News

Letters from the issue of Thursday, January 24, 2008

A HOUSE DIVIDED

Finally, some authenticity: I couldn't side with The Bird more about the Phoenix hip-hop scene ("Wigga, Please," Stephen Lemons, January 17). I'm a huge hip-hop fan, and I'm from the West Coast, and a whole lot of the kind of people I've seen performing and in the audience at the Blunt Club fit the definition of "wigga."

Ha, just like The Bird said, they look like "B-Rad" Gluckman in that movie [Malibu's Most Wanted], which is one of the funniest films I've ever seen. I'm not saying that wiggas don't exist in L.A. They do. Just not in the numbers that are here in Phoenix.

I saw this cat you mention, Ill Al, perform once, and I've got to say, vomit came up in my mouth. Some white kid like him getting up to the mic and making a fool of himself was what that was about.

Also, I read the story about Willy Northpole in the previous issue ("Raising Terrazona," Niki D'Andrea, January 10) and was really impressed. There's no doubt about Willy being the real thing, and, as a black man in Phoenix, I was happy as hell to see somebody authentic on the cover of New Times. It gave me hope for this town.

So New Times, don't listen to [Power 98.3 DJ] Karlie Hustle, who's a wanna-be, and who (from her radio voice) I also thought was black. I read her jive shit on arizonabeats.com, and all I can say is . . . the lady got her fat ass burned and now is lashing out at New Times for telling it like it is. Peace.
Michael A. Johnston, Phoenix

Covering her badonkadonk: First off, I'd like to thank New Times for attempting to cover the Phoenix hip-hop scene. I, along with many others, appreciate the effort to expose a segment of the Valley's hip-hop community that rarely gets coverage in your publication.

While [music editor] Niki D'Andrea is allowed her opinions, as we all are, I believe some of the content in her "Raising Terrazona" piece was written with the intent to create a rift between the Tempe and Phoenix hip-hop scenes. Although I stand by the statements I gave to her, my intention was to answer her questions about the racial composition of the two nights, not to reinforce the reporter's dualistic take on the Valley hip-hop scene with an oversimplified stereotype.

The scene is so much more than black and white, and so much more than two hip-hop nights. Race is the elephant in the corner, and while I agree that its role pertaining to the two club nights and "scenes" was worthy of acknowledgment, I don't think the entire story needed to be racially charged and polarizing. To attempt to pit the two "scenes"/nights/races against one another seemed like a sensationalized attempt to be "compelling" through controversy.

Participants of both the Phoenix and Tempe scenes are, by and large, equally upset about this article, and, perhaps, this is a wake-up call for New Times to expand its staff to include someone who is well-versed in hip-hop culture, whatever their race might be, to cover our community in a more educated light in the future.
Karlie Hustle, Phoenix

Where's my cover, Niki?: Let me start by saying that I appreciate and respect Niki D'Andrea's job as music editor at New Times. This is in no way meant to be offensive or rude.

With that said, I got my copy of New Times the way I always do. Picked it up off of the studio desk at work during my on-air shift at Power 98.3, and immediately I was drawn to the cover.

Lo and behold, young Willy Northpole had made the front of New Times! Now, from this point on, I experienced a roller-coaster ride of emotions, beginning with great pride. You see, I'm from Arizona in the way most people are from here, by way of somewhere else. However, I have spent over two decades here. It's easy to see why pride would be my first reaction.

Finally, Arizona hip-hop is beginning to get the real recognition it deserves. Willy is a thorough, credible standout, and it's about time we support and sustain our own superstars. I feel like there are few more deserving than Mr. Northpole, but there still are that few.

Over 13 years ago, I took part in the renaissance of Arizona hip-hop, spearheaded the movement that paved the way for your Willy Northpoles. So it makes sense why I would stand in agreement that "Willy Northpole and the Groove Candy scene represent real Phoenix hip-hop."

No sooner do I reiterate [that] to myself than I flip to the story and begin reading, and I'll be damned: You made mention of everyone from Roca Dolla to Mattlocks to Karlie to Hot Rod to Cirque to Emerg to Justus to Jiggle to Tiffany to Juice — and with good reason. At this point, the swing of emotion has brought me to bewilderment, if not confusion. How can you make mention of Arizona hip-hop, the movement, its past, present and future, and not so much as indicate the relevance [of] Pokaface, The League, and The Associates?

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