articles: Word from the Inside


9/11 Commission Hears Testimony from Hip-hop

By a Gossiping Bitch on June 1st, 2004

The CommissionWashington, DC — The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (“9/11 Commission”) has returned to the capital from its 3 night hearing May 28-30 on “Evil-Doing as Hip-hop’s 5th Element” held at the Knitting Factory in New York City. While the Commission wasn’t set to officially reconvene until June 16 for its twelfth and final public hearing, its members voted unanimously to travel to New York for an unofficial hearing, “on the DL,” as Commission Chair Governor Thomas Kean described it. It was originally scheduled for May 27-29, starting at noon and ending at 5PM each day, but the interviewees, consisting mostly of rappers and other hip-hop figures, would not show up to the venue until 3-4AM, forcing the Commission to adjust its calendar and order overpriced Heinekens while sitting through boring opening act testimony.

Night 1 of the hearing featured a panel of hip-hop’s most beloved wolf criers — Paris, Boots Riley (of the Coup), Professor X (of X-Clan), and Busta Rhymes — who all claimed to have foretold the tragedy years in advance on their recordings. Excerpts from the transcripts of the panel’s testimony are shown below:

Paris: Bush had to know exactly what was going to happen. Had to. I bet the devil even planned the whole thing. Probably piloted the plane right up until the moment that it collided with the second tower, then teleported himself back to his underground lair and replaced himself molecularly with a “terrorist.” Has anyone noticed that one pronunciation for “Osama bin Laden” is “Oh, summa? Been laden.” He’s been paid out the ass by the U.S. government for over a thousand years. All of this shit is just fallout resulting from the Crusades.

Busta Rhymes: On September 1st, 2001, I watched those majestic towers in New York City fall and I knew, in my heart of hearts, that I could string people along with this impending Armageddon bullshit for a little while longer. New album in stores this summer! Bussa Buss, Flip Mode, C.I.A.!

The most dramatic exchanges occurred during the testimony of Professor X and Boots. Professor X confounded Commissioner John Lehman with his opening statement:

Professor X: Vainglorious! Ahhhhhhhhh yes…troglodites. The eternal sun, lifted above the searing clouds, escapism. Brother J, what ya say? Brother J, Brother J, what ya say?

Lehman: Uh, Professor, are you speaking to me? It’s nice of you to ask, sir, but I’ll use the balance of my time to make a statement, and with the Chair’s permission, yield the remaining time to …

Professor X: Sissiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiies.

Special guest Commissioner Senator Ted Kennedy lambasted Boots for his group’s radical leanings:

The CoupKennedy: Mr. Boots, I understand, sir, that your group originally planned to use an exploding World Trade Center with yourself and a Pamela the Fun Mistress detonating it as artwork for your album Party Music, is that so?

Boots: Capitalism is what we really wanted to blow up, but in lieu of that, we used the WTC as a symbol of what we felt was the enslavement of …

Kennedy: Ah, never mind that, Mr. Boots. I’m much more disturbed — and maybe you can help me understand, sir — with the artwork you chose to replace the original album cover, consisting of a martini glass filled with what looks to be gasoline set afire. Disagree with our government policies as you wish, sir. I am a firm supporter of our 1st Amendment. But Prohibition was a long time ago, and if it is the intention of you or any member of your group to undermine…

Boots: You really need to shut the fuck up, fat man.

Kennedy: Fine, sir, have it your way. Moving on, tell me more about this Pam the Mistress.

Boots: Wasn’t it you who left some girl at the bottom of a lake?

Kennedy: I yield the balance of my time.

Night 2 of the hearing found rapper after rapper grasping for relevancy. Hot 97 broadcasted an open invitation from the Commission to any rapper referencing the World Trade Center in their music or videos before or soon after 9/11. The hearing began with a spirited exchange between hip-hop supreme ruler P. Diddy, appearing on behalf of the late Notorious B.I.G., and Commissioner Fred F. Fielding:

PuffyP. Diddy: You know my man Biggie had been knowin’ about that, for real. “Blow up like the World Trade,” that was official, son, feel me? Wasn’t nobody touching that kind of premonition in the day.

Fielding: Mr. Diddly, you are aware, sir, that there was a previous bombing of the Trade Center in 1992 that your Mr. Big may have been referring to?

P. Diddy: What? Someone tried to blow up the World Trade Center before? Still, though, Biggie was the best rapper of all time. I mean, come on, Triple F. I know you’re feeling me on that, playboy. I want to enter the lyrics to “Juicy” into the record, so that the Commission may memorize it. Until you do, any conclusions you reach are suspect in my book.

Other rappers shared their differing views on the terrorist attacks.

Fabolous: The tragic occurrence in New York City on September 11th stands out as the most horrific thing I have encountered in my fourteen years on Earth. I ask you, members of the Commission, when today’s young’ns holla back, who will be there to answer their calls? Wooh Wooh, indeed.

Jeru the Damaja: Look, motherfuckers. I stand by my line, “Blow up spots like the World Trade Center.” I stand by my video, which featured a shot of the Trade Center. I stand by BET, which continues to play my video on Rap City‘s Old School Wednesdays, frightening and disturbing countless mothers passing through their living rooms in the process. Now, let’s get down to brass tax: can’t one of y’all pass a law requiring DJ Premier to work with me again? I’ve got all kinds of new Trade Center raps. So, please, I’m begging you. I mean, I can’t even make my Camry payments anymore. Did you hear what I said? A motherfucking Camry!

Taking a break from watching his career go to shit on Def Jam, Ghostface appeared briefly to drop a seemingly endless series of non sequiturs that, while entertaining to the Commission, revealed nothing at all. Still, Ghost’s goofy post-9/11 jingoistic enthusiasm on the Wu-Tang Clan’s Iron Flag album prompted Commissioner Bob Kerrey to offer him a position on behalf of the Democratic party in a John Kerry presidential administration:

Ghostface: Shuffle this, Snufflufagus, snuff a son once, wear Wallabys and dunce caps with ya goose down. I tear the roofs down, eat bundt cake and make bunt plays until Wu-Wear one day is the number one fits for the kids and shit. I don’t trifle with Razzles, that’s candy/ gum. I’m dandy, son, I landed fun roles in drama class, chill with Mama Cass. What you know about that ‘Bama blast? I’m super irrational, rock national and get my taxes done actuarial.

Kerrey: Mr. Killah, we were wondering if your offer to be in charge of the war was still open?

Pretty Toney responded by sharing with the Commission a delicious recipe for chocolate chip cheesecake.

The third and final hearing was a night of activism, featuring hip-hop busy bodies KRS-One (of Boogie Down Productions), Chuck D (of Public Enemy), Russell Simmons (of the Hamptons), and Dead Prez (of irrational thought), who all insisted on testifying together. Chuck D kicked off the lunacy with his submitted opening statement, which he demanded be read by Commissioners off paper, rather than by himself aloud, in order to get “the full effect”:

Chuck DChuck D: What people need to understand about GEORGE “DOUBLETALK” BUSH and DICK-HEAD CHAINED-ME is that they represent politics-as-usual in AMERIKKKA and it’s WHORPORATE interests. The falling of the WORLD TRAITOR CENTER was entirely engineered by HELL-IBURTON and that sneaky arm of the CIA known as WACKYHUT (IN)SECURITY. It’s the same kind of thing HUSTLE SIMMONS and LIAR COHEN tried to pull over on me when I was at DEAF JAMMED. If you keep your eyes open you can see these POLL-ITCH-SHITCANS are just trying to pull the wool over our eyes in AMERIKKKA.

The ever oblivious Rush Simmons, not realizing he had just been dissed, quickly added a “right, true” to his former artist’s remarks. He, along with KRS-One, also had these wacky things to say:

Russell SimmonsSimmons: What we need is empowerment. I mean, everyone thinks it’s all about drinking Cristal, putting out a clothing line, and marrying an Asian bitch. But hip-hop needs to politicize and activate. Forget about owning labels and starting ventures and trying to be billionaires. I’ll handle that. Diddy will handle that. The rest of the hip-hop community needs to take to the streets with fliers and petition sheets. Quit your jobs and get involved! That’s the only way we can defeat terrorism, really.

KRS-One: Word up. Nobody cops my shit anymore, so I’ve had plenty of time to think about this. Russell Simmons and I have organized the Hip-hop Political Involvement Temple of Activism, Consciousness, and Crunkedness. We have to show these politicians that we are serious about getting empowered, but we also have to show the hip-hoppers out there that being crunk can also lead to having a political voice. It is through this voice of conscious crunkedness that we will achieve the highest level of active involvement, which of course will lead to being involved in activities. You have to go one step at a time to get to the promised land. It is all divined by God Himself, Hip-hopius Rapallinus.

After this statement by KRS, the record shows a series of “what the fuck”‘s and unintelligible remarks from Commissioners. If they were already confused, they were about to be angered as well, because Dead Prez was about to speak:

Dead PrezM-1: I don’t even like speaking English, because I was robbed of my ability to have my own language. Drug dealers even shot my high school principal. The world is fucked up enough…Bush, Iraq, Terrorism, Racism and hatred…It’s the same as it ever was…there’s a war going on and it’s not terrorists who are the targets. They were arrested…and brutalized…a couple of them have scars on them.

M-1: They thought we were coming through the door speaking that 5% shit or Wu Tang shit. Dr. Dre is talkin about bombin Bin Laden and all this other bullshit. It’s showing up and anchoring up and rousing the people towards this white washing or red, white, and blue washing. Some people say I will go work at Wendy’s or McDonald’s and I will save my check every week and won’t spend no money and then I will do what I wanna do while I’m still steady workin for the white man.

M-1: We had a relationship with Lord Jamar where he was jerkin us on our contract and we were fighting to get off of it for a long time. It means way less rights for the people through the Patriot Act and everything else they intend to do for security. Look man, we burn flags. That’s generally my response, and we have plenty of white fans and I want to make clear that I don’t hate white people.

Chair Kean: Oh, good god. All right, I think we can go ahead and adjourn these unofficial hearings right here.

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