Banner, Master P & Mike Dyson Drop Bombs at Rap Hearings

posted September 26, 2007 12:00:00 AM CDT | 39 comments

By: Davey D

(From - shout out to Davey for furnishing the audio and this recap)

As you know Congress held hearings on Hip Hop yesterday up on Capitol Hill. Chicago Congressman Bobby Rush wanted to see why there is so much music being pushed by corporations that highlight racial stereotypes and disrespect toward women. Overall the hearings were explosive from the start. One of the Congressmen from New York Anthony D Weiner, posed the question as to why artists today don't step it up and do like artists did in the past and pen songs that talk about social issues in the community. He cited Shinehead who at the height of the crack epidemic in the late 80s saw fit to write a song that spoke out against crack. He wanted to know why we don't see more artists who have different types of conversations like the way Tribe Called Quest or Brand Nubian did in year's past.

Weiner also noted that Congress won't be able to solve this issue of questionable content, because it's a business decision. He talked about the move Chamillionaire made to not curse on his new album. He suggested that Chamillionaire was making a shrewd business decision to fill a void and capture an audience that doesn't want to hear cursing. He hoped that other artists would see the wisdom in this and follow his lead.

The hearings consisted of three panels. I could only peep the first two due to long delays that took the Congressmen to the house floor. I will get the audio for the women's panel which I heard was compelling.

The first panel featured folks from the music industry. Here we heard some extremely weak remarks from record label and commercial radio executives that included Doug Morris of Universal Records, Ed Broffman of Warner Brothers Records, Philippe Dauman of Viacom and Alfred Liggins of Radio One...

All these clowns sat there and acted like they were giving one big commercial. The cat from Viacom was especially sorry because he started pointing out that BET was now positive because they now feature early morning gospel shows. He bragged about the TV show they have where they're looking for the next big gospel singer. I felt like jumping through the TV and asking, "Where the hell is Teen Summit? Why did you bozos take off that Emmy Award winning show?

I felt like jumping through the TV and shaking dude up and asking "Where the hell is Tavis Smiley? What happened to Ed Gordon? How come we don't have BET Nightly News anymore?"

The folks who really need to be reached and ideally inspired aren't rushing to wake up super early on a Sunday morning to watch a gospel show. If gospel is really hittin' that hard, then why isn't it running right after Rap City or right before 106 & Park? We would've heard a lot of buzz around this new gospel show like we did when BET put on Hot Ghetto Mess.

What's interesting to note is that BET CEO Debra Lee was in the audience but she didn't get up to speak. I guess she didn't wanna have Congress grilling her about all the good church people led by Reverend Coates who apparently didn't get the memo and showed up 500 deep at her home last weekend to protest their dis-satisfaction with BET programming. I guess all those good church folks who were protesting hadn't seen BET's new gospel show.

Note to Debra Lee - It's not that hard. There's not much to do. Just put on some smart relevant shows that will reach our youth-iHint-Bring Back Teen Summit.

With respect to the label heads Morris and Broffman, they backed away from taking any sort of responsibility for what they put out as they attempted to paint a rosy picture of their record labels. Like the Viacom cat they cited all sorts of projects their working on including jazz and country albums. It was comical watching them scurry around all the questions and downplay the important role rap music plays in making them rich. In fact at one point Morris who heads up Universal which includes Interscope and Def Jam made the outlandish statement that rap is only a 'small part' of what they sell.

At another point Morris claimed that he doesn't censor his artists and they can put out what they want. That statement was later contradicted by David Banner who is on Universal. Too bad no one in Congress knew enough to ask Morris why Young Buck wasn't allowed to put out his anti-police song.

What Broffman and Morris wound up doing was trying to flip the script and lobby for more protection from piracy on the Internet. They started crying about how all their music is being stolen. I guess they were hoping that somehow we would blame the Internet for any questionable material they release. Luckily the Congressman Weiner from New York stepped in and shut that argument down.

He seemed annoyed that Morris wasn't following all the hearings Congress has had on Internet piracy. He pointed them out and looked at the label executives as if he wanted to say "Damn we held these hearings to help y'all dumb asses out-why don't you know about them?'" He even told Morris if you wanna have a discussion about the Internet and whether or not music is really being stolen he can come back next week for a whole other hearing.

I guess when you're the CEO of a big record label it's hard to keep up on the political happenings that your record label spends lots of money lobbying Congress to do.

For those who don't know, the major labels spends thousands of dollars each year lobbying Congress to pass laws that will limit what we can and can't do on the Internet under the guise of protecting their precious copyrights. This would include the recently passed increased royalty rates for Internet Radio. This would include the attempts to get former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to put forth a far reaching, punitive Intellectual Property - copyright Bill.

Hell a few years ago, the record labels lobbied Congress to pass a law so they could keep those copyrights and not have them revert back to the original owners because they feared the Internet. Morris who heads up the largest and richest record label seemed to somehow not know this when he asked Congress to help them out. Even though he's a white dude I yelled at my TV "Negroe Please...stop wasting our time."

The testimony from Alfred Liggins of Radio One was even more sickening. I'll give him credit cause he showed up. I know Clear Channel and Emmis were invited, but them cats never stepped foot in the door. I told Rush's office when they hit us up about the hearings, if Clear Channel shows up, me and couple of other folks will most definitely show up to testify and do like Too Short 'Blow the Whistle' on their shady shannigans.

Anyway with respect to Liggins, he went on an on about how Radio One does Gospel Shows and that was their tangible proof that his radio chain has a commitment to uplifting the community. (Please note how everyone likes to falls back on those Sunday morning 4am Gospel shows to prove how 'good' they are). Like I said before, if Gospel is that good, play Yolanda Adams right after Lil Scrappy at 5 in the afternoon. If Gospel is what everyone is rushing towards, have that bumping on Saturday night alongside Fiddy Cent during the mixshows. Hell play some Christian Hip Hop. There are hundreds of groups out there who have bumping songs that praise the Lord.

Memo to Alfred Liggins: Since Gospel music is proof positive that Radio One is stepping out to uplift the community, please play groups like KJ-52 or Gospel Gangstaz out of Compton. Play The Cross Movement out of Philadelphia, Marky J out of Houston or the Grits out of Tennessee.

What was also laughable was Liggins not talking about how records get on the air and that people have to pay some sort of fee like thousand bucks just to get your record listened to..oops I guess I'm not supposed to put out those lil backroom secrets... Yes indeed the payola question never came up which is too bad cause they would've had a field day. But like I said at least dude showed up.

Check the audio below hearMusic Industry Testimony from Doug Morris, Alfred Liggins and Ed Broffman during yesterday's Congressional Hearings.

Yesterday's second panel which included rappers David Banner, Master P and author Michael Eric Dyson was intense. Banner came out swinging as he dropped a brilliant opening statement. He covered all the major points, but then he lost folks when he refused to take any sort of responsibility for some of his work.

He referenced the things he does in the community, but some of the Congress people who grilled him jammed him up by pointing out that folks don't see videos of him helping out Katrina victims and talking to the youth. They hear his music and know his videos and they wanted to know if he felt conflicted that some of what he puts out may be negatively impacting young women. Banner held his ground and refused to buckle.

It was Master P who actually came off looking and sounding good. He took full responsibility for what he did in the past. He apologized for what damage and hurt he may have caused and offered solutions to the problems.

Dyson held his own and help put things into context.. However, I wasn't feeling him justifying the use of the N word. I thought we moved past that page.

Below is the opening statements from David Banner, Master P and Michael Eric Dyson. They make some compelling arguments.. As I noted, Banner hits a homerun with his opening remarks..In part 2 you will hear the grilling they get from Congress..

Check the audio below to hear testimony from David Banner, Master P and Michael Eric Dyson

Below is part 2 of yesterday's explosive testimony on Hip Hop from David Banner and Master P. Here Banner gets seriously grilled but he manages to hold his ground a bit, but could've done better had he not been so damn evasive on some of the questions. Master P came off looking like a hero and an eloquent elder statesmen within Hip Hop.

If you'd like to watch the entire hearing, be sure to check out HipHopDX's video section!

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