RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Wednesday, August 15

VS3D T1R3 SH0P 1NV3NT0RY...

used tire shop inventory
occupies second bay space,
wait time thirty minutes max

SONG OF THE DAY: Murder She Wrote


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Back when Richmond was not gentrified so badly, and VCU cut off at Broad and Belvidere almost entirely except for that one office where you went to pick up your refund check if you were broke ass first generation college student from shitty southside VA, and you could walk down Broad, or ride your bike if you had one that wasn’t stolen yet, or you were the thief, which meant you had a bike, and go to bright ass Willie’s downtown, to check out whatever new singles were out. Warm days meant the boom of Jeeps, this was prime Jeep boom baptistry days, and thus that was the beauty of dancehall during this era, because it was reggae but cross-pollinated with that boom bap, and a Jeep would roll by just absolutely rattling windows, and the air would be humid but it was still chill out and lots of foot traffic and though the murder rate was crazy high back then, you knew where that was likely to happen and where not, and the rare outbursts beyond murderous norms tended to happen long after Willie’s was closed, usually when Ivory’s was letting out, or at the neighborhood smack and/or crack den, but you learned to be aware of do’s and don’ts and operate accordingly.
Whenever some of these classic riddims hit, my adrenaline and memory serotonins start flowing, and it’s impossible not to want to just turn that shit up until the side view mirrors fall off your old ass Civic with the clutch about to go out and you’re not sure how you’re gonna afford to fix it when that happens so you’re gonna be another one of those dudes with a brokedown Honda Civic out front of the rental you living in, with the missing sideview mirrors because you turned the bass up too high. But fuck it man, you only got one life. Can’t be sitting around worrying about when your clutch gonna go out. Gotta keep moving.

B3TT3R T0 BVRN 0VT TH4N F4D3...

better to burn out than fade
away mentality makes
mavericks of simple men

Tuesday, August 14

L1K3LY 1T W1LL B3 0K4Y...

"likely it will be okay"
daily mantra, repeating
in the hopes I believe it

SONG OF THE DAY: Whip You With a Strap


Hard to feel good about odes to child abuse, but also this is Dennis Coles aka Ghostface Killah aka America’s Street Laureate. I’ve been a part-time practicing MC for 30 years now, and my all-time favorite MCs have shifted and morphed over the years. Back in the day almost got into a fistfight with my friend Sterling over who was better, Big Daddy Kane or Rakim. Sadly, I will admit I was wrong (I back Kane), but it took time to realize that. In college, on the strength of “Eye Examination” alone, I thought Del was the most brilliant dude ever. Of course, loved Biggie for his ability to take MC turn it into Mic Control and really exercise that control part. There’s been so many. But honestly, for lifetime body of work, I might put Ghostface at the top of that list now, as crazy as that sounds. Just an amazing poet who can mix the cryptic with the scriptural so easily, add real life flavor even more easily, and make a track about talking shit to women at the bus stop that’s the fuckin’ best ever, and then follow that up with some post-Apocalyptic Illuminati survival shit. Plus, he’s not just a wordsmith, but if you ever saw him perform you know, he’s as masterful of ceremonies as anybody on stage.
This song of course has the added depth of coming off a J Dilla beat, which adds one of the greatest ever production minds. Producer/MC combos and how they work together is often a lost art in making music today, people just jumping on instrumentals from anywhere, not developing a relationship with the people they’re making music with. You can tell a lot of times too. I’m old school in that I love to have someone who is doing the music while I do the words and we’re building an idea together, rather than separate from each other entirely, back and forth weaving different layers after both parts’ input to give shit more depth. That’s not me acting like I’m better than anybody else – I’m a pretty shitty MC, tbh, but I have my moments when operating in a steady creative zone with the same folks. Give me concept projects with a single production force and single MC force working together any day. And fuck it, while y’all doing that, give me a motherfuckin’ DJ on the track too.

D0CVM3NT1NG D0CVM3NTS...

documenting documents,
self-collecting data to
never have time to review

Monday, August 13

SONG OF THE DAY: The Wicketshit Will Never Die


Noted horrorcore rap original Esham he of the darkest lost zones of Detroit shall suggest to us that wicketshit will never die, and there is strength to be taken from surviving the horrible darkness that is late capitalism and cultural collapse of western civilization due to the avarice and greed of those who have always been positioned at the top of the pyramid scam, at some point (I hope) one has to embrace the faith that this is not an end nor an ultimatum nor the final call of apocalyptic purgatory, and that perhaps a bettershit shall be born from the ashes of this failed experiment in exploitation, unsustainable personal profit over collective good, and general dehumanization of each other. But while still immersed in this slow boil of decline (which appears to be boiling more and more each passing week, but then again we all know how watched pots boil and we are certainly watching for bubbles more readily than ever), there is no doubt great solace in dark wicketshit arts, which take the feelings of total insecurity, lack of safety, deep paranoia from rabid police state militarization, distrust of random passersby as “is this man friend or foe? will he give me daps or stabs?”, and so on and so forth, and these horrible feelings of failure can be exorcised by embracing the wicketshit in our arts, so that we don’t have to do so in real life. It helps the machetes remain unbloodied for another day.

M4NM4D3 W4LLS T00 T4LL T0 CL1MB...

manmade walls too tall to climb
don't reach so far underground;
true resistance requires depth