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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21531
an MC argues with me about our responsibility as artists...  Reply with quote  

Here's the preface. A RI emcee contacted me about some project he is doing with the intent of promoting substance-free behavior. My response to him was:

in 1996 I released an essay to the public stating my stance on how I was substance-free.

I tried incorporating straight edge theories into the "culture" of hiphop.

I was very adament, and I ostracized myself...while alienating fans and fellow artists.

I thank my lucky stars the whole "shtick" didn't take off.

I can be who I am without promoting it like a fucking campaign.

No need.

good luck with what you do and may your endeavors be positive in the end.

peace




His response to this email showed that he was upset (at me and in general) with even more of a fire to go ahead and do what he wanted to do. That's fine with me. My response to him goes as follows (his comments that I responded to are the ones in quotations.) Please add your own comments if you have your own opinion to share:



"All you need to do is look around you and realize that this issue is far from dead."

All you need to do is look around you and realize that MANY issues are alive and well...and the whole drinking/drug thing is an effect. That's what I have seen and experienced. People's problems are rooted in LIFE. Death. Sex. Pain. It's a fucked up world we live in, friend. Drugs and drinking certainly shouldn't be promoted as the answer to anything, but to go after those specific items is like targeting street corner weed pushers in order to kill drug trafficking. It ain't happening, partner.

As little as I talk about it, I am STILL criticized for my stance on drug free issues. As little as I talk about it, I still get the bullshit comments like, "Why are you on some holier than thou shit? Just because you don't drink or do drugs doesn't mean you have to talk about it all the time"
It's important not to come across this way. Its important not to dwell on these things at all. Because my music and my art is NOT a platform for this agenda. Whenever I see people using art as a platform for a specific agenda (especially religion) it is a complete turn off. and it most usually feels forced. Zack does it well. Chuck D did it well. But their agenda is a broad one. Straight Edge bands are silly to me when their enemy is the drink and the drinker. Give me a break.

"Change is not achieved by silence and worrying about how many people are alienated by or disagree with your philosophies."

Change cannot be forced. Change often happens through suggestion and allowing people the freedom to make their own decisions. to come to their own conclusions. I know change. I UNDERSTAND change. I accept it. And that's the only reason I can feel absolutely comfortable in the position that I take on these issues. I don't have it all figured out...I allow room for change. There is no room for change when I carve my ideals and philosophies in stone. I refuse to limit the perspective any potential listener has on me by shouting my "rules to life" in their face. I am subtle...and I accept the listener to graciously bow out of my personal battles.

"This is about empowering other people to be able to express their individualities, facilitating discussion, and opening people's minds."

I have heard this same exact argument to be a strong point FOR alcohol and drugs. know your enemy and their possible counterpoints if you want to fight this battle. As much as I want to disagree, it is damn true that alcohol and other drugs are a social tool for people who wouldn't ordinarily involve themselves in such social situations that include self expression, individuality and mind opening experiences.

"Change occurs when people stand up for what they believe in and promote it like a "fucking campaign.""

You don't convince me here. That CAN happen. But that can also KILL a movement. As much as people shout GO VEGAN in my face, it makes me enjoy my milk even more. Back up your arguments. Not with me (because I refuse to continue a conversation of this sort anymore,) but for the people who you believe you have the ability to change. For whatever reason you think they need changing. For whatever reason you think you are enlightened in all your experiences on Earth and they are not.

"I am not going to sit back and let our society teach our kids that in order to function properly they need to drink."

Good for you. Once you teach that lesson...then what? Or do you actually believe you can tap into the gears of the machine that determine what society teaches? I am responsible for many people going sober (according to them.) I am responsible for many people turning vegetarian (according to them.) I did this by being a genuine cat and letting them determine what it was in my life that appealed to them. I showed them an alternative to what they were typically used to. I didn't TELL them. I SHOWED them. And my motivation was NEVER to change them. Except when I was 16,17,18,19. I am not a teenager anymore. Whether they change or not, that is not the motivation of my art. That is not the motivation of my friendship.

"We are taught that our social acceptance is determined by the contents of our cup. What kind of society is this??"

Boohoooo...what kind of society is this? Have you studied sociology? anthropology? Have you traveled this world and seen what determines social acceptance abroad? Society of all lands, ages and eras has some very fucked up elements. Every...single...one. Humanity is flawed. Considerably. If you were to eliminate the content of what was in a cup, then we would be taught that our social acceptance is determined by the content of some other trivial shit. The size of our dick. The number of kids we can produce. The harshness of our tone. The speed of our sprint. The sharpness of our mind.

Being a well rounded individual is not something that can be defined or "taught" by a society. In the end...like so many things...it relies on the individual and what they are able to ascertain from their surroundings and what they feel within to be true. Only when they get to that point will REAL change take place. The best thing that I can do is offer doors. That's all I want in return. Doors.


"I don't care if I alienate people because I know what it feels like to be alienated"

Beautiful theory.

"All I want to do is tell them that it is "ok." I want to tell them that what society teaches you on a daily basis isn't right."

And that's all you have to do really. So what's the big deal here? Are you so stuck on it that you can't see beyond the simple task of letting people know its "ok?" I am proposing that you don't get STUCK on this issue. It is a dead end road. I just can't be a proponent of anything (whether it be a scene, stigma, genre) that is defined by what people DON'T do.
Follow the history of the straight edge scene in hardcore. It turned into a joke. A bunch of tough guys sloganeering and people just wanting to be part of something "different." It wasn't presented in a practical manner. It was made into a parody of itself. People dishing out "rules" to one another. Kids involved themselves because it was something to do...before they eventually rebelled against the scene and turned into worse drug users than they probably would have been WITHOUT sXe ever being around.

"Everyday, artists are showing our kids that living a life of materialism and immorality is the most optimal path to choose. So based on your reasoning, I should just sit back and watch this happen so I don't get ostracized."

No, you have listened very selectively. I hope you have a collapsible soap box that can fit into the backpack you plan on traveling this world with.

"Why do you think our society has taken this path? I will tell you why, because the beer companies, major record labels, etc have promoted like it was a fucking campaign and now it is embedded into the subconscious of our culture."

Really? Maybe it goes BEYOND that. Imagine? Maybe it even has its roots in capitalism. MAYBE...MAYBE it is due to the influence that religion has over our KIDS!!! Maybe...it's Satan. Maybe it's Satan. You want to create heroes and villains, kid? You want to turn this world into your own after school special? Your battle is going to be folded into a paper airplane and flown into a campfire. Show some humility.

"I find it pathetic when I go to a show at Lupo's and some so-called real MC is passing out blunts at his show."

Me too. Because it has been done. And it's cheesy.

"Why can't we use music like they do to help empower kids and have people see things in a different way?"

Who said we couldn't? There are many who do. Are you suggesting that this is a new development of yours? Join the club, brotha.

"Real hiphop is meant to challenge traditional ways of thought."

You are in no position to determine what "real hiphop" was meant to challenge.
Hiphop rocked house parties. Hiphop beat the shit out of bitches and hoes. Hiphop killed its own people. Hiphop even supported cocaine and crack use. Hiphop has been used to support and endorse many unfortunate things. And it was all "real."

"It is people like KRS-ONE who I look up to who are promoting morality like it was a fucking campaign."

KRS One had nothing to do with my morality. And I grew up listening to him. I grew up ON his music and message...and none of it had to do with morality. This was a man who spoke highly of marijuana use. This was a man who promoted gun use and gangster mentality. Most importantly, he showed me new ways of thinking about things. This is a man full of more contradictions than the bible and you're trying to use him as an example. That just shows me how stuck you are. In the great words of Ignorance, "I hope you can unstick yourself."


"If you met KRS, would you say 'KRS, you can be who you are without promoting it like it was a fucking campaign? Man, you shouldn't have written that song about waiting to have sex because people are going to think you are too preachy.'

1) You aren't KRS One. I said that to you..not KRS. Don't liken yourself to KRS because his motivation, approach and impact is a whole other story from yours.
2) KRS promoted philosophy He was hiphop's thinking man. I respected his intellect and take on certain subjects, especially in a time when hiphoppers weren't given much credit for their mental prowess. He was a much needed voice of reason.
3) KRS wrote a song about having sex with a 13 year old girl.
4) KRS IS too preachy.

"It is my passionate belief that we shouldn't be judged based on the contents of our cup."

That is a fair and simple belief. Go with that. To be quite honest, there aren't many people who would argue you on that.

"Our kids shouldn't grow up thinking that alcohol is the be-all and end-all."

They shouldn't and they aren't.

"There is a constant barrage of artists who tell kids that this is the only way to be entertained, to have fun, and to be accepted. They promote their lifestyle openly and publicly. You are telling me that we shouldn't stand up and fight back openly and publicly. This isn't about my individuality. This is about change. This isn't about me trying to show people how 'rebellious' I am. This is about saying 'you know what society, people are more than what they choose as a beverage.'

And when you do that people are going to shrug their shoulders like "No shit." How many songs and/or albums are you going to churn out with that genius idea?

Don't make a cartoon our of your enemies.

Let everything I have said to you percolate in your conscience for a while. If you think of anything devastatingly real to present to me then I urge you to do so. However, I don't desire to continue a discussion of this nature. Please consider how many times I have had to tackle this subject matter(sometimes from your standpoint.)

peace,
sage

p.s. I really do wish the best for you.


Last edited by Sage Francis on Mon Mar 17, 2003 1:32 am; edited 1 time in total
Post Mon Mar 17, 2003 1:13 am
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Nope



Joined: 23 Jan 2003
Posts: 1916
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common sense vs. idealized views
Post Mon Mar 17, 2003 1:21 am
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hugh grants hooker
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i think most people only come at you for the conversation now-a-days.

you've grown too big for most of the people you used to chit-chat with.
so now, they realize the only way to get drawn out statements and responses from you is to come at you in a negative way.

its like with children. all they want is communication and contact from their parents.
when parents dont hug (contact) or talk to their children(communication). their children begin to act out negatively so the parents will lecture them (communication) and whip their asses (contact). so then the children have achieved their desires.

so in the same negative way of achieving these things, people are coming at you with all the ANTI - straight edge, vegan, and war shit.
and it even explains the IMs.

just my opinion.

fuck it. just stay down.

stay up,
adam
Post Mon Mar 17, 2003 1:24 am
 
Path



Joined: 29 Jun 2002
Posts: 452
Location: Minneapolis
 Reply with quote  

interesting points sage, i guess we were all in his corner at some time... you were in 1997.

i'm sort of somewhere in the middle of alot of those points. its hard to choose how to live life this way and not come off self-righteous to people.

very interesting read.


Last edited by Path on Mon Mar 17, 2003 1:41 am; edited 1 time in total
Post Mon Mar 17, 2003 1:32 am
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MC Escher



Joined: 01 Jan 2003
Posts: 24
 Reply with quote  

word.

self-righteous. not riotous. although that would be interesting (to path)


preachers preach, etc.


Last edited by MC Escher on Mon Mar 17, 2003 1:39 am; edited 1 time in total
Post Mon Mar 17, 2003 1:36 am
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Nope



Joined: 23 Jan 2003
Posts: 1916
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the whole "what? you think you're better than us cause you blah blah blah" is a bitch

people are stupid...plain and simple
Post Mon Mar 17, 2003 1:37 am
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Dionysus



Joined: 19 Feb 2003
Posts: 212
Location: click[www]for forum pics
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This gentleman needs to stop trying to change the world and start writing soft drink commercials. That's all his babble means to me.
Post Mon Mar 17, 2003 1:38 am
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hugh grants hooker
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i really dont see how it can even be seen as holier than thou shit.

a person can be anti-religion, pro or anti war, republican or democrat, etc..
ANYTHING they want to be, but they will never catch as much shit as the "straight-edge" person who goes out in public.

as soon as i enter any public place, people offer me cigarrettes, alcohol, weed, and anything else that will cripple their quickness. as soon as i say "No, thanks i'm not into that". all hell breaks loose. everytime.

the whole place is in my face. "oh i see, youre too good.". bullshit.

can I do that and get away with it? no.
there is no other arguement where a person can do this without looking like an asshole.
example:

1. 'wanna go to this cult rally with me"

2. no thanks i'm not into that.

3. 'oh i see, youre just too fucking good for us huh"


i hate that shit.
Post Mon Mar 17, 2003 1:39 am
 
ChinesePizza



Joined: 28 Oct 2002
Posts: 67
Location: :noitacoL
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I don't think I've ever been moved to change something drastic becuz of a band or someone famous telling me I should or expressing that he thinks I should do something one way when I do it the other. BUT if some band or artist believes in the same things/issues/ideals/whatever that I do I usually enjoy listening to what they are saying. I personally don't like to be force fed anything...state your position, be respectful of mine and let the chips fall where they may.

SJ
Post Mon Mar 17, 2003 1:41 am
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Path



Joined: 29 Jun 2002
Posts: 452
Location: Minneapolis
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MC Escher wrote:

self-righteous. not riotous. although that would be interesting (to path)
.


wow, that was a fucking great post man, keep up the high quality posting.

jackass. go spell check my cock, its 1:45 AM.
Post Mon Mar 17, 2003 1:42 am
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Dionysus



Joined: 19 Feb 2003
Posts: 212
Location: click[www]for forum pics
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hugh grants hooker wrote:
i really dont see how it can even be seen as holier than thou shit.

a person can be anti-religion, pro or anti war, republican or democrat, etc..
ANYTHING they want to be, but they will never catch as much shit as the "straight-edge" person who goes out in public.

as soon as i enter any public place, people offer me cigarrettes, alcohol, weed, and anything else that will cripple their quickness. as soon as i say "No, thanks i'm not into that". all hell breaks loose. everytime.

the whole place is in my face. "oh i see, youre too good.". bullshit.

can I do that and get away with it? no.
there is no other arguement where a person can do this without looking like an asshole.
example:

1. 'wanna go to this cult rally with me"

2. no thanks i'm not into that.

3. 'oh i see, youre just too fucking good for us huh"


i hate that shit.

I haven't ever had an issue with people hating on me when I refuse alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. I stopped smoking pot about 5 years ago - just out of high school, all of my friends, and most everyone else I came into contact with smoked. To this day, I probably find myself in 3-5 situations a month where I am offered. I don't think I've gotten a negative comment once. Often, I will be given a quizical eyebrow, to which I reply with a short explanation of my thoughts on the matter. This either sparks a discussion, or they go on their way smoking. If I am still around the next time it is passed, often people forget and try to pass to me again, to which I shake my head, and they usually fall all over themselves apologizing or at least say, "oh yeah...sorry, man."

I don't know where you're hanging out, but 5 years...not 1 negative comment...
Post Mon Mar 17, 2003 1:48 am
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21531
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I concur
Post Mon Mar 17, 2003 1:49 am
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hugh grants hooker
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i'm hanging in public. are you hanging with old friends or someshit.

i mean just for example...

start a thread on this very forum and state some anti drug rantings.
people whos names you have never even seen will log in to bash your thread.

then for comparison start other threads pro-war, anti-religion, pro-religion, anything. nothing will get the responses as the anti-drug/alcohol thread.

junkies are bad people.
Post Mon Mar 17, 2003 1:51 am
 
weaselmoustache



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 69
Location: seattle wa
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it makes sense that the idea of blatently promoting substance free behavior wont work, who would listen to that?
music that makes you think, that makes you analize every word and its meaning, is what i prefer. Sage influenced my behavior greatly. although i dont consider myself straight edge, i got rid of some bad habits through hearing what he had to say and applying it to myself.

sometimes its hard to look within yourself without the things you love, or appreciate. self-realization is a wonderful thing. i dont think i would have gotten anywhere trying to anylize myself while on drugs!
i thank the important people in my life for helping me, and i know that if i was to listen to someone saying " fuck those pot-smokin hippies, you should go sober!" i would have continued to numb myself with comforting substances that made everyone shut up.

thank you
Post Mon Mar 17, 2003 1:55 am
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Nope



Joined: 23 Jan 2003
Posts: 1916
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I've never had any problems...but then again...I have a mean stare

I think that people should do whatever the fuck they want...just don't be stupid with it. All it takes is a little responsability...but that's too much to ask from people

I haven't drank or smoke in awhile...doesn't mean I don't drink or smoke...I just haven't done it in awhile...I'll do it when I feel like it

I think this to be the healthier approach...


Last edited by Nope on Mon Mar 17, 2003 1:59 am; edited 1 time in total
Post Mon Mar 17, 2003 1:56 am
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