More Scientology Hip Hop, Yo: The Curious Career of Chill EB
Thursday night, we were quick to jump on the leak of a video that was only meant for internal Scientology consumption. It featured pallid European Scientologists breakdancing and pantomiming to a hip hop track that extolled the virtues of the International Association Scientologists -- the IAS.
Within days, the video had gone somewhat viral, and news outlets were trying to come up with ways to convey just how uncool the thing was...
The Huffington Post: "Time for yet another Scientology video to derail to the public!...And oh man, it makes them look kind of silly! Total amateur hour over in the I.A.S. studios."
Mother Jones: "Behold: the music video that officially makes all concept of satire irrelevant."
SPIN: "The evil Lord Xenu doesn't stand a chance."
Fun stuff. However, the IAS video wasn't made by the hip hop artist whose song was used, and it's also not the only Scientology-themed music he's done. After the jump, we consider the career of rapper Chill EB, and his involvement with L. Ron Hubbard's wacky church...
We gather that Chill -- who also goes by the more mundane moniker Norman Berry -- had some success on the rap scene 20 years ago, when he was a Bay Area up-and-comer.
Dig the old school vibe here on his 1990 hit, "Let's Roll":
As he says on his Facebook page, he had started out just a few years earlier:
My career began in 1985 after relocating from Dallas, Texas to northern California. Upon my arrival I met 2 guys who were considered the best rappers in town. We formed a group and began writing rhymes which eventually turned into songs.
"Let's Roll" was his first solo effort. He had success with a few other songs, and also got regular work in television commercials. SEGA was one of his regular gigs, and here's an example of one of those spots, from 1991:
By then, with the Gulf War happening in Iraq, Chill writes that his music changed:
Shortly after the war began I had an epiphany. My music began to focus on social themes more so than party themes.
He put out some more songs that got some airplay, and after other high points -- including a 1994 appearance with the California Symphony -- he put an end that year to his career. "I retired from the entertainment business altogether," he writes.
A couple of years ago, however, he suddenly resurfaced.
"I released the first project on my own label. Kathartic Music Group. I recorded the song and video as an independent with my own funding," he writes at his Facebook page.
The song was "Y'All Busted," and it strongly went after psychiatrists who prescribe drugs for children with ADHD...
If Chill EB did, on his own, come up with an anti-psychiatry slant for his rap comeback, he was soon being trotted out at Scientology events to perform the song, which carries a theme that is near and dear to the psychiatry-hating church.
In London in
2009 2010, Chill performed "Y'All Busted" on a massive stage done up in the usual over-the-top, baroque Scientology style before an audience of thousands of church members.
For some reason, Chill has disabled the embed function on that video, or we'd show it to you here. Follow the link, however, to see the rapper in his new role, performing for the delight of Scientology.
Earlier this year, Chill EB went even more boldly into Scientology's camp (when questioned, he tends to dance around the issue of whether he's actually a member of the church). In the spring, he put out a new song and video, "Dauntless, Defiant, and Resolute," that extolled the virtues of the IAS. (The St. Petersburg Times, in its excellent new series about the way Scientology pressures church members to donate money in painfully huge amounts, defined the IAS this way: "The International Association of Scientologists was founded in 1984 to protect the church from threats, assure its expansion and provide aid to individual Scientology churches and groups.")
The Scientology researchers at WhyWeProtest.net, the website of Project Chanology, the wing of Anonymous that protests the church, were soon onto Chill EB's new release. But try as they might, the resourceful Internet sleuths at the site could not get their hands on the video. It was apparently only made available to IAS chapters and other Scientology entities, to pump up morale as the church continued its high-pressure fundraising.
WWP did manage to get some photos from the set of Chill's new video, including this one:
There's also this odd still photo of Chill EB with some extras, and we can't help wonder what his video is all about:
At some point, in the last few months, the Copenhagen chapter of the IAS put together its own video to Chill EB's track, and the result was leaked to YouTube. (The Cophenhagen church -- Advanced Organization and Saint Hill EU -- pulled down the video a few days later, but by then it had been copied.) If you haven't already seen it, you really must:
Impact, the magazine of the IAS, had this to say about the song (and the original Chill EB video, which, outside of Scientology, still hasn't been seen):
Take the breadth of our IAS campaigns and the scale of our accomplishments...
Add an unrelenting rhythm track and the dedicated rap of crusader, Chill E.B....
And the end result is a music video to celebrate 27 years of the IAS that will sweep this world from one end to the other!
Well, yes, that last part is certainly true, though not in the form they intended.
If Chill EB has provided the IAS with a theme song, his most recent release is a gift to another Scientology front group, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR).
Ah, the CCHR. Some of you may have experienced the CCHR's Sunset Boulevard museum in Los Angeles, "Psychiatry: An Industry of Death," in which the Holocaust, for example, is blamed not on Hitler or the Nazis but on the psychiatric industry.
It's classic stuff. But as we noted recently in our big countdown, The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, it shouldn't be hard to get some public support for CCHR's mission, except that the church puts people like Jan Eastgate in charge:
As President of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, Scientology's anti-psychiatry front group, Jan Eastgate was actually pretty good at her job. Sure, of all Scientology's front groups, CCHR was probably the easiest ship to steer, since it isn't difficult to tap into resentment and opposition to big pharmaceutical companies. And unlike Narconon, which covertly delivers Scientology processes to drug addicts, or Applied Scholastics, which covertly delivers Scientology processes to school children, CCHR rarely triggers lawsuits and school board meetings because it operates at the public policy level and has relatively little interaction with the general public.
Even with those advantages, as head of CCHR, Eastgate sometimes can't help shoot herself in the foot, such as by routinely citing psychiatry's "Nazi roots" and its having caused the Holocaust. But unsubstantiated bombast and Nazi comparisons are nothing compared to the mess Eastgate has since put herself -- and by extension, Scientology -- in, when she was charged in Australia this past June with "perverting the course of justice." Those charges date to 1985, when she was head of the CCHR Australia. She is accused of coaching an 11-year old girl, Carmen Rainer, along with Rainer's mother, to lie to authorities about Carmen having been sexually abused by her stepfather, Robert Kerr, in order to head off potentially bad publicity for Scientology. And yet, CCHR's website still lists Eastgate as its President.
Behold, now, Chill EB's latest valentine to Scientology, "Define Better," a slickly-produced, what-about-the-children emotional appeal that is designed to do two things: 1) convince listeners that any prescribing of drugs for children is evil, and 2) hide any connection to Scientology -- until, that is, you press the "learn more" button and get taken to CCHR's website.
Enjoy this newest addition to Yo! Scientology Raps:
As for Chill EB's new audience, we will share with you what the sleuths at WWP dug up, apparently from an appearance this May in Las Vegas.
Chill does look like he's doing his best to be "dauntless, defiant, and resolute," but that lilly white audience of middle-aged OTs soaking it up? Well, we just hope he's getting paid well with all of that donated church member cash that the IAS is rolling in.
The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology
#1: L. Ron Hubbard
#2: David Miscavige
#3: Marty Rathbun
#4: Tom Cruise
#5: Joe Childs and Tom Tobin
#7: Mark Bunker
#8: Mike Rinder
#9: Jason Beghe
#10: Lisa McPherson
#11: Nick Xenophon (and other public servants)
#12: Tommy Davis (and other hapless church executives)
#13: Janet Reitman (and other journalists)
#14: Tory Christman (and other noisy ex-Scientologists)
#15: Andreas Heldal-Lund (and other old time church critics)
#16: Marc and Claire Headley, escapees of the church's HQ
#17: Jefferson Hawkins, the man behind the TV volcano
#18: Amy Scobee, former Sea Org executive
#19: The Squirrel Busters (and the church's other thugs and goons)
#20: Trey Parker and Matt Stone (and other media figures)
#21: Kendrick Moxon, attorney for the church
#22: Jamie DeWolf (and other L. Ron Hubbard family members)
#23: Ken Dandar (and other attorneys who litigate against the church)
#24: David Touretzky (and other academics)
#25: Xenu, galactic overlord
Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he's been writing about Scientology at several publications.
Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared
SCIENTOLOGY IN THE VILLAGE VOICE
[Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis secretly recorded discussing "disconnection"]
[Tom Cruise and Baby Suri embarrassed by news item, so someone must pay]
[Benjamin Ring, LA deputy sheriff, wants you to spend your 401K on Scientology]
[Scientologists: How many of them are there, anyway?]
[Scientology hates clean ice: The "Fair Game" operation that should turn your stomach]
[Scientology hates clean ice, part 2: Another target, and the web as weapon]
MARTY RATHBUN AND THE SIEGE OF SOUTH TEXAS
[Scientology has Rathbun arrested] | [Rathbun and Mark Bunker reveal surprising ties]
In Germany with Ursula Caberta: [Announcing plans] | [Press conference] | [Making news about Tom Cruise, Bill Clinton, and Tony Blair] | [Post-trip interview]
The Squirrel Busters: [Goons with cameras on their heads] | [Rathbun's open letter to neighbors] | [Ingleside on the Bay, Texas rallies to Rathbun's cause] | [Squirrel Buster's claim to be making a "documentary"] | [VIDEO: "On a Boat"] | ["Anna" sent to creep out Monique Rathbun] | [Squirrel Busters go hillbilly] | [A videographer blows the whistle on the goon squad] | [Ed Bryan, OT VIII, shows the power of Scientology's highest levels]
SCIENTOLOGY SPYING AND "FAIR GAME"
[Secret Scientology documents spell out spying operation against Marc Headley]
[Scientology's West U.S. spies list revealed] | [Scientology's enemies list: Are you on it?]
Spy operation against Washington Post writer Richard Leiby: [Part 1] | [Part 2]
[A Scientology spy comes clean: Paulien Lombard's remarkable public confession]
[Scientology advertises for writers in Freedom magazine]
[Accidental leak shows Scientology spy wing plans to "handle" the Voice]
[Lori Hodgson and Disconnection: "No one's going to take my eternity away"]
SCIENTOLOGY AND CELEBRITIES
["Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [Tom Cruise likes coconut cake] | [Tom Cruise has a sense of humor] | ["Tom Cruise not a kook!"] | [Paulette Cooper on Tom Cruise]
[Paul Haggis, director of Crash, issues an ultimatum, leaves the church]
[Character actor Jason Beghe defects noisily] | [Actor Michael Fairman reveals his "suppressive person" declaration] | [Michael Fairman talks to the Voice]
[Giovanni Ribisi as David Koresh: Scientology-Branch Davidian link makes sense]
[Russell Brand weds ex-Scientologists in wild ceremony] | [Skip Press on Haggis]
[Placido Domingo Jr.: Scientology's retaliation is "scary and pathetic"]
Grant Cardone, NatGeo's "Turnaround King": [Doing Scientology's dirty work?] | [Milton Katselas complained about Cardone's smear job] | [Cardone runs to Huffpo]
[Philip Boyd, Saving Grace actor, rips "the business that is Scientology"]
JANET REITMAN'S INSIDE SCIENTOLOGY
[Our review of Inside Scientology] | [An interview with Janet Reitman] | [A report from Reitman's first book tour appearance] | [At the Half-King: Reitman not afraid]
[Scientology doesn't like Inside Scientology] | [Q&A at Washington Post]
[A roundup of Reitman's print reviews, and why isn't she on television more?]
HUGH URBAN'S THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY
EX-SCIENTOLOGISTS SPEAK OUT
[Marc Headley: "Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [The Nancy Many interview]
[Sympathy for the Devil: Tory Christman's Story] | [Jeff Hawkins' Counterfeit Dreams]
[86 Million Thin Dimes: The Lawrence Wollersheim Saga] | [Mike Rinder on spying]
[Scientology dodges a bullet in Australia] | [Scientology exec Jan Eastgate arrested]
[All hell breaks loose in Israel] | [Scientology sees fundraising gold in the UK riots]
[Aussie former rugby pro Chris Guider calls David Miscavige "toxic" and "violent"]
[Stephen Cox, UK church newbie, pledges 20K pounds] | [Biggi Reichert: A German Lisa McPherson?] | [The Birmingham trove: 7,000 internal e-mails]
[Australian farmer blamed for giving Tom Cruise a bad shrimp, loses her friends, family]
ODD VIDEOS AND ODDER NEWS
[Scientology singalong, "We Stand Tall"] | [Captain Bill Robertson and "Galactic Patrol"]
[Scientology wins a major award!] | [Scientology wants your money: Meet Dede!]
[Birmingham in the House! The "Ideal" dance mix] | [Scientology and the Nation of Islam]
[When Scientology was hip] | [Sad: David Miscavige makes fun of his own fundraisers]
[Freedom magazine parodies The New Yorker. Hilarity ensues.]
[Scientology surf report: Anonymous parties outside the New York "org"]
THE VIEW INSIDE THE BUBBLE
[A scientologist's letter to the Voice and its readers] | [Scientology silent birth]
[Tad Reeves: Scientology might listen to this guy] | [More Tad Reeves and family]
[Scientology never forgets: A heartwarming telemarketing holiday miracle]