#HipHopEd “Profanity Free Mixtape”
Curated by Amil Cook and Timothy Jones for #HipHopEd
On November 13, 2012 #HipHopEd featured its weekly chat session, which was operating off the topic, “Creating and Evaluating a #HipHopEd “Profanity Free Mixtape.” This was an important topic for #HipHopEd to tackle because of the realities that Hip-Hop educators face in teaching our students through Hip Hop music and culture. This chat was not trying to devalue and delegitimize the substantive value of Hip-Hop music that contains profanity and delves into seedier topics. This chat was actually the response to the continuous requests for Hip-Hop tracks that could be played in schools around our country and classrooms throughout the world, without creating ethical and professional dilemmas for these much needed and highly valued educators.
As educators and adults, many if not all of us have learned how to speak effectively in the various settings that we find ourselves in, from our classrooms, office suites, homes, and our neighborhoods. This instinctive ability to “switch up” is something that many of our young people based on the language that they hear and speak at school and in their neighborhoods. If you include the language in the Hip-Hop that many young people listen to and the movies that they watch, they are bombarded with profanity filled narratives that can limit the range of how youth use words to communicate.
The #HipHopEd “Profanity Free Mixtape” is a resource for educators to allow young people to hear Hip-Hop that met and or meets the musical aesthetics test of the day based on overall production, content, and delivery. The songs on this Mixtape can also serve as examples for students who believe that you can not effectively rhyme without using profanity. In putting together the Profanity Free Mixtape, we wanted to be conscious of trying to focus on music by Artists with a level of commercial success so that students wouldn’t dismiss the Mixtape as an underground effort of Artists who never achieved mainstream success.
For this endeavor “Profanity Free” is focused on language with some consideration for subject matter. We know that you can have a song with questionable subject content without being profane and in these circumstances we as the Executive producers of the project made the decision as to whether to include the song on the list. We also wanted a list of songs that are absent of profanity which is different than edited versions of songs that are on the radio and are on sale at retailers such as Walmart.
Out of this chat, came numerous song suggestions, that have been collected in one place for educators, Hip Hop aficionados and others to enjoy, share and teach with. Here is the link to #HipHopEd’s “Profanity Free” Mixtape Edcanvas, an intuitive educational media platform, that contain profanity free Hip Hop track in each of its tiles. Here is the link to #HipHopEd’s “Profanity Free” Mixtape YouTube Playlist of profanity free Hip Hop tracks.
It is our hope that more songs will be suggested and included to this dynamic and live database of profanity free Hip Hop tracks. If you have a suggestion, comment or find profanity in any of the songs let us know.
For those who don’t know, #HipHopEd is a Twitter hashtag that hosts interactive chats on a range of topics at the intersections of Hip Hop and education. These chats take place every Tuesday from 9pm to 10pm EST. Unlike many other educational Twitter chats, #HipHopEd embraces the freestyle, the cypher and inclusion of the everyone in attendance. Timothy Jones (@tdj6899) serves as the Master of Ceremony, tweeting out the week’s topic on Tuesday mornings, inviting special guests and community members.
#HipHopEd was created by two top tier leading educators, Brandon Frame (@brandonframe) and Dr. Christopher Emdin (@chrisemdin). #HipHopEd has organically grown into a significant community, mission and movement, intertwining and advancing education and Hip Hop simultaneously. The community’s response to #HipHopEd was so overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic that other participants and leaders were brought into #HipHopEd’s leadership team. #HipHopEd celebrated its second year on November 27, 2012. Make sure you get involved with #HipHopEd and come through the weekly Tuesday night chats from 9pm to 10pm EST. Alright ya’ll, it’s time to get it! Let’s keep building!
- “Power to The People” Vinnie Paz Live From The Serengeti (thehiphopdiaries.com)
This week I watched the new documentary film, “” by Eugene Jarecki, that highlights the impact that the War on Drugs has had on economically marginalized communities. Although I was thoroughly impressed with the film, it is not the only documentary out there that has dealt with this issue. The documentary “Planet Rock: The Story of Hip Hop and The Crack Generation” by Ice-T is another powerful film that has also examined this topic.
The New Jim Crow, a term coined by legal scholar Michelle Alexander, describes the oppressive segregation that has resulted from the war on drugs, mandatory minimum sentences and the continued criminalization of African-American communities. This film features Hip Hop legends such as Chuck D, Rakim, Raekwon, RZA, Pepa, Snoop Lion (aka Snoop Dogg), Too Short, B-Real and others. A number of leading scholars contribute to the film such as, Michelle Alexander, Todd Boyd, Paul Butler, Nelson George and more. There is also powerful commentary from two former drug dealers, “Freeway” Rick Ross and Azie Faison along with stories from individuals, who experienced crack cocaine addiction themselves. Planet Rock weaves all of these stories together through the lens of Hip Hop, the urban American phenomenon that emerged in the South Bronx in the 1970s.
The film highlights how Hip Hop has responded to the War on Drugs and the introduction of crack cocaine into our communities. The film discusses the Hip Hop community pre-crack cocaine, the influence of the film “Scarface“, the efforts of Hip Hop to combat crack addiction and economic realities that pushed many into the drug trade. This film definitely tells a sobering and nuanced story that will help us all realize the tremendous devastation that crack and the war on drugs have had on our community. We need to continue to raise awareness and encourage action to combat the New Jim Crow, the most pressing civil rights issue in our nation today. Let’s share, comment, connect and keep building!
Proper Education Always Corrects Errors
I bumped into this amazing and inspiring poem and video by Luka Lesson yesterday entitled Please Resist Me. Luka Lesson is an accomplished Australian Poetry Slam Champion, conscious Hip-Hop artist, and co-founder of The Center for Poetics and Justice. In this poem Luka Lesson speaks to the indomitable and universal spirit of the world’s youth, which by nature continues to challenge the entrenched power structures and oppressive beliefs that seek to silence, limit and ostracize our voices and lives. This video voices a collective resound from our globe’s youth, please resist me, but your resistance only makes my passions burn more intensely and makes my insights more perceptive. Luka Lesson recently released a new album also entitled Please Resist Me, which can be listened to and downloaded here. To learn more about Luka Lesson’s work visit lukalesson.com and see the links at the bottom of this piece. In closing, lets support the artist, activists and leaders that are dedicated to making our world a better place! Let your voice be heard, share this post, drop a comment, buy an album, start building!
Make sure you check out the Husslington Post’s latest feature, which is an informative international interview I conducted with Brazilian journalist/scholar/activist Daniela Gomes. This interview covers the history of racial theory in Brazil, the fight for racial equality in Brazil, the African Diaspora and the impact of Hip Hop in Brazil. Check it out, share, comment and get global! The World is Y(ours)!
Get the full interview at http://husslingtonpost.com/danielagomes/
Get the full interview at http://husslingtonpost.com/danielagomes/
Lupe Fiasco on AJStream – Speaks on Occupy
Lupe Fiasco was recently on The Stream, which is a daily television show and web community created by Al Jazeera English. In this episode, Lupe Fiasco shares his thoughts on the Occupy movement. For those who didn’t know, Lupe Fiasco is not only an incredibly talented Hip Hop artist, he is one of the United States’ most outspoken celebrity activists. Amazingly, Lupe Fiasco is proving to the music industry and other artists that your art can have strong political and social overtones and still be commercially viable. As the Occupy movements continue to galvanize support around the nation and the globe, it is important that we pay attention to Lupe’s thoughts and insights on the movement. I hope you find this show informative and empowering.
- PSFK Attends Lupe Fiasco’s Hip Hop Panel In Brooklyn [Pics] (psfk.com)
- Lupe Fiasco Handcuffed At LAX Airport (thenewx1023.radio.com)
World Premiere – “Wake Up” by Greg G Filmed at
The world needs to know that there are incredibly talented artists out there like Greg G. I am a big fan myself and it is a pleasure to introduce those who don’t know to this young musical genius, hailing from Texas! This brother produces, writes, sings and raps! He has worked with industry heavyweights like Bun B, Slim Thug, Toni Braxton and others. Greg G is a renaissance brother for this modern 21st Century Renaissance Era that we’re in. Not only is the brother creatively gifted, he knows where his gifts come from, “The Most High.” Greg G went live to Occupy Wall Street to film this, his latest video and the footage is stunning! He not only filmed his video there, he had the courage to get up and deliver some powerful words and a scripture at the end! Check out the world premiere video below, it ‘s time to “Wake Up!” . You can also check out some of Greg G’s other video’s below and if you didn’t hear me the first time, know that he is one of the hottest up and coming producers in Hip Hop! Watch him work his magic live on the Heartless Remix video below as well. Check out Greg G’s site and let’s support this brother as he climbs to the top, right where he belongs! Oh I almost forgot to mention Greg G will be releasing his latest album, the Gold Rush on November 17…Make Sure You Check It Out!
I recently read an article entitled “It’s a hip-hop planet” by Akala, an award-winning Hip Hop artist and the creator of the Hip Hop Shakespeare Company from England. In this article, Akala discusses the global impact and importance of hip hop music and culture explaining how Hip Hop serves as “a news network of the downtrodden, oppressed and the socially conscious across the globe.” This article was so well wrtiten and spot on in its analysis of the meaning and significance of Hip Hop that I had to find out who wrote this compelling piece. I saw the profile picture of the author, sporting a matter of fact no nonsense expression in his profile picture and a powerful Afro that expressed very similar sentiments.
Upon further investigation, a click on his profile picture, I was forwarded to another page with link to the Akala’s own website akalamusic.com. I quickly shuttled to this page and saw a YouTube video posted there entitled “Akala – Fire In The Booth” and naturally my curoisity led me to click play. I apprehensively waited to hear this Hip Hop generation writer and educator get busy on the microphone, hoping that I was not going to hear a mediocre rap that would lessen the esteem Akala had garnished from the article I had read just moments earlier. As I listened, I was blown away with the nearly nine minute lyrical and politically charged rap. Only 45 seconds into the rap, I was convinced that I was going to watch for the entire nine minutes of the video. I was not disappointed in the least! On this one track, Akala spoke on issues like discrimination, self-hatred, for-profit prisons, lynching, Marcus Garvey, African history, false patriotism, consumerism, racism, education and the list goes on. These subjects, which are so often dodged by mainstream Hip Hop artist and the media, were championed by MCs of the “golden era of Hip Hop.” Akala has definitely not forgotten about the roots of Hip Hop and he has proved he is here to drop Hip Hop’s most potent formula on a world desperate for change.
Akala – Fire In The Booth Video
In the vocal booth and on the written page, Akala tackles “race, politics, self-deception and social conditioning.” Akala’s official bio clearly states that the goal of his art is “breaking down the culture of cliché and stereotype that smothers the genre he loves…” Not to mention, Akala is no rookie in the Hip Hop world. This brother has been turning out singles since the early years of the new millennium and he has released his third album, Double Think, this past year. Below is Akala’s Fire In The Booth version with the lyrics, in case you wanted to get every single jewel he dropped. It is clear that Akala is going laying down the foundation to become a legendary name in Hip Hop, not only due to his lyrical ability but for his commitment to uplift the consciousness and social condition of oppressed people and youth worldwide. It definitely is a Hip Hop planet and Akala is definitely what this planet needs right now!
Akala – Fire In The Booth w/ Lyrics
Working with young people in the Juvenile Justice System has been incredibly rewarding for me. I am always learning new fashion styles, slang words, trends and rising rap artists. A few years ago, I began hearing about an underground rapper from Philadelphia named, AR-AB. I was somwhat familiar with the big figures of Phialdelphia’s Underground Rap scene, including Cassidy, Meek Mill, Tone Trump, Gillie Da Kid, , Joey Jihad, Qwilly Mills and others; so I was in no rush to look up some lesser known rap artists I had never heard of.
It also didn’t help that although I am a fan of Hip Hop I often times feel at war with the messages and influence of the “streets” that is typically the focus of these underground artists’ music. I refused to look up AR-AB on the internet, content that I basically knew what his rhymes were going to be about, hustling and riding on enemies. I felt uncomfortable and ignorant each time that a new youth would mention him as one of the best rappers in Philly.
After months and months of hearing scores of young people recommend AR-AB, I finally broke down and pulled him up on YouTube. I wasn’t surprised about his style and his demeanor. However, I was surprised with the blatant and over the top references he made when it came to selling drugs and violence. He spoke with malice, hatred and rage towards his real and perceived foes out there. He spoke of a lucrative underground illegal economy and the significant amounts of money he was making. He also spoke of how his street fame and credibility made women flock to him.
As I listened more and more to AR-AB it became clear how appealing the lifestyle is for many young people and males in particular, growing up in impoverished and disadvantaged inner city neighborhoods as they struggle to find their identities. AR-AB calls himself the “Top Goon of Philly”! His world is a world very different from the average American. His world is a world where one’s capacity and propensity to commit violent acts either overtly or covertly earns you respect and makes you many enemies in the process. Pulling young people into an endless psychological state of heightened awareness of friend and foe, life and death and freedom and incarceration.
Through listening to AR-AB’s music, I actually began to understand what I was up against even more, as a person trying to help young people get out of the justice system and move away from a life of crime. I already know that it is challenging trying to reach young people, who have many times been alienated by the wider society, seduced by the lure of the streets with its quick money, power, fame and respect. Hearing AR-AB allowed me to realize that his voice was louder and more respected by young people in the streets than my own and I needed to respect his, if mine is ever to be respected.
Despite living under the administration of the first African American president, a seemingly hopeful time, many young people have experiences and views of their world that are more closely aligned to rappers like AR-AB. It is time for professionals, teachers, academics, parents and concerned community members to listen. Although we should still be concerned about the lifestyle AR-AB discusses in his music, his voice should be used to draw attention to the hopelessness, desperation and anger of our most marginalized youth and provide some thoughtful discussions about solutions to issues of manhood, the drug economy, violence, mental health, misogyny and hyper masculinity in Hip Hop Culture and urban life.
Coincidentally, AR-AB was shot 10 times in late September. Miraculously, AR-AB survived and is currently recuperating. It appears that he should be able to make full recovery given the small caliber of the bullets that hit him and the non vital areas where he was struck. It is my hope that this event in his life will help him recognize the damaging impact of violence in the community and create more positive and inspirational songs. This incident may only further validate his “Top Goon of Philly” status and propel him to the success of another street rapper who was shot 9 times. It is clear that AR-AB and the life he speaks of is not going anywhere. We all need to pay attention and get innovative in developing solutions to our problems. As always, leave a comment and share your thoughts!
Below are some additional videos of AR-AB rapping. In NO WAY do his lyrics and these videos represent my views and perspectives.
More Official Articles
- Law and Disorder in PHILLY (Full BBC Documentary) (amilcook.com)
- Tattooed Teardrops: The Tragedy of The Tattoo Fad in Hip-Hop (amilcook.com)
- That Ain’t Gangster…That’s Mental – The Philly SEPTA Bus Shooting (amilcook.com)
- Full Documentary – Plant Rock: The Story of Hip Hop and The Crack Generation (amilcook.com)
- Classic: Young Jeezy Documentary “Hustlerz Ambition” (Full Film) (thehiphopdiaries.com)
- New Documentary: Hip-Hop – The Furious Force of Rhymes (Full Film)(amilcook.com)
- Must See: Jay-Z on Oprah’s Master Class (amilcook.com)
Hip Hop, like the Internet, is a potent tool for education and empowerment. I happen to be an enthusiast of both of these amazing tools. While on the Internet the other day, I had the fortune of finding this incredible free documentary by the Smithsonian Channel, Hip Hop: The Furious Force of Rhymes. This film directed by Joshua Atesh Litle, embedded below, explores Hip Hop’s history and role as an instrument for empowerment and a voice for marginalized communities worldwide. This documentary begins by examining the origins of the Hip Hop universe with Busy Bee Starski and Grandmaster Caz. The film moves from the Bronx in the late 1970s and follows the diffusion of this amazing cultural movement through time and space to cities in Europe, the Middle East, South America and Africa. This is not your typical Hip Hop documentary focusing on the meteoric rise of this phenomenon in terms of commercial viability. Instead, this documentary focuses on the ability of Hip Hop to connect people to the struggles of others in similar struggles, irrespective of their nationality, language, ethnicity or religion. It is this ability of Hip Hop, to speak to and for the voiceless, that makes it such a powerful asset for humanity. This film contains poignant and insightful commentary by the legendary Hip Hop journalist and activist, Davey D and others. This film undoubtedly shows the true power and potential of Hip Hop. It is an honor to share this film with you and I hope it uplifts and inspires you as much as it did me. It is up to us to tell the true story of Hip Hop and shape the future of our world! Let your voice be heard, leave a comment and share this with your Facebook friends and Twitter followers!
- Les Nubians Website (lesnubians.com)
- Director Joshua Atesh Litle’s website (jfilmic.com)
- Arab Hip-Hop and Revolution: The Narcicyst on Music, Politics and the Art of Resistance (democracynow.org)
- It’s a hip-hop planet | Akala (guardian.co.uk)
- Follow Davey D on Twitter (twitter.com)
- Davey D’s Hip Hop and Politics website (hiphopandpolitics.com)
- Origins of Hip-Hop with Busy Bee Starski – Video (youtube.com)
- NYTimes: Hip-Hop Finds an Artist to Believe In (thehiphopdiaries.com)