Email Our Editor

Join Our Mailing List

View Our Archives

Search our archive:

The Last 20 Days' Editorials

Email This Article  Printer Friendly Version

Hip-Hop Fridays: "The Streets Are Political" Volume I & II

Last week, in Newark, New Jersey, at the National Hip-Hop Political Convention we had the honor and privilege of distributing, free-of-charge, hundreds of copies of the first two volumes of the mixtape series, “The Streets Are Political”. The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive to the combined 51-tracks of music, intros and interludes that weave together rap songs, commentaries, interviews, speeches, and snippets.

The first two volumes are called the RapCOINTELPRO edition as the content is designed to raise awareness of the unique surveillance of Hip-Hop artists, in light of the history of the FBI’s infamous Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO). In addition, the volumes roll out an arbitrary 13 elements of politics, which show the political nature of the streets and everyday life, as well as the political essence of Hip-Hop. Those elements are:

1) Policy
2) Militancy
3) Tragedy
4) Honesty
5) Economy
6) Spirituality
7) History
8) Rivalry
9) Commentary
10) Identity
11) Responsibility
12) Family
13) Loyalty

The songs and snippets introduce and illustrate these elements. A June 7, 2004 interview published at goes into further details.

In addition to distributing the MixCds on the street and at special events, is offering Volume I and II free-of-charge, with a purchase of The COINTELPRO Papers by Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall in the Bookstore. The COINTELPRO Papers is a definitive book which meticulously researches and documents the FBI’s war, strategy, and tactics against progressive, nationalist, and politically conscious organizations in the 1960s and 70s, in particular. But the book is not a pure historical document, the authors make a compelling case that COINTELPRO is still in effect and that U.S. law enforcement has been militarized, at every level.

* The book is loaded with interesting nuggets of information, analysis and insight. One particularly striking aspect of the book is its argument regarding how the word “terrorist” was deliberately used by the FBI to define Black activism and dissent in order to inspire fear among the American public, as part of the U.S. government’s supposed effort to protect the country from the possible rise of urban guerrilla warfare. The FBI’s efforts in this regard are documented as revolving around the Black Panther Party in particular, and specifically the decision of Director L. Patrick Gray to apply the term “terrorist” to groups previously referred to as “activists”, “radicals”, “agitators”, and “political extremists”.

A key motivation of “The Streets Are Political” MixCd series is to make clear that Hip-Hop culture, is seen by many – for good and bad - as the inheritor of the legacy of those leaders and organizations which were historically targeted by the State. And regardless to the level of consciousness displayed by rap artists, Hip-Hop music is the definitive mass communication media which ex-FBI head J. Edgar Hoover sought to deny nationalists, progressives, civil rights leaders, Pan-Africanists and any who express political dissent.

Learn more about the relationship between history and current events by ordering your copy of The COINTELPRO Papers, and receiving your complimentary copy of the RapCOINTELPRO edition of “The Streets are Political” MixCD series.

Friday, June 25, 2004

To discuss this article further enter The Deeper Look Dialogue Room

The views and opinions expressed herein by the author do not necessarily represent the opinions or position of or Black Electorate Communications.

Copyright © 2000-2002 BEC