Masters of the Universe
Subterraneous Records, 2000
Masters of the Universe
Subterraneous Records, 2000
By: Nicole DiMichele, Philip Mcguigan and Gus Navarro
Based in Detroit, Michigan, the Foundation is a women’s hip-hop collective that operates out of the 5e Gallery in Corktown. The 5e Gallery is a space where artists teach, celebrate and expand on hip-hop culture and how it can be used as a means of liberation for youth and adults alike. The 5e prides itself on being a safe space for everyone to come and learn about and hone their craft, whether it be learning how to MC, produce a beat or break dance. Despite the heavy emphasis on masculinity within much of hip-hop, the members of the Foundation work tirelessly as a unit to continually create avenues for women to make their voice heard and engage in community within the Detroit hip-hop scene.
We were fortunate enough to sit down with four members of the Foundation, Miz Korona, Nique Love Rhodes, Insite The Riot and Jaci Caprice. These incredible women could not have been more welcoming to us and gracious with their time. When you talk with them, it is so clear that they care for each other on a level of friendship that is grounded in warmth and love. It was an honor to be around that and to hear what they had to say about the various issues related to the art they produce and community projects they are a part of. In the interview we discussed various issues such as community engagement, education, gentrification, feminism and hip-hop, feminism and the ways in which these things related to their experiences within the Detroit hip-hop community. Based on this interview and our own visit to the 5e Gallery, it became clear that the Foundation is one of the only safe spaces for hip-hop artists that exists outside of normalized heterosexual and binary gender identities.
Given the continual drive towards gentrification in Detroit, the Foundation and The 5e Gallery are a vital piece of a community that was in existence long before the supposed rebirth of the city. Taking that into consideration, we feel that it is important to highlight the grassroots movements in Detroit that are doing important work, while at the same time lying in tension with the corporations and young professionals that are flocking to the city, ultimately perpetuating the marginalization of people, predominantly those of color, who have been living there for generations. Given our interview, we strongly believe that the corporate world and the grassroots world could work together to achieve a more sustainable movement to bring the city back. By combining the monetary resources that corporations have access to and the knowledge and experiences of the established grassroots movements, Detroit could be an example of a type of gentrification that is not oppressive or destructive, but rather inclusive and ultimately equitable.
By: Justin Cook
On the evening of April 25th 2014, I witnessed hip-hop in the rawest form: DJing, MCing, B-Boying and graffiti along the dome of my mental. It was unlike any show I’d ever been to. The sense of community vision and celebration was all around. It all started as I walked into the Loft, a local venue in Lansing, Michigan, and met up with fellow Bonus Cut member Gus Navarro. DJ Ruckus spun classics as people slowly filled the dance floor. I began to recognize a lot of familiar faces: the great people of All of the Above, friends, classmates and co-opers of East Lansing.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
This installment features guest-writer Janet Navarro.
By: Daniel Hodgman
“We may be 5 percent of the world’s pop but, we 25 percent of the world’s locked up.” -MC Invincible
It’s common belief that the music industry has fully manipulated mainstream hip-hop to glorify violence, drug use, misogyny and materialism. Save for a few select artists in this realm, the music industry’s initiative is quite clear: suppress the music with merit, ethics and substance; support the music that brings in money. This so-called rule of thumb regarding the music industry is nothing new. The book Hit Men: Power Brokers and Fast Money Inside the Music Business, which was published in 1990, discusses how businesses place profit over ethics, with a stern example focusing on most of the country’s radio station rotations, and how records are bought and paid for by promoters, not the fans. Another saddening example Hit Men points out is that songs become hits primarily because an individual or corporation paid for it to happen, not because of consumer preference. That aside, unless you were unaware before, now you can see that the gangly fingers of the music business have more influence in music than we can ever imagine. But that’s what I would like you to do real quickly: imagine. Imagine something horrifying. Imagine something bleak. Imagine something where the music industry, major label stockholders and private prison owners all profit, while suppressing and incarcerating a population of people in the process. Imagine for me, not the school-to-prison-pipeline (although this devastating catastrophe is another thing we as a nation need to terminate), but rather some sort of commercial rap-to-prison pipeline. Imagination it seems, may not be needed, because the connection between mainstream rap labels and the private prison industrial complex seems to be coming full-circle.
Here at Bonus Cut our mission is to focus on hip-hop culture, current events, community building, independent artists making a difference on all facets, hip-hop education, the four pillars, unity and love. We have stressed time and time again that “new hip-hop music releases” isn’t our goal, and it never will be, but there are still instances where there’s an important hip-hop cut that can’t be ignored.
On that note, we will be sharing some projects that we feel deserve attention. Whether for their cultural impact or musical fluidity, these are songs we’ve stumbled upon at some point in our lives that shouldn’t be passed up.
Train of Thought
Rawkus Records, 2000