We are producing an album, and Brother Snoop Dogg is on the album, and his song is the title of the album; it’s called “Let’s Change The World.” You haven’t heard it yet, but soon you’ll hear it!
[Publisher’s Note: The below is the full interview conducted with Rick Ross from the October 13, 2016 gathering in Atlanta with other leaders in Hip Hop Culture that was featured in The Final Call Newspaper.]
Rick Ross: Every time I had the opportunity and blessing to sit down and get wise words from the Minister, he speaks with so much confidence. You could be a young Black boy who grew up without a father and not know what that role is and not know what the position is supposed to look like, but he most definitely gives me that experience.
When you walk into a room and you see the Minister seated and his words still command that attention and it is still giving you that energy and synergy while he’s seated, it speaks volumes. The President can’t do that. They can’t debate sitting down.
Ebony S. Muhammad: Yes sir! What part of his words have you put into action?
Rick Ross: The home that I purchased, that was formally Evander Holyfield’s estate, and it was a decision I made after having a discussion with the Minister. I was questioning that move and he said, “That’s land brother. I would never second guess land and the investment in land”. So I did it, and it was one of the best investments thus far. My admiration and my respect for the Minister goes beyond these words that I’ve shared these last few seconds.
Ebony S. Muhammad: What do you hope other artists take away from their experience of hearing and seeing Minister Farrakhan?
Rick Ross: Anytime our brothers and sisters get under the same roof I feel we become that much more closer to each other. It’s time for us to really hold each other’s hands.
When he talked about squashing beefs, I respected his whole conversation on that tonight. He made that the focus. We can’t do a lot of things at once, and that is most definitely the priority of supporting each other instead of killing each other. Let’s put the guns down and stop the violence. So when I look down the front row and see Jermaine Dupri next to me, 2 Chainz next me and Maurice behind me, we’re all on that same page walking around with that same gaze in our eyes. We know that possibility is going to be hard, but we know that the possibility is there.
Ebony S. Muhammad: Those are some powerful words and I pray that other artists have the same mentality. Thank you for your time dear brother, and may Allah bless you all with success in this Cultural Revolution!
Rick Ross: Thank you Sis, God bless!
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The sermon was part of the annual Saviours’ Day celebration on Feb. 26, which honors the birth of the NOI’s founder, Master Wallace Fard Muhammad. Over the course of the four-hour ceremony, Farrakhan covers plenty of ground including critiques of the American government and crime in urban environments.
The NOI’s Facebook page posted a portion of the address where Farrakhan spoke on Chance The Rapper’s Grammy Awards wins and also gave a little light to Loaded Lux. Before speaking of Chance and Lux, Farrakhan asked rappers in attendance to make their presence known ahead of launching into his praise.
“Chance? He a bad lil’ fella,” said Farrakhan to the crowd about Chance’s Grammy wins last month. “He won because he had a rap more significant, more acceptable, more revered by those who judge. So when you see Mr. Chance come back home, you might be a little arrogant, you don’t wanna give him his props.”
Farrakhan continued with, “See when you a rapper and somebody can spit it, somebody can take you to the mat in what they call freestyle, like what’s my man’s name? Loaded Lux!”
Lux and Farrakhan crossed paths in 2015. Lux shared a picture of their meeting with the caption “What a moment!”
If you follow Hip-Hop and frequent any of the major popular social media outlets, you have more than likely heard about the pending beef between Souljah Boy and Chris Brown. Both artists have been going at each other for some weeks now. Each have called each other names, each have threatened each other while MILLIONS watch. The most recent development in this beef included Floyd Mayweather and 50 Cent, who desire to help promote this fight! Some are hailing this as the proper way to “settle a beef!” I respectfully disagree. Encouraging them to fight only adds to the culture of violence that is already STEALING the lives of many young Black boys/girls and CUTTING holes in the hearts of those who loved these young people.
Offering fighting as a way to handle a beef that’s really over BS is not a good choice! I have heard people say, “This is the way we can reduce gun violence in the inner city,” or “It’s better than going pull a pistol!” I say no to both! This only encourages more people to beef over BS in a violent way! Proof of this is the number of similar challenges that artists (i.e. 22 Savage and Kodak Black are some of the few who have issued similar challenges) have issued to other artists they have issues with since the Chris Brown & Souljah Boy challenge. Many know that fist fights in this day and time is the gateway to gunplay! Do we really think that Chris Brown or Souljah Boy would be able to take an “L” in the boxing ring before MILLIONS of people, plus the continued viewing on social media and just let by-gones be by-gones? In the words of Ed Lover, “C’mon son!”
Why do we believe that physical violence is the BEST option for resolving a conflict? Have we ever thought about reaching out to someone to have a talk with them or reaching out to a third party to help us do so? The carnage that we are witnessing in our communities is evidence that we haven’t! We continue to kill and maim one another over BS!
The Black community needs a culture change when it comes to knowing how to properly resolve conflict. One of the quickest ways that this change in culture can begin is if the cultural leaders (entertainers) begin to make, “Talking It Out, Before Sparking It Out,” cool! The same way they have made Nerd glasses, Skinny Jeans, Using the N-word and other self-destructive practices cool! I know it can be done. I am a New Orleans native. During my youth when someone called you a ‘stunter or stunna” it meant that you were fake like a stuntman in a movie. However, with the power of Hip-Hop now years later to be called a “stunna” is a badge of honor. It means, “a person who drives around town in nice cars, on dubz, showing of their ice and bling,” according to the Urban dictionary.
Some will read this article and say, “Having people try to talk out beefs will not work!” I can understand the doubt, but I do not submit to it. You doubt because we do not see enough examples of people attempting to talk out their issues. At one time people doubted the possibility of cellphones, but look at them now! People doubted Trump would be president, he is.
If more of us begin to personally practice and promote conflict resolution we could add to the culture change. The question we must personally answer is, “Do we want to?”
(Brother Willie Muhammad is the student minister of Muhammad Mosque No. 46 in New Orleans. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram. If you’re interested in hosting a conflict resolution workshop in your city, see the information below!)
#SquashtheBeefBeforetheGrief! #TalkItb4uSparkItOut #10KFearless
(Blogger’s Note: I’ve known the Hip-Hop legend K-Rino for many years and I consider him one of the greatest lyricists of all-time; not just in Houston, but the entire global industry. Along with doing some of the greatest rhymes and albums ever, he has also been very active in empowering the South Park neighborhood he grew up in along with inspiring countless people across the country and the world. I recently went one-on-one with him on his unbelievable feat of releasing seven albums in one day.)
Brother Jesse: At what moment did you choose this path of being a hip-hop artist? Why the name K-Rino?
K-Rino: I started rappin’ in 1983 but I really decided to be a rapper full time around 1985 when I got cut from my high school football team. After that I dedicated all my energy to writing. The name K-Rino was just a play name I had since maybe 4th grade but as I got more into music I created an acronym with it which is K.iller R.hymes I.ntellectually N.ullifying O.pponents.
Brother Jesse: How has growing up in South Park, life experiences and The Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad impacted your music the past 30 years?
K-Rino: Those three things you name are what makes up 75% of who I am as an artist. The other 25% would be the God given ability itself. South Park is where I saw a lot of things I speak about from just a street perspective. Of course just living life and going through things played a huge role in concepts as well. But the Teachings of The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad are in my opinion what has allowed me to have the longevity I’ve had. People gravitate toward knowledge that they have never been exposed to. So when it’s done through music, it enhances people’s perception of you. And I have been blessed to be able to use what I learned from The Teachings in my music to try to change lives for the better and it’s been very effective. This is a body of knowledge that Black people don’t get in public schools so to many it’s mind blowing when they hear it for the first time. And it also gives me a platform to bring people to The Teachings because they always ask me where I learned it from.
Brother Jesse: What was your aim in starting the South Park Coalition? What has its presence meant to the advancement of hip-hop, especially in the South?
K-Rino: In the beginning I just wanted to organize my homies who I went to school with. Later it evolved into an opportunity to bring the rappers in my neighborhood together because there was a lot of beef between us in those days. Eventually, we grew to where you didn’t have to be from South Park or even Houston or even America for that matter to be in the S.P.C. People from everywhere fell in love with what we stood for and wanted to be a part of it.
I can’t say what our presence has meant in the grand scheme because being underground like we were and still are, there are many who never heard of us right in our own back yard. I do know that many of the major groups in the South have been influenced by us and they’ve told us that face to face so the respect is there from certain artists and it’s definitely there from our loyal diehard fans. That’s why we’re still here 30 years later.
Brother Jesse: You have 30 albums in your catalog and recently released seven in one day. What sparked this feat? How long did it take and can you please describe the process from start to completion? What did you find out about yourself while gunning for this?
K-Rino: Well as an underground artist, you know you won’t get the exposure that the mainstream artists get, so when you think about your own legacy you have to ask yourself: What have you done that no one else can say they did and what will distinguish you from the rest? Initially I wanted to drop 100 songs in one day on iTunes. Then that got reduced to 84 songs divided by 12 songs per cd which came out to be 7.
The hardest part was conceptualizing and then writing. Writing on a high level was the key to the success. When you do that many songs in that short span of time complacency can creep in and the quality of the project can suffer so the challenge was to stay focused on making every song lyrically potent; no short cuts. I had moments of discouragement and second thoughts but I was able to brush those thoughts off and focus on the marathon as opposed to the sprint. The lesson was no great accomplishment is achieved without struggle. I underwent a full range of emotions during the nine month process of putting this thing together. It was like a pregnancy (laughs) and I gave birth to septuplets.
Brother Jesse: You mentioned that you haven’t found any artist who has come close to releasing this many albums at one time. Do you plan to officially file with the Guinness World Record Federation?
K-Rino: Absolutely. I don’t think anyone has done this. So if that’s the case why not try to apply to see if it’s a record? Like I said, as an underground artist, this is great for my legacy.
Brother Jesse: Since getting all seven in hand several weeks ago, I admit I just recently made it to the fourth disc because I keep pressing repeat. As expected, you’re raising the bar with every song. Did you meet or exceed your expectations? What has the feedback been like thus far from your supporters?
K-Rino: The feedback has been great so far. All positive. There will always be those who may not like what you do but the responses have been very good which is a relief.
I’ll never be satisfied with it personally because I always feel like it could have been better and this project is no exception. I always critique my albums after they’re done and feel a sense of dissatisfaction but I think that’s what keeps me motivated for the next one to be better. I’m my own worst critic.
Brother Jesse: You’ve been active in the Houston community for years and you’re also a part of the A.R.C. (Artists Respecting Community) which has been meeting monthly. What is the focus of A.R.C.?
K-Rino: The focus of A.R.C. is to educate artists on the business of music. We come into this industry operating strictly on talent while someone else profits from the talent. So we want to teach the importance of publishing, copyrights, team building, entertainment law, the skill of promotion and marketing. These are all of the facets of the game that lead to the money. However, in our ignorance we come in letting others take control of those aspects and by the time we learn that part it’s usually too late and our musical legacy is set but the future of our families and financial security is gone. A.R.C. is also a community oriented organization which uses music as a platform to reach our people and make a positive impact on the community.
Brother Jesse: From your lens, what is the state of hip-hop? What do you think artists should be focused on more when it comes to leveraging their platforms?
K-Rino: Hip-hop is many things to different people. Depending on your age, preference, what era you came up in, that shapes your view on what state it’s in.
I believe it’s what you make it. If you have true love for the art and what it stands for then you won’t disrespect it. I do know that you get out of it what you put in so in a lot of cases our level of dissatisfaction is a result of our lack of grind but we blame the “game” and other artists for messing up or ‘killing’ hip hop. The internet has leveled the playing field to a degree so mainstream radio, TV, etc., are no longer the only means of achieving success. You just have to work hard. An artist has to find his/her identity then push themselves to the max and build their audience.
Brother Jesse: What should your fan base look forward to in 2017, especially since you’ve dropped enough music in one day to last them a life-time?
K-Rino: (Laughs). I’m gonna drop an album with my brother Gangsta Nip. Then I’m gonna chill from recording but not promotion. So I’ll still be very active in 2017, Insha’Allah.
Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): Please share a little bit about yourself; some of your upbringing and how did it lead you into being a Hip Hop artist?
J Lyric (JL): Peace. I was born and raised in New Orleans, and I had a humble upbringing. I fell in love with music at a young age. My older cousin was in this local group in New Orleans called 39 Posse in the 90’s. I would watch them, and it was motivation for me to one day become a Hip Hop artist. Hip Hop has always been a part of my life, Hip Hop is how you talk, walk, dress.
EM: The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said during a recent Saviours’ Day address, regarding music and entertainment, “The cultural revolution is on”! He was referring to the awakening of various celebrities who are standing up for truth and speaking out against injustice and how their music is beginning to affect the masses. How do you see yourself as part of this cultural revolution?
JL: I’m a huge supporter of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and The NOI (Nation Of Islam). Literally every time I listen to one of his speeches I’m inspired to write music. I think as a Hip Hop artist I have a responsibility to myself, my daughter and everyone else who’s listening to speak the truth to them. You have to have a certain kind of spirit and courage to speak truth to power, especially today in Hip Hop. It’s much easier to get rich by making music about degrading women or selling drugs. The road I’m taking is a much tougher road, but I can sleep at night knowing I didn’t sell out.
EM: As a black man, first and foremost, and then as an artist/activist what thoughts do you wake up with and go to sleep with regarding the time we are living in?
JL: It’s a crucial time we are living in. We’re living in a time where if you are a Black man and even a Black woman you could be unarmed and killed on camera, and the cop/cops who committed the murder will not only walk free, but a Go Fund Me account will pop up out of nowhere and he could get rich. So my main thoughts every morning is to make sure I make it home to my daughter safe.
EM: Minister Farrakhan spoke to a room filled with other Hip Hop artists, producers, and those in the field of entertainment that have a great influence in their artistry. He said to them, “As long as you beef you can never sit down like brothers and pool your resources together to do something economically.” He also stated, “This envy that we have is a sickness”. From your position as an artist, how have beefs been used as a tool against us? How has envy played a role in the division among artists? In what ways can both, beefs and envy, be alleviated so that the bigger picture is at the forefront?
JL: Beefing with your own people is wack! Before my “Justice” video even starts I say, “There’s Strength in numbers, our powers is in our unity”. Most of the beefs and petty differences are simply misunderstandings and a lack of communication. Once a person can get in between the two who are beefing and mediate, you’ll have a chance to find common ground and stop the beef before it escalates.
EM: In your recently released single “Justice” you describe the police killings of Black men and women and how we as a people are treated and seen in the eyes of White America. There is a growing number of artists who are also speaking out against this form of genocide and systemic racism. How can music be used as a liberating tool, to dispel fear from among our people and to empower us to take control over our communities?
JL: The more artists wake up, the better it will be for the black community in general. Hip Hop in the beginning was positive. Somewhere along the way it turned negative, but that’s the “cool” thing. The more artists wake up and speak on real issues and against our real enemy the more the youth will take notice and do their own research.
Young god going in… Salute to Bro. Vinson Muhammad aka Allah’s Apprentice for reppin’ 10,000 Fearless Men & Women Headquarters of The South with these righteous bar. The 10.10.15 #JusticeOrElse movement lives!!!
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan speaks on: “From Spirituals to Hip-Hop: White people are good imitators of Black people. They take it and sell it back to us.”
Can you blame my generation, subjected gentrification,
Depicting their frustrations over ill instrumentation
Cause music is the way to convey to you what I’m facing,
Placing my life in front of your eyes for your observation
Now if you can’t relate then maybe you are too complacent,
Athletes today are scared to make Muhammad Ali statements – Nas – “My Generation” by Damion Marley (featuring Nas)
In the beginning of June, the world experienced the loss of one of its most beloved personalities not just in the area of sports, but in life itself, who most notably demonstrated through his example how to stand for justice in a world that is antithetical to its true ideals and practice. That personality is none other than Muhammad Ali. Many artists in Hip Hop have historically been inspired by his boldness and heroism to stand up, speak to power and refuse to back down. The list includes Nas, Jay Z, Will Smith, EPMD, The Sugar Hill Gang, Kanye West, T.I., Master P, Migos, The Fugees, The Game, Common, The Illegal Broadcasters (Hakim Green and General Steele) and even Drake. However, Muhammad Ali’s roots in Hip Hop are deeper than giving honor by shouting him out in song lyrics. Muhammad Ali was known in his heyday to freestyle rhyme about himself and his opponents while on camera, inspiring many young people who were observing him and would later grab the mic and rock crowds at concerts and emcee battles in similar fashion.
In my own personal analysis, as a follower of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad through his best student The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, I will argue that Lonnie Ali’s “Al Islam” comment can easily be interpreted as a very disrespectful verbal “shot” against The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, his family and The Nation of Islam, who were present at the memorial service. In his lecture The Life and Times of Muhammad Ali on Sunday, June 12th, The
Minister said that they were surrounded by police and closely monitored as if they were going to attack someone. While I can very easily defend the point that the followers of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad do in fact practice “True Islam,” Lonnie Ali’s statement and the treatment of The Minister, his family and The Nation of Islam at the memorial service speaks to a larger agenda in place. According to The Nation of Islam Research Group, referencing a New York Times article, Muhammad Ali’s funeral was “produced” by SFX Entertainment, Inc., headed by Jewish businessman Robert F. X. Sillerman, which owns eighty percent of the rights to Muhammad Ali’s name, image and likeness resulting from a $50 million business deal set up in 2006.
Just as the enemy has sanitized Malcolm X, he has sanitized Muhammad Ali and has worked to erase the history of how he came into consciousness (Knowledge of Self). Ex-President Bill Clinton emphasized at the memorial service that the “most important part” of Muhammad Ali’s life was the second half, in which he battled Parkinson’s Disease; totally disregarding and intentionally leaving out that the one who taught him how to build his faith in order to overcome trials externally as well as internally was in fact The Honorable Elijah Muhammad. As The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has pointed out, the acts described above were and are geared towards keeping the masses of the people from The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and today The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, two leaders that have taught their people to truly love themselves and become self-reliant and independent.
Yet and still, The Minister highlighted in his lecture how a great deal of the distancing also came from Muhammad Ali himself. When The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan was rebuilding The Nation of Islam in the late 1970s (falling after the departure of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad) Ali turned down to help The Minister, indicating in few words that it would tarnish the success that he had achieved as a boxer, a career that The Honorable Elijah Muhammad wanted him to let go of years prior. A few years later, Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease popularly argued for receiving too many blows to the head while boxing. Although, many others have alluded to his condition also resulting from being ill and overly medicated while experiencing a thyroid problem prior to a boxing match.
What lessons can the Hip Hop Nation learn from Muhammad Ali’s life and trails? Firstly, just as there has been a working to distance Muhammad Ali from the foundational roots of his birth into consciousness, the enemy in the form of the commercial music and entertainment industries, the fashion industry, the prison industry, the education industry and their investors have worked for over three decades to divorce Hip Hop from its foundational consciousness that from very its very inception worked to end violence in our communities and have the youth come into the knowledge of their True Divine Selves. Because of the disattachment that has been fostered, which we have had a great part to do with in our own pursuit of fortune and fame, our communities continue to suffer from high rates of violence, homicide, incarceration, poverty and ailments resulting from the foods, liquor and toxic products that we regularly consume. In order for the self-destructive path to have a chance to being curtailed, we, the elders and those of us who fastly approaching eldership in
our Universal Culture must increase our efforts to first improve the quality of our own lives through spirituality, diet and overall better and healthier life choices and work to provide guidance to the youth. We must also work to atone with others we have “beefed” with and hurt in our lives in order to demonstrate cross-generationally that there is a better way for our communities.
We should also become actively involved in conflict resolution initiatives wherever we can be a part of them. In our guidance to the younger generations, we should not take a judgmental position in the way and manner in which they convey a conscientious message. Financially supporting one another through business initiatives is a crucial part in this process. We must set up alternative institutions that serve as rewarding outlets that put our Gifts and Talents to good use; demonstrating that financial success does not have come through “signing our lives away.”
Every vessel is Divinely Chosen to perform a task and the way and manner through which the message is conveyed serves as a part to bring about peace and prosperity among us in every way imaginable; closer and closer in our fulfillment of the true embodiment of a refined Hip Hop culture and movement; a vision closer and closer to the way that our Beloved Brother Muhammad Ali himself saw as being our duty to one another. Ali himself put it beautifully, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”
Until next time, Peace!
Tony Muhammad has been teaching Social Studies and Humanities in Miami-Dade County Schools for over 17 years. Tony is most noted for his work as publisher of Urban America Newspaper (2003 – 2007) and co-organizer of the Organic Hip Hop Conference (2004 – 2009). He currently serves as a student assistant minister to Student Minister Patrick Muhammad at Muhammad Mosque #29 in Miami, Florida.