Most Earnest Up-and-Coming Band: Music with a noble heart and passionate message
The One Struggle Band
When Ras K'Dee tells a crowd "I got your back, you got my back, we got your back, we got solidarity," even the most cynical and jaded believe him. Ras, an occasional host of the KPFA show Bay Native Circle, was not satisfied with producing a ripping first album; he then went out to find a crew of multiculti musicians and formed One Struggle. The six-member band lays down a relentless groove that's a blend of hip-hop, reggae, ska, rap, salsa, and Native American chants, all accompanied by lyrics worthy of the finest spoken-word performance that call on a long list of civil rights heroes, from Cesar Chavez to Malcolm X and Jonathan Jackson, and addresses issues like native resistance, environmental pollution, and the corrosive affect of drug culture on disadvantaged communities, all the while encouraging listeners to dance and celebrate life. Ras describes his struggles as a Pomo native and African American growing up in the slums, but somehow the message never dips into despair: The truth is, we never should have made it but we did it. Let 'em doubt you, they can't take your soul; you born with it.