell has a crack Running jagged through and through In wonder an entire lifetime could be spent Straddling the unfortunate circumstances Dissecting each life that runs parallel And somehow This history afflicts me As today fuses into tonight I lie motionless in bed staring at the ceiling The light of my television flickering against the wall My eyelids tire I drift into sleep My self transforms I watch history repeat Awake in a country Both unfamiliar and aged A man named Christopher The story now staged Hispaniola 1492 This land is my land So I treat accordingly Killing each creature That stands in my way On a craggy rock of principle I stand The winds of righteousness whistling through my worn flag Made of the finest of silk And the moral grace of God Guiding my well-equipped hand Firm and absolute I whisper to myself Where shall I begin? Upon which virtue shall I build my empire? My self transformed a century passed A landscape unfamiliar and aged A black man downtrodden and disabused The scene of the story now staged Virginia 1697


Fighting Obstacles Knowing Ultimate Success This body is not mine It belongs to his greed Back aching and hands dripping blood My only hope stifled by hatred I stand misused and choke on the tobacco haze of a burgeoning empire The winds of inequity dry the sweat on my brow Furrowed by the heavy hanging burden of my fate With the moral grace of God Guiding my ill-equipped hand Firm and absolute I scream out loud With which atrocity shall I present our case? Upon which virtue shall I organize our revolt? Again transformed, my day begins A world unfamiliar and aged A woman misplaced and disjointed The locus of our story now staged America 2005 This world must not belong to me But to those who hold office My mind like a revolving door Detached to ashamed Perplexed to irate And suddenly thrust unwillingly into misery In a vacant manmade landscape I linger somewhere between The highway and the strip mall Requesting directions for the easiest way there I can’t help but stare at all the idle intellect and listless lives Passing quickly by me and every relevant juncture of American history Louis Armstrong is still calling from behind my speakers And the smoky image of zootsuiters is perfectly complimenting That of Jack Kerouac wandering Into a kaleidoscope of flower children and resistance Skulking back to the sidelines Fuming with defiance displaying an ever conscious Mohawk Suddenly the present appears as dissident as the past The complexity of our history reflected in the apprehensive look on my face The paradox of a fanatic and misinformed American public The endless morally superior rhetoric of concerned conservatives propels An icy gust of wind straight into my worried face With the moral grace of God Guiding their cleverly hijacked concern Firm and absolute

October 2005

I whisper to the man standing next to me in line I’m dying just to know, to who does the socalled virtue of this crooked nation belong? History endures Unfamiliar and aged These dreams came true The story is staged

.: El Umbral- Come Inside :.

~Rachael Hudak

The dress is dancing with her knees holding the small of her back with a strong hand. She lifts on her toes to hang Rosa’s blouses and slips; her brown skin dives into her dress quietly with a smooth inhale of clothespins clicking – touching Rosa’s clothes. She leans back on her heels, walks slowly into the house, letting the wind stretch over her breasts, slipping between her hips when the dress sighs and parts. She lights a cigarette with a match, the smoke lingers near her mouth and moves with her breathing, sliding in front of her face in languid semicircles. Exhaling, she walks to the kitchen, notices the floor is damp. Water stands in shallow puddles between the cool cement and yellowed tiles. She lifts her toes and walks on the balls of her feet inside the kitchen – eyeing the curved corners of glass. Pouring herself cold water, she thinks about Rosa dropping the glass – tries to remember if it had slid through her own wet fingers.


Fighting Obstacles Knowing Ultimate Success .: Scotch and Soda :.

~Leah Yurasek

Sunday afternoons at horse shows are meant to be sober, an atmosphere of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and straw hats, sunglasses over the surface concealing narrowed eyes. Whispers on the rail catch two pairs of ears as lanky Morgan legs gracefully stumble on imaginary potholes, while holding a steady frame and softening through the topline. A twitching muscle frightens a fly, polished irons film over with dust and sweat gathers between gloved fingers staining rough hands with black dye. Pulling a helmet brim over eyes prevents gawking at gold bits, and overly red lipstick is licked clean from artificially pearled teeth before entering the ring. Veins bulge in the heat as our choreographed steps leave directions in the warm-up arena mocking the intelligence of dull Warmbloods.

October 2005

CORE member, Alma, and I enrolled into a Caribbean Poetry class under Ms. Lorna Goodison, a celebrity poet, speaker and community leader on her home-isle-land of Jamaica. While the theme of “one love, one heart” plays on the commercials for this vacation paradise, the real treasure is captive in the works of those literary Queens and Kings that have graced the international poetry stage. Legends such as Louise “Miss Lou” Bennett who speaks of the triumph over British regime education on the island in relation to the confidence, beauty, and majesty of her Creole and Patois languages, people, and home. I wanted to share with you two works by these two women not only because of my connection to the Caribbean community through friends such as our co-found Atiba Edwards and my Guyanese Godmother, Sav, but also to instill a sense of serenity, belonging, and pride in a corner of the world whose pearls of wisdom are often taken for granted. In order to keep a culture, we must share it, and grow with it as part of us… as Miss Lou has many times said, “we hear language everyday, but no one is taking care of it,” and this is our duty as a FOKUS community, take care of the language if cultures both ephemeral and eternal.

Alone in the corner we halt while I button my jacket and smear black on my forehead with the back of my hand. Walking towards the well groomed arena it’s our turn, “A” enter working trot, “X” halt salute, proceed working trot.

.: Nanny :.

~Lorna Goodison

Our four minutes of fame end when we leave the ring and the next competitor sneers us a compliment. Back in the barn we wait for the blue ribbon that Scotch will briefly take between his dirty lips before dropping it to find grass.

.: Island Love :.

~A. Mari

Taking a breather in our lives is always a plus, but when that breather is an aside to education, that’s even better. This semester, my fellow

My womb was sealed with molten wax of killer bees for nothing should enter nothing should leave the state of perpetual siege the condition of the warrior. From then my whole body would quicken at the birth of everyone of my people's children. I was schooled in the green-giving ways of the roots and vines made accomplice to the healing acts of Chainey root, fever grass & vervain. My breasts flattened


Fighting Obstacles Knowing Ultimate Success settled unmoving against my chest my movements ran equal to the rhythms of the forest.

October 2005

In the name of Spain It was the simplicity of the game she played That caused the audience to laugh in tears It was about the lives of slaves

I could sense and sift the footfall of men from the animals and smell danger death's odour in the wind's shift.

III At Montego Bay's soul Barefeet pickannies ran And begged provision for hungry Bellies

When my eyes rendered light from the dark my battle song opened into a solitaire's moan I became most knowing and forever alone.

"please miss, please mister..."

And when my training was over they circled my waist with pumpkin seeds and dried okra, a traveller's jigida and sold me to the traders all my weapons with in me. I was sent, tell that to history. When your sorrow obscures the skies other women like me will rise. from I am Becoming My Mother, 1986 (44)

.: Miss Lou (For Louise Bennett) :.

~Winston Nugent


My childhood was filled With cultural pride defined By a bandana woman Whose smile was as wide as the Caribbean Sea With a laughter as hearty as Jamaica's jerk spice, soaked into the skin of Island life The root of my soul On a pillow of national pride Heard a voice, a voice echoing across Rivers into forests of folksongs As sunshine blew the leaves of Trees, leaving only dark faces Of fine feathered birds II We were pickannies, a generation in ignorance From whence we came to an Island Columbus claimed

It was just their calling to the Island's needs It was Miss Lous disgust, which caused her To sing: "Follow the river and you will Find the sea chile!" IV She came from the house of roots Where tradition traveled the Trade Winds and colored the voices of People often too busy to see themSelves as the periodical of time But on the stage in Jamaican style The sounds of Africa echoed like The beat of drums, claiming its Lost treasures from ships Manned by pirates dressed Like tourists My Island in the sun, where is my father's Land, planted with the provision of life? Where is the place where I can find Rumor is still a great traveler?

.: Stupor :.

~Oneca Hitchman

I lost a good man once. Layered within turmoil, facing desperation in mirrored eyes peering back from the bottom of my third glass of pity, I didn´t have money for another drink. So I peered, searching into the brown iris, past fear of steadiness through another, beyond scorn of loss, deeper then my pride. We needed him and she begins to cry. Terrified that with vacancy in physical form will come possibility of never being stirred again, straight no chaser, and I flirt into my own metaphor damn well knowing one drink would have eliminated the sloppiness of this very public flip devotion.


Fighting Obstacles Knowing Ultimate Success But alas, abyss comes and the mirror is cleaned dry. Her eyes scream and I nod startled at the forced realization of lonesomeness where there are only people with whom to converse not to be silent. And I aim to sort but she spits at me. Trapped on my back at his gaze. I don´t deserve tears she says, I agree, and the salt dew becomes indifferently dry as I eclipse into her. So I don´t exist in flesh. Laying only in the image of my own reflection, relishing the pain, humming drunken nothings, praying to burst my glass...

[ SALUTE ] .: Mi Gente :.

~words by A. Mari

October 2005

On the home website, the goal is simple “[we are] devoted to finding and providing opportunities for children who are victims of the violence in Colombia…originated in Barranquilla, a city on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, and is now reaching other parts of the country. Our goal is to improve the education, nutrition, and the lives of the thousands of displaced children who are living in perilous conditions because of the violent internal conflict in Colombia.” My brother and I have independently chosen to give back to our community through Shakira’s foundation. While we are aware that our adoptions have enabled us to be able to participate in the fight for wellness, safety, and education in Colombia, we are also aware that we could have just as easily been the children waiting for a school, and a life, to call our own. I would encourage any person of any origin, color, denomination, gender, sexuality, etcetera, to find, as Oprah suggests, the spirit in you to do good more for those people – no matter where they are - who are in need of more good.

Having been adopted from my home country, Colombia, at the age of only a few months old, I have always felt my obligation to my Colombian community to be never-ending. Last summer, my younger brother, Drew, whom was adopted from the same casita [orphanage] I was, chose to make the trip back to our country on the search to find his ‘self.’ Though it has been a very different road for the two of us, there has been one element of our stories that have remained the same; our dedication to our people both at home, in New York City and the United States at large, as well as, and more importantly, back in Colombia. While being both driven and passionate about music, my brother made the discovery that the Colombian-born Shakira, also shared the mentality he and I always have. Shakira, similar to other multicultural celebrities such as Gloria Estefan, Oprah, has made it a priority to devote much of her energy, love, and economic resources to the non-for- profit foundation she established for her people. Fundacion Pies Descalzos literally means “The Barefeet Foundation,” and it was created with a single mission, changing the lives of children.

If you are interested in finding out more about Pied Descalzos, please visit the official website at:

.: Dead Prez :.

~words by Sagar Chada

M-1 and Stic.Man are a two member, socially conscious rap group called Dead Prez. In a recent interview on, M-1 was asked “how can equality finally be reached on all levels of society?” His response was “when someone change they mind, then they body will follow”. Though this quote may seem small and insignificant to the average reader, its message is very powerful. In order for people to act on equality, they must first change their previous views. calls it “un-ignorizing people”. In their song titled “They Schools”, Dead Prez is trying to do just that, educate the masses and


Fighting Obstacles Knowing Ultimate Success reveal to society problems that racism and discrimination have caused. They represent another side of life that high-class people have never seen, or do not care to see. Due to the positive message “They Schools” is sending to the youth, along with the essential role that Dead Prez plays in our society, Dead Prez and their music is effectively functioning to slowly better our nation. Dead Prez’s songs have always dealt with problems that exist in our country. Topics range from slavery and discrimination to healthy eating and romance. No issue is taboo for the two young men from Brooklyn, New York. “They Schools” follows the same pattern of socially conscious messages. The message of the text is clearly stated throughout the song. In the introduction, Stic.Man begins by saying “Man in my school shit is a joke, the same people who control the school system control the prison system, and the whole social system, ever since slavery” (3-6). Clearly, the song will be discussing issues regarding education, poverty, and other problems that afflict urban communities. The main topic of the song, however, is education and schools in minority communities. In his verse, goes on to say “In the hallways, the popo [police] was always present searchin through niggas possessions lookin for, dope and weapons” (2022). is telling his listeners that the education system is wrong, he talks about being harassed by the police in school when all he wants to do is go to class. Later M-1 shares his on thoughts on school when he says “School is like a 12 step brainwash camp, they make you think if you drop out, you aint got a chance to advance in life, they try to make you pull your pants up, students fight the teachers and get took away in handcuffs” (44-47). Liken to the what Stic.Man has to say, M-1 also feels the same way about schools in the inner city and is trying to tell his listeners that not everything taught in schools is right, and if you dropout you can never advance in life, thus the system is flawed. If success in the workplace relies solely on one graduating high school and college. Then it is unfair to provide some people with adequate, extensively funded schools while providing others with a poverty stricken education system. The text is advocating for change in the education system throughout the nation, Dead Prez wants a system that is fair to all races and social classes. In his final message, Stic.Man provides us with a summary of what he wants schools to teach students:

October 2005

And they aint teachin us nothin related to solvin our own problems. Aint teachin us how to get crack out the ghetto. They aint teachin us how to stop the police from murdering us and brutalizing us, they aint teachin us how to get our rent paid. They aint teachin our families how to interact better with each other. They just teachin us how to build they shit up…So school don't even relate to us. Until we have some shit where we control the fuckin school system. Where we reflect how we gon solve our own problems, them niggas aint gon relate to school. (63-85) Stic.Man is saying that schools are not helping the African-American community to better themselves. The ghettos of America are much different than the suburbs; this is what the song is trying to point out. He wants schools to teach his people ways to better their society, for example he talks about getting crack out of African-American ghettos. Based on the article “War On Drugs Unfairly Targets AfricanAmericans” by Charles A. Shaw, it is fair to say that crack-cocaine has been deteriorating inner city America since the late 1980’s, however little has been done by the government to assist those inner city communities in alleviating themselves from the crack problem. Stic.Man wants school to teach people how to fix problems in their own communities. Thus better education, better assistance to the poor, and the betterment of society as a whole is what “They Schools” is advocating for. However, “They Schools” is not directing their message to the upper-class, predominantly older white generation of America. This is evident from when Stic.Man says “And all y'all high class niggas with y'all nose up, cuz we droppin this shyt on this joint, fuck y’all” (64-65). The song is directed towards people currently enrolled in school, to the youth of America. Today’s youth generation is very different from the previous one, today’s youth are less ignorant about racism and discrimination. They have been raised in an era of equality for all races, a post Civil Rights environment. Dead Prez knows that by successfully educating the youth of the country, they have laid the foundation for equality and change for future generations. The potential effects on the youth are enormous. Lets Get Free, the album which contains “They Schools”, has sold millions of copies worldwide. If millions of people are listening to what Dead Prez has to


Fighting Obstacles Knowing Ultimate Success say then they are all now more socially aware. Raising awareness leads to people perhaps changing their minds on previously held views regarding society and equality, and this is exactly what M-1 said Dead Prez is trying to do. “They Schools” and its approach does work. Tiffany Robertson, an LSA freshman who has never heard or listened to Dead Prez before, said that “after listening to they schools, my entire outlook on America changed, I realized that there are still many problems that exist in society and racism is not completely gone.” Tiffany is a 18-year-old white woman from the suburb of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Bloomfield Hills is one of the richest neighborhoods in the entire country. If Tiffany can learn from “They Schools” and become conscious about these social issues, then anyone can.

This is exactly why “They Schools” plays such an important role in our society. Dead Prez uses music as a means to bridge the gap between classes and to promote a better understanding of racial issues. In addition to this, Dead Prez is a voice for African-American people as a whole. After the civil rights movement there have been no major AfricanAmerican leaders who have been able to unite their people. There have been no individuals to whom African-Americans can look to as civil rights leaders or role models. The assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, along with the elimination of the Black Panthers by the FBI have left a void in African-American leadership. Dead Prez is slowly becoming the civil rights leaders for not only the minority youth, but all minorities in America. Currently, no other rappers are making songs which say “They schools can’t teach us shit, my people need freedom, we trying to get all we can get” (29-30). The group’s message has spawned an entire movement, known as People Army. This movement is advocating for everything the group stands forequality, freedom, and education.

October 2005

The benefits of this song and others like it are many. This song inspires leadership among its listeners. It has made me more conscious about school and has instilled a drive in me to succeed and to one day change the system. When I heard M-1 say “the principal is like a warden in a four year sentence, mad niggas never finish, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t be a doctor or a dentist” (57-59), I was truly moved. The significance of this text is that it conveys the feelings of today’s youth so perfectly. The majority of students I know do not like school, they notice flaws in the education system that do not seem to change. Many students do not want to take classes they are not interested in or classes which will not help them in the future. Also, the majority of my teachers in high school were not interested in their students but were focused on simply imparting information. My principal was focused on keeping up the school’s appearance and excellent reputation instead of listening to students and their concerns. The benefit of this song is that it discusses these issues through music. Music is universal, it can be appreciated by all humans regardless of race, nation, and creed. By using “They Schools” to get their message across, Dead Prez has internationalized their message, making it available to people all over the world. With more people listening to their message, this results in more individuals becoming educated about problems that exist in America. This leads to a global society aware of social issues troubling our nation. This is why “They Schools” is so beneficial to society, the text is getting its message across without regard for what society will think. However, although the benefits of They Schools” are profound, detriments do exist. The text does include racial slurs towards whites, and the two rappers openly ridicule white society. The first line of the song is “I went to school wit some redneck crackers” (9). This line is openly racist towards white people. The entire tone of the song is angry and rough. Dead Prez are not advocates for non-violence, they want freedom by any means necessary. Many people may consider this song and its message as radical, because it is openly racist towards white people and does not approach the problem in a calm manner. The song ends by saying “this whole school system can suck my dick biatch!” (90). The vulgarity of this line and its message may throw off the majority of the white population. However Dead Prez feels that they must not hide their emotions, “only

- 10 -

Fighting Obstacles Knowing Ultimate Success

October 2005

through honesty can we achieve equality” said M-1 on The text also has negative connotations towards law enforcement, which Dead Prez feels does not assist the African-American community at all. The rappers refer to policemen as “popo” (20). This term is used in modern day slang to degrade law enforcement and taunt police officers.

expanded set of sensory tones; images of Steber’s nature, family, age, and activity photographs.

Although the aggressiveness of “They Schools” may deter some individuals from listening to its message, many more individuals have listened to the song and have learned from it. The song sends a positive message for education reform to our youth and plays a significant role in our society. This song, along with other songs by Dead Prez. is slowly functioning to better our nation. It is not easy to instill change within a system that was established so long ago. However, the power of the message from “They Schools” cannot be denied. Dead Prez has successfully used music to educate the masses. Thus the significance of this song lies within its meaning and its emotion. How else can two individuals express their anxiety peacefully? Music is they key to raising awareness, that is the song’s significance.

In an interview, which was published on one of his many honorary sites, The Houston Institute for Culture, Steber spoke of his route back to his roots.

.: Blues Traveler:.

~words by A. Mari

Steber, a Tennessee native himself introduced his audience in 1998 to the ‘social climate of "Music City,"’ as his inspiration lies in the breezes and ripples of Blues Culture along the Mississippi Delta.

“Alarmed that opportunities and way-of-life were being destroyed by national commercial trends, [he] became positively obsessed with his work in the Delta. [He] has uncovered the roots of African-American culture that gave rise to the Blues as a distinctively American music, and he has been concerned with modern influences, such as the wealthy casinos along the Mississippi River that have bankrupted many of the tiny Juke Joints. From folk beliefs traced back to Africa, to the rural lifestyle of post-Civil War Mississippi, Steber has recorded scenes that have rarely been viewed by outsiders and may never be witnessed again in the future.” FOKUS invites us to expand our realms of artistic appreciation, as well as serves as a ‘space’ and resource for the world of art as well. I hope that this brief commentary on one of the many appreciated artists in our country, and around the world, has sparked your interest to look further into the history of art and how art is depicted by those whose histories can only be done a justice through the rhythm of art. - a.mari for more information, or in order to view one of Steber’s many galleries online, please visit


my way to finishing an essay about the union between Black slaved and Native communities in the SouthEast states of the U.S., I came upon a beautiful site displaying the works of Bill Steber, among other artists. If anyone is as much of an art fanatic as we FOKUS members are, then they would enjoy the photographic images of Steber. Though his focus on the first site, Carl Hammer Gallery, I located– /Steber_Bill.htm - is of classy images of music, and dance, his additional galleries display an artist/steber.html

[ UNDER THE NEEDLE ] Understanding the Numbers 0 / 20 – Waste of space, time and whatever it is on. 5 / 20 – Tolerate once but anything more may hurt. 10 / 20 – Average. Nothing special. 15 / 20 – Good but missing something. 20 / 20 – Solid. Not enough faults to knock it.

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Fighting Obstacles Knowing Ultimate Success

October 2005

With this release, they show that they are back and actually go on record that the label situations have been situated. This is a great Welcome To display of the talents that the newly formed ReJamrock Up Gang has developed. Re-Up Gang consists of the Clipse, Ab Liva and Sandman. This is a must have CD because it features about 16 20 / 20 tracks of all new freestyles. It even has Pharrell, Mr. Frontin himself, going hard on a couple of .: Bob Marley’s Son.. JR Gong Is Mi Name :. tracks. It is good to hear them back together beats and their flow is still in tact and The biggest opening ever for a reggae artist is over improved. another notch that Damian JR Gong Marley can ~Prime add to his belt because his latest release landed in the number 7 slot on Billboards Top Rob Swift 200. The first thing many will do is compare War Ganes any of the Marley boys to their honorable father, Robert Nester Marley, but I will not because what good is the concept of individual if you are 20 / 20 always compared to someone else.

Damian Marley

With older brother Stephen behind the boards, JR Gong brings in a wide range of artists to work with on this project. He has guest spots by Nas, Bounty Killa, Black Thought and even Eek A Mouse (do your homework). This album touches on social criticism in several of his songs and also provides entertainment with other tracks. “Welcome to Jamrock” (the single) caused great stir because it told the truth of vacationers going down to Jamaica in the midst of the poverty. Other songs that you need to check for soon: “For the Babies,” “Hey Girl” and “Pimpa’s Paradise” JR Gong had this to say about the composition of the album: “Dancehall, R&B, Hip’s all about feelings. We are not just trying to do a segment of the mix. We’re trying to do the whole mix.” ~Atiba Edwards


We Got It For Cheap Vol 2 20 / 20

.: Re-Up, Re-Up, Re-Up :.

The Clipse burst onto the scene with their smash hit and anthem for years to come, “Grindin.” They went through the usual bullshit in the music industry (see industry rule #4080).

.: Speaking With Your Hands :.

Rob Swift provides the soundtrack to one of the most infamous days in modern history, September 11th. He serves as a news reporter in some ways by providing audio and video from the streets and that touches on what is felt in the streets, no not the streets that CNN and ABC, DECIDE to show but the one with real people going through the issues of the government; the ones without the shine from the streetlights.. This is a great example of the power of music because he provides social commentary as he cuts in old and new tracks that seem to timelessly relate to current events. Swift also delivers an exceptional DVD on the second disc with a short movie that features the video footage from all of the audio that is on the a CD. You also get a Swift collage of videos that show his skills; the first is him cutting up the Bowery Poetry Club, then there is a Scratching demo, a Gap Commercial featuring Swift and also a video from Akinyele in which Swift provides scratch accompaniment. The visual images found on the linear notes and on the video are very powerful in many ways. Pick Up The Discs!

~Atiba Edwards

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