The question keeps coming up, even in discussions seemingly nowhere similar to the topic: "What's wrong with hip hop?" As many opinions as there have been offered and "hip-hop" books saturating the market, the question alone can find itself to be misleading. The situation, a dire one, is far from being confined to hip hop. There's something seriously wrong with music in general and Black music in particular. US-based cultural journalist Djehuti wa Kamau takes the music industry, the international Black community, and all other parties of interest to task in a blazing document of unbridled socio-political commentary: WARRIOR SONG.
WARRIOR SONG is that rare book that doesn't hold back, doesn't stop hitting, and doesn't take any mess from anyone. Author wa Kamau's all about the MUSIC, not the "benjamins," and inquires about what needs to be probed for OUR sake as a people on the brink of cultural decimation. Kamau keeps it basic even when dealing with tough areas of contention. Just a few of the issues explored and necessary questions asked are:
WHO are the original and still-reigning gangsters and pirates of the music business, and WHO was, is and will be ultimately responsible for the state of Black music, yesterday, today and tomorrow?
WHAT is wrong with copyright, and WHAT is its true purpose?
WHEN did the theft of Black music start? And WHEN did all this fascination with sex, drugs and violence in music really begin? The 1990s? 80s? 70s? (Hint: Not "back in the day," at least not the one you're probably thinking of.)
WHERE did the decadence and degeneracy in contemporary music initially come from? (Another hint: Not from "the hood.")
WHY does the pandering to low standards, irresponsible behavior and materialism in Black music continue to increase despite the obvious short-and-long-term negative consequences to the Black community? (Last hint: $$$$$$--but that's not the only one, for sure.)
HOW can Black people begin to put an end to the madness and find the message in the music again?
These are just a sampling of the many issues regarding our condition as Black people and the music we make and listen to that WARRIOR SONG tackles head-on. Thoroughly documented with page upon page of references, WARRIOR SONG doesn't hark on "conspiracy theories" but lays down the cold, hard facts as they are without apology, leaving no room for critics of inauthenticity while "keeping it real" for street credibility in a writing style accessible to all reading levels. Whatever your taste, "jazz," soca, r&b, dancehall, blues, salsa, gospel, rap, soukous, etc., WARRIOR SONG will leave an indelible impression to such an extent that you will never think about and listen to music the same way again.
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ISBN: 0-9779297-1-X; 352 pages; illustrated; $20.95.