Posts Tagged ‘afrika bambaataa


Note to Little Stevie… freedom is not a privilege

This weekend, I pulled out my vinyl copy of Little Stephen’s Artists United Against Apartheid project – Sun City.

Unlike Band-Aid or the “We Are the World” project, Little Stephen brought artists from a wide variety of genres – and far more alternative, at the time, than the more poppy predecessors. Also unlike them, his assembly of rappers and rockers produced an entire album’s worth of materials – seven songs in all.

All of the songs on it are pretty solid, which doesn’t surprise me given the musicians involved, but as I was listening to the song and thinking about where we are these days, politically, I was struck by one lyric:

“Freedom is a privilege nobody rides for free”

This gave me pause for two reasons:

1. The first half claims that freedom is a privilege, but it’s not. Freedom is a right. No man or woman has the right to own or shackle another. In this day and age, when people believe things like health care, a job and even a driver’s license is a right, I’m surprised that this group would produce a lyric stating the ultimate right – freedom – is a privilege.

2. The second half says “nobody rides for free.” I’m making an assumption, but I’m guessing most of the people involved with this record believe in Obama’s healthcare law – which claims to give things for free. In fact, Obama’s approach to government is to redistribute wealth and give money and benefits for free to those who “cannot” fend for themselves. (And by “cannot,” I don’t mean the truly unable, but those able-bodied and often educated people who’ve decided to reap the benefits of government programs.) It’s all about “free” these days.

I was stunned that in one sentence, they got two fundamental ideas so backwards, and in fact, they don’t actually support either notion.

But aside from that, the song is still solid – though I think it may not entirely be holding up well against time. There are other great songs on this album though, including the largely Peter Gabriel-based “No More Apartheid.” If you can find a copy, I recommend checking out this historical relic from the 80’s.


two classic great “shows” are coming to chicago

Every Friday, I check out the Early Warnings section of the Chicago Reader. Despite my intense dislike for the City of Chicago (not necessarily the people in it, but the physical city, itself), it is the closest place that gets bands Madison may not get.

I noticed today that there are two must-see, classic acts coming in the next few months.

Afrika Bambaataa will be playing at the Smart Bar next week Friday (Aug 29). Tickets are still available, and if you’re at all a student of music, or just want to see a good, non-stop, high energy spectacle, make your way to check this out. Here’s a sample of what goes on…

The other spectacle on the other side of the spectrum – GWAR (you really should click through for this site) – comes to the House of Blues on October 30. GWAR is a band whose fame comes not at all from their music, but their intense gore-fest of a stage show. Their live act is legendary, and though I have no taste for their music at all, I’d go in a second if the times and logistics all work out.

Here’s a taste of what’s in store for anyone willing to leave their comfort zone…

July 2018
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