On March 10th of 2020, Minster King X released on YouTube, the six minute music video Peace of Pye. It was produced by Kim Pollak, Editor-in-chief of the California Prison Focus, with commentary by American prisoner artist C-Note. All three are doing work as delegates for the Principal Thinkers of the 2011 and 2013 California Prison Hunger Strikes. These strikes, along with the Principal Thinkers’, Agreement to End All Hostilities throughout the California prison system and jails, is what ended the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation’s (CDCR), more-than-a-century use of long-term solitary confinement.
Peace of Pye as the working title, is a play on the work Minister King X was doing behind the prison walls. King in the mid-90s was an Oakland-based rapper known as Pyeface, and was registered with Highside Records. However, his rap career abruptly came to an end when he was sentenced to do time in the Feds and in California. He spent a total of 24 years behind bars, six years in Federal prisons, and 18 in California maximum security prisons. His principal conflict with California prison officials was his peaceful organizing around prison conditions. Pyeface, as he was predominantly known throughout the prison systems, was also affectionately nicknamed The George Jackson of Rapp. Peace of Pye is a provocative work of contemporary Hip Hop that has been seeping out from behind the prison walls. It is a mix of still life photos and video. In the first half, King narrates us through his journey in the prison system and the psychological warfare tactics the system uses; to the returning citizen who takes the lessons learned inside, and uses them to bring positive change to his community and to society writ large; all the while, never forgetting to honor the dignified individuals he meet inside. The second half concludes with a musical track and lyrics that will have listeners up on their feet, shaking their hips, screaming, “Vote’em Out! Vote’em Out!…..Vote’em Out! Vote’em Out!” It is a part of his strategy of using voter restoration and the power of art as a means to bring the death nails to mass incarceration.
[Editor’s Note]: Min. King X recently returned home after 18 years in California Maximum Security Prisons. He is a Hip Hop artist, writer, actor, director, founder of prison-based Anti-Hostility Group K.A.G.E. Universal and Co-Director of California Prison Focus, seeking support to grow a movement through education, culture and arts.
He is seeking support for his K.A.G.E. to the Stage programs including the production of a revolutionary theater production. To support his efforts, send tax deductible donations designated to K.A.G.E. Theater Productions to California Prison Focus, 4408 Market St., Ste. A, Oakland, CA 94608 or on-line at prisons.org.
For more information on Min. King X or K.A.G.E. Universal, visit http://www.prisons.org/speakers/37 or follow Min. King X on Facebook or Instragram: @minkingwilliam]
For more on Donald “C-Note” Hooker visit: https://darealprisonart.wordpress.com/2016/12/01/featured-artist-donald-c-note-hooker/amp/
To follow what’s happening in California prisons directly from those who are most impacted, subscribe to Prison Focus newspaper at prisons.org or follow California Prison Focus. Instagram: @caprisonfocus Facebook: @californiaprisonfocus Twitter: @CAprisonfocus Video Produced by Kim Pollak of California Prison Focus.
Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.
Do you run through each day on the fly?
When you ask, “How are you?”
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done, do you lie in your bed,
with the next hundred chores running through your head?
You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short
The music won’t last.
Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say,’Hi’
You’d better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last..
When you run so fast to get somewhere,
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift….
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.
[Editor’s Note]: This poem was written by a terminally ill young girl with cancer in a New York Hospital. With only 6-months to live, it was sent by a medical doctor. Since she will never make it to prom, graduate from high school, get married, or have a family of her own, her dying wish was to send a letter telling everyone to live their life to the fullest. By you sending this poem to as many people as possible, you can give her and her family a little hope.
“Believe in your fucking self.
Stay up all fucking night.
Work outside your fucking habits.
Know when to fucking speak up.
Don’t fucking procrastinate.
Get over your fucking self.
Keep fucking learning.
Form follows fucking function.
A computer is a fucking Lite-Brite for bad ideas.
Find fucking inspiration everywhere.
Educate your fucking client.
Trust your fucking gut.
Ask for fucking help.
Make it fucking sustainable.
Question fucking everything.
Have a fucking concept.
Learn to take some fucking criticism.
Make me fucking care.
Use fucking spell check.
Do your fucking research.
Sketch more fucking ideas.
The problem contains the fucking solution.
Think about all the fucking possibilities.”
(any fucking questions?)
I don’t claim no sect
We don’t do that round here
My wife and God the only things I fear.
My shoes; nigga you couldn’t take two steps,
Check a ghetto near you, they know my rep.
Been in a lot of major cities, done did a lot of time
Charge it to the game, I lived a life of crime.
Never been a rat I’m a stand up guy.
As for that other nigga he was dropping them dimes.
Took my shyt on the chin cause I’m truly a soldier
No regrets, I’m a man; thug it out til it’s over.
Three hots and a cot thats the sum of my existence
Nothing to it but to do it;
Ain’t no need in bitching.
They say you only do two days
Your first and your last,
Well you can tell whoever said that they can kiss my ass.
I did errday, a nigga wasn’t cut no slack,
Prosecuted and penalized when I went on the attack.
Didn’t ask for no breaks cause wasn’t none being given,
Only goal I had was to continue living.
Surrounded by dope fiends, crazy folks and even a few killers,
Chomo’s & homo’s and of course the squealers.
Year after year this was my fate,
Engulfed in a world misery and hate.
You ask does crime pay and I say hell yeah!
The niggaz playing the game is all you have to fear.
This is a step away from the norm,
Not just your everyday poem.
This is the tale of one guy
Who really was “about that life!”
Im talking cash & cars
Drugs, guns, & broads!
Anything & everybody had a price tag,
The money came in by the garbage bag!
But what about the other side of the game?
The part where niggaz is dropping your name!
Telling the cops where your moms live & shyt,
Giving up the spot where you hiding them bricks!
Got caught up in a little
Couldn’t hold his own like a man.
Now, he solemnly swearing on the stand!
Suprise, suprise! Its your best friend!
Now,you headed up state to hug that cot,
Even Johnny Cochran would’ve told you to take that cop!
25 muthafuckin years go figure!
That’s what I got for being the realest nigga!
No longer confined to that place.
That total and complete lack of space,
of which there was no room to move or grow. Sophicating without life’s oxygen to breath..
I’ve decided to leave.
I’ve decided to break away from that dark void,
where I was stuck and immobilized. I’ve deployed.
My soul has ejected.
I now stand forth, erected…
Ready to pull away from the dark decay of my broken dreams. Away from the sitting still of my drive and will.
I will pull away from the dark soot clouding my vision.
I have regained ambition.
As I detach myself from the black sands of hopelessness and despair.
They crumble as I seek to claim what is out there,
what is out there waiting for me
in the land of milk and honey…
In the wide open space of possibility,
I have the strength, the will and ability,
to bring into existence the things I want and desire to possess,
by simply getting up off this chair of set backs and give ups that hinder me from my success…
By: Rachel R. Bridgett 4/25/2015
© All Rights Reserved
I GAVE U MY MIND, B0DY N S0UL. AND ALL I ASK IS 4 U N0T T0 HURT THEM. IT SEEMS LIKE THE M0RE I PRESS THAT ISSUE, THE M0RE THEY GET HURT. U SAID U W0ULD L0VE ME WH0LEHEARTLY AND NEVER MAKE ME CRY. BUT CRYIN N HURTIN IS EXACTLY WAT I D0! BECAUSE U BR0KE A PR0MISE, I PRAY T0 G0D EVERYDAY N NITE T0 MAKE IT BETTER. I KN0W HE WILL BECAUSE I AM HIS CHILD AND HE WILL NEVER PUT M0RE 0N ME THAN I CAN BEAR!MY LIFE,MIND,B0DY N S0UL BEL0NG T0 HIM.IF U ARE 0UT THERE AND C0ME ACR0SS THIS. ST0P HURTING ME N W0RK WITH ME. L0VE ME N SH0W N U CARE.THAT U WANT MY MIND,B0DY N S0UL. T0 L0VE AND CHERISH LIKE IT WAS UR 0WN.0R LIKE U WANT ME T0 D0 4 U.L0VE AND RESPECT ME 4 WH0 I AM N N0T WAT I AM. AND U WILL GET THE SAME N RETURN. MIND, B0DY N S0UL!
I GAVE U MY MIND, B0DY N S0UL. AND ALL I ASK IS 4 U N0T T0 HURT THEM. IT SEEMS LIKE THE M0RE I PRESS THAT ISSUE, THE M0RE THEY GET HURT. U SAID U W0ULD L0VE ME WH0LEHEARTLY AND NEVER MAKE ME CRY. BUT CRYIN N HURTIN IS EXACTLY WAT I D0! BECAUSE U BR0KE A PR0MISE, I PRAY T0 G0D EVERYDAY N NITE T0 MAKE IT BETTER. I KN0W HE WILL BECAUSE I AM HIS CHILD AND HE WILL NEVER PUT M0RE 0N ME THAN I CAN BEAR!MY LIFE,MIND,B0DY N S0UL BEL0NG T0 HIM.IF U ARE 0UT THERE AND C0ME ACR0SS THIS. ST0P HURTING ME N W0RK WITH ME. L0VE ME N SH0W N U CARE.THAT U WANT MY MIND,B0DY N S0UL. T0 L0VE AND CHERISH LIKE IT WAS UR 0WN.0R LIKE U WANT ME T0 D0 4 U.L0VE AND RESPECT ME 4 WH0 I AM N N0T WAT I AM. AND U WILL GET THE SAME N RETURN. MIND, B0DY N S0UL!:)
You’re not new to this.
I knew this at first glance.
I was like “DIG THAT”
WHO IS THIS¿
Googled you…on Moco.
Found out I was the one slow to know.
Where have I been?
Secret writes on the low.
Words flow freely
Like you’re wounded.
Feeding the greedy.
We’d be grieving.
Missing your word play
The complexity of the things you say.
Allows me to simply
To reach high for the meaning of free flow.
Stand toe to toe.
Kings & Queens of Moco!
Pimps & Pushers!
Hoodrats & Hookers!
And those Nosey ass judging
Wowed by how
Hit da deck!
Spit hard —
like My tongue’s erect.
Ghost write some joints —
for you —
N ya crew —
give y’all ah taste ah success/respect.
NYsom twist ngaz wigs —
like OG Bobby Johnson cornrows —
He spits —
it’s Fresh —
Place ya bets!
Royal flushin’ —
y’all ngaz —
into ah endless pit ah debt…
30@5 version ah TREACH…
Naughty By Nature —
wrote My name on her kitty kat —
wit ah#2 pencil —
eraser ready —
to erase her —
n NYsom’s on to da next.