Mic Crenshaw: Community activist. Radio station co-manager. Poet. Rapper. Punk. Badass.
Before arriving in Portland over two decades ago, Crenshaw was entrenched in racial warfare. This isn't a metaphor, it's truth.
"We heard about something from over in England called skinheads, cats that shaved their heads and would basically not back down, and we was like, 'That sounds like us!' We studied the history of the movement and found out that it had been started by Jamaican and West Indian immigrants mixing with working-class British kids. We were a mixed group. Around that same time, the talk shows had all these Nazis on talking about, 'We're skinheads, we're Nazis and that's what it means: white power.' We're like, 'No, actually that's not what it means.' So when kids in our neighborhood started showing up and doing that, we stepped to them: 'Look, you can do that over here. Next time we see you, if you don't denounce that white power, there's gonna be problems.' That was the beginning of a protracted street violent period."
Crenshaw has worked tirelessly to expose hypocrisy and injustice not only as it affects the black community, but as it affects the community at large. He could go the commercial route, but that would be disingenuous.
"I have to make songs about what makes me right. I write about the shit that actually keeps me up at night and it motivates me to keep going during the day. And that is the question of how can we fix things in our lifetime so that our kids don't inherit the same shit that we've been facing and that the people before us faced."
Crenshaw is joined by DJ Klavical on the ones and twos.
3. "Trap Zimbabwe"
4. "Tidal Wave" (feat. Arietta Ward)