by Christopher Zeller
Neo- Soul. Neo- R&B. Neo-Protestors. The readers will have to excuse me as I write on this one, for I may not focus so much on the music so much as the message that is really the core of Raheem DeVaughn‘s work. Why’s that? Because this isn’t so much an album as a publicity stunt for a neo-protest, a protest movement that has not made its goals clear, has not stated alternatives to the reality that they are protesting. The very base of it is ironic; they are protesting the wealth and greed of the wealthiest people in the nation. So in essence they are envious of what these people have acquired through their work. Isn’t envy simply greed, the want of others possessions? Yes, Occupy, there are things world with the wrong. And no, Occupy, simply yelling about it, in addition to producing shoddy mix tapes like this, is not going to change it.
“Whats Gangsta? Whats Gangsta? DJ Money,” that’s the opening to “Catch 22.” So Rasheed, you are telling me that you are fighting corporate greed while your producer on this track is DJ MONEY!? What the hell? This embodies the whole movement and its backwards, misdirected, angry, depressed people who do not understand where the troubles of our nation truly come from. We are the ones who buy corporations goods like TVs, Cars, Stereos, polluted foods, etc. We choose to live in polluted cities where we cannot grow our own foods and raise our own stock. People tell me all the land is owned. Have they ever been to Montana or Idaho, where in many places one can look for miles and see not one human dwelling?
While the beats are decent and the voices soulful, the tone of the album entirely takes away from any musical talent that may be put on display. We are the 99%! Guess what? So am I. If you want to change that, Raheem, or anyone else who really feels that strongly about corporate greed, then really do something about it. Start a commune, start a business, protest specific laws and specific regulations that allow certain corporate evils to persist. This is not about civil rights; this is about class warfare. As a nineteen year old entrepreneur and college dropout, it truly irks me to see young people complaining publicly about circumstances that only true action will change. Please readers, if you are in the protesting mood, read Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail; it might give you some perspective on how petty this issues truly are.
The issues that the occupiers are protesting are not the right ones. They are not nearly as dedicated, as organized, or truly righteous as the ones that Dr. King and the civil rights protesters stood against. Just as I promise you, Rasheed DeVaughn is no Sam Cooke.
If you are to wage war against something, wage war against the lack of reading in this country. Wage war on the issues that still exist that are much deeper than money. Wage war on bigotry and racism, on ageism on sexism, on things that go against the concept that our nation was founded upon, that all men are created equal. What they become is of their own doing. The fact that Rasheed DeVaughn tries to make money off of his albums, is this not a sign to you that he is false in his purpose?