These were the Dark Ages and the friction a pen struggled through was ignored, all as if it were a gratuitous hobby of the God. They seemed to never heed the need in a word until their own bleeds silently from their standing knee. And the Writer of the flesh may not completely save today so he resigns to also be a leader of the future. His liquid instrument now a walking stick trailing archive thoughts on the Real. A graffiti carved in hardened mud punchloading through usb chords and collecting in premierely placed ISP spots. It’s murkily magnificent grime all made of the waters of innovation.
They say some of it was to oxygenate the suffocating grafting process that was charged at a hot 97 degrees. They really are words to those unseen, eyes on our unknown, so the craft lays fossils of B-Boys halted in rock–down or up–only archaeologists can remember the stance. So as keys act as pen, reaching a speed that packs verbosely, today’s lost battles are proffered as morals. For when traps were at its worst with broken chips off GOATs, minutes deleted off large pro MPCs and vinyl grooves that no longer segue, nothing no longer served as the railroad of inspiration. This weaker, newer, diluted hipster underground, beyond the tracks of the counterculture, has upmerged. And suburbanites, gentrifiers and wilted wiggers took nest in the sold songs that could never offer Preservation to the Ka, the vital essence between the living culture and the elaborate sculpture. Who of us is to write back, history mistold and the history in advance?!
These Dark Ages make Medina known from the Warring States period of then to the Nigga States period we in now. From the pleasurably lush 49th street terrace that ignites a Gunset to gaze upon to the voluptuous head of Betsy’s greenery where the Brownsville geniuses of word graze upon. These are distances of more than miles, select stops of trials when the subway was the canvas for the Black/Brown labeled subhumans. The time of Warring States when crime had character and the rebel could revolutionize with a knowledge of self. To this Nigga States period where the babies starve quietly, pigs shine as the true beasts on cameras and our successful elders comfortably win censoring of the only word that describes the era.
Musts and needs of change are long, detailed and dynamically destroyed so now a knowledge of self is trivial niche. So this ZEN of US offered, as imposing to time as the immediacy of the four limbs martially striking at peak excellence. For its prelude, we welcome Ka, a champion of the Warring States, now a bard of the Nigga States period. A born king but the trial made him a Brownsville sergeant of the dastardly transaction. Once, Barry White transmuted it all into love unlimited yet here over Preservation’s orchestration, Ka’s words are a rugged portraiture. A tapped classic drum stick setting a snare, a bass line brewing and a cascading vibes to ring White’s confession, leading to Ka’s story. In that sonic vestibule, the works of Ka are to artfully utter the occurrences that ought not to be lived. And with more beauty and sophistication, the illness of the work increases and even those clean of the mire may endeavor to be inspired.
Through great Zen a man will know that without weapons or the spilling of blood, he still has been in his own warring state. That there ought to be no joy in pleasures rendered in comforts for a warrior. Pledged merely by his humanity for the sincerity of the children, his and yours. So even if our tender was merited legal, our hearts so Black and Browned must learn everything, do everything and be everything. That in the Nigga States Period, knowledge is currency ridiculed, wisdom is an economy violently sanctioned and understanding is a purpose never to be revealed. A knowledge of self, a ZEN of US, artfully and rightfully told, we ought to have.
So I prelude that I will never title as a master teacher, just an endlessly sharing student walking unpaved roads. Yet when the great elder calls out the title, I hold the square and answer to Maestro…
…as an unlikely King, Allah himself, stops, stalls and starts formulating the curriculum for the blackest pedagogy. That even when men are locked behind bars there can be hard time scriptures their mind may hymn. The curriculum is a kite of perfection that needed the coarse work of this harsh life. Where in this Nigga States period the world is searchable in nets of typed demands, the glaring shortage is in the supply of intent with such. A man that shares is one who’s learned how he learns. It starts with what he learned from, the turning of his memoir pages towards the poverty of the Warring States. The period where answers were found through fatally testable means.
A Preservation score commenced with a pensive piano reverberating, bassline booms as highlight breaks and deep toned crashes punctuate the versed trauma. Ka hypnotically capsules the theme, “Raised in ruins, rage is the influence/the Soul sins/still heir [air], no wins [winds].” A theme filled with the losses that wring extravagant detail as Ka’s “putting it in this documented footage, no erroneous depiction.” The notes of trauma persist, “When shots blowing it’s the not knowing…used to roaches in the kitchen/feeling lost peeling off notice of eviction…took subsidies to cover my mother’s needs but a cheese plate can’t negate through bloody leaves.”
Listening to a mastery of tempo, Ka is the signature vocal pitch that has learned to converse in the pitch of decay. That our young merge into manhood through the violence of crime spurts, bad books and cops outbursts. Out of these warring states, less and less generals exist and the curriculum of concrete salvation, a knowledge of self, is a rarely afforded tuition. Its principles then cost the moneys of many dark alley trades and in this nigga states period, assimilation saves them from the dark, in colored characters of complacence. A quiet and submissive Black space borns no stars…
“Fall of the Bronze (New Iron)”
…So Preservation must be a foundation for innovation. A discordant beep that sets strings on a timed cymbal snare where Roc Marci and Ka won’t need the break to beat. The way of the Blackest Pedagogy is the learning of one’s hells into a set of plus lessons that add truth to a student’s activity. Their brushes with the law and their dedication to their gang are transmuted into insights on oppression and the loyalty to the wise and honorable.
There are wars with contradiction and hypocrisy that war on Metal Clergy tracks. Roc Marci, the supreme New York stylist of the era, has a stutter and commence flow that stabs the unapologetic action for the fiscal reward. Ka, filled with dynamic lines, declares, “got a bone to pick, click, blast at your femur/bared my fair share of lashes in Medina/concrete jungles always crumble where grass is greener.” Their union composes a balance of dynamic ruthlessness and deft retrospect. The hypocrisy of this world judges all of us by our most suffering. Still those worst, in the Warring States period, were held to a mandate to dominate the hell they seem magically surrounded in. And in this Nigga States period, the true MC says so because he pitches rhymes from another block, less gritty, more glossy. So in this music we justify by the repercussions of skill and not the mere cataloging of the bad.
These are contradictions the fearless embrace. From one age to another, the Warring and Nigga states all shall pass as righteousness is ushered in by the embrace of Art’s honesty in brilliant execution. In this way, any Black and Brown man left to fend for self may become a…
…“proven pillar in their community.” Ancient times never seem to end when one reads of the same wars that Chancellor Williams chronicled, the Maya the Vedas spell illusion’s pitfalls by and the near entire mass followers submitting under despotic rulers despite the rare revolutionary anomaly.
The pulsing hypnotism of the bassline KA rides and a high snare lets him hit his punchline peaks. All with a seemingly lone key that reverberates through for the endless oppression of “Years.” No MC has such a distinct and profound build and is exploring this decade. KA’s work from 2012’s Grief Pedigree through 2013’s The Night’s Gambit is a funk exploration into poverty’s trauma and street struggle. These songs stain one’s thoughts as we wonder along, “Food for thought/you should of brought a bigger plate/this aint swine rhyming/ it’s fine dining/raw by the liquor store but I ain’t whining/no sense to buffer/what’s meant to suffer/the dark/ made for better art/to dispense and usher/built from pain/tilt your frame/now level head…” Amidst a legacy, these classics deserve appreciation for the peoples of Brooklyn and any ghetto whose suffering has become recorded cliché.
And we propose to them young that while they hustled you wrote your history, while they sold product to eat you learned to fast and read. While they read behind bars, you sought the authors of the scrolls. In any chapter of the Blackest Pedagogy, the way to share is a mirror to the way you live. A writer may live in the squalor of the cloth but the wealth of his word is prime to address all seeking. A poor righteous teacher sacrificing to share the best learned betterment…for years and years and years…
“To Hull and Back”
…They shall come and when the moment arrives will declare, “when all I’ve grown to see, with no help of wealth what else I was going to be?!” The characters we find for the teachings we share are all potential enemies. A minute to an hour to a day—yes to years again, of family that “should’ve been looking at the books instead of mastering the cooking and jux.” Preservation digitally howls through eerie strings that cut in and out. The bassline measures again to a set pace and reaches articulated nuances. And all must empathize and so I understand, “I know the deeds in my head is foul/but when that belly growl/it’s yelling. ‘Now!’/it’s yelling, ‘Now!’”
Stand on a corner, see who went to Hull and back. We are left appreciating the rapper who abnormally left and stayed. Tunes of clichés and stereotypes that let outside markets buy and stigmatize. Now then, it only takes the distance of a block to change the fate of a growing hood baby. 48th street versus 49th street. A difference where bullets are heard or felt. And when the best growing is done and escape commences is there even an empathy for the songs by the Brownsville bard that mindfully stays? “You named them hustlers, killers, fiends, ex-cons/I called them cousins, aunts, Pops, Moms/To you? Hoodlums, crackheads, gunmens/To me? Just neighbors, classmates, young friends.”
We, Black and Brown, didn’t grow up around crime but with it as a truly viable option. “The true fact is that life is harsh/it’s too black and dirty to whitewash/to be a model citizen takes a model grooming/in the hallways always a body looming/blessed, cops ain’t kill me young/repping blocks not knowing where we really from…” Planning an exit—a future of legal business and desired stature–was often a limiting catalyst. But finally writing our own history meant that the street option was a forced survival of savagery. That this history we write, so powerful we will it to be, will search deeply where we really are from and who we are. So what of the rising out of the ghetto hell without dismissing the humanity that still resides there? To Hull and back.
“Not just wordplay/serious sentences/laid back style, still hearing the emphasis…” There is a detail of soul and heart that KA has etched in this Extended Play. One that we may use to score the analyzing of this art of war we are emerged in. To bring forth a Zen of Us with the commentaries that burst a new way to see principles in the chapters torn from our streets. So who will seek?
Che Guevara guns make notes but the kickback is rooted in his rifling for our peoples’ humanity in poverty, our true civilization. Tupac’s contradictions make stage excitement but the backstage plots were in a told diversity in the paths and pitfalls of righteousness. And who sees what Allah, of the 1960’s, the teacher of my teachers, did walking past civil rights, forgoing the negative waste of killing whitey and uselessly loving a hypocritical human right to be bestowed. Risking a Harlem setback for a Mecca setting of great forum where babies get a knowledge of self.
So who dares to make a crate of today’s work as Ka and Preservation here? To quietly release the visuals of the greatest wars, when none of it streamed and “if they come to frame me I pose with the chrome.” A brief composition of humanity out of concrete rubble that Ka has innovated and Preservation preserved powerfully. With the 1200 B.C. EP, I can introduce The ZEN of US as a new ancient text, a treasure for the progressive in the decadent areas, a family scroll for my people…
PURCHASE KA & PRESERVATION’S 1200 B.C. EP HERE
The ZEN of US