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June 23, 2024 31 mins

Host Ramses Ja offers his reaction to Kendrick Lamar's "Pop Out" concert event. 

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Speaker 1 (00:02):
This is the Black Information Network Daily Podcast, and I'm
your host, ramses Jah. And sometimes the amount of stories
that make their way to us means that we simply
can't cover everything that comes our way. But from time
to time, a story just stays with me and Bill
compelled to share it with you and give you my thoughts.

Speaker 2 (00:19):
And now one more thing.

Speaker 1 (00:27):
All right, I'm gonna share something with you today from
Patrick Dalvitt, better known as Ninth Wonder aka Ninth Wondraw.
You may know Ninth Wonder from his work with Little Brother,
a underground slash mainstream hip hop group that was really

popular around you know, the late aughts, the early twenty
tens and just a prolific hip hop producer. Where friends
on Facebook and he posted something that inspired the conversation

that we're about to have today, So.

Speaker 2 (01:19):
It starts.

Speaker 1 (01:19):
The word for today is objectivity. When Nellie's Country Grammar
album dropped, it wasn't my bag, not my cup of tea,
didn't play it in my car or anywhere. Maybe a
song or two I was familiar with, but it wasn't
for me, however, no matter what I thought about it,
even to this day, Nellie's debut album Country Grammar is
one of the most important albums in our culture's history,

easily one of the most impactful albums of the Midwest.
It galvanized that region and represented Saint Louis and ways
we've never seen. That's what hip hop does. It's supposed
to represent the voiceless, even if the voice comes from
a place you don't recognize or like. So when we
say artists just got famous or nobody didn't listen until

this happened, that's kind of crazy to me. Not liking
something something and recognizing the magnitude of something is two
different things. People are actually saying. Kendrick Lamar Duckworth had
no fans and no one listened until this Beef. No
one quote this beef made him money, end quote. Things

like that, Lol, Like nobody just a bunch of people
who love deep music. That's crazy because I swear I
got two platinum plaques on my wall in my studio
from two albums by this guy that has a millions
sold on the bottom of them. On the gold plated
label on the bottom of one of them, it says,
presented to Ninth Wonder to commemorate the sales of more

than four million albums sold of the Innerscope Records LP
by Kendrick Lamar four million albums from an album that
was released in twenty seventeen, one of four studio albums,
all four albums nomine for Album of the Year four
million crazy. That's a lot of nobody's that's a lot

of nobody plays this. That's a lot of I never
heards pick a struggle though. When does number matter or
awards matter, or Billboard charts matter? When don't they?

Speaker 2 (03:17):
Good? Kid?

Speaker 1 (03:18):
Mad City, the debut album by Kendrick Lamar, Section eighty,
is now looked at as a studio release, is the
only rap album since twenty twelve that remained on Billboard
Top two hundred since its release for twelve years. Twelve
Some of Us got twelve year old children, So The
Life Span of Your Baby the only rap album. In

twenty nineteen, he was on the cover of Forbes as
the eighty million dollar Conscience. Eighty million dollars. That's a
lot of folks who don't know who he is. That's
a lot of man, don't nobody want to hear that?
This guy once told me that nobody listens to him overseas.
Nobody not the UK, not France, not Denmark, Germany, nobody.

This is the kind of stuff we get on here
and say loll. But we love hip hop and we
know the culture. We used to some of us, just
like famous people. Salute to Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, sal to
Aubrey Drake, Graham, Jermaine Cole, Sean Carter, Laurence Hill, Nazier Jones,
Dana Owens, Dwayne Michael Carter, Junior, Marshall Mathers, or whoever

you like. Let's just not get objectivity and subjectivity confused.
So I had the honor and the pleasure of conducting
my first YouTube live watch party with my best friend

and co host, q Ward, and we thought that we
should talk about that. I want to first say, as
a person who's not only from California Los Angeles, but Compton,

that when we saw Can and Friends pop out, that,
you know, being from that city, knowing how scary it
used to be to walk to the corner store. You know,
I was born in nineteen eighty two, so used to
be able to buy a candy for five cents and

for a penny now and laters and things like that,
how scary it was to walk to that corner store
to get that stuff. How scary it was at night,
hearing gunshots, seeing dead bodies, you know, the things that
you would think about like in a movie. When I
would see movies growing up. It was almost like I

was desensitized to it. It was like, oh, that's it,
or you know, they're just walking like it's okay. You know,
to know and have such an intimate relationship with trauma
at such a young age, to then see that stage,

to see Kendrick coumpting Kendrick up there in the whole
world watching it was incredibly special. And for those that
did watch it, you saw how galvanizing that was. Or
the entirety of California, the entirety of the West coast right,
and California has had its problems, and those problems have

been exacerbated by the government, and you know, the poverty
and systemic oppression, and also just kind of a function
of you know, people with a lack of options doing
what humans naturally do and in those circumstances, at those

particular crossroads. And to know that Kendrick Lamar everything that
Kendrick challenged Drake to do during that beef, not only
had he lived it, but he showed it during his
Victory Lap concert by bringing all those different hoods together

on one stage, taking a picture together, and then confirming
that the city is outside. It was more than a concert.
It was a moment, a cultural moment. And I can't
speak as a person outside of California who observed it,

because I am a person from California who observed it.
So it didn't it wouldn't matter to me if it
was relevant to people in Wyoming or Florida or South
Carolina or whatever. Granted I love all those places, but
it wouldn't matter because it just needed to matter. You
don't know dead people from your child hood that were

whose lives were claimed by gang violence Incompton, and I
do so seeing that, seeing that progression, knowing that I
love my people, and seeing Kendrick take this moment and
put only la artists on stages and highlight these people
who you know this he's got everybody watching. Here's a
little bit of boost for you, a little bit of booster.

Let me, let me spread this out. You know what
I'm saying. It was an incredible moment for me, but
I have the pleasure of feeling connected to Detroit whenever
my feet are on the ground in Detroit because of UQ,
the man who has always made me feel like I

have a home there. And I know that in a
similar way, you felt connected to you know, the concert
that we were able to see, So talk us through
that experience and just kind of what you felt was
so special about it and made it the cultural moment

that indeed it is.

Speaker 2 (09:10):
I've had several different emotional moments even rewatching and looking
at clips and photos from that night. So first and foremost,
shout out to Compton. It's an ironic thing that every

time I hear Compton mentioned in the movie, song or
in culture, because of Ramses, I feel personally connected to it.
I feel personally proud of it. So shout out to
the entire Compton, California. There's this thing happening with this
moment in history, this moment in culture that I've seen

happen to a lot of moments over I'll just say
the last ten years. Because become it's something that's always been,
but it's become increasingly popular a position to take on things,
and it's the position of the contrarian. There are some
people who are Drake stands, and they're forward about it

and respect to them because they're gonna ride for Drake
no matter what, and very very much in the way
that MAGA people ride for Trump. He can do no wrong.
Then there are those who, just for the sake of
disagreeing with everyone else, are positioning themselves as objective but
really also riding for Drake during this thing. And I

heard a guy say, you know, if we're gonna believe
everything that Kendrick said, we're gonna believe everything that Drake said,
which makes them both terrible people. Okay, sure, but some
of these things are verifiably false, and some of these
things are verifiably true. And if the only thing that

we could verify as false was Drake challenging Kendrick's affiliation
ties to Compton, ties to gain culture and meaningfulness to
the people in that city, that was triumphantly debunked on

one of the largest platforms in the history of this
planet on juneteenth. Even if the only outcome was members
from every set, every hood in every section on stage
shaking hands, dapping and dancing together, even if that was
the only thing that was accomplished, that would be enough.

So you can talk artistically, you can talk culturally, you
can talk impactfully, you can talk authenticity, and in every
aspect of this conflict, this beef Kendrick, Lamar Duckworth came out.
I'll use the word again, triumphant, and you have to

look for reasons to be on the other side of this.

Speaker 1 (12:24):
It's just not right.

Speaker 2 (12:25):
But if you're using metrics, it's Kendrick. If you're using impact,
impact with Kendrick, I mean, you can go on and on.
I want to watch the show again. I've been watching
the clips too. As much as I wish we could
have been in the building, it was actually dope to
experience it the way that we did. And shout out

to Nick Beam, who was here with us, you know.
Decidedly in LA show, Kendrick could have had every feature
artist I ever worked with come out. He could have
had an audience.

Speaker 1 (13:00):
Fizzle was there, he.

Speaker 2 (13:01):
Could have had you know, the Keeam was there. But
he's not from Lay. A lot of people that you thought,
you know, people were saying, man Future should come out.
He's not from LA. That would have been a monumental moment,
but no, he decided this is for LA. This is
very specifically for LA. From upcoming, to that kid that

just graduated from high school, to people who I think
pop culture didn't even realize were from LA. Just the
reaction when Tyler the Creator hit the stage, the reaction
when Roddy Rich hit the stage because in the middle
of Roddy Rich's meteoric rise, the world shut down, so
he was kind of stifled by the pandemic. Roddy Rich

was massive, you know what I mean. So Kendrick put
a microscope on LA and zoomed in one hundred x
and then turned Amazon servers on and blasted that out
to the world for them to see, and everybody got
to Everybody at least should have celebrated. But we find

this way too, just to show how much we are
free thinkers step on moments like this in the name
of what right. The timing doesn't make sense. Even Drake
was decent enough to not step on the moment. Strategically
that may have been a decision you would make. Let
me put something out to step on this moment, even

he said, I at least today you got it, And
I think collectively everybody should have done that. But I
see people being hypercritical of kendrig Ad an artist hypercritical
of the performance, hypercritical of you know, their position. As
you know, Drake was the victor you know in this beef.

Watching that show, you couldn't tell it from anything You're
You're in this case objectively wrong.

Speaker 1 (14:58):
Well, there was something special about By the way, when
I was talking about people in the audience, Kendricks Beyonce
was in the audience with their kids, so that kind
of flies in the face of part of what you know,
the back and forth was about. But some other folks

in the audience, Lebron James, who is famously friends with
Greg but he's also a Laker, right, And uh, what
I really wanted to highlight was again from a perspective

of a person that is from there, to watch, you know,
your people struggle. Like I was able to leave. I
came to Arizona and gangs was in Arizona, but it
wasn't the same.

Speaker 2 (15:54):
There's gangs all over the world.

Speaker 1 (15:56):

Speaker 2 (15:57):
I've seen people on social media what is it with
black people and gangs. We didn't invent gangs, folks, They've
existed for all of history. Yeah, with every type of
people all over Earth. But this.

Speaker 1 (16:10):
If if I would have remained in California. Growing up,
I would have become a gang banger. There's no two
ways about it. That's where I live. That's what you did.
I would have been a gang banger, the same as
everybody else that was there that was old enough. I

firmly believe that. I just you know, it wasn't It
was like either you are terrorized by this group or
you become protected by this group.

Speaker 2 (16:45):
That's it.

Speaker 1 (16:46):
It's not like you have a third option, like, well,
I'm six years old, let me just move somewhere. No,
this is where we live. You know, not to get
too personal, but you know, my parents were on drugs,
and like it was, it was a bad time. It
was a scary time.

Speaker 2 (17:01):
You know.

Speaker 1 (17:02):
I woke up in the middle of a house fire.
I woke up and people are arresting my dad, and
you know, there's people fighting in the front, like all
kinds of crazy stuff, people shooting outside. I got that,
that's what. And then you know, I lived in a
house with rats in the house, and the rats would

eat the bread from the plastic. You know, a bread
it comes to the plastic. They would eat the bread
and I would have to pick the bread that from
the side that the rats weren't eating yet roaches. You
know this is I mean, I'm That's what I would
have grew up in had I not been in Arizona, right,
So I need you to understand this so you have
context for when I see, well, I know what I

left behind, and I see what it is that so
many other people had to go through. Maybe not the
exact story, but very similar. Is everybody where I was
at was black or Mexican. The only time you know,
I've been I'm a child of hip hop, you know

what I'm saying. So I've seen rappers come and go,
and I mentioned this on Our Life, but the only
time that I've ever actually cried over a rapper losing
their life was Nipsey Hustle. And it hit me two
or three days later at a red light, just randomly,
and I just you know, and it was him, specifically,

nip You know, where I grew up, everybody were a
different color from Nipsey, but I knew his walk, I
knew what he was trying to do. If I would
have been in the same predicament longer, I would have
done my best to be a Nipsey, So that one

really hit different. I remember when Kobe died. You were
the first person I told, and I was the source
of you finding out. And remember we were doing a
charity event and you were saying like, no, there's there's
no way that true TMZ got hacked. Blah blah blah.
Everybody was saying that, and that was just devastating. But

I think that people in LA felt a little bit
more of that loss because you know that and those two,
those two losses happened around the same time. Right. So,
last night we were having this conversation about when we

had the watch party. One of the things that stood
out was when he had everybody on that stage, Kendrick
had all those different gangs and sets on the stage.
He mentioned, you know that the city hasn't been the
same since as Kobe died and that hit and then

he said, you know, we haven't we haven't been all
the way right since since Nipsey died. He was like,
Nipsey gonna see this moment. You know what I'm saying,
Like that hit, that really hit it. You know, regardless
of what you think about US criminals, you know, whatever,
whatever however you paint gang members, I know that that
would have been my life. It would have been the

only the only way I could have did it.

Speaker 2 (20:21):

Speaker 1 (20:22):
My brother invented his own gang and there's a song
about it by Mers. Look up Oakie Dog and there's
a music video. You can watch the video one time
for our brother Mers as well. Yeah, yeah, shout out
to merce too and to Jay or Biby for baby
or for baby brother, but he's my big brother. But yeah,

to see what hip hop is able to do in
terms of bringing people together, to see hip hop expressed
and its in the best light possible, in its purest
form of what it's supposed to be, telling real stories,
bringing people together, and having a decidedly black, progressive orientation

to it. In terms of as we mentioned everything that
Kendrick was saying, Drake doesn't do you know what I mean?
If you're a pop star, be a pop star, but
don't come over here and try to act tough, because
it's really people who have to act tough. That's the
only choice that they have. Nobody wants to be born

and be tough.

Speaker 2 (21:38):
Very very very very important piece of data. They're not acting,
you're acting tough. Two very important points. And I'll yield
the mic and the stage to you. People thought that
this was a colorism issue, like Kendrick was picking on

Drake for being mixed or for being light skin and
that's somehow making him less black, and that was never
what he was talking about. The Black American experience is
different than everyone else is on earth. That is just
the truth. And the things that are unique to black
culture are the things that Drake got to put on

as a costume. When we met Drake, Drake was already
an adult.

Speaker 1 (22:27):
He had a pea coat. What was the name of
that mixtape you put on, so Far Gone.

Speaker 2 (22:31):
Or before so Far goes on? It was something seasoned, Yeah,
and why I can think of that.

Speaker 1 (22:37):
He was singing with a little bit of rap, you know,
that's who he is. It was. He didn't have a bandana,
he wasn't he didn't have the braids, you know.

Speaker 2 (22:45):
But come Back Season was Drake's mixtape and then so
Far Gone and So Far Gone is important to me
because that's how I came to know Drake. And I
remember being disappointed when Drake signed to Young Money because
I knew Drake was not going to make So Far
Gone again. He wasn't gonna make music like so Far
Gone again, cash Money was just not that type of label,

and he did not have that type of sticktuitiveness. And
I've said this for years, fifteen years now, I was
actually disappointed in him, you know, because I got to
hear Drake music and a similar disappointment with Tory Lanez.
I got to spend some time in Canada shout the gadget,

shout to Chris Smith, and got to hear these guys
do incredible music that the world never got to hear
because they just these guys were so talented. And that's
another thing we have to keep reminding people. This is
not whether or not Drake is Dope is an excessive
rooted artist. They're so talented they were able to just
do what everyone else was already doing better than them.

And for someone like Drake even different than you know, Tory,
he grew up with a view of the culture that's
very different from ours, even you know, raised by a
single white Jewish mom in Canada, and then becoming a

successful television actor before becoming an artist and doing a
version of kind of pop hip hop instead of hip hop,
and then transitioning into radio friendly pop ish hip hop music.
When he first got here and Lil Wayne, his mentor,
and you know, somebody he probably considers family, told him, dude,

you could just be Canadian. You don't have to come
here and try to make the kind of music we make.
And Drake gave us bops and hits and smashes. Even
when he put on the costume of Thugger Drake, he
still gave us smash records. But we have to be
reminded that was very very much the costume. And that's

what Kendrick was challenging. That's not really you. You're borrowing
that from not just all these other artists, but from
all these other segments of the culture, and not just
Black Americans, but Africans and black people in the UK,
black people in the Caribbean, and borrowing that for yourself

and using it to your advantage. Another thing that must
be challenged is this idea that Kendrick Lamar was a
nobody before this beef with Drake and Knife Wonder touched
on that. But I'll just use one song. I don't
even have to go through his catalog or actually one project.
Because we talked about good Kid, Mass City, we talked
about Section eighty, we talked about to a Butterfly. We

talked about mister Morale and the Big Steppers, but Damn
had fourteen platinum songs on it Intentional Pregnant Pause. There
fourteen separate platinum songs off of that album, Humble. The

only platinum selling song in twenty seventeen is now I
think twelve thirteen or fourteen times platinum. That's fourteen million, folks,
for those of you to say Kendrick never had a
hit before this.

Speaker 1 (26:20):
Drake thing way best diamond, you know, And.

Speaker 2 (26:23):
I think we can we can do some research and
you know, I'm sure people will correct me if I'm wrong,
but I think not like us. It was his fifth
number one, not his first. Mustard's first number one, not Kendricks.
So just important to point out these things. Pulitzer Prize winner,
multiple time Grammy Award winner, like this goes on, We're

not gonna.

Speaker 1 (26:44):
Be as I think he's. He's second to maybe Kanye
and jay Z.

Speaker 2 (26:50):
Yeah, we're not going to pretend this moment made Kendrick. No, no, no,
he was, you know, and we're not going to pretend
that Drake didn't taught him during this only to by
the end of it be begging him to stop. So
you know, there needs to be some palls for cultural
reverence here, and there's always a place to be critical.

You know that's always going to exist. But read the room.
That moment was bigger than your opinion of how fly
you think Drake is, and that moment speaks for itself.

Speaker 1 (27:22):
Well, you know, Kendrick showed us again exactly what, exactly
what he was critical of Drake, what he was critical
of Drake for Kendrick then embodied it and displayed it.

Speaker 2 (27:42):

Speaker 1 (27:43):
This is if this is what you're doing, you know,
do it for your city, do it for your people.
Do you know whatever, you don't have to take from
anywhere else. You don't have to colonize anything else. You
don't have to co opt anything else. You know, walk
in your own truth. And you know, when you're from

a place like that, authenticity matters. When you're a bona
fide hip hop artist, authenticity matters.

Speaker 2 (28:10):
And Drake is from Toronto. It's one of the most
diverse and incredible cities on earth. Like Toronto is dope.
You don't have to be Houston, Land and Memphis, Vegas.
You can be from Toronto and Toronto is super dope.
I've lived there. Trust me, you know, you could just
embody all that Toronto offers and deliver that to the world.

You don't have to adopt American street culture like you've
ever lived it, because we know better. I'm from Detroit, Michigan.
I don't present myself as someone who lived American street culture,
even though I grew up in it, surrounded by it, engulfed,
embodied like, I still don't present myself to the world

that way because it wouldn't be genuine for me. I
grew up on seven Mile Rold, Detroit, Michigan. Real my
mom still live there today. This is not Yeah, even
I could not present myself to the world that way.
The ogs where I'm from would laugh at me and
called me out for being a perpetrator. So you know,
this is not a I'm not lifting myself up in

that way because I didn't grow up in it that way.

Speaker 1 (29:17):
Around it, yes, but yeah, that's uh. I think that
and many other reasons that you know or beyond the
scope of this conversation or why this this concert, this
moment will live on forever. You know, by far and
away the biggest hip hop battle that has ever been by.

Speaker 2 (29:39):
And that's objective. We know how people feel about NAS
and J, we know how people feel about big and pot.
But the instant availability of this content just changes the Internet.
Making us all collectively tune in at the same time instantly,
by definition, just makes it the biggest ever. There was
no months in between. There was days, sometimes hours, sometimes

minutes in between these back and forth and the whole
world got to sign in and watch the victory parade
at the same time in real time. Social media, the
Internet and technology made this bigger than it's ever been.
That's just subjective fact.

Speaker 1 (30:17):
And I know that we've never seen, indeed an entire
concert before that was based around a battle record a
disc record. Because he performed that song how many times,
six seven times.

Speaker 2 (30:36):
You might imagine that it was never even about the battle,
and he brought the cities, the stage and the platform
to point out some things that he had a problem
with and then galvanized the entire city with that moment.
That's not be said.

Speaker 1 (30:49):
Enough time, And that's exactly what I mean. That's why
it's a cultural moment.

Speaker 2 (30:52):

Speaker 1 (30:53):
As always, you're free to disagree with us. I don't
think you should, but you are free to do so.
You could do that using the red Microphone talk Back
picture and I Heart Radio app, or you can reach
us on social media. I am on all platforms as
ramses Ja.

Speaker 2 (31:06):
I am Qward on all platforms as well.

Speaker 1 (31:09):
And let's keep it going. We'll talk so night. This
has been a production of the Black Information Network. Today's
show is produced by Chris Thompson. Have some thoughts you'd
like to share, use the red microphone talkback feature on
the iHeartRadio app. While you're there, be sure to hit
subscribing down. With all of our episodes, I'm your host
ramses Jah on all social media. Join us tomorrow as

we share our news with our voice from our perspective
right here on the Black Information Network Daily Podcast
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