Monthly Archives: August 2014

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:

This was produced along side fellow DeathStar Klic producer, Dustin Haffner.


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


Photo credit:

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.

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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

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

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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