Program Notes

Phuck tha media! I heard dat. You hear it everywhere these days, words of wisdom from the world outside. Ice Cube's stepping to it, mailing a press release headlined "Fuck Billboard and the Editor; #1 Is the Predator" behind his third LP, the smashit The Predator, which debuted at No. 1 on two Billboard charts upon its release. Cube's shivvin' because the industry rag and its editor, Timothy White, had called for a boycott of his previous best seller Death Certificate. Who needs 'em, the Cubester knows, he can sell millions without the press, radio play, or the rest of the mainstream (read, white bread) machinery. Power to him for that, even if mother doesn't go out any more, just sits at home and rolls her spastic eyes 'cause if you think Black Amerikkka gets the stick, you should try being old and poor in this nation, any color, having the shadows chase your ass at night, being paranoid without racial overtones and for good reason (hello in there). At least that's what it says in the Sunday papers.

Even better to hear the media message roiling through the multi-layered kaos masterwork Disturb N Tha Peace, the latest album from the most legit rapper on the planet, Professor Griff, the X Minista. "Motherfuck the media" raps Griff over the kick of an infectious-as-hep background chorus that goes, "Maniac European devils in action/Multi-ethnic destruction in America." Got that right my brother, if I might be so forward. And if Frederick Douglass was some exception to their rules, what's the difference, because the only education that includes the black people's contribution to this nation comes through the hard-core hip-hop of people like Griff and Cube and sometimes even PE. Who the hell was W.E. Du Bois or Langston Hughes or Eldridge Cleaver or Marcus Garvey or Ralph Ellison or Richard Wright or Bobby Seale or H. Rap Brown or Dr. Khallid Abdul Muhammad or Malcolm X (oh, yeah, we know him, don't we homes?)? What's Pottawatomie? Ask your teachers, kids. Ask 'em today.

Griff's new album's stomping even beyond the much-needed master dis of the media and the bemoanment of the lack of recognition for Afrocentrism (doing it for the "black woman" in "Sista Sista" for X sample), and it even includes a cool snippet honoring Miami's super (radio) DJ Arturo "The Rhythm Rocker" G centsmez, who says he's of the opinion that, having been part of the sessions, Griff didn't even use all the best stuff for this album. "That's subjective, a matter of opinion," G centsmez says. "He obviously feels differently. But some of the stuff that's still on the floppies is even better." We'll see. For now, the bottom line is the radio-talk-show phone conversation between Griff and a young black man, an incident Griff swears really happened:

Griff: "Can I ask you something? What do you think about the Ku Klux Klan?"
Caller: "Poison Clan..."
Griff: "The Ku Klux Klan..."

Caller: "Oh yeah, I heard that, yeah, it was like they had the `Doo Doo Brown' beat in it a little."

Griff: "Yeah, all right."
Caller: "Yeah, I heard that, that's all right."
No it's not. Life is a media circus. Freedom is just a mind revolution away. And Harriet Tubman's gonna carry me home. Uh huh.

Box scores: The fate of a number of Haitians brings new meaning to "underground railroad" -- their train runs on water, and too many of them end up dead for any rhetoric to have much meaning. But that is nearly forgotten, or at least momentarily overshadowed, in the colorful celebration that is the new video for "Kote Moun Yo" by Lele Giha. Part of that is due to the vibrant nature of Haitian street action, fully captured here, including a snippet of a crowd scene in which one woman can be seen holding a bottle of Coke. (The gods must be crazy.) Part of it is attributable to the fact that the song was written in April of 1991, when Haiti had finally democratically elected a leader who appeared to not be a thuggish murderer. Four months later, the celebration ended in violence. Considering all that, I'm certain this vid means different things to different people, depending on the moment, but since it's in Creole, I'm not the one to evaluate its true meaning and potential impact, other than to say I enjoy the hell out of watching it. Essentially, the translation has the song becoming an optimistic vision of a happy and opportunity-laden future: "All that is bad, violent and evil is behind us." Right. The clip, beautifully directed by the great Tas Salini, can be dialed up on The Box (check your cable translators). Its request number is 224.

Former Blake Baby Juliana Hatfield is all the rage these days, and we think anyone who has John Wesley Harding contribute to her album is smart enough. You can see and hear her open for the B-52's on Friday night, or you can be smart and go to Yesterday & Today on Bird Road at 2:30 that afternoon and see her electric in-store performance. Or do both. By the way, Greenday also has an in-store, this one acoustic, at Y&T tomorrow (Thursday) at 6:30 p.m.

Yeah, it's tough being black or old, but the sundry tortures and disappointments and frustrations of this life become Special Pain when the victims are children. They just don't understand your world. This Saturday at 4:00 p.m. in Key West, the Itch, XSF, Six Silver Spiders, Le Coup, and Key West's own the Dirge will perform on the beach outside the East Martello Museum to raise funds for the Florida Keys Children's Shelter, which helps abused, neglected, and runaway kids. The shelter is already established in Plantation Key, and is now expanding to Key West. Money raised at Nothin' But a Jam '93 will go toward completion of the new location. Bus trips and hotel deals were being arranged late last week, call 293-0265 in the Keys for more info.

Stars and bars: Steven Jude and Rising take the stage at Plus Five tomorrow (Thursday). Rooster Head, Voidville, and Incognito have their way with the Cactus Cantina contingent on Saturday. The great jazz harpist Roberto Perera, whose successes have been chornicled in this paper for years, as if that means anything, celebrates the release of his latest, Dreams & Desires, at the Ocean Club in South Beach this Friday at 9:30 p.m. Call 534-4999.

Butthorn of the week: WLRN-FM radio for cutting five hours per week of mid-day jazz programming. I guess there's just so much jazz out there that WLRN felt the show redundant. Jazzman Eric Allison, however, feels betrayed, and he's campaigning to get the program reinstated. Join him, jazz fans. Write to WLRN-FM, 172 NE 15th St., Miami, FL 33132 or call 995-2206.

The media circus: Transmit the message to the receiver, workin' the same job from mornin' to mourn. At the tail end of a blinding sixteen-hour workday I found myself in the heart of downtown Miami, on the street, near midnight, talking to a roofer as we waited and waited and waited for public transportation. It was Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, but helping the poor Negroes was the last thing on my mind. I was kickin' Griff on my brobox, until me and this roofer got to talking, trading the merits of indoor vs. outdoor work, chatting about long hours and hard days. Roofing's about the hardest work there is, but I whined about office duty not being a cool breeze, either. At least you make good money, the guy noted. I told him exactly how much I make. He laughed at me. I felt proud.

Pet corner: Vivisection is not violent. And everything you read in the newspapers is true.

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Greg Baker