It never fails. An unarmed, undangerous person gets slaughtered reasonlessly by those sworn to protect and serve. As hands, heads, and hearts come together for prayer and personal upliftment, a voice from in the distant shouts “But y’all kill each other every day. What’s the big deal?”
Words by Cordrick Ramey
90% of what Americans read, watch or listen to is controlled by six media companies. Some might say, “so what.” But herein lies the problem.
Do you know who the main investors in the corporations that serve us Hip Hop are? Would you believe me if I told you that they are also the main investors in the prison industry?
I present to you, The Vanguard Group Incorporated. Who just so happens to be the third largest holder in Viacom. Some may continue to say, “that proves nothing.” Ok, dig a little deeper and we find Blackrock, the number one holder of both Viacom and Time Warner. Blackrock is also the second largest holder in Corrections Corporation of America, second only to Vanguard.
You don’t have to believe me. Do your own research. (But I’m right.) So if the same people who own private prisons are the same people who own mass media, this may be the exact reason your cousin or your husband is locked up now. To further demonstrate this idea, I found a graph courtesy of Musical Hegemony that will provide better detail.
a. The Vanguard Group is the largest shareholder of CCA (SEC, 2013a).
b. The Vanguard Group is the second largest shareholder of Warner Music Group (Bloomberg, 2013a).
c. The Vanguard Group are also the third largest shareholder of Viacom (Bloomberg, 2013b).
d. The Vanguard Group are also the third largest shareholder in GEO (SEC, 2013, b).
e. BlackRock is the second largest holder in CCA (SEC, 2013a).
f. BlackRock is the largest shareholder in Warner Music Group (Bloomberg, 2013a).
g. BlackRock is also the largest holder in Viacom (Bloomberg, 2013b).
h. Vivendi (Universal Music Group) bought one half of EMI’s operations in 2011 for $1.9 billion (Sisario, 2011).
i. Sony bought the other half of EMI’s operations in 2011 for $2.2 billion (Sisario, 2011).
j. Sony was funded in part by the Blackstone investment group for this deal to purchase EMI (Sisario, 2011).
k. BlackRock is a subsidiary of Blackstone (BlackRock, 2013).
l. Sony and Viacom have reached a tentative deal to stream cable channels (Stelter, 2013).
m. CCA and GEO have spent a combined total of $24 million lobbying government (ITPI, 2012, p. 5).
n. Federal and State governments pass laws lobbied for by CCA and GEO
o. Which are imposed by Law Enforcement
p. Law Enforcement provide CCA and GEO with prisoners
q. CCA and GEO provide cheap labour to business affiliates (Cummings, 2012).
So just to reiterate, The Vanguard Group, the number one shareholder in Corrections Corporations of America, is the second largest shareholder of Warner Brothers. Warner Brothers by way of Asylum Records used to be the parent company for 1017 Brick Squad Records founded by Gucci Mane. Gucci and his prison label mates released a total of six albums for the label. The relationship dissolved in 2012. Roughly two years later, Gucci found another way to make money for The Vanguard Group, as property of Corrections Corporations of America.
Sony Music was funded by Blackstone, a subsidiary of Blackrock, to aid in the purchase of EMI Records. Don’t forget, Blackrock is the second largest shareholder in Corrections Corporations of America and the largest shareholder in Warner Bros and Viacom.
Back to EMI, they held ownership of little label called Priority. Maybe you’ve heard of them. Home to Ruthless Records, No Limit, Roc-A-Fella for a minute, and Rap-A-Lot. Just those names alone, brings a feeling gangs, guns, decadence, drugs, and violence. Blackstone knew this was the ideal situation to make an investment. Maybe they will sell a few records, but the brainwashing is where the real money comes into play.
Think about it, when you have ultimate access to everything a person reads, sees, or hears….why not experiment a little. All people of color have been used as this planet’s guinea pigs at some point. See the Tuskegee Experiment and The Willie Lynch Letter for closer confirmation. This is another form of keeping the (insert color here) man down.
You see, when the privatization of prisons became a real thing, investors became fascinated with nothing more than increasing their investments. What is the best way to increase your investment if you own a prison? Easy. Make more prisoners. Even if they are not real criminals. Even if that means continuously driving and drumming ignorant shit in your direction day, after day after day. Even if it’s made into a commercial.
Now that was a joke of course, but I’m sure you have heard some commercials that are not too far from that. But all jokes aside, only on black urban radio can you hear commercials to beat your DUI case, that you caught from a commercial last week concerning a Turn Up Tuesday party.
My point is the people or company, or entity, that serves us the closest, have absolutely no interest in our well being. If we are all dollar signs, they can sell us Kool-Aid, crack , weave, high interest loans, or even a chance to become state property. It sounds comical, but it’s not. How many commercials have you heard on urban radio about investments and financial empowerment? Rush Card don’t count. I’ll wait.
So the next time you hear The Migos talking about trapping out of a bando, remember to thank Time Warner, who owns Atlantic Records. Don’t forget about Vanguard, as the third largest holder in Time Warner. As fun and as sexy as a bando sounds, the consequences of association will have you paying Time Warner twice. One as a record company, the other as state property because of where the bando lead you.
Words by Cordrick Ramey
Apparently I spend waaaaaay too much time on the Internet trying to find stories to tell. I browse. Make a decision. Browse some more. Find an angle. Sometimes I find dope shit. And sometimes, I just find…..niggas on dope. This latest find, I can’t even decide if it’s is real or not.
Courtesy of VladTV, I present to you Eastside Crackhead. Now this is just an interview, but its the wildest nine minutes and forty-nine seconds I’ve seen all week. Matter of fact, if this is real… I just located the realest dude to ever grace a recording booth. While we sit and listen to tremendous tales of moving keys and breaking down pounds….this is the recipient of such due diligence. So, Yo Gotti, Jeezy, Gucci Mane, TI, Rick Ross, Pusha T and any other rapper who has moved crack or dope or smack….this is yall fault. And you should be ashamed.
Not so much. I laughed, I was entertained, but this isn’t the proper way we should be displayed. And furthermore, our glorification of the spoils from turning people into fiends, isn’t anything to be celebrated either. But here we are. I’m old enough to remember Ol’ Dirty Bastard OD’ing, Pimp C dying from codeine and Chris Kelly from Kris Kross dying from cocaine and heroin. This ain’t the life. This is death.
As I write this, Koopsta Knicca from Three Six Mafia passed today. It is listed as a brain aneurism and a stroke. I just pray drugs were not involved. We gotta do better people. Life is precious and should never be taken for granted. Perhaps, when real live addicts start telling their stories, the objectification and glorification of such a destructive lifestyle will take a backseat to caring for the average human being. We all have friends and family who may have made the decision to try something that was detrimental to their health at some point in life. You may not look down on them due to the connection, but I’m almost certain you have ignored, ridiculed or turned your nose up to someone you don’t. But just imagine, for every Escobar tale, there was a Pookie song to match it.
Listen to Killer’s verse.
Words by Cordrick Ramey
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