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Old 06-08-2009, 07:17 AM  
Deberg_1990 Deberg_1990 is offline
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Incident at P&L District shocks DJ Jazzy Jeff

Wow......Unreal.



http://www.kansascity.com/226/story/1238798.html



Another day, another racial controversy at the Power & Light District.

For a year, the black community has been in arms about perceived racism at the entertainment district, a place their tax money helped fund. But it’s always rebutted. Everyone is welcome at the P&L, officials say.

Well, those who follow the hip-hop music scene have more to chew on since late Saturday night, when one of hip-hop’s icons, DJ Jazzy Jeff, cut short a set of music and left the stage in a dispute over the kind of music his show was spinning.

I walked in just as he was walking off the stage. He had performed less than 30 minutes.

The crowd booed and I heard people, both black and white, yell about how the Power & Light didn’t want him to play hip-hop. I wasn’t sure what happened, but I knew it was bad.

A conversation I had with him early Sunday confirmed it.

He might be best known as one half of DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, but he is more than Will Smith’s old DJ and friend. The two won the first rap Grammy.

Jeff Townes, his given name, is legendary. He introduced “transforming,” the scratching technique turntablists use. This man has toured for 25 years. He’s an acclaimed producer.

So what exactly happened?

According to his tweets (twitter.com/djjazzyjeff215), he was kicked offstage for playing hip-hop. Jon Stephens, president of the Power & Light District, says it was about the sound levels.

“The issue that arose with the performance last night was completely about the sound levels,” he said Sunday. “His audio tech was maxing out the sound system to a point that risked damage to the speakers and sound system. His sound techs and management refused to bring the decibel level down. They were told to bring it down or cease performance. They refused to go on.”

Hours after he returned to his Philadelphia home, I spoke to Jazzy Jeff on the phone to hear his side.

His set started with sounds of hip-hop and pop favorites — Jay-Z, Biz Markie, Rihanna. His MC, Skillz, hyped up the crowd.

But after 15 minutes or so, in the middle of an R&B hit by Ne-Yo, “Miss Independent,” he was told to stop.

“My road manager walked up to me and said they were having problems with the music I was playing,” Jazzy Jeff told me. “I played three more songs and he comes back. I knew something was wrong. They said I had to kick Skillz off the stage, change the format of the music I was playing or quit. They said if I continued playing they had 30 cops ready to come escort me offstage. So I stopped.”

Jon Stephens says that isn’t so.

“Obviously we have a desire to book a diversity of acts,” he said. “We booked Jazzy Jeff on a Saturday night, the biggest night of the week in the district. We were excited to have him there. It’s unfortunate that his sound and management people had problems adhering to the sound and audio rules. We wanted him to play. That’s why we booked him.”

Jazzy Jeff was excited to play here too.

But it all went wrong. Venue officials said the set attracted the wrong kind of element, he says.

“They said they didn’t like Skillz’s posture,” Jeff said. “They said he made gang-like signs and grabbed at his genitals.”

So P&L officials wanted him offstage. But Jeff felt it was wrong because Skillz is no gang member. He is a father. His hand gestures were the kind of excited movements you make to get the crowd excited.

He wasn’t cursing or being offensive.

“I was playing Rihanna; she is Top 40,” he says. “If they would have let my set play, they would have known I play everything. I play rock, funk, soul, pop, hip-hop, reggae. I don’t play for a certain genre, race or gender. I play for music lovers.”

In his 25-year career, at 44 years old, Jeff has never been told to end a set because of hip-hop. He says he has never felt that kind of racism. The “element” that officials referred to felt like a reference to black people, a hip-hop crowd.

“I’m in shock,” he says. “I didn’t understand what element they were talking about. I looked out in the crowd and it was multicultural, but about 75 percent white. Everyone was having a great time. I wondered what was so offensive. I never had a race issue. I didn’t know how to feel. I was playing ‘Just a Friend.’ Is that offensive? What element? It’s uncomfortable when you feel unwanted.”
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Old 06-11-2009, 03:25 PM   #1411
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle DeLexus View Post
I'm with you. I just turned 21 a couple months ago and going to P&L hasn't even crossed my mind (alright 1 time I wanted to go ride the bull at PBR and then go back to the party I was at.) I think the only way P&L survives is if they get a pro team at the sprint center, and that just doesn't look like it is going to happen anytime soon.
I've been to the complex twice.

The first time was before P&L officially opened.
I co-hosted an 80's Party, at McFadden's, with one of my close friends (who's a DJ).

The last time was about a week after the Mainstreet AMC Theatre opened.
Which is a pretty spiffy theatre (by the way).

I'd LIKE to go. I just hate that this has been such an on-going issue.
I'd really like to see more diversity with what it offers and a real resolution to the sizable racial element that I believe persists there.
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Old 06-11-2009, 03:45 PM   #1412
Deberg_1990 Deberg_1990 is offline
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Originally Posted by Micjones View Post
Ultimately KD, I understand the Cordish desire to keep the criminal element on the outside. That's the point that's gotten lost in all of this bickering that everyone (myself included) has contributed to.
To be honest, although it was implied, you probably could have been a little more up front about it. But im glad you made it perfectly clear a few pages back.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Micjones View Post
And my problem with Cordish is multi-layered.
I haven't even spoken on just how poorly thought out the concept of the complex itself was in the first place. Over-priced shops/restaurants? Very little retail? Baaaaad idea.
IM surprised to hear there isnt more retail? Is that planned for the future?

Ive been to several other downtown entertainment districts in other cities and they are all pretty cool for the most part. I hope KC gets the problems with this place worked out.
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Old 06-11-2009, 04:14 PM   #1413
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Originally Posted by Deberg_1990 View Post
To be honest, although it was implied, you probably could have been a little more up front about it. But im glad you made it perfectly clear a few pages back.
I thought that was clear from the outset.
I have no interest in romanticizing criminal behavior or those who practice it.
We're no different in that regard.

Where we differ is in how you accomplish that and why Cordish has a deeper agenda that they're masking ostensibly through the dress code.

Quote:
IM surprised to hear there isnt more retail? Is that planned for the future?

Ive been to several other downtown entertainment districts in other cities and they are all pretty cool for the most part. I hope KC gets the problems with this place worked out.
As I understand P&L is still considerably underdeveloped. I've heard rumblings that a Hard Rock Cafe and House of Blues are in the works, but that's purely speculative at this point. I honestly can't imagine that there will be any long-term success there if they don't bolster it with more retail.
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Old 06-12-2009, 07:50 AM   #1414
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Originally Posted by Micjones View Post
That's the truth of the matter.

Somewhere along the line SOME rappers became conservatives.
And began to distinguish themselves by describing their music as "Hip Hop" since it was supposedly more true to form and pure. "Rap" became the demonized half-brother who represented everything evil and wrong with the artform.

Yep.
We Hip Hoppers have our factions too.
Rap Liberals, Rap Moderates, and Rap Conservatives.
That's interesting. In my mind I would have thought rap was the one that was considered more true to form. When I hear the word "rap" I generally think of a song where MCs rap over a beat, usually with limited production. When I think of hip-hop I generally relate it to a broader scale, maybe even more poppy; for example a song where some chick sings a portion and some guy like Ludacris raps a portion.
Like, if you said to me Run DMC or EPMD I'd say rap, if you said Ludacris I'd probably say hip-hop. There's no real reason for that, but that's how I always percieved it.
Maybe it's more of an old-school, new-school thing. If nothing else it's probably because MTV's show was called Yo! MTV Raps and so the word rap makes me think of that era.
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Old 06-12-2009, 08:09 AM   #1415
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That's interesting. In my mind I would have thought rap was the one that was considered more true to form. When I hear the word "rap" I generally think of a song where MCs rap over a beat, usually with limited production. When I think of hip-hop I generally relate it to a broader scale, maybe even more poppy; for example a song where some chick sings a portion and some guy like Ludacris raps a portion.
Like, if you said to me Run DMC or EPMD I'd say rap, if you said Ludacris I'd probably say hip-hop. There's no real reason for that, but that's how I always percieved it.
Maybe it's more of an old-school, new-school thing. If nothing else it's probably because MTV's show was called Yo! MTV Raps and so the word rap makes me think of that era.
The rise of the Hip Hop conservatives took place sometime after YMR went off the air.

There's been a bitter war between the "right" and the "left" ever since.
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Old 06-12-2009, 08:09 AM   #1416
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Uh oh...



"Jay-Z..."


Surely Cordish must've known...
*DEAD*
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Old 06-12-2009, 08:18 AM   #1417
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Originally Posted by Micjones View Post
why Cordish has a deeper agenda that they're masking ostensibly through the dress code.


Whats their deeper agenda??
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Old 06-14-2009, 01:36 PM   #1418
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Old 06-14-2009, 02:59 PM   #1419
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Originally Posted by Micjones View Post
Uh oh...






"Jay-Z..."


Surely Cordish must've known...
*DEAD*
Looks like Zach was correct when he posited that it wasn't Jazzy Jeff that the officials disapproved of, it was Skillz.
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Old 06-14-2009, 03:49 PM   #1420
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Originally Posted by Micjones View Post
Uh oh...



"Jay-Z..."


Surely Cordish must've known...
*DEAD*
Exactly how does that disprove that Cordish knew he would play hip-hop?
If it were simply a matter of anti-hip-hop why did they book Mix Master Mike last year as was reported?
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Old 06-14-2009, 03:50 PM   #1421
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Whats their deeper agenda??
To rid the world of hip-hop.
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