Dear Family and Friends,
Yesterday at approximately 1:30pm I was having a conversation with my
community organizer/poet friend Emmanuel Ortiz about the Senate Bill
1070 (SB 1070) that recently was signed into law in the state of
Arizona. The bill says that “all immigrants must carry documentation
verifying their immigration status. It also stipulates that police
officers have the authority to ask to see the information from any
individual that is deemed “suspicious” or when there is “reasonable
suspicion” that the person may not be legally in the country.” This
new bill signed into law in a nutshell legalizes racial profiling. If
you “look like an immigrant” you can get hauled off to jail.
Emmanuel says, “somebody needs to redo By The Time I Get To Arizona”
by Public Enemy. Arizona is that same state the didn’t want to
recognize Martin Luther King Day when Chuck D originally wrote the
song. For years I wanted to write a “By The Time I Get To Minnesota”
version but never got around to it. I started doing more research on
the new bill and was outraged. By 2:30 I contacted BK-One to locate
the instrumental that he used elements of in Brother Ali’s old set.
BK was on the road and said that I would have to piece it together
from the original Mandrill and Jackson 5 songs. Not having any luck
finding quality versions of either I went in a did some Frankenstein
cut and paste work to the original PE version.
By 4PM I was done piecing together the beat. By 7pm I rewrote the
song with updated information. I wanted to follow Chuck D’s exact
cadence so I had to go back in line by line. By 8pm I was listening
to a rough vocal. By 10:00pm I was in the studio with Reggie Reg.
The process included going in and listening to Chuck, trying to match
his scheme, and recording my version. Wash, rinse, repeat. By
midnight the vocals were recorded. By 3am we added all the bells and
whistles and here is the finished product.
All day I’ve been saying “hell…I’m going to get in trouble for this
one.” But you know what? The truth needs to be told. Biting your
tongue only makes you hungry and your mouth hurt. Hope you enjoy it.
Pass it along.