Letters from the issue of Thursday, January 17, 2008

BAD RAP?

Kumbaya coalition: First and foremost, I want to commend New Times for finally giving people like Iroc and Willy Northpole the attention they have long deserved ("Raising Terrazona," Niki D'Andrea, January 10). These guys have been building a huge movement in Phoenix for years and have been criminally overlooked by our local media.

However, at the moment, my pride in my city has been overwhelmed by my disgust and disappointment at New Times for its characterization of Phoenix hip-hop as "The Black Rap Scene." It seem to me that New Times is simply incapable of treating Phoenix hip-hop with the same level of respect that it shows for almost everyone else. In the rare instances that New Times admits there is a hip-hop scene outside of the alternative stuff that they regularly cover, it is almost always tainted with amateur writing, gimmicky language, or cornball angles. Hip-hop is the most diverse thing in Phoenix, period.

Although some factions of Phoenix hip-hop are dominated by one race or another, it is inexcusable for New Times to use radical exceptions to define the movement as a whole. Blacks, Latinos, whites and many other races have always and will continue to play prominent roles in the Phoenix hip-hop community. The attempt by New Times to define Phoenix hip-hop by race is not only offensive but journalistically irresponsible.

The people at New Times are not stupid and, in fact, many of them are incredibly talented writers. They often have unique and credible stories on many local and national political issues, especially recently with Sheriff Joe Arpaio. So why did New Times choose such a blatantly stupid and simplistic way to represent Phoenix hip-hop? Is it as deep as the media's role in propagating black/Latino tensions in Los Angeles? Or is it as shallow as Fox News using racism to get higher ratings? Or maybe New Times is so culturally deficient that it is unable to see 10 black people in a room without calling it "The Black Rap Scene"?
Grime, Phoenix

Thanks for the love: I just wanted to hit you up to thank you again for the love that you have been showing the hip-hop scene out here. It's always a good look to see stories on and about our scene in a positive light. I just finished reading the story on Willy Northpole, and really liked how it came out.
ROK Knowledge, Phoenix

Blunt praise: I thought the "Raising Terrazona" article was very well put together and quite informative. There are a lot of good things going on in the scene with the artists you spotlighted who have recently inked deals.

I did think Blunt Club was lumped together with groups and people that really don't have a lot to do with Blunt. The one thing that stood out was that you said the Blunt Club has only white artists, with the exception of Emerg McVay and Public Enemy. Blunt is actually mostly a DJ night. We do bring acts on the national level when we can. And they have been probably about 60 percent to 70 percent black: Planet Asia, Casual, Pep Love, Rob Swift, Jeru, Strange Fruit Project, MED, Oh-No, Murs, PFC, Diverse, Blacksheep, Abstract Rude, Aceyalone, Souls Of Mischief, and Guru, to name some.

We are geared more to the party vibe and have a huge following of B-boys. We are not trying to hold anyone back or separate in any way from what other PHX MCs and groups are doing. I guess the vibe of the night just appeals to some more than others.

I think hip-hop has become like rock 'n' roll in the aspect that there are 20 different subgenres. Just like John Mellencamp and Metallica are both considered rock, these subgenres are worlds apart. I just wanted to reach out and say I liked the article.
Doug Quick, Blunt Club

The soundman and the fury: You obviously don't know shit about hip-hop. I happen to be a soundman here in Arizona, and I work and am friends with people in all types of music, and I enjoy it all. But your latest article on hip-hop: What the fuck was that? What are you trying to do?

In a time when we all work so hard to achieve peace and positivism, people like you come around and print this BS. It's like you're trying to increase tension among people trying to get along. Well, fuck you. And I have decided not to put an ad in your magazine.
B{one}Z, Chandler

Pleased pioneer: I enjoyed reading your recent work on Arizona hip-hop and rap. My groups, the NB Ridaz and NBK, are pioneers of the Latin hip-hop scene. Thank you for taking the time to do this story.
Zig Zag, Glendale

For a change, the real thing: Thanks for finally letting us know there is a vibrant black hip-hop scene in Arizona. I thought the only rappers here were these skinny little white boys in dreads. Have these turds ever heard the term "wigga"? Because that's what they are — white people acting black. Nothing more pathetic than that.

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