Dr. Cornel West's upcoming album, "Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations," touches down at a time when renewed debate over hip-hop lyrics and video imaging is still swirling post-Don Imus. Prince, Ta
Dr. Cornel West's upcoming album, "Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations," touches down at a time when renewed debate over hip-hop lyrics and video imaging is still swirling post-Don Imus.
Due in stores June 19, "Never Forget" will be the first release on Hidden Beach's new Hidden Beach Forum label. Tapping into R&B/hip-hop's historical role as a social force, the recording is the brainchild of Black Men Who Mean Business, an organization established by West, his brother Clifton and songwriter/producer Mike Dailey.
Prince, Talib Kweli, OutKast's Andre 3000, KRS-One, Rhymefest, the late Gerald Levert and Killer Mike are just some of the R&B/hip-hop artists featured on the disc who musically tackle such subjects as the events of Sept. 11, 2001, racial profiling, the Bush administration and the "N-word."
"It isn't a commentary on hip-hop. And I'm not coming in as a hip-hop scholar or critic," West tells Billboard. "This is an attempt to go back to hip-hop's prophetic roots, which are about truth-telling, exposing lies and having fun. It's what I call a danceable education or a singing paideia, the Greek word for deep education. If there is one person whose spirit I try to embody on this CD, it's Curtis Mayfield. His music is about love and freedom and really informs.
"This is a very political album that doesn't pull any punches," he continues. "There are critiques of the Bush administration as well as of unaccountable corporate power, unaccountable police power and homophobia. We're trying to get young people to wake up and recognize they're part of a great tradition of struggle, to become organized and fight for freedom and justice."
Although West says he is "unabashedly of the Motown, Philly Sound, Mayfield generation," he adds, "I've never met Lupe Fiasco, but I like that brother. Oh, lord, he's a free, young brother who honestly speaks his mind. That brother hits American terrorism, the American empire and still talks about his skateboard. I love that kind of freedom because, in the end, we've all got to be ourselves and that takes courage."
Here is the track list for "Never Forget":
"Bushanomics," featuring Talib Kweli
"America," featuring Black Thought, Rah Digga, Iriz & Lucky Witherspoon
"Dear Mr. Man," featuring Prince
"N Word," featuring Tavis Smiley & Michael Eric Dyson
"Welcome to Chi," featuring Rhymefest, Neo-Abassy & Malik Yosef
"Mr. President," featuring KRS-One & M-1
"Keep It PI," featuring Killer Mike, Doey, Roc & Lucky Witherspoon
"Chronometrophobia," featuring Andre 3000
"Gonne Be Alright," featuring Dave Hollister & Chuckii Booker
"Matter Of," featuring Lenny Williams
"Soul Sista," featuring Daryl Moore
"The Man's Gonna Getcha," featuring Gerald Levert