Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Kufiyaspotting #37: K-Salaam and Beatnick's Mixtape, "New York Is Burning"

K-Salaam is an Iranian-American DJ, born Kayvon Sarfehjooy. He has just put out a new, free mixtape, together with Beatnick, called NY is Burning. It features several prominent rap and dancehall/reggae artists, including Mos Def, Sizzla, Outlawz, Damian Marley, Dead Prez and Capleton. The title refers to the anger in New York City over the not guilty verdict in the Sean Bell murder trial. The mix-tape was released as advance publicity for the forthcoming K-Salaam & Beatnick album, Whose World Is This?, due out on July 29. Download it here.

It's really an excellent mixtape. I've not listened to it enough to give it any kind of review, but I'm really partial to the Outlawz track.

Please note the blunt-smoking young man on the cover, decked out in a cap with "rasta" colors and a kufiya.

Moreover, Junior Kelly opens the track "Freedom" by saying, “Freedom in Iraq, freedom in Palestine, freedom in Cuba, freedom in Ethiopia.” And K-Salaam (I think) opens Outlawz's track, "We Want In," with the shout "Free Palestine!"

So we can tell that the kufiya on the cover isn't just another instance of "fashion."

Moreover, on the K-Salaam and Beatnick myspace page, K-Salaam writes the following, regarding the forthcoming Whose World is This?

I would also like to dedicate this album to all people who have had their land stolen from them, from New Orleans to Palestine. We must take it upon ourselves to learn about what is really happening around the world, rather than watching the news because we are not going to get any type of truth from watching a media broadcast that is funded by vampires. Believe it or not, what goes on in places like Iran and Palestine has a direct effect on what goes on to working people and people of color everywhere. If you stand up and demand justice for people somewhere else, then there is a greater chance that you will live in justice in your neck of the woods. Otherwise, what is going to stop these major corporations and imperialist powers from continuing to seize land without hesitation; then destroying it, and rebuilding it to their own liking; just as they are doing to Brown people in Palestine, and Black people in New Orleans; just as they did to the Indigenous people in the United States and everywhere else. There can never really be justice on stolen land.

It's a pleasure to report on an instance of hip-hop kufiya fashion that is actually connected to some informed politics.

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