What up dopeboyz and dopegirlz. I wanted to introduce ya’ll to a new series we’re gonna be running sporadically on 2DB. The title says it all. We’re gonna ask emcees, producers, etc two questions. Yep, just two. Let’s face it… any full interviews will be done at the fulltime. These aren’t just “what’s new” or “how old are you” questions though! After speaking with my man ESSO (whose dropping a dope new mixtape this week) I figured I’d start with him. I ask him his thoughts and reactions to the Sean Bell verdict and for an added bonus, gangster ass Laterian Milton gets thrown in the mix. Hit the jump and let us know what you think…
Listening to License to Kill [Sean Bell Tribute] it seems like you feel really connected to Bell. What went through your mind when the verdict came through and what are your thoughts on the Justice System in America?
Damn thats a heavy question. Honestly I didnt even know what to think when I heard that the cops were acquitted. As crazy as this might sound I been tellin people that it’s a good thing that they decided the case when it did because the weather in NYC has been so up and down. If this was June and that would have happened, the streets of NY would have been banannas. There have been a lot of smaller incidents since then that you won’t hear about but it’s been almost eerily quiet for the most part.
I remember I was going out that saturday night and I met my cousin on 125th and 3 out of the 4 corners on 125th & Lenox had 2 man patrols holding the corners down. And I was thinking to myself “so what they think I’m gonna riot so they can shoot me and get away with that too? That’s where the inspiration for the song came from. It was really just my honest reaction to everything that I was seeing. And I kept thinking to myself “what can I do?” The one vehicle that I do have right now to reach people is music. And as I started actually learining more about Sean Bell I realized that he was like me in a lot of ways. I think I even read somewhere that he was 11-0 as a pitcher in his Senior HS season as a pitcher. that struck a nerve with me because it made me imagine that he could have been any one of my teammates from over the years.
As far as the Justice system in America is concerned, politics play a major role in the justice system at the highest levels. On the lower levels look at things like the Rockefeller Drug Laws and the minimum mandatory sentences for Crack vs. Coke. Who buys Crack? Who buys Coke? It’s really not that hard to figure out. I dont want to get too political before I have to go and record Anti-Backpack II, but I will say that I’m glad Obama is bringing new voters into the equation. I dont remember the last election for anything other than Most Likely to Succeed that had so many people my age interested.
Now that the trial is over, what can we [the people] do about it? Sharpton, the two other victims, Nicole Paultre-Bell (Bell’s widow) and 200+ people were arrested in a public protest. Is that all that can be done?
Nah you know what, the public organized responses are cool, but it can’t be forced. Something like that needs to grow gradually. It makes a nice statement for them to go out and sacrifice themselves in that way, but how long will it be remembered? How many people right now probably confuse Abner Louima and Amadou Diallou? How many even remember them? At this point, Sean Bell isn’t even the most recent Police related death in New York anymore. How many people are shouting out about Khiel Coppin?
The most honest answer that I can give you is that I dont even know what can be done about it. I’m not a Politician, so I dont know what sort of bills may be in the drafting process, I’m not a community organizer, so I cant really tell you if there are gonna be any more protests. I choose to make my voice heard through my music, and I think it comes down to people making their voices heard the best way they know how. If someone listens to “License to Kill” and when it’s over they say to themself “damn that could have been me too” then that keeps the dialogue going and I’ve made my contribution. I didn’t do it for attention or to be seen as righteous or anything like that. I did it because thats how I felt at the time, and I thought at that particular time it needed to be expressed.
BONUS: How gutter is Laterian Milton?
Ahhh man, that kid is 1000% Young & Ignorant Certified. I’m surprised no one’s taken his quotes and used them in a song yet. I bet somebody’s gonna do it before the year’s out.
Thanks again ESSO! Those interested in checking out more from ESSO can hit his MySpace. And like I said above, his new mixtape E3: E-Day is dropping Thursday (May22) along with a video to his Anti-Backpack joint (which is just so Young & Ignorant haha). If you’re in the NY area be sure to check out the release party (flyer below).
DOWNLOAD: ESSO – Anti-Backpack (prod. Talksik)