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12/11/2017 "The Black Economy 50 Years After The March On Washington"


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Politics Mondays: Exclusive Q & A With Russell Simmons, Chairman Of The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (Part II)


Today, we continue our exclusive two-part interview with Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam Records, the Phat Farm clothing line, Def Comedy Jam, Def Poetry, and chairman of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network.

Cedric Muhammad: Let's move to specific issues. How do you feel about vouchers and reparations?

Russell Simmons: Vouchers. My opinion is that mostly I don't like them. The Republicans have done a lot of stuff for inner-city development. They are the ones that have been practical. From a practical standpoint a lot of these ideas are helpful. But from a philosophical standpoint I think our job is to fix the public school system. That's our job. You know? Saying that and letting another generation slip through without any kind of opportunity, when we could have saved some of them...is kind of a funny view. But I just think our job is to fix the public schools.

Reparations. I feel that young people need to hear that. It is about yesterday - that the government supported policies that kept us from having equal access. It is not about slavery only. And people have to understand that. I would say that in the last 30 years there were so many issues that stop Blacks. And today still. The government owes better access to the American Dream to African-Americans. Because they were slaves and because they were discriminated against. It is not a racial issue as much as it is a plain American justice issue. And it has to be promoted as American justice. Common sense. You know when the Japanese won their cases or the little bit of support that they are giving Indians to do different things - this is what America owes. We want to live up to the Declaration Of Independence. We have these great documents. Now, you don't forget the past. If you did something yesterday, you go to jail today. Anybody who went out of business since then, fine. Any person who died, they are exempt. Their debt expired. But America has not died. There is a national debt.

Cedric Muhammad: how do you feel about the Jewish community's arguments that there is a difference between...

Russell Simmons: I don't think that's the whole Jewish community. Rabbi Schneier wouldn't tell you that.

Cedric Muhammad: Rabbi Schneier is for reparations for Black people?

Russell Simmons: Yeah. Have you seen my sneaker ads? I travel all over the country. I do interviews on morning TV shows and I have these reparations rallies and sneaker parties in the stores. We are talking about the issue in a way that I think is relevant to young people...

Cedric Muhammad: What I see forthcoming on the horizon is a scenario where, by 2004, maybe at the convention, the Democrats make a deal with Rev. Sharpton. Rev. Sharpton says, 'I need HR 40 (the reparations-study bill by Rep. John Conters) prominently in the Party platform' and the Democrats say, 'OK'. To me, as I have written, HR 40 is OK but it is a study-only bill. It is a "set up a commission bill" that really doesn't require anything to be done in the way of compensation...

Russell Simmons: I think that having a better dialogue on the subject is a decent step. I mean that is not a big deal for Sharpton to make. But we do need it. Common sense should come to every legislator on this matter. I mean,
You owe'. And the corporations who have long-term balance sheets (that show a connection to slavery) - they invest their money in it. Blacks too. See, I think Blacks should pay part of the reparations because the country is built. I don't think they are exempt from payment - if the government does special job training or offers opportunity or educational, or anything that will uplift the community at the government cost. And if you buy stock in a company and that company gets hit with a reparations bill or that company does additional work in the community and that stock goes down because they are spending money to kind of redeem themselves then you (government) pay for it.

Cedric Muhammad: Have you discussed this with Senator Hillary Clinton?

Russell Simmons: Ah yeah...she's very...(sighs)...I would say that she is moderate. I don't know why it is everyday that I have to hear that she is a liberal. She is a very moderate Democrat on a lot of issues and she is such a political animal that, I mean, it is scary!

Cedric Muhammad: She wouldn't touch it...

Russell Simmons: It is scary to me that she is so political and poll-driven. That would be her downfall if she was to run for President. It is that heart thing that I was talking about. That heart thing that the Republicans are beating the shit out of the Democrats with. That honesty. Bill O'Reilly. He shuts them down. I mean he is one example. He is no less smarter than a politician. There are not usually geniuses. Unless they are Bill Clinton. And even he was polls, polls, polls. And perception was more important than what he was doing. But they are politicians. You know who I like about that subject is Andy's wife - Andrew Cuomo's wife. She is very vocal about it and means it. Wellstone was an example of a Democrat with heart. Wellstone won because of his heart and Mondale couldn't win because of his lack of heart. They put a Republican in that space. Wellstone was the most liberal guy in the country and a Republican takes his space because Republicans are driven by heart too.

Cedric Muhammad: Do you think it is the lack of conviction or just the lack of courage?

Russell Simmons: Both. Conviction and courage are the two words I wish I had come up with.

Cedric Muhammad: Russell you have got to tell me what's up and what is going on with the New York Police Department surveillance of Hip-Hop artists...

Russell Simmons: They are profiling artists. I spend a lot of time trying to make the Hip-Hop community more honest and more hard-working for their communities. Just show up. Just loan your name. Just lend your support. Because it is powerful what your words are. And because you showed up and you learned something or you wrote something, it is powerful. And Hip-Hop artists' words are more important across the world than Colin Powell, to young people, if you are Jay-Z. Puffy is certainly more important in some ways than George Bush, everywhere in the world, certainly more well liked, certainly. So these guys are powerful. And so the idea is to move them forward at least some. I want to hear every bit of truth, but there is a lot of truth that isn't being told that we can start with. There are a lot of social and political issues that aren't being discussed. And if they can figure out that it is important for their own sales and their own credibilityand for their own survival as artists, to speak to the things that affect them from their own heart; that is what makes them endearing, what sells and what makes them last. So I am always promoting that to them. And that is what the Hip-Hop summit tries to do in all of these meetings. But I have not spent a lot of time on the profiling of rappers.

But, Fabolous shouldn't be driving around with a gun. That is a terrible thing to say, and I've got a Muslim in the back - Brother Gary and one time a guy got shot in Cleveland and he was like, 'why was he running?', because he got shot in the back. I mean these guys around me are pretty conservative on the subject. I don't like saying shit like that (in reference to Fabolous). But I don't want them to be able to get 50Cent whenever they want. I mean, whenever they want they just pull him over just because he is running past the light...

Cedric Muhammad: But Russell isn't this COINTELPRO? Isn't this higher than just profiling?When you've got the ATF and FBI following Biggie's car., you have...

Russell Simmons: No question it is higher than profiling. It is illegal it is an issue that we can take on. Man, I am trying to not only raise their consciousness and protect their freedom of speech and protect them and nurture them. But that is only a small part of it. It is also about what can I get from them for the community and we have a whole list of things, an agenda. I just don't (sigh) you know, right now?...

Cedric Muhammad: What is it? Do you need more help politically? Is it something the Congressional Black Caucus needs to back you up on?

Russell Simmons: I think so but I think it is... you know, the Crime Force unit, man. I mean they are following drug dealers around. They are following people around who in some cases talk about how many guns they carry. And these people...I am not endorsing it . I am saying it is wrong it is illegal. It is a major legal issue. There should be some kind of suit thrown against the city. They have this task force. We know what it is and we know it is chasing people who have never been convicted of any crime but they are really following around people who have been convicted. It is about disenfranchising poor people. It is about the struggle. It is about the truth. But it is also about illegal activity that is part of their relationship (the artists) with this condition that they expose (in their artform)...

Cedric Muhammad: I mean I wrote about it. I called it "The War On Drugs Meets The Hip-Hop Economy" in our RAPCOINTELPRO series at BlackElectorate.com. I mean we are...

Russell Simmons: It is horrible to follow around Irv Gotti when you know 50 drug dealers in Queens. You know the murderers in Queens who you can't catch. You are not following them around. You are following Irv Gotti around. You are wasting the taxpayers' money. There is no question about that. When you are following around Fabolous you should be following around drug dealers. They are going to run a red light too. When they break the red light you are going to find drugs and a gun. So in other words you know that you are doing high-profile shit. It is wrong. You are wasting the taxpayers' money and it is something that we should address in a more meaningful way. It is something we have spoken about but not done anything. Yeah, we could use help from the Black Caucus. I don't know how many of them want to go to work on this.

Cedric Muhammad: I know you know Congresswoman McKinney. She would be great, but is gone from Congress.

Russell Simmons: Yeah, definitely. She would be good at it even if just in terms of raising visibility and awareness of the issue, were she to speak out on it. But I just think...I shouldn't even be saying this. It is horrible. It is wrong. It is a waste of taxpayers' money. I could say all of these things about it but I can't bring myself, when I have all of these priorities - social and political that are really about uplifting the community to... I protect their freedom of speech. I go back and forth to Washington and I try to protect them from themselves, Brother...

Cedric Muhammad: Russell I know, but...

Russell Simmons: But it is a bigger issue than just following them around. I mean, what does this mean? What are the implications of this? What are the ramifications? I understand your point...

Cedric Muhammad: I'm not trying to...Let me just say. You sound just like when I talked to Dame Dash (CEO Roc-A-Fella Records), who loves you and spoke very highly of you over a month ago. But when I brought up the subject of distribution, the tone in his voice sounds just like yours sounds now. He said that issue was so big it was 'gangsta'. He felt that it was so beyond where he was. He said he needed to get around to it, like you are saying now...

Russell Simmons: Well distribution is a big network of people who make not that much money for their service and for Damon - if he owned his company, and he doesn't, but if people owned their company, people can do independent distribution or they can do their own distribution. But it is a lot of money with big infrastructure and there is not a lot of profit. It (profit) is really the ownership of the masters (recordings). And this is an issue where Black have done better than their White counterparts at. So whenever you hear these Blacks talking about 'we don't get enough of our own..,'...That is not true. They own every damn thing. Master P., Cash Money and some of the deals that were made were ones that no one could make. No one could make deals like those. Irv Gotti's deal is ridiculous because he made one hit record and he came and just got millions of dollars because we knew he was talented and because Tommy (Mottola) knew. And because they felt, they couldn't do what these kids do. You can sign all the Brittney Spears that you want and you have a job here and maybe make a million dollars. Meanwhile kids like Irv Gotti make millions. So some people in the industry can sit around and complain because they are managing a lifestyle and music community that no one can manage in the corporate building. And so they lose because these guys who can handle leave and start their independent companies and they own much more of the profits. They make a new deal where they own a greater share of the profits while others handle the areas where the profit margins are less. The public owns the company but they (the Black music entrepreneur) own the greater portion of the profits, in some cases. So it is not an issue of why Blacks can't own. They own everything. Now, they should be in more senior positions in the building...

Cedric Muhammad: But why not a "Black" Vivendi Universal or a "Black" Sony? Are you saying that the economies of scale are...

Russell Simmons: They are public companies. We do have a "Japanese" Sony here. But a lot of it is public. Vivendi is public. Dick Parsons (CEO and Chairman Of AOL/Time Warner) is Black. There are Blacks out here running these corporations. Or, they are "mixes" (where Blacks own big portions while others run the companies).

Cedric Muhammad: So you think it is a bit of a red herring? It is a side issue that we get caught up in?

Russell Simmons: Yeah. It is something that we talk about but it means nothing because nobody owns none of this shit! I mean, so somebody owns the most stock. Like Oprah owns a lot of stock in a lot of companies. Blacks are owning stock - big pieces of stock. Look at Bob Johnson. Maybe he is the biggest personal holder of stock in Viacom. Who knows what everyone owns? But that is a different discussion from when you start a little company and it is called Cash Money and you tell a guy, 'I don't want to make a deal with you. I want to own everything. You distribute my records and leave me alone'. Then, you own more than everybody. You make more than Doug Morris. You make more than Jimmy Iovine; you make more than Lyor Cohen. You make more than everybody, for the Cash Money clique. Based on what their deal was per record sale. So I don't know how to say that is not economic justice. It is greater than anything than anyone could have imagined. So these guys are really making more than their White counterparts who signed 5 acts and sell 3 million a piece, just sitting there behind a desk working for a boss and getting small bonuses.

Cedric Muhammad: Let's close out with a last couple of questions. Ok, Russell, we do a lot of work with record stores. I don't buy this argument that file-sharing, CD-burning, and MP3-ing is what hurt us last year...

Russell Simmons: No?!

Cedric Muhammad: This is what I think. Nothing came out until May with Cam'ron and Eminem right after. It was like nobody put out anything in last year. I addressed this with the LA Times...

Russell Simmons: In Hip-Hop. Yeah right! It wasn't that many good records...

Cedric Muhammad: Naw, it was like nothing came out. It was Styles P. in July, Cam'ron in May and then you had to wait for LL, Jay-Z, and then Ja Rule and Nas...

Russell Simmons: That is very, very important point, what you are saying. But I can tell you that it really is affecting us in a dramatic way. There is so much file-sharing. And I just bought a piece of a company, Brilliant Digital, and they have something called Altnet that identifies what's clean and what can be traded and you pay 50 cents for the service. If you got 2 million Nat King Cole Records going over the counter in one year and you would have had 200 thousand and if 50% of those people pay you some money per file, or everytime they shared a file, on millions of records that would have never have been sold or traded under any circumstances in stores; and now it is being traded; and we could actually make the majority of them pay some fee for this; I think that we should pursue a real dialogue with these online companies and big file-sharers like Napster or now, Morpheus -the big file sharer, on how this can be done profitably.

Cedric Muhammad: But I have a problem when the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) comes in. You know how people are making money in their stores in this drought Russell? They are selling 10 different 'Best of 50Cent' mixtapes...

Russell Simmons: Right.

Cedric Muhammad: The mixtapes are keeping the Mom and Pop record stores going. And you have Hillary Rosen (who just resigned last Thursday as head of the RIAA), who I know you are friends with and the RIAA shutting stores down and it is the labels who are facilitating the release of the music to mixtape DJs...

Russell Simmons: They aren't making enough money on records that cost a fortune (to consumers) that cost nothing to make - they pay a lot in the actual recording but the manufacturing of these records costs nothing. They charge a lot of money for a huge overhead and the artists aren't making any money either. No one is making money. They have to figure out how to go with the culture. The culture is going with the file-sharing and trading so they have to figure out how to monetize the new industry. They cannot keep fighting it. No legal issue can help. The legal approach can slow down the momentum of the cultural process but it cannot save the industry. You can threaten and you can arrest some kid and you can threaten everybody all you want but the business has to change, to go with it. Fighting the world is not going to be the industry's solution. So they have to make some decisions now. There will be a dramatic drop-off this year and next year in sales. And I never agreed with their approach. I always thought that the exposure was the best thing for the record in the first place. MTV was supposed to kill the industry - it tripled it. Radio was supposed to destroy the industry at one point. It helped it. But this is really a more serious problem than any of that because the culture is going away from buying. When the culture goes that way they have to figure out a way to monetize it. And I was actually on a panel at Harvard about this on Saturday. They were talking about a lot of legal remedies they have. And I know a lot about the legal remedies. I think that is OK to slow it down while you make a decision but the industry has to make some serious decisions now.

Cedric Muhammad: But I think the legal remedies are disproportionately affecting us man, because we are the ones that made 50Cent on the street. And He worked with the street. Eminem signs him and Shady/Aftermath/Universal provides Eminem to mixtape DJs like Kay-Slay and then, stores are getting shut down by the RIAA for selling the stuff...

Russell Simmons: Right, right...

Cedric Muhammad: It is like the crack cocaine vs. powder cocaine sentencing discrepancy where the low-level guy gets killed for something that the big dealers and money-laundering banks go free on. I hope that you will fight for us at the bottom of the process...

Russell Simmons: You are right. At the bottom they are deserted. I mean the record and exposure is still the best promotion for the record and we still deal with the mixtapes. And we know that the culture is something that we have to move with. You can't fight the culture. You cannot. If music becomes more popular because people have more access to more music, then we should figure out a way to make money off of that and not overcharge. Because that is what they do - they overcharge for the albums too. And then they don't pay the artists because the artists' spend the money...it is just a big wasteful system. They have to learn to manage the business of music and they are not doing a good enough job of it. They are not changing quick enough.

Cedric Muhammad: Before we wrap up I have to get the Russell Simmons' business model.

Russell Simmons: Ok!

Cedric Muhammad: It is heavy into line extension. And you talk about Donald Trump in your book and how you picked up some of how you use your name to brand from him...

Russell Simmons: Here's an example. I have a card which has a great possibility for empowerment. There are 70 million Americans who cannot get a bank account. Can't get one. I have a non-bank required debit card with Visa. It is the only one of its kind. That means your check gets deposited. You go to the ATM take your money out if you want or you pay all of your bills. Instead of spending 8 hours a week with that you just pay your bills. You pay all of your bills. You have no overdrafts on the account; if you are middle-class and you have these huge overdraft issues every month, or every week, like many. Or if you want to manage the people around you in a company, there is a Rush business card. This business was formed as a service and I have always said that everything was service. But I really believe now that I cannot do any new businesses that aren't. And like Phat Farm all of its campaigns are about the social or political landscape; and what we represent; and trying to inspire you. The flag has been upside down now for ten years. All of that. So I believe that now. Def Con 3 is an energy drink we are launching. "Stop the bull goto Def Con 3" is a campaign. We are trying to employ Ludacriss because of what happened with Ludacriss (and Pepsi). We are going to fund the Hip-Hop Summit with the profits. If the thing ships 600,000 cases like it is supposed to in February and it starts to become the real alternative that I know it could be to some of the other energy drinks because it is much more healthier and it has all of these anti-oxidants and stuff. And its not going to cause you any problems. Because people drink that stuff with vodka and they have heart attacks f------- with Red Bull and other companies like it! If this company becomes what I think it can with the great distribution partnerships that I am working on with Joe Maloof and other great independent distributers, it is going to make the Hip-Hop Summit Network a very, very powerful network. We will have the staff and infrastructure that we need to really do the work we want to do. Everything that I do is going to have something to do with empowerment or I am not going to do it. I am finding this out like the Indian goddess, Lakshmi - the goddess of prosperity. I feel the more I give the more worldly success I get. And that was not by design. And none of the ideas that kind of worked by design to give me profit, never really worked. So all of the ideas that I have really done are offerings-work. And so I am now really only focusing only on that work. Not because they work but because of what they do for people and then they always end up working. It is kind of like, I know you have heard that from Reverend Ike! (laughs) But you have also heard it from everyone from Jesus to Buddha to Muhammad to Pantanjali, the Yoga Sutras; to the Bhagavad Gita. And giving and service and all of that, I believe that shit! And I find that I have been able to empower a lot more people and do a lot more business when I make these kinds of choices. There is a card that I am shipping right now, the Rush Card, I should send you one, with your name on it with a dollar on it. You go to the store right now and you won't believe it! That thing...and I talk to mayors and we have big Democrats working on things and trying to empower. We think that it should be a delivery service for welfare and other social services but at the same time it is going to have a bunch of ways to enable people who are not credit worthy to become credit worthy. It is going to have a lot of different features and also never mind for just those who are less credit-worthy. It is a management thing. The Rush business card. What I don't want is people to misunderstand it. Just because it has all of these qualities for empowerment for people who are less fortunate and who have been locked out of the system, it also has a lot of features that will be attached to it, in the second phase, so that this thing is not just perceived for the less fortunate. That is very important part of the positioning of this card from an image standpoint. I want people to be able to smack it down at the Ritz Carlton and not be profiled. And my partner is what makes this unique, having the partner that I do in this business because he happens to own $9 billion in debt. He buys distressed debt. He is the only person in the country who buys distressed debt and collects it through information, because you need information to get these cards to work properly. In other words you need to make sure that you don't put people on the card so that it doesn't become something illegal. Unifund is the number 1, or the most effective, by far, collector of real distressed debt. That is my partner's company. David Rosenberg is my partner. The point is that these kind of things will really enable me, if they are done right, to really be a philanthropist and to really move some things around so I am excited about them (new ventures).

Cedric Muhammad: And you should be. What is going on Russell, with the One World magazine cover with Lil' Kim? As you know, our Brother Najee Ali and Project Islamic H.O.P.E...

Russell Simmons: Oh man I know about that...

Cedric Muhammad: What's going on with that?

Russell Simmons: I don't know man, Ben saw it and didn't think nothing of it. I didn't even think about it. I didn't even think about Islam, nothing. And now that I know about it I feel reallyuncomfortable with the fact that I have offended all of these people. But there is nothing that I can do about that. If she wants to wrap a towel around her face and be naked then that is Little Kim. I bet yo, it was a great cover. And I really wanted to respond to them in some way. My first response was, 'Oh my God write an apology!' I am sorry they are offended. That is the most my apology could have really been anyway. I didn't get a chance to respond. I was away and I got back and they said 'you should respond now, let's write an apology'. And I got half way through dictating it and I realized, yeah but, as much as I am apologizing I wouldn't have stopped it. So, it is not that helpful. Like, what am I going to do?

Cedric Muhammad: Well, they want you to, you know...

Russell Simmons: And I found out also that Minister Ben, down the hall who is a Muslim minister told me that it is a cultural thing more than a religious thing.

Cedric Muhammad: Yeah, well, they don't see it...

Russell Simmons: To make women wrap up in towels, I don't believe in that either. I think that is foul. She should wear whatever she wants and express whatever she wants and certainly from what I know about the Muslim faith - it is beautiful. You know, Farrakhan, out of all spiritual people, is...Probably one of the people that has most influenced me to do all of the positive work that I do today is the Minister and that movement has been my favorite, that I have seen, growing up, my whole life and my young life to my adult life too...

Cedric Muhammad: But you and I know that the Minister doesn't approve of the Sisters being portrayed the way the are in Hip-Hop. How do you balance that? I understand...

Russell Simmons: Listen to me. That is one thing with the Minister. We always talk about it. What do I think he thinks about Lil' Kim's outfit? What does Minister Farrakhan think about it? He probably thinks that she should put some clothes on! But he probably doesn't think that she should have to wear a mask if she was a Muslim...

Cedric Muhammad: But should you put it on the cover...

Russell Simmons: Mother Khadijah (Minister Farrakhan's wife) don't wear that (a veil covering the face)!

Cedric Muhammad: No question. And neither do the people, or Sisters that you and I love or untold numbers of Muslim women.

Russell Simmons: Right.

Cedric Muhammad: But what about you putting it on the cover?

Russell Simmons: I know. But listen. I think that rappers, with all of their foul-mouths, are less sexist than their parents. In other words, the rapper who wrote the record that offended you the most, his father is less likely to empower a woman - hire them as president, manager, all of that - his father - I don't care what deacon at what church, he is less likely to empower some woman than a rapper is. Just cause he uses the language and just because he has some of the same sexism that his father definitely had and his grandfather had even more; doesn't make him a (worse) person on woman's rights and women's issues. His foul mouth...the curse is the action more than it is the language. And I think that what these people have been doing all of these years may offend or shock you but it is still the truth. And I want to hear the truth all day. And little girls hear this shit and say, 'Oh my God this is what they are saying?' And they (little girls) are powerful. They may not be as sophisticated or educated on other subjects as they should be but, on the subject of men? They know what their father was thinking and their father never said it out in public.

Cedric Muhammad: So you see it as an expression of freedom of speech more than exploiting a Sister who should know better.

Russell Simmons: It is a sad state of men in the world and in America. I think the sexism is horrible!

Cedric Muhammad: I know you do, from what I know you have spoken about it and you write about it but what am I am trying to understand - and I deal with it too to a lesser extent with what we put on at BlackElectorate.com - is, at what point does your consciousness say, "I can't do that anymore"? I can't put a Sister on an album cover like that or a magazine...

Russell Simmons: Shit man, I watch these people at the NAACP open up a speech saying 'I can't believe this girl is shaking her butt' and we just had African dancers on the stage one second before, opening the ceremony. The girl was doing the exact same thing. Brother, I don't care what anybody says we have been doing that forever. What makes them any different? What makes those African dancers different than these new Hip-Hop dancers? What makes these girls...these girls outfits ain't (as bad as) the 60s. I wish they were wearing those little skirts but they are not. They are just not wearing the same shit they were wearing in the 60's and they are not exhibiting the same (loose behavior). C'mon man, free love is not happening (today), because of AIDS or whatever reason. Little girls are much more sophisticated about men and what they have been thinking for thousands of years because it is out in the open today. You've got to hear what you want to hear. Little girls hear the truth out of these guys and they see it later in the hallway between classes and they are like, 'I know how I gotta deal with you.' So, there is less "baby's mamas" because of it. Because that ain't cool to be a "baby's mama". "Papa don't preach" is never happening as a rap song right now. So there not having his baby and bragging about it (like Madonna). It is just not cool. And I think you can see statistics that this truth has given girls a different reality. So I don't agree with the Minister on everything single thing but I do agree with almost everything he has to say. I mean, some of the conservative things...

Cedric Muhammad: Well, I appreciate you (forthrightly) saying that. I mean, to me, it is pretty obvious that you want to defend the imagery and the right to express that imagery...

Russell Simmons: They can say what they want! And the truth is that I try to hear God's soundtrack in all sounds. I mean, that's some yoga shit but I do try to hear the silver lining or the truth. I hear DMX as a spiritual record and you may hear it as a gangsta' record. He's telling you the frustration of gangsterism and how he feels when he is connected to God on every album. It is very clear. And a lot of kids hear it and a lot of kids hear something else. You hear what you want.

Cedric Muhammad: Russell I really appreciate this...

Russell Simmons: Brother, thank you.

Cedric Muhammad: You take care and the next time I am in the city I will come through.

Russell Simmons: Yeah when you come back to New York to see me I want you to come see the play, Def Poetry Jam on Broadway too.

Cedric Muhammad: Will do.

Russell Simmons: Alright man, peace.

Cedric Muhammad: Peace.


Monday, January 27, 2003

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