Amoeblog

HIP-HOP BEHIND BARS: A FIRST PERSON ACCOUNT BY X-RAIDED, PT III

Posted by Billyjam, November 17, 2009 03:30pm | Post a Comment
X-Raided
For this third installment in the ongoing Hip-Hop Behind Bars: A First Person Account Amoeblog series by longtime incarcerated Sacramento rap artist Anerae “X-Raided” Brown, the artist writes about his early days in hip-hip, joining the Crips, what got him sent to prison, the meaning behind the recurring "Unforgiven" theme, his new label and recent signees and his recent releases, which are available at Amoeba Music.

There is also a breakdown of his career timeline that includes the songs he wrote for C-Bo and his own extensive discography, which is all the more impressive considering that he has done most of it somehow from behind bars. 



Brief History, Timeline & Discogaphy 
by Anerae “X-Raided” Brown

I was born in Sacramento, California, on the Southside. When I'd get in trouble my mom would send me to Prichard, Alabama, with my father, out near Mobile. I've been all up in Happy Hill. Other times I'd be out in East Waco, TX, from Trendwood to the Sherman Mannors. I lived in the Village for a while too. I got back from one of those trips down south around the time I was 15. I joined the 24th Street Garden Blocc Crips X-Raidedthat summer. The homies Big J-Dogg and Slim put me on. In hindsight, I coulda done something better with my life, but at the time I wasn't tryina hear that. All I cared about was the Blocc.

I started writing rhymes seriously when I was 15 or 16. I'd go to juvenile hall for getting caught with a sack of dope, or riding in a stolen car with a gun. It was always something. My mom would come pick me up. We never had to do more than a few months; sometimes we'd go home the next day. During those times in juvy I'd write rhymes to pass the time. I learned how to format my rhymes by listening to other rappers and feeling it out. My cousin Nicole knew Sicx, Sicx introduced me to (Brotha) Lynch and we got to work. I ended up signing with Black Market Records and the rest is history.

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HIP-HOP BEHIND BARS: A FIRST PERSON ACCOUNT BY X-RAIDED, PT II

Posted by Billyjam, October 29, 2009 04:00pm | Post a Comment
Pleasant Vallley State Prison

The Creative Process in Prison
by Aneraé "X-Raided" Brow
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I am entering my fourteenth year of imprisonment in the California Department of Corrections and (so-called) Rehabilitation. The entire time, I have written songs for myself and others, as well as short stories and essays, and even a column for Murder Dog magazine and a blog on my MySpace X-Raided behind barspage. The thing that stands out in my mind, in terms of what it's like trying to be creative in this environment, is that the opportunity to do so just may be more available than in other settings. There can be a lot of solitude and isolation in prison, and for someone who knows how to utilize the lack of distractions it can be fertile ground for creativity.
 
I once joked to a friend that when Moses needed to think, he went up Mount Sinai and came back down with the Ten Commandments. Jesus went out to the desert and was tempted, then returned stronger. When Muhammad was stressed from the things he was seeing in his environment, he went into a cave where the Qur'an was revealed to him. All of them received their messages or strength at a time of trial and difficulty in their lives and the common denominator is that they had solitude with which to better hear the voice when it spoke to them. I joked to my friend, maybe we can utilize our solitude in order to better hear the voice as well. The voice of creativity, that is. It's all the same. All ideas come from somewhere. How do we explain that an idea just pops into our heads out of the blue?

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HIP-HOP BEHIND BARS: A FIRST PERSON ACCOUNT BY X-RAIDED, PT I

Posted by Billyjam, October 20, 2009 06:22pm | Post a Comment
Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga

Back in February of this year when the Amoeblog, in celebration of Black History Month, featured a series of blogs about various aspects of black culture, I invited long incarcerated rapper Anerae “X-Raided” Brown to participate in the series. Brown, who has been behind bars for over half his lifetime, did this in two parts: in both the form of an Amoeblog interview and also via an in depth essay he wrote under the title Black History Month: A Convict's Perspective.

Like everything else Brown writes, from his lyrics to his still to be published autobiography to the guest articles he has penned for Murder Dog rap magazine, X-Raided's writing is always articulate and X-Raidedinformative. Furthermore, it provides an insight into a world that most of us, thankfully, will never have to enter. Brown has been incarcerated since age 17 on a charge of conspiracy to commit murder -- he never killed anyone but was young and foolish enough, he readily admits, to have been caught up in the gang lifestyle, and to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I have known the 34 year old Brown since he was first incarcerated. Initially I got to know him as a journalist reporting on him and his rap career, something he incredibly has managed to maintain from behind bars over the years (he just released his latest, The Unforgiven Vol. 2, three weeks ago). But as the years progressed he has become a friend and someone I admire for maintaining both his sanity and creativity all the while being locked in the pen. If you have ever been behind bars or if you have ever visited anyone in jail or prison you have an idea of how horrible it is to be incarcerated.

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Longtime Sacramento Hip-Hop Artist C-BO is Truly Gangsta Rap & Despite a Career Interrupted by Long Stretches Behind Bars, He Has Remained Highly Prolific

Posted by Billyjam, February 25, 2009 02:27pm | Post a Comment

c-bo
Rapper C-BO has long been known for his no-holds-barred, shock-filled, self-described "killer style" of gangsta rap. Ever since his debut album Gas Chamber sixteen years ago, the Sacramento rapper has been consistently satisfying his dedicated legions of hardcore rap fans with both controversy and countless releases. In addition to a string of solo albums, he has also collaborated on songs or albums with the likes of first cousin E40, 2Pac, Yukmouth, Killa Tay, Spice-1, Master P, Brotha Lynch Hung, as well as his crew Mob Figaz, to name but a few.

Unlike so many self-described "gangsta" rappers, Shawn "C-BO" Thomas is genuinely 'gangsta'. Growing up in the notorious gang-filled Garden Block of Sacramento, the artist became a member of the Crips while barely into his teens, and openly admits his past involvement in drug dealing and other gang related crimes before he became a full time recording artist. His rap name stands for Cowboy: "I got the name cowboy from being around guns all the time," he told me in a 1997 interview.

Not surprisingly, that lifestyle resulted in C-BO's spending several periods of his life incarcerated from his teens onwards. It was in jail in 1993 that he first met Killa Tay, who he would later collaborate with. And it was also during a separate stint in the Sacramento County Jail that he collaborated with fellow inmate X-Raided on writing some music. In fact, it was X-Raided who wrote the song "Deadly Game" for C-BO, a song that later landed C-BO back in jail and caused a national controversy -- drawing attention and outrage amongst freedom of speech advocates while simultaneously only further fuc-boeling C-BO's notorious reputation amongst hardcore rap fans.

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Black History Month 2009: A Convict's Perspective - X-Raided, Part II. Q&A with incarcerated rapper from Pleasant Valley State Prison

Posted by Billyjam, February 10, 2009 03:07pm | Post a Comment
x-raided the eternally unforgiven project
This is the second part in the exclusive two-part Black History Month: A Convict's Perspective by X-Raided, for the Amoeblog Black HIstory Month series. The first part, posted a little earlier and found immediately below this Amoeblog, is an essay that I invited longtime incarcerated Sacramento rapper Anerae "X-Raided" Brown to pen on what Black History Month means to him from where he sits: the California State Penitentiary in Coalinga. This part is a Q&A with him.

Due to the prison recently being on lockdown, both this interview (via mail) and his insightul essay on what Black History Month means to him, took longer to get done than initially anticipated. But such is the plight of living a life behind bars, something that Anerae addresses in both of these engaging Black Hisotry Month Amoeblogs which might be a little long but are well worth taking the time to read.

Now 34 years of age, Brown has been incarcerated for half of his life, since the age of 17. From his early to mid teens in Sacramento, X-Raided had been an active member of the 24th Street Garden Blocc Crips gang -- even long before his first release came out. In 1992 he was arrested for his alleged part, along with several others, in the fatal shooting of Patricia Harris (the mother of a rival gang member). Brown has never denied being present at the shooting but has always maintained his innocence, in that he was not the one who pulled the trigger. Adhering to the unwritten "No Snitch" code of the streets, he would not tell cops who did pull the trigger. “I could have testified and gone home,” the rapper famously said in an interview at the time. “But I kept it real.” Hence, he is still incarcerated on murder conspiracy charges with a 31 year sentence. His first album, Psycho Active, came out in 1992 and made history when it was used in court against him, with authorities playing music from the indie rap album and also citing the cover art (the rapper's face with a .38-caliber handgun pressed to his temple --see below) as evidence in the case against Brown.

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