Willy Northpole and the Phoenix hip-hop scene explode

Under the bright club lights at The Door on Scottsdale Road, Willy Northpole is shining like a gold star. The Phoenix-born-and-bred rapper is wearing a shimmering designer shirt that hugs his bulging biceps, and several thick gold chains hang from his neck. The diamond studs in his earlobes flash when he turns his head. He's got a beautiful woman with him; she's wearing a classic little black dress and being very quiet.

Northpole's not speaking much, either, even though the club is full of other Phoenix rappers, DJs, and scenesters. For the past year and a half, they've been gathering at The Door every Wednesday for Groove Candy, a hip-hop night that packs people in by the hundreds. Groove Candy's got a traditional, urban hip-hop vibe, with DJ M2 spinning neo-soul and old-school hip-hop, mashing up everything from vintage '70s break dance tracks to '90s club bangers, and a crowd decked out in baggy FUBU pants, Sean John shirts, sideways baseball caps, and more bling than a Black Friday sale at a jewelry store.

While people walk around exchanging high-fives and bopping their heads to a Young MC song coming out of the speakers, Northpole sits on one end of a plush red-velvet couch and surveys the scene. He hasn't been to Groove Candy for a few weeks, mainly because he's been busy finishing up his debut album for Ludacris' Disturbing Tha Peace imprint on Def Jam records. Northpole is one of three Phoenix MCs from this scene who've landed major label deals in the past year, and he's at the forefront of what many see as an impending Southwest takeover of hip-hop. He's certainly at the helm of Phoenix's black rap scene — a movement that's been thriving underground here for more than 10 years, while other factions of Valley hip-hop, like the Blunt Club weekly in the East Valley, have come to define hip-hop for most people in this city.

But it's rappers like Willy Northpole — guys who look like they're from the streets of L.A. or New York — who are making an attempt to represent Arizona hip-hop in their music and their lives, not the MCs at Blunt Club, who may occasionally reference the city in their lyrics but keep the local pride insulated. By contrast, the Valley's urban rap set has been developing Phoenix hip-hop into a movement, even while most people here are unaware of their strides. There are terms for this faction of Arizona hip-hop: Terrazona, Azilla, The Zona, Phire City, Bird City, the Dirty Southwest. There's also a hand gesture — the "A," formed by two interlocking sideways peace symbols — that pops up at most local shows, and the phrase "Get your A'z up" has become a call-and-response staple of local shows.

"I think that Phoenix's hip-hop scene is growing," says Karlie Hustle, midday deejay at local hip-hop station Power 98.3 and the founder of Groove Candy. "It has a lot of components that burgeoning hip-hop scenes across the States have, but it hasn't blown up yet, if you will. There's some stratification, there's politics, there's good versus evil, there's agendas — but it's gonna happen no matter what."

The stratification is one reason Northpole's so quiet tonight. He knows that everybody's looking to him to blow the doors open for Phoenix on a national scale, and some have a jealous eye on him, too. Wherever opportunity arises, so does competition and animosity. There are other major players in the local scene, like Hot Rod, who just signed to 50 Cent's G-Unit label; Juice, who got a deal with The Game's Black Wall Street label; and 5Fith Coast Records co-owner Roca Dolla, who just spent two weeks staying at Lil' Jon's house while doing a studio session with Dr. Dre. But Northpole's upcoming debut on Disturbing Tha Peace features appearances by Ludacris, Chingy, and Ne-Yo and is probably the most anticipated release ever from a Phoenix hip-hop artist.

For Northpole and others in the Valley's urban rap scene, the time is ripe to show people what's really going on with Phoenix hip-hop and to make their marks. Northpole was born and raised here, and his experience as a black man growing up in the ghettos of Phoenix saturates his sound. On his track, "The People," backed by psychedelic synthesizer hooks and a pulsing funk bass line, Northpole raps, "This is for my daughter/This is for AZ/Stand up, I know it's been a long way/Watch your boy bring a platinum plaque to the whole state."

With statements like "Arizona, stand up — I'm bringing home the Grammy, baby," Northpole's set some high expectations. He's supposed to be the one who launches local rap into the national limelight, and few people in the local scene have any doubts that he'll deliver.

"Willy Northpole has the potential to do some really great things," says Mattlocks, promotional director at Valley radio station 101.5 JamZ and former longtime host of local hip-hop show "Friday Night Flavas" on Power 98. "Willy's on the brink. [This year] is gonna be his year. You can't deny those movements. People say, 'When is AZ gonna be on the map? When is it going to blow up?' I think we're past the point where we have to ask that question now. It's happening."

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53 comments
Lady K
Lady K

Yo your new joint is hot. Keep givin dem hits

Lady K
Lady K

I'm glad Luda gave the Westcoast a chance to shine. He made a good choice of how to showcase AZ. Willy is the tightest one out there right now. keep laying them hits Willy.

Q
Q

I think da boy got a Hit on his hands, I cant wait for the CD to drop...I wanna see if he got it for the long run...the Single is hands down HOT.

Body Marked Up...

KIM
KIM

HEY WILLY NORTHPOLE IS HOTT... HIS SONG BODY MARKED UP IS GOING TO DUE THE SUMMER SOME JUSTICE...SHOW'EM IF YOU GOTT'EM TATTS, SCARES, WHATEVER...LET WILLY TELL IT, IT SHOWS WHERE U BEEN TELLS U'R STORY...

HE'S REP'N AZ I CANT WAIT TO SEE WHAT HE DOES NEXT IF YALL AINT SEEN IT CHECK THE VIDEO OUT ON YOUTUBE.....

KIM
KIM

WILLY NORTHPOLES SINGLE "BODY MARKED UP" IS SO...HOTT

Psychotic1
Psychotic1

"You wanna b a rap supastarand live largethe big housethe fine carscomin up in the worldlookin over ya shoulder constantly."

HitMan
HitMan

A gay porn star name.

observer
observer

"Willy Northpole" sounds like a porn star name.

Karilli Blaque
Karilli Blaque

This was a good article from a outside point of view. In AZ, just as well as everywhere else there is a divide in entertainment, you have the establishment, the product and consumer. There are 6+ million consumers that are all potential consumers of product that hit the street. Why everybody on Arizonabeats.com had their panties in a bunch and about to picket; I don't know? What I do know is there are a lot of whiners that feel as if they should garner attention. PokaFase asked Nikki where his cover was at? If you do great things that alone will garner recognition. Poka had a machine behind him he has had write ups in numerous publications.Poka is a talented artist (deal or no deal) he's on the radio every week. I hope he does get a cover and a deal. Karlie and her Round Table movement was big, could have been executed differently and I wish her all the success in the world. But both of them are on the radio and can make shit happen larger than life for the Valley "Only if their execution is on point". There is more to this story than some race driven pseudo political hip-hop bullshit activism. Back in the day there were people making moves. Who comes to my mind is a white cat by the name of "ZTRIP" most of the people he fucked with are doing big shit on the radio now days or moved on to other shit. The problem is it took 10 years to get to that point; "Arizona is way behind the times". Why the f**k does the radio play the same songs every hour on the hour? Why hasn't Karlie played local cats material on the radio? Why don't we have our own local radio show. These station programmers are concerned with a bottom line,demographics, sound scan and billboard album sales. Truth be told radio is the reason for Ipod's and mp3's variety it's what the radio doesn't have. For progress to take place these station directors need to involve themselves in this dialog. Karlie, Poka and Matlocks could be instrumental in this. This article sparked a fire with a little spin on the the events that transpired. A few cats in the article got upset, a few are mad they didn't get exposure. Apparently those who are signed with projects scheduled to release are up to par with industry standard. The rap game is a business and Hip hop is a craft and an art. Both sides of the blade do the same thing but the recipient dictates the outcome. Willy is an artist mentioned in the article that has the ability to make a good song. Jiggalo is a dynamic producer/artist "I believe they are part of the same squad". Hotrod/Young Rod had a video with Mary J.Blige that was an alright single(bananas)it had no real follow up. Every body getting signed seems to be getting signed for more each time and an increasing trend. Now to the white rapper thing Eminem is in my top 5 dead or alive. Nobody I repeat nobody mentioned in the article or on arizonabeats.com can go toe to toe with him.

FUTURE
FUTURE

MYSPACE.COM/YUNGECHO

Anthony Garcia
Anthony Garcia

im dropping love to my hometown and I liked to tell all the down hard vatos & all the real hard blacks in the valley to unite brother, and theres strenth in numbers. We sit back and kill each other, and the cops just clean us up & throw us in a pen or in a funeral home. I like all the rappers Rocadolla throw down cold on the music. Willy is great at what he do, and he show loves to my hood. I like the new guys too I read what someone wrote about Damani Black and Sonny Long...and I feel both of those rappers. They bring a southern feel to our state, along with Tray Gutters. I met Damani Black through Az. Mike Mill back in the day before they locked up Mike Mill. They were riding there clean ass rides 6th ave & Indian School were me and my familia was having a car wash for my lil cousin who was killed at a party. Those bros stop through and broke out a 100 bucks a piece and didnt get a car wash. Thats giving back homes. I reconized Mike and ask did you go to Trevor Brown and he was like hell yeah. It was on from there. Couple years later I helped Damani Black get his 64 Impala home from Power 98 were he got I think his song played "Diamonds Cartiers" f/ Iroc. I heard it and I said daaaammmm man those guys are gonna blow big. Thats when I knew Phoenix was gonna blow cause they sound like the industry already like young joc, mike jones and slim thugg. So Im just shouting out all the rappers Phearless to C Thug, Damani Black to Iroc. Dont let these wanna be hood ppl from the radio station tell y'all what hip hop is. These is for real people who struggled all there lives, and then some wackie person that was fed with a silver spoon in there mouth wanna say they are the az hip hop scene. BULLSHIT! Big ups to Xpoz magazine cus they were the 1st to acknowledge Damani Black. He was the 1st to ever get a review from the magazine homies. I still got the issue Jadakiss was on the cover. Boom im out homies

layinginthecut
layinginthecut

Hey if this is IROC man you know im'a huge fan. you've been down for years & you keep the az boat ashore player. Im og but I love the new school too. I thought you moved to L.A. well goodluck to your 2008 bro & goodlooking out on the shout out. I loved all the traxx you produced for those guys. You'za fool for that "dymonds & kartiers" song & i loved everything on az mike mill shit you did player. keep it southside & 5 coast

ROC
ROC

SHOUTS OUT TO ALL THE ALBUMS YOU MENTIONED DAMANI BLACK,SONNY LONG, ARIZONA MIKE MILL...I'VE PRODUCED ON ALL OF THEM CATS ALBUMS..ALL OF THEM ARE GOOD PEOPLES.TRAY GUTTER BLOCK BURNER COMING SOON...OUR MILLS\5FITH COAST COLOLABO SONG COMING SOON..ROCA IS A CLASSIC COMING SOON..

layinginthecut
layinginthecut

Where the hell do I start?!! Shout out to the New Times for taking a chance on a brother trying to eat & bring it back to the HOOD y'all. We must support Willy, Hot Rod, JUICE and everyonr else going for it. Its true, theres a lot of jealousy!! I feel win everybody get a title in the game they all will play together, but right now they all looking for the "Im The 1st To BLOW!" All hood, and I must add, if you busy crafting are making moves, money, are just busy trying to make it, you wont have time to beef with each other. Its to many ways to get ya milk & honey, so who has time to worry about the rigaramo (thats southern for b.s) when you grinding. We need more support from the radio. I travel a whole lot, and the local scenes out of state really try to get there artist out there. Hell why not, it only bring more xposure to the state and back to the radio. In Az, the radio people wanna be stars, wanna rap or beef themselves before they would the artist. Im not gonna say no names but you know who you are. Im a big fan of the hip hop scene in Az, but whwere are the artist that are quiet, that dont care who got signed. We got a few that dont get no support. I like Sonny Long, and why nobody loving Az Mike Mill no more? Yea I know 9 years doing time, but that is hip hop, the dude was in the struggle and had to hustle, radio didnt play him, and the dude poored money back in the hood. I know its wrong but the dude was sincere. I remember a artist who I heard of last year, Damani Black. Who on the radio got a very high rating of about 90% on 98.3's hate or love it segment and they aint played him since. Shit I called in a few times to lease help support this artist they gave no info. I also feel a lot more artist out here, but they keep recycling the same ol shit. If these cats been striving to make it 10 years or more damn give a new dude or female a chance. As for me, I felt Az has been cursed since Cee Cee Peniston came out with the "Finally" house shit. Now look at Jordin Sparks. Power dont support, and these other station seem the same. Hey folks dont swing a bat at me im just layinginthecut!

ROC
ROC

THIS IS A GENERAL MESSAGE..I SEE MR. TOKEN DISRESPECTING MY LABEL....I ANIT NEVER SAID DISRECPETFUL WORDS TO YALL IN MY LIFE...IF YOU CAN TELL ME WHAT THIS BEEF IS OVER THEN I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW THAT...EVERY TIME I RUN INTO YALL BOSS AND ASK HIM IF EVERYTHING IS COOL HE HAS SAYS YEAH HE AINT GOT NO PROBLEMS WITH ME OR MY LABEL..SO WHY DO YOU DISRESPECT MY NAME IN THE WORSE WAY HOMEBOY...I GOT VIDEO FOOTAGE OF 3 SHOWS OUT ON EVERY SHOW I SHOUTED YALL NAME OUT..AND STAYED AFTER MY SHOW TO SUPPORT YALL SHOW...NEVER HAVE I DISRESPECTED AND I DONT INTERNET BANG..IF YOU WANT TO DISRESPECT ME I WILL GIVE YOU MY HOOK UP AND WE CAN CHOP IT...I AINT NEVER SHITED ON YALL IN MY LIFE... I HEARD HOMEBOY SAID I NEVER SHOWED LOVE TO THE MEXICANS..BUT I KNOW HE IS NEW TO MY TOWN SO HE DON'T KNOW THE WORK I'VE PUT IN.. HE DON'T KNOW MY FIRST ARTIST TRIGGER WAS MEXICAN INTHE EARLY 90'S HE DON'T KNOW IVE WORKED WITH THE GAMBOAS OFF OF 35AND THOMAS..HE DON'T KNOW I ALWAYS SHOW LOVE TO SLEEP AND DOE DOE CAUSE THEM MY HOMEBOYS...HE DON'T KNOW..I WORKED ON THE EVERY MC MAGIC ALBUM AND NBK ALBUM...HE DON'T KNOW I USE TO SHOW MAD LOVE TO THE HOMIE DTP...SOUL SAUCE...NEVER HAVE SHITED ON THE TOWN ONLY SHOW IT LOVE...THE ARITICLE WAS BLOWN OUTTA PROPORTION ME AND QUE WENT IN THE CORNER AND CHOPPED IT LIKE MEN..AND WENT AND HAD DRINKS..IF THIS HAS TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT 5TH COAST HAS MEXICANS AND BLACKS TRYING TO WORK TOGETHER WE ARE IN ARIZONA WE AINT OUTTA STATE..AND THATS HOW ARIZONA HAS BEEN FOR THE LONGEST...AS FAR AS THE MEANING OF 5THCOAST...IT MEANS SOUTHWEST NOT ARIZONA....EAST COAST 1ST COAST- WEST COAST SECOND COAST- SOUTH 3RD COAST- MIDWEST-4THCOAST- AND SOUTHWEST 5TH COAST- INSTEAD OF TRYING TO SHIT ON ALL THE MC'S OUT HERE CATS NEED TO BE TRYING TO COME TOGETHER...I HEARD IN THE NEW XPOZ THAT CAME OUT TODAY YALL SHITED ON ALL THE MAIN BLACK ARITIST IN ARIZONA. WILLY,JUICE 5THCOAST, HOT ROD...SHIT AINT ABOUT THAT HOMIE IT'S ABOUT UNITY MEIXCAN AND BLACKS CATS SHOULD BE ABLE TO WORK TOGETHER THIS IS BUSINESS ....JUST MY THOUGHTS ROC

Mr. TOKEN
Mr. TOKEN

First, this is my last in this forum. So, if anyone has something to offer me, I'll be around. In my opinion, Gangsta rap is an oxymoron. God knows I aint gonna get on the mic and confess SHIT! However, there are REAL muthafuckas in this game... Don't get it twisted homie. And, true enough, RAP started in the East Coast. God Bless the originators.... But, are you telling us that it should have stayed there? How far back do we need to go then? I remember Nipsy Russell as the GrandDaddy of freestyle... Maybe Herc should've left it to Nipsy in your opinion, homie! All the hating that goes on continues because some people think they can lay claim to that which they cannot! I could give a fuck about this article for these reasons: With or without the NT cover, Best Wishes to Willy. Whichever clubs were caused to butt heads, whatever.. East Coast West Coast, all good. This is AZ, where there is NO COAST...And in case no one realizes it yet, HIP HOP is World Wide now. It aint where you're from, it's where the fuck ya at! L&R's to those who have mines

E-Ra-K
E-Ra-K

The line on the front cover shows what their true intent was:

"TO PUT IT BLUNTLY, WILLY AND THE GROOVE CANDY SCENE REPRESENT THE REAL PHOENIX HIP HOP."

That's what framed it as a Groove Candy vs. Blunt Club comparison.

The authors, and whatever so-called corporate self-denigrating gangsta rapper(s) felt the need to hate on othrs.

Let's cut the bs and see it for what it is.

New Times and some thugly ducklings frame it as "real vs. not real", or "deserving" vs. "undeserving".

Corporate criminal black self-destructive thug (c)rap pumped out by tell-lie-vision is "real", and GodFather of Hip Hop Bambaataa-like Peace, Love, Unity, Respect centric rap is "not real".

Nigga please.

New Times and whoever provided the lies for that story, go talk that shit on the East Coast, where I come from, and where I was involved in real hip hop since the early 80's, and you'll get laughed out of town.

Let's face it... Phoenix is a WAY LATE comer to the rap/hip hop life... it ALL started on the East Coast, and YOU KNOW THIS, so stop hatin and perpetratin all you late comin young uns.

AMOEROCK TC
AMOEROCK TC

Dope article, but Hip Hop from day one was not so much black culture, as street culture in general. This culture has included black, white, and latino since birth. As someone that has been involved in PHX Hip Hop since the early 90S in one way or another I think it's dope that northpole and them got deals, but lets see if they bring the guys in to the spotlight that put in all the work, like Cut throat,Antidote, Drunken immortals, Ascended Masterz,Rooski?,Super market(for the old skool phoenix heads). Commercial rap is cool but lets try to stop sellin' fantasies about riches, bitches, and fly stitches and start sellin' reality so we don't have a bunch of MTV Hip Hoppers lookin' like a million bucks livin' at moms house. Peace

Prime Mover
Prime Mover

My god. What has become of people...Did anybody REALLY read this article? I thought it was pretty solid. Who do you want to write an article like this? Someone from the inside (whom will DEFINATELY be one-sided) or someone from the outside looking in? And how this became a 'Groove' Vs. 'Blunt' story is beside me.

Can't you people fucking read?

Anyhow, at least I know that Blunt Club has moved to Club Red!!That was a good move on part of that Kim girl that owns it..

Keep putting out great articles New Times!

Karlie Hustle
Karlie Hustle

There's a reason they call me a SCAPEGOAT! I tend to catch hell for the indescretions of others. I'm okay with that.

Token, we all make mistakes. Let's move past this as adults and work together to make peace in our scene.

I'll be at you.

Mr. Token
Mr. Token

Look at you! Just for clarification to anyone not on point enough to avoid being confused, as I was initially: The phone call I was referring to came from Willy. That being said, the call(s) I received last night were equally appreciated. I don't see it necessary to air the business end between Andy and/or Martin and I here in public forum. However, Mz. Hustle, Karlie if I may. You deserve my heart felt apology right here and now, in front of God and everyone. Not solely due to our good business relations ( re: last years festival), but mainly due to the fact that you had the nerve to contact me and without any vengence in your tone, confront me and clear the air on these matters. I was trodding through this mess blindly. Now that I know the facts, I have to say this: My earlier statements were motivated by UN-due anger. That is out of character for me. I thought what I had were facts, they proved to be myth. You took the brunt of other people's shortcomings and I can't lie, I feel a grip better knowing that you and I are now cool on this matter. In closing I would ask that no-one think for a minute that this was difficult for me. Admitting when you are wrong is not a character flaw nor is it a sign of weakness. It's a sign of knowing that anyone, even a cool mofo like me, can make a mistake. L&R's go out to you Karlie

Big Ran
Big Ran

^^^^^ its happening.....

tears for you crybabies
tears for you crybabies

A friend sent me this article to read. So here is my $.02 SENSE (yes sense)! Are you pussies kidding me? Grow the fuck up. This article was a good one. Are you all too close to this to realize the article speaks about something different than what you think you read? You all don't get it. Fucking Retardo Montlebons. And the letter from the Kim Common girl is hysterical. Seriously, get a clue. Who are you anyway? I have never heard your name in the scene. Stand down dork. As for everyone else, quit bitching and keep up the solid work on the HIP HOP community.

Karlie Hustle
Karlie Hustle

What happened Token? How did I go from being a tramp to you "not being mad" at me?

Hmmm...

Maybe Martin or Big Latin told you how I co-signed on ya'lls car show at the Convention Center a few months back. How much did ya'll make off that anyway? Must have been enough to change your tune out of nowhere.

Seriously, you need to think with a better business mind if you're trying to run a record label. I'm sure you were hoping I wouldn't come back and check this mess. I was just getting ready to return your angry phone message too.

Oops! Rule #1: Never type when you're angry.

Gotta run! I'm heading to the MVD to renew my LICK HER LICENSE and then I'm going to fuck some rappers. Being a tramp keeps me super busy.

Paz.

Token
Token

The other day, I wrote not in anger, but mad concern... I know that there are those who know what's going on and those who never will... I will not retract anything I wrote earlier. But, I will say "Thanks for the call Homie!" and to MZ Hustle, do your thang, I aint mad at ya.............

Kim Commons
Kim Commons

An Open Letter to New Times

The cover story praising Willy Northpole and his style of Hip-Hop to the skies and trashing Hip-Hop at the Blunt Club at Club Red was the most one sided pieces of "journalism" I've ever seen. Shows hosted by Groove Candy with attendance estimated by New Times as 300+ are covered with admiration and wrapped in glory. And that's great, I have nothing but admiration for Willy Northpole. They are building something special and I really hope that their great shows at the Door continue to build and pull bigger crowds every week. I'd love to see Northpole and several of the other really talented artists in the Groove Candy scene break through on the national level, and Niki is right on in telling the New Times readership about Willy Northpole, his talent really is incredible.

The problem comes when another great show, Blunt Club, featuring a different style of Hip-Hop that pulls a 300+ crowd weekly in Tempe is kicked under the bus and thrown out with the garbage. Put this on an editorial page as an opinion piece and I have no problem with it; if Niki D'Andrea (the author of the story) likes Willy's great Hip-Hop the best, that's very cool. Write it up in news style, beat up on Blunt Club, slant the hell out of the story, then blow it up as the cover story and you have a complete lack of journalistic ethics by not just the writer; but by the whole editorial staff who let the story run without basic fact checking.

And more to the point, Niki D'Andrea in writing for New Times has completely misunderstood and misrepresented what Blunt Club is all about. Blunt Club is an offshoot of original Hip-Hop and Rap culture that loves the great sound of Hip-Hop; but without the negative messages of sexism, homophobia, misogyny and violence.

So let me take on the job of telling you about a typical night at the Blunt Club: it's starts with Spoken Word Poetry in the early part of the night. Poets hold forth on what moves them, what grooves them and what disturbs them while the early crowd drifts in. Then the music starts and the night starts to build, packing up: amazing B-Boys and B-Girls begin to throw down fantastic dance moves in a loose circle that moves and pulses with the strong beat of the night while the watching crowd ooh's and aah's at the best moves.

Three (or more) talented local artists bring blank canvases and set up at different spots around the club, slowly and patiently working with their paints and paintbrushes as they are inspired by the music and the crowd. People come back over and over during the night as they see the artistic vision emerging bit by bit on each spotlighted canvas. A giant spotlighted canvas sits on stage right where host artist Dumper leans down to greet his many friends while holding paintbrush in hand and then hops back up to finish up the night's feature painting. Live art, done right with great talent and love for the genre.

And the whole night is surrounded and enhanced by the talented DJs spinning great music from the positive side of Hip-Hop. 21+ patrons gently mingle their way around the packed club, greeting old friends and making new friends. No one fights, no one gets angry...this is all being part of a cultural that celebrates life, celebrates spirituality, that celebrates the hope of a better future.

The night is full of hugs and knuckle taps as people float around the room, sometimes talking, sometimes drinking, sometimes swaying to the music and sometimes dancing. Blunt Club is a multi-cultural event where you see Men, Women, White, Black, Hispanic, Native American and Asian all mingling and drawn together by the love of a great style of music; unified by a positive message of love and the powerful belief that tomorrow really can be better than today. Blunt Club acknowledges the sins of the past but chooses not to dwell there. Blunt Club sees this country growing towards tolerance, growing towards a time where a Black Man can realistically aspire to be President and be judged for the value of his policies and his vision for a better America; and not be judged by the color of his skin. Where a woman can realistically aspire to be President and not be judged by her gender.

Speaking as a venue owner, I am proud to host Blunt Club.

New Times was the very first long term advertising contract I signed when I first started the Red Owl (that later grew into the Club Red-Red Owl dual venue when a pizza place next door went under and the chance to expand came along). I was proud as Hell to host the first New Times Summer of Sound event in May last year, that was the Rock category (headliner Sugarcult, won by the Kongos). And I rearranged my entire summer booking schedule for New Times when they needed help finding a venue for the Punk category show (headliner Fenix TX, winner Nunzilla). I didn't make a big deal of it, I just called in a lot of favors to switch the dates around and help them out. And they came through with a great show, the Punk show really kicked ass as did the Rock show.

So it saddens me greatly to stop advertising in New Times given that I value them as a business partner very highly.

But I simply can't stay in a publication that writes attack editorials disguised as responsible reporting, I can't stay in a publication that trashes an important and viable part of the live music scene. My thanks to Michael Kracht and to Kate Zwolak, two outstanding staffers at New Times that I worked with closely and to the rest of the New Times crew, many of whom I was privileged to meet in the Summer of Sound events. I wish you all nothing but the best.

Readers of New Times wishing to know about upcoming shows at Red Owl and Club read can find us online at www.myspace.com/RedOwlRocks or www.myspace.com/ClubRedRocks. Or read our half page ad in AZ Weekly Magazine.

Kim CommonsClub Red

PS Special credit should be given to Ross and his great crew over at Hollywood Alley. It's a rare club owner that can nurture and grow a weekly event. And it's even more rare when a club owner can watch that weekly event outgrow his club and send that event on it's way to a larger venue with his blessings and best wishes for continued success. Any promoters or acts out there with a great idea and a powerful dream would be wise to go talk to Ross...Hollywood Alley is a class act and they deserve nothing but credit for helping Blunt Club grow into what it is today: a great showcase for the positive side of Hip-Hop.

ILL AL
ILL AL

Everyone remember, this article was written to incite HATE amongst us in the AZ hip-hop community. It was written to divide us in order to create controversy and move papers for The New Times.

I am a member of Universatile Music, Avenue of the Arts and Furious Styles Crew...I have love for Karlie Hustle, 98.3, Groove Candy as well as Man Up, 5th Coast, Hot Rod and Willy North.

We can't allow any media outlet to use their voice to try to divide us. We are all AZ hip-hop no matter what.

If you just go to shows, only buy the music, make the music, perform, break dance, write graf, dj top 40, dj undergound, dj breaks, throw shows, critique from home, show up and stand in the back, show up and stand in the front, show love or dont show love...if your doing it AZ...you are AZ hip-hop.

Just because there are different styles of hip-hop...just because we are so diverse...in sound, style and race does NOT mean we HATE each other.

Don't allow this reckless thoughtless article to MAKE you choose sides. You don't need to. Don't buy into this mistake.

-ILL AL

E-Ra-K
E-Ra-K

Google "Afrika Bambaataa" and the "Universal Zulu Nation" if you want to know about REAL hip hop.

Mitch M
Mitch M

Wow. I don't really even have the words for this article. As someone who frequents the Blunt Club all the time I cannot believe that there is this type of bullshit false reporting. I have been in the scene in Phoenix for not too long now but I do know there is not this type of "seperation" in the local hip hop scene. I have been to a lot of different shows. I am a whitehippy back pack wearing kid but guess what? I flew to New York so I could see Wu-Tang in Harlem. Pretty "nerdy' of me to do huh.

This reporter is so full of shit and the sad thing is she has no idea. Or maybe she does and she is just trying to stir up controversy where there is none to make a name for herself. Either way it seems selfish and malconcieved none the less.

MM

THE DEVIL
THE DEVIL

I LOVE HIP HOP AND I HATE COMMERCIAL RAP. I WONT EVEN PUT IT ON 98.3 ON MY RADIO SO DONT GIVE ME NO KARLIE QUOTES. THIS ARTICLES F*CKEN WACK. NEW TIMES IS WACK FOR LETTING THIS GIRL WRITE THIS, SHE KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT TRUE HIP HOP. AND SORRY TO WHO EVER BUT 50 CENT AINT HIP HOP, HE'S WACK LIKE ALL THE OTHER THUG BLING BLING IM A MILLIONAIRE AND YOU AINT ISH RAP. I WANNA TALK SO MUCH ISH BUT ILL JUST SAY THIS, YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE HIP HOP SCENE

Mr. TOKEN
Mr. TOKEN

I am tempted to say, "the nerve"... But, nerve would imply "balls" and this article lacks that!!! First, let me make one thing perfectly clear: I was one of the first people to shake Willy's hand and give him a heartfelt hug when he signed with DTP. There is NO HATER in this man's heart, anywhere.... There aint no pussy in my heart either and if you think this shit is gonna float, you need to put up your chess board and brush up on your Battleship skills. I got ya sunk! ISUCK or SUCKADIK or whatever they call that bitch from Fagcoast Records gets a "Hey now!" for popping off in eighty?... I could give a fuck! I was getting jumped in the park way before that for bumping Rappers Delight on my eight track... Where's my love Willy? And that "lick her liscence" tramp from the radio, ya tramp! Who might you be referring to when you say "good and evil" in AZ hip-hop. The faggits you climb in bed with are good and the real muthafuckers who will not, that's WILL NOT, let you dictate who and what we are get the EVIL nod. Fuck anyone who's scared of the big bad wolf, This is PHEARLESS bitch! I cannot and will not believe that Willy gave an okydoke to this article until I hear it from his mouth that he's 100% cool with everything written. And should he tell me that it's all good with him and he feels no remorse for not shoutin' out to the REAL STREET HOMIES in this article aimed at braindead zombies who buy whatever the fuck you try to sell them, then with the uptmost love and respect for the young man, I will pull the covers off the media for the brother. In fact, why wait? Stop me when I seem to be as full of shit as ya'll are.....In a nutshell; the media takes, oohhh, little leauge baseball?? Nah, a Tuesday night, lesbian cooking club... Nope, we need a group more volatile than those..... OH, okay. The Hip Hop scene in any city in America. Then we hit them with the old divide and conquer, "them's evil.. you's be good"... Let it stew for a few. Bam! Now we have the possibility of violence.. Oh boy oh boy... More stories for our paper. When the New Times had the heart to run an article, way back in the 80's, about a function thrown at The Hyatt in downtown Phoenix sponsered, secured and enjoyed by five car clubs, Lowrider Car Clubs, I was impressed. White Arizona showing Black and Brown Arizona enough respect to admit that we partied at the Hyatt all night and no one got hurt, damn! Had to give ya props. But, the party is definately OVER! I had to do this because my analytical mind said," hit 'em with the knowledge ". And, now realizing that I could be long winded or typesetted or whatever and chew ya'lls asshole deeper, I shall refrain. But, let me leave you with this. No one in this city has been into RAP/ HIP-HOP longer than Your's Truly. I was the first kid in high school, MARYVALE while I'm being cocky... to have and bump hip-hop... My roots in this city??? Born in the heat of a Phoenix summer, 1965.... MARYVALE hospital.. I've worked with people in this industry, on projects most of you would call " pipedreams " for a"whiteboy" from the SouthWest... It is what it is. I can't say who should bear all the blame for this shit... But, since ya'll failed to REP PHX n AZ to the fullest... Allow a real Mutha Fucker, shouts to Man Up Squad and the one Cinque. Big Fraze, much love.. My Primo Torch, do the dam thang homie. Can't forget my seed, King James will be in ya'lls mouth soon... AND, my heart! My pride and joy, PHEARLESS RECORDS! Big Spank, Bandit, lil Spank and My Mexican, Martin. By the way, that's Mexi CAN ese... And in case there's a problem, this entire writing was composed and typed by Mr. Token de PHEARLESS... If ya see me around, please don't zig or zag. Step to me!

E-Ra-K
E-Ra-K

The New Times title on the cover was intended as a diss at the Blunt Club crew by it's very wording:

"TO PUT IT BLUNTLY, WILLY AND THE GROOVE CANDY SCENE REPRESENT THE REAL PHOENIX HIP HOP."

In other words, the New Times is discreetly saying that the BLUNT Club crew are NOT REAL.

See how slick these media manipulators are?

They create schisms and beef where none exist, which was probably one of the main driving forces behind what got Biggie and Pac shot... media and record company instigation, manipulation and insensification of initially petty beef... all to drive up sales and profit. It's garbage. That's why many of us who've been influenced by Ras Tafari, BamBaataa, or the Zulu Nation call TV "Tell-Lie-Vision"... because that's what it is... just another branch of the media machine that feeds and profits off manufactured beef, scandal and negativity... destroying American youth of all races in the process.

It's time to get back to the roots of this art form and way of life.

"The True Meaning of Hip Hop Culture" by Afrika Bambaataa:

www.creme-organization.nl/arti...

I don't mean to focus too much on Bambaataa, because there have been many cats that have made the same observations about the current sad state of Corporate Crap Hop (The Source Magazine among them) but I've got mad respect for Bam, and I think they dude has been overlooked for way too long, as the corporate greed and image merchants have made billions by degrading and misleading our youth into their own degradation and destruction.

E-Ra-K
E-Ra-K

The New Times article is racist and ignorant because it promotes the idea that hip hop isn't "real" when performed by predominantly white peace scenesters, and then they quote a darker skinned rapper who said that they people who've received attention thus far "don't deserve it", presumably because they aren't thugs or aren't black.

Afrika Bambaataa, the GodFather of Hip Hop, stated that Hip Hop stands for Peace, Love, Unity and Respect, so if either scene is more "real" and "deserving" of attention, by Bambaataa's definition, it's the peace-vibing Blunt Club crew, and not the stereotypical corporate created gangster thug rap that's seduced millions of youth, of all races, into the destructive thug culture and the life of crime, incarceration and death that accompanies it.

Some links about Bambaataa and his Universal Zulu Nation for those interested in the Soul of Hip Hop:

http://www.zulunation.com/intr...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

http://www.daveyd.com/baminter...

http://caction.users.netlink.c...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U...

A quote from a YouTube video viewer:

"SHIT-HOP is distroying the culture of the real Hip Hop..BET (Bullshit Entertainment Tv) MTV (Minstrel-Show Tell-lie Vision) and VH1 (another Minstrel Show Tell-lie vision is not supporting what were are doig.We as hip hoppers must support and perserve our pioneers history."

Afrika Bambaataa and the Millenium of The Gods: "Dark Matter Moving At The Speed of Light"... one of the greatest hip hop, electro funk albums in recent years, yet ignored in the mainstream corporate crap media.

http://www.zulunation.com/THEF...

Beliefs of the Universal Zulu Nation:

http://www.zulunation.com/beli...

"Sons of Amen Ra, Millenium Gods, We've Come To Take You Out of Babylon."

"We Don't Care If You Don't Got Dough, As Long As We Know Your Soul Has Got Soul."

Hip Hop was multiracial and inclusive from the beginning... it's radical leftist papers with an agenda like the New Times that attempt to introduce a racial angle and create a false schism where none previously existed.

Like Bob Marley said: "We're sick and tired of your ism/schism games."

ONE LOVE.

E-Ra-K

Tenure
Tenure

I have only become familiar with AZ hip hop over the last two and a half years, just after my brother past away. The first house party I went to was Ill Al the Anglo-Saxon's Unplug CD release . I was blown away by the diversity of the people that were there. To paraphrase Grime, AZ Hip Hop is much too multi cultural to be called the "Black Rap Scene".

Yes, this genre was popularized by African-Americans; however, hip hop is very personal to me and is more of a way of life than a racial category. It is obvious to me that the New Times (Niki D'Andrea) felt that more papers could be moved by creating a race divide that does not exist rather than showing the unity that exists throughout AZ hip hop.

There are numerous groups in AZ that offer different flavors of hip hop, ranging from the radio artists to the socially conscience artists and sometimes both. I have never, ever been to a show and felt it was a "black show" or a "latin show" or a "white show".

That is why I love AZ hip hop so much. I have never seen anything so inclusive.

Every AZ artist I have met is proud of where they are from and manages to rep AZ to the fullest. As a student at NAU in the School of Communication, the most important thing I have learned is to do your research. This article is irresponsible and dangerous. It is yet another example of the media creating something from nothing. It makes me very sad that people will read the article and believe that this how AZ hip hop is.

AZ Hip Hop Saved My Life.

Just my thoughts......

Lisa
Lisa

I've read the new times since I moved to PHX a few years ago and this will be the last article I will ever read out of it. I'd like to read a publication where the writer portrays an accurate account of whatever story it is they are covering. I'm not an artist but I frequent both groove candy and the blunt club and several other events around the valley. This article was offensive and irresponsible, I also have a feeling this is the last time some of the people you "interviewed" will be willing to deal with your publication. "But it's rappers like Willy Northpole � guys who look like they're from the streets of L.A. or New York", I doubt your writer knows much about "the streets of L.A. or New York" considering she obviously doesn't even know what the streets of the city she lives in are like. "a crowd decked out in baggy FUBU pants" did she even walk in or did she drive by and try to make out clothing labels at 45 mph? I swear I've never seen a soul at groove candy in FUBU. Do they even make FUBU anymore? "most of the performers at Blunt Club are white, too." really now that IS news to me, I've been going there for about 4 years now and thats not my experience. Your trying to conjure up a divide that is just not there. The good thing about this article is it seems to have opened up dialog between a lot of people and I expect to see good things come out of it.

Do your homework New Times!!! Ignorance is not a good look!!!

ILL AL
ILL AL

Great article about Willy Northpole.

Bad article about 2 really dope hip-hop events in phoenix in a direct attempt to stir shit up and move papers.

The Willy Northpole article was dope and let me say that I support Willy North's career as well as Hot Rod and Juice. 5th coast & Man Up are all dope to me. I like the music coming out from all of these crews, labels and artists.

That said, while I was reading through the article written by Niki D'Andrea I was taken back by some of the things she wrote regarding The Blunt Club and Groove Candy.

Now, everyone knows there are different styles of Rap/Hip-Hop music. Just as there are different styles of Rock, Country, Jazz or what have you. This isn't...news. It's always been that way.

Arizona is no exception to this. There are club/radio friendly artists and groups and then the socially concious/culture artists and groups. Both are important and both are racially diverse.

Some how in this article, a depiction that there is a tear between these two really great events is being made. That some how one events following isn't down with the other...or is in competition. This is not true. There are a lot of people I know that frequent both Groove Candy as well as The Blunt Club because the two events offer a different flavor of Hip-Hop/Rap music and vibe.

What's worse, is this false statement made by Niki D'Andrea...

"White college students constitute a large part of the audience. With a few exceptions (like McVay and a guest appearance by Public Enemy in 2007), most of the performers at Blunt Club are white, too."

Firstly why is race even a subject here...who cares.

...Anyway, I'd like to see the census that was done that showed this blantently false result. The Blunt Club is not predominantly made up of white college kids any more then it is predominantly any other specific racial background or level of education. It's VERY diverse. The Latin community has a very large presence as well as Native American and Black. White people would actually usually be the minority at a glance, with no real majority to speak of. The event is actually put on by mostly non-white people.

Saying that Emerge and Public Enemy are the acceptions is just piss poor reporting on Niki D'Andreas part. Blunt Club has had lots of racially diverse performers. Why is this even a part of this otherwise great article about some AZ mcs blowing up and doing well?

Just for the record...the list of black & latino performers are way too long to list but...Black Sheep, 2Mex, Scarub, PSC, Life Rexall, Mr. Lif, Akrobatic...not to mention Proof from D12 (RIP) performed at the BC and kicked it. Guru of Gangstarr just hangin out at The BC. What the fuck was she thinking...exactly she wasn't thinking.

I don't see why race would even be an issue with any of this anyway.

Another stupid comment by Niki D'Andrea in an attempt to "stir shit up"...

"But it's rappers like Willy Northpole � guys who look like they're from the streets of L.A. or New York � who are making an attempt to represent Arizona hip-hop in their music and their lives, not the MCs at Blunt Club, who may occasionally reference the city in their lyrics but keep the local pride insulated."

Willy North is repping for AZ, Hot Rod is, Juice, 5th Coast, Cinque...all AZ hip-hop artists are repping for AZ. That's what all AZ mcs do, we rep for our state with everything we do. Wether or not we use a hand sign, t-shirt, hat, video, song, tour, performance...wether we want to or not...we are repping AZ to the rest of the world.

Now I see what she's trying to do with saying, "guys who look like they're from the streets of L.A. or New York"...she's attempting to say guys who look like "The Rapper" on MTV. Because saying someone looks like their from the streets of LA or NY could damn well mean anything. Define what a person looks like from streets LA or NY percisely. That's way too broad of a statement. She means "The Rappers on MTV" or big city successes. Ok, so is that to say that because one person fits a look more so to a popular MC that they rep better or harder?

Ofcourse they don't.

What Willy North or any other major label AZ artist looks like has nothing to do with how successful they become or how hard they rep for AZ.

What they sound like does.

They are blowing up based off of their talent. The kind of music they make is popular music. It's GOOD music. It's what the majority in hip-hop want. With that type of appreal they can do amazing things for AZ hip-hop exposure...but it doesn't mean the independed music side doesn't rep and we keep our pride, as she put it, "insulated".

To try to compare commercially viable hip-hop music to underground concious music and say one is better then the other is something the media will always try to do to get people to read the article. It's bullshit though. Because I know for a fact that Everyone at Blunt Club has love for Willy North, Man Up, 5th Coast etc...

By the way...what the fuck is a Blunt Club MC? There is no such thing. I can only assume she is refering to the groups she mentioned in the article that she associated with The BC...(East Valley MCs)

Again...she said...

"not the MCs at Blunt Club, who may occasionally reference the city in their lyrics but keep the local pride insulated."

How is it that (East Valley MCs) don't rep for the local hip-hop scene? Last time I checked that's all groups from AZ do. I've been on tours with Drunken Immortals, Antedote...AOTA (AOTA isn't even East Valley)...they all rep for AZ. Some even over seas. The Insects are there all the time repping AZ hip-hop. There are fucking youtube videos of Brad B on stage in France yelling AZ hip-hop at large crowds of people eating it up. Whole songs about Arizona in general being sung back in broken English from people over seas at these shows...to say "they" (East Valley) hip-hop artists, don't rep or keep their local pride insulted is a fucking lie.

Also, I frequent The BC mainly (because I'm more into that vibe) but I'm not an East Valley MC. I'm from Central Phoenix...but by her definition I guess I'd be a Blunt Club MC? Which means I don't rep or do shit for AZ...right. Haha!

Anyway, I have love for all the people she wrote about in the article. I have have love for both of these really great hip-hop events. I have love for Karlie Hustle, M2, The Blunt Club and the New Times.

I do not have any love for this piss poor writer (Niki D'Andrea) an outsider of our AZ hip-hop culture trying to stir shit up in order to get more reads.

It's funny how she wrote in a way to commend unity amoungst the people within our scene...but if you read carefully, all the talk of unity was spoken from people within our scene. Meanwhile she made unfair, inaccurate comparrisons throughout the article using race and styles of music...

She should have just focused all of the attention on the main subject at hand..Willy North and AZ hip-hop finally getting some national attention.

That's my $0.02

-ILL AL

Karlie Hustle
Karlie Hustle

Thanks to this article, I'm getting emails like this:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Jan 11, 2008 12:35 PM

Subject: groove candy event

Body: greetings,My name is Quinn McIntosh, I am a private security operator for a company called bulletproof securities. I recently read the article in the new times, and while I know that it is skewed and naive to the reality of the scene, it does raise some questions. The company I work for is the premier security firm in AZ, offering above and beyond what even the police agencies can offer. I think We might have some services that will be able to effectivley manage the security of performers and VIPs at the venue, as well as being able to generate further revenue. I apologize for contacting you on myspace, and would like to to speak with you further. Please contact me on my cell at 480-***-1549, or email me at mac@bulletproofsecurities.com. You can also view our website at http://bulletproofsecurities.c... Thank you for your timeQuinn McIntosh

--------------------------------------------------

We've been doing Groove Candy for 75 weeks in a row. We've can two minor incidents. One was a girlfight. The other was a minor scuffle that no one saw in the VIP area. But thanks to the New Times coverage, Groove Candy looks like a warzone. Thanks guys!

Phil Freedom
Phil Freedom

Dont doubt hes a real dude and it doesnt really matter if I like his music or not. I think its cool you can download his tracks off murdochspace. Most of "his" input seemed positive and constructive. Its just the gold-wearing commercial rapper formula I think is overdone and outdated, not to mention, republican and geared towards wealth polarization. But she-et if hes making music anyone likes, thats cool. I believe there are complex layers between the assumption that a phx born rap star is gonna help out az's indy rap scene. Time will tell I suppose. You seen the other guys video, sucka d*ck, sucka d*ck? Makes me wonder if it needs any support.

GRIME
GRIME

Phil I disagree with the second part of your post entirely. No matter which rappers you listen to I promise you most of them came out of places where mainstream rappers paved the road to the music industry for them. The entire Arizona Hip-Hop community has a stake in what these brothers do in the next couple years whether we're with them or against them. And while your sentiments about the music industry are right 9 times out of 10, as long as there is a chance for one of these guys to be a part of that 10% that makes it I will support them. Willy makes some great music, and he is a real dude too, I would encourage you to do a little more research on him before you make generalizations.

Peace

Phil Freedom
Phil Freedom

How goofy. There are so many silly quotes in this piece, that its ridiculous. Of course, in journalism, there are deadlines, bosses, standard media sensationalism, as well as artificially erected slants for content focus, one-liners, and punch-ins, but damn; not only is there an imaginary polarization of black/white rap artist and venue relationships, an all-out down play of az's longest running weekly platform, and more racial generalizing than 18 century separatists would appreciate, the whole $1500 cover story is just wacky. Much respect of course to any artist getting attention and dough, and like the feature of the article suggests, this is about community and supporting each other. Inner city struggles are about class, not race, and hip hop (and typically rap) is bigger than limericks and pro tools. What good is another commercial rapper gonna do for this scene? Unless they own a club and facilitate more development, they aint helping shi-ite. It doesnt matter if they live in a condo in Paradise Valley or Brooklyn. If they are not enabling the improvement of a scene out here, then they might as well only exist in hyperspace or as the front man to the next big boy ban..-ahem, national rap act. I wonder how much actual music has been produced already. Who cares about a disk thats coming out this year, when theres thousands of cats with rap already produced. We about to cut a record. Ok, so do it. Its as if the writer is more content to wait for the next big artist than to check out the dozens of artists producing and performing right up the street. Why the hell are these cats in scottsdale? Is that where the hood is? Put P-Town on the map? How absurd. Which map? The commercial rap map? Somehow, every up-and-comer is gonna bring fame to this town while recording in studios on the coasts, for labels in the same place (just check the next rapper in the next paper). This is about culture, not some 16 bar jab for the popularity contest of corporate america. Even if these cats albums drop and they're better than ok, we're looking at one hit single per year, tops, being spun repeatedly by the same mediocre, content-lacking radio stations. Corporate radio shows play only rap ordained by the interests of big business. The only radio shows supporting scenes out here are 103.9's shows and the college radio shows on 1260 that you can only hear at the corner of mill and university (basically). Otherwise the radio is just a tool for advertising. Most other cities this size have independent radio shows, if not stations, and college radio that spans for more than 1000 feet. More commercial rappers. Thats great. A night in scottsdale where M2 spins, great. This town has always been on the map and many of the indy artists out here have worked to build solidarity throughout the last 15 years. Anyone remember Supermarket or Ascended Masters? Want to help build a scene? How bout an artist owned club, bar, venue, restaurant, radio station, magazine, or studio? Anything? Anyone? Another bourgeoisie rap pop star ala King of NY persona will not help bring Rock the Bells here next year. Again though, whoever you are, get what you can, but damnit, lets takeover the media.

�Turn off the radio/turn off that bullsh*t�-Dead Prez

Peep what Taalam Acey has to say about gangster rap herehttp://gnn.tv/videos/7/When_th...also check out Saul Williams on the Wake Up Show dissing property talking rappers herehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

sofa king retarded.

PeaceFreedom

Karlie Hustle
Karlie Hustle

*edit

My fault, "Love of my Life" is the title of the song. In my haste, I made a typo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Even this video isn't a diss. It's just a recognition of a certain reality and stratification that exists. What we can do now, is try to bridge the gap. And that will be done. Stay tuned for details!

Karlie Hustle
Karlie Hustle

I think the racial element was overblown. When I sat down with the writer, I didn't realize the agenda was to corral the entire article into one about divisiveness (black versus white, Blunt Club versus Groove Candy, Iroc Versus Cinque). I do believe there is a stratification among the two scenes, and I do believe SOME of that is racially based (people talk about it behind closed doors but won't speak on it publicly all the time), but it seems that this article is reallllllly going hard to make it seem far more black and white (no pun intended) than it is. There is no "beef" between the two scenes or the two club nights, and to railroad the majority of the article in that direction is just irresponsible and inaccurate. I stand by my quote, that was taken out of an hour of recorded discussion with someone who was entirely new to anything hip-hop, and while it comes off as just another generalization, there is some truth to it. My intent wasn't to diss anyone, because that's just plain silly, and I realize how it looks in the context of this entire racial article, but that certainly wasn't my intent, and it was the writer who brought up the divide and I've been noticing it for years. It does exist, and while nothing should be categorized strictly on race, we'd be silly not to notice it...(check the "Love of my Love" music video).

The inaccuracies are on both sides here. The article was misleading and uneducated (Young MC, Fubu--never played and never worn), and while I'm happy to see the city get some shine, it concerns me that this is what someone from outside the scene would write about us. It's limiting and an attempt at controversy.

I've personally spoken with Dumperfoo of the Blunt Club and explained all of this. He and I are getting together to throw a show to unite the two scenes and make lemonade out of some written lemons. I've definitely learned a lesson with this one...journalistic spin and editing are the devil and watch your mouth around the New Times if you don't know their motives.

ICGAFIYLMON
ICGAFIYLMON

Another thing that needs to come to a hault is the name dropping of mediocre artist that have gotten signed to labels but have only dropped 1 or 2 lackluster singles and can't even get air play in the home town. I liked Hot Rods first single because Mary J was on the hook. The Survivalist had some good songs but not enough support in AZ to stay here and promote heavy in the streets. Willy Northpole has a good delivery and a solid label backing him so time will only tell, but how much of his back is covered by the streets of ARIZONA? Not saying that those artist are mediocre, I mean hell they do or did have a major deal. I'm just saying the AZ Hip Hop game can't try to keep riding those names forever along with ROCA DOLLA, ATTLAS, and whoever else is the local favorite. New blood keeps the game fresh and progressing in a positive direction, but drinking from the same old well will soon dry it up. A few solid artist that I've come across in ARIZONA and would recommend are THE MADE BOIZ (YUNG GOLD from U-CITY Saint Louis and ICGAFIYLMON from East Oakland California), THE EXILES (A LOCAL AZ HIP HOP GROUP on MAIN ARTISTRY), and FRAZE aka KING DAVID and Charlie West (SHATTERPROOF MUSIC and MAN UP SQUAD). Eventhough they're not all from AZ they are here making quality music and tryna make a change in Hip Hop/ Rap in general. There are a few more artist out here that I will listen to but those are a few of my favorites out here. AZ just open your eyes and ears so you can see and hear whats goin on in music.

ICGAFIYLMON
ICGAFIYLMON

This article is right and wrong on so many different levels, most of which I don't even have the mental space to speak upon right now. One because I'm from EAST OAKLAND California and this sounds like a AZ music community problem, and two I'm tryna stay focused and finish working on my own Mixtape and Album. I have been living down in AZ for a while now and for a few years I didnt know AZ had a hip hop scene on either side. So both sides should be thankful that they are getting any recognition at all, because the fact is that in the new age "Hip Hop" scene it is majority a white crowd with white MC's speaking upon politics, promoting togetherness, and community. It's nothing wrong with that in my eyes but the thing that is wrong with the new age "Hip Hop" scene is that they are so close they don't wanna let anybody else in, afraid that they might get outshined by and upcoming artist. The problem in the Rap scene or "Black Scene" as some call it, is that WE DON"T SUPPORT EACHOTHER! We all know somebody that raps, or we do music ourselves and don't wanna be outdone by one another artist. I've witnessed this myself at shows I've done out here where people come to me and my boy OUTSIDE the venue and tell us, "I like yall style man. We should do something together.", then we never here from them, we call and email them on myspace and get no responce. Or they wanna tell us we had a good set but because of their friends they just don't say nothing and look at us with envious eyes. So as far as I'm concerned the AZ Hip Hop/ Rap game has some things they need to work on, on both sides of the fence.

GRIME
GRIME

Right John, but you still believe that the 'issue' is the struggle of African-Americans, my point is that Phoenix Hip-Hop is INCREDIBLY diverse and therefore its struggle should not be defined by race, to do so is simply a logical fallacy. I think it is a huge mistake to define anything by race, especially when your definition is based upon extremely limited experience and understanding. Because the only writers for New Times that I have ever met personally are White, should I say that New Times is "The White Newspaper"? Do you think New Times would appreciate being referred to that way John?

Crispy that is exactly what I'm concerned about homie, instead of people being upset at New Times for creating/exploiting tensions between Phoenix and Tempe, they fall into the media trap and start taking shots at each other. Another issue the writer talked about in the article was an alleged heated confrontation which occurred at Groove Candy in which she claims two rappers argued for several minutes and then one stormed out. She has already had to post a disclaimer about this story after it was explained to her that the conversation was respectful and peaceful and the parties involved actually ended up sitting at the bar with one another for the rest of the night. Don't believe the hype fam, I would suggest you reach out to anyone you think might have a problem with ya'll rather than taking New Times' word for it because I'm sure they will be more than happy to clear things up. I am not placing blame solely upon the writer because I know that these writers are constantly under pressure from their editors to sensationalize stories even if it means sacrificing the integrity of the piece. But at the end of the day this is just bad journalism, and that is unfortunate because I would expect much more from an otherwise respectable publication like New Times.

Soundagent
Soundagent

Alright, hip hop has nothing to do with race, the reason why it is brought up in this article is beyond me. The fact that they have discussed race in the article and have not mentioned the society of invisibles is also weird. the society really put the az underground on the map. They did shows with jedi mind tricks, non-phixion, and even opened up for wu-tang. and the funny thing is that they had a variety of races in their group, ranging from black, white, latino, and puerto rican. Also, something i thought was interesting was how the author of this article refered to the "Black experience". what exactually is the black experience?? i dont understand why people divide hip hop, shits pathetic. But something good to say is that northpole is gettin the recognition he really deserves, and no pun intended to hot rod, but his name is in everyones mouth out here, but yet the one that is really going to shake things up is northpole.

Crispy
Crispy

Its obvious that the person that wrote this article neither lives nor breathes hip hop. It is overly apparent that a scene/genre that glorifies violence, demeans women and worships materialism would indeed have to resort to childish name calling, and perceived racial segregation in order to glorify their scene. I know for a fact race is never a stipulation in booking for the blunt club, talent, and message are traits valued by myself and my so called nerdy backpack wearing hemp necklace hippie companions. Apparently in the commercial scene it matters who you sell out with, and who you know, not what you say, do, or believe in.

Jon Pritchard
Jon Pritchard

I didn't say I thought race was an issue. The issue I was referring to was that there was a part of the music scene that was being overlooked.

GRIME
GRIME

John, you're exactly right, race should play no part in the discussion because it's not relevant. But the writer apparently felt that because she was at one nightclub from 9PM to 10PM and half of the people there at the time were black that the Phoenix Hip-Hop scene is 'The Black Rap Scene'. Nobody who is a part of of the Phoenix Hip-Hop scene defines it with such terms nor does anyone who takes the time to understand it. It's just irresponsible journalism. The article creates racial tension where it doesn't even exist, and the fact that you think race is an 'issue' in Phoenix Hip-Hop proves that homie.

Keisha
Keisha

Yeah, shame on New Times for actually putting a black man on its cover!

 
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