For Those Who Can't Sleep On Hip Hop

Interview conducted and submitted by Young Lordette

Hip Hop, born from the Black-Nuyo-Rican Uptown ghettos of the seventies is the call to revolution that still beats in our blood. From the South Bronx to South Africa, Puerto Rico to Palestine to the Philippines, the African nations to the native lands and ghettos worldwide, Hip Hop bombs systems of oppression. Our words, beats, rhymes and graf become mind-molotov cocktails. Rebel artist street soldiers mobilize masses creating an international coalition of freedom fighters.

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I recently spoke with the MC of the radical-rap-militant-music group from Uptown, NYC, X-Vandals about Hip Hop as an inter-national tool for revolution.

Lordette: Who are the X-Vandals?

N4P: The X-Vandals are DJ Johnny Juice, MC Not4Prophet, and anyone else who has ever had to use stealth, stealing and spit to survive America.

Lordette: And you are both from New York City?

N4P: Yes. I was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, but raised in Harlem, NY, and Juice was born in the Bronx, NY to Puerto Rican parents.

Lordette: When did you and Juice first get into Hip Hop?

N4P: Well, Juice was a b-boy and graffiti writer from way back and, as he likes to say, witnessed the birth of Hip Hop right outside his front door. He also worked on Public Enemy’s first two classic records, “Yo Bum Rush the Show” and “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back” when he was still a teenager. Me, I started out writing graf on walls when I was a little kid, which led to writing political slogans, which became poetry, which started me hollerin’ in the streets, which became spoken word that transformed into spitting which was all Hip Hop in the first and last place.

Lordette: I first met you through Ricanstruction, the collective of anarchist Boricua revolutionary artists that you work with. Would you like to talk a bit about that?

N4P: Well, Ricanstruction Netwerk is a community of (mostly) people of color that has been around for about ten years now. We started out on the streets of Harlem, but now we have cohorts and conspirators all over the place. We make militant music, write our reality on walls, make anti-fascist films, create puerto-political propaganda, build bridges and mind bombs en las esquinas de la calles; all within a DIY (do it yourself) anti-authoritarian cipher and with the intent of creating a radical and revolutionary mindset within our communities de color. In the beginning we had nothing, so we used what we didn’t have to make something. We’ve been doing it ever since.

Lordette: In one of X-Vandals songs, ya’ll mixed in one of my fave poets, Nikki Giovanni reading “A Poem for Black Boys.” In it, she encourages Black boys to revolution, saying, “You know the truth of what I’m saying/ Play Back-to-Black/ Grow a natural and practice vandalism/ These are useful games (some say a skill is even learned).” I feel it, when you flip it once more, as a poem for Black boys and girls in the song.

N4P: Yeah, that’s a poem that she wrote way back in the ’70s, so it’s amazing, and rather sad, how relevant it still is today. That’s why we used it. I had come across it in a book of Nikki Giovanni’s poetry and felt that the words were perfect for what we were trying to convey/say in the here/hear and now. But I think when you look at the current statistics for the number of Black “girls” that are going to prison and suffering so many of the other ills of our society/sh*tstem, you realize that it ain’t just boys no more….

Lordette: The revolutionaries from Nikki Giovanni’s generation were the Black Panthers, the Young Lords, Malcolm X, Assata Shakur and others, but Hip Hop comes from the generation born from the Panthers and the Lords. As a revolutionary culture that came out of the Black-Puerto Rican ghettos of New York city, Hip Hop has always been about bombing the we are fighting against, but what are some things that you feel we can do to build an even stronger fight?

N4P: I think first “Hip Hop” has to decide what it is and what it stands for, if anything. Hip Hop is well over 30 years old now and depending on who you ask, will depend on what answer you get as to what “Hip Hop” is. What made The Panthers or Lords different from Hip Hop is that they knew from jump what they stood for and were about and trying to seek/achieve politically when they formed, while Hip Hop just sort of came about organically thru a political condition but without necessarily having any kind of political notion or idea or ideology.
There’s a certain anarchic beauty to that, but at the same time it makes it difficult if you are trying to carve out any kind of political or anti-sh*tstem movement. For instance, if Hip Hop had had an anti-corporate stance from jump, big bizness would not have been able to co-opt it quite so easily. Once “Hip Hop” decides what it is about, then it/we will be able to decide what we gotta do, collectively. Until then, it s just a bunch of different people/individuals all over the Black planet who “feel” Hip Hop for all sorts of different reasons.

Lordette: If we had Hip Hop codes what would they be?

N4P: Hmm, “Hip Hop codes”…. Well, they actually DO exist, in a way. Written by Afrika Bambaataa and the Universal Zulu nation back in the day before today. Things like advocating for peace, love and having fun were pretty relevant to the so called Hip Hop nation that was just trying to live in peace and stay alive within a difficult sh*tuation, and doing their best to enjoy life, as rough as it may be. But I think a Hip Hop code that could save Hip Hop today would have to talk about refusing to sell out and knowing who your enemy really is, and protecting your own; (“your own” being, of course, anyone who is living according to the Hip Hop code). Things about living outside the sh*tstem and refusing to be part of it or accept anything from it. If you don’t want anything from Babylon then they can’t co-opt you. Things like the “stop snitching” campaign wouldn’t be a bad idea if it was about “no collaboration” with the enemy. Unfortunately, since we rob each other (within the Hip Hop nation) and deal the “man’s” drugs to each other, then there is no honor among thugs, and “stop snitching” has no worth or relevance within our struggle. If the sh*tstem wrote the thesis, then Hip Hop should write the anti-thesis…. on the walls.

Lordette: I think there is also a need to expand our definitions of who our revolutionaries were/are. Living, breathing, surviving day-to-day in our barrios is revolutionary in and of itself. Right now there is a trend in so-called conscious Hip Hop to defend what constitutes revolutionary according to a certain standard. The ghettos are bumping not necessarily “revolutionary” Hip Hop and reggaeton loudly. I’d love to walk down the streets of Washington Heights to the streets of East Harlem and be hit with your song, “Life is Warfare.”

N4P: Yeah, that’s why we wrote it; but that song is already out there, really. It’s in the beat from the streets themselves. But I should say, though, that the urge to dance is also a revolutionary urge, just as the urge to destroy is also a creative urge, so it doesn’t always have to be the words. I think that there is a kind of “revolutionary elitism” that says that some things are revolutionary and others are not. I think that all things that come from the down pressed communities worldwide are potentially revolutionary because they come out of communities under siege. So to suggest that some things are revolutionary because of the words that are used or because of what one is talking about specifically (or seems to be talking about) is bullsh*t. We will define our own revolution thru action and movement.

Lordette: Even with all the problems that exist, from the South Bronx to South Africa Hip Hop is still a weapon against that oppression. Where do you see the Hip Hop struggle located in South Africa and Puerto Rico in relation to its origins from the streets of Nueva York?

N4P: I think in South Africa and Puerto Rico, as well as places like Palestine and Cuba, they are taking from the essence of what Hip Hop represents for the sufferahs, rather than from the co-opted corporatized version of Hip Hop, or rap music more specifically, that is force fed to the world today via the TV and commercial radio. So, in some ways, the Hip Hop that is coming from other places on the planet are a throwback to what Hip Hop was always really about, coming out the hood. So, in many ways, it’s very pure…

Lordette: Hip Hop was born in the Bronx of the black ghetto youth. As Hip Hop is internationalized, we build a stronger coalition of armies world wide, from the ghettos and inner-colonies in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, alongside struggles in the Philippines, Palestine, South Africa and elsewhere. How are the X-Vandals international?

N4P: We come out of that struggle; we are that struggle. Whether it be the Black struggle in Zimbabwe or in Bed Stuy and the boogie down, we be the real deal. We’re the descendents of slaves still living, and surviving the colonial condition. We are the dissidents and dissonance of the streets and the struggle. The remembrance and remnants of what Bob Marley called Black survival…. Those who survived the middle passage…. shell shocked but still rockin’…. So, from Africa to America, we be the reality of rebellion… In any/every language….

Lordette: I’m bumping the cut Todos Somos Machetero from the X-Vandals new album. Our native sister Hailstorm and Palestinian sister Shadia are featured on that track talking about being
Macheteras. I love that song because it speaks directly to our common struggles, todos somos macheter@s.

N4P: In Puerto Rico there is an armed clandestine organization that is seeking Puerto Rican liberation, called Los Macheteros (Puerto Rican Peoples Army). Their founder was actually assassinated by the FBI two years ago. In Puerto Rico there is a saying among independentistas (those who advocate Puerto Rican independence) that is “todo Boricua machetero,” or all things/people who are Puerto Rican are macheteros. We wanted to extend the meaning of being machetero, to be anyone who struggles for freedom and an end to injustice/colonialism/imperialism/downpression regardless of where they are from. So with that song we wanted to put some MCs on there that were not Puerto Rican, but are very much part of the macheter@ struggle to get free. If one is smart, they will see that it’s all about solidarity in struggle…. Women, men, girls, boys, a rebel rainbow to batter down babylon, for real….

Lordette: When is your next record coming out?

N4P: It’s our next AND first record actually, and it is scheduled to come out on Oct 30th, which is a historical date within the Puerto Rican liberation struggle (look it up)….

Lordette: Which brings up another thing I appreciated about the record, the combination of anti-authoritarian, even anarchist, ideas with the anti-colonial, nationalist, struggle in Puerto Rico.

N4P: Well, we are not, per se, nationalist, any more then we are anarchist, or any other isms. But we do believe in, support, and struggle for the right of ALL people to be free…. so that includes Puerto Rico, which is the oldest colony on the planet. The liberation struggle in Puerto Rico has been going on for over 500 years now, so anyone who says that they are freedom fighters or activists for justice or anti-imperialists or in any way revolutionary, but does not support the liberation struggle in Puerto Rico is full of sh*t….

Lordette: Anything else you’d like to say?

N4P: Free Puerto Rico! Free Palestine! Free Mumia! Free all political prisoners and prisoners of war! Free the land! Free your minds!…. and ya ass will follow!!!!

For more info on X-Vandals:

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Wow! I saw Bindi Irwin (the late Steve Irwin’s daughter) on the Today Show. She was performing- singing, rapping, and dancing. What could have been a cute, even touching moment (everyone loves the Crocodile Hunter), was an embarrassing situation. Why? First of all, they had grown men (actually, they were teenaged boys- but next to her they looked like grown ups) dancing behind her. These guys were doing synchronized moves- looking like a really bad version of ‘NSync. The little girl can’t dance, sing or rap, so why put her through this? She already has a successful kid’s show- Bindi the Jungle Girl on Discovery Kids and Animal Planet that works and makes sense. On the program, she talks about animals and they are able to effectively recycle content from her dad’s show. But, dancing, singing and rapping? I’m not picking on Bindi, I’m actually saying that they are doing a disservice to her by putting her in this type of situation; it’s exploitation. Even with Michael Jackson, they say his dad was abusive and overworked his kids- no matter what your thoughts are on that, when you see old clips of little Michael performing, there’s nothing to be embarrassed of there; he was a phenom. Watching Bindi perform a rap track with stiff male dancers twice her size was painful.

That, in part, is the problem with the music industry and specifically Hip Hop right now. Everyone wants to be part of the show. Everyone wants to rap, dj, produce, and be a mogul. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to participate within the performance aspect of Hip Hop, but what’s problematic is that all of these wannabe hip hoppers are also expecting to monetize their efforts. This is a capitalist society, that’s fine, but what happens when everyone wants to be in the show? Where’s the audience? Today, it seems as thought there aren’t any fans left; everyone wants to be in the game.

This has created an overall, decreased level of quality in the art form. Again, there’s nothing wrong with capitalizing from your art, but does something happen to the appreciation of the art when the pure motivation to participate is to “get paid”? Who’s doing it for the love and the craft of the art anymore?

It seems as though there is a blatant epidemic of entitlement in Hip Hop today. New artists who are just getting into this seem to have one goal in mind, “how do I get paid?”: No honing in on their skills, no paying dues, no stage show, no originality, nothing new is being brought to the scene, just the attitude of “I spit, so I should get paid.” Ultimately it’s the fault of the labels that have continued to put artists out with little more talent than that of their fans. Artist development does not exist. There was a time in Hip Hop’s early days when artists would have several singles released throughout the span of two to three years, and finally when the artist had built up their skills, and the fan base was built, then the album would drop. Today, you don’t really see this happening. Artist releases are dropped, and when they happen to hit, due to the almighty label-marketing dollar, the fans think- “man I can do that.” No wonder you have many thousands of wannabe artists thinking they can sell platinum records. Guess what? Major labels can barely sell platinum records nowadays.

This trend- putting out underdeveloped, undeserving rap artists- started in the early ‘90s and continues today. This is one of the reasons why music sales in general are on a consistent downward spiral; the quality of content in music is a rarity today. Fans don’t want to buy garbage when they can make on their phat beats. Especially today with every Mac being loaded with Garageband, and the availability of programs like Fruity Loops which make it possible for anyone to make music- technology has enabled everyone to join in. The labels aren’t putting out music that sounds any better than what you could make on your own- with little effort- at home, why would anyone want to buy their music. With the exception of the very young, who are lured to buy music (or actually harass their parents to buy it) as a result the strategic efforts executed by today’s version of commercial radio- The Disney Channel. Their formula- build a singer into the storyline of many of their TV shows, then after much repetition of those programs (ala commercial radio play), the kids are primed and ready to consume the music related merchandise of those pseudo performers. Ultimately, they’re the broadcaster and the releasing company: Think Clear Channel and Sony Music all in one.

So where does this leave us, the fans of real Hip Hop? Well, you’re left to dig for it in vinyl, and within the very Long Tail of the Internet. Don’t bother with traditional media outlets; they’re busy exploiting Hip Hop and Bindi.

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“Pick Your Poison” starts off with a rustic eerie sounding guitar loop and an ill haunting female voice that grabs a hold of your mental and refuses to release its grip. Along with Arsenic and Span Phly’s lyrical barrage is a really stealthy bass line that completes this intro track aptly named “Take the Ticket”.  Therefore we get more lyrical flexing on the next offering, ”Comfortable Straight Jacket”, which definitely stimulates a head-nod reaction with sparkling sounds and confident razor sharp lyrics. The combo of Arsenic and Span Phly is amazing. They are both different in sound but the same in delivery, as each emcee spits with ferocity and conviction. The production mainly handled by Arsenic, compliments both artists  delivering darkly tinged head nodders as well as chilled boom-bap sounds that lovingly rolls at a measured pace. I also have to give props to DJ Elixir who provides on point scratches throughout only adding to this timeless release.

 The lyrics are spit with the demanded anxiety about various issues like the tight “Do The Devil’s Dance” and “Fuck You For Listening”  with both emcees validating their own status. Moving on to the Arkatek produced track “Creatures Of The Night” we get something very good. The beat is hard and rather slow, and the rhymes are fast. One thing that can kill an artist’s album is choosing beats that really don’t flow with the artist’s style; this is not the case on “Pick Your Poison”. There are a few more tracks on this album which feature the same type of vibe as the aforementioned track, and they do not disappoint. Among the other gems are “De Sade- Charenton” with sliced drums and somber horns. With every track you get a mass of soul, creativity, innovation, originality. Only a small amount of emcees and producers possess these traits.

On PYP each song welcomed the next, connecting to each other through links of often subtle melodies. Lyrically Arsenic & Span rests well inside of each track providing a quality blend of lyrics for the versatile production. There is not a dull moment on this entire album, and as a listener I could not help but sit in awe of the wide range of skills demonstrated by the group’s two impressive performers. This presentation was more than just beats and rhymes, it was a score. Every track on this album is hot, both lyrically and in regards to production, so it’s hard to pick out any favorites without naming the entire track list. Yet my favorite tracks on the album as always are the ones that personify the artist’s emotions straight from the heart. Whether you like lyrics or beats, this album has something for you. The production on “Pick Your Poison” ranges from dark and grimy to soulful and alternative, but maintains an overall head-nodding feel. I can’t tell you how many times I rewound the CD just to hear one or two lines at a time, almost in disbelief that someone could go so alternative yet remain so on point at the same time. So, support Citizen Sade by hitting them up @ http://www.myspace.com/desadehiphop or http://www.espionagerecords.com/  . Thanks CyPhEr777

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“Fly Your Favorite” or “flyyourfavorite” is the latest release from Indiana’s own Id Obelus. I was fortunate enough to review previous release which received much praise; mostly for its supreme creativeness. The question is, can he up the ante on this release? The answer is an astounding yes! As I stated in my last review of IO, his style would be considered by most to be extremely unconventional. But, that’s what draws you into his releases, making you listen to them from beginning to end.

On the first track “Soul Dispersion,” you get a good idea of what the guy is talking about, but at the same time, he’s just a smart fella; he’s prone to spit smart rhymes. Often this is in the form of inside jokes, or concepts you might wonder and ponder for more than a minute. The song is one of those overtly playful beats with more thoughts on this whole rap thing. The next track “Voyage from the Frontline” brings back EA’s Xcircles whose multi-layered style compliments IO’s sing-song style impeccably. The beat is an industrial fused prodding manifesto to one’s eardrums. As we all know, the Hip Hop universe is insanely clustered with personal journals, emo hop, philosophical, and depressed rambling. While all of that surely deserves to be out there, getting the alternative from Id Obelus is nevertheless welcomed.

I must add that the mind will drift off, and it’s only due to some of the strengths ID doubtlessly has, that you’ll often drift along with his train of thought. Especially on the offerings where everything works perfect together, like on the Oblio produced “Rural American Rap”. “Insert curse word here…Biatch”!! I LOVE THAT LINE! And once again it’s a case of a dope beat making the vocalist sound even better than he does anyways. The next adventure “1991 1987” is ID’s battle type track containing a “Nutcraker” type bell that bobs and weaves around the listener before soundly boxing their ears. This appears to be the first track that takes us into the rhyming mind and it is leading us through braggadocios words that give the competition a verbal spanking. Id Obelus is able to adopt his style to the Smirk beat in highly impressive ways. Just like his last release, Oblio handled most of the production with some friends that drop by to offer a helping hand. On the song “You Will Die”, Obelus busts a Beastie Boy inspired rhyme that shows how versatile he can be, with the melody enhancing the whole track, making this another dope song.

IO reaches everyone that grows up with less than two TVs and no vacation outside of town and was not content with just putting a couple of tracks together, put ‘em on a disc, call it an album and call it a day. Hence this is one of the cases where a rap record is using its potential; talking to people and to bring a story across, easier and better, than any other genre of music is able to. More than halfway thru the 20 tracks, you realize this album is a roller coaster ride with twists and turns. Many of tracks are often still paired with polished layers.

Other sick tracks to check out are “Eyes Down,” “Without Use” and fittingly ends with “Emotions” that concludes the album with a shimmery yet insistent instrumental that allows listeners to hear the album’s underpinnings from Id Obelus’ peerless perspective that further takes the lyrical content beyond the bragging before it again turns to a poetic exploration of serious issues. In a way every artist, if not to say every person has a record like this in him. But only a few actually have the courage or the skills to make the effort and put this record out. But its impact will also very much depend on the mind state the person is in that listens to it. Hence this very much deserves and needs an open door. I’d recommend anyone to pick this up, and to keep a close eye on his next move. Support Id Obelus by purchasing this breathtaking album @ http://www.myspace.com/idobelus . Thanx CyPhEr777

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IT AIN’T THAT HARD OUT HERE FOR A PIMP:

SOAKING UP GAME WITH PIMPIN’ KEN

By Khalid Strickland a.k.a. Dirty Angel 

 

 Internationally known, nationally recognized & locally accepted.

   In their catchy Oscar award-winning song, crunk rappers Three-6 Mafia claim, “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp”.   But after meeting Milwaukee’s own Ken Ivey, known to the world as Pimpin’ Ken, I’m not so sure about Three-6’s observation.  Pimpin’ Ken’s chunky jewelry, Versace shades, custom-made Italian suit and extravagant gator shoes aren’t the products of hard times.

      There were a lot of flashy characters in HBO’s cult-classic “Pimps Up, Hoes Down” (1998), a documentary that explored the world of voluptuous hookers and their slick-talking, Rolls Royce-pushing “managers”.  Even among this flamboyant bunch, Pimpin’ Ken stood out; at the end of the film, Ken won the coveted “Mack of the Year” award at the annual Player’s Ball.  Now the man who declared that he’s “internationally known, nationally recognized and locally accepted” currently has a how-to guide in the bookstores.  “Pimpology: The 48 Laws of the Game” marks Ken’s foray into the literary world, and the book contains nuggets of wisdom that can be applied anywhere from the streets to the corporate boardroom (mink coat and cane not included).  Some of the laws in the book, which can be found in Barnes & Noble’s “self-help” section (fo’real), include “Prosperity Over Popularity”, “Grind For Your Shine” and my personal fave, “Don’t Chase ‘Em, Replace ‘Em”.  Pimpin’ Ken also teamed up with rapper Pimp C of UGK to release a straight-to-DVD documentary called “Best of Both Worlds: When Pimpin’ & Hip-Hop Merge”.  The flick features rappers and pimps discussing “the game” from both perspectives, with real-life pimps expressing their feelings on emcees who claim their profession.  “Best of Both Worlds” features appearances by 50 Cent, T.I., Young Buck, Rick Ross, Yukmouth and many other notable artists.  

 

     Although he says he’s no longer active in the pimp game, Ken Ivey is taking his gift-of-gab and considerable marketing skills to other levels.  During our conversation, I asked Pimpin’ Ken why he decided to write “The 48 Laws of the Game” and share his secrets with the average square.

     “One of the reasons why I wrote it, first of all, I knew that there were a lot of young brothers that respected me and they always ask me for advice,” explained Ken.  “So I figured, you know, this gives me an opportunity to give back on an intellectual level.  I was taught years ago that the game was to be sold and not to be told.  And right now, a lot of the squares is wide open for the game to be sold to them, ‘cause everybody wants to know what the game is all about.  So it was the perfect opportunity for me to really share something that’s been inside of me for years, and then get paid at the same time.  They got ‘Pimp My Ride’, they got ‘Pimp This’, they got ‘Little Pimp’.  Every rapper want to be a pimp so… it’s just like when Bill gates came out with Windows.  It was the perfect timing.”

     Well… can pimpin’ be learned or is it a natural talent?

     “The mentality can be learned, that’s what I’m trying to teach… the pimp mentality.  ‘Cause the actual pimping on a (chick)… that’s got to be in you, not on you.  It takes a whole lot of psychological warfare and a whole lot of patience to really deal with (pimping) a woman.  Some of us don’t even got the patience to go to work and (do) a job.  So how’re they going to have patience to sit down and deal with somebody three or four times; maybe six or seven chicks.  It takes a special kind of guy to do that.  The guy that normally would be a pimp could’ve probably been a psychologist, a lawyer or something where you real sharp with your mind at.  See, you got to be sharp in your mind to be a pimp.”

Pimp C of UGK and Pimpin’ Ken

     Once Pimp C touched land after serving a three-year prison bid, he linked up with Pimpin’ Ken to begin filming what would become “The Best of Both Worlds” DVD.  I asked Ken how the project came about.

     “Well, initially it started out as a come home (from jail) thing… kind of like a Pimpin’ Ken and Pimp C night out or something,” said Ken.  “And then, everybody wanted to be down with it.  So I wanted to make it have some more sense.  In the midst of nowhere we changed the direction and it became ‘The Best of Both Worlds’, ‘cause I’m having money… Pimp C having money now.  He come out to a quarter million (dollars) in his first night (home).  Then things got bigger and bigger and then Jive dropped a couple of million dollars and I’m steady getting money, I’m getting book deals.  Since we both got the name ‘pimp’ let’s see why these (rappers) keep using the name ‘pimp’.  And that’s why we actually (did the film), ‘cause you can’t just be a pimp.  My argument was… anybody can say they pimpin’.  But when you’re like Pimp C and you’re tied to the pimpin’, and you’re messing with a guy that’s the Michael Jordan of the pimpin’… then you get some real game when you spit it in your music.  Then, that to me is the best of both worlds; the people get the truth as well as they get the rap.”

     While discussing the link between rap music and pimping, I wondered aloud: Is pimping a young man’s game the way most people consider rap to be?

     “Well, it’s my opinion that after you do a certain amount of affiliation or time in the pimp game, it should be a natural instinct of an intelligent mind to move to bigger and better things… and let the younger guys deal with all this headache,” Pimpin’ Ken articulated.  “Now, some of the guys that I knew that were in the game for years and who are still prosperous, what they would do is after a while they’d open up a strip club.  Then they’ll make all the young guys bring all their girls to the strip club, ‘cause you’ve got strip club pimps too, then they’d charge the girls tip-op: 20 or 30 dollars… $100, $200.  Now they dealing with 50 or 70 girls (and) they’re not physically or mentally tied to them.  They’re just tied to them from a business perspective.  They took it to another level.  That’s called mackin’.  There’s all kinds of ways, as you get older you get smarter.  In my case, I’m still pimpin’.  I’m pimpin’ everybody, but I use mine positively.  I’mma pimp these DVDs, I’mma pimp these books.  I’m pimpin’ legitimately now.”

     It’s no coincidence Pimpin’ Ken compares himself to Michael Jordan.  Like Mike, Ken has been marketing himself like crazy, even landing a deal to endorse shoes.  Don’t be surprised if you go to Key Food and spot a box of Pimpin’ Ken breakfast cereal in the near future. 

     “Pimpin’ Ken is a brand, no matter how you look at it,” details Ken.  “‘Pimps Up, Hoes Down’, I was the consultant.  If you look at the credits, I was the consultant.  I was the one who put that whole thing together; at the same time I was putting my movie together ‘Pimpology Uncut’, which you can get at my website.  I was the first one who did a shoe deal.  I got a shoe deal from Murray Shoes, with the gator shoes.  I was the first (pimp) to get a major spread in Vibe magazine and Source magazine.  The first one out of that whole (‘Pimps Up’) crew that ran in the FEDS magazine.  When 50 Cent first came out he gave me a shout out (in a song) ‘cause he read my name in FEDS.  These guys, they look up to me.  I just left Queens; I was out there on 90th Street with (new G-Unit rapper) Maserati Fox and all them players… them straight killers, man.  I f**k with the hood, I mean for real.  The projects in Atlanta, man, I go down there and kick it with dudes by myself.  Only security I got is my social security card.”

      For more information on Pimpin’ Ken and his various merchandise, visit www.pimpinken.net or www.myspace.com/pimpinkenradioshow.

     For more stories and work by Dirty Angel, visit www.supremearsenal.com and www.myspace.com/blackpacino.

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