For a moment yesterday, The New York Post traveled back in time to the year 1993. Every rapper was a threat to innocuous white people and law enforcement across the country because they misunderstood N.W.A. and “Cop Killer.” That vintage brand of misguided rap hysteria reared its head yesterday when The Post ran a hit piece on Brownsville emcee Ka. The Post and author Susan Edelman attempted to drag the Brownsville rapper – real name Kaseem Ryan – through the mud not just by calling him anti-police and “outing” him as a captain of the New York Fire Department (which isn’t exactly hidden info), but by publishing personal business like his salary, his wife’s job, and where they live.
As far as Blue Lives Matter smear campaigns go, it’s particularly unfounded and downright immoral, as many of Ka’s fans and contemporaries have been saying on Twitter.
Edelman doesn’t seem to think that a person who risks life and limb to save people on the daily should have the right to speak ill of a corrupt justice system and that the same person can’t make gritty music just because they get paid well; it’s tabloid sensationalism at its worst and nothing more.
The lyrics the article takes out of context are from “Cold Facts,” a song from his 2012 album Grief Pedigree (“Fuck them cops and swats with night vision/Give me three days, we’ll celebrate like Christ’s risen”), which is interesting considering that they never mention his new album Honor Killed The Samurai, which dropped a week and a half ago.
Ka’s music speaks to a New York full of grim desperation that’s only fueled by NYPD biases, which he and countless others have felt and continued to feel, facts of life that united the artist and fans alike at his album release in front of the now closed Other Music in downtown Manhattan. Few artists bond with their fans over music sold out of the trunk of their car, but Ka welcomed conversation about rap old and new, the sticky New York weather, and aspirations for the youth. He was as excited that people cared about his music as his fans were to receive it.
The fact that a tabloid potentially put a public servant’s job on the line over misconstrued lyrics is troublesome, but short of not giving the article clicks (we’re not linking out to it, so good luck finding it), the best laid plan for battling this is simple: buy Ka’s music. One upside to this bullshit is some free exposure, so if you’re a new fan or a day one, download the album. Purchase it from his website, which he himself will directly ship to you. Whether he’s chronicling lives in music or saving them on the streets, this is a man who puts his heart into everything he does, and it’s a shame that an emcee who carefully lays his words is on the short end of the New York Post’s stick. We took the envelop-pushing Nightly Show for granted and lost it. Let’s not do the same with New York’s finest musicians.