Monday, November 13, 2017

Is Mumble Rap Killing Hip Hop?

   Some time ago I interviewed Dej Loaf, a platinum-selling Hip Hop artist from Detroit MI, after a concert in Toronto Canada. We discussed her career and what her thoughts were on being compared to the 90’s rapper Boss; another platinum-selling artist from Detroit known for her popular song “Deeper.” Dej Loaf’s response was, “Who is Boss?” I knew at this moment that something a lot deeper than unintelligible lyrics, vocalator effects and Lil Uzi Vert shoulder rolls was happening in Rap's transformation.

   Hip Hop culture consists of five elements: MCing, DJing, B-Boy/B-Girl, Graffiti and Knowledge. From its 1970s inception these elements were considered dissonant, vandalism, criminal and counter culture by the mainstream society. As the DJ and MC took center stage and park jams spread around NYC, record labels began to see the marketability of a new music genre called “Rap.” While some record labels were genuinely interested in giving artists a platform, many simply saw dollar signs. This symbiotic and often parasitic relationship between artist and record label began in 1979 when Curtis Blow recorded the first solo album on the Mercury label.

    In the late 1980s and mid-1990s, Hip Hop’s Golden Era, we witnessed some of the most diverse, creative and socially conscious rap music this genre has ever produced. From the mid-1990s onward we’ve also witnessed its mainstream decline; where rap music lacking diversity, creativity and social commentary reached its zenith. Today many of these rap artists. and their inaudible mutters. have come to be known as Mumble Rap.

Telefone by Nonome

     Coming from an era where lyricism was important to listening to incoherent artists is challenging. Yet I refuse to proclaim that Hip Hop is dead. Not because of a stubborn nostalgia to linger in its past, I simply have confidence in our millennial artists to expanding its cultural legacy. Sure there’s a control mechanism in ‘corporate rap’ that has co-opted many mainstream artists, yet there has always been an underground; a subterranean world of sight and sound that infuses Hip Hop with color, consciousness and the creative content we seek. Artists like Noname, Bishop Nehru, Earl Sweatshirt and others are leading the way. In this millennial age where the internet created a direct-to-consumer business model, artists are more accessible and now have a platform to build their brand and distribute their products/services without a mainstream label. Given these factors, Hip Hop is independently alive more than ever before. 


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Lord of All Worlds: Basir Fhem and his Journey Abroad

In Episode 51 of Atlantis Build Talk Radio I feature an exclusive build with one of my God Brothers [Basir] I taught over 20 years ago; Basir Fhem. Once he gained KOS [Knowledge Of Self] he moved to Jerusalem and lived there for some years. He then moved to Benin and eventually settled in Ghana. In this build we discuss his personal journey, cultural differences and similarities, growth and development opportunities and much more!! You can listen/download the interview below:

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Apatheticons: The Non-Transformers

     As I grow older, and willfully wiser, my tolerance level for outright ignorance and apathy was begun to wane. In the age of so-called "Wokeness", I've never seen so many people asleep. Not sleep in a sense of being unaware; there's a lot of people who can recite Bodak Yellow, breakdown the season finale of Game of Thrones and recognize conscious posts to reshare on social media. I'm talking about sleep in a sense of inactivity. For example, I've had various jobs; I've worked as a cook, a roofer, I worked at the library in college and even worked as Dr. Frankenstein at a Haunted House before. In all of these instances I've worked with people who put more energy, effort and intelligence into avoiding their job than just doing their job! These people either constantly hid from work or they mastered the art of looking busy and not doing a damn thing. The worst part about it is that these people were oftentimes the Supervisors and Managers. It's frustrating and sometimes exhausting because now you gotta add a bunch of other duties to your job description. I'm not talking about duties as in "picking up other peoples slack." I'm just talking about the mental work of coming up with all kinds of stratagems to deal with their bullsh*t each and every day. THAT is a major issue many people have at their job and in their careers. Sometimes it's not the job or career itself, sometimes it's just the people. 

   Within the Nation of the Five Percent there exists some of the same lowly elements. At times I get tired of seeing and hearing the same bullsh*t from folks whose only claim to fame is a fancy sounding name. There's Facebook Groups I've been a part of I once deemed progressive that have deteriorated into group target practice on snapshots. We have nickel and dimers who will sell you anything to get paid, including sympathy for a loved ones death. You got people living in cities relying solely on social media to learn like they're being held hostage in the house and you have people who use children for photo ops to catfish people into believing "they're in the community." That's just some of the mess I've witnessed and none of them are doing anything significant to assist others, especially the most vulnerable members of our families and community. Although these individuals don't reflect the general mindset and body of the Five Percent, like with any group, it's important to address nonsense like this. Why? Because people need to know, including other Five Percenters, that this is not what we teach or what we're striving to achieve as a Nation. In fact, these people are what I call Apatheticons. 

   The Apatheticons are the main antagonists in the universe of the Enlightened and are usually led by one undeviating goal: to not do a damn thing. The "con", in addition to their apathy, is the self-deception and trickery they use to get out of doing anything. An easy way to identify them is the way that they move, no pun intended, on social media. They always have some criticism about what's going on yet never present their criticisms with evidence of a solution or what they're actually doing about it. It reminds me of someone I once had a conversation with who was going on and on about how our youth need a tutoring program and they would do it IF they got a grant. Mind you, we're standing right in front of the public library where citizens can reserve meeting rooms for free, a block away from the Dollar Store and this person has a decent paying job. It didn't even cross their mind that they could've just done it themselves by getting some supplies down the street, reserving a meeting room at the library and talking to parents about offering tutoring services. Hell, maybe they did. When I brought it to their attention they nodded their head in approval. Five years later they still haven't done anything and that "grant" still hasn't materialized. 

   Even though it's frustrating to deal with them, I don't want you to think that all hope is lost. In my book GAMES I outline various ways to deal with people like this, but here are some points related to Apatheticons:

  • My book GAMES is a humorously sharp reference guide to transactional analysis, trick-knowledge and the psychology of people running game. In other words I teach readers how to recognize, analyze, and define various Games being played on them or Games they may be participating in such as Shoulda, Coulda Woulda. I also teach a person how to dismantle Games and replace them with behavior patterns that promote healthy relationships. You can check out Games and my other titles here: Quanaah Publishing.
  • If a person, your own peer or older, is not convinced about the purpose or benefit of doing something, don't lose time searching for activity that clearly doesn't exist. They may become aware in the future, they may not, which is not a practical benefit right now. If a person cannot presently see it then don't expect them to be it. Work with those who already see the purpose and benefit of doing something. 
  • I always start with three solid people when it comes to getting something done: Me, Myself and I. Once you get those three on board then it's easier to get others to add-on.
  • In the age of social media people try to make a living off of selling others the idea of living. There's life coaches who don't have a team, IG models from the neck up and dudes recording videos in cars that aren't going anywhere. Something common among them, and others, is there is no practical evidence of what they're actually doing every day. Whatever their niche seems to be, research others who're in that field/industry to connect with those who are actually doing the work. An excellent example of a person who is actually doing the work is my God Brother Salim Adofo; a Multi Media Journalist, DJ, Freelance Writer, Video Producer, Social Justice Advocate, Photographer, Community Organizer and Educator in the DMV area. There's a consistency with what he shares on social media and what he's doing every day. His real life activism, outreach and visibility is a practical standard to use as an assessment tool for those who claim that they're doing the work. 
  • If people aren't willing and able to put their own money up, they're not about that life right now so don't expect anything from them, right now. I emphasize "right now" because they may be willing to do it in the future. Whether they do or not, it's not our job to stand there to see if that seed grows; we got work to do right now. According to, black buying power in America was projected to reach $1.3 trillion by 2017. So it's oftentimes not about people not having money. Yes this is the case, sometimes. Most of the time it's about our priorities and what we're spending our money on.
True transformation, on a personal level, within our families and inside of our communities require us to be proactive. We must be willing and able to step up and do the work because no one is going to save us. In doing the work we must be mindful of those who simply don't want to do the work and those who work harder to not do the work than just doing the work to begin with. We must learn effective stratagems to deal with them. Our sanity, sanctuary and sustainability of our world depends upon it.


Friday, September 29, 2017

Institution Building and The Atlantis School For Gifted Youngsters

   In Episode 50 of Atlantis Build Talk Radio I feature my Sept 2nd, 2017 interview on Do Tha Knowledge Radio where I discuss the monetization of "Wokeness", my current projects, the Atlantis School For Gifted Youngsters I'm building, my journey as a youth advocate, author, nomination for the 2017 BP Awards in Atlanta Georgia, the October 6th-8th Region 5 Growth & Development Conference I'll be attending in Dallas Texas and other sciences of life!


Monday, September 11, 2017

Virginia Department of Corrections Removes Five Percent Nation STG Label

"Despite discomfort with labeling the NGE a religion, the Nation occupies a place in my heart, mind and life parallel to that filled by the orthodox belief in God/a Supreme Being in more mainstream religions which are widely accepted in the United States." -Kalvin Donnell Coward [Coward v. Robinson, Chief of Corrections Operations] 

   In a recent August 28th, 2017 Virginia Department of Corrections Court Decision, U.S. Eastern District Judge Leonie Brinkema ruled that, "After twenty-one years of tracking Five Percenters, the (Virginia Department of Corrections) has not produced sufficient evidence supporting its position that the gang designation is warranted and furthers a compelling state interest," This decision is two-fold: 1.) It removed the STG [Security Threat Group] label within the VDOC and 2.) It now recognizes the Five Percent Nation [AKA The NGE or Nation of Gods and Earths] as a religion. As a religion and no longer a STG, Five Percenters within the VDOC are now free to exercise their right to practice and have the equal protection under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States that was established in the 18th Century: 1791. As a religion, Five Percenters are now approved to operate in VDOC facilities along side other faiths such as Orthodox Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Asatru (Odinism), Eckankar, Integral Yoga, NOI [Nation of Islam], Santeria, Wicca and others that are less known

  Under the STG label, inmates who identify themselves as Five Percenters have not been allowed to practice the culture of the Five Percent, congregate, possess any of our literature, placed in solitary confinement because of their affiliation and even physically assaulted because of their unwillingness to denounce the culture. This is not something I'm speaking about as hearsay. These are experiences returning citizens have shared with me and what I know to be true from operating my Prison Correspondence Project for over a decade. There have been many occasions my books have been denied in facilities around the country, my letters and and work has been used as positive character evidence to support legal action to remove STG labels and Volunteer Service/Chaplain Departments contact me to request materials for Five Percenters in their facility. 

   Although many are unaware, according to a survey conducted by the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA), correctional departments in thirteen states don't recognize the Five Percent Nation as a religion. These states are Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and West Virginia. In these states Five Percenters are also often labeled a STG, singled out receive the harshest treatment. In contrast, there are fifteen states with correctional departments that do recognize the Five Percent Nation as a religion. Those states are Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island. In those states where the Five Percent Nation is recognized as a religion, members are afforded some privileges such as access our Lessons [120], Supreme Mathematics, the Supreme Alphabet, permission to gather, observe honor days [holidays] and have dietary alternatives.

   While there is a general consensus among the Five Percent that any STG label needs to be removed, one of the larger concerns that Five Percent Nation members outside of correctional departments ["in the free cipher"] have with this decision, and other department of corrections court decisions, is the lack of inclusion and the religious designation. In regards to inclusion, while some would argue that the decision of a few is a victory in the best interest of the many, the many have argued that they were not informed about or included in the decisions of the few until they read this and other court decisions in the news. 

   Since our formal inception we have consistently taught and fought the stereotype that we are not a gang. In fact, following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in April of 1968, the Father [Allah] and many of his young Five Percenters accompanied Mayor John Lindsay walk the streets of Harlem to deter rioting/looting and express condolences to our community. It was the Father himself who once declared that we should "kill all religion." This kill religion declaration did not mean its members. This declaration meant to destroy the hierarchical structure that religions use to arrest the development of its members by keeping them blind, deaf and dumb while its leaders make themselves rich from their labor. All you need to do is take a cursory glance to see followers of any religion living hand to mouth while their leaders live in mansions. Some among the Five Percent even strive to do the same thing. This is one of the main reasons the Father worked diligently to disassociate himself and his Five Percenters from religious bodies or any groups or organizations that functionally undermined the elements of cultural freedom. In taking this non-religious stance, the Father and many other Five Percenters paid and still pay dearly for it. In my article American Horror Story: Asylum Allah & Azreal I elaborate on how his being remanded to the NYS Department of Mental Hygiene and confinement in Bellevue and Matteawan State Hospital for two years at the age of 37, was a direct result of his non-religious stance.

   On one side of the spectrum some members of the Five Percent are insensitive to the needs and plight of our brothers and sisters in the belly of beast. Their conservative perspective is, "They shouldn't be in there in the first place" and somehow deserve to be denied free access to our culture and all of its elements -even though most of these brothers and sisters are incarcerated for non-violent offences and clearly not a part of a gang or a STG. Their illogic seems to be that, "You can be the God, Earth or Civilized Person when you get out." I call it illogical because imagine where we would be as a people if everyone who was incarcerated waited until they got out to add their cultural contribution to the society. Think about that.

   On the other side of the spectrum are those who are anti-religion. They want nothing to do with the word itself, words related to it or actions that look like it. Some of them have been traumatized by their experience with religion. From their perspective, these brothers and sisters in correctional facilities filing lawsuits for the Nation to be designated a religion are selling our Father's birthright for creature comforts and to be accepted in society. You have those who think court decisions like this are a victory for us. Some think it's a lack of foresight and a failure. In all fairness, everyone who is sincere, who has the right attitude and the proper aptitude, should have unrestricted access to learning our culture. Then it only becomes a question of, how can we make that possible while maintaining its integrity? 

   In this August 28th, 2017 VDOC Court Decision, even though its plaintiff Kalvin Donnell Coward and witnesses Starmel Allah [Ricky Panayoty] and Born King Allah [Donald Palmer] articulated that the Five Percent Nation [AKA The NGE or Nation of Gods and Earths] is a culture, not a religion, it was Judge Leonie Brinkema's conclusion that: 

"the Court finds that the VDOC violated the plaintiffs rights under RLUIPA and the First Amendment by designating the NGE an STG thereby enforcing a zero tolerance policy that prohibits plaintiff from possessing his sacred texts and associating with other NGE adherents, and refusing to recognize the NGE as a religion. In accordance with this finding, the Department will be ordered to remove the STG designation from the NGE, recognize it as a religion, and afford it the rights and privileges enumerated in the Department's operating procedure for Offender Religious Programs, including but not limited to permitting NGE adherents to observe their four honor days, possess their foundational texts, and engage in communal worship, subject to the availability of an approved spiritual leader and under the necessary visual monitoring. This holding does not preclude the Department from placing restrictions on NGE adherents as necessary to maintain security and order, provided that the Department does so within the confines of RLUIPA and applicable prison policies. An appropriate order entering judgment consistent with this finding will be issued with this Memorandum Opinion."

   Because this Court Decision is now on record in the VDOC, as are similar decisions in department of corrections in other states, the question we must ask ourselves now is, "What's the next step?" For those who disagree with the VDOC Court Decision, are we willing to support legal action and be upstanding citizens who produce the cultural contributions that help define our identity within the context of culture? As I stated earlier, many of my contributions, what I presently do, and the public positions I hold is empirical evidence that we are not a religion or a gang. Keep in mind that this religious designation was credibly weighted by the plaintiffs religious "expert" and Muslim Prof. Michael Muhammad Knight who posits "the Nation [of the Five Percent] is every bit as much of a religion as Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and other forms of Islam" and representing that "this view of the Nation is shared by most scholars in the academic study of religion." Although Knight, academics who study religion and other outsiders are respectfully entitled to their opinion, that opinion is not the perspective of our Founder or the general consensus of those of us who are of the Five Percent. Whether inside or outside of correctional facility, our culture is not a belief system, we don't engage in communal/corporate worship, we don't have a spiritual leader and we don't teach, as Coward stated in the court record, "a continued existence beyond this dense physical world, a continued existence that most religions refer to as the afterlife." 

   For those who agree with this or any Court decisions that designate us as a religion, are we willing to also support legal action and be upstanding citizens who produce the cultural contributions that help define our identity outside of the boundaries of those religious designations? Now that more of our brothers and sisters have access to our culture within the VDOC, how can we help ensure that they're learning this correctly and not manufacturing some quasi-religious hybrid that has no semblance of what the Father taught?

   In conclusion, I encourage you to not only read this court ruling, and other court rulings for that matter, but to research the court documents themselves in order to get a better understanding of what's going on and what you can do actually about it. Knowledge is the foundation, not assumption. You can research/download this document below


Friday, September 01, 2017

Lily Dale: The City of Light

   According to the history published by The Supernatural Fox Sisters, "In 1844, a Dr. Moran of Vermont was invited to give a series of talks on Mesmerism in Laona, NY. His talks inspired residents Jeremiah Carter and William Johnson to create experiments emulating Dr. Moran’s work. While in a mesmeric state, Jeremiah Carter became entranced and communicated as another entity called Dr. Hedges. After this event, interest grew in connecting with spirits in this manner, and in 1850 a society of Spiritualists and Liberals was organized."

   It goes on the say, "The camp was initially called Cassadaga Lake Free Association, but in 1903 it was renamed The City of Light after becoming the first community in the area to get electric lights. In 1906 the name was changed to the Lily Dale Assembly after the abundant water lilies found in the lake. In 1873, Willard Alden invited the group to picnic at what is now the Leolyn Hotel on the Lily Dale assembly grounds, with the intent of dedicating the grove for the use of Spiritualists. In 1875 the First Spiritualist Society of Laona was formed. The day-long conferences in Alden’s grove eventually developed into a longer summer gathering after Jeremiah Carter was moved by spirit voices telling him to start a camp there. In 1879, after Willard Alden passed into the spirit world, the Spiritualist Society purchased the 20 acres of land along Cassadaga Lake."

   Today people come from across the nation to visit Lily Dale; a gated community that has now expanded to 167 acres which includes a Fire Hall, many homes, a library, museum, cafes, a couple hotels, guesthouses, a beach, a campground and a couple gift shops. I had an opportunity to visit Lily Dale recently and below is an episode of Atlantis Build Talk Radio where I share my experience and a recording of a Chakra reading given to me by a woman who called herself a Chakra Intuitive. 


Saturday, August 12, 2017

How To Invent Mini Sex Offenders

   Technology is moving at such a fast rate that state and federal laws are often years behind addressing some of the new problems that come up based upon new technological advances. One such problem are laws surrounding sex offender status, sext messaging and child pornography.

   According to statistics gathered by Impact Justice a national innovation and research center, in 75% of the states, there are laws that still exist that “require children as young as 8 years old to be placed on sex offender registries, often for life, when adjudicated of what the courts deem sexual crimes.” This pre-adolescent to sex registry pipeline began in the mid 90’s, corresponding to budding growth and development of the World Wide Wide, smart phone technology, text messaging and social media. Keep in mind that many of these children are not registrants because of a sexual crime they actually committed, many of them are registered sex offenders based upon doing something as silly as pulling student’s pants down at school, public urination, sending a nude photo or sext messaging someone who happened to be underage. Even more problematic is the fact that many of these children are disproportionately people of color from impoverished urban environments without the finances to fight legal cases like this.

   Consider the case of Bobby Garza who was registered as a sex offender when he was 11 years old for indecent exposure to a child. His crime? He and his brother were urinating outside, a girl saw them and reported that they exposed themselves to her. Bobby was placed in foster care and escaped until he was placed in a youth detention facility for the next 6 years. Upon his release when he was 17 he had to register as a sex offender until he was 27 years old. Feeling that this was unfair he refused to register and was sentenced to prison for 5 years. Another example is Cormega Copening who was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor and making child porn in 2014 for sharing nude photos with his girlfriend Brianna Benson when they were both 16 years old. They were arrested in 2015. A standout quarterback for his high school football team, Copening was benched by his team pending further investigation missing a critical time of his athletic career, facing nationwide public humiliation and the frightening possibility of becoming a registered sex offender. While awaiting trial, Copening was put on probation for a year when five felony charges of making and possessing child pornography were reduced to two misdemeanors in a plea bargain. It wasn’t until he competed his probation did County District Court Judge dismiss the two remaining charges, yet the damage was already done. According to North Carolina law, Copening and Benson were considered adults and children at the same time; when people 16 and older commit crimes they are prosecuted as adults, but if they are under age 18, and crime victims, they are considered minors. When Benson made and possessed nude photos of herself, North Carolina law treated her as if she were an adult pornographer who was victimizing her minor self. Thus charging her with two counts of felony sexual exploitation of a minor. Copening faced 4 charges for making and possessing nude photos of himself and 1 charge for possessing a nude photo that Benson sent to him. It’s outdated laws such as this in many states, which consider a teen both a victim and perpetrator, that are one of problematic reasons we see miscarriages of justice like this. These are just two cases involving young people of color who have found themselves punished for unreasonably defined so-called crimes. Another issue is the fact that while the identity of juveniles involved in a crime are kept private, a juvenile convicted as a sex offender is publicly registered.

   One of the other growing concerns are recent cases involving hundreds of students posting and sharing nude photos in Facebook groups, on other social media networks such as Twitter and Snapchat and on the file sharing site Dropbox. One such case is a child porn scandal involving an unnamed 17 year old student at Davidson Senior High School in Davidson, Michigan. Police learned that this student gathered over 100 nude photos of students posted to Snapchat, saved them to Dropbox and shared them around the school. Pending a full investigation, this student could be charged as an adult and according to Michigan law, nude photos of a person under the age of 18 is considered child sexual abusive material. The Prosecutor in this case can not only charge this student with the dissemination of child pornography but any student that posted these images to Snapchat in the first place. This is not even considering those youth who do not attend Davidson High School that may have downloaded those images from Dropbox and disseminated them.

   From the above examples I am sure you can see the magnitude of this issue surrounding sex offender registry status, sext messaging and child pornography and how there is usually no legal precedence of how cases like this should be handled. Historically speaking, as with most legal precedence's in this country, people of color from impoverished urban environments without the finances to fight these legal cases become the face of these often unfair judgments. Every quarter of the year technology advances to create and update tools we use that many state and federal laws are far behind. Advocacy groups such as Impact Justice and the Center on Youth Registration Reform are leading the charge to not only end youth sex offender registration but educate the public about its link to suicide, juvenile delinquency, homelessness, mental health issues, alcoholism and drug abuse. I encourage you to talk to the youth and look into workshops and information about internet and social media safety. Check out Impact Justice and the Center on Youth Registration Reform online to find our more about the legal cases and statistics involving youth sex registry. If we’re not on top of this and playing an active role to insure that we inform and protect our children, this system of creating mini sex offenders could be the next preschool to prison pipeline.