Heavenly tidings today. Steaz all-natural energy drink is a delicious blend of guarana, acai, green tea and yerba matte with just 100mg of caffeine per can. A friend helped me discover it at Mother Earth’s Storehouse the other day and it is fantastique, evoking mental leaps of alertness sure to benefit my dear readers!
Everyone is upset about Ferguson in some manner. We’re not going to argue law enforcement tactics this week, but diversity is our theme. First though, I am so tired of hearing ignorant people bitch about the welfare state as the cause of America’s problems. Defense-spending cuts could fix the economy and we’d still have enough to protect ourselves. Also, Noam Chomsky in the book Class Warfare, a series of interviews with David Barsamian, discusses James Tobin’s speech to Yale’s American Economic Association in 1978. The “Tobin tax” was dreamed up to penalize movement of funds just for speculation against currency. The Federal Reserve was started to prevent inflation and help grow employment but nowadays keeping a high rate of unemployment is more akin to their goals. Just sayin’.
We are blessed — from recent a recent appearance of hip hop emcee Blueprint in Albany to Flood The Valley’s multi-racial celebrations of rap at BSP Kingston — to have a lot of acceptance in our midst.
I like rappers who can hang with the roughnecks but bring more to the table with creative flow and optimism before thug style. Blueprint, for example, has fluid lines like, “Every year you hear him is the year of print.” Bold but slippery. Anyhow, Illuminata, a Marianne Williamson book, has a prayer for healing of nations of the world where she prays that the pain of the past be gone forever and forgiveness wash us clean. This month is 70 years since the Polish Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which saw 200,000 Poles killed by Nazis. How can we unite and celebrate as communities?
“I think we need to realize that we all share a common ground no matter who we are,” says rapper Al Boges, a fixture of FTV events. “Music, art, expression. It’s all universal. You can’t fake the feeling and it can’t be replaced or expressed better any other way. Love is love. Unfortunately, it seems like things are going to get worse before they can get better. Let’s hope not.”
On different styles of rap and what he loves about reppin’ the Upstate region: “Freestyle is something specific to itself,” says Boges. “Musicians have been doing improv since the beginning and it has a special place in hip-hop music especially. Most of the production in rap is sample-based. Even most of the modern era stuff that I’m into has samples incorporated. I don’t know if I’d say, ‘I love reppin’ upstate” but I do rep nonetheless, and I do love where I come from. It’s a very odd and unique place [Kingston] but it’s home … I will say, a lot of dudes out here like to front on the town and rep New York City ’cause they got a cousin in Brooklyn or just ‘cause it’s easier to explain to people. Its all good. Somebody gotta rep this shit, though!”
Watch for ‘Flood Watch’
“I just finished up my second project and the third one is underway,” continued Boges. “This second joint, which is titled Flood Watch, is an EP with a producer out in Queens by the name of Icerocks. Dude has his own lane to say the least when it comes to New York underground hip-hop. I’m just honored to be working with a cat like him honestly. No official release date yet but be on the look out for that. … The other one I’ve been chippin’ away at is a full length album with my bro Doc Man who I collaborated with on my first release [The Golden Silence]. This kid is one of the dopest producers I’ve ever heard, anywhere, from any era, not just upstate New York in 2014,” Boges says. “Our executive producer, Cory Doan — Google him — helped produce some classic records that you might have in your iPod. Can’t even front like it’s not a pretty surreal feeling to be working with musicians of that caliber.”
Lest we forget, Jym Parrella of Altercation punk band Two Fisted Law reminds us that punk rock wrote the book on diversity.
“Punk crowds are the most diverse I have seen these days,” Parrella says. “This scene is like a giant island of misfit toys coming together for one cause. The scene that doesn’t support itself doesn’t deserve support at all. That’s our credo. We will be up there Sept. 19 for a late-night Snapper’s show.”
A self-described “Ex-Chassidic Yeshiva Boy from Brooklyn,” my dear friend Yoel Emanuel Eisenstadt closes us out this week. “Any band I have witnessed in the Hudson Valley, they have treated me with the utmost respect, though I was clearly different and Jewish,” says Eisenstadt. “Whether it was a heavy metal band, punk band or any genre, the diversity of the Hudson Valley had been one of my most joyous adventures away from the isolated culture I grew up in.” Check him out at facebook.com/yoel.eisenstadt.