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On September 13th, in 1947, Black Panther Party Member, Author, Revolutionary, Human Rights Activist, Pan-Africanist & The Godfather of Tupac Amaru Shakur-Geronimo Ji-Jaga Pratt (Elmer Pratt) was born in Morgan City, Louisiana. He was a decorated veteran that served two tours in Vietnam earning several medals for his bravery: 2 Purple Hearts, 2 Bronze Stars & a Silver Star. When he returned to the states, he attended UCLA on the GI Bill. The local Panthers, led by John Huggins & Bunchy Carter recruited Pratt.
He used his army skills to become Deputy Minister of Defense for the local B.P.P. Chapter. He was set up by COINTELPRO, who concealed evidence that would affect the verdict if released by the prosecution. Essentially, he went to prison for a 1968 murder, and spent 28 years in jail, eight of them in solitary confinement on a fabricated murder beef...pause...J. Edgar Hoover y’all…Pratt passed away in 2011 at age 63 from a heart attack. He was working as a Human Rights Activist in his adopted country of Tanzania when he returned home…
49 years later, to the day (1996), Geronimo Ji-Jaga Pratt’s Godson, Emcee, Actor & Poet Tupac Amaru Shakur suffered a violent and tragic death at age 25. He died from gunshots wounds he took during a drive by on the Vegas strip six days prior (September 7th, 1996). Most of you have seen the documentaries, know the conspiracies, and all the mythological hoopla surrounding the death or hideout survival tactic of Tupac. Therefore, I’m not going to even build on it. What I will say about Pac is that he was a talented, highly talented brother all around. I have mad respect for his rhyming and acting game.
He also took a no holds barred, ‘F’ the rules and world approach, can’t disagree with that…However, a lot of people regard him as the best Emcee to ever do it, or B.I.G., neither of which is true. Best personas-most known, most definitely, best rhymers and writers? That’s saying a lot. I mean Pac did his thing, and he was a solid Emcee, not the best though. If I had to pick between Pac and Yasin Bey (Mos Def), both of which are similar, especially in acting and poetic skills, I’m scooping Mos, hands down. My generation that saw the birth of Hip Hop Culture needs to stop fronting like that ain’t true. Just saying… R.I.P. Tupac Amaru Shakur
On September 13th, in 1960, The Feds went into the deep pockets of the Italian & Jewish Mobs that ran the Music & Radio Industry during the height of the Blues, birth of Rock & Roll evolution of Atlantic Soul. Payola was called out and outlawed by the Federal Communications Commission’s Act that amended a bill stating that it was illegal to receive gifts or payments for radio airplay or outlawing certain artists or labels from getting airplay. If you don’t know what Payola is, it’s when a record company pays a disc jockey or broadcast station to play or not play certain songs.
See Russell Simmons for further explanation on how this rule never really was enforced and Payola was never really done away with. It’s kind of like under-aged drinking, alcohol is legal, just at a certain age. Certain songs are cool or not cool, and the advertisers pay to hear what they agree with. If you play some stuff they don’t want you to, they stop being an advertiser (no dough)…It’s all legal-like…I don’t see the difference, advertisers use Payola…
…‘We can change the world tomorrow, this can be a better place, if you don’t like what I’m sayin’, then won’t you slap my face…because I’m bad, I’m bad, Come on’…Mike was dope! On September 13th, in 1987, Michael Jackson’s Bad LP started the first day of its 5 week run at Number 1 on the UK chart. It was Number 1 on the US charts for 6 weeks. The Bad LP was the follow up to Thriller. Quincy Jones’ production is all over this one too.
The tracks are plentiful: Bad, Another Part of Me, Man in the Mirror, The Way You Make Me Feel, Dirty Diana, Smooth Criminal & I Just Can’t Stop Loving You. Michael’s writing compliments the beats nicely. This is definitely in my top 5 all-time for Michael Jackson solo LPs. It’s usually in the top 3, sometimes top 2, depending on what’s going in my life and my mood. 1-Thriller, 2-Off the Wall, 3-Bad, 4-Got to Be There, 5-Dangerous/Forever Michael (tie).
On September 13th, in 1991, Hip Hop-Indie-Grunge Based Record Label-Geffen Records held a single’s launch party for Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit track. In true Nirvana form, the band was kicked out of their own party for starting a food fight. I always like it when the suits and ties enter the trenches and expect that they’ll stay clean.
It’s ridiculous to expect a band that lives what they write, a band of any kind that is not an 'image’, but a true reality, and expect them to behave any other way than they’ve communicated through their art, which is music. I understand that income, gross amounts of income can be blinding, but damn, you’re not deaf…wear a poncho the next time you plan a party for a band like Nirvana, you never know what could jump off…
…‘Me & Lucy opened it up when Cynthia wasn’t around, Lucy cried, I almost died, you know what we found’…On September 13th, in 1997, The Artist Formerly Known as Prince appeared on Jim Henson’s Muppet show Season Two opener on the Disney Channel. The show had been recorded the first season, which was cut short by ABC and sold to Disney. Jim Henson was promised two seasons so the deal went through smoothly.
However, several scenes on the show were omitted that contained The Artist. The show’s theme was The Artist’s Symbol. Kermit, Bobo the Bear, Gonzo, Clifford & Zippity Zap all got to hang with the Artist. The skits were funny on a universal level, adult and child humor. Unfortunately, the show didn’t last on Disney either, but that episode is a must see! S.O. to Prince for being down-to-earth and above the BS.
Honorable Mention: On September 13th, in 1939 Barry White’s songwriting partner, Blaxploitation Film Scorer, Pianist, Composer, Arranger, Violinist and Producer: Eugene Edgar Page Jr (Gene Page) was born in Los Angeles, California. He worked with Atlantic Starr, Kenny Rogers, Elton John and others. Page was a prolific and original composer that utilized a lot of genres to make his own sound. Most good musicians do this. Only 2 types of music, good and bad… He was 58 when he passed away in 1998.
On September 13th, in 1956, one of the Sledge Sisters of the all-female Disco group-Sister Sledge-Joni Sledge (2nd R) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was the second eldest of the sisters. She attended Temple University for a while, studied abroad in Paris, France, and wrote a screenplay called Wildflower. Sledge married, had a child and moved to Phoenix, Arizona where she returned home from natural causes in 2017. She was 60 years-old.
… ‘Zulu on a Time Bomb’…On September 13th, in 1989, Bishop Desmond Tutu of the Catholic Church led the largest Anti-Apartheid March in South Africa. Tutu was a Pan-Africanist that worked closely with other figureheads in the area that stood in direct opposition to Apartheid. Most notably, Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko. S.O. to Bishop Desmond Tutu for mobilizing the global struggle against systemic unjust oppression.
On September 13th, in 2005, Seattle, Washington was attempting to preserve one of its historical monuments. The house that Jimi Hendrix was raised in, was set to be demolished. However, a new location was found at the last minute and the home was moved across the street from the cemetery where Hendrix was buried in 1970. Thanks goes out to the City of Seattle and the James Marshall Hendrix (Jimi Hendrix) Foundation for saving the monument and upping the ante by converting it to a community center.
… ‘We Fam’d up, You George Michael Whammed up, you get body bagged, tagged and slammed, what?!’…On September 13th, in 2010, Wham’s former lead singer-George Michael had to go to the bing for a few. He got 2 months for a DUI and cannabis possession. The Bobbies caught him slipping out there in Hampstead, North London, UK. He didn’t believe the sentence he received and smirked on his way out the courtroom…in bracelets…smirking…(blank stare)
For more information on any musician or event reviewed in posts, or for additional information on the Wandering Eyes Blog overall, use the search bar and search the artist or event using keywords. It’s like a Google search for the site. A Plethora of information, covering several topics exists on this site going back to 2013 when it was created. PEACE!