Letters from the issue of Thursday, January 17, 2008
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"?
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.
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.
Hip-hop, or rap, is a black musical form, and you can count the white artists who have mattered nationally in the genre on one hand. I can't wait to hear and see Willy Northpole. For a change here in the PHX, he seems like the real thing.
Jim Ansparger, via the Internet
All Hispanics are targets: As a newcomer to the Southwest, I loved your "Target Practice" series. I especially enjoyed the last segment ("Flushing Them Out," Megan Irwin) — though I guess "enjoyed" isn't the right word.
You see, I'm Mexican-American, but I lived on the East Coast for most of my life, and I actually thought people of my ethnicity were real Americans, not pariahs in this society. Now I find out how people like Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio view my group of people. We are little more than animals to them.
Thomas and Arpaio say they are targeting only illegal aliens, but I believe it is more deep-seated than that. I believe this excuse masks their racism toward all of us Hispanics. Because, rest assured, they will be pulling the rest of us over and hassling us for "driving while brown" before you know it. We will have to prove that we belong because of the color of our skin.
I've heard that Thomas is married to a Latina. I think New Times should interview her — ask her the hard questions — about what she thinks of what her husband is doing. Because I'd like to know how any self-respecting woman of our heritage could share a bed with that man.
Mya Martin, via the Internet
You might very well do the same thing: I work at a 95 percent Hispanic-population elementary school. Heck, some of my students may be illegal, but that does not make me hate them and wish they would get deported. I would rather work with these poor stricken students than with your snotty, rude, get-everything-I-want middle-class and upper-class students.
I have a student who is 10 years old and has no mother or father because they are being detained (whatever that means), so he lives in foster homes. How would you like your life right now if you were that kid? The next generation is growing up learning that hate is the best way to get through life.
We hate the illegal immigrants (get a life), we hate the president (can't we do better?), we hate, hate, hate. I think society looks and searches for things and ideas to hate just because we love to hate and complain.
Now, these immigrants are not criminals. The druggies, murderers, and thieves are criminals, and these young Mexican mothers who have done no harm to anyone are put in the same place as these American citizens who are the true criminals.
If you were raised in Mexico and had a hard time making money, you cannot tell me and the rest of the world that you would not do the same thing by trying to come here to live a better life.
Also, who the hell is going to do your landscaping or just mow your damn lawn because you are too lazy to do it? I can tell you: no U.S. citizen. Who is going to make sure the $500 hotel room you sleep in is immaculate and clean when these immigrants are deported? Not American citizens. Who is going to hand you your fatty Big Mac on your lunch break from your luxurious office job?
Do you get my drift? These "illegal" immigrants work harder than you and I will ever in our lives because they want and need a better life for their children. Try meeting one of these wonderful kids who is just as normal as you and me.
These children cry because they did not have Christmas, because their stomach hurts and they cannot go to the doctor. Some die of cancer because they have no insurance. Their parents are deported, and they have to live in group homes where they cannot act like kids. Some live in filthy shacks in Phoenix, next door to gangs that tag city streets.
Let's try to accept the world and what it has to offer instead of using our one life to hate everything that passes by us.
Savannah Molina, via the Internet
Woe is us, indoctrinated liberals: When journalists like Megan Irwin are educated and indoctrinated at liberal colleges, all they can spew is liberal, sentimental trash (as in "Flushing Them Out"). Get real. The majority of citizens want to stop illegals from overpopulating the United States. Let's send resources to Mexico to help them there.
Felicity Pearson, via the Internet
Editor's note: Megan Irwin is an ASU graduate.
Not sympathy, just empathy: I was just reading your "Flushing Them Out" article and got sick to my stomach. Do you really want me to feel sympathy toward wetback pieces of trash? The girl in your story won't leave her neighborhood 'cause she has a fear of being deported. Give me a break! Her ass should be back in Mexico. What part of that don't you understand!?
Thomas Ross, via the Internet
Except that it's not that simple: If Daniela and her other illegal friends in "Flushing Them Out" are afraid to get deported or go out of the house, the simple answer is to pack up the family and move back to whatever country they illegally immigrated from. Then they can all be together and not worry whether dad will come home.
Ray White, Phoenix
Now that's just not nice: Your support of illegal immigration is nothing new. Neither is your bias in suggesting that anyone who questions illegal immigration is a racist. Just like the protesters and marchers, you know damn well you have no argument. You don't have any more argument than the idiot protesters whose only defense is holding a sign that say, "Say no to the KKK" — as if the KKK has one damn thing to do with this issue.
You pro-illegal immigrationists sure are a bunch of dumbfucks.
Steve White, via the Internet