"I don't battle anymore! I uplift motherfuckers!" - GZA
Monday, November 27, 2006,8:50 AM
Rappin Duke Shawn Brown
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Friday, November 24, 2006,1:42 AM
U.S. Web Archive Is Said to Reveal a Nuclear Primer

Correction Appended

Last March, the federal government set up a Web site to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war. The Bush administration did so under pressure from Congressional Republicans who had said they hoped to “leverage the Internet” to find new evidence of the prewar dangers posed by Saddam Hussein.

But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.

Last night, the government shut down the Web site after The New York Times asked about complaints from weapons experts and arms-control officials. A spokesman for the director of national intelligence said access to the site had been suspended “pending a review to ensure its content is appropriate for public viewing.”

Officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency, fearing that the information could help states like Iran develop nuclear arms, had privately protested last week to the American ambassador to the agency, according to European diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity. One diplomat said the agency’s technical experts “were shocked” at the public disclosures.

Early this morning, a spokesman for Gregory L. Schulte, the American ambassador, denied that anyone from the agency had approached Mr. Schulte about the Web site.

The documents, roughly a dozen in number, contain charts, diagrams, equations and lengthy narratives about bomb building that nuclear experts who have viewed them say go beyond what is available elsewhere on the Internet and in other public forums. For instance, the papers give detailed information on how to build nuclear firing circuits and triggering explosives, as well as the radioactive cores of atom bombs.

“For the U.S. to toss a match into this flammable area is very irresponsible,” said A. Bryan Siebert, a former director of classification at the federal Department of Energy, which runs the nation’s nuclear arms program. “There’s a lot of things about nuclear weapons that are secret and should remain so.”

The government had received earlier warnings about the contents of the Web site. Last spring, after the site began posting old Iraqi documents about chemical weapons, United Nations arms-control officials in New York won the withdrawal of a report that gave information on how to make tabun and sarin, nerve agents that kill by causing respiratory failure.

The campaign for the online archive was mounted by conservative publications and politicians, who said that the nation’s spy agencies had failed adequately to analyze the 48,000 boxes of documents seized since the March 2003 invasion. With the public increasingly skeptical about the rationale and conduct of the war, the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees argued that wide analysis and translation of the documents — most of them in Arabic — would reinvigorate the search for clues that Mr. Hussein had resumed his unconventional arms programs in the years before the invasion. American search teams never found such evidence.

The director of national intelligence, John D. Negroponte, had resisted setting up the Web site, which some intelligence officials felt implicitly raised questions about the competence and judgment of government analysts. But President Bush approved the site’s creation after Congressional Republicans proposed legislation to force the documents’ release.

In his statement last night, Mr. Negroponte’s spokesman, Chad Kolton, said, “While strict criteria had already been established to govern posted documents, the material currently on the Web site, as well as the procedures used to post new documents, will be carefully reviewed before the site becomes available again.”

A spokesman for the National Security Council, Gordon D. Johndroe, said, “We’re confident the D.N.I. is taking the appropriate steps to maintain the balance between public information and national security.”

The Web site, “Operation Iraqi Freedom Document Portal,” was a constantly expanding portrait of prewar Iraq. Its many thousands of documents included everything from a collection of religious and nationalistic poetry to instructions for the repair of parachutes to handwritten notes from Mr. Hussein’s intelligence service. It became a popular quarry for a legion of bloggers, translators and amateur historians.

Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq had abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.

European diplomats said this week that some of those nuclear documents on the Web site were identical to the ones presented to the United Nations Security Council in late 2002, as America got ready to invade Iraq. But unlike those on the Web site, the papers given to the Security Council had been extensively edited, to remove sensitive information on unconventional arms.

The deletions, the diplomats said, had been done in consultation with the United States and other nuclear-weapons nations. Mohamed ElBaradei, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which ran the nuclear part of the inspections, told the Security Council in late 2002 that the deletions were “consistent with the principle that proliferation-sensitive information should not be released.”

In Europe, a senior diplomat said atomic experts there had studied the nuclear documents on the Web site and judged their public release as potentially dangerous. “It’s a cookbook,” said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of his agency’s rules. “If you had this, it would short-circuit a lot of things.”

The New York Times had examined dozens of the documents and asked a half dozen nuclear experts to evaluate some of them.

Peter D. Zimmerman, a physicist and former United States government arms scientist now at the war studies department of King’s College, London, called the posted material “very sensitive, much of it undoubtedly secret restricted data.”

Ray E. Kidder, a senior nuclear physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, an arms design center, said “some things in these documents would be helpful” to nations aspiring to develop nuclear weapons and should have remained secret.

A senior American intelligence official who deals routinely with atomic issues said the documents showed “where the Iraqis failed and how to get around the failures.” The documents, he added, could perhaps help Iran or other nations making a serious effort to develop nuclear arms, but probably not terrorists or poorly equipped states. The official, who requested anonymity because of his agency’s rules against public comment, called the papers “a road map that helps you get from point A to point B, but only if you already have a car.”

Thomas S. Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, a private group at George Washington University that tracks federal secrecy decisions, said the impetus for the Web site’s creation came from an array of sources — private conservative groups, Congressional Republicans and some figures in the Bush administration — who clung to the belief that close examination of the captured documents would show that Mr. Hussein’s government had clandestinely reconstituted an unconventional arms programs.

“There were hundreds of people who said, ‘There’s got to be gold in them thar hills,’ ” Mr. Blanton said.

The campaign for the Web site was led by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Peter Hoekstra of Michigan. Last November, he and his Senate counterpart, Pat Roberts of Kansas, wrote to Mr. Negroponte, asking him to post the Iraqi material. The sheer volume of the documents, they argued, had overwhelmed the intelligence community.

Some intelligence officials feared that individual documents, translated and interpreted by amateurs, would be used out of context to second-guess the intelligence agencies’ view that Mr. Hussein did not have unconventional weapons or substantive ties to Al Qaeda. Reviewing the documents for release would add an unnecessary burden on busy intelligence analysts, they argued.

On March 16, after the documents’ release was approved, Mr. Negroponte’s office issued a terse public announcement including a disclaimer that remained on the Web site: “The U.S. government has made no determination regarding the authenticity of the documents, validity or factual accuracy of the information contained therein, or the quality of any translations, when available.”

On April 18, about a month after the first documents were made public, Mr. Hoekstra issued a news release acknowledging “minimal risks,” but saying the site “will enable us to better understand information such as Saddam’s links to terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and violence against the Iraqi people.” He added: “It will allow us to leverage the Internet to enable a mass examination as opposed to limiting it to a few exclusive elites.”

Yesterday, before the site was shut down, Jamal Ware, a spokesman for Mr. Hoekstra, said the government had “developed a sound process to review the documents to ensure sensitive or dangerous information is not posted.” Later, he said the complaints about the site “didn’t sound like a big deal,” adding, “We were a little surprised when they pulled the plug.”

The precise review process that led to the posting of the nuclear and chemical-weapons documents is unclear. But in testimony before Congress last spring, a senior official from Mr. Negroponte’s office, Daniel Butler, described a “triage” system used to sort out material that should remain classified. Even so, he said, the policy was to “be biased towards release if at all possible.” Government officials say all the documents in Arabic have received at least a quick review by Arabic linguists.

Some of the first posted documents dealt with Iraq’s program to make germ weapons, followed by a wave of papers on chemical arms.

At the United Nations in New York, the chemical papers raised alarms at the Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, which had been in charge of searching Iraq for all unconventional arms, save the nuclear ones.

In April, diplomats said, the commission’s acting chief weapons inspector, Demetrius Perricos, lodged an objection with the United States mission to the United Nations over the document that dealt with the nerve agents tabun and sarin.

Soon, the document vanished from the Web site. On June 8, diplomats said, Mr. Perricos told the Security Council of how risky arms information had shown up on a public Web site and how his agency appreciated the American cooperation in resolving the matter.

In September, the Web site began posting the nuclear documents, and some soon raised concerns. On Sept. 12, it posted a document it called “Progress of Iraqi nuclear program circa 1995.” That description is potentially misleading since the research occurred years earlier.

The Iraqi document is marked “Draft FFCD Version 3 (20.12.95),” meaning it was preparatory for the “Full, Final, Complete Disclosure” that Iraq made to United Nations inspectors in March 1996. The document carries three diagrams showing cross sections of bomb cores, and their diameters.

On Sept. 20, the site posted a much larger document, “Summary of technical achievements of Iraq’s former nuclear program.” It runs to 51 pages, 18 focusing on the development of Iraq’s bomb design. Topics included physical theory, the atomic core and high-explosive experiments. By early October, diplomats and officials said, United Nations arms inspectors in New York and their counterparts in Vienna were alarmed and discussing what to do.

Last week in Vienna, Olli J. Heinonen, head of safeguards at the international atomic agency, expressed concern about the documents to Mr. Schulte, diplomats said.

Scott Shane contributed reporting.

Correction: Nov. 7, 2006

A front-page article on Friday about concerns that certain Iraqi documents published in recent weeks by the federal government on a Web site set up in March might reveal nuclear secrets misstated the reason that Senator Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, gave for the campaign for the Web site. Mr. Roberts, Republican of Kansas, argued that the captured documents posted on the site would provide valuable information about Iraq under Saddam Hussein. He did not say that he believed they would support the idea that Mr. Hussein had resumed his unconventional arms programs before the 2003 invasion.
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Tuesday, November 21, 2006,9:54 PM
DJ Premier Interview
By Chris Martin

Chris Martin is more down-to-earth than he should be. In the basement of Detroit’s historic St. Andrew’s Hall, the hip-hop legend known as DJ Premier is running the sound check before a Scion-sponsored show in which he’s the headlining act. Dressed in a simple, navy Sedgwick & Cedar tee and black Adidas wind pants, industry adornments like a Blackberry, necklace or timepiece are noticeably absent as he casually chops it up with other local DJs slated to spin before him that night. Everyone’s laughing and joking, but chills seem to simultaneously ascend the spines of all the DJs as the trademark scratches found on classic tracks from Nas, Jay-Z, and Biggie blare from the speakers—performed live and in-person by the pioneer himself.

Lately, the 40-year-old has been lacing tracks for deserving veterans like Nas and AZ, handling executive producing duties for the upcoming albums by Teflon and the recently-jailed Royce Da 5′9” (“When he gets out, we’ll pick up where we left off,” Primo’s manager attests), blessing less-established newcomers like Termanology and Jae Hood, and jumping off his new label, Year Round Records, with a compilation dropping in early 2007. But most notably, Primo has taken what many consider a left turn by working extensively with pop starlet Christina Aguilera on her recent double-disc, Back To Basics. In an interview with XXLMAG.com, Primo talks about working with Aguilera, the importance of his hip-hop predecessors and the real status of Gang Starr.

How do you like heading a label?

It is a lot different because I’m used to being signed to a label: I was signed to Virgin Records for a long time, Chrysalis Records, which is all part of the EMI system. All the stuff I hated about my label, I gotta make sure I don’t do running one. I started off a little rocky, but now I’m totally in gear, totally focused, getting all of our maps laid out…our plan’s in effect, and it’s gonna work.

Your style, with an emphasis on scratching and loops, really stands out, especially against today’s hip-hop. How did this sound originally evolve?

That’s from all the people that I looked up to that did it before me and inspired me. Marley Marl is my number one inspiration. Jam Master Jay, Mixmaster Ice and UTFO. Grandmaster B and Whodini. DJ Cheese, Grandmaster Flash, Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa. Jazzy Jay, even Cut Creator. Seeing them do what they do. It’s black music, it’s black culture, it comes from the ghetto. How can you not relate to ghetto people when that’s the rawest form of blackness? Even though it’s not a good place in regards to the economy and how bad people have it in the neighborhood, the realism’s there, and that’s what we were born out of. So I pay respect by doing the same type of music in return.

It’s interesting that you can be so humble, given that a lot of people would probably cite you as their major influence.

I like that they like what I do. That means they’re taking a piece of what influenced me, and it keeps it going. The one thing I gotta keep doing is keep music. That’s why I started the label. I’ve been with the same people I’ve been with since day one, when we were talking about getting a record deal. Still putting it down because I love and respect hip-hop.

What’s your daily grind like nowadays?

Very hectic. we had a day off in Detroit, and Royce was like, “Oh we’re gonna go out,” do this and that. I was like, “Nah, I’m staying in the room.” When we tour, if we’re ever on the road, we never stay in our hotel. We’re in every club, we in dudes’ houses, out at dinner. For real. A lot of artists—Guru said this a long time ago—a lot of rappers go on tour and stay in their hotels. We never stay in our hotel. We’re going shopping, looking around, even when we don’t have any bread on us, just to see how much of an impact I have on the people prior to the show. Just walking around, people recognizing us, all that just makes me wanna keep doing it.

We’ve gone through that for many years and it’s like, Yo, I’m 40 years old and I still love doing this shit. I haven’t lost any love for hip-hop. I still get excited when a good record comes on, and even the new trends—I like Lil Jon, Slim Thug and Chamillionaire and all them dudes. But I won’t do that style, because the style is just an add on to what the earlier cats were doing. I’m more into traditional hip-hop, the purest form. A lot of that ain’t on the radio anymore, a lot of that people don’t bump in they cars. But since I’m influenced by the game, I’m going to make sure that that side of it still lives through me. That way you have all styles of hip-hop. The South and the Midwest and everybody else, I welcome it, but still somebody’s gotta keep the traditional side out there.

That balance is interesting to hear from you, since a lot of your fans would adamantly declare that Lil Jon isn’t “real hip-hop.”

You talk to Lil Jon, he knows the words to a Slick Rick album, he knows the words to a Stetsasonic album, everything. Just like the cats that did “Laffy Taffy.” The dude is like, KRS-One is my number one MC. They made “Laffy Taffy” and are like, “This is how we do it here, but we listen to that KRS-One in my off time because we love Criminal Minded and all that stuff.” So the fact that he said that, you got to respect that because he probably knows more than the people who buy his records. Most of the people who buy “Laffy Taffy” don’t know about KRS or Kane or Rakim or anyone earlier. You know, Nas, 2pac or Biggie is probably as far back as they go.

How did the Christina Aguilera project happen?

We got a call from her office saying that she wanted to rock with us. She flew us out to LA to kick it, and when I chopped it up with her, she was like, “Yo, I love ‘Kick in the Door’ by Biggie, I love Group Home.” I was like, “Word? So, we’re gonna be aight. Let’s do it.” And her husband is a big, big hip-hop fan. He’s a DJ. So I’m sure he had a lot of influence on her, but she was totally with all of my ideas and she knew what she wanted. Every track that we laid down, she was like, “Keep recordin’.” I was supposed to just do one song, it turned into five. And I did the intro to the album. I was honored that she was like, “You’re gonna start the album with a dope intro.” There’s crazy scratching and everything, but not where it’s a hip-hop intro, it’s a Christina Aguilera intro. I kept it like what I do. It’s cool how it starts off because it goes into three different parts before she actually comes on to sing, and then it cuts off after one verse—boom—into another song. It’s dope.

How do you feel when people say working with a pop star is equal to “selling out”?

Selling out is seeing me dancing around the video acting silly, when that’s not me. I’m always going to keep my element in there where I could be proud to say, “Yo, what I deal with is dope.” I worry about that too, like, Damn, I don’t know what people are going to think with me working with Christina Aguilera, like, “Is he starting to sell out?” No, as long as I don’t water down what I did production-wise.

When you hear it, you gonna be like, Okay, he kept the breaks in there, he kept it within the hip-hop box. But still, it was smoothed-out to where she could do what she does. The bottom line is this: I make records that I would buy. The record I did with her, if I heard it right now, and I wasn’t me, I would be like, “Yo I’m gonna get that.” A lot of the people that say they love hip-hop, they listen to hip-hop, but they don’t love it and live it. I live it, so I’m never going to be wrong when it comes to hip-hop, unless my love for it starts to decline. My love for hip-hop will never decline because I was there from the very beginning of it. I was around before it even started. So I’ll never sell out, because I know how hip-hop is supposed to sound. The sound that sounds good to me is raw, pure and uncut. That’s what I’m making and that’s what I continue to make. The stuff I did with her is that same style.

Do you think that veterans like yourself get the respect that they deserve?

They get the respect they deserve from people like myself. This isn’t just how I live—I’m still a consumer. Most company people aren’t consumers anymore. They’re just like, “How did we do this week? How much did we sell?” My heart’s still in the music, so as a label, an artist, a DJ, a producer and a consumer that buys records, I’m totally confident with anything that’s coming through my pipeline now, because I’m deeply embedded in seeing how the culture lives. I’m the type of person who misses all the artists who used to knock. I gotta make some shit so that I know I’m not the only person that misses it. Maybe artists come out of the woodwork, wanna get back in the studio and do some shit.

I don’t want to disappear. Some of the audience don’t want to buy the younger cats, because they can’t relate to it. Even if it’s about the streets, you can’t relate to it in certain ways if they doing in a way you can’t relate to it. I make stuff people can relate to, young and old. But I do it in a way where the older generation can say, “He ain’t forget about how we do it.” The new kids obviously don’t care about the style that we do. That’s why I work with some of the younger dudes, so they’re gonna get the pure way. It’s like getting some moonshine versus getting some alcohol that’s only 20 percent. I’m straight moonshine.

A while ago, you had said Gang Starr was on hiatus because of a situation with Virgin. But in an allhiphop.com interview, Guru said you guys weren’t working together at all anymore. Have you spoken to him about that?

Nah, but this is what I always say: Gang Starr is forever, number one. Neither of us can ever leave Gang Starr. He can’t leave and I can’t leave. And when the time is definitely right, no matter what he’s saying, there will be another album in effect. We don’t know when that time will be, but I will never confirm that we are broken up. And if I confirm it, then it’s official. If I don’t confirm it, then we still together. Believe that. That’s on the really real. Gang Starr is still together. Don’t let AllHipHop.com get you all messed up. It’s good.
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Monday, November 13, 2006,1:25 PM
Hunter S. Thompson
The founder of 'gonzo' journalism, died at the age of 67 of an apparent suicide. Today we are air a Jan. 2003 interview Thompson gave on KDNK in the Roaring Fork Valley in Colorado. An excerpt: "Bush is really the evil one here and it is more than just him. We are the Nazis in this game and I don't like it. I am embarrassed and I am pissed off. I mean to say something. I think a lot of people in this country agree with me - a lot than that are saying anything...we'll see what happens to me if I get my head cut off next week -- it is always unknown or bushy-haired strangers who commit suicide right afterwards with no witnesses." [includes rush transcript]

Today we pay tribute to one of America's best-known journalists and authors - Hunter S. Thompson. He shot himself Sunday night at his home in Woody Creek Colorado. He was 67 years old.
He first became well known during the late 1960s and early 1970s while working for Rolling Stone where his drug-induced books Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail were first serialized. Thompson once said, "I hate to advocate weird chemicals, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone ... but they've always worked for me."

Thompson identified the death of the American Dream as his reporter's beat. He called his style of writing "gonzo" journalism. He said, "Objective journalism is one of the main reasons that American politics has been allowed to be so corrupt for so long."

Hunter S. Thompson was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1937. He served two years in the Air Force where he was a newspaper sports editor. He later wrote unpublished fiction and made his name after publishing an article in Harper's magazine about the Hell's Angels who he had rode with for a year.

In 1970, he ran unsuccessfully for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado, on the "Freak Power" ticket. His platform included changing the name of Aspen to "Fat City" and decriminalizing drugs. During his campaign, Thompson shaved his head and denounced his Republican rival who sported a crew cut as "my long-haired opponent." He lost by a handful of votes.

He is the author of a dozen books, his latest was titled "Hey Rube: Blood Sport, The Bush Doctrine and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness." He once said "By any accepted standard, I have had more than nine lives. I counted them up once and there were 13 times I almost and maybe should have died."

Thompson killed himself this past Sunday. He reportedly stuck a .45 caliber handgun in his mouth and shot himself while his wife listened on the phone and his son and daughter-in-law were in another room of his house. His lawyer for the past 15 years told the Boston Globe that he wanted to be cremated and his ashes to be blown out of a cannon across his ranch.

Today, we hear Hunter S Thompson in his own words talking about President Bush, Iraq and much more. He was interviewed on community radio station KDNK in the Roaring Fork Valley in Colorado. Former KDNK station manager, Mary Suma, began by asking Thompson about him saying that "the idea of war is not just wrong but borders on insanity." This is Hunter S. Thompson.

This transcript is available free of charge, however donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution.
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AMY GOODMAN: Today we hear Hunter S. Thompson in his own words talking about President Bush, Iraq, and much more. He was interviewed on community radio station KDNK in Roaring Fork Valley in Colorado in January 2003. Former KDNK Station Manager Mary Suma began by asking Thompson, saying the idea of war is not just wrong, but borders on insanity, a comment of Hunter Thompson's, he responded.

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: Of couse, it depends on which vantage point you look at the war from. If you are the president of a huge oil company, no, it's not insane at all. The war would be quite justified.

MARY SUMA: How do you feel -- I've read that you were in the streets in the Chicago riots back at that convention? Do you think that we can elicit that sort of passion as it builds? I mean, it really seems to be building up there, the anti-war faction.

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: Yeah, it does. But look at this. I don't recall, anyway, a massive depression, economic collapse, at that time, 1968. I was going to say, “Do you?” but, uh... What we have now is a collapse of the economy and a totally unjustifiable war, irrational really, except from the point of view of the oil industry.

MARY SUMA: Did you watch the State of the Union the other evening?

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: Oh, boy, I did.

MARY SUMA: What did you think?

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: I was horrified. It was a nightmare of a thing to go through. You know, he rattled off all these “pie in the sky” ideas in the beginning, none of which are going to either work or be funded. He knows that. As a matter of fact, the New York Times today said that already they see that even republicans are admitting that the Medicare -- he was talking about the Medicare plan, the $400 billion plan --


HUNTER S. THOMPSON: Is impossible. Members of both parties expressed doubts about its feasibility today, forcing the administration officials to reconsider important elements of the package. So, none of the domestic issues he talked about are feasible. I don’t even think he can get the tax cut through, which is insane. Cut taxes in a time when the country is going broke. So over the line, I mean, it's not just the war that's wrong. I can't imagine any justification for just going over to Iraq and bombing the place back to the Stone Age like we did before.

MARY SUMA: Why does it seem a good portion of the country is buying into this?

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: That is a really – that’s a disturbing aspect of it.

MARY SUMA: Can we believe the polls? I mean, certainly the applause the other evening, they always say that you can sort of gauge the popularity of a president by the applause at the State of the Union. I don't know if that's true or not. But it seems like we're living in two separate countries.

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: Well, remember, that Bush's popularity and the popularity – or the support for the war and two months ago when it was much higher. But these are just daily. These are things that change every day. But I remember writing in – I don’t know, it might have been at least five years ago – it was a, I think, ABC, some serious poll, several of them came up with the findings that the American people, overall, favor giving up some of their freedoms in exchange for more security.

MARY SUMA: Mm-hmm.

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: They would rather be secure than free, in other words.


HUNTER S. THOMPSON: That really is shocking.

MARY SUMA: It is shocking, and more so today, maybe.

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: That's the answer, I think, for your question is why is the public buying into it. Another reason is that the fear which I -- that's why I tried to address or at least rave about in the book. Fear is an unhealthy condition, living in fear. And as we clearly have been for two years now, it makes the population more obedient, particularly if they're willing to give up their freedom for security. More obedient, more easier to control, and it's, well, it is very much like Nazi Germany.

MARY SUMA: Mm-hmm.

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: Remember the old good German syndrome.

MARY SUMA: Mm-hmm.

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: We used to ridicule it, the good Germans who just went along with it because that's what the Fuehrer wanted.

MARY SUMA: You’ve said the president has destroyed the country, the economy and our relationship with the rest of the world.

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: Well, I believe that's true and even the countries that allegedly go along or support us, our allies going into this war, popular opinion in most of those countries, I can't say this for sure, but in England, certainly, the English people, as a whole, are strongly opposed to the war and to going along with whatever George Bush says. Democracy is on its last legs in this country, and freedom, you know, the Free World?

MARY SUMA: Mm-hmm.

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: We’re defending freedom? We'll fight to the death for freedom? That's absurd. This country is no more a capital or bastion of freedom now than Nazi Germany was in the 1940s. This country is a rogue nation in a way, but worse than a rogue nation. We're a war-crazy, war-dependent, really, nation and that leads right to the oil industry. It is ridiculous. And particularly in the media; with the media I noticed. To not discuss the connection between oil and bombs in Iraq is disgraceful. Winston Churchill said, “In times of war, the first casualty is always the truth.” Truth is the first casualty of any war.

MARY SUMA: In lieu of fear.

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: You see, I’m a little bit cranked up and fanatical about it.

MARY SUMA: That's the age group, isn't it, Hunter, that we want to really --

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: Yeah. This is – I mean, if you want to live in a Nazi nation, I wouldn't want to be 20 years old now.

MARY SUMA: I wouldn't either.

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: I fear for what's coming and for the welcoming committee of kids that's going to meet it, saying come on in. No, it’s just ignorance, and well, the media, we're being deprived of the real news. I'm not going to try to say I have the real news, but just what you said. That's exactly right.

MARY SUMA: Again, you're going to be at Pepkey Park on Saturday afternoon. Do you know what your topic is yet? We know the topic, but do you know what -- can you give us any preview of what’s going to be said, or do you just stand up there and let it --

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: Yeah. I usually just take a -- just wing it, freefall, just like I did today. I had no idea what I was going to say today. This is really a disgraceful moment in history and just thinking about the war, or attending the peace rallies, going out in the street, voting with your feet, as they say.

AMY GOODMAN: Hunter S. Thompson speaking with KDNK's Mary Suma in January of 2003. She then asked him about his book Kingdom of Fear: Loathesome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century.

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: It started off – it’s supposed to be a memoir; I think it started off as memoirs. You know, it just sort of -- a very quick and active story about how I got to be what I am today, you know, different key adventures in my life. Mainly it is fun. Yeah, I could use a little bit more editing, but everything could. It's a fun read. It's a very – pretty savage one. And it's clearly, not anti-Bush, but anti-war. See, I don't hate Bush personally. I used to know him. I used to do some drugs here and there.

MARY SUMA: Is that true, Hunter? What about, I didn't know that you were an unofficial adviser to Jimmy Carter.

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: Yeah. Weird things happen here and there. I got to know him early, two years before he ran, and he just looked like a pretty good bet to me, because I was a gambler, and I wanted to win. It was important to win at that time.

ANITA THOMPSON: Evan Dobelle, who was, among other things, Carter's Secretary of Protocol, he held a dinner in Hawaii about two months ago and Hunter was a guest of honor and he stood up to say and thank Hunter because Jimmy Carter would not be president if it wasn't for Hunter Thompson.

MARY SUMA: Really?

ANITA THOMPSON: Yeah. Isn't that cool?

AMY GOODMAN: Anita and Hunter Thompson. Anita, Hunter Thompson's wife, again, speaking with Mary Suma of KDNK in January of 2003. Finally, Mary Suma asked Hunter Thompson about his upcoming trip to New York.

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: What I'm going to New York to do is stir up trouble. I'm not going to change hats, yeah, Saturday in the park, Sunday in New York City, Monday night, Conan O’Brian, or something like that. I just believe in this. I'm offended and insulted by the slope of the American people, and that means us. That means these bastards who just sit around –

ANITA THOMPSON: We’re getting there.

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: Let's keep hitting on this because I doubt that George Bush is going to go away before the next two years anyway. He should be run out of office. He should resign right now, in my opinion. I did call for his resignation, but I don't think we would have a groundswell immediately for that. There will be a lot of people who agree with me.

MARY SUMA: Down the road?

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: Well, no, in a year. I mean, the --

MARY SUMA: Will we be at war in a year, Hunter?

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: I think so, without a doubt. Like I said, we've been at war for 13 years. We've been bombing that country that long and we've cut off everything, all their food, books, you know, close -- cut off all imports of books over there.

MARY SUMA: Have you ever been there?


MARY SUMA: Have you ever been over there?

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: I don't think so. Not in any way that I was impressed by. I probably have gone through it or stopped there. I don't really know Iraq. I made a point of getting to know it a lot better. It was a very advanced, progressive country, had, what, 90% literacy, health care for the whole entire population. They were doing well, prosperous, high literacy. Many more book stores per capita in Iraq than there are in this country. Many. No more. We bombed their children. We killed their husbands and wives and we bombed them, and we saw her, and we're going to do it again. Just random killing like that, mass killing to force a population to get rid of Saddam so we can move in and take over and control the oil, God damn it, if that's not evil, I don't know what would be. You know, Bush, he’s really the evil one in here. Well, more than just him. We're the Nazis in this game, and I don't like it. I'm embarrassed and I'm pissed off. Yeah. I mean to say something and I think a lot of people in this country agree with me. A lot more never say anything. We'll see what happens to me if I get my head cut off in the next week by -- it's always unknown Bush [inaudible] strangers who commit suicide right afterward. No witnesses. They have a new kind of crime.

MARY SUMA: Is that the CIA kind of crime?

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: Oh, absolutely. Anyone who’s a successful criminal has got a crime. Absolutely no witnesses, no records. We can go on and on. I have to be restrained on the subject.

AMY GOODMAN: The late Hunter S. Thompson, speaking a few years ago in an interview on community radio station KDNK in the Roaring Fork Valley in Colorado, speaking with then-Station Manager Mary Suma. Hunter S. Thompson died of an apparent suicide this weekend; shot himself Sunday night at his home in Woody Creek, Colorado. His latest book, a collection of his essays called Hey Rube: Bloodsport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness.
posted by R J Noriega
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Thursday, November 09, 2006,6:41 PM
Nas & Rakim interview
Rakim and Nas are two of the greatest MCs of all time, not only according to MTV's "MTV's hip-hop brain trust" but also hip-hop fans universally, and with good reason. Each one achieved legendary status with the release of their respective debut LPs.

Rakim came onto the scene in 1987, and his lyrics forever changed the way an MC thought about putting words together, and the ways fans thought about listening to them. In 1994, Nas bowed with Illmatic and has constantly elevated his wordplay through the years by rapping from the perspective of a gun, rapping with deceased legends, rapping about heaven and hell and the concrete in between.

Over the years, both Nas and Rakim have admired each other from afar through the press and in concerts. Last month, for the first time ever, the legends sat down together for an interview to discuss their similarities, their own inspirations and the future of their careers. The love is genuine — and at some points, both MCs actually seem to be a little shy.

MTV: This is really monumental to have both of you guys here at the same time. Nas, do you remember when you first heard Rakim?

Nas: I never heard a flow like his. You had a lot of dudes screaming in the mic [at the time]. So when he came, total opposite of that, it made everybody freeze. The way he flowed, it was like an added instrument inside the music. Then, what he's saying on top of that, it had never been done before ... I wanted to know, when I started [rapping], "What would Rakim think of my joint?"

Rakim: On my way here, I was thinking me and Nas got a lot in common. His pops was a jazz player, my moms was a jazz singer. That jazz influence, coming up, gave us a deeper responsibility or a deeper route that we were trying to take to try to get that poetry across.

MTV: Another parallel is the first albums: Both of your first albums totally changed rap. We did "The Greatest Hip-Hop Albums of All Time" last year and Paid in Full and Illmatic were ranked #1 and #2. Those two albums really changed the game lyrically, musically and spiritually. Rakim, did it feel that way at the time?

Rakim: Nah. Not at all, bruh. The first album that we did, we just wanted to make a good hip-hop album. I never sat down and tried to write a single or reach for anything. At the end of the day, we sat down and picked a single.

MTV: In 1987, when Paid in Full was released, so many other MCs who went on to be legends were just coming out around that time: KRS-One, LL, Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane. What was the competition level like?

Rakim: It was good. Everybody was a little bit more unique. Run-DMC was doing they thing. I was doing my thing. Kool G Rap and Kane doing they thing. You had Fresh Prince coming from Philly doing his thing. It was a little bit more original back then. It was enjoying what you do.

MTV: Nas, as a fan, what was that era like for you?

Nas: That was it — that was the only era. The '90s were great, I'm glad I was a part of them, but we were really emulating [the '80s]. And it was only a few dudes that spoke to us and our generation. You had a lot of dudes that were really the ultra-superstar kind of image. Then you had guys that had that ultra-superstar image but they looked like the brothers on the block — because when we looked at the Rakim album cover, we saw the suicide part [in his hair] and the money in the hand. We never saw it done before like that in hip-hop. He had the Gucci on, that was the essence of New York City that dudes are still doing today. You got chills from this dude. I don't care if you were a little kid — because I was young — or the older gods on the block. You got chills from him. You don't get that from music today — that era right there was the era.

MTV: Nas, I want to pose the question I asked Ra. When Illmatic came out, everyone was talking about it. Tell us about coming out to such anticipation.

Nas: It was cool for me. It was great for me. I was coming from the legacy of Marley Marl, MC Shan, Juice Crew kind of vibe. Knowing these guys out in the neighborhood. At that time, the Queensbridge scene was dead. Dropping that album right there said a lot for me to carry on the legacy of the Queensbridge pioneers. It felt amazing to be accepted by New York City in that way. Like, "I can really take this somewhere, I can really take this to the next level." Again, at the time a lot of West Coast [hip-hop] was selling; East Coast wasn't selling as much, especially for a new artist. So back then you couldn't tell in the sales, but you could tell in the streets.

Rakim: Definitely! I'd met Nas at the Power House Studios [in New York, when Nas was a teenager]. But the first thing I heard [about Nas the MC] was through the buzz on the street. "Yo, Nas is dope. Boom, boom boom! He's wildin'! He's talking about everything!" Then I went out and got [Illmatic]: The first three joints that passed [while I played the album], I was like, "Ahhh." I felt like I wasn't the only one trying to reach for something. He kind of made me feel normal. For somebody to come out and spit fire and people to look at him, it made me feel regular. When Nas came out, he started solidifying it for lyricists. Never mind what [other] people are doing, do you. He did a lot for my career. He may not know that, but he did a lot for my career.

As artists, we look to certain things to put fire in us. Sometimes it might be a drive up the avenue, but we still like to feed off of each other. When Nas goes to the studio and drops a crazy album, I want to go in the studio and drop an album. I look to brothers like this to keep my fire lit. Keep doing your thing, baby.

Nas: The thing that I got [from people in the street] was that I was the second coming of Rakim. That was the greatest comparison that I could ever dream of. You think people are going to just acknowledge you 'cause you're nice, but they was calling me "the young Rakim." So my head got a little big for a minute. You never think you're ever gonna get that kind of love. That's the top of the top. If you're getting that kind of comparison, you got a great future, so that's what they was saying to me when I first came out. I was just flowing with it, taking my time with it.

MTV: Ra, I want to go back to one of the first points Nas made, when he said you weren't rapping like everybody else. The flow was a little slower, a little more conversational. How did that develop?
Rakim: I don't know, I think that goes back to my musical influence: Moms playin' that jazz, pops playing that heavy soul. I don't know, just listening to the lyrics ... You can listen to some old classic music right now and feel the lyrical content and how strong it was back then. On the records back in the day, they said what they had to say, and by the end of the record you understood what it was about. Hearing that, it always made me want to get a point across. Knowledge of self — that was my whole aim.

MTV: Part of being an MC is not just music, it's also the style: the rope chains, the clothes, the four-finger rings, the swagger. Where were you getting your style from early on?

Rakim: A few people played a part in that. I was letting the streets influence me heavy, as far as what I rhymed about, what I wore. I had some real people around me. I used to go to Brooklyn [New York], get the Fila suits, the two-tone [jeans suits] back in the day. "Take me to the diamond district!" Then after that, it was a wrap. I was going back every week: "Let me get one of those, two of those, one of those and one of those."

MTV: Did you have a favorite piece that you rocked, back in the day?

Rakim: Yeah, the Benz piece with the diamonds in it [featured on the Paid in Full album cover]. I actually told my man, "When you make it, make it heavy enough so when I take it off I can beat somebody's brains out." So that was my favorite piece, 'cause you can take it off, bust somebody in the head with it, look at your joint, ain't a diamond missing, put it back on — it's good. I think my man Jacob [the Jeweler] hooked me up on that too.

Nas: That's crazy, Jacob's been around forever.

Rakim: Yeah, that was like '87, man.

MTV: Nas, you used to get your shine on heavy too. The [Queensbridge] piece, that's a legendary thing. Where were you getting your style from?

Nas: The streets again, seeing all the dudes, pioneers in the streets putting it in ... and, of course, Rakim. You see Rakim with the crazy chain, the Benz piece — and you know he had the Benz to go with it! That was just the best thing in the world to see. We all waited to do it — by the time I was able to afford a rope, they was not even "in" no more. Now brothers are able to bring them back. [He holds up the rope chain he's wearing around his neck.] I'm catching up to them a little bit. Slowly but surely, get me a nice piece made. But the jewelry, the bracelets, the watches, the Fila suits — fashion ain't even touching that today.

MTV: Nas, what's your favorite Rakim song?
Nas: I have many favorite Rakim songs. I was just talking to him about "As the Rhyme Goes On." It just stops you and freezes you. There's so many phrases there. Even the one Eminem took, it was one of Eminem's biggest records. Without saying Rakim's name, "I am all that you say I am." It's so many lines in there. The whole Paid in Full album, the whole Follow the Leader album. You can stop right there, then you get to joints like "I Want to Know What's on Your Mind": "I seen her on the subway on my way to Brooklyn/ 'Yo good lookin'/ Is this seat tooken?' " Dude is still Paid in Full, but when he said "I seen her on the subway," that kept it all 'hood — 'cause back in the day, the subway wasn't all the way X'ed out [no longer cool to talk about riding on] yet. The whole story he told was crazy. [He turns toward Rakim.] I think you went real, real crazy on "The Punisher." I think that one right there is out of control. I play that sh-- right now!

Rakim: I used to love those wild tracks. But Nas, watching him come up and do his thing — and those joints he dropped since "Halftime." See, back in the day when joints like that came on the radio, we had noon [hip-hop shows]. Your joints come on from 12 to 1 [o'clock] — it's halftime. Turn it up to 10, let everybody know I'm playing hip-hop. "The World Is Yours" is one of my favorites — it sounds like he made it yesterday. Another one of my favorite joints is "New York State of Mind." Nas always been real conscious of what he says. And you know, that's what his pops put into him. I'm a technical cat when it comes to MCs. A lot of brothers do a lot of witty things, but at the end of the day, you listen to it four times and you're like, "OK ..." With Nas you can play a lot of his joints right now, they're still relevant and still hold weight. Everything holds its relevance. You can tell that — from a true MC, you can tell he took his time to putting it on paper.

MTV: Rakim, Nas paid you the ultimate compliment in 2004 by recording "U.B.R. (Unauthorized Biography of Rakim)" [on Street's Disciple]. What was it like when you heard that song breaking down your whole life?
Rakim: That kind of puts things in perspective. You got this far and somebody that you respect, somebody that's on a high plateau, took time and showed you love. And to hear a lot of it, I was like, "Where did he get that from? How did he know that?" He does put things in perspective, man. He kind of opened my eyes, like, "OK, people's watching. People really know about Rakim." It kind of let me know where I was in the world.

Nas: Thanks, man. I always wanted to know how you felt about that, 'cause if somebody made a song talking about me and stuff like that, I wouldn't know how to react. I just had to make a song about Ra 'cause if we in there making songs in the studio, let's make songs about things that are important. The dude is important right now, so I made a song about how he inspired [people] a great deal. I used to look at Ra like, "This dude's an alien. He's an alien. He's not from here." That's how I feel to this day.

MTV: How much research did you do for that record?

Nas: It took me a day. I went online. I was up on Rakim forever, though — you ain't up on Rakim, then you don't belong in rap. I was always up on Ra and I met him as a kid. I was a young teen getting into the game and I met Ra. He came in the studio by himself, put the [medallion] on the table. With the cables, two beepers — it was crazy. I [hadn't] never seen a cell phone, really. I seen them on the TV, "Magnum P.I." and "Miami Vice." But I never seen the big, crazy joint — the joint you beat somebody over the head with. The dude was cool then, same as he is now. This brother has always been a cool brother.

MTV: Nas, five years ago we were doing an interview, and we were talking about some of the greats: Slick Rick, Rakim, KRS-One. When did you start feeling comfortable being mentioned in the same breath as some of those people you came up watching?

Nas: You know what it's like? You can only fight it for so long. Then, when your influence is so great on so many artists, you gotta accept it. Nah mean? God don't give you a gift. For you, you can't turn your lights down on your shine. You can't dim your lights for nobody. It just took its natural course.

MTV: With the climate of rap changing now, how does that affect you when putting out new material? The focus is not on lyrics, as it was back in the day.

Rakim: I'll answer that right quick, Nas. That's why it's up to brothers like me and him to keep it going. 'Cause if we turn around and fall victim to what's going on, then it's a wrap. Nas is doing an album, I'm doing an album. We can make a big statement right here. When this man drops an album, they already looking for it. Nas — you know he's gonna say something, and the same thing for Rakim. So if we stay focused and do what we do, I think everybody wants that real hip-hop back.
posted by R J Noriega
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