root - Posted on 01 January 2000

A PNN ReViEwsForTheReVoLuTioN Music Review

by Marlon Crump/PNN

Before the World Trade blew

I already knew

but you still dumbfounded, livin’ without a clue

It ain’t ‘cause I’m arabic or ‘cause I’m a Jew

America the beautiful, we loved by few

That’s why they puttin’ flames to the red white & blue

Lyrics from Bay Area hip hop artist, Opium titled “Suicide Execution” a single from his debut album, “Terrorism 101.”

“Thus I will punish the world for it’s evil

and the wicked for their iniquity

I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud

and abase the haughtiness of the ruthless...”

(Isaiah 13:11)

Rap and Hip Hop music, a phenomenon equipped with diverse self-expression, uncharted within oppressive territories. A music pop cultural art industry that continues to defy all odds consistent of negative stereotypes, most perpetrated by corporate mainstream media that demonizes and dictates their lives.

Brainwashed into the minds of the ignorant, oblivious, and naïve that rap and hip-hop is nothing more than a culturally combative threshold for violence, and degradation. Fused into these minds that then generalize this art based on some R-rated (mature) content that they hear from certain artists.

What fails to drift and draft the minds full of negative preconceived notions is the reality that hip-hop and rap is a vital instrument for the unheard, particularly the youth (many coming from poverty). For young people, this art is their critical grasp for self-empowerment, fulfillment, and expression facing a world so competitive just to even be heard.

Growing up from Cleveland, Ohio as a young man living in a poor community, all I would hear were scrutiny about the music. Though some of the songs that I listened to were subject material meant for adult or mature ears, the energy vocalized were often uplifting for me.

Regardless of the weather, the day, and my mood, I’d often pop a hit single in my radio cassette, or C.D. player. A combination of everything ranging from racism, po-lice brutality, drugs in the ghetto, politics, and poverty would hit my brainwaves. From every artist and song that contained one or more of these categories, I learned something.

During my tenure here at POOR Magazine/PNN, I was introduced to something unique, and very revolutionary: Krip Hop. Our comrade, Race, Media, and Disability scholar in residence, Leroy Moore has educated the masses of media, locally and globally of one’s passion to be a hip hop artist, undetermined by disability to express their art.

For Opium, it is more than just the feeling of expression. His goal is to universally educate all ears through his music, exposing the prejudice Arabs and people of Middle Eastern descent are subjected to. Being Arab-American, himself, this goes without saying.

Raised in San Francisco, California, born in Point Clear, Alabama, Opium has established a decade-long rap career for himself. His arsenal of talents consists of theatrical stage performances, song writing for other artists, and music composing, mixing, and writing his own songs.

Opium has performed all over the Bay Area and across the globe such as India's “Ahimsah Life Celebration”, Morocco's “Le Coupe de Monde World Cup Festival”, and numerous clubs from San Francisco to France to Amsterdam. Some of his inspiration comes from rappers, such as Cheb i Sabbah, Yukmouth, Salif Keita, Hasan Hakmoun, along with celebrity artists, 50 Cent and Eminem.

Political, rugged, and urban, with a west coast style and appreciation for the industry are Opium’s qualities. He doesn’t fully consider himself as a solo artist, in that his art is joined collectively with other groups of a global network. Such groups are the “216” and “Ferenheight.” Defying and challenging icons adequately adored in today’s world of deceptive glamour additionally envisions his lyrical ambition: Music of Revolution.

Opium’s Terrorism 101 is a full-length debut album, with two of them outspoken hardcore lyrical detail of his disdain for the oppression, immoralities, capitalism, and the corruptive politics within the U.S.A. In Bring it Back, he appears to be orchestrating a spiteful engage of success to blindside the ignorance and negative stereotype his people are confronted with: Drugs, money, and power.

Since the 9/11 attacks and the Bush “era on terror” many civil liberties of Middle Eastern heritages and cultures have been under attack. In Suicide Execution Opium hits on major issues with explosively-explanatory detail of the terrorism that arose following the 9/11 attacks, here in the United States: War, warrant-less surveillance, capitalism, and the need to combat these acts through revolution.


Stealin’ oil overseas - Only In America

Brainwash our seeds - Only In America

The rich get rich while the poor drown in poverty

New World Order - Bush is Illuminati

The wealth, Iraq War, corporations, clothing products and lavish lifestyles followed by civil liberty-lashing laws, and law enforcement (escalated since the Bush era) constituted a need for Opium to produce Only in America. This track presents a spotlight of Opium’s outspoken audio aggression against the capitalism and oppression people in the U.S. are subjected to.

A feel for revolution is heard, not just through his audio art, but also through his citation of the late Malcolm X:

“Revolution is bloody, revolution is hostile, revolution knows no compromise, and revolution overturns and destroys anything that gets in its way. If you’ve got a ‘revolution’ that doesn’t involve bloodshed - you’re afraid to bleed.”

To learn more about Opium, his debut album and his work, visit the following below websites:






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