Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wise Intelligent was the highlight at the "Return of the God MC's" concert at the Patriot Theater in Trenton on Feb 5th 2010


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Staff Writer

TRENTON — Even if it didn’t go off entirely as planned, Friday night’s “Return of the God MCs” concert at the Patriots Theater at the Trenton War Memorial can be considered a rousing success.

The headliner, of course, was Rakim, but the real star of the night was Wise Intelligent, the front man for Poor Righteous Teachers, a poster child for both life in — and a path out of — the city.

After his roughly half-hour set, Wise Intelligent joined the media in the back of the ballroom and spoke candidly and passionately about when he believes hip-hop’s paradigm shifted from a message of righteousness and positivity to one of materialism, violence, selfishness and greed.

“It shifted after 1992, after the riots behind Rodney King,” he said. “That’s when I started to see the change. Poor Righteous Teachers were in their second recording ... it was called ‘Pure Poverty.’ We were explaining poverty and what it can do to a youth.

“So 1992 is when it shifted, because after the Rodney King riots, the youth were motivated to attack the cause of their problems, which was the system. Rodney King gets beaten in front of everybody, and they say ‘Yo, no, they’re not guilty. Let them go,’ and the police get off.”

From there, Wise Intelligent says, the mindset of the nation’s young and impoverished went from betterment of their selves, to attacking what they believed was the cause of their struggles.

“The youth, from listening to ‘Fight the Power,’ from listening to Public Enemy, to KRS-One, they were motivated to the right move. They were politically oriented in the right direction.

“So they said, ‘Hey, we can’t have this. How do we stop these kids from listening to the cause of their immiseration?’ So they shift the paradigm.”

Of course, words alone can only do so much. That’s why Wise Intelligent has established Intelligent Seedz, ( ) a Trenton-based nonprofit based that, through short, independently filmed documentaries, aims to “give at-risk youth the necessary skill set to tell their unique stories through film.”

One film, “Dying to Learn,” ( and PSA ( about the effects of lead poisoning, has been honored by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Brand Nubian performed after Wise Intelligent, throwing together a hit-packed set that featured “Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down,” “One for All” and “Slow Down” in succession.

Then, after a brief intermission featuring a DJ spinning classics, Rakim emerged to fevered applause.

The God MC himself opened with “Holy Are You,” the first single from his latest release, “The Seventh Seal.”

He followed with a string of classics, including “Eric B. is President,” “Paid in Full,” “Guess Who’s Back” and “I Ain’t No Joke” among others.

Because of timing issues stemming from the late arrival of artists, however, most of Rakim’s songs had to be shortened to a verse.

After the post-concert meet- and-greet, Rakim, surrounded by about 10 people in his dressing room, met with The Trentonian and explained the importance of the show.

“It’s a good feeling being back in Jersey, especially down in Trenton. I haven’t been over here in a while, and it just feels good to get out there and give some love and get some back.

In the final question of the evening, Rakim acknowledging that it had, indeed, been a long time, between albums, explained the delay and promised there would be no such delay this time around.

“I want to get on it right away so it won’t take so long this time. It’s different now, I’ve got my business together — that was one of the things that took so long, just getting the business right so I could put this out on my own label, and we did that.

“So hopefully now there won’t be too many setbacks and I can drop something by the end of the year.”

Judging by the response he received last night, if Rakim makes good on his word, the fans will definitely welcome it with open ears.

It's NO LONGER Smart to be DUMB!

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