Nas, AZ, and Foxy Brown of the Firm

Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency (NSA) systems administrator reveals United States has an egregious top secret program that infringes American’s civil liberties. Snowden told the Guardian newspaper, “The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife's phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards”. Snowden claims NSA collects all online data, and stores the data in a data warehouse. The caching of data allows a faster and efficient approach for employees like Snowden to grab intelligence on anyone anywhere. He can intercept that intimate FaceTime chat with that special person. He can intercept that private email that you sent your homie. All communication is fair game. The leak raises the question. What’s the line between security and privacy, and how much privacy shall Americans relinquish for security against future terrorist attacks? Obama welcomes the debate. “I think it's important to recognize that you can't have 100 percent security, and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. We're going to have to make some choices as a society”, he said in response to a question after his speech at a health care event in San Jose, California. With the recent pervasive talks of intercepts and phone taps -- I immediately thought of the song “Phone Tap”. Arguably, the hardest beats by Dre. Every mixtape and radio mix show had emcees freestyling to the beat. I can hear AZ, say

What’s the deally? I just touched grounds down in philly Brought a pound with me, feds floatin around silly

The Firm, a super group of emcees -- Nas, Foxy Brown, and AZ was the Miami Heat of hip hop. Unlike the Heat, the group didn’t receive much success. The highly commercialized- Mafioso raps received backlash from critics and hip hop heads. In the late 90s, Hip Hop went through a phase, and everyone elevated their status as a gangsta. The average street gangsta wasn’t good enough. Everyone was a Don, and had some sort of Mafioso nickname. Songs consisted of Snowden like authorities spying on rappers. Every head knew these were farfetched street dreams rather than reality. The incommensurable lyrics didn’t affect the quality of the music videos. The era brought forth great cinematic videos with small movie budgets. In the “Phone Tap” video, AZ and Nas dodge the feds. Meanwhile, Dr. Dre gathers evidence via phone and camera surveillance. Americans always accepted the surveillance on potential criminals. According to a recent Washington Post poll, 62 percent of Americans feel the big brother surveillance Snowden claims is necessary even though the surveillance impedes on their privacy. Now, that you know you have your phone tapped. What you gonna do?