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TERRORDOME
The Complete Kombit Pou Haiti Story
April 12th, 2010

Kombit Pou Haiti 2010: Of Tributes and Truthfulness

Chuck D and Gaye Theresa Johnson

Kombit Pou Haiti 2010 is a project born of three acknowledgments.
First, that the earthquake in Haiti, one of a long line of tragedies
affecting this nation and its people, also constitutes an opportunity,
a window, to lay bare the history of abuse and neglect for the
well-being of Haiti and its people. This opportunity has been
presented to us many times, and while some artists, activists, and
scholars have labored to maintain a clear view through this window
into the attendant problems of the region, not nearly enough action
has resulted to meaningfully impact Haiti in a sustained way. Second,
that the future of Haiti, if it is to be a positive and productive and
meaningful future, is reliant on the compassion and purpose that
individuals and groups bring to the endeavor. Third, that much of the
"help for Haiti" initiated in the weeks after the earthquake, both in
its nature and its implementation, duplicated some of the same
exploitative relationships with which the people of Haiti are so
familiar.

To distill these understandings into a project that could stand as
both aid and testament, as both avowal and renewal, we identified some
things that were essential to the project's center and foundation, the
same elements missing from the vast majority of both the "culture
business" and the "business of culture" today.

The Title

Today's record company practices have abandoned a methodology that was
once normal course in songwriting: there was a time when a project
producer supplied the songwriter with relevant information and
direction about the song's topic and context. Today's practice is to
choose topics that can produce the most amount of money from subject
matter that has little civic or human value. Therefore, the title
selection was something we felt had to come before the compilation of
songs, because the suffering endured by the victims might at very
least be honored by an acknowledgment of Haiti's past, present, and
future, and by words that mean something not just to the artists and
monetary contributors, but to the cultural producers and historical
agents that provide the context for this project. The title had to
inspire the songwriters before the songs were selected, and in many
cases, written. It is Chuck's feeling that a title should be a
"spark" for a song, so much so that it can nearly write itself.
Indeed, this has been his own method over the last twenty-five years:
start with a title. A good songwriter can take advantage of that
spark, and like a motor, generate the energy that gets songs moving
toward their lyrical and musical completion.
We contacted our Haitian friend and colleague Professor Claudine
Michel, who in collaboration with Professor Douglas Daniels and Kyrah
Daniels came up with the concept of Kombit Pou Haiti 2010.

Originally, she explained, the term was used for agricultural
cooperatives. When a group of people offered harvesting support for a
person or another group, the result was an effective system of
rotation, and an exchange of work for food and music. At its core,
Kombit signifies the collective work necessary to overcome particular
and extenuating conditions, and lends a strong sense of hope to the
participants. This was the spirit that we knew we had to begin the
project with: it spoke to us, and we knew it would speak to
listeners. Kombit is a call to action.

Production

The musical producer, compiler, sequencer and arranger for this
project, Johnny "Juice" Rosado, believes deeply in the relationship
between context, art, and sound. This commitment translates into an
important manifest for a project such as this: the histories of
resilience and subjugation that are revealed by the earthquake in
Haiti must be reflected in each song, and each artist needs to keep
this historical confluence in focus. Juice was charged with putting
out the call for "finished" songs from an array of independent artists
and producers affiliated with the Slamjamz label, and also with
producing several songs from "scratch." Moreover, all production
needed to be completed within seven days.

The practice of quick "turn-arounds" is part of a long tradition in
hip hop: answering an immediate call for songs. In its early years,
rap music did more than just comment on its context: it was
accountable to the current events affecting its attendant communities,
whether those events were social issues or popular dances. Between
1979 and 1986, hip hop was largely a singles medium: songs were
owned, shipped, distributed, and published by independent record
labels, no different than the labels once affiliated with rock & roll
in the fifties and soul in the sixties. Chess, Sun, Atlantic, Motown,
Electra, and many other record labels were later sold by independent
entrepreneurs and bought by major labels, particularly once the profit
margin was evident. The same pattern followed in hip hop, most
observable with labels such as Tommy Boy, Select, Next Plateau, and
Def Jam. In the 1980s, the challenge for independent labels in hip
hop was financial viability, particularly through all of the
configuration changes that characterized the switch from vinyl records
(12 inches and 45s) to cassettes, and later to compact discs.

Even though Juice has not yet reached the age of forty, he has
twenty-five years of experience in hip hop production and artistry,
and is among the most qualified to discern hip hop's relationship to a
project such as Kombit Pou Haiti 2010. Juice was recruited from a
group of emcees and deejays who wanted to work in college radio. At
the time, Chuck D and Hank Shocklee were looking for local talent to
produce and develop for broader venues. Shocklee invited Juice to
work alongside Public Enemy DJ Terminator X to implement innovative
scratch techniques. This is how, while still a student at Uniondale
High School, Juice did turntable work on Public Enemy's first two
albums - Yo Bum Rush the Show and It Takes a Nation of Millions to
Hold Us Back. Both of these albums, particularly the latter, are
widely considered to be some of the most formative and significant hip
hop albums ever made.

Juice has operated at the convergence of specific technological and
historical events, most significantly the advent of digital sound.
More than most artists, he has adapted and excelled in the creation
and recording of digital music. The proficiency of hip hop artists and
producers in remaking themselves in relations to the constant change
that characterizes music and record processing is the only reason that
an album project like this is possible.

A Call, a Response

A key term for our ruminations above is "independent:" it is a term
whose meaning has been remade by millions of artists and producers as
they maximize their uses of recording and distribution technology.
These technologies, once monopolized by major record labels as
exclusive and highly sophisticated mechanisms, are now obtainable to
anyone with computer access and the motivation to broadcast themselves
and their productions to the world. This has resulted in a 21st
century reclamation of one of the basic principles and original
practices of independent hip hop: call and response. Chuck created
www.SLAMjamz.com in 2000 as a supplier of articulated and relevant
responses to social events. SLAMjamz and other similarly run labels
reflect the technological adaptations of cultural creators: hip hop,
and by extension all music, has returned to being a singles medium,
and Kombit Pou Haiti 2010 is evidence of that. In essence, the album
is like a film soundtrack, a compilation of singles threaded together
by a unified theme, and by an understanding of how this tragedy
resonates in the history of African people. In this way, the "call" is
constituted from the progression of imperial occupations, permanent
enslavement, and lasting economic and racial subjugation that
culminated in the images broadcast to the world on January 12, 2010.
The response articulated in the album project, a collective of
independent artists and producers, is in true hip hop tradition
intentionally immediate and relevant, retaining focus on a combination
of methodologies that has often been lost in the album-making process
over the past twenty years.

Kombit 2010

All of the artists on Kombit pou Haiti 2010 contributed their songs
within 24 hours of being asked. All mastering costs and studio time
were donated by Earle Holder of HDQRTZ, and the album artwork was
created and donated by graphic artist Kelvin Fonville.
Chuck wrote "This Bit of Earth," featuring Kyle Jason and DJ Johnny
Juice. The song is the culmination of things heard and witnessed
about Haiti, particularly the combination of patriotism and
frustration associated with Black Haitians' love of their country.
Even if the earthquake itself was not predicted, many felt that some
catastrophe was imminent, and knew that the amalgamation of historical
events destined such an occasion. Most Haitians he knows consider the
continued suffering of the country and its people a sort of
retribution for the powerful effect and lasting symbolism of Toussaint
L'Ouverture.

The HEET Mob is a group with deep roots in Kansas City. They are, in
their own words, "fully self-supportive," with an office facility and
studio, 16 artists and staff that make up "the family." They will
release their current work, "Found Missin," in 2010. HEET Mob gave us
"Help Is On The Way," a high energy, uplifting call for hope. Six of
the HEET Mob Emcees cover different lyrical styles throughout the
track about the present struggles of Haiti.

HiCoup contributed "Knockin' on the Lord's Back Door," which featured
Kyle Jason on vocals. The song describes the struggles of men of
color, emphasizing that Haiti "is the country that the world forgot."
HiCoup is from New York, but now lives in New Jersey. He has
performed and recorded with Redman, Smif & Wesson, Wu-Tang and Nice &
Smooth. A highly gifted lyricist, HiCoup focuses on socio-policital
content as well as vivid descriptions of modern day Black life. He is
also half of the HipHop/Soul/Funk/Rock/Fusion band "The Chosen." He
released the album "Domestic Violence" with artist Divinity in 2008
and is working on his forthcoming album "Guerrilla Jonez."
"Find My Way Home" was contributed by Kyle Jason, who was inspired to
write the song after ruminating over preventable tragedies, and
concluding how sad the confusion of spirit is when immediate death
strikes. Jason is a Long Island native whose numerous talents, chief
among them his mellifluous voice, led him to talk radio, first
building a dedicated internet fan base for years then being recruited
to go national via Air America Radio/XM. The Kyle Jason Show brought
music, informative interviews and topical chats with some of the most
influential figures today.

"Faith," a song about trying to see good through clouds of evil, was
contributed by Dontique Mangual. Born in Brooklyn to 15 year old
parents, Dontique started writing music at age nine, mimicking his
songwriting father. He was signed to Epic Records in 1994 at age 14
and started producing at age 15. He has recorded with Lord Jamar
(Brand Nubian), Groove Theory, and Mark Sparks.

LOWdown offers "La Misere," inspired by Haitian recordings of 1950's
Voodoo ceremonies. Also featured are some sound bytes of a public
domain travelogue film that speaks on some of the island's history.
Long time comrades and artistic collaborators, Tirade & C-Doc have
been creating music and videoworks for many years.

Professor Griff of Public Enemy fame wrote "Why Y'all Wanna Kill God,"
and recorded the song with his band, The 7th Octave. Griff explains
that the song illustrates the damage we do to the "god self." His
central questions, both in this song and in his broader politics, are
about the impulse that men and women have to destroy the "god
essence." Griff urges knowledge about the ways in which this process
destroys music as an art form, bringing the industry "to its knees,
begging for the people's mercy." 7th Octave introduces a colorful
blend of original sounds, as well as substantive and creative subject
matter culled from urban and musical realities.
"Raise Up" was contributed by Son of Bazerk, featuring Al "Purple" Hayes.

It is intended to be an anthem calling for people to "get up and get
involved" in helping Haiti as well as other regions by restoring and
rebuilding hope, faith and prosperity in communities, humanity and the
Earth.

Pa'lo Monte is a cultural group that teaches and performs the
traditional rhythms and melodies of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Through the teaching of music, dance, and specific political and
spiritual traditions, they maintain a legacy that has been transferred
from one generation to the next. The group's work preserves and
popularizes the African and Indigenous cultural traditions of
Dominican and Haitian people, and strengthens respect for ancestral
values and traditions.

Palo Monte's contribution, "Candelo," is an example of the
traditional, Afro-Dominican rhythm palo, which is popular throughout
the country and the island as a whole. It honors Candelo, one of the
loas (spirits) within the Dominican and Haitian Vodoun pantheon who is
a warrior, represented by fire, a machete, and a fist, and who has the
power to resolve problems expeditiously. With this song, Sánchez
laments the miserable, unjust conditions under which people are
living, imploring Papá Candelo to intervene on our behalf, asking why
people must suffer in order to live. Finally, he reminds us that no
matter how hard it gets, Papá Candelo will take care of his children.
In both Haiti and the Dominican Republic, songs such as "Candelo" are
calls to the community, understanding their hardships, reminding them
of their faith, and a rallying cry to resist and survive.

What We All (Should) Know

The terrible damage that has characterized the history of Haiti's
relationship to, principally, the U.S., France, and Spain was thrown
into sharp relief (once again) by the January 12 earthquake, only to
be overshadowed by the stupefying audacity with which multinational
corporations evaded accountability for their role in Haiti's current
crisis. It is a legacy that incites us; but it is also what reminds
us, as Malcolm X iterated, that "The only way we'll get freedom for
ourselves is to [remember that we are] blood brothers to the people of
Brazil, Venezuela, Haiti and Cuba." Reckoning with this relationship
means reckoning with the realities of Haitian life: it is the third
hungriest country in the world after Somalia and Afghanistan. It is
the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and the fourth poorest
country in the world. Haiti has contributed untold resources to the
western hemisphere in the form of goods and services, but the country
and its people are among the most overlooked and undervalued,
particularly by the United States.

The facts leading up to this disaster have been cooking in this region
for two to three hundred years. First of all the country of Haiti is
half of an island, long conquered from the west by France and Spain.
The West enslaved black people from the continent of Africa on both
halves of the island, never letting those enslaved people mix, and
created fabricated prejudices and biases that exist to this very day.
Although Haiti has been the heartbeat for many black people in the
entire Diaspora because of the revolution led by Toussaint
L'Ouverture, one cannot help but see the ways that the West has damned
that liberation.

When the people on an island cannot come and go, as its indigenous
people once did, and are forced to be concentrated and compacted by
limitations, you have millions of people in Port -au-Prince who
flocked to the city for better survival chances. When resources are
sucked from a region and the people don't share and can't build, you
have a recipe for disaster.

The problem in Haiti doesn't stop just because Americans take it off
the news. Long after Wolf Blitzer, Larry King, Anderson Cooper, Fox
News, and MSNBC leave the half-island nation, the issues that went on
before will be twice as heavy. The question remains, what is the West
going to do to truly fix a region they screwed up with slavery,
takeover, and underhanded modern gangsterism?

The West interrupted and destroyed the Caribbean, South America and
Asia for the benefit of Europeans, North Americans, and a vast
majority of white skinned people. If the West now wants to truly aid
they would liberate the entire island. They would build townships and
cities to redistribute the population and allow Haitians and other
people from the descendants of slaves to travel the world for refuge
and opportunity. They should provide them with a universal passport,
so to speak.

Marketing and Promotion Politics

Kombit Pou Haiti 2010 won't - and isn't meant - to make the same kind
of impact that a major record labels' production or a televised
fundraiser would make. Before the project got off the ground, as we
discussed what our contribution could be, we came to understand that
the gestures that comprised the "Help for Haiti" events were as
problematic as they were noble. For example, major record labels that
allowed their artists to make charitable efforts through songs with
other artists to help Haiti rebuild were themselves built on the same
principles as Disney, one of the worst culprits of Haitian
exploitation. An astounding amount of capital is circulated within
privately owned networks (many sharing the same ownerships) before it
achieves any beneficial outcome to those who need it most.
Major record labels are now no more or less than a banking system for
music promotion and distribution. Among independent labels,
manufacturing and distribution are as quickly achieved as they would
be in a major record label context. But a significant material
difference in marketing and promotion dominates the gap between these
two mediums: the capital to create a buzz for particular artists and
their creations. As major labels scramble to regain some of the
revenue that has gone into ITunes and other digital avenues, they've
begun to employ some of the same strategies that independents have
used as a matter of survival over the past ten years, such as the
expansion of licensing as a key revenue stream.

In many ways, SLAMjamz and labels like it are uniquely poised to
deliver this message. SLAMjamz was founded by Chuck in 1996 as a
highly innovative, digital-only record label, dedicated to discovering
and distributing hip hop and new urban music to a global audience.
SLAMjamz artists uniquely retain the rights to their work, allowing
for them to own the master copies of their recordings as well as their
own publishing rights. Licensing, then, has become the main revenue
stream for SLAMjamz and labels like it.

100% of the proceeds from the sale of Kombit Pou Haiti 2010 benefit
the Lambi Fund of Haiti (www.lambifund.org), an organization dedicated
to helping Haitian communities rebuild and recover through building
economic community enterprises such as sugar mills, grain mills and
small businesses and planting crops to sustain local communities. The
SLAMjamz Relief Project may be a small part of what has been achieved
for Haiti, but it is intended to stand as something instructive about
the mobility of art, and the power of independent artists to impact
the people and issues that seem far away, but are really integral to
the lives we all lead. Therefore, while it is the oppression that
angers us, it is the enduring tradition of resistance that inspires
us. Cuban revolutionaries once warned the U.S. that in the event of an
invasion, "even the chickens will fight." Kombit Pou Haiti 2010 is
meant to show that art, too, fights mightily in defense of freedom and
social justice. That feeling has never left. Our anger evolves from
the ways that all of our people have been played with for centuries.
The album responds to this: we're tired and mad as hell and ain't
gonna take it no more.

This Bit of Earth

(J. Rosado, C. Ridenhour, K. Jason)
Performed by Mistachuck featuring Kyle Jason and DJ Johnny Juice
Produced, Arranged, Recorded, and Mixed by DJ Johnny Juice at the
Terrordome - Strong Island, NY Scratches by DJ Johnny Juice Featuring
Kyle Jason Background Vocals by Veda Byrd Writers: John Rosado - Juice
On The Loose Publishing (BMI) Carlton Ridenhour - Terrordome Music
Publishing (BMI) Kyle Jason Smith - Afro Wop Music (BMI)

EXCUSE MY FRENCH
GOD DIDNT DAMN HAITI
FROM THE PLANTATIONS TO CORPORATIONS
THE SAME MENTALITY THAT HATES ME

AFRICANS ENSLAVED TO WORK SUGAR AND COFFEE
TODAY IS SWEATSHOPS FROM LEVIS TO DISNEY

BUT RECOVERYS THE ISSUE
WITH NO TIME TO LOSE
BUT WILL THE WEST STOP PAYING DUES
WHEN HAITIS OFF THE NEWS?

AND HOME PAGE VIEWS?
REMEMBER THE IMF
STOPPED HAITIAN FARMERS FROM GROWING
THEIR OWN FOOD

INDUSTRIALIZATION MOVED THE HAITIAN
FROM THE LAND INTO THE CITY BY DEFAULT
its THE WORLD BANKS FAULT
TO PUT THE MASSES ON A FAULT
JUST SO THE REST OF THE WEST
COULD FILL THE VAULTS.

SOMEBODY HELP
IF YOU KNOW NOTHING ELSE
HELP REDEVELOP THE LAND
AND HAITIS BEING OF SELF

BUT TO KNOW FIRST
INSTEAD OF GUESSING THE CURSE
HOW WE GOT SMACK DAB IN THE MIDDLE
OF
THIS BIT OF EARTH

---------------------------------------- CHORUS (KYLE JASON)
THIS BIT OF EARTH
BEEN OVERLOOKED FOR WAY TOO LONG
BUT NOW WE LOOKING
AS THE BLOOD TURNS THIS BIT OF EARTH RED
WHAT DID WE DO BEFORE THE NEWSPAPERS SAID
DEATH AND DEVESTATION
NOW A PEOPLE WITH NOTHING NOW HAVE EVEN LESS...
...ON THIS BIT OF EARTH

------------- WHATS THE SCORE ?
DOWN INTO POVERTY AND DESTITUTE
THE FIRST WORLD PIMPS CREATE THIRD WORLD PROSTITUTES

CARRIBEAN GOT AFRICANS
SPEAKIN ENGLISH, FRENCH AND SPANISH
ORIGINAL PLAN IN EFFECT
DESTROY THE BLACK PLANET

ASK THE PRIVILEGED TO GIVE AND NOT TAKE
IT FOR GRANTED
THE EXCUSE HISTORY SAYS WAS HOW THEM BLACK DOCS RAN IT

PAPA DOC, BABY DOC ARISTIDE ROUND THE CLOCK
GENOCIDE AND YOU DONT STOP

WITH THE WEAPON IN THE LEFT HAND
UNCLE SAM BEHIND THE MAN

HARD AS HELL FOR GODS PLAN

THAT HAITI BE FREE
AND THE WORLD CAN SEE
WHAT WE SEE
IS STILL AFFECTED BY HISTORY.

SOMEBODY HELP
IF YOU KNOW NOTHING ELSE
HELP REDEVELOP THE LAND
AND HAITIS BEING OF SELF

BUT TO KNOW FIRST
INSTEAD OF GUESSING THE CURSE
HOW WE GOT SMACK DAB IN THE MIDDLE
OF
THIS BIT OF... EARTH CHORUS (KYLE JASON)
THIS BIT OF EARTH
BEEN OVERLOOKED FOR WAY TOO LONG
BUT NOW WE LOOKING
AS THE BLOOD TURNS THIS BIT OF EARTH RED
WHAT DID WE DO BEFORE THE NEWSPAPERS SAID
DEATH AND DEVESTATION
NOW A PEOPLE WITH NOTHING NOW HAVE EVEN LESS...
...ON THIS BIT OF EARTH





KOMBIT POU HAITI 2010
Track listing
1. THIS BIT OF EARTH / Mistachuck, featuring Kyle Jason and Dj Johnny
Juice
2. HELP IS ON THE WAY / Heet Mob
3. KNOCKIN ON THE LORDS BACK DOOR / Hi Coup
4. FIND MY WAY HOME / Kyle Jason
5. FAITH / Dontique
6. LA MISERE / Lowdown
7. WHY YALL WANNA KILL GOD? / The 7th Octave
8. RAISE UP / Son Of Bazerk and the No Self Control Band
9. CANDELO / Pa'lo Monte

Kombit Pou Haiti sold 662 for $442.00
for March 2010.

PEace
chuckd@publicenemy.com