Hip-Hop Tried to Kill Me

root - Posted on 30 August 2008

A PNN REviewsforthReVoluTion Hip Hop review of a new book on Hip Hop , survival and thrival of a community activist and poverty scholar

by Sam Drew/PNN

"Hip Hop Tried 2 Kill Me" is the eye-opening title of the new book written by 20-year music veteran, Fleetwood. His book, with a tentative release date of May 19th (Malcolm X's birthday), is a look at the inside world of Hip-Hop from a talented writer, rap artist, music producer, videographer, motivational speaker and community activist.

Hip-hop destroyed the person I was and gave birth to the man I am today, for that reason, I'll always love Hip-Hop,says Fleetwood. Fleetwood's passion for Hip-Hop began during the days of the Sugar Hill Gang, one of the first groups to use rapping in their songs. He wrote his first rhyme across the street from the cemetery where his mother was buried down South.

Fleetwood has the humble personae of a down home country boy. But he has roots in both California and in North Carolina. As he states with an infectious smile, I was breaded in San Francisco's Fillmore district.

His desire to perfect his craft lead him to the frigid climate of Minnesota. He was accepted to Music Tech in Minneapolis, where he received an A.A. degree in music. He produced a young talented singer known as R.L. before he became popular with the R&B group called Next. But after college came a major setback in his musical career. He became a victim in the war on drugs.

I owned my own record labels, I sold dope for my record labels but I kept getting caught,said Fleetwood with amazing candor. What straightened his path was a change in his spiritual outlook or as Fleetwood proclaims, Finally, I put my faith in God!
Fleetwood returned to San Francisco and produced several groups. One group named Probable Cause opened up for acts like E-40, Notorious B.I.G. and Bone Thugs N Harmony. During his budding producing career, Fleetwood got involved in community work helping young people. He got involved with the Proposition 21 movement that focused on justice and freedom for youth in California.

I was part of the problem,said Fleetwood. My Father was a major heroin trafficker. I wanted to be part of the solution, revealed Fleetwood about his becoming a community activist.

Fleetwood has indeed become a one-man solution to the problem.I didn't have any special hookup you just have to use the resources you have available to you,he said.

Beside writing his upcoming book "Hip-Hop Tried 2 Kill Me", for less than $150, he has also established his own non-profit, The Homeboy Hotline, which helps ex-offenders with their re-entry into the community through job resources.

I do the footwork, said Fleetwood about his non-profit. I don't get you the job but I can show you where to go to get one. I help you find clothing, housing and medical care. I also show you how to get grants and avoid the poverty pimps, he said.

He also conducts an annual toy giveaway for children whose parents are in jail. I plant a seed of hope and care around the time of Christmas to reverse the cycle of hopelessness. We go to family shelters with new toys. We'd like to see entertainers and athletes from the Raiders, 49ers, A's, Giants and Warriors help donate new unused toys.

On the drawing board for the future is the launching of a new inspirational God fearing movement called DOPE BOYZ, which stands for Doing Our Part Equally. The mixtape “Blessing” is on the streets now and can be ordered on line. The inspiration for the groups name stems from Fleetwood's early music career. Dope Boyz was the name of my first group in Minnesota. I flipped the script from gangster to Hip-Hop, remembered Fleetwood

In life what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Adversity, it can destroy you or it can build you. In my case it built me to the man I am today, claims Fleetwood about his life. But being truthful and helping others in need helps spread your good name around the world. Fleetwood knows he can go anywhere be it East, West, North or South and know he will get Love from the streets.

Many record companies manufacture street credibility with hired teams of expensive public relations experts who pump out lurid gangster tales to create a street buzz to sell records. Fleetwood's street cred comes from years of pounding the pavement, assisting troubled youths and defending the community from predatory attacks.

The corporate media controls Hip-Hop,Fleetwood bluntly tells me. But he has a remedy to the watered down corporate Hip-Hop forced on us by the media giants. Keep it underground and put it on the internet. Put more truth in your music. Make music to inspire people.

To order Fleetwood's most anticipated book of the year, "Hip-Hop Tried 2 Kill Me", go to Marcus Bookstore, Barnes & Noble or Borders Bookstores or purchase it at his website myspace.com/ Fleetwood 189, where mixtapes can also be purchased. There is a tentative date of May 19th (Malcolm X's Birthday) for a book signing at Marcus Bookstore in San Francisco. Check the website for more details.


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