Pushing the Tracks: “Beefed Out” by Sacramento Knoxx


If you follow this publication at all, you’re more than likely familiar with the work of producer/MC Sacramento Knoxx. Born and raised in Detroit, Knoxx incorporates hip-hop into his work as a community organizer and activist. For the last three months Knoxx spent time in Oakland and San Francisco, California as an artist in residence at the School of Unity and Liberation and the Arab Organizing & Resource Center.  As violence between Israel and Palestine intensified this summer, Knoxx’s work to address anti-arab racism, speaking out about the injustices of the Israeli Apartheid and teaching youth from a social justice lens became even more crucial .

Today we feature “Beefed Out,” from the recently released The Trees Will Grow Again, the culmination of Knoxx’s summer in California. As he explains:

“Beefed Out” speaks to the increased militarization of U.S. police in our communities. We call on our communities to continue fighting back and resisting state violence and repression. Understanding prisons, borders, surveillance and policing as tools of global repression is critical to building and maintaining powerful movements for liberation.”

Behind the heavy and frantic war drums of DeathStar Kic’s Dustin Haffner, Knoxx successfully sums up the plight of the hood at home and abroad. He does this with lines such as, “Feeling like I’m facing King Koopa/ They quick to shoot ya/ That violence, repression, that new old message” and “De-fund activities with the police/ War on terror, war on drugs, border security/ R U phvckin kiddin me?/ This is the land of the free.”

The entire The Trees Will Grow Again project is another reminder of how hip-hop can be to unite people and raise consciousness when used to speak on the social, political and economic platform. As events continue to unfold in the United States, the Middle East and around the globe, our hearts and minds are with those continuing to do battle against oppression.

More information, the link to the song and instrumentals, are here: http://sknoxx.bandcamp.com/track/beefed-out

This was produced along side fellow DeathStar Klic producer, Dustin Haffner. www.soundcloud.com/dhaffner


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Return of the G’s: Why Everyone Should See OutKast Before It’s Too Late


Photo credit: diffuser.fm

By: Daniel Hodgman

Writer’s note: I would not have been able to experience this performance and reflect on it without the generosity and overall goodness of my close friend Marites. For that, I dedicate this piece to her.

“Some say we’re pro-black, but we professional. We missed a lot of church, so the music is our confessional” -Big Boi on “Aquemini”

In January, when 2014 was still a youngling, Andre 3000 and Big Boi came out of the woodwork, settled whatever differences they had and declared to the world that OutKast was back. When it was announced, it felt like a belated holiday present, kind of like that late gift your Uncle Stu sends in mid-January. The difference is that this announcement was better than any gift card you could have wrestled out of your mailbox. From the very get-go, this tour was meticulously plotted out (OutKast would settle on 40 festivals and events for the year) and triumphantly shared among critics and peers alike. More importantly however is that along with other anniversaries in hip-hop—among them, Nas’ Illmatic and De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising—the return of OutKast reinforced the stern fact that although hip-hop has changed and continues to change, the golden era legends never go away and are surely never forgotten.

Continue reading

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Bonus Cut Poetry: “between class” by Justin Cook



This is Bonus Cut Poetry, a series that features original poems by Bonus Cut staff, artists and YOU! In this series, our mission is to bring people together in poetry, share stories and display wonderful artistic pieces. If you would like to have your poems in the next Bonus Cut Poetry installment, just email us at bonuscut@gmail.com

This installment features Bonus Cut’s own Justin Cook.

between class
By: Justin Cook

“The Temiar Self can be focused on and talked about, not as an autonomous entity, but only in ways that also implicate Other (and vice versa).”
—Geoffrey Benjamin

eyelids frozen open, crisp light
permeates lungs, heading to Shamanism,
Trance, and Sacred Journeys.
most students shoe gaze, counting
their steps led by sidewalks,
talking to someone through headphones/talking
to themselves—but from afar they peer
with excitement, who could this be?
maybe, if we recirculated our vision,
we would recognize the village: that stranger
waving/giving the nod, that snowflake
melting crystal into you, half-moon mouth
carrying her silent conversation.

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Bonus Cut Poetry: “Whatever It Takes” by Abby Conklin



This is Bonus Cut Poetry, a series that features original poems by Bonus Cut staff, artists and YOU! In this series, our mission is to bring people together in poetry, share stories and display wonderful artistic pieces. If you would like to have your poems in the next Bonus Cut Poetry installment, just email us at bonuscut@gmail.com

This installment features Bonus Cut’s own Abby Conklin.

Whatever It Takes
By: Abby Conklin

Shout out to Bel Kaufman; RIP
Sorry for what?
Turn down for what?
Yo, but that music video
Shut up, I’m trying to get his attention.
Shut up.  Turn down.
YO, sorry for WHAT?
He’s talking to himself again.
Yo, don’t we get paid
to listen to him talk to himself?
Yo, Flash Gordon over here.
Yo, which ONE?  He’s got
them all running like that
now.  Wait, stop him before
he- SHIT.
Is she okay?
Yo, that’s what you get
when you five years old
and so messed up you won’t
get up off the floor.
Yo but didn’t her brother PUSH
her there?
Did he take his meds today?
I dunno- the older one’s acting normal,
so I know he did.  But maybe
mom’s giving them the same
dose again.
Yo.  NO.
Shit’s insane.
No, the kids are.
The kids are not the shit.
I thought we were excited
about them-
Yo, FUCK you!
Is it nine yet?
Are they done yet?
Have you left yet, is it raining
yet, has it stopped raining
yet, yo, where you at?
Yo, where you at, I wanna
get an ice, but the dude’s gonna leave
before my lunch.
Yo, where you goin’
for lunch?
That a chopped cheese?
Yo, you eat some shit.
Yo, YOU eat some shit.
Yo, alla you shut up, I’m on
the phone with my child’s school.
Oh shit.
Is it two yet?  You leave
a message?  Where you goin’?
You finish your lesson plan?
Yo, CHILL, seriously.  Y’all do not
have to be this turned up
by recess.
Yo, where you at, her moms is here.
Yo, I JUST got my shit started
and now you takin’ her?
Yo, not my fault.
My man, there are TWO HOURS LEFT
of program-
Sotto Voce: yo, ‘an why can’t
you take HIM instead?
Yo, I can’t with you.
Yeah, yeah.  Yeah.  Yeah,
yeah.  Yeah, you, go home, YO
I’m here to observe.
Yo, observe what?
Your academic project lesson.
Yo, you put that on my morning
schedule.  I am not doing that shit
at 2:33 P-M.
Yo, well NOTHIN’, you can come
back another-
No, imma just take notes now.
Hey, you better fill out an incident
report for that.
Yo, there aren’t any more.
Says who?!
Yo, I was in there THIRTY
MINUTES AGO after he bit
him.  We out.
Yo, yeah, we totally out.
Print more.
Yo, your printer’s broke.
Go to headquarters.
Yo, only half my team came
in today, I’m not about to leave-
Yo, she’s goin’ home.
Copy.  Copy that.  Yo,
your dad’s here, go.  Can anyone
tell me-
Hey, I’m gonna go now.
Yo, you left your notebook.
Miss, miss, when are we gonna-
OFFA HIM.  Are you-
Sorry!  I’m sorry.
Sorry for what?

I’m sorry.

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Album of the Week: “Cosmogramma” by Flying Lotus


Flying Lotus
Warp Records, 2010

Daniel’s Thought

Cosmogramma is like a bottled up piece of experimental exploration that takes you to the outer reaches of space. It spoils even the most ignorant listener with grossly engaging fills of jazz, hip-hop and electronic trance, all while remaining stunningly composed. Bordering as one big forty-five minute epic, Cosmogramma never at one point can be picked apart; it stands more as a fusion of swirling sound that takes you to the highest musical stage, and then slowly lets you drift down to catch your breath.

Opening track “Clock Catcher” bleeps and bloops through a cavalcade of electronic tumbling and strings that are plucked right out of the instruments. Its rattles and quick-hitting percussion could stand as either video game fodder or the soundtrack to a futuristic horror flick, and with this experimentation the imagery comparisons are endless. “Computer Face/ /Pure Being” relies on a mid-song synth breakdown that imposes its will over the hundreds of other sounds glistening on the track, and as if accompanying Rogue Squadron as they take down the Death Star, this space-like cut sends vectors of sound all over the place like a tumbling X-Wing. The Thom Yorke assisted track “…And The World Laughs With You” dances with pulsating hums and interjecting high-pitched vocal samples, while the percussion skips on a trip-hop ride into the mind of FlyLo. “Zodiac Shit” takes a pretty easy-going hip-hop approach and spreads itself like it’s accompanying the video game Galaga, as elements of jazz-fusion and strings drive the theme forward. “Recoiled” is smothered with jazz drumming and saxophone swells to start, but as the song progresses, FlyLo flips the switch and turns it into a jaunting slow African jam that’s eventually engulfed in a harrowing synth overlay.

Cosmogramma is the epitome of positive experimentation. Based mainly on electronic tunes that replicate futuristic sci-fi imagery, Flying Lotus is able to incorporate elements of hip-hop, jazz, funk and trance in-between to create a pure masterpiece.

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Pushing the Tracks: “VIVA PALESTINA” by Sacramento Knoxx

sacramento knoxx

By: Sacramento Knoxx

“What the world is witnessing is a colonial regime using its deadly power to crush a people’s will to resist.” -Lulu Palestina, Palestinian poet from Oakland in the Bay Area.

I have been doing an artist residency with SOUL (School Of Unity and Liberation) as a cultural worker interning at AROC (Arab Resource & Organizing Center). This instrumental is a part of a collection of cultural work we are collectively producing out here in the West Coast. This instrumental is mixed with speeches and chants from the marches, demonstrations, and protests held in San Francisco led by the Arab Youth in the bay area with amazing support from various organizations and communities of color building solidarity and joint struggle against imperialism as this current project of colonialism in Palestine continues.

When an injustice to humanity is going on and you sit silent, you are taking the side of the colonizer who is perpetuating the oppression. In this case, I’m making loud ass beats and disrupting the avenues of the internet and social media with messages of love and resistance and education to what is happening to human beings across mother earth. This genocide taking place in Palestine is not a war. With the media lying, fabricating, and co-opting the narratives of the people it is important we all tell our own narratives and be self determined in this liberation movement. Even more so, as artists, and as we build our cultural resistance, it is important to create, educate, motivate and inspire the masses to make collective action. Part of my creation is the production of cultural work of media, creative design, music, film & video, poems, spoken word, and rap.

As we continue to unplug people from the matrix with our actions, education, and art, we have to look at the larger picture, and make these connections of our tax dollars that are being used to maximize profits of the oil companies through military weapons, ammunition, equipment, and stores that help with the genocide of Palestinians as Israel is the foot soldier for U.S. Imperialism. Colonization always involves the violent taking of land and the extraction of natural resources, which is the current port area in the Mediterranean Sea next to Palestine with the Zionist occupation. That in turn is connected with private prisons, the criminalization of black & brown communities from the “war on drugs,” dehumanizing Arabs as terrorists with the “war on terrorism,” using “border security” to increase the dehumanizing process and repressive control of “undocumented” peoples in their indigenous home of occupied Turtle Island, and the violent process of gentrification happening in our current communities.

Israel receives $4 billion in “aid” from the United States each year. This money is being used to commit war crimes against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

“600+ Palestinians killed, 3,460 injured, 18,300 have taken refuge in UNRWA shelters, and 43% of Gaza is under evacuation orders/no go zones.” -BBC 

This is a historical moment for humanity that will determine if conditions get better or are made worse for people of color and the oppressed.

This is a deliberate campaign to terrorize and break the Palestinian will for self-determination, resistance, and freedom. When our future generations look back at this moment and question us with “what did you do during that horrible part of history?” I hope that we can all say that we stood united, around a vision based on the principles of dignity justice and the liberation of all Palestine.

“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” -Nelson Mandela

More info: 

In San Francisco, an energized crowd of over 6,000 people flooded and shut down Market Street this past Sunday. This comingSaturday, July 26th, as Israel continues to massacre Palestinians and the Palestinian resistance fights back, the Bay Area is mobilizing to show its support for justice and humanity.

Saturday, July 26th, 1pm

Justin Herman Plaza, Embarcadero BART Station, San Francisco



End US Aid to Israel!
Stop the Attack on Gaza now!
End the Apartheid State of Israel!
Free all our political prisoners!
Solidarity with the people of Palestine.

Knoxx is an Ojibwe/Anishinaabe & Xicano MC, music producer, motion picture artist, multimedia designer, & cultural worker.

With 7 years of foundation in latin jazz, swing, funk, blues, and indigenous music, IshKote Nene also known as Sacramento Knoxx, has brought a hybrid blend of performance & engagement within the digital media arts & the hip hop arts to audiences across Turtle Island & globally through digital spaces! 

Through his multidisciplinary artistry, his creations inspire, educate, heal, motivate, engage & reach youth & elders alike in communities of color. Being a prominent music artist from Southwest Detroit with his cultural stories of love & resistance, raw hip hop sounds, and evolving style, Knoxx is a radical composition of a free soul.

“Music Is Medicine”, as Knoxx says, and through this work, his narrative provides a voice for creative expression of identity, love, and healing as his musical pieces creatively challenges & bravely confronts many social ills faced by many communities. As an emerging national artist, @Knockzarelli seeks to leave a beautiful blend of melodies that are harmonic to the next 7 generations for the world through arts, music, and culture. 


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Bonus Cut Poetry: “On Being Vegetarian” by Abby Conklin


This is Bonus Cut Poetry, a series that features original poems by Bonus Cut staff, artists and YOU! In this series, our mission is to bring people together in poetry, share stories and display wonderful artistic pieces. If you would like to have your poems in the next Bonus Cut Poetry installment, just email us at bonuscut@gmail.com

This installment features Bonus Cut’s own Abby Conklin.

On Being Vegetarian 
By: Abby Conklin 

I took pliers and a nut cracker
to a lobster for the first time
the night of my twenty-second birthday.
Turned out more violent
than I’d thought it would, shattering
the bone-red carapace in order
to stab at freckled meat
with forked needles so sharp
they stuck me too.  Shards
of shell flying, guts clumsily
leaking onto paper plates.
Scrambling to keep the claws clear
of the intestinal green gunk.
“What’s the white stuff sheathing
the meat, Mum?  Fear turned lactic
acid?”  “No, Abby, we’re different
from lobsters.  Mammals
are different.”  She gripped
the tail, slit its tender belly up
the middle.  As if gutting
its legs hadn’t done job enough.
I held its abdomen, its head, while
she worked, torn-in-two spider
from the bottom of the ocean.
Felt dragged at by the heft
of the creature’s life turned
unbearably hot, tightness
moving bile through my chest.
I ate the tail slowly, pulling
white shreds free and trying
them in butter; congealed
yellow costuming in ramekins.
I couldn’t taste the animal
I was eating, but I kept chewing,
appearances.  Went home,
slept badly.  The next night,
there were haddock filets
for supper.

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Album of the Week: “THE PUZZLE episode one THE BIG GAME” by Lewis Parker


Lewis Parker
The Word Of Dusty Vinyl, 2009

Gus’ Thought

Talking specifically about hip-hop culture, the United States is a special place because it originated here. As we know, hip-hop spread all over the country, each region incorporating its own particular flavor and style to the mix. At this point hip-hop is a phenomenon that has taken the world by storm. Being in the United States, we get to enjoy all the artists (good and bad) that come from the birthplace of the culture. This means it can be difficult to branch out and hear sounds that come from different places. If you are in search of some hip-hop from outside the United States, check out British producer/MC Lewis Parker.

From 2011, Parker’s The Puzzle (Episode One): The Big Game is brimming with British bravado. From a production standpoint, Parker’s work here feels complete. Nothing was left out and it captures his style, just how he intended. From song to song, the music swells with horns blowing full out, guitars strumming on the low end, energetic drum loops and woodwinds that are perfectly layered on top. Tracks such as “Man Up,” “Dirty Money” and “The Big Gamble” all incorporate these elements, giving the album a feeling of retro, cinematic grittiness that would be in line with your favorite 007 film starring Sean Connery. This secret agent aura is only reinforced with the lyricism of each track. As Parker spits on “Say It’s Just A Game,” “Ain’t nothin’ changin’ with that/ Countin’ the cash stack, having a flashback/ Thinkin,’ ‘Damn, wish she had my back’/ Up in the club/ Cool cat, tilted hat.”

In the end, Parker’s smooth sound permeates throughout the entire record. It’s sleek, sophisticated and most importantly; suave. However, the thing I love about The Puzzle (Episode One): The Big Game is that it sounds different than most of what you’ll hear coming across the hip-hop airwaves in the United States. It’s always good to try new things and in this case, the music of Lewis Parker is a very good thing indeed.

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