Walter Becker, legendary guitarist and co-founder of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-honored band Steely Dan, has passed away at the age of 67. Becker died Sunday (Sept. 2) with the musician’s official website breaking the news to the public. The cause of Becker’s death is still unknown.
Becker’s band Steely Dan was known for blending jazz, R&B and rock music for a signature sound in the early 1970s. Though the lineup of Steely Dan changed quite often, Becker along with co-founder Donald Fagen remained constants in the band. The group is best known for 1970’s hits like “Reelin’ in the Years,” “Dirty Work” and “Do It Again,” but have been sampled by hip-hop artists over the years, giving new meaning to their classics. Ice Cube sampled their song “Green Earrings” for his 1992 song “Don’t Trust ‘Em” and Kanye West sampled the band’s “Kid Charlemagne” in 2007 for his own track “Champion.”
With Steely Dan and #RIPWalterBecker both trending on social media, members of the hip-hop community caught on to the news and reacted online. “rip #WalterBecker possibly one of my favorite architects of the 70s “FM” smooth sound,” wrote ?uestlove on Instagram along with a throwback photo of Becker. “Thank you Mr. Becker for a lifetime of great music,” commented Talib Kweli on Twitter.
Talib Kweli, the Brooklyn-based hip hop artist, was on two stages at Moogfest on Thursday — first at the Carolina Theatre talking about work, music and politics, and later on a large outdoor stage outside Motorco Music Hall.
The outdoor stage at Moogfest is called the “Protest Stage.” Kweli performed a high energy range of songs including old school beats, reggae, A Tribe Called Quest and Black Star, the hip hop duo he was in with Mos Def. About halfway through his set, he stopped to talk about hip hop and society.
“This is pro-black rap. Because pro-blackness is about equality; it’s about equity,” he said. “Nobody is superior over anyone else. Race is a social construct.”
Kweli said that if they come to see him live in the flesh, then they get him live in the flesh, not just music.
“I’m 41 years old. I represent hip hop on this stage,” he said.
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Kweli has announced a new benefit concert, happening in St. Louis on the anniversary of Brown’s death with support from Bun B, Tef Poe, Rapsody, M1 of Dead Prez, 9th Wonder and other artists. Organizers will be accepting donations for the Brown family at the concert, and attendees are also encouraged to bring canned food donations for local food pantries.
The concert will take place at 8 p.m., August 9th at St. Louis’s Fubar venue. See Kweli’s flyer for the event below and stay tuned for more details as we get closer to the date. For those looking to raise a fist, shout out or perhaps simply nod their head for a truly vital cause, this is your shot. See you in St. Louis.
Talib Kweli headlined the second annual Block Party LA this weekend in Los Angeles (May 9). During his performance, the Brooklyn emcee addressed the crowd and spoke about social justice, stating, “Without justice, we’re not going to be peaceful. You can’t be peaceful if you have no justice.”
“Anybody who loves Hip Hop knows that Hip Hop is a unifier and brings people of all different cultures and races and creeds and nationalities to one place for this music. The music could never be evil. The music does not kill people. Corrupt cops kill people. Systemic racism kills people. We’re not talking about individuals. We’re pushing back against systems. Understand that it’s not about being racist, it’s not about saying one person’s life matters over another. It’s about equality and justice. Without justice, we’re not going to be peaceful. You can’t be peaceful if you have no justice.”
Talib Kweli helped establish a The Action Support Committee to offer support to those who had been protesting for over 60 days and fighting against heavy resistance from Ferguson and St. Louis police.
The Committee aimed to raise $25,000 and disperse the money in the form of grants to those in need. The Committee’s GoFundMe campaign surpassed the $25,000 goal and raised $112,052 before the fundraising campaign ended in January.
Kweli addressed the Committee’s goals via the following written statement:
“These are young men and women who have put their lives on hold to stand up for all of our freedoms,” Kweli said. “The overly militarized police force in Ferguson has attempted to criminalize them by harassing and throwing them in jail for exercising their right to peaceful protest. We hope these funds help to empower.”
Harry Belafonte, Talib Kweli and Cornel West are among the illustrious musicians, actors, poets, activists and academics who will take the stage at Growing Up Locked Down (GULD), a three-day, multi-media juvenile justice conference to be held at The Tishman Auditorium at The New School for Drama September 24-26.