Rap Remembers 9/11: Artists Share Their Stories
I'm not quite sure who first said it, but we've all heard the saying, "Time heals all wounds." Unfortunately, that notion doesn't always hold true. Twelve years ago today, more than 3,000 people were killed in the deadliest terrorist attack on United States soil; I remember the day like it was just yesterday. I was a senior in high school and my first period of the day was open. Hellbent on finishing an assignment for my chemistry class, I tucked myself into a corner of the cafeteria as soon as the period began and I tried to crank out the homework. Really, though, the only thing on my mind was scooping up the new Jay Z album, "The Blueprint", after my last class of the day.
Fifteen minutes later, though, everything changed. At 8:46AM, Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower at the World Trade Center. In an instant, my chemistry assignment meant nothing. In an instant, buying the new Jay Z album meant nothing. Nothing meant anything. I remember watching small TVs in the school library. I remember teachers canceling classes, allowing us to call our parents and loved ones. Hearing "I love you" from the two people responsible for bringing me into this world provided comfort, but to be honest most of the rest of that day is a blur. What I do recall, however, is what helped get me through that day. And the day after. And the day after that. It was music. Music was my blanket, it was my guardian, and it was the great distraction from the horrific events.
Earlier this week, I spoke with Consequence, Statik Selektah and Wax, three DJBooth regulars who each had a very different experience on September 11, 2001. Each shares their recollection of the day's events, its immediate impact on their work and where we are 12 years later.
"I was in Queens, NY when the attacks happened. Since this was before the age of Mobile Apps, I watched it all occur as it was reported on TV. When 9/11 occurred the music business in NYC was one of the first corporate casualties. It took a few months for labels to return to fully operational status. Of course, with a tragedy of that magnitude, it puts a dent in the culture of a city.
But I will say that New Yorkers have persevered and have become stronger because of the experience."
"I was at my crib in Roxbury (Boston) and my mom called me and woke me up saying something about a plane crash. It was before the second plane hit. [9/11] has definitely had an impact of my life. I fly almost every day. I have my own theories about who/why/how 9/11 went down, but it gets me into either heated arguments or people agree or people aren't sure. Our whole way of life has changed since 9/11, especially in New York City. I moved [to the city] in 2004, and it felt like it just happened.
To this day, I see things that I shake my head at, that bring me to my theories on that day. Hopefully, someday we found out what really happened. How World Trade Center Building 7 crumbled without being hit altogether is a start. Bless those that did die on that day, though. Sad moment for our city and our country."
"At that time I lived in College Park, MD with seven roommates in a big ass house. During the events I was asleep. I was woken up probably an hour after the Pentagon "attack" (I still haven't seen any footage of a plane hitting the that building...) by my twin brother, who was also one of the roommates. I remember his tone being very frantic. He said something very close to this: "DUDE... the World Trade Center buildings? GONE. They flew fu*king planes into the buildings and now they are gone. Sh*tload of people dead. World War 3 type sh*t."
I was confused and hungover. I went into the room where everyone was watching the news and I found out what happened. People forget now how unexpected the sh*t was... we have seen the images so many times now that it is normalized in our brains. NOBODY at that time was ever thinking about the possibility of kamikaze style plane attacks on the largest American city. It was ridiculously shocking. I guess it was a further reinforcement of the notion that we could all go at any time. That idea is in tons of songs, mine included.
It also lead me to question a lot of things and honestly it gave me some more insight as far as the power of fear over the masses. Say what you will...but we have never gotten a government explanation of how Tower 7 came down. I am not saying that I believe it was foul play, I am saying I have absolutely no idea how it happened. What I do know, is that the government left that event out of the 9/11 commission report completely, and if you question it many people will become emotional and dismiss you immediately. They do that based on fear. Fear of the truth. Fear that if they took the time to study the evidence, the truth may not be what they want it to be.
Again, I don't know what happened for sure, but just like I don't believe in any religion based on blind faith, I am not gonna believe what the government tells me based on blind faith, especially considering their track record. To all the people reading this that are now mad at me and won't be my fan any more because I am saying these things, calm down for a few minutes then read this paragraph again."
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