Sunday, May 10, 2009

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Kuttin Kandi picks up the mic and drops the science

Kandi and the Heart (Photo credits: Ernie Pena)

DJ Kuttin Kandi of the mighty 5th Platoon Crew and the Anomolies dropped science Friday as she performed with her new band The Heart at Kababayan's "Hip Hop Showcase."

As a champion turntablist (1998 NY Source DJ winner, placed in 1998 DMC solo Finals), activist (founder of R.E.A.C.Hip-Hop, which famously battled against HOT 97 in their post-tsunami fascism, president-elect of the women's movement organization GABNet, etc.), and educator (teacher in NY and student events coordinator in San Diego), the Queens, NY native serves as a model for young Filipinos who are passionate about social justice, art, and education. Her resume is too long to list here, but BakitWhy provides a good summary of her achievements and creativity, complete with a video interview: BakitWhy- Artist Spotlight: DJ Kuttin Kandi.

When you think Kandi's goals were nearing a peak, she just keeps pushing the limit higher and higher. With her band The Heart, Kandi is adding lyricism and live band music to her repertoire. With her bold New York vernacular wedded together with a warm (if not hot) appeal for social justice, she'll make you pay close attention and decolonize your mind at the same time.

"I'm callin out all you wack, crass emcees!" (Photo credit: Ernie Pena)

Here are two poems, the first is entitled "A Love More Than Just Hip Hop," which she recited at the Kababayan Conference in February of this year. It gets at the soul of one of her main messages as a poet and educator: what we do is bigger than hip hop. The second poem, "The MisEducated," is a personal biography of Kandi and her constant retransformation, complete with references of Philippine history, Desperate Housewives, and A Tribe Called Quest!

By DJ Kuttin Kandi

i do this
for the love of Hip-Hop
i do this whether
i make it or flop
i do this so i can one day
open a record shop
i do this to afford a new pair
of addidas shell-tops

knod my head
to a funky be-bop
hands in the air


can’t ever make me stop
playin a good beat drop
can’t break me up
cause i can’t seem to get enough
of a love more than just hip-hop...

By Kuttin Kandi

...gained my own Ph.D
through the 4 elements

of Hip Hop

through Hip Hop

Saul Williams
Public Enemy
Queen Latifah
Lauryn Hill
Dead Prez
soothed me
loved me
and saved me…..

and now it’s funny….

i’ll run into
some academic
at some panel discussion

usually a male white

who wants to belittle me
with their academic language

but what they don’t realize

even though
it might take me longer
I can speak
your language too

i can make it
just as
make it
Special shout out to Jaela, my partner in poetry inspiration and 2004 "slam" collaborator. You can order her poetry chapbook here. She writes about Kandi's lyrics above in a new blog entry:

"i think it’s expected that a poet, in general, an artist, have a piece that explains their story, their name, their history..." CONTINUE READING...