The Experiment: A Brief History of Willful Ignorance


Growing up, I always liked horror, sci-fi, comic books and computers. And whether it was because I was actually good at math and science and wore glasses, or something else… for whatever reason, people always considered me sort of a mad scientist.

It helps that in the 80’s and 90’s I was also into Hip Hop and video production and like others, referred to my home studio as “the lab” (or laboratory) which is, of course, the scientist’s favorite place. Still, every so often, I would get comments or cracks about how I was like some scientist with the way I approached creating my art. And, the thing is, they were right. I do treat my art like a mad scientist, and the following convoluted tale is about one of my more successful experiments.

@KurtNiceHHL and KRSONE (2009)

About 10 years ago, in 2009, I was the Marketing Director for the legendary Hip Hop emcee known as, The Teacha KRSONE. At the time, we were preparing for the launch of his book, The Gospel of Hip Hop and his 20th Anniversary Stop the Violence Movement Tour. When the book was finally printed and shipped to us a not long before the release party, I had a meeting with KRS to get one of the first copies.

At the meeting with me and KRS was his wife and manger Simone Parker. She’s an exceptional woman and someone KRS considers an “Acronologist” or someone who is skilled at giving words new meaning by assigning acronyms to describe it. (For instance, G.O.D. is Guiding Our Direction)

So, as we sat discussing our next moves on the tour there was a lull in the conversation because I had to make some confirmation calls. When I was refocusing my attention on KRS and Simone, she remarked to him sort of as an aside saying. “doesn’t he remind you of a mad scientist?” I don’t know if I was supposed to hear that cuz she thought I was still on the phone, and it sounded kind of complimentary I guess, but I acted as if I didn’t and started back in where we left off.

When I was on my way back home, a slight feeling of being exposed or put on blast still bothered me. See, with the exception of this explanation, I have never really referred to myself as a scientist outside of the mid 1990’s. Since Tupac and the ‘Thug-Era’, the respect for intellect had gone down consistently in rap music and society as a whole. So, her calling out my true nature like that was almost like a tarot card reader exposing some deep dark secret. Its like she saw thru me in a way and it was slightly offensive; kind of like someone walking in the bathroom when you’re on the toilet. It felt sort of intrusive, though in true accordance with my nature, it helped solidify the concept for my next thought experiment.

Simone is spectacular at redefining words because she has the gift for seeing the true nature of a thing. That ability helped The Teacha come up with a better way to express some powerful ideas he puts in the book and he gives her credit for that several times throughout the Gospel of Hip Hop.  The acronyms she comes up with are usually dope too. Like, STRONG is a mental process to practice when faced with situations like prison; Stay Tolerant, Respond Objectively, Notify God. She has good concepts to pass on but like so many other good concepts, hers get overlooked because they don’t go viral or floated around in social media heavily. This notion was the basis of my experiment. The idea was to take a concept or phrase and make it popular in the mainstream culture. Marketing, after all, is about promotion and sometimes re-packaging. Here I was trying to promote a specific phrase to see if I could push it into the everyday lexicon or at least popularize it. Hip Hop has an underground history of artists intentionally trying to popularize new phrases and maybe, this was in part, from that vain as well.

The Experiment

The concept or phrase I chose for my experiment was ‘willful ignorance’ or ‘willfully ignorant’. At first, I used it to describe the state of Hip Hop as expressed by rap music. In fact, by 2012, my disdain for the rap music industry in general had peaked due to so much willful ignorance, that I left the Temple of Hip Hop and KRSONE’s marketing duties for the next man to handle. I needed a break from an industry that was being taken over by mumble rap/trap music.

My primary interests shifted more toward politics as I started getting more graphic design and marketing work from local politicians. But even there, I began to notice the same effect. The dumbing down of America in politics was resulting in the same willful ignorance. Similar to rap music, politics thru gateway of the mainstream media was encouraging people to remain stuck in a place where they could just ignore facts or the future and instead create their own reality. This state of ignoring the long-term consequences of ill-advised present-day actions is, to me: willful ignorance. MAGAts do it, and rappers with tattoos on their face who snitch on themselves on records, only to be locked up later, do it too. Their fans who sip lean and play with guns are as willfully ignorant as white boys in khakis shouting “Jews will not replace us!” in Charlottesville. It was apparent that the whole country had been simmering in a stew of willful ignorance flavored with each group’s own special seasonings for a while.

So, I began using the phrase as often as possible in five main places on-line between 2009 and 2018. At first, I used it on my personal blog on which started as another promotional platform for KRSONE/the Temple of Hip Hop and Facebook. On September 23, 2009, two months before the book came out, I wrote an article called “More Random Babbling” that began…

“At what point are we gonna realize what is going on in society? We remain disconnected to a large degree from what is real by our own unwillingness to see life as a whole. We become trapped by our own willful ignorance of the things that aren’t connected to our immediate attention (Hip Hop Know What I’m Sayin’, 2013, Amazon).”

A few years later I wrote an article titled “No More Rappers”, in which I said…

“Hip Hop lyricism has gone from those who had confidence in their innate talent, determination and sincere effort, into those who feel comfortable enough to fake it til they make it. Rap has gone from justifiable confidence to unjustifiable arrogance and willful ignorance (Hip Hop Know What I’m Sayin’, 2013, Amazon – reposted March 2015 ).”

By 2015, I was deeply invested in Hillary Clinton winning the election and despised the blatant use of Russian propaganda and 25-year-old smears to weaken her chances. I used the phrase heavily on Berniecrat internet sites like TPM, Raw Story, AlterNet, The Daily Banter and Think Progress along with other insults until I was banned from all of them. Then I found The People’s View and was able to speak freely again. I continued to make the comparison between the state of hip-hop music and politics as the election of 2016 neared.

Most of these comments were on via the other sites mentioned and later I wrote a piece titled “Hip Hop and U.S. Politics Have a Similar Problem: The Media” in September of 2016. In it, I blacked out on the state of the media and made sure to drop the phrase “willfully ignorant” three separate times to drive the point home.

Around that time on disqus, I started to notice other people in our niche group of Hillary supporters, starting to use the phrase ‘willful ignorance’ once in awhile. It was mostly to describe members of the Alt-left, like The Young Turks, who at first, refused to see any possibility of Russian influence. After the election and into 2017, they epitomized the concept of willfully ignorant. I soon migrated to Twitter to expand my range of perspectives but stopped using the phrase as much. By then, others had migrated as well and started to spread the use outside of I still use the phrase infrequently on Twitter and other contexts like in a post from Dec. 2017 where I interviewed Duke Bootee, writer/producer of the song “The Message” I said, “Many have willfully ignored the true power of Hip Hop which is the power to edutain.”


Over the last two years, use of the phrase has been solely in reference to political conversations yet grown exponentially. Besides the increased use on-line throughout 2017 and 2018 I also saw the phrase begin to appear in political ads. Some instances I managed to screenshot although a Twitter search of the word will shoe the increase in use. Still, the coup de grace came this week when published a story that said,

“intelligence officials say Trump displays what one called ‘willful ignorance’ when presented with analyses… (Walcott, Time, 2-5-2019,”

With the phrase being used in its updated context like that at the highest level, echoing something put forth in a previous article, I would consider that a successful marketing experiment (even though it took 10 years). Now, like any good marketing professional, I didn’t have to come up with the phrase to rebrand and popularize it. The phrase originated for me around 2006/7 when I saw George Carlin’s 2005 NYC show at the Beacon theatre on-line. In it, during one of his many classic rants he said in passing,

“That’s what the owners count on, the fact that Americans will probably remain, willfully ignorant.”  – George Carlin


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Japanese Funk Edition

Funk U Cafe

Ep. 9 – Funky Samurai

Did you know there was a thing called Japanese Funk? Well, in the World of breakbeat funk, Japanese cinema of the 1970’s was a gold mine of funky grooves. This show features some dope tracks from that wave as well as some deep cut, classic Hip Hop. Discussion in the second hour is funny, a little controversial and perfect coffee table talk for today. Listen at your leisure.

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Funk U Cafe 3

Episode #3 – Kurt Nice Bornday Show


Black Moon, Artifacts, Noreaga, Slum Village and Common.

Funk U Cafe is a Show With DJ SonSu and Kurt Nice. Rare Grooves, Break Beats, Classic Rhythm and Blues ,Hip Hop , Disco, Jazz, and coffee talk!

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What’s the best thing about Hip Hop?

When people think of the benefits of Hip Hop as a culture, what comes to mind?

Number one for many is economic.

Hip Hop created a lane for many to thrive in that uses their innate creative and entrepreneurial skills for financial gain. Before Hip Hop became popular in the 1980’s and 90’s, there was no lane for mobile deejays to get Worldwide fame and charge 100k per event. There also wasn’t a viable market for vocal artists who didn’t sing in some form or another. Hip Hop created a lane for rappers to exist. From there, on down to videographers, directors, designers and even Love and Hip Hop “stars”, hip-hop as a marketing commodity can be used today to generate income on many levels. Some would call that the most beneficial aspect, but I wouldn’t. Financial prosperity is great but that’s not the most beneficial or, more importantly, the most powerful aspect of Hip Hop Kulture.

Others may cite Hip Hop’s influence on mainstream society.

The existence and eventual acceptance of Hip Hop Kulture, has made the World itself a little more Hip Hop. Simply stated, most people who understand English, whether HipHop or not, know what dissin means or what a “hater” is or even what a “Stan” is (thanks to Eminem). After the 1990’s, the World itself is now more HipHop (conscious) as a whole. BBoying is a Worldwide celebrated artform far outside the streets where it first originated. Graf and deejayin have morphed into multi-million-dollar ventures for artist across the globe too.

Most might say;giving a voice to the voiceless

and a format for uncoached talent to rise from nothing is another important blessing from Hip Hop Kulture, and it is. However, the most important or powerful aspect, to me, is Hip Hop’s ability to edutain. Hip Hop took the concept of edutainment from 1960’s -70’s hippie culture then refined and remixed it on its own terms. Edutainment wasn’t stumbled upon like it was in the 60’s. Edutainment in hip-hop music was a conscious decision. It was spearheaded and led by groups like KRS/BDP, Public Enemy, X-Clan, Brand Nubian, Poor Righteous Teachers and others, who inspired rappers to, if not uplift, at least educate or school people on the realities of the street.

The concept of edutainment at its core is what generated the phrase “keep it real”.

“Keep it real” on one level means; keep it raw/uncut/uncensored. But on a more basic level means; keep it truthful or speak your truth. It means don’t “front (fake)”, be honest, “kick facts”. Edutainment is built on putting someone up on something they didn’t previously realize. It’s about “droppin science”, “droppin jewels”, “spittin gems”, “spittin pearls of wisdom”. At one time, during the height of the conscious era in hip-hop music in the early 1990’s, one emcee stood above the rest. That emcee in general was considered by most other emcees as the top of the craft based on his mastery of numerous styles and his ability to drop jewels. From having personally asked many top emcees myself, I can say with confidence that KRSONE was that emcee from around 1988 – 1998. Above being the lead proponent and one who coined the term “Edutainment”, his name literally stands for Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone. He’s almost just as famous for being known as the Teacha.

Image result for edutainment krs one Related image

Subliminally, one reason KRS was considered the top emcee was because he, like others, harnessed the instinctual power of edutainment. Edutainment is what the griots and shaman of early humanity used to educate the tribe on which berries to eat or how to avoid predators. The griot didn’t just say it. He danced and wore tribal colors and got animated and scared little children of the tribe. The shaman inscribed messages on the observers by speaking in their tongue and using tribal cues that had particular significance and weight to them.

Like the griots and shaman of the past, or the preachers of modern day, KRS and others used the power of words to transmit messages beyond just entertainment. KRS wasn’t the first in hip-hop music to do it though. That distinction probably goes to Duke Bootee and Melle Mel on the Message. Still, that true power of edutainment was harnessed by KRS and others to show, to me, the most powerful aspect of Hip Hop Kulture; Edutainment.

Edutainment uplifted a whole culture of people and inspired a generation of World citizens who consider themselves Hiphoppas, first and foremost as their identity. The power of edutainment was used to legitimize Hip Hop in the eyes of the World. That contribution helped solidify Hip Hop’s position in society. Even today, Hip Hop influenced edutainment has broken records in multiple genres outside of just music. In the last four years, Hip Hop Edutainment has broken the box office and was 1 award shy of getting the most Tony awards in one night for the Alexander Hamilton play, a Hip-Hop Musical. NetFlix crashed during the highly binged premier of the Luke Cage TV series written by Hiphoppa Cheo Coker and musically produced by Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Mohammed (ATCQ). Most recently the Marvel/Disney movie Black Panther became the highest grossing solo-superhero movie of all time. The amount of gems or science dropping expressed by these projects is a testament to the innate power of Edutainment. Word!

To celebrate Hip Hop Appreciation Week for 2018, think of how the use of Edutainment benefited you in the past. Then think about the impact it could have on society today.

One, Kurt Nice



Hamilton/Edutainment The #3 Rap Album Was A Hidden Gem This Year

How many Hip Hop References are in Luke Cage?


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Creating the Message – an interview with Duke Bootee

One of the many things I agree wholeheartedly with KRS about, is the importance of self-creation to the foundation of Hip Hop Kulture. The idea of self-creation is, at least in part, a product of the concept of “knowledge of self”, from the 5% ideology. The search for knowledge of self is a continual process as you grow into a better human being and so is the continued desire to self-create or continue evolving. Hip Hop expression is continually evolving and even our idea of what exactly Hip Hop is, is constantly evolving.

What we once thought were the most important qualities to concentrate on at the time have changed. We no longer have to fight the mass consciousness about the idea that Hip Hop is a culture, not just an artform. People already believe that now. Hip Hop as a culture has spread across the World and has impacts most don’t even see. Now, some fights are for the true ideologies that made Hip Hop powerful to be redefined. Many have willfully ignored the true power of Hip Hop which is the power to edutain.

Edutainment, is what separates True School Hip Hop from pop music. People can gain benefits from experiencing edutainment. Music that educates or informs and transforms a mindset has been an integral part of Hip Hop since The Message. That song marked the beginning of conscious hip-hop  music. But in the spirit of self-creation, we can re-examine and redefine Hip Hop Kulture by exploring the roots a little deeper.

We love to gloss over history and believe whatever we want to believe in America. Ignorance is rewarded highly so that people become dumber and more susceptible to sucker-shit. True School Hip Hop is about uplifting the down-trodden and “civilizing the uncivilized”. Hip Hop is against people behaving like and becoming suckers. So, we can’t gloss over history. We have to re-examine it and explore the details. We can do this with The Message by Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five.

People think they know this song and should have heard it if they consider themselves a Hiphoppa, but do they really know this song? Even I ignored and glossed over the real inspiration and author behind this iconic piece of music for many years. You see, back in the 90’s, I used to argue with a friend about a teacher at my local high school in Plainfield named, Ed Fletcher, who he said wrote the music and the words to The Message, but I dismissed him. Not until around 2013 did I realize he was right all along. In 2015, I finally got a chance to talk to Ed Fletcher and we discussed not only how he came up with the song, but I found out David Byrne of the Talking Heads is actually an unsung influence on that song, and therefore Hip Hop as well.

For many the interview will be a paradigm-shifting experience to understand how easily important facts are overlooked in Hip Hop history. These new facts can reshape how we view where we really are and what Hip Hop is. It’s a good thing though. More knowledge of where we come from helps us evolve. A better understanding of where we come from culturally can help us better direct where we’re going.

With all that said, here’s the interview with Duke Bootee…

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Clinton Faced Yuuge Media Problem

For many of us, it was no secret how the most admired person in the history of the Gallup poll was turned into the “most flawed, establishment Democrat” ever nominated. The way we got here was through the media’s biased filter. And although these same flawed media outlets will demand that Hillary Clinton acknowledge her flaws and faults in order to accept blame for losing the electoral college, they haven’t done the same. They haven’t acknowledged their part in dumbing down the masses for ratings and money. Notice the spike in unfavorable % when 2015 rolled around. In 2015 and 2016, Hillary didn’t do anything outrageous to gain such a number other than run for President. Her negatives were manufactured by the media (with help from Russian hackers).

On TV, the radio and ESPECIALLY on-line, media lackeys parroted right-wing Russian propaganda as headlines to get angry white clicks on their websites. The easily-led masses of drones on social media didn’t see the brainwashing that took place to feed their hatred for “that woman”. Hillary Clinton, though thoroughly vetted and qualified, was pre-empted by constant smear tactics from mainstream and alternative media as the Harvard study shows.

Which one of those hack outlets will be the first o acknowledge this study? Berniecrats are notorious for citing polls. Let’s see if they even dare to talk about this study. Most of them are cynics and cowards anyway (TYT).

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The Birth of Hip Hop Music

On August 11, 1973, Clive Campbell aka Kool DJ Herc told me that his sister, Cindy aka Queen Pep, asked him to deejay a party for their apartment building on Sedgwick Ave in the Bronx. This jam came to be known as the galvanizing event that led to the Hip-Hop Music genre. One year later, in November of 1974, the Universal Zulu Nation would take it one step further and begin to organize Hip Hop Kulture. Today, we commemorate the galvanization of the culture and music by paying respects to the pioneers and art form.

Kool DJ Herc and me (Kurt Nice)


Kool DJ Herc and Queen Pep (2011)

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Thanks President Obama!

No longer will we have a classy, intelligent, articulate mature adult in the White House because President Barack Obama’s second term is over. History will smile on his legacy unlike many who don’t see it now. Here are the numbers.



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Politics and Hip Hop

From the book – Hip Hop… Know What I’m Sayin by Kurt Nice (

This piece was published in the above book, in 2012, but notice how relevant it is today.

What has the present day political culture taught us about society? In America, the political discourse is a direct reflection of the mainstream culture. Whatever values are found acceptable in the mainstream are for the most part used to align politicians with the pulse of America. On the extremes, some politicians try to bully the mainstream over to their way of thinking. It’s the same for rap music.

In 2008, the United States elected President Barack Obama after a political campaign that called for ‘hope and change’. A majority of Americans who vote, all bought in to the idea that maybe, this one man would somehow change the direction of a system that has been in place for almost 200 years. People believed, that this one man would be able to single-handedly, transform the mindset of those that seemingly lord over the masses lives, dictating the boundaries of the society we share. Well not so surprisingly, this grand change did not happen. Things didn’t dramatically change, mostly because the entrenched forces, which “run” things, have too much of a stake in keeping things just the way they are. Also, things didn’t change because President Obama wasn’t actually bent on changing the status quo as much as he was bent on compromising with the ‘powers that be.’ We may never know his true intentions, but we have all learned a valuable lesson as to what a real leader actually is. As it turns out, a leader is most successful, not when he enacts his own plan for change, but when he moves in the will of the people. A President has no power alone. The powers that have been in place for years are too far dug in, to be removed by a single person. It takes pressure from the informed masses to change the everyday operation. This is the same as it is with Hip Hop Kulture.


There is no one individual in Hip Hop Kulture who can turn the prevailing tide from what Hip Hop is represented as today, into something we all can again be proud of. Although we would love to have a savior who could lead Hip Hop back to the promised-land, none will come. Hip Hop Kulture, like American culture cannot be moved by one person. It is a nice fantasy to believe that some figure will come to the forefront of Hip Hop society and set everything right again. It would be great to have a single, powerful voice that speaks sense back in to the everyday discourse. It would be great if anyone would even listen to such a voice. That will never happen though, but so what?


Hip Hop in its best days was never ruled over by one stream of thought. Hip Hop in its best days was a melting pot of original, individual ideas. Hip Hop at its best is when there are a variety of truthful opinions and schools of thought all presenting their best skill. The collective consciousness that results is absorbed into the culture. When Hip Hop was at its best during the Golden Era, conscious groups like Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions, Brand Nubian and X-Clan shared time with Cypress Hill, De La Soul, NWA, Nice and Smooth, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, Salt n Pepa and MC Lyte. So in the Hip Hop collective conscious were songs like Fight the Power, My Philosophy, Fuck the Police, Paid in Full, How I Could Just Kill A Man, and Me Myself and I. All of these ideologies were not just part of the individual making the record, but the audience of like-minded individuals who shared the idea. Hip Hop in its best days was like a report of the urban mindset.


More in the past than nowadays, emcees at their best skill level, were able to bring a voice to what everyone around them was thinking. Today, rappers are much more self-centered and speak on issues that the average Hiphoppa will never experience. This shift is not due to the intrinsic values of Hip Hop Kulture however. The shift is toward the mainstream values embedded in the larger society. These entrenched forces are expressed through record company promotion, mainstream media coverage, radio airtime and venue ownership. These forces were dug in before Hip Hop began. These forces already have agendas and quotas to fill. Over time, rappers compromised and conformed to the status quo just like President Obama did in his first four years in office.

It’s not a surprise to see this outcome if you’re familiar with the transformation social movements have taken on over the past 100 years. In music specifically, new trends have always become monetized to suit the needs of the corporate machine. Just like Jazz, R&B and Rock, as Hip-Hop music became more popular, it came more under the influence of the corporate structure of the music business. In this environment, you can’t expect an individual to resist the prevailing force of the mainstream culture by themselves. Rappers, representing only, themselves, will always fold to the pressure exerted by the industry. Only emcees who represent something outside themselves can hope to withstand that kind of pressure.


The mainstream by definition is the amalgamation of previous sounds. The sound is then watered-down to conform to a broader audience. The process of dilution makes the music more palatable to audiences who aren’t used to the raw form. Hip Hop in this way, has gone through the same transformations again and again. In the early 90’s when hip-hop music became patterned after MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice, mainstream hip-hop rejected it. Mainstream hip-hop (unlike mainstream pop music) was represented at that time by the core audience, which was made up of so-called underground Hiphoppas.  At the time, groups like EPMD, a mainstream hip-hop group, recorded songs like “The Crossover”, ridiculing pop music culture. Although EPMD would be considered a mainstream hip-hop group by today’s standards, in the early 90’s, the average group was underground conscious. EPMD was considered underground conscious, yet popular enough to be considered mainstream hip-hop, similar to the way J Cole and Kendrick Lamar are looked at now. They have mainstream success and popularity but use an underground consciousness.


Today, mainstream hip-hop music has shifted more toward the pop culture side. Today the average mainstream rapper is pop more than underground. Today, rap music is the reflection of those who desire mainstream success almost exclusively. The lifestyle envisioned by rappers in 2012 (or 2016), is built on a dream of fame, money and excessive self-indulgence, a pattern far removed from the ambitions outlined in the earlier days of rap. Still, the Golden Era was not all void of those wishes. People always had a craving for financial success and celebrity status. What plagues rap music nowadays, is a lack of direction. In rap’s infancy (1970’s), there was a desire to be recognized and confirmed. There was an overt focus on defining ourselves as a culture during the 80’s and early 90’s that was achieved sometime during the second half of the 1990’s. Sometime soon after 1994, Hip Hop Kulture subconsciously recognized that we had made it.


Maybe it was due to the number of Hip Hop influenced mainstream branding innovations that became popular. The movies, television commercials, fashion changes in mainstream culture, language and of course, the huge sums of money Hip Hop related products began to generate. It wasn’t stated publicly or in a press release to all the news outlets though. There was no big party for Hip Hop.  After all, there was no Hip Hop board of advisors to call for a press conference. Individually, Hiphoppas began to taste success throughout the 90’s like they had never seen before. Independently, a new strategy of how to succeed in the industry developed. The strategy was about manufactured controversy and celebrity beef. One of the worst lessons learned from the East-West controversy was that one could achieve fame through stirring up drama with another artist. Since that time the number of contrived ‘wars’ is too numerous to keep track of.




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What’s the Best Cypher in Hip Hop History?

It’s funny that now, I can, sort of, take pride in being a Hip Hop nerd in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Back in the day, the strange tech guys that were into video and Hip Hop, like myself, were an eclectic bunch. Some of us wore glasses, dressed weird, traded obscure Hip Hop facts and all shared a love of documenting the culture. Recording everyday street life or better yet, ‘all down’, candid moments with familiar Hip Hop personalities was something new in the 1990’s because video technology wasn’t as accessible. Among the hours of tape I recorded during that time, are some classic pieces that have embedded themselves in the fabric of the culture. One of those sessions deserves special consideration (each year) because it may be a singularly unmatched piece of Hip Hop history. It will also allow me to finally pose the question; Is the Shades of Hip Hop’s Cypher, the best recorded rhyme cypher in Hip Hop history?


Every December I reminisce on one of my favorite memories in Hip Hop. This past December, I finally realized how to classify that moment. Sometimes I’ve flirted with the idea that I lucked out and recorded the best cypher in Hip Hop history, but it wasn’t that. The one I recorded is #2. The best cypher in Hip Hop history was the one many still might not have seen. It was from the finale show of Arsenio Hall. The eclectic group of emcees he had on stage, all in their prime condition, will never be matched again. It featured Yo Yo, MC Lyte, Treach, Phife, Q-Tip, Chip-Fu, CL Smooth, Guru, Das EFX, GZA, KRS ONE, and Mad Lion. Admittedly the mic quality and caliber of rhymes may not have been the best, but at the time it was revolutionary on a whole different level. Arsenio allowed regular underground emcees to populate his performance section long before it was wise to do on mainstream TV.

The cypher I recorded was much more intimate and personal. On the level of talent and significance of the rhymes, it was top notch which is why, to me, it’s a strong #2. The place where it is #1 is this fact I just realized. Back in the day of analog video tape, cameras weren’t as readily available. In those days, there were a lot of one camera shoots and editing sessions to cut out the boring spots, framing shots, awkward pans and focus adjustments. There is a clever way of chopping up an interview to make it look fluid and continuous while editing out significant portions of the content. The Hip Hop cyphers I recorded back then were raw and real though. There were no editing tricks or nifty plug-in filters in my finished products. That kind of realistic underground atmosphere had never fully been captured in an uncensored way until Shades of Hip Hop. So, the cypher I recorded was a traditional one person, one camera, viewer perspective witnessing the scene. However, the rhyme cypher is only part of the dopest one camera shot in the history of Hip Hop Kulture.

When you realize that the video you see, and the angles you get, from the start of the conversation to the end of Canibus’ rhyme, is all one long shot from one camera, you know just how unique this footage is. People post glowing comments about the rhyme cypher portion itself on bootlegged YouTube copies that have millions of hits. However, the rhyme is made more significant because of what they discussed prior to spitting their verses. There was also an underlying friendly tension of competitors that some may not have noticed outside of the room. Also, the weight of the rhymes spit by Mos Def and Big Pun were from their vast arsenal of gems, but probably ranked as their personal favorite to rock in just this kind of situation. The final point that solidifies the ranking, is the rhyme Canibus spit for the first time in public; 2nd Round KO, the LL Cool J diss.

I’m constantly reminded about this footage because so many people on so many platforms post it as an example of the 1990’s top emcees. Also, whenever there’s a documentary about Big Pun, they use my recording of the Dream Shatterer verse. (BTW) The guy in black clothes, behind Pun, was my deejay at the time for Shades of Hip Hop video mix tapes, DJ Spunk. He mixed the instrumental bed behind video tapes like Shades of Hip Hop vol. 3: Time 2 Shine. He went on to deejay for the Outsidaz and tour the country after mixing Shades of Hip Hop vol. 4: Hot 2 Def. Still, beyond the rhyme, the most important part of the recording was what they discussed. They broke down the art of emceein by answering some deftly prepared questions from Village Voice reporter, Toure. What’s recorded was a true master-class in emceein. The topics discussed are some things that every rapper needs to consider if he/she wants to build their skill.

Topics discussed:

  1. How to separate the real lyricists from ones who don’t know
  2. Competition vs. Intimidation
  3. Why is ego important?
  4. Do you need to qualify with a Hip Hop authority or be co-signed?
  5. How do you prove you’re the illest?
  6. What makes a great emcee?
  7. How do you tell a rapper they’re whack?
  8. Slang words and setting trends
  9. How to make adjustments between music projects

If artists commonly discussed all these topics, we would probably have a different caliber of music today. We would already have a respect for the culture enough to pursue growth of the Hip Hop community, not just sustainability. With the display of skills at the end, every point they made prior is solidified. Their truth is revealed in how expertly they present their rhymes and articulate their points. In the end, what the culture has, is a tool to enhance and inspire the best from its participants.

On a side note, before there ever was a Beef DVD series documenting the details of rap beefs and how they started, I’m sure QDIII watched Shades of Hip Hop vol 4: Hot 2 Def, and saw the following footage.

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Posted in Hip Hop,, kurt nice, Recent Posts,

The Media Meltdown of 2016

In no uncertain terms, we will long suffer the consequences of 2016. The decisions made on a global and national scale will surely affect us in the months and years to come. What we’ve realized this year is that the system is broken. That system, is our system of generating progress and maintaining it. Whatever system is supposed to exist that’s tasked with ensuring that society and culture moves forward, failed in 2016.


People blame government as if the American political system has ever been without flaws. Many of the breaks in that system were there from the beginning. This same political system started on slavery, has always just been a work in progress to become “more perfect”. It’s not that we, suddenly, must be reminded to monitor the corruption of government. We always knew that, didn’t we? How the system failed this year, is that it allowed frauds with no qualifications to become the face of us, as connected groups of people. It also revealed key weaknesses in the basic structure of our means of mass communication. The 4th estate of government was the biggest failure of 2016. It failed on almost every level from politics to entertainment culture, except in specialized pockets.


The 4th estate is the media. “The fourth estate is a term that positions the press (newspapers) as a fourth branch of government and one that is important to a functioning democracy (” The press, which now includes all forms of media down to the internet, is supposed to be the “watchdog” for the people. It’s supposed to protect the interests of the people above those of the players, politicians, or subjects of the game. It’s also supposed to protect the people’s interests above its own. In the past, the media served more as a guide, referee, and teacher when it was at its best. But negatively, it can also serve its own interests or the interests of people in power thereby rendering it useless.


From politics to hip-hop music, the media has been broken for a long time, and 2016 was the final breaking point. Because of the desire for ‘clicks’, ‘likes’, ‘shares’, ‘hits’ and internet significance, the media abandoned quality and became triggered by whatever seemed a ‘hot topic’ that minute. By giving significance to the actions of buffoons while pasting smears and nitpicks on qualified representatives from the ‘old school’, the media revealed a weakness. Part of the basis of their failure was the naivete of the so-called presenters. Without the knowledge and respect for their craft and a true understanding of the culture or society we live in, they focused instead on insignificant, unworthy individuals because it was interesting. 2016 is what happens when people choose style over substance.


Specifically, all of the news sources failed. All of the ones on cable, the internet, newspapers, blogs, podcasts etc. The result is that the most corrupt, unqualified, unvetted candidate was allowed to win only because he was given so much help by the media. The media flooded the masses with propaganda and misinformation to the point that they voted against their own best interests. The internet, new media and meme driven social media platforms were especially critical in spreading just enough propaganda to sway the votes of 1% of the voters. Some quote the number as 78,000 votes in three key states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin which would have changed the outcome entirely. That 1% of voters who made protest votes, or the similar number of people who decided to stay home, made all the difference. If the internet misinformation affected just that many people alone, it was too much.

The media is also responsible for the vacuum of talent in rap music entertainment. Bloggers and YouTubers and news aggregators have elevated the least worthy class of so-called artists to ever ghettoize the cover of the XXL Freshman edition. The idea that so-called mumble rap is considered part of the hip-hop genre is the fault and failure of those same commentators who allow it in the conversation.


Even the so-called Konscious Kommunity was repeatedly plagued by scandals from its most prominent leaders, none of whom correctly assessed the political climate of modern African-Americans they claimed to represent. If anything, they spoke out against voting altogether, unlike the 90% of African Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton from the primaries thru the general election. They failed to see the strategic positioning AA would have gained if the Democrats won, yet claim to still have an answer outside of political power. They, like the rest of the media, revealed that they don’t have the answers on how to make things better. Things have only gotten worse under the guidance of the modern media sources. From CNN, to MSNBC, to The Young Turks, to Thom Hartmann, to NPR, to Complex Magazine, to Rolling Stone, to Vlad TV, to DJ Akademiks, to Umar Johnson and Brother Polight, all posted failing grades by the end of 2016. They all failed to maintain progress and provide real solutions or guidance to their audiences. In the end, their audience made up that 1% of voters or millions of fans suckered into following questionably talented degenerates like Donald Trump or Desiigner. The media’s tactic of keeping people dumbed down and distracted has finally come full circle and 2016 is the proof.

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Posted in Hip Hop, kurt nice, Recent Posts

Bernie was never as popular as Hillary

Once again, we have proof that the ALT-Left’s claim that Hillary Clinton was the WORST choice for POTUS was full of holes. The so-called progressive left said that Hillary didn’t resonate as much with the American people as their hero Bernie Sanders. Well, first, Hillary beat Bernie Sanders by over 3M votes in the primary (which wasn’t rigged). Then, she won the popular vote to Donald Trump in the Nov. 2016 election. Now, we find that after the election, Hillary Clinton remains more popular than Bernie ever was.


The new Gallup poll of the most admired man and woman in the World was just released. In the poll, Americans were asked to give their opinion about who they admire most. This year’s headline reacted to the news that President Obama was selected for the 9th year in a row above President-Elect Donald Trump. However, the title could have been “Hillary Wins Again!” since this is her 15th consecutive win and her 21st number one selection since 1993 (which is a record NO ONE has come close to). While Trump managed to get 15% of the vote overall in his category compared to Obama’s 22%, Hillary got only 12% of the vote in her category. It was 1% lower than her mark in 2015 when she got 13%.

Bernie Sanders also slid in the polls by 1%, to get a measly 2% of the overall vote, just 1 point more than Joe Biden, Bill Clinton, Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, Ben Carson, Benjamin Netanyahu and Mike Pence, who all got 1%. Incidentally, no woman has broken the 12% ceiling except Hillary who has done so every year and Sarah Palin in 2009 and 2010, when Hillary still beat her in the popularity contest. Even Michelle Obama has never been higher than her current position at 8% and she was number two this year.

The fact that this information is new to most, is proof that media propaganda decided the election of 2016. Memes made people think Hillary was the most corrupt, least trusted politician in history. However, the only time since 1993 that she wasn’t number one on the list was ’95 and ’96 when she lost to Mother Teresa and 2001 (First Lady Laura Bush). Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, has only made the list twice in his life (2015, 2016). Bernie followers still claim that his popularity among Americans was so much greater than Hillary’s yet he has never come close to the percent of Americans who prefer Hillary. The lowest percent Hillary ever received while on the list was 12%. The highest percent of Americans who think Bernie is admirable is 3%. In the summer of 2016, I pointed out this fact in a piece called The Most Admired Woman in the World. But ya’ll didn’t hear me though…

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What did we learn in 2016?

Well, the dummies have come home to roost! Years of media manipulation and dumbing down of America has resulted in a society-wide cynicism and willful ignorance unmatched by modern generations. Even outside the U.S., the Brexit vote both surprised and confused the World community at the seemingly backward drift of the modern man. However, it’s not really men in general. It’s a particular kind, of man or woman, that lives a life invested in the mainstream popular culture.

The Mainstream media has manipulated modern people to a George Orwell level of backward thinking. Progressives are regressive. Republicans are populists. Insiders are outsiders. Black and Latino voters are establishment shills and the so-called White middle-class is the most down-trodden segment of the population. This is all part of a cynics best wet-dream. Cynics hate progress as I stated in a piece called …

Real poverty numbers and how cynics hate progress

The beginning of 2016 had me reflecting on where we are as a Hip Hop Kulture… In a piece from Feb titled Where do we go from here? I said, “Right now, we don’t see a youth culture fortified by the same principles of integrity and originality we once admired. Instead, we see a youth culture bathed in the same excesses of mainstream greed and narcissism that the underground Hip Hop Kulture used to warn against. In one sense, we failed to pass on Hip Hop the proper way. That’s something I’m disappointed by every day, when I observe things outside my circle (Feb 2016)”.  With that said, I then mentioned the positive side, “On the other hand, I’ve been blessed to live a life behind the scenes of Hip Hop Kulture that many would dream of living. I’ve been honored to be around some of the most talented and inspirational pioneers and innovators of the Hip Hop Kulture over the last 25 years. I’ve been in the room where legendary events have taken place and even participated in helping others ‘come to plan’.  Most importantly, I’ve seen Hip Hop grow from ‘nothing’ into something over the course of my 47 years on the Earth. And knowing the obstacles we faced in the past as a culture, I feel optimistic about the future of Hip Hop. Our options for growth are, actually, more attainable than in the past (Feb 2016)”. I still believe that. (Hint:

This year was especially monumental for me personally, in that, I finally completed a 22 year art project. This project (which I will detail in a later post) culminated in a 3 month exhibition of 25 years of my work at the new Hip Hop Lives Archive in Plainfield  NJ. Like most of my other work, these posts are meant to be understood in the future and act as a sort of journal in the meantime. A few were reposts from years ago that have relevance now. Similarly, some of the posts from this year will only begin to make sense to some as time goes on. In reverse chronological order (last to first), here are links to the articles I wrote this year.

Shout Out to Hip Hop Nerds   12/ 3/2016 – Or. Pub. 1/31/16

My Thoughts on Hip Hop History Month   11/21/16

Make Hip Hop Great Again 11/11/16

Integration is the problem  11/9/16 – Or. Pub 6/25/14

Another way to see how media manipulates you  11/9/16 – or. Pub. 7/15/13

Why the Mainstream Prefers Suckers, Clowns and Cynics  11/9/16@ 02:24 – or pub 8/20/16

How Hip Hop Business Creates Shared Value pt 2             10/31/16

How Hip Hop Business Creates Shared Value pt 1 10/31/16

Rappers Love to Talk About Money Not Business 10/30/16

Cross Cultural Consumer Characterization and You 10/25/16

Progressives Hate NSA But Love Russian Hacks? 10/17/16

Watch This Space 10/12/16

New Episode: What about non-English Rap? 10/11/16

Donald Trump and P*ssygate 2016 10/9/16

How many Hip Hop References are in Luke Cage? 10/2/16

A Superhero in Harlem 9/30/16

Luke Cage NetFlix Series On Deck: Cue Primo 9/27/16

Media Proves They’re Stuck on Stupid pt 1: Politics 9/25/16

Fame Over Respect? 9/17/16

The Most Admired Woman in the World 9/15/16

Unsigned Artist Review (Parts 6 & 7) 9/12/16

Hip Hop and U.S. Politics Have a Similar Problem: The Media 9/7/16

Unsigned Artist Review (S2 E5) 8/28/16

People Lie about the 1990’s 8/27/16

WTF is a Poverty Rate? 8/24/16

Luke Cage infused with 90s Hip Hop 8/15/16

HipHopLives FB UAR (S2 E4) 8/15/16

Real poverty numbers and how cynics hate progress 8/6/16

Pop Rap versus Hip Hop 8/3/16

Mainstream rappers don’t care about you 7/25/16

A new look at the Hip Hop Elements 7/21/16 – or pub 2/19/15

Young Rappers Don’t Love Hip Hop 7/13/16


After this, do you still love Hip Hop? 6/21/16

This July at the Hip Hop Archive 6/14/16

Elizabeth NJ – A Place in Hip Hop History 6/13/16

Exhibition Open 5/25/16

Check out the Hip Hop Lives Archive 5/18/16

The Hip Hop Declaration of Peace 5/16/16

It’s All About the Hamiltons 4/30/16

Exhibition set up, come visit us! 4/29/16

Archive Update: Hip Hop Posters 4/26/16

It’s 4:20 Everyday  04/20/16

What have you learned from Hip Hop? 04/10/16

My Life in Hip Hop 04/10/16

Some fools don’t need a special day  04/01/16

18 Years ago this month 04/01/16

Remembering the Moments 03/23/16

Preserving Hip Hop for Future Generations 03/23/16

24 Years Ago in Hip Hop  03/09/16

Aren’t we all wrong sometimes?   02/29/16

What’s in a leap year?  02/28/16

A View from the underground  02/19/16

Where do we go from here?  02/11/16

What Happened to Skillz?  01/25/16

Hip Hop is a seed 01/25/16

What did we learn about Hip Hop in 2015?  01/18/16


Posted in Hip Hop,, kurt nice, Recent Posts

Shout Out to Hip Hop Nerds

(originally published Feb 2, 2016)

To be clear, rappers didn’t create Hip Hop. They used to speak for it though.

Deejays didn’t create Hip Hop either; neither did B-Boys/Girls or Graf artists.

Hip Hop was galvanized by all those groups together and also by some groups that have gone unnamed.

To galvanize means,

“to stimulate somebody or something into great activity1 (or) to stimulate the nerves or muscles of someone’s body using an electric current2 (Ecarta Dictionary: English).”

One important group that goes unnamed are those who created the true birthplace of Hip Hop as a culture; the underground.

The underground is where Hip Hop was first talked about beyond just rapping, or just Deejaying or as just one individual element but as all elements together forming something much greater as a whole; a way of life or Hip Hop Kulture. The underground wasn’t made up of just emcees and deejays alone. The people who observed and participated in what was happening were the first generation of Hip Hop nerds who talked about Hip Hop as a thing. Bam, although also an emcee and deejay, was in fact, a Hip Hop nerd; a Hip Hop intellectual who contemplated the existence of Hip Hop in the Infinity Lessons.

The metaphysical impulse of positive community change came as the result of the influence of Black Revolutionaries, Black Hippies and the artistic freedom of the 1970’s. This amalgamation of forces inspired Hip Hop nerds like Bam and Fab 5 Freddy to promote and ponder about the idea of a Hip Hop-based culture.


And don’t get me wrong. I use the word ‘nerd’ affectionately. Twenty years ago I would have said intellectual. However, nowadays, nerd is looked at in a more positive light than the term intellectual. In fact, trendy hipsters dress like so-called nerds on purpose to look ‘cool’. Nerd versus intellectual implies a person who is into something on a deep level i.e. computer nerd, comic book nerd, or even sports nerd. This just denotes a class of individuals who are obsessed with whatever subject matter their focus becomes.


Hip Hop had the same thing at one time. I know, because I was one of them. We weren’t always called Hip Hop nerds – though I have heard the term used in proper context before – we were otherwise called backpackers or underground. Originally backpacks were for more nerdy people because they usually had books in them or just other stuff that a ‘cool’ person would leave home when they were out styling.

But in the early 1990’s, in the underground parts of Hip Hop and in some parts of mainstream society, it was ‘cool to be smart’. The conscious movement from the late 1980’s to the early 1990’s coincided with Spike Lee’s movies, School Daze and Do the Right Thing and The Bill Cosby Show and its spin-off A Different World, which was based at a fictional Historically Black College.


What started out as a show for Lisa Bonet’s character, became a show centered more around Kadeem Hardison’s character Dwayne Wayne, a Hip Hop nerd. His character represented the intellectual, non-thug, hip-hop music lover who usually wore a backpack.


That character represented people who would be the largest proponents of Hip Hop as a cultural movement; people who understood the importance of classifying things in their proper context or even the socio-psychological impact of Hip Hop. In other words, Hip Hop nerds. So far, the contribution of the Hip Hop nerd has not been explored in depth. However, when one thinks back objectively, they may find a more interesting connection between a move toward conscious hip-hop music and Hip Hop nerds.



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My Thoughts on Hip Hop History Month

The concept of Hip Hop History Month is lost on today’s society. There is not enough appreciation for the rich culture and economic opportunities afforded by the existence of Hip Hop to properly celebrate its success or awareness. At this point, modern-day mainstreamers think it’s OK to confuse music taste with respecting the architects of cultural liberation. Liking Public Enemy’s music is completely different than respecting what they did for Black culture and Hip Hop Kulture as well. You don’t have to like 3rd Bass or even know who they are to still have respect for what they represented and who they ushered in to the game. Appreciation of history needs an element of respect in order to have impact. Right now, rappers and their fans have lost that respect for Hip Hop.

i_am_hiphopTo bring things back to what they’re supposed to be, it seems that we need some remedial courses on Hip Hop. Sometimes, to develop an appreciation for something, we must be a witness to it. Luckily, we have been living in the video age for a long time. Proof of True Hip Hop exists on tape. If given the proper context, some of these same pivotal events can be relived and examined in depth for their significance. After that, hopefully a new appreciation can be stimulated.

I’ve personally witnessed True Hip Hop Kulture on display that inspired all those who were there at the time. Some of these moments have been preserved as ways for people in the future to get insight and knowledge. Even people who weren’t there, at the time, still felt the inspiration when they watched it later, on a Shades of Hip Hop video mixtape. Nineteen years ago, I started nationally marketing my first set of Hip Hop videos which captured some of those moments. As many of my friends already know, my favorite moment (that I  was able to record for future generations), is the Roundtable Cypher with Big Pun, DMX, Mos Def, Canibus, John Forte and Mic Geronimo in 1997. Sadly, many viewers skip straight to the legendary rhyme cypher at the end, where Canibus spits his “2nd Round K.O.” verse in public for the first time. However, the best part of the video is what happened before that. The discussion, hosted by journalist and author Toure, was a true, master-class in emceein. The topics discussed are some things that every rapper needs to consider if he/she wants to build their skill. They talk about:

  1. How to separate the real lyricists from ones who don’t know
  2. Competition vs. Intimidation
  3. Why is ego important?
  4. Do you need to qualify with a Hip Hop authority or be co-signed?
  5. How do you prove you’re the illest?
  6. What makes a great emcee?
  7. How do you tell a rapper they’re whack?
  8. Slang words and setting trends
  9. How to make adjustments between music projects

If all of these topics were commonly discussed by artists, we would probably have a different caliber of music today. We would already have a respect for the culture enough to pursue growth of the Hip Hop community, not just sustainability. We would then be able to discuss Hip Hop History month as a tool for economic development. We could discuss strategies on how to strategically harness the value of Hip Hop marketing to create campaigns that tastefully draw on nostalgia while supporting the efforts of entrepreneurs to provide products and services to the masses. Who knows? It might start to look a little like Christmas celebrations. This is not something to shy away from once we understand the ways in which society operates. Business or the need for unrelated tribes to exchange goods, is the basis of all societies. Culture, is just what makes those societies better and more livable. Once we get to that discussion, we can then, better appreciate the significance and importance of Hip Hop History month. Until then, we must relearn what we’ve lost and rediscover those hidden gems to use as beacons for the next generation to love like we do.

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Posted in big pun, canibus, cypher, dmx, Hip Hop,, john forte, kurt nice, mic geronimo, mos def, Recent Posts,

Make Hip Hop Great Again

In the World, Hip Hop represents the minority more than the mainstream majority. Whether that minority is a racial group or an underground ideology, the voice of the voiceless is magnified in Hip Hop. Only in recent years has hip-hop music brazenly disrespected its true Hip Hop roots for something more mainstream. Some of us haven’t forgotten where this all came from though. In fact, with so much uncertainty on the horizon after the stunning US election of wealthy dickhead Donald Trump, Hiphoppas must use what we know to get what we need.

Let me remind you that Hip Hop created a multi-billion-dollar industry of products, services and techniques out of blood, sweat, tears, garbage and concrete. Although our public rap image has sunk lower than it ever was, it may be time to reassert who we really are. We’re Hip Hop!


We created something out of nothing! We prospered when others thought we wouldn’t, shouldn’t or couldn’t do it. We pulled diamonds out of the dirt and wore those gems for the World to see and recognize. We started with nothing and made it into something. We showed and proved that we could not only ‘keep it real’, but we could ‘civilize the uncivilized’. Hip Hop already proved what it’s capable of and reveals new techniques each year. That’s why now we don’t have start over. We already have the tools and knowledge to recreate our past successes. It will take some concentration and even debate but we can ‘Make Hip Hop Great Again!’

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Integration is the problem

I was reading a text book on global marketing the other day and I realized that integration is the problem in society. Not the black and white integration that comes to mind so quickly in a race conscious society like America, but another kind. I’m talking about the mix and co-mingling of people who want to misuse people and those who have no interest in that. That is one of the fundamental differences between people it seems. There are people who have a desire to fuck with other people and add misery to their lives because internally, it gives them pleasure to see another person in pain. If we all just stopped for one minute and said, “O.K. everybody for the next 5 minutes, let’s all just be good to each other.” There would be some people who were not with that. Some people couldn’t go 5 minutes without wanting to fuck with someone else and make their life more miserable. There are probably a huge number of people who feel that way.

epic-criminal-fails-13 stupid-criminals5

It would be great to say, “All the people who want to steal from someone, beat someone, abuse someone or misuse another person, go stand over there.” But that can’t happen, some of those people drive buses and trains or make coffee in the morning, teach your kids, issue you a driver’s license or pump gas into your car. Those people are all over society intermingled with and integrated into, the whole population. We work with and rely on those same people at times. So, the frustration of dealing with assholes comes from the fact that our society is integrated with non-assholes and assholes alike.

karma9 karma4tumblr_n5wp5ancCL1qdlh1io1_400

Now, we can hate the fact that our society is integrated or we can realize that assholes aren’t always like that 24/7. Sometimes they’re fixing your car or selling you a pair of shoes or giving your aunt a breast exam. Assholes are everywhere. Thankfully, most are not like that all the time. In fact if you search your feelings, you too will probably have experienced the feeling of being one yourself. It’s not just in society, but in us as well. We’re all integrated. That’s why they say, “It all comes back to you, and how you see it.” We can either see an asshole or another taxpayer who helps pay for the road he just cut you off on. We don’t have to see just an asshole. It’s up to us.


The reason reading a global marketing textbook made me think of this is because, the text detailed the digital revolution. From William Shockley in 1947 at Bell Laboratories invention of the solid state amplifier or  transistor, to Robert Noyce and Jack Kilby creating the silicon chip or integrated circuit, to Alan Kay, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Bill Gates revolutionizing the PC, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Tim Berner-Lee’s creation of the Uniform Resource Locator or URL and the internet at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), the biggest transformation of the World in the 21st century has come because of America, where pessimists say we don’t make anything anymore. Maybe we don’t manufacture the silicon chip, but there is something to say about manufacturing the idea of the silicon chip. Research facilities, universities and government facilities created the internet, not just the innovative individuals who came up with brilliant creations there. Those American institutions helped create the basis by which our society has very significantly shifted. This notion is for those who, at times (myself included), think America is full of stupid people. Not everyone in America is an gun-toting, mumbling idiot, like it would seem. It’s really integrated over here, because there are a lot of geniuses too.

tumblr_n4czx0rSOf1qdlh1io1_400  tumblr_n5fxyhB3B21qdlh1io1_400 tumblr_n4gg1bOVEt1qdlh1io1_400 tumblr_n3s5loDPBZ1qdlh1io1_400     tumblr_n4xka1zglp1qdlh1io1_400   tumblr_n580n6FCi81qdlh1io1_400

For a good read checkout the new book of insightful essays…


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Another way to see how media manipulates you

The World is a harsh place it seems and there are plenty of statistics to prove it. Death seems to follow us around any given corner. Whether through natural means, accidents or intentionally, it can strike at any moment. Even while you sit here reading this, someone is passing over to the other side.


Their passing is sometimes revealed to us only in the form of statistics. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) keeps statistics of all the known deaths which occur every year. From diseases like cancer or plain old heart failure, the top of the list is populated by ailments that kill in the hundreds of thousands per year. And that is not even the interesting thing. The interesting part is how these stats are used to guide and mislead people in society to think a certain way.


Specifically, let’s look at the homicide rate. People cringe at this number and moan about how dismal the murder-rate is in America, especially among so-called Blacks. People point to this as one of the biggest problems plaguing the inner-city. Yet upon deeper examination of the statistics, it’s quickly revealed that this problem has been largely overblown. The reasons for such deception are obvious on a common-sense level, but first let’s look at the statistical analysis.


In America, the U.S. Census Bureau found that there were about 42 million Americans that identified themselves as Black/African-American in some part of their racial identity. This is about 13.6% of the U.S. population, which is an increase of 15.4%. Of this population, the CDC recorded 7,679 homicides among men and women of African-American heritage. That is something like .0000182 % of the population, which hardly seems like an epidemic. Still this statistic is pushed to the forefront of the media, for what reason? News models report the information to showcase the differences between the so-called races. They say, “Blacks kill each other at a higher rate than Whites.” Really, and if so, so what? What does that mean? Does it mean so-called Blacks are more violent than so-called Whites? With the history of this country how could that notion even possibly sound logical? Beyond that, it’s still used to point out some sort of significant different in the two communities. Yet that statistic is not the only difference. It’s just the one the media chooses to emphasize. And it’s repetition has led others to follow suit, repeating the same misleading information.

black teeth

First off the number of murders or homicides is not clearly examined with the conclusion that “Black people kill Black people more often than White people, kill White people.” …wrong again, Bob. The death by gun stat is very convoluted to begin with. Homicides by gun among Whites (W) and Blacks (B) are also separated among male(M) and female (F). There are 5,035 (W) homicides, 2,775 of which are by a firearm. Another 2,260 are by other means. Of the 7,679(B) homicides in 2010, 6,051 were with a gun while only 1,628 were by other means. Notice half of the homicides committed against (W) were by firearm (50%). Among (B) over 5x times the number of homicides were by gun. So it wouldn’t seem that among so-called Blacks, there is a homicide problem more than an unlawful use of firearms problem in this community.

Ken With Gun

Still, the stats for weapons use and death go deeper. There is a cause of death category in the CDC 2010 report that notes injury by firearm as a cause of death separately. This number is 7,330 (B) and 20,513 (W). Notice how the number of deaths due to injury by firearm took the number among (W) from 5,035 to 20,513. For (B) the number was almost the same for homicides and injury by firearm, 7,679 and 7,330. Why is there such a huge difference in the numbers among (W)? Are hunting accidents which cause subsequent death part of the stat?


Harry Whittington, the man Dick Cheney shot in the face.

Going deeper still, we also see that there are a number of deaths by firearm that are intentional but self-inflicted through suicide. For (W) this number is 16,928 which is 16x greater than 1,057 (B). As a measure of population it’s significant to note that the so-called White population is about 223,553,265 which the Census Bureau defines as, “having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. It includes people who reported “White” or wrote in entries such as Irish, German, Italian, Lebanese, Near Easterner, Arab, or Polish.” In other words anyone who is not “Black”, “Hispanic” or “Asian/Pacific Islander”. That’s a lot of people, but it’s just over 5x the number of so-called Blacks. So, statistically speaking, any number on the cause of death chart which has a number 5x greater for the (W) population will show equilibrium among these two groups (B/W).


Motor vehicle accidents are just about 6x as high for (W) at 24,848 in 2010 as opposed to 4,398 (B). Although not exactly in equilibrium, the numbers are closer than the rate of suicide for instance which is 15x as high for (W) at 32,010 versus 2091 (B). For women the number is even greater, at 18x for (W) with 6,772 suicides versus 379 among “Black” women. Here there seems to be a significant problem among (W) with suicide even to the point that the number of suicides at just over 35,000 almost triples the number of homicides. When you add in the number of drug overdoses 33,145 (W) 3,502 (B) and alcohol-poisoning deaths, 18,806 (W) 2,296 (B) you see a striking discrepancy. Between suicides, and overdoses of drugs and alcohol so-called Whites are killing themselves at an alarming rate, 83,961 (W) people per year. For so-called Blacks that number was 7,889 in 2010 which is 10.6x less than the rate of so-called Whites. Is this the real epidemic the media should be concerned about? Is suicide among so-called Whites, “White on White” crime? And if so, isn’t it significant that the number of self-inflicted deaths among (W) is 10.6x the number of similar deaths for (B) something the media should warn us about?

gun to temple

Most interesting of all however, is a statistic which stood out at a 20x differential rate among the two main racial groups in America. Deaths by falling in some manner was 22,842 (W) compared to only 1,147 (B). Do some in our country have a fatal problem with balance or equilibrium that needs to be addressed? People dying at the rate of almost 23,ooo per year is significant. After all, that was almost 2x the number of homicides reported for the same year for so-called Black and Whites.



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Posted in After Pac, After Tupac, conspiracy,, illuminati, Recent Posts, secret wars, wisdom

Why the Mainstream Prefers Suckers, Clowns and Cynics

One thing that became clear to me when formally studying marketing was that marketing controls people’s lives a lot more than they might think. People think the illuminati or the government controls them, but it is only through marketing, media and public relations that anyone follows a command. People of average intelligence in exponentially disproportionate circumstances of wealth and influence can only exert that influence through a circuit of willing marketers, spokespeople and co-signers who authenticate their status. In other words, power has to be co-signed and promoted in order to be influential. The so-called powerful of today are not powerful usually because of any personal feats or specialized genius. They are usually powerful because of how valuable their brand is perceived not necessarily their net worth. Their power is based on the positioning of their brand in the markets of influence whether it is politics or business. Their positions are kept in place by an interconnected media that transmits tested messages to a mass audience outside of their personal crowd. Yes, some may have the ability to buy expensive things, but it is the perception of others that involves respect and thereafter power.


Within the interconnected medium of cable television, social media, on-demand video, radio, social events and public businesses, thousands of cultures co-exist. However, there is still a mainstream culture that operates on top of that structure which is more measured, tested and directed. The messages that are transmitted through the mainstream are intended to cultivate a certain set of brands which in turn will hold certain amounts of perceived power.  The people who stand in between that power and the masses are marketers. Marketers come in all shapes in sizes; from artists who compose jingles for a local business to Warner Brother’s movie studios which distribute DC comic’s film projects, to CNN or Busta Rhymes, or a YouTuber doing a reaction video to Game of Thrones. These are all examples of brand marketing that affects the mainstream.

3 wise media monkeys evil

Although, individually, we exist in specialized pockets of underground culture, the real effect of mainstream ideology is embedded in society throughout the entire culture. The mainstream culture is a way that each of the groups is instructed on how to perceive each other and interact when they’re away from their particular tribe. The main source of influence comes from the media. Mainstream media exists to program certain patterns on the minds of its subjects that make them more susceptible to its messages. With overt lies engineered between repetitious scenarios of fear, helplessness and confusion, the media molds the character of all those who accept its input willingly or unwillingly.


The mainstream media uses fear as a primary tool to precede its messages of consumption which it props up as a remedy to solve the problems it creates or identifies. Most products look to solve a problem or need, but in order to ensure demand, many advertisers intensify the problem or find new ones to make products for.


The repeated patterns of manipulation by the media inevitably manifests basic personality types that we see all too often in American society. These types of mainstreamers exemplify one or all of these main character types; the coward, the clown, the sucker and the cynic. These programmed lanes help classify and position targeted markets of consumers which are fed certain types of messages. These messages help confine the individual to a category of the buying public who are programmed to purchase certain goods. Once these personalities are programmed they can be directed toward pre-packed remedies to whatever bothers them. The four types discussed here are defined by their base character traits; the coward, the clown, the sucker and the cynic.


The foundation of all the mainstream personalities is the comfort with being a coward. From a young age, mainstreamers are taught that conflict and confrontation are bad, so they fear it. Mainstream life prepares the victim to be a victim and run away from conflict. Stoking fear with constant reminders of ever-present dangers lurking around every corner, or in every ounce of food they consume, or with every economic forecast, the mainstream media seeks to paralyze its audience with fear and paranoia.

Coward Wiki-Backround

The point of making mainstreamers cowardly is for the impulse to inaction. Cowards don’t cause a problem. Cowards stay in line and don’t speak up for themselves. Cowards fear retribution, repercussions, retaliation and consequences. Mainstream life provides a comfortable community of like-minded individuals who all unite behind common fears and more importantly, the products they buy to remedy those fears. They fear home invasions, so they buy guns and burglar alarms. They fear sickness, so they take whatever drug the doctor prescribes. They fear ridicule, so they buy the ‘correct’ fashions. They fear looking old, so they wear make-up and get cosmetic surgery.  They fear Mexicans, so they want to build a wall. They fear terrorists so they buy more guns. In mainstream American society, cowardice is encouraged. Notice how comfortable people are with claiming that something terrifies them.


However, coward is a strong word, so the coward seeks refuge in other identities. The clown tends to be more liberal by nature of their sense of humor, which conservatives seem to lack. Clowns want to factor everything down to jokes and humor. They tend to respond to intense situations with nervous laughter instead of anger. They tend to value comedy as a high form of social/political/religious commentary or critique. In the retelling of harsh events they will tend to smile and laugh nervously in confusion at the circumstance. They also tend to fear confrontation and violence and would rather soften a harsh mood with comedy. The media instigates this notion by propping up comedians as high entertainment.



While in clown mode, a mainstreamer can shrug off conflict with laughter and bewilderment rather than action. Harmless mockery and insults don’t rise to the level of real action to those in power. Clowns are tolerated like court jesters because their aggression is passive. It diffuses the instinct toward action because humor lessens the situation’s intensity. Of course laughter is essential for a good life, but notice when it is used as a defense mechanism. To many, complaints are easier to voice when shrouded in a joke, sometimes to test the waters and gauge a response. Jokes are a slick way of hiding feelings of aggression or dissatisfaction while not having to admit it. Humor is a safe space for those who don’t want conflict.


Suckers are gullible people. The popular phrase “There’s a sucker born every minute,” is attached to the notion that “a fool and his money are soon parted.” The phrase about suckers is usually attributed to legendary showman and conman, P.T. Barnum. However, the phrase seems to have come from someone who used the idea to describe people who came to see Barnum’s exhibition of the Cardiff Giant. The giant was a hoax based on the one perpetrated by George Hull and later purchased by David Hannum. The original hoax put on exhibit by Hannum attracted so many people that Barnum offered $50,000 to purchase it. When he was turned down, Barnum created his own and drew larger crowds. Knowing that both were fake, Hannum concluded about the crowds who came to see Barnum’s exhibit that, “there’s a sucker born every minute.”


Merriam-Webster defines a sucker as someone who is easily tricked or gullible (Webster). That is behavior desired by mainstream media because marketing is based on the other part of the definition of a sucker. A sucker is “a person irresistibly attracted by something specified <a sucker for ghost stories> (Webster)”.  Marketers want to create suckers for their products, or in other words, extremely loyal customers. That is the goal of any corporately produced product; people who consume because of an insatiable need. It’s not polite to call people suckers, but that is the goal. Perpetually encouraging mainstreamers to mindlessly follow trends is a key factor in keeping popular culture popular. Markets try to create a herd mentality that steers individuals in a particular direction through momentum.  To marketers, suckers are susceptible to consumer messages and it is the media’s job to keep them in that state. When media asks the audience to suspend disbelief and just buy in to the premises they’re putting forth, that is part of the way that they create more suckers. With every small lie that is accepted to back up their narrative, the farther from reality one becomes. For instance, by the time we realize we shouldn’t necessarily be consuming cow’s milk as often as we do as humans; we already like the taste of ice cream, cereal and have a range of medicines to cure lactose intolerance. Acceptance of the small lie that cow’s milk is ‘good for us’ has led to entire industries that have momentum which sweep up more consumers (suckers) every day.



Creating more cowards, clowns and suckers, and an atmosphere for them to thrive in, is one way the media sews a system of compliant individuals. Cowards react to fear, clowns are nervous in the face of fear, and suckers just follow the leader no matter what. Cynics on the other hand, are the conservative versions of clowns. Cynicism is steeped in sarcasm, mockery, and what has become known as ‘snark’, something modern entertainment thrives on. Because “the cynic takes a negative attitude toward action (” snark becomes the ultimate weapon for the passive-aggressive types. Some people are cynical as way to feel superior to those who see benefits in subjects they disagree with. Cynics believe “that only selfishness motivates human actions and disbelieves in, or minimizes, selfless acts (”


As stated, “the cynic takes a negative attitude toward action (” The cynic does the opposite of action; he mocks. His words make note of the subject, not with a joke so much as a complaint as his only action against the offense. So, a cynic sees something disagreeable, yet only mocks as a response. Unlike a sucker or a clown, the cynic is fully aware of the negative situation they find themselves in. Still they are paralyzed by pessimism that tells them things can’t get better.  So outside of complaining, they choose to do nothing. That is the trap of the cynical mindset; they chose only to complain. The benefit of this type of personality is to remind everyone about the flaws of the things they now possess. The cynic tells you what is wrong with reality which may encourage others to seek out new remedies or old remedies with new, updated features. The cynic is also useful to the marketer and those in power. He helps keep the masses dissatisfied and wanting something else.


These personalities may seem irrelevant to you, but to a marketer, they are valuable in predicting the course of consumer buying. They help keep people in business and other people in power. The goal of some marketers is to manipulate the public in to consuming things they don’t need or things that are bad for them. Other marketers seek to enlighten, enrich, educate or build up a clientele based on positive reinforcement. The benefit to having an underground culture that opposes the mainstream is that negative marketing tactics can be rebuked and positive practices can prevail. Hip Hop Kulture rose to prominence partly because of this idea.


Hip Hop began, in part, as a rebuke of mainstream culture. It warned of the tactics of the mainstream media. Hip Hop warned against suckerism, being played and believing the hype. Hip Hop didn’t encourage cowards to be victims; it encouraged people to get some heart (or courage as in the cowardly lion). Hip Hop had elements of fun since the party raps of the 1970’s but it never encouraged Hiphoppas to be clowns. True School Hip Hop always had an element of seriousness and ‘keepin’ it real’ to any of its humor. One easy example of this is Slick Rick’s Children’s Story (1989). The song is rapped in Rick’s light-hearted English accent and starts like a bedtime story, but soon takes a left turn into the hood mentality.

Once upon a time not long ago,
when people wore pajamas and lived life slow,
When laws were stern and justice stood,
and people were behavin’ like they ought ta good,
There lived a lil’ boy who was misled,
by anotha lil’ boy and this is what he said:
“Me, and you Ty, we gonna make sum cash,
robbin’ old folks and makin’ tha dash”,

The entire tale is filled with drama and hardcore realities but always seems playful because of the way Rick spits the verses like a song.

Ran up the stairs up to the top floor,
opened up the door there, guess who he saw?,
Dave the dope fiend shootin’ dope,
who don’t know the meaning of water nor soap,

While cowards, clowns, suckers and cynics exist in the hood, just like everywhere, those people are more influenced by mainstream culture than by Hip Hop which was built on the opposite mindset.  Hip – is the knowledge, Hop – is the movement; knowledgeable movement. The Hop part in Hip Hop, symbolizes movement or action. Hip Hop always embraced the idea of moving beyond foul circumstances and rising above. It was about rising from the bottom to the top by overcoming adversity in the face of critics and cynics. Hip Hop is about defying the odds and remaining optimistic regardless of how bleak it may sound. Also, Hip Hop is not about jokes at the core of it as Slick Rick reminds us…

He was only seventeen, in a madman’s dream,
the cops shot the kid, I still hear him scream,
This ain’t funny so don’t ya dare laugh,
just another case ’bout the wrong path,
Straight ‘n narrow or yo’ soul gets cast.

Good Night. (Slick Rick – Children’s Story 1988)



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Posted in Hip Hop,, kurt nice, Recent Posts,

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