Pep Love's Wax Poetic Manifesto
The current state of hip hop events and promotions have gotten out of hand, and Hiero aren't having it anymore. Pep Love of the legendary Hieroglyphics crew recently penned a manifesto that every hip hop head should read and overstand, and following the success of the already established Hiero Day (www.hieroday.com) in Oakland, hip hop event promoters might want to pay attention.
"First off, I would like to say that if you're reading this you must either know me or have a deeper than surface interest in hip hop, music and culture. I appreciate and applaud your interest even if you totally disagree with everything that I'm about to say. There is something arousing about knowing that I can type these words and either offend or inspire but at the same time I do it to get just that much closer to having a sober and peaceful heart and mind. There has been passion and bewilderment expressed in many of the conversations that have led up to the actions upon which we shall soon embark. Sometimes we scratch our heads and wonder why none of us have taken action; instead of just talking and typing. I wonder aloud "why isn't there someone else doing this already?". And the answer comes back to me in a clear and admonishing tone in my head. It says "before you ask that question of others you should ask it of yourself". Then I go scurry back into my hole of self loathing complacency. But one can only stay in a place like that for a finite amount of time. Eventually we all have to come out into the open and breathe the same air as the rest of the world. We must exchange ideas and put forth our prerogatives or risk facing the demise of irrelevance. But to be an effective member of the vanguard we must also understand that relevance is a very subjective concept and some of our ideas of what that means have been imposed upon us by the invisible pagan relevance gods. The mainstream media, the internet, your girlfriend/boyfriend and whatever external influences we have impose and reinforce some of these subjective truths on us relentlessly and subconsciously. So when do we as human beings stand up and grab the bull by the horns, so to speak? When do we shoot our proverbial shot and take actions to shape and change culture? Why do we? Do we do it after we have surveyed the lay of the landscape and have determined that the climate is right and the season has arrived? No. I say that we do it now and because it pleases us to do so. It really doesn't have to be any deeper than that, yet it is.
There is dissatisfaction in me. As a hip hop head and as an emcee there is much dissatisfaction in me. And as I have conversed with some of my brethren and a alikes about the topic I find that there is a similar dissatisfaction in them. As I have watched the hip hop community become more marginalized the consensus feeling amongst us has become less palpable. But that doesn't mean that its not there. It seems to me that the sense of dissatisfaction has spawned another reaction to shield it's self. And that shield manifests it's self in the form of entitled indifference. The notion is that no one even cares anymore. Hip hop culture no longer regulates itself in that manner. So anyone has license to do anything and put the stamp of hip hop on it no matter how little redeeming value their actions carry. In the not so distant past I truly contemplated taking the wrong kind of action. I wanted to fight. I wanted to revive the Zulu Gastopo and start snatching people off the stage like the Sandman. I wanted to run up on the promoter with a pack of wolves and leave him with two black eyes, a bloody nose and a pair of rabbit ears for pockets. I wanted to speak out against individuals and call them out by name. But I have realized that the idea that causing a disturbance can truly effect change in this day in age is most certainly folly. All of the time and energy spent railing against some perceived adversary or antagonist could be used much more effectively in the act of creating. This isn't about calling anybody out or shutting anybody down. So when I say "Wax Poetic seeks to be an alternative to the excess amount of low quality hip hop shows that are filled with performers who sold tickets for the promoter to secure their place on the bill." its because of the love that I have for the culture and the traditions that I wish to uphold. I don't say it because of hatred towards those who might be engaging in the practices that I described in that quote. Sometimes to build we must first destroy. And for the troops to rally to the cause they unfortunately require something to rally against. For the decency of it all, we need to see that when the almighty dollar dictates it could compel us to throw the baby out with the bathwater because its more profitable to do so. The most talented, dedicated, committed and skilled performers are not going to sell tickets to the show just so they get an opportunity to perform. They are too busy writing, playing, rehearsing and recording to help the promoter do his job. And that being the case the talent pool thins out drastically. The quality of the product diminishes and people stop buying. It really promotes the 1 percenter paradigm in the hip hop music world that is exemplified by the way the world economy works. The diversity that was once a premium in hip hop culture begins to wash away and misrepresentation ensues. But, in that misrepresentation I see an opportunity to think globally and act locally.
Again and again these topics arise when we talk about the cultural paradigms of hip hop and their wide ranging implications. We have waxed philosophical, political and poetic about it. We delved into what it is, how to approach it and how it makes us feel all the way to the breaking point. I realized that I just wanted to enjoy the art form and culture that I fell in love with as a child with other people who love it like I do. You know, just throw a party. Can it be that it was all so simple..? I started talking to Saurus a couple of years back about this and we were on the same page. We just weren't sure yet. We wanted to dip our toes in the water to test the temperature. Neither of us were truly ready to submerse ourselves in this ideology. Saurus, Dumper and Max Kane ended up bringing Blunt Club out to Oakland from Pheonix and it rocked for a while. I performed there along with other dope hip hop artists. It was good and it was curated by people who care about the culture as much as they do having a successful night. They set an excellent example that showed me something important about some of the key things that are missing and that have changed since hip hop's early years. One of the most important things I saw is that the average hip hop show promoter does not seem to invest anywhere near as much energy into playing the role of curator these days as they once did. They are almost solely absorbed by the role of ticket sales man. The lack of vision that comes along with such a mind set has limited the ways in which they can add appeal to their product and the cheap tricks can only fool people for so long. We just want us hip hop heads to have a place to rest and relax. And we want to give you something that is light hearted, heartfelt, simple, sophisticated, new and nostalgic all at the same time. We don't want to fight down Babylon. We want to lift up Lemuria. So after a while I started talking to Prozack and he was like "man I tried to have the DJ spin new underground hip hop and they started spinning Golden Era old shit anyway even though I paid them"… We waxed and waxed on different occasions until he said "you and Hiero need to do it and you can use my bar". He felt like with Hiero's pedigree, Hiero Day and the weight of our name we could pull it off with a higher degree of exposure and success than would normally be possible if it were just an in house Legionnaire affair. I was like "lets do it". And after a lot of thinking and over analyzing here we are. With it being the product of a culmination of conversations, rants and musings its only right that we brand this party, which we hope to become a pillar and an institution in the local Oakland hip hop culture, as Wax Poetic."
- Pep Love @PepLava
In an effort to bring it back to the music, their goal is "to be an alternative to the excess amount of low quality hip hop shows that are filled with performers who sold tickets for the promoter to secure their place on the bill." Fingers crossed promoters in LA and other major cities are listening.
Wax Poetic takes place Friday, June 19th at The Legionnaire Saloon, 2272 Telegraph Ave in Oakland. For more information on Wax Poetics visit their official Facebook Event Page.