There are certain moments in one’s musical life that transcend mother time, the nuances of pop-culture fads and the tide of cynicism that seems to rise with age. “1989,” Public Enemy at Madison Square is the embodiment of that infinite experience. The baritone of Chuck D’s deistic like delivery and the spastic crowd-hyping of Flav, amidst the frenzy of righteous Politics, ruckus jams and healthy counter-culture; shit, I came back to East Los, Chicano as hell chanting “Too Black – Too Strong – Too Black – Too Strong,” to the dismay of some, to the amazement of others and the bewilderment of most: Black, as an ideology, Black as a repartee to the toxin cloud of Reaganomics and Cold-War fascism at its very worst. An era long gone they say – and no, this isn’t an ode to the oftentimes idealized “Golden Age” of Hip Hop. It’s just nostalgia my people, a most depressing phenomenon at a stage where the glass isn’ even half full, muthafucka is broken. Thoughts of KRS franticly chanting “The Bridge is Ova,” and Zach De La Rocha dropping into Bombtrack, “It goes a one-two-three-and it’s just another Bombtrack, and suckas be thinking that they can fade this…,” bring about the same reaction.
Fast forward to 2005, the devolution and gentrification of the Beat-Street-Beat all but complete. Fighting the power – the industry powers that is – is now a vitriolic rant between Communist-Wine-Drinking buddies of mine, hardly effective. Disenchantment. The newest rallying cause on here in La-La-Land is that of the Minutemen. Retrograde, most likely inbred, virulently bigoted fucks. Their platform deserves not a sentence. But, that they or their sadistic views may be microcosmic of the voting majority warrants action on any sane person’s part. So there I was, at a well organized anti-minutemen rally in Baldwin Park, CA. The usual fanfare and pageantry ensued, chants, ethnocentric dance groups, well intentioned but slightly-paternalist hipsters spoke and so on. I personally was waiting for what I assumed would be the peak of the event. That moment where the opposing factions stand off and exchange insults and or epithets (depending on your allegiances); you know, that opportunity where all that Revolutionary angst is expelled (seasoned activists know of and understand the humor here) and our guilty pleasures – be they Starbucks, McDonalds, Gated Communities or Brittney Spears – justified! Then it happened, like an apparition from a time so distant in one’s memory sanity is questioned as to whether or not it actually transpired:
“Brothers and Sisters, isn’t it strange that the state, that the pigs all around, flock to protect fuckers hunting innocent victims of US foreign Policy. And in the end, rather than handcuff the real criminals and their foot soldiers, they’ll turn those gats on us, right here for questioning the status quo. We’re Boomerang Politick from Los Angeles California. (paraphrase, sorry JG)”
There was a queer silence throughout the 1000 odd comrades protesting, despite the fact that we were actually marching back to the stage during the opening diatribe. I studied the specimens about to begin their set like an archeologist. The lead, a tall slender brother with an enormous Afro (the kind shaped in the spirit of Bobby Seale) strangled the mic in anticipation for count. Behind the skins, a mauve Chicano looking cat, head and face covered with a Campesino-styled hat. And between the two, a cyborg of a man, whose Bass Guitar, array of effects pedals and filters and Herculean cabinet seemed surgically attached to his torso. These were aliens, extraterrestrials, from that now un-chartered plant known as the past. A few strikes of the snare, a mammoth tone spewed from the Bass Cabinet and the groove was set: Chiropractic Boom-Bap and viciously distorted riffs. It was at this point that a very unexpected surge of anger came over me. Who in the fuck did these cats think they were? And secondly, why in the fuck didn’t I know about them?
Like weathered vets, they let the beat ride for a few minutes, enticing the entire crowd to return from exchanging saliva with the minutemen minions. The visually captivating Lead, adorned in a Fidel-Castro styled military green shirt and black cargoes, simply stood there, methodically pacing back and forth, like a Panther (yes, people, irresistible pun) before his prey. The wet-burrito consumed earlier that day was talking all sorts of shit in my gut. Then, like a newly manufactured Kalishnikov, that pacing Panther descended upon the groove. Cadenced, meticulous, rapid-fire spit, raspy and guttural. Shit was dirty, and I mean the kind of sewage that practically intoxicates and entire zip code (for the Hip Hop ignorant, dirty, sick et cetera = good). A singular thought ransacked my brain, I’ve seen this before, different form, different faces, distinctly and pleasantly different, but, this sort of original and Revolutionary excellence, no doubt (see first Paragraph).
What ensued is now considered my Hip Hop awakening. The villains in question, Boomerang Politick, stormed through their set, dropping live Drum & Bass, Afro-Caribbean, Classic Breaks, Ragga and a smidgen of Punk. In between songs, JG, the band Emcee / Lyricist, let loose fiery rhetoric and analyses on the occupation of Haiti (his consummate cause), Iraq, Permanent War Economies , Hood Politics and of course, the despicable minutemen. Make no mistake, these muthafuckas are Hip Hop, straight up Boom Bap. A deadly three-piece: Vocals, Drums, Bass.
Have you ever seen a Hollywood reenactment the fall out of a high density blast in close range? The fortunate survivors aimlessly wander to and fro waiting for the incessant buzz to clear from their hearing? This accurately describes the fortunate 1000 or so who attended the rally.
Anxiety came over me like flies on Ann Coulter: I had to find out more about this Boomerang Politick. Was it possible that in my eclectic cultism and reclusiveness, such a group emerged from the neo-liberal bowels without my knowing? Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who wanted a piece of the band and before I could actually shake their hands, they disappeared. Apparitions.
I’ve since tracked the group down and frequent their Southern California shows. In what has become something of a ritual, last weekend they decimated yet another crowd at the Mexica New year Celebration at Self Help Graphics. As a matter of fact, I was the first to review a gnarly LP just released, “Live & Militant.” The album is just that; several live tracks from a myriad of performances and songs from their upcoming LP, tentatively out late April. The deconstructions and political commentary are as authoritative as I’ve seen. Picture George Jackson as an Emcee and you’ve got JG. Oh yeah, proper introductions: Emcee / Lyricist: JG, Drums: Rudy Rude, Bass: Henry Pope.
They have caught the eye of International Syndicates as well. URB Magazine has featured Boomerang Politick as one of the “Next 100” (April 2006).
I’m far from being a contemporary Hip Hop connoisseur but knowing full well the difference between the common and the extraordinary, especially with Radical Hip Hop, trust me when I say that Boomerang Politick is a musical movement to be contended with.
You can find out more information on the band at: www.myspace.com/boomerangpolitick