As if I wasn’t already full of festive cheer, it’s heartening to see B.Dolan scoring something of an internet smash with his inspired reworking of the NWA’s classic “F”@K The Police”. Clocking up 80k views on Youtube in a week, loved by Michael Moore and seemingly catching the wave of the Occupy movement, Buddy Peace rebuilds NWA from the ground up while Dolan addresses police brutality and how to combat it with those ever present camera phones.

Download it for free from Soundcloud (below) and keep the buzz going by passing it on.
Film The Police by Strange Famous Records

While my own position is probably closer to Adam Buxton’s middle class parody (see right) than to any agit-cool “all police are evil mechanisms of the State” posturing, it’s undoubtedly true that police brutality has always been a problem. Back in the 80’s an uncle of the family had a framed picture of his police boot on the head of a Vietnam protestor proudly displayed on his frontroom wall.
Since CCTV, affordable cameras, and more importantly camera phones have appeared there’ve been a plethora of cases from Rodney King to Ian Tomlinson. As Dolan puts it in the song (lyrics): “Film the Police. Run a tape for the underclass!
Get the face, name and number on the badge. They flash, we flash back when they act disorderly
“.

SPEECH DEBELLE

During the London Riots the Met police were criticised for what they didn’t do, rather than any suggestion of brutality. Mercury prize winner Speech Debelle had already finished “Blaze Up A Fire“, a song dealing with stop and search, and the frustrations of London’s youth. The lyrics and feeling behind the track were so pertinent that in the aftermath of the riots she decided to give it away as a free download. As someone who managed to get punched in the head for having the audacity to be outside on the night and not be ransacking local businesses, you won’t find me defending the actions of rioters but as ever you have to look at the underlying issues. The Tricycle theatre in Kilburn interviewed politicians, rioters, youth workers and Duggan’s family for their “The Riots” play. You’d expect nothing less than brilliance from The Tricycle, communicating the disenfranchisement of parts of the community through their own words and of course the troubled history of policing in the area. Theres a dark humour to much of the play, from the youth worker who recalls how he got stopped much less by the police when he started wearing tweed blazers, to the outrage of a local lady when a bunch of middle class people turn up with brooms to clear up her area…”the council already cleared up what mess their was the other day…“. It’s a real eyeopener, not so much for the predictable responses of the privileged political elite such as Michael Gove’s surprise that the Scouts might not be a decent replacement for the youth clubs he’s closing down. I particularly like d the women who recounted word going out not to touch the Hackney Empire as it had made such an effort to engage and put things back into the area.

Speech Debelle (read full statement):
I feel it could give insight into the hearts and minds of some of the people that have taken part in, not only the peaceful marches for Mark Duggan in Tottenham and the Smiley Culture march for justice, but also I believe it speaks of the frustration of many young people who took part in the rioting and the consequent looting over London and areas of the UK. I am not attempting to condone, I’m attempting to be a voice of understanding.

It’s without doubt that what these young people have been doing is destructive and shameful….

These young people are not aliens dropped down from outer space on Friday night, they are our children….
Only people who cannot envision a positive future will take part in the destruction of their own community and if we acknowledge that, then we to ask the question why somebody so young feels they have so little to look forward to? I cannot allow myself to dehumanise these kids and see them as my enemy
“.

ROOTS MANUVA

Del’s “Capsize” was released just 5 days before Tottenham burned but as with “Blaze Up” it focused on many of the issues that had been brewing for years. The original version brings to mind The Special’s “Ghost town” but in place of metaphor Del gives the coalition both barrels declaring “ain’t nothing changed since Britain turned blue” and “looks like we’re all fucked, no lube… Cameron better stay clear of my arse

There’s a fascinating behind the scenes video at the recording studio as the song takes shape and guest star Root Manuva works on his scene stealing guest spot. Sometimes the best political songs come wrapped in sugar coating rather than being over earnest. The Entrepreneurs remix moves the feet as well as the mind with its pop sheen somehow emboldening the forthright words rather than distracting from them..

They don’t check those facts, so they blame and they make
Scapegoats of the blacks.
Or anybody else who’s fresh off the boat
Or anybody else who don’t wish to vote,
For the moderate blues with designer views…

Dels feat. Joe Goddard & Roots Manuva – Capsize (Entrepreneurs Remix) by Entrepreneurs

One of the highlights of Manuva’s latest album “Wha Mek” couldnt be less political but instead deals with the resignation of a failed relationship…I’m trying my hardest to be the best I can be…
“the more I try to please you, you seem to find the need to huff and puff those hissy fits,
everything I do, you always seem to undo”.

Roots Manuva – Wha’ Mek by Rebel Junglist

BLACK RADICAL MKII

For those looking for a British equivalent of the eloquent rage of Public Enemy’s Chuck D, at least in the late 80’s could look to Felix Joseph aka Black Radical MkII. 1989’s “Monsoon” remains one of the true classics of, not just UK Hip-Hop but music fullstop. The lyrics are searingly direct and controversial but Felix himself was charm personified when enthusiastically greeted by a previous incarnation of myself as a geeky student on the way to a protest march in memory of Stephen Lawrence back in 1993. The youth BNP were nazi saluting that day from the safety of police protection, while those on the march ended up being charged at by police on horseback and in my case pinned to the wall by baton wielding riot cops.

A fact theres no black in the union jack..
Not the NF, no British movement, stops our progressive advance and improvement
The whole fucking society attack us and yo when no one will back us and we lose our status

Produced by Coldcut, it was apparently originally intended for inclusion on their debut album “What’s That Noise” but Big Life records were appalled at the idea. In the words of Black Radical “Yazz walked into the studio and Coldcut introduced us and asked her to listen to the track. She stood motionless, looked at us like we were f***ing mad or something, she looked at Matt Black (Coldcut) as if he was f***ing mad and said, ‘Oh yeah, that’s nice“.

Makes me mad when I go to the Wag and see 20 white bitches dance round their handbag
Imitate sisters who be darker than blue, smile in your face they think they’re better than you
See the bouncer cursed by promoter, let in 51 niggers went way over the quota.
Boycott theses clubs, build our own

Black Radical MK II – Crossroads (Genghis Edit) by GenghisThan