Black Magic Walls - tone poem in G minor

-         -        -       -      -     -    -   -  - -oo

Interesting reading to be done
on Page D1
of the Boston Globe one recent Friday

The headline was provocative:
"Rappers, actors sign on for summit:
After Shakur's death, `accountability' stressed"
By Michael Saunders

Now, being a media literacy buff myself
I understood the deadpan "news-bearing tone" of the delivery
and could even admire the use of the popular cop show actor Malik Yoba
to grab the attention of the Globe's readers.

Not sure that readers might know the work of Tupac himself?
Just use another Black star as a reference
a witness to his life and death
for as we know, all Blacks are
and kissin' cousins
happy go lucky family folk
even though we may play at
the dog dirty Yo Mamma' dozins

I couldnt help but feel another set of the story
subtext exists
a twist
a twist
buried within this pulp paper grave
the grave of a Death Row lifespan
the grave of a black son's song.

Betwixt between and under
Reporter Saunders' words
winds a strange strand
a stand-offish sing-song agenda
It goes along playing the deadly part of blame the victim
blame the victim
blame the victim
blame the victim
a harmony hard
as a Jail House Rock

quoth Mr Yoba:
``I truly believe that artists are agents of change. People say it's
not my responsibility, but what we say, what we wear, the way we walk,
has a tremendous influence. I think my peers have been remiss in our duty,
especially those in [the] music industry.''

Yes Mr.Yoba -
Accountability is sadly lacking within the industry machine
Accountability is slacking within the halls of publishing power
the rhelm of the musical Pimp and Ho -
the Bomb Bass droppin

Yeah Blood,
blood is a drug
blood is only one name of the four horses he rode in on:
Busted brains
and Blow

Accountability to the community
and the youth of our beseiged families has been lacking lately
Gone baby Gone
too far gone
the day of the powerful HipHop Nation
and the brilliant audio battlegrounds carved out by Grandmaster Flash

HipHop had a heart of gold beating behind the gold chains
-chains held up in twists of sexism its true, dont dare deny it-
But where is that heart now?
still out there writhing in the streets -
"But hey, YO"
speaks the Judas big label producer :
" Bring the new shit, spill the new flava,
cause that Afrocentric style and Positivity One Love dope
only sold so many millions of records
and a fellow got to get PAID in FULL somehow"

yet again,
we hear the refrain,
See the marks of the four horses of the 2pacallyps
platnum teeth and diamond hooves
Dance you unhappy nappy negros!
Dance to the rising sales!
Dance to the Boom-Bat of shotgun justice!
Dance to the ringing cash register refrain!

Weave that strange strand out of your own

its a noose song
you goose steppin high steppen fools!
That stand-offish sing-song death drum
is beating the tom-tom
playing the deadly part of blame the victim
blame the victim
blame the victim
blame the victim

Bones, Slugs, and Harmony

Hoofbeats rung out
Tupac's heart sung out
till it was blasted out
But he had klout

He was HARD
Heart hard as that Jail House Rock
"Market that Urban realness now Bwah "-
I'm a crazy ass niggah who just dont give a shit
Can you Dig it? Can you Dig it? Can you Muthahfuckin' Dig it?

Black America! We offer up for your approval
Audio textbooks
a guide to life
written by the stars
your children see on TV
teaching the four R's
and Riot

- White children like these products as well
- Do award winning design teams go to Hell?

Media reinterpretations and critiques of "reality rap" abound
and day and night you can hear the slick sound
of the suicide generation

But where is the subtle understanding that a _representation_
is not always and only a _glorification_?
Who's zoomin' who
baby POP?
Representations can be a cry, a tear in the fabric of reality,
a tear spit in the face of the big label producer
shit flung in the face of big daddy

I can cry for Tupac because at times I feel he cried for himself
For those dance lession stage dreams
his own fruity raunchy humor
for the funny little boy who wanted to be a star

I can hail Tupac for the lines in Dear Mama -
"and even though you were a drug fiend -
you know you'll always be my Black Queen -..."

I can respect Tupac for a total
love like that
We do not have to "understand" it
but R-E-S-P-E-C-T it

How the heart twist-ties up gold and garbage together!
the garbage of Ghetto Life becomes gold
even toxic waste erupts emeralds
and dew-drop pearls
given enougth pressure

All hail Caesar - Tupac the alchemist!

Nay, build high the prison walls to shore up Gangsta' anger
contain and muffle rock-hearted boasts of bloody brains
and never seek to meet the eaters of meat raw meat raw meat raw meat
cannibal Cain and Able
living in
raw meat times
Cries of "I'm ready to Die!" come up out of artists natural
pearls cast before blind swine
disgraced and oppressed from day one.
quieted, shushed, put in the corner
In this way the Walls that block
the sound of the beat of the heart are erected
The "walls" of the inner city
Reporter Saunders referred to
are all too real

To the brilliant human beings who are born within them,
these walls are like mirages
the silencer walls are denied existance
and over the wall are cast sharp stones inscribed with
"just learn to get along"
"just get a job already"
"just shut up that obscene racket"

Reporter Saunders speculated that:
"..By pretending to live the fabled gangsta lifestyle
of cash, cars, guns and sex,
many rappers have immersed themselves
in the daily dread that comes with this lifestyle."

Why is he unable to see
the _reverse_ of this proposition could equally be
These young men and women inside the walls are not "pretending"
to be calling from the Crossroads of Death
Are WE outside rather all "pretending"
to be living in a free society
with Justice and Equality
for all?

Perhaps the "daily dread" and agony
of being born behind the walls
is eased a bit when a youth
can tell their truth
puttin it out on Tape Wax, or CD
and get a taste of the forbidden fruit of the American dream.


And what is the Dream reduced to?

"Cash, cars, guns, sex and Apple Pie
- all for only $999,999.99!
No money down, no payments for thirty days
Visa, AmEx and Mastercard are always accepted."

Amatul H Hannan
October 1996