June 08, 2005

Support the Emcees: "4th25" Hip Hop in Iraq

Some clever emcees fighting in Iraq in the US military recorded an entire Hip Hop Album called "Live from Iraq". You got to give them props for the courage and the effort they had in actually being able to create art in the crazy war environment of Iraq. This is more proof of how our Hip Hop culture can bring people together even through the mess that Iraq turned out to be.

NewsMax.com reports:

First Cavalry Sergeant Neal Saunders had a keyboard, digital mixer, cable, microphones and headphones shipped to an overseas military address and then built a plywood shack, with cheap mattress pads for soundproofing.

He then invited other Task Force 112 members to join him in his studio; they call themselves 4th25 - pronounced fourth quarter, like the final do-or-die minutes of a game. The GI rappers are giving listeners back home an uncensored glimpse of life in Iraq, straight from the troops... troops like Johnny (Snap) Batista and Richard (Ten Gram) Bachellor, who patrol Baghdad with a unit of the Marine Antiterrorism Battalion.

In their off-duty hours they place a boombox on the pavement in the Green Zone and improvise rhymes about how it feels to be shot at or to lose a friend to an IED. One of their most popular numbers starts in a hushed tone, almost a whisper:

"There's a place in this world you've never seen before / A place called streets and a place called war /Most of you wanksters ain't never seen the fleet / You talk about war and you've only seen the street."

Based at Baghdad's airport last year, they were pounded by daily mortar and rocket attacks. Finally they put the whole mess into rhyme and set out to tape it as a music video on location at the airport. "Every time we'd go out to record our music, there'd be an attack and we'd have to stop," says Spc. Joseph Holmes, who laid down the music tracks for "Stay in Step."

It's about the cost of survival: "Soldiers are dying every day, that's why we ain't smiling. I'm the one you see on TV / Army infantry, one arm holding my sleeve from a previous injury / Bloody desert combat fatigues, dusty and ammoless M-16 with a shredded sling / ... Hit in the head and shoulder but still taking deep breaths /'Cause I'm in Kevlar and sappy plates in my flak vest."

Newsweek also reports:

The big labels and distributors don't seem to get it yet. "Live From Iraq" is available on the Web (4th25.com), but you won't find it in most record stores.
A gunnery sergeant in Baghdad has offered to help Snap and Ten Gram produce a CD, and they're hoping to burn four tracks soon. Corner Pocket is working on 23 songs, in the hope of finding a label that will pick them up. Hotline says he's excited by how well his privately produced CD is moving—"We had no idea this would catch on so fast"—but he's the one who's selling it: cranking up the volume at parties, hawking copies on the streets of Fayetteville, persuading local radio stations to give it air time.

Rap groups are popping up all over ranks of the US Military stationed in Iraq. Hopefully they keep spittin when they get complete their tours of duty... that's IF the Bush Crime Family doesn't keep extending the tours and forcing our soldiers to stay longer in an illegitimate war. Get that 4th25 "Live from Iraq" CD on sale now!

Also, check out the "Gunners Palace" DVD and soundtrack, they have some recorded freestyles and verses from Soldiers living in Iraq. These heads got talent!


At 6/11/2005 10:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out the interview with "Big Neal" from "4th25" it has 4 full cuts from the "Live from Iraq" album...Its powerful.
its at


scroll down the page till you see the album and check back for updats and more songs

At 7/29/2005 12:47 AM, Blogger weblackey said...

Glad to see support for exposing the truth about this misbegotten war in the hip-hop community... I saw a report somewhere on television about these soldier rappers, wish I could remember where. Thanks for the link to our site and keep getting the word out.

the downingstreetmemo.com team


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