On Dirtbike (the three hour album available for free download on my website) there’s a quote from Kurt Cobain. He says, “Everyone seems to be striving for utopia in the underground scene but there are so many different factions. I mean, if you can’t get a fucking underground movement to band together and to stop bickering about unnecessary little things that they don’t agree on, then how the fuck do you expect to have an effect on a mass level?” Think about that.
Every successful and/or meaningful cultural movement I can think of was the result of people coming together, uniting their efforts and making noise that couldn’t be ignored. Look at every important movement in art history. Look at the Surrealists. The Dadaists. The Situationists. Look at punk. Look at post-punk. There’s Surrealist art and punk music, but it’s also hugely important that there were Surrealist movements, punk movements. Back in 20’s Salvador Dalí got together with Luis Buñuel and the poet, Lorca, started a movement in Paris and fucked shit up forever! And with punk, along side the group of musicians that came together, you had figures like Andy Warhol, Legs McNeil, Don Letts and countless others who weren’t musicians themselves, but got involved and worked to create a larger cultural force that was impossible to ignore – too much noise was being made, too many people were involved. Armies were built!
I really believe that back in the mid-nineties all the pieces were in place for significant hip hop history to be made. Scratch that – music history. The beginnings of a movement were in place. Seemingly at the same moment, out of nowhere you saw the emergence of the Live Poets, Dose, Atmosphere, Company Flow, the Sebutones, Sage, and a bunch of other guys who were to hip hop what post-punk (Joy Division, Gang Of Four, Devo, Wire, etc.) was to punk. Here were a bunch of hip hop heads who were doing things radically differently. It was exciting to watch from up close. And with the yearly pilgrimages to Scribble Jam and development of Anticon and the 1200 Hobos and Rhymesayers and whatnot, it began to feel like the makings of a new wave were afoot.
But you know what? As far as I’m concerned, we fucking blew it. I’m still not exactly sure where we went wrong. But can you imagine what might have happened if all the talent and resources had’ve been properly pooled? If we had’ve done more… If we could have come together under one banner… If we could have supported each other more… If we had’ve had more foot soldiers like Kevin Beacham – guys who weren’t in it for personal glory, but for the love and advancement of the culture that was germinating. Kevin was our Don Letts! We needed more like him. We needed our own Legs McNeil and Andy Warhol and Malcolm McLaren. What happened? Maybe being perceived as different made us insecure. Maybe we were afraid to really assert ourselves.
Sure, Slug’s a successful guy and has worked real hard. Sage too – no question. The indy labels are great contributions: SFR, Rhymesayers, Anticon, Def Jex, Mush, Lex, etc. I don’t mean to make it sound like I’m pissing on any of the success that we have seen. But I always wanted more. Lots more. And I’m not talking about money and fame. Money has been made. Minor fame has been attained.