I spoke with Ishmael Butler (Shabazz Palaces, Digable Planets) earlier today via phone. My interview will run in full before Shabazz Palaces' date at the Bishop in Bloomington. But I wanted to segment this portion where Butler responds to a question I posed about a panel on hip-hop, violence and race that I attended earlier tonight. I asked him: if he was on that panel, what would he say? That led to a conversation about this week's events in Ferguson.
"The power structure has really solidified the notion of categorizing as being something that's viable. These categories have these characteristics and these results and include these people. But it's not real. It's bullshit. It's not even based on anything. So we go into this whole hip-hop thing, [saying] 'Hip-hop is going to do this, this guy played a hip-hop song and that resulted in these people being shot or stabbed or dying or whatever — but that's not the case ...
"George Zimmerman don't listen to hip-hop and he's a cold-blooded murderer. The policemen in St. Louis, they don't listen to hip-hop and they're cold-blooded murderers. This country is full of killers. And we see things in terms of, 'This person is going against me,' so one viable thing that we think — a choice we can make — is to kill. Or go get a gun and threaten or harm somebody. This is who we are. We see things in a violent and murderous way. So to try and make it seem like it's about hip-hop and race .... it's just preposterous.
(This excerpt has been condensed and edited.)
Elsewhere, Big Boi, Nelly, Killer Mike and Chuck D respond to Mike Brown's killing. Follow a live feed in Ferguson via Fox 2 here. Ferguson alderman Antonio French, who has chronicled the scene on Twitter, was just arrested. Huffington Post journalist Ryan J. Reilly and Washington Post journalist Welsey Lowery were arrested and released earlier this evening.