By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Crucially, the Crack Emcee's work (he also put out the underground tape Newt Hates Me a few years ago) is a product of its geography -- pretentious San Francisco -- yet speaks to issues far beyond the local. San Francisco has long pimped the lie of its being highly cultured, tolerant, progressive, livable, yet its class and racial lines, its poverty and desperation, are sharply evident. The influx of Silicon Valley wealth has stripped away the city's cool façade, laying bare the San Francisco that lives beyond the city's streetcars, sourdough and shopworn hippie myths. This is the San Francisco you hear in the Crack Emcee's music -- the city of shadowy and blatant racism; the city of overcrowded, dirty streets where the have-nots of every hue, accent and sexuality struggle endlessly just to get close enough to the surface of the water to maintain the fantasy of someday raising their heads above it. S.F. = America.
The Crack Emcee doesn't consider himself a great rapper or singer, and is the first to admit that his "flow" is not the stuff legends are made of. Yet he imbues his words with so much bite, wit and shading that a lyric sheet doesn't begin to suggest the depth of what he's conveying. What he does is articulate soul-knowledge, those truths we hide from or can't find the words for. You listen to it with mouth agape, not because it's radical in content but because it's raw and honest, unconcerned with the truth-gagging politics of celebrity -- which perhaps makes it radical after all. If Paul Mooney and Nina Simone had a baby, then ignored it, leaving it to raise itself up by its own brilliant and righteously embittered genes, the Crack Emcee would be the result.
I'd like to thank y'all -- for stealin' rock 'n' roll I'd like to thank y'all -- for all of y'all bigotry too I'd like to thank y'all -- for how you rob the soul and I'd like to thank y'all -- for everything that white folks do. I'd like to thank y'all -- for inventin' "nigga" I'd like to thank y'all -- for comin' here and stealin' land I'd like to thank y'all -- for becomin' wiggas I'd like to thank y'all -- for all the tribes of Indians I'd like to thank y'all -- for never, ever questionin' yourselves I'd like to thank y'all -- for the information gap I'd like to thank y'all -- for puttin' Dr. King in jail I'd like to thank y'all -- for demonizin' rap I'd like to thank y'all Crack Emcee would like to thank y'all (No, really.) I'd like to thank y'all. Yes, indeed, I'd like to thank y'all.
--from the Crack Emcee's "Thank You (The Affirmative Action Song)"
The Big Lowensky can be ordered from the Crack Emcee's Web site: www.primeconnection.com/crackhouse.