For the last few days the name Martin Shkreli has been on the tip of everybody’s tongue. Whether about his purchase of the most sought after Wu-Tang Clan album ever or his perceived shady business practices. To the most latest story with Brooklyn rapper “Bobby Shmurda”. One thing is for sure, Mr. Shkreli knows how to get attention. He first gained scrutiny from what appeared to be a jack in prices of the toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim.
Though popular in name most of the public knows very little about the 32 year old millionaire. Raised in Brooklyn, NY, by his Albanian and Croatian immigrant parents, he began his empire as a hedge funder. Making millions he decided to enter into the pharmaceutical arena with the company Retrophin Inc., first buying the rights to the drug Thiola. After a shaky relationship with Retrophin’s Board he was replaced and resigned from the company. Founding another company called Turing Pharmaceuticals after his departure were Shkreli invested in out-of-date patent medicines.
Now why did I tell you all of this information? Context. The drug Daraprim he is accused of high jacking has been without research for over 62 years. Shkreli approach to raising the drug prices from $13.50 to $750 is to invest more into a better quality product. The side effects of the drug have been almost brutal. Here are a few.
- blood in urine or stools
- cough or hoarseness
- fever or chills
- irritation or soreness of tongue
- lower back or side pain
- painful or difficult urination
- pinpoint red spots on skin
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- Bleeding or crusting sores on lips
- chest pain or discomfort
- muscle cramps or pain
- redness, blistering, peeling, or loosening of skin
- skin rash
- sores, ulcers, and/or white spots in mouth
- sore throat
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- Blood in urine
- difficulty swallowing
- fainting spells
- fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
- joint or muscle pain
- pale skin
- pounding or rapid pulse
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips or tongue
- rapid breathing
- red, irritated eyes
- red skin lesions, often with a purple center
- shortness of breath
- swollen glands
- tightness in chest
- unexplained bleeding or bruising
When you go to the doctor and receive a prescription for a drug. The insurance company takes up most of the cost. If the drug cost $750 most likely with your insurance you rarely pay over 30. If this is the truth why are we mad at a guy who decided to update a drug that is outdated and can be improved? From his endorsement to Bernie Sanders to his charitable organization The Shkreli Foundation. It seems the man who most are calling the devil in the flesh. May be an angel in disguise. Perception is key. What do you think?
The streets of Chicago are livid as the news of , Jason Van Dyke, being released has finally went viral. The officer was jailed after shooting a teen, Laquan McDonald, 16 times during an altercation that was captured on numerous officers dash cams. McDonald, 17, had PCP in his system and from footage had a 3 inch blade in his possession during the tragic night. He was shot walking away from CPD and showing no real threat to the officers who were armed with gun, pepper spray, and bulletproof vest.
Many are angry and have taken their frustrations into the street. The protests have been relatively quit and peaceful so far. With the capture of Robert Dear also going viral. Many are asking the obvious question. How come white men who are armed and have committed murder have better chances at a trial than a black unarmed teenager who has committed a trivial or if any offense at all?
From the days of Herbert Lee and Fred Hampton to the present. There has always been this hostile dichotomy between the Afrikan community in America and the governing institutions of the state. One has to ask what will be the tipping point between the two factions?
16 bullets could be the push.
I pulled up to the old brick building in a cool fashion. Inside I could only see one specimen who I was greeted by as I walked thru the transparent glass doors. The inside of the building had a mystic combination of eclectic art and toys mixed with paintings and comic books. Crates littered the room with vinyl’s that were filled with enough records to make a stranded island stay, as pleasant as a trip to Fiji. Earth, Wind, and Fire, Kool Moe Dee, Lou Rawls, Killer Mike, Gil Scott Heron, and countless more. Ample amount of African literature and comic books scatter the open space. Action Figures and toy sculpture decorated the room in a disorderedly but precise manner. Once inside the location one realizes why Off Beat is more than just a name.
DJ Young Venom got his start in politics with the Mississippi Black Leadership Institute lead by Congressman Bennie Thompson. He then branched out and began to form the store now known as Off Beat. The building although a art and music store in the day. Has become an important apparatus in the Jackson music and art scene at night. Giving artist a chance to host album release parties and making the building accessible to the youth in the local area. Teaching children about the art of DJing and exhorting advice about marketing, has made Off Beat a safe haven for the lost gems of the city.
Inspired by Chaka Khan, its no wonder this DJ seems to persevere. From having to work extremely hard to get Off Beats doors open. To having to work extremely harder to keep them from closing. Phillip Rollins has seen his share of obstacles, but through it all his relationship with Off Beat mimics his idol child hood singer Chaka Khan’s hit song. “Through the fire, To the limit, To The wall, For a chance to be with you, I’ll gladly risk it all.”
The bass blast as the hook repeats “I’m Seni from dat swamp town!” The New Orleans bounce and street lyrics can be felt from a mile away with Seni’s delivery. But this up and coming sensation is far from the Nola. Louisville raised and Carthage gamed Seni’s music is a reflection of the rural Mississippi life. A environment were poverty, drugs, and unemployment run rampant.
Me, Myself, and I mixtape is a mash of lyricism and bounce tracks. Seni displays intellect and street savvy with lines like “Do my own business in these streets cuz these niggaz tellin, cuz all that be with me convicted felons.”
With his next project “Real Life” due to drop soon it’s no wonder people are anticipating his new tape. It want be long before the nation knows about “Swamptown”.
As I cruised through the home of The Chamber Brothers, Winston Hudson, and John “JJ” Johnson, I was in awe of the huge sign that displayed in big bold letters, “Welcome To Carthage, MS”. Although the world may know of Carthage for these famous names. Other names govern the land and ring out more frequently now a days. Names like Bronco, Still, and more notable than any J-Skillz the King. It has been a whole year since his tragic passing . A comrade of mine, I began to vividly remember him lighting up a Newport and saying to me, “Say let me put you on this new jigg.” The song as we cruised down Highway 80 loudly displayed a poetic symphony of sadness and regrets. “All I want for Christmasssss this yearrrrr.”
The phone rang and the man on the other side of it responded in a almost tranquil but engaged tone. “What it do fam”, he answered. “Just touched down”, I replied. He coached me to a convenience store where he meet me and guided me through steep hills and acute curves, before pulling up at our destination. The ghostly like property began to transform. Bodies began to congregate and the man of the day took his place amongst the multitude of brethren. Bo$$ Jay, the name is becoming excessively popular now a days. After dropping a classic tape “Bosstradamus” and releasing his latest project “D.O.P.E. The Movie”. The buzz for the A.N.B.O.S. artist has been picking up and is becoming undeniable.
Commonly referred to as the down south Jay-Z. Bo$$ lyrical abilities and style is second to none. With lines like “I kept a mask for the blast, whenever they ask don’t kno who pop like Maury show” or “Don’t give me hints shouldn’t be wearing hoodies and saggy jeans, They’ll kill you in a suit ask Malcolm X and Dr. King”. It’s no wonder he is becoming one of the paramount sought after MC’s in the south. With veterans of the A.N.B.O.S. squad like Top Notch Smurff, T- Bone, Certified, Klean, Skinny, and A-Kazy in his corner. 2016 is beginning to look like a prosperous year for the movement the late great J-Skillz left behind. Leaving his legacy to be summed up with one phrase “The King Lives On”.
In Rhode Island, a Dunkin Donuts employee also a partisan of the #BlackLiveMatter movement, has caught some heat behind a message he left on a coffee cup Friday. William O’Donnell a officer for the PPD is outraged by what he calls ‘blatant disrespect’ for law enforcement. The incident sparked concerns from Providence Police Patrolmen and the Providence Fraternal Order of Police.
The PPD are demanding the employee be fired and replaced. In September, a Arby’s employee in Florida was accused of denying a uniformed officer service. When asked why, the employee simply stated “because you are a police officer”. That employee was later on fired from the company and replaced.
This is coming after a turbulent time between citizens and police officers in the country. Their seems to be a growing dichotomy between the two. The policemen are concerned with the influx of law enforcement officers being shot. The citizens are worried about the increase of blatant and sanctioned police brutality around the country. It seems that neither side can come to a reasonable and nor prosperous solution.
Many have went to Twitter to display their sentiments about the incident. Tell us what do you think?
“12 staff members and at least seven patients, including three children were killed; 37 people were injured,” the charity MSF said. “The attack constitutes a grave violation of international humanitarian law.” This comes a day after the Taliban fought for strategic military position for the northern city of Kunduz. Also after NATO’s Afghan forces defense minister of Kabul said, “A group of armed terrorist….were using the hospital buildings as a position to target Afghan forces and civilians.” This is the supposedly the justification for the murder of the innocent men, women, and children. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) an Afghan charity claims that repeated calls were made to head military leaders in Kabul and Washington D.C.. To no avail, the attacks continued on for another 30 minutes. The intensive care unit and emergency rooms were the primary targets for the air strike.
“The bombs hit and then we heard the plane circle around,” said Heman Nagarathnam, MSF’s head of programmers in northern Afghanistan. “There was a pause, and then more bombs hit. This happened again and again. When I made it out from the office, the main hospital building was engulfed in flames.”
“Those people that could had moved quickly to the building’s two bunkers to seek safety survived. But the patients who were unable to escape, burned to death as they lay in their beds.”
“The Department of Defense has launched a full investigation, and we will await the results of that inquiry before making a definitive judgement as to the circumstances of this tragedy,” President Obama said. In a statement released by the White House, the President offered his “deepest condolences” for what he called a “tragic incident”.
MSF stated 105 patients and their caregivers, as well as more than 8 international and local MSF staff, were in the hospital, the only medical facility in that area that can deal with major injuries, at the time of the bombing.
”This attack is abhorrent and a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law.” said MSF President Meinie Nicolai. “We demand total transparency from coalition forces.” “We cannot accept that this horrific loss of life will simply be dismissed as ‘collateral damage’.” Kunduz is torn with war and chaos between government and insurgents fighting. Leaving civilians in the crossfire to suffer the biggest burden of the conflict. With at least 60 people dead and 400 wounded, the people of Kunduz and Afghanistan have been left with an awful ultimatum. Stay and die or leave and survive.
“This Can’t Be All”, plays in the background of the sunny setting as I sit on my aunties porch watching the evening commuters from work pass. The noise of adolescent children playing filled the atmosphere like hot air fills an enlarged balloon. ” The youth born grown with no knowledge of fun”, rangs out. The words come from one of the paramount poets of this generation. Some say he is the best to come from the south in sometime. His catalogue backs up their allegations and his latest project CADILLACTICA and his latest project It’s Better This Way, forces hip hop to ask itself. Who is Big K.R.I.T.?
Droppin classic mixtapes like “K.R.I.T. Wuz Here”, “Return Of 4Eva”, and “4eva N A Day” have allowed the Meridian rapper to become a feared MC in hip hop. But what makes his story even more compelling is not the fact that he writes, raps, and produces his own material. But that he has done so since his first project almost exclusively since 2010. In a game where most dumb down their art form for capitalistic gains. K.R.I.T. has done the complete opposite. Using his platform to address all kinds of social and emotional issues of this generation. Although without a mainstream certified single, he has still been able to leave his footprint on the industry. Some make beats. Some write and rap. Some become engineers. But rarely do you get all four in one individual. Embodying hip hop, K.R.I.T. may not have the buzz of a Kendrick Lamar. Or the house hold name familiarity as a Drake. But neither have the qualities of a K.R.I.T..
In a time were radio and social media is a profound apparatus for mainstream biasness. K.R.I.T. sticks out like a sore thumb. A lot of people talk about great artist but forget the first part of the word. ART. With all of his songs and rhymes written by him is it even fair to compare his artistry to any other rapper out. You turn on your television and you immediately see people speaking about the greatest MC’s to bless the mic. A lot of names get thrown around during these debates like J. Cole, Joey Badd Azz, Kevin Gates, Dom Kennedy, Wale, and a host of others. But one thing is for sure. None can even hold a stick or compare to the one and only King Remembered In Time.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z83PpWGeARo
As I drove down I-55 at 2:00 p.m., I was excited to meet the man behind the voice. It had been about a week since I’d scheduled an interview with the artist known simply as “Spook”. His song “Ain’t Necessarily So” blasted from my mother’s blue Toyota Carolla. I pulled into the narrow drive way in North Jackson to be greeted by a short but stocky black male. He had a 2012 Kendrick Lamar fade and a wooden Afrikan medallion hanging from his neck.
“What’s goin on”, Spook asked with a slight grin? “Nothing much, you wanna shoot the footage outside”, I replied. “No, I’d rather inside”. As he lead the way, I felt as if I was journeying into some divine hip hop time portal. There were compact discs covering the entire front wall of the sanctuary complimented with platinum plaques from southern legends. It seemed as if every artist in the last 40 years had some special place in this remarkable collection of rap in front of me. Sitting down was the master of this realm, “Charlie Braxton”. A legend in Hip Hop journalism and southern culture with direct ties to the evolution of magazines like The Source, Murder Dog, and XXL.
Before, I was amazed at the lyricism Spook displayed in his rhymes being a southern artist in this day and age. But after meeting his teacher/father I realized immediately that his skills were advanced not through coincidence but by fate. I sat for hours discussing hip hop with him and his grand master. Bouncing knowledge and history off of each other like an intense cypher between devout Five Percenters. Before I knew it dawn had turned to dusk and it was time for me to depart. As I was beginning to leave I thought to myself how lucky I was to have met such a profound griot of southern and Jackson music. Listening to Spook I realized the flames his father sparked in the 90’s would stay lit and not diminish. But instead would prevail and emerge into a new scene. A scene were lyrics and subject matter is just as important as the beat its being rapped over. A scene where production and graffiti are valued. A scene for an advanced but traditional hip hop sound. A new wave. A new style. A New Jack City.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkhVjVangN0
” Just another day, Just another dollar”, blast from my Walkman headphones. The artist is Kage and the year is 1994. The black on white cover with a picture of him leaning up against what seemed to be another abandoned property that Jackson was sprinkled with, is vivid to the mind. The red and black font caught my eye as a kid. This was my first introduction to gangster rap and though I had always listened to hip hop, gangster rap was a whole new experience for me. Stealing tapes as a youth was a full blown hobby by the time I ran across Kage. All of the music other than what I was allowed to listen to came from taking tapes. Waiting for the bus as a kid I would examine the prize of my crimes during the ride to school. While other were sleep and having conversations. I would have my ear phones on dissecting the lyrics from the MC I was blessed to evaluate during my hour and thirty minute drive. Most of the time after I evaluated the tape I would dub it and return it to the owner before being found out about. My older cousin was my victim and Kage was the artist that changed my whole entire look on hip hop. Why you ask? When I looked at the back of his cassette it had a local 601 number for booking. Kage was the first MC I had ever heard from Jackson, MS. Me being from Raymond a small town outside of Jackson it fascinated me to know we had artist. The rhythmic groove and the dope sample of a female repeating in the background “oooohhhh” captured my ears instantly making me a fan. His story telling about the struggles of robbery, street life, and jail was new to my young ears and grabbed my attention. Leaving me in a fiend state for another tape from the local voices.
I instantly began searching for new local artist after being exposed to Kage. In 1996 I ran across a royal purple tape cover with Boo on the front and Boss Player in black and gold writing. Birds Fly South for the Winter was a classic combination of catchy melodies and sharp wordplay. Tracks like “Surrounded By Playaz” and “The Only Thing Promised” made Boo a new favorite in my tape deck. Mississippi Mafia’s “Another Mississippi Murder” and Wood Street Playaz “Turning and Burning” albums changed the sound of Jackson artist for me. These country rap tunes as Pimp C would call them were laced with social and lyrical content. “Living 4 the $” if examined shows the mind frame of a young black man in the late 90’s . Just like the first rap group The Renegades “Mind On A Rampage” showed the mind frame in ’93. 601 Playaz, Resse and Bigelow, Queen Boyz, Crooked Lettaz, Mellow T, Jew Man, Wildlife Society, Skipp Coon, ANBOS, Lil C, and Children of the Cornbread all have came out and left their mark in the Jackson rap culture since I was a kid.
Many people are rapping these days. Some of it sounds good and some of it not so good to me. I hear a lot of new rappers from Jackson doing their thing. I still enjoy listening to local artist. But I’m still waiting on the next Kage. That one artist that I will put my headphones on and feel that old feeling I felt when I was a youth waiting at the bus stop. That feeling of pride. That feeling that says “Straight Outta Jackson”.