Hip-Hop Had a Dream
This is an important concept in the United States of America where the right is protected and deeply embedded in the Second Amendment drafted in 1791 when President George Washington came into power. the right derived from popular conceptions of English law around the American Revolution, including a tradition of local militias, which is a common law right to possess weapons, the English Bill of Rights (1689) and a statute, the Assize of Arms, which dates back to 1181. Some historians have found that prior to and through the 18th century, the expression “bear arms” appeared exclusively in military contexts, as opposed to the use of firearms by civilians, so it is also chilling to think that from when the American Constitution first stated that an American citizen has the right to bare arms, which over a period of time has intensified in the changing of technology and the ability to create new weapons - is this right really for the people? Arms is just another loose term for weapons, which is a tool employed to gain a tactical advantage over an adversary, usually by injury, defeat, or destruction, or the threat of these. They can be as simple as a club, or as complex as an intercontinental ballistic missile—and metaphorically anything capable of being used to damage, even psychologically, can be referred to as a weapon. Lets be serious – weapons may be used to attack or threaten - but also to defend and protect. Now it is the attack or threaten which also contradicts defend and protect when it comes to America’s history – a country that is known for its engagement in war in relation to so called freedom. From guns, to a nuclear weapon is considered arms so it is something for the American people to question when looking at themselves, especially when it has something to do with this so-called ‘War On Terrorism’. What are the differences between democracy and dictatorship, or a freedom fighter and a terrorist? To me there is no difference but the politics behind them pulling strings to make sure that to ‘the people’ that they do know go hand-in-hand. In 1997, Jim Schneider had written an article for Shooting Industry, called BATF: “no new bullet law needed” - the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. In a letter written on behalf of President Clinton, Department of Justice, Ronnie Edleman [during the Clinton Administration] had written an interesting letter about the Second Amendment and questions were raised on where the power for this Amendment really lies. Schneider stated that: “after four-plus years of the Clinton Administration, there should be no doubt about its view of the Second Amendment. The position is clearly stated in a letter currently being sent by a Justice Department official to private citizens who question firearm policies. Ronnie L. Edelman, principal deputy chief, Terrorism and Violent Crime Section, Criminal Division, Department of Justice, declares in that letter that, “The Second Amendment, whether in regard to handguns or al guns, is a matter of growing scholarly debate. “The current state of federal law does not recognize that the Second Amendment protects the right of private citizens to possess firearms of any type. Instead, the Second Amendment is deemed to be a collective right belonging to the state and not to an individual. “Accordingly, the Second Amendment is interpreted by this administration as prohibiting the federal government from preventing a state government from forming or having a state-recognized militia force. “ With this understanding in mind, the source of a citizen’s authority to possess a handgun has never been particularly identified in American law... “His position flies in the face of virtually all recent scholarly articles that support the position that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to keep and bear arms”. Now as typical American people in their country – please tell me how can you trust politicians to preach, or not accept another nations use of weapons, but within your own Constitution trust the people that are in your own backyard and run the country? During the Civil Rights movement, organizations such as the Black Panther Party, had recognized their own people’s rights to bare arms and they did it within the Constitutional law; but the government had acted on this, which later involved pressure to the State to ban African-American’s open use of armed weapons. Schneider points out that the Second Amendment has always been interpreted as prohibiting the federal government from preventing a state government from forming or having a state-recognized militia force, but since then the FBI, CIA, AFT, and others have formed.
And now America sees things changing in the 21st century with the Patriot Act that have broken down barriers more than ever. This is because of the 9/11 attacks, which allowed President George W. Bush to sign the Patriot Act into law on October 26th, 2001. Then since 2003, documented evidence shows that the Patriot Act II has emerged. What this is all about is more control and centralization of the American people, while a bigger New World Army is quick approaching. And trust me – the UK is also starting this agenda.
Even when talking about the Hip Hop movement, critics have prohibited rap’s messages for expressing the gun culture, while they have allowed their own government to empower their resources for a state militia force. In my interview with the late DR Roi Kwabena back at the Birmingham Central Library in 2006, we also spoke on gangsta rap and the influence it has had over Hip Hop culture. When it emerged it was seen as extreme and controversial which of course it was; it gave a dark and bleak view of Black America that was exposed to the world. But while Roi and I was talking, we started to talk about Compton, California rapper and actor Artis Leon Ivey, Jr. AKA Coolio who is perhaps best known for the hit song Gangsta’s Paradise featuring L.V. The song was from the 1995 movie Dangerous Minds starring Michelle Pfeiffer [who of course played Elvira Hancock Scarface who became the wife of Tony Montana]. Gangsta’s Paradise went to No.1 on the Top Hot 100 Single charts with sales of 2,500,000 million copies going 2x platinum. The song was very successful for the Compton born rapper, but it was the actual meaning to the song that had certainly affected me at the time. The song is a reworking of prominent figure Stevie Wonder’s Pastime Paradise, a song from his 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life. While Stevie Wonder’s Pastime Paradise had the chorus:
“They’ve been spending most their lives, living in a pastime paradise. They’ve been spending most their lives, living in a pastime paradise. They’ve been wasting most their time glorifying days long gone behind. They’ve been wasting most their days, in remembrance of ignorance oldest praise”
Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise chorus [sung by L.V] was changed to a simple:
“Been spending most our lives, living in a Gangsta’s Paradise”.