5th Battalion - Modern Soul-diers (2.08.04)
5th Battalion Producer Jesse "DJ Quad" Morin at 5th Battalion Studios
I. Fratricide- the act of one who murders or kills his own brother.
For some LA is a city of fast cars and model types sipping lattes by the beach. But for most, LA is a city plagued by fratricide and laced with a history of struggle and rage. 5th Battalion is a crew of nineteen dynamic young men who believe that the battlefield they know best is the one that stretches like a red stain across the streets of LA. The uniform of these emcees is decorated by the scars they carry from the battles of their early years, spent collecting stripes on the block. The 5th stands for five fingers clenched into a fist, battalion- for the struggle of the masses. Only to survive in the streets you must carry more than your fist bawled up. For the members of the 5th , their weapon of choice is a microphone. Most have never known a time of peace, a time when the phone wasn’t ringing with the news of another downed homeboy. Most know that the Reaper knows everyone born on their block by name, that at an early age young boys are taught to hate, and aim at a face that mirrors their own. Now decorated veterans, the members of 5th Battalion are determined to show their community that the message of hate is a set-up, a ploy of the powers that be to pit the future against itself.
II. The Art of War - "There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard." from the Art of War by Sun Tzu
At 5th Battalion Studios, it is the hope of creative minds at work, that the words that set fire to the mic will also set fire to the hearts and minds of their audience before they end up behind bars or on a slab at the morgue. Shaken by the violent death of a close friend and artistic collaborator 5th Battalion decided to extend their message of peace & unity from the underground to the universal megaphone. The all call was put out and the response was inspirational. Thirty groups of all musical styles and backgrounds came together to produce THE NEVER ENDING BATTLE CD. Producers at the 5th are aware that words must be teamed with a sound that keeps ringing in the ears of rap aficionados long after the show is over. THE NEVER ENDING BATTLE CD delivers that sound with a mix of soulful dirges, haunting street anthems, uplifting ballads, pensive poetry and concrete reveries that promise hope lives on in the streets of LA and reminds us all that our angels are only lost if forgotten.
III. "Be the change you want to see in the world." Ghandi
What would veteranos know about Ghandi’s message of peace and unity? Enough to know that if a change is going to take place in the streets of LA it must come from those walking the hot pavement. For this reason 5th Battalion founders, Fernando Escobar, Jr., Jesse Morin, and promotions coordinator Carlos Peralta have dedicated endless hours into creating a music scene where rappers, DJs and musicians are free to speak on the topics that most affect their lives. "In the beginning there were not many venues willing to open their doors to a Latino hip-hop crowd," says Escobar "but after the success of the first few shows, I had club owners calling me and asking when 5th Battalion was going to put on event at their venue."
Since its start in 1999 the scene has grown into a network of artists and grassroots activists who agree that the perfect venue for promoting social change is a well lit stage brimming with funk, soul, hard-core rhymes and back alley bands. The 5th has been partner to successful fundraising events for the communities of southern Chiapas, the hurricane stricken communities of Belize and many other communities in need. Groups like The Answer, N’Cognito, Phantom Knight and O.T.W. who make up the ranks of the 5th, continue to make appearances on college campuses and at neighborhood festivals like Sol Fest, Chicano Fest, Aztlan Fest and most recently shows protesting the war over seas. Now fully credentialed production gurus, Escobar and Morin maintain a strict recording schedule, allotting free studio time for youth who would otherwise have no where to record their own battle anthems. Most recently the 5th began "the Voice of the Youth" a program that brings youth together for dialogue sessions, writing workshops in hip-hop and poetry and then provides them the studio time and direction to produce their own CD. "With this project we’re passing the torch to the next generation of emcees who will have to survive as we have, by believing in themselves and their words," says Escobar with the tone of a concerned father.
IV. "Reality is wrong, dreams are for real." Tupac Shakur
The reality is that in this city alone, hundreds youth fall victim to gang violence. The real is that most kids believe hip-hop is a call to war, riches, or certain death. The real is that the future is no longer in our hands. Ultimately, the real, is killing us slowly. For the members of 5th Battalion, the dream is that the future of the youth, of hip-hop culture, of Los Angeles and even the world will be one in which every voice is counted and every fist is raised in unity. So consider yourself invited to the front lines where soul-diers save lives, one beat at a time.
1ST BATTLE - Disc 1
2ND BATTLE - Disc 2