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The gangsters that rule Hip Hop are the same gangsters that rule our nation.
April 20, 2007 12:22 PM   Subscribe

The gangsters that rule Hip Hop are the same gangsters that rule our nation. An open letter to Oprah Winfrey about misogyny and the gangsta chic in rap and hip hop, now under scrutiny in a post-Imus world. (via Poetry Foundation)
posted by John of Michigan (70 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow. Very powerful, very true.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:38 PM on April 20, 2007


Saul Williams is a smart, thoughtful man. I appreciated reading this but somehow the fact that it's posted on a site called "ThugLifeArmy.com" seems maybe a bit at odds with the message.
posted by inoculatedcities at 12:43 PM on April 20, 2007


So when you boil it down he blames Christianity?
posted by konolia at 12:47 PM on April 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


So when you boil it down he blames Christianity?

No. He blames those that take the message (Christ, hip-hop, etc.) and manipulate it to control.
posted by NationalKato at 12:52 PM on April 20, 2007


To clarify, the examples above were 'the message' - not 'those.'
posted by NationalKato at 12:52 PM on April 20, 2007


So when you boil it down he blames Christianity?

Not precisely, but I'm not surprised that you came to that conclusion. He's saying that the whole structure of masculinity and femininity, and the constructions thereof, are the source of a whole lot of angst. Christianity is wrapped up in that.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:53 PM on April 20, 2007


Weird how the we-don't-need-no-punctuation cadence of Slam poetry translates into his prose as well.

In any case, I love Saul. Good on him.

We enlist every instrument: Acoustic, electronic.
Every so-called race, gender, and sexual preference.
Every per-son as beings of sound to acknowledge their responsibility to
uplift the consciousness of the
Entire. Fucking. World.
Any utterance un-aimed, will be disclaimed.
Two rappers slain.
Any utterance un-aimed, will be disclaimed.
Two rappers slain.


- Saul Williams, Coded Language
posted by basicchannel at 12:55 PM on April 20, 2007


The gangsters that rule Hip Hop are the same gangsters that rule our nation. 50 Cent and George Bush have the same birthday (July 6th).

I was hoping for a little more . . .
posted by j-urb at 1:00 PM on April 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


> Hip Hop is simply a reflection of the society that birthed it.

That's it in a nutshell. They're just giving the people what they want.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:02 PM on April 20, 2007


All I know is that I try to stay unnoticed by both Dick Cheney and Suge Knight.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:03 PM on April 20, 2007


It's all right to be an asshole, because George Bush is an asshole? Everything negative that I do or say is nothing compared to the horrible things that George Bush does, so what I do is okay, then?
posted by Faze at 1:06 PM on April 20, 2007


I opened up for Saul years ago. Next to De La Soul, one of the most soulful performances I've attended. God bless what he says. Pick sides. Maseo, you're the man. Good to see Davey D is still around.

From the Lyrics of "Stakes is High":

I'm sick of bitches shakin' asses
I'm sick of talkin' about blunts,
Sick of Versace glasses,
Sick of slang,
Sick of half-ass awards shows,
Sick of name brand clothes.
Sick of R&B bitches over bullshit tracks,
Cocaine and crack
Which brings sickness to blacks,
Sick of swoll' head rappers
With their sicker-than raps
Clappers and gats
Makin' the whole sick world collapse
The facts are gettin' sick
Even sicker perhaps
Stickabush to make a bundle to escape this synapse

Go get 'em Maury!
posted by phaedon at 1:06 PM on April 20, 2007


It's all right to be an asshole, because George Bush is an asshole? Everything negative that I do or say is nothing compared to the horrible things that George Bush does, so what I do is okay, then?

I don't get the impression that you've read the link.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:07 PM on April 20, 2007


Williams is cool, and "50 Cent and George Bush have the same birthday (July 6th)" is pure poetry. of course, one of them just talks about shooting people and the other one actually kills them, a lot of them -- it's basically the same difference between an untalented clown in a ghoulish costume (say, Marilyn Manson) and some NRA executive.

that this not so subtle difference escapes so many is the main reason why sometimes in the USA you have a harder time buying some CDs than you have buying guns.


So when you boil it down he blames Christianity?


and I love it how various thuggish, horribly materialistic rappers always look upwards and make a point of thanking God for making them win some crappy award and allowing them to make a shitloasd of money peddling generally unimaginative music (there are few, glowing exceptions of course) to an audience made largely of insecure suburban white kids who hope listening to rap will make their voices grow deeper, their peepees get bigger and their peers respect them a little bit more.
posted by matteo at 1:10 PM on April 20, 2007


so what I do is okay, then?
posted by Faze


mostly. it's all about body counts -- as gangsta rap teaches us. I'm praying yours is smaller than the President's.

or maybe not, since 24 hours after 32 kids were murdered in an American university about 300 people were murdered in Baghdad but I didn't see the Iraqis faces broadcast 24/7 on CNN or, Allah forbid, Fox "News".

let's say sometimes it's all about the body counts
posted by matteo at 1:13 PM on April 20, 2007


Yes, please...if you're reading or scanning a few choices sentences because you see 'Christianity' or 'George Bush' pop out at you, hold off on posting a comment here. When you have time, read the entirety - or at least a full passage, since he doesn't beat around the bush - and then share your thoughts.
posted by NationalKato at 1:14 PM on April 20, 2007


50 Cent hearts Bush.

Interesting article, too.

(I was also slightly surprised to see that Williams provides backing vox on NIN's "Survivalism.")
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:18 PM on April 20, 2007


It's all right to be an asshole, because George Bush is an asshole? Everything negative that I do or say is nothing compared to the horrible things that George Bush does, so what I do is okay, then?
posted by Faze


Faze, I understand that sometimes it's easy to think that Bush and his cronies 'rule our nation' but I'd look deeper at corporate America, the CEOs that profit from hip-hop and urban entertainment, and the marketing/medium used to deliver that 'culture' to the masses.
posted by NationalKato at 1:20 PM on April 20, 2007


Interesting that he signs it "In loving kindness."
posted by gignomai at 1:24 PM on April 20, 2007


Yeah, we get it, it's a symptom of society, etc. While I think he is very eloquent, at the same time he is rather patronizing and a little on the self aggrandizing side too. I can't stand the Oprah machine, she comes off as having such a messiah complex, so I guess I find him patting on the head one of the richest, most powerful people in the world almost amusing. Weeeeell, except for this, my interpretation is that the subject of his open letter is how this woman (this rich black woman) should not get all uppity in her statements about hip hop, because she doesn't get it and seeing as she has all that power she might cause more damage. She doesn't understand because she is too old, oh and a woman. She shouldn't be raining on their creativity parade because even though they call women and create images of women as less than human, they don't mean it in the way she is accusing them.

Oh and also, he seems to be saying it is impossible to critisize an artist for their conduct in their personal life and the misogeny in their art and still be able to enjoy that art. You know, like, when I hear Wagner I can't think of anything but how he was a racist and anti semite. Oh and Picasso, when I look at Guernica all I can think about is how he beat his wives. Yes I realize I'm going on a bit on the grand side.

Wow, I guess I got a little going there, but please. Oprah is no dummy. Maybe she needs more dialog in her life, and what bazillionaire doesn't seeing as they will always be surronded by toadys, but talking down to someone who has created a media empire from a half hour tv show on a local station really isn't going to open dialog, it can only serve to close off another venue for that dialog. I'm not saying kiss her ass, but maybe have a less patronizing tone, all people take that better.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 1:24 PM on April 20, 2007


It's all right to be an asshole, because George Bush is an asshole? Everything negative that I do or say is nothing compared to the horrible things that George Bush does, so what I do is okay, then?

Hmm. Try it like this:

It's not surprising that Hip-hop artists often behave they way they do, for the same reason that George Bush often beahves they way he does; both are a reflection of the society that we live in, that we created, and that paradoxically creates the same problems that we as a society claim we wish to solve. The problem is, when we attempt to solve it by censorship and other surface band-aid means, we will never succeed, because the problem is deep, deep enough that it will only be addressed by a frank, open, introspective and honest exploration into the fact that the problem is all of us.

Dunno if that quite works, but it's a try.
posted by davejay at 1:26 PM on April 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Interesting sending it to Oprah Winfrey - though perhaps sending it to the heads of the record labels that put out some of the stuff might be more effective, no?
posted by rmm at 1:26 PM on April 20, 2007


Oh and also, he seems to be saying it is impossible to critisize an artist for their conduct in their personal life and the misogeny in their art and still be able to enjoy that art.

Didn't he say he enjoyed that same 50 Cent song that he saw Oprah dancing to? So, I don't think that's what he is saying at all.

Your comments sound like you're projecting.
posted by NationalKato at 1:27 PM on April 20, 2007


Great link. When I first got TiVo, the first thing I did was set a season pass for Oprah (guilty pleasure). I deleted it after the two recent shows criticizing hip hop & rap. Watching Oprah had been doing nothing but raising my blood pressure lately. Her interview with Shawn Hornbeck, The Secret, the show with the "psychics," and then the hip hop shows. I was going to punch my TV.
posted by peep at 1:27 PM on April 20, 2007


though perhaps sending it to the heads of the record labels that put out some of the stuff might be more effective, no?

You kidding me? They have been complicit thugs, from the beginning.
posted by phaedon at 1:28 PM on April 20, 2007


Good words, but this man seriously needs an editor.

It's sentences like: "You see, Ms. Winfrey, at it’s worse; Hip Hop is simply a reflection of the society that birthed it." that turned me off of this piece.
posted by thanotopsis at 1:28 PM on April 20, 2007


Oh and Picasso, when I look at Guernica all I can think about is how he beat his wives.

Well, the difference is that Guernica is not actually about how awesome Picasso thinks it is to beat his wives.
posted by gignomai at 1:30 PM on April 20, 2007


Word to what NationalKato says. Also, I agree with you, Pope Guilty, about the social constructions of masculinity and femininity being wrapped up in Christianity. I am enrolled in a class which surveys religious cultures and how they've developed in America over the last 200 years, taught by a brilliant professor who, self-described, is hiphop. We're currently discussing the patriarchical structure of Christianity, and how it reinforces and informs societal constructions of gender roles (see B. Welter, C. Beecher, and A. Grimké). This is something that has plagued our society for decades, and likely will continue.

Also: RAP IS NOT HIPHOP! Rap is a product of hiphop, just as breakin', emceein', grafitti art, and street language are products of hiphop. It is important to make this distinction when really discussing the effects of hiphop. Williams makes this quite clear, but I fear many will read over it.

I'm surprised that Wiliams left out the name of KRS-One, one of the foremost hiphop intellectuals. I heard him speak recently on what it means to be hiphop, its culture, its products, and whether artists are responsible for the responses to their art; he blew my mind.
posted by numinous at 1:32 PM on April 20, 2007


24 hours after 32 kids were murdered in an American university about 300 people were murdered in Baghdad but I didn't see the Iraqis faces broadcast 24/7 on CNN or, Allah forbid, Fox "News".

I'm with ya, matteo. (And to the others -- I really did read the whole article. But trying to ricochet his moral assessment of hip-hop off of George Bush and Christianity doesn't really help this guy's argument. He should come right out with it and take responsiblity for what he's saying -- George Bush be damned.)
posted by Faze at 1:34 PM on April 20, 2007


Watch out, it's the Black Crusaders!
posted by Artw at 1:38 PM on April 20, 2007


Watch out, it's the Black Crusaders!

YOU SHOULD'VE TOLD ME IT WAS THE BLACK CRUSADERS!

*runs down hallway*
posted by phaedon at 1:40 PM on April 20, 2007


your revolution

your revolution will not happen between these thighs
your revolution will not happen between these thighs

the real revolution
ain't about booty size
the Versaces you buys
or the Lexus you drives

and though we've lost Biggie Smalls
your Notorious revolution
will never allow you to lace no
lyrical douche in my bush

your revolution will not be you
killing me softly with Fugees
your revolution ain't gon' knock me up
without no ring and produce little future MCs
because that revolution will not happen between these thighs

your revolution
will not find me in the
backseat of a Jeep with LL
hard as hell
ya know, doin' it & doin' it & doin' it well
ya know, doin' it & doin' it & doin' it well

your revolution will not be you
smackin' it up, flippin' it, or rubbin' it down
nor will it take you downtown or humpin' around
because that revolution will not happen between these thighs

your revolution will not have me singin'
ain't no nigger like the one I got
your revolution will not be you
sending me for no drip drip VD shot

your revolution will not involve me feeling your nature rise
or helping you fantasize
because that revolution will not happen between these thighs
and no, my Jamaican brother, your revolution
will not make you feel boombastic and really fantastic
have you groping in the dark for that rubber wrapped in plastic

you will not be touching your lips to my triple dip of
french vanilla butter pecan chocolate deluxe
or having Akinyele's dream
a six-foot blowjob machine

you wanna subjugate your queen;
think I'ma put it in my mouth
just 'cause you made a few bucks
please brotha please!

your revolution will not be me tossing my weave
making believe I'm some caviar-eating, ghetto mafia clown
or me givin' up my behind just so I can get signed
or maybe have somebody else write my rhymes?
I'm Sarah Jones, not Foxy Brown

your revolution makes me wonder, where could we go
if we could drop the empty pursuit of props and the ego
we'd revolt back to our Roots, use a little Common Sense, on a Quest
to make love De La Soul, no pretense...but

your revolution will not be you flexing your little sex and status
to express what you feel;
your revolution will not happen between these thighs
will not happen between these thighs
will not be you shaking and me faking between these thighs
because the revolution, that's right, I say the real revolution, you
know the real revolution, when it finally comes, it's gon' be real.

Sarah Jones
This song was ruled "indecent" by the FCC.

But all that misogynistic gansta rap is OK? Yeah. Whatever.
posted by loquacious at 1:40 PM on April 20, 2007 [5 favorites]


Alright, I just read the whole thing. I'd seen it referred to elsewhere, and figured it would be on MeFi sooner or later, but I didn't want to comment until I'd had some time to read and think about it.

It warms my heart to see the previous generation of slam poets stepping up as elder statesmen, directing their discourse not just to the converted, but to those with a lot of cultural power. If you haven't seen Beau Sia's "Open Letter to All the Rosie O'Donnell's," check it out.

I'm very struck by the dichotomy Williams presents of machismo/vulnerability, and his implication that vulnerability--a basic requirement of artistic endeavor--is highly undervalued in the hip-hop community.

I loved the metaphor about physical vulnerability, how it can protect people in accidents. That's very poignant and directly applicable to the life of a poet. If the voice in your poems is not you, it's far too easily broken. This is an extremely elegant criticism of hip-hop and Slam cultures, and of artistic communities in general. What do we value in our art, and why do we seem to reward things that aren't good for us?

And, to expand the question, why do we as human beings (or Americans, or whatever) value bravado and machismo, when we know that those are the things that bring out our ugliest?

Where it gets a little mucked up is when he brings in religion. I mean no disrespect to Williams here, but it seems that he's trying to pad difficult material by throwing some bones to his base.

I'd venture to say that both Bush and 50 Cent are products of our backward culture. Correlation is not causality--let's step both of them.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:41 PM on April 20, 2007


Well let's see. Let's take a group of people and subject them to deep oppression for 400 years, show them the only way they get a crumb of power is by oppressing each other with racism and sexism, and maybe a little bit of it might get internalized?

Sort of how if you beat your child everyday and told him he was stupid he might believe it?

Then add in record companies pandering to white suburbia (the demographic which buys the most rap music) who also would like to gobble up things that reinforce their belief that all negros are dangerous hypersexualized at-risk-urban-youth? (also white owned BET as well)

(Oh, don't forget to ignore the massive amount of non-misogynistic, non-violent hiphop or those in the black community who also criticize the BS on the radio and cable. )

Right. Totally hiphop's fault.
posted by yeloson at 1:45 PM on April 20, 2007


i love how tavis smiley got canned once BET got sold to white people. haha. to make more room for bet uncut. now that's funny.
posted by phaedon at 1:47 PM on April 20, 2007


It is always nice to see the ultimate appeal is to Oprah...
posted by Postroad at 1:48 PM on April 20, 2007


National Kato, he says she was dancing along to music that was misogynistic to point out that she's a hypocrite. My point is that is not necessarily true, she may think 50 cent or Ice Cube say misogynist crap in their music and still be able to appreciate it on a different level.

I just googled Oprah and hip hop. There are dozens of good articles out there from the people having the debate, the artists and Oprah. I was going to link something, but there are a bunch I want to read before doing that. The context from which this open letter emerged is really important.

I think it is really worth looking at the female/male power differential in media delivery. A lot of the complaints seem to be along the lines of, she has so much power she should spread it around even if she thinks a message isn't that great. At least that is what I am getting.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 1:55 PM on April 20, 2007


"...grafitti art, and street language are products of hiphop"

Grafitti art a product of the hiphop movement? I'm thinking not.

Then add in record companies pandering to white suburbia (the demographic which buys the most rap music)

Where did this "most rap is bought by suburban white kids" assertion come from? Are there any cites for this at all? IMHO someone pulled this "factoid" out of their ass. You can't just praise the good elements of hip-hop and blame the bad elements on Jimmy Iovine.
posted by MikeMc at 1:58 PM on April 20, 2007


he says she was dancing along to music that was misogynistic to point out that she's a hypocrite.

I didn't get that impression at all; I felt that he was pointing out that enjoying someone's art independent of the lyrical message is still reasonable and okay.
posted by davejay at 2:11 PM on April 20, 2007


wow, another hip-hop thread where people talk past eachother, what a surprise.

for what its worth, i've learned to hate the rap/hip-hop distinction. it's utter bullshit, as if "what you're rapping about" or "how aggressively you're rapping" changes the genre. or should be used to define a target demographic.

as for "blaming the bad elements on jimmy iovine", nice rhetorical counterpoint, but you're missing the point. the white kids listen to rap assertion was pretty much the foundation of the anti-rap movement in the 1990's (see tipper gore, see walmart, see parental advisor explicit lyrics stickers). iovine's been in the music business way before even that. the bigger question might be, where are the black-owned, homegrown labels? what happened to nas, and jeru, the native tongue family? when did a public form of consciousness get turned inside out by p. diddy, damon dash, jay-z (who is a biter, i don't care what you say) and jermaine dupri? anyway, i'm rambling.
posted by phaedon at 2:13 PM on April 20, 2007


Good words, but this man seriously needs an editor.

I actually kind of liked it. It's highly stylized writing, but only infrequently grammatically incorrect. If writing is principally about communication, the man got his point across eloquently.
posted by psmealey at 2:18 PM on April 20, 2007


Listen to a version of Your Revolution as read by Sarah Jones.

(From the DJ Vadim track on Ninjaune's Xen Cuts)
posted by loquacious at 2:21 PM on April 20, 2007


And to answer my own question, mainstream black hip-hop is dead, turntablism is dead, graffiti is dead. all the creative producers have switched to other genres. Only in the fringes of american society, and in europe, are these artforms still relished. i don't even want to hear about the exceptions to the rule. i went to rome last year and i hopped on a train on the way to the vatican and the cabins were sprayed head to toe with huge pieces. some style warz type of shit.
posted by phaedon at 2:29 PM on April 20, 2007


somehow the fact that it's posted on a site called "ThugLifeArmy.com" seems maybe a bit at odds with the message.

It's just reposted there as well as other places (q.v. google). The original posting was apparently a MySpace bulletin. Here it is in Counterpunch.

... and in the course of verifying this, it appears I got phished, or at least blocked on suspicion of having been phished. When will those fuckers at MySpace figure out that if you force people to log in every goddamn time -- to get one more ad eyeball -- that just increases the vulnerability?!
posted by dhartung at 2:31 PM on April 20, 2007


That's it in a nutshell. They're just giving the people what they want.

Isn't it lovely what happens when market forces discipline artistic production?
posted by treepour at 2:32 PM on April 20, 2007


Where did this "most rap is bought by suburban white kids" assertion come from? Are there any cites for this at all?

Well, Essence magazine says that their own research shows "young, affluent White men buy more rap music than their female counterparts and their Black male and female counterparts combined."

Now is it true? I don't know. Here's a transcript of a Tavis Smiley interview with Bakari Kitwana where he, Kitwana, suggests that the 60-70% figure is incorrect. In another Smiley interview, KRS-ONE accepts a figure of 72%, although he states that 80% of that 72% are women.

Beyond that I couldn't easily dig up any good information. Regardless, there is at least one claim to an actual study, although some, such as Kitwana, do suggest that it was not well conducted.
posted by jedicus at 2:34 PM on April 20, 2007


Where did this "most rap is bought by suburban white kids" assertion come from? Are there any cites for this at all?

From the Wall Street Journal: MRI... sent me the results for 1995, 1999 and 2001, for both adults 18 to 34 and for all adults. For both groups, the percentage of recent rap buyers who are white was about 70% to 75% for all three years. And a decent article on this here.
posted by gignomai at 2:37 PM on April 20, 2007


I don't know why people are shocked that most hip-hop customers are white, given the 5:1 population advantage they have. The only way that whites could be fewer than 50% of hip-hop customers would be if they were 5 times less likely to buy hip-hop.
posted by dhartung at 2:59 PM on April 20, 2007 [4 favorites]


Many choose gangsterism and business over the emotional terrain through which true artistry will lead.

A lot of kids I see out on the streets in Philly every day by the hundreds don't give a fuck about this shit. They don't give a fuck about anything. One of them tried to sell me heroin today on school grounds as the school was letting out. The sidewalk was packed with little ones on their way home and this kid was trying to move bags in the middle of it. Because. He. Doesn't. Give. A. Fuck. Everything in the ghetto is about filling a gaping economic void, and some are willing to do anything to fill it. In the process, they become emotionally dead. Their terrain is barren. Mainstream gangster rappers are coming out of this landscape. They already didn't give a fuck and were willing to do anything to get money before they got there. You're telling me a dude like Cam'ron could really get in touch with his spirit and write poetry? I guess it's possible, but it's not likely.

406 murders last year, probably more this year and somewhere in all that is probably the next Beanie Sigel, a dead eyed killer who made enough drug money to drop an album. The Roots didn't come out of that, they went to Central, they were artistically nurtured. When I listen to mainstream rap I don't think it's a bunch of pantomimers selling their souls to make white money. I think it's a bunch of kids who never gave a fuck about how they got money in the first place, whose souls were sold a long time ago to the drug trade, talking about what it's like to not give a fuck and live without a soul. I think it's profound, and profoundly depressing, disturbing.
posted by The Straightener at 3:02 PM on April 20, 2007 [8 favorites]


From the Wall Street Journal: MRI... sent me the results for 1995, 1999 and 2001

Thanks for those links. I'm always interested in how these numbers come about, I couldn't picture how SoundScan could possibly track that kind of data.
posted by MikeMc at 3:02 PM on April 20, 2007


You can't just praise the good elements of hip-hop and blame the bad elements on Jimmy Iovine.

I'm not saying that. I am saying that when you completely rip out context, you end up with an empty argument.

Under the same logic, one could have pointed to minstrel shows in the 20's and said, "Wow, black entertainment is all about them being clowns and enjoying dancing for white folks".

Of course that also requires ignoring other forms of black entertainment, who controls the venue, who writes the checks and who is the audience.

I could point to film and say the entire media is full of misogyny and racism if we include the sheer amount of porn produced every year...
posted by yeloson at 3:10 PM on April 20, 2007


really, though; which industries are NOT ruled by 'ganstas'?
my roommate is in finance, for example; oh the stories he tells...

i've worked in & around hiphop since the 'beginning' (tommy boy records); things are just more out in the open now (so to speak).

most of it is just entertainment, like, whats-it-called? the movies.

but still, yes; tribe, PE days...sigh. at least there were songs about SOMETHING. now that's hard to find.
posted by fisherKing at 3:39 PM on April 20, 2007


"We're not fighting a war; we're fighting ourselves."
That resonates with me.
Thank you for posting this.
posted by Dizzy at 3:39 PM on April 20, 2007


I dunno, the term "post-Imus world" just makes me really sad.
posted by First Post at 3:56 PM on April 20, 2007


Funny. I was heartened by it.
posted by Dizzy at 4:04 PM on April 20, 2007


Maybe I'm just an ignorant foreigner, but I'd lived my life happily unaware of this Imus character until last week, and will continue to live life without giving him much thought from now on.
posted by Artw at 4:27 PM on April 20, 2007


I love Saul but I call bullshit.
Im old enough to remember in the 80s when "the community" complained that the more positive hip hop being marketed by the major labels wasnt refelective of the real hip hop that was more gangsta and violent.

If the labels werent signing and putting the stuff out all we would hear are cries of out-of-touch racism, so whatever.

Especially after what Cam'ron told 60 Minutes the other day, sorry, your problem isnt the record labels its cultural.

Yes there are socio-economic factors that bear down on inner-city blacks. Noone is excusing that. Still, those very real factors dont give you right to act like a lawless, ignorant thug prick. Im addressing that generally and not to Mr. Williams, who I know doesnt swing that way.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:32 PM on April 20, 2007


Artw---
Is there a British analog to Imus or is this a uniquely 'Murrican phenomenon?
posted by Dizzy at 4:32 PM on April 20, 2007


this is pretty dumb.

You see, Ms. Winfrey, at it’s worse; Hip Hop is simply a reflection of the society that birthed it.

leaving aside the grammar and spelling of that sentence, and his overall point, whatever it may be, it boils down to this:

art should not have to explain its motivations. No one put that burden on Johnny Cash when he sang murder ballads, and it sucks when it's put on hip hop just because the music is primarily made by young black people. It sucks when white people do it and it sucks when black people do it.

The whole "positivity" thing is crap and always has been. People who say that don't know what art is. Bad art about "positive" subject matter is just bad art. Good art about "negative" subject matter is good art. Good art is a good thing. Bad art isn't. The end.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:43 PM on April 20, 2007


PE days...sigh. at least there were songs about SOMETHING

remember "Farrakhan is a prophet you oughta listen to"? I suppose that was, strictly speaking, "something." The music still sounds good but the politics have really not aged well.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:45 PM on April 20, 2007


Yes there are socio-economic factors that bear down on inner-city blacks. Noone is excusing that. Still, those very real factors dont give you right to act like a lawless, ignorant thug prick.

Your ideas about how people get involved in criminal activity are funny at best and incredibly insulting at worst.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:22 PM on April 20, 2007


Well let's see. Let's take a group of people and subject them to deep oppression for 400 years,

Curtis Jackson is 32 years old and lives in a mansion in Connecticut...
posted by scheptech at 6:57 PM on April 20, 2007


Dizzy - dunno, i'm even completely sure what he is, except he looks like an old lady in a cowboy hat and makes racist remarks. We have our totally insane right wing "voice of reason" types, but they're in general not taken particularly seriously. I have a feeling that Kilroy might be sort of similar, though this guy seems dumber(!) and less classy(!!).
posted by Artw at 8:54 PM on April 20, 2007


Whine, whine, whine - It's society's fault.

I'm with Oprah on this one. There should be less respect for this mysoginistic, violent music. The people who create the music shouldn't be allowed to get away with stuff because they're "keeping it real". This denigration of women is unacceptable wherever it comes from.

As far as I can tell, the "for" argument boils down to this.

"I like mysoginistic, racist & violent hip hop. Therefore, I'm not going to make any moral judgement on what I am doing by listening to it. In fact, I'm gonna come up with a bunch of half assed excuses justifying my continued involvement. I'll lie to myself, & I'll lie to anyone else."

I'll agree that this is a complex issue. However, when a musical art form moves from reflecting society to informing society then people need to start taking responsibility to what they listen to.
posted by seanyboy at 3:07 AM on April 21, 2007


So, Seanyboy, are you going to give up Johnny Cash? The Rolling Stones? Seriously. Can you promise me that whenever a Stones tune comes on the radio you will turn it off, look your friends straight in the eye, and say "'Under My Thumb' is really misogynistic and so I refuse to listen to any of their music."

Give it a whirl. See what they say.

From the town of Lincoln Nebraska
With a sawed-off .410 on my lap
Through to the badlands of Wyoming
I killed everything in my path

I can't say that I'm sorry
For the things that we done
At least for a little while sir
Me and her we had us some fun


Oh, welp, Springstein is out. Make sure that you tell everyone you know that from now on that you will not stand for that viciousness. Go on: it's easy to tell all of us what not listen to and why, it's a little tougher to explain to real life flesh and blood humans this ridiculous little metric you've got going.

Of course, we can't forget Marley and Clapton: "I Shot the Sheriff" Cross them off the list, seanyboy. No Clapton. No Marley.

And while I don't care for any of these artists, plenty of people do, maybe even yourself, seanyboy. Cross out Nine Inch Nails, Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit, Panic at the Disco. Cross out Nickelback. Cross out AC/DC. Cross out half the bands you like and a hundred bands you've never even heard of.

Here's a suggestion: if you don't own any hip-hop or rap albums, if you don't know the difference between Ice Cube and Ice T, if you think that every black guy with a mic is coming to burn down your house and steal all your white women, maybe you could just shut the fuck up for five minutes and stop embarassing yourself, grandpa.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:02 AM on April 21, 2007 [4 favorites]


Ha! Grandpa. Little old me.
Lets see ...

if you don't own any hip-hop or rap albums,
I do.

if you don't know the difference between Ice Cube and Ice T,
I do.

if you think that every black guy with a mic is coming to burn down your house and steal all your white women.
Not at all. When they go up in my goddamn house, all they want is the motherfuckin' kids! As far as pops they don't give a fuck what they do, Bust him in his motherfuckin' head!

It's pretty obvious you've made your mind up on this, so it's pretty useless to try and discuss it with you. Thanks also for the accusation of racism. That gave me the warm and fuzzies.

My points in brief.
- Just because you like something doesn't make it good.
- Great art informs society as well as reflecting it.
- It's a complex subject.

And don't even try and equate something as morally ambiguous as I shot the Sheriff with the misogynistic churning of Snoopy Snoopy Dog Dog.
posted by seanyboy at 7:24 AM on April 21, 2007


No, I'm sorry, seanyboy, I find "I Shot the Sheriff" morally objectionable, so I'm afraid you can't listen to it anymore. And while I'm at it, I'm going to ask: why haven't the white leaders condemned this antisocial trash?

And did you throw out your other records with objectionable content yet? Post a picture of you breaking them in half, to show us you mean business. If you're having trouble figuring out which of them are appropriate for adults to listen to, go ahead and list them and the community will decide for you.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:40 AM on April 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Seanyboy, I think you'll find that's Scoopy Scoopy Dog Dog.

But you probably wouldn't care about that, would you, you enormous racist?
posted by flashboy at 8:37 AM on April 21, 2007


As far as I can tell, I didn't ask anyone to throw any records away. I'm not calling for some puratanical burning of objectionable content. I'm just saying that I don't like it & I think it's wrong.

My opinion is that the excesses of Gangsta rap reinforce dangerous sexual and racial stereotypes. That's it.

why haven't the white leaders condemned this antisocial trash
There are other kinds of music I find just as objectionable, but this is a discussion about gangsta rap. Recently, there was a thread about a couple of young girls that were pushing some Ayran white supremacy music. Many people (including I hope, the white leaders) were condemning it.

And you sir, are an idiot. Continue with your puffed up personalised posturing.

"You don't like cilantro. Well, why don't we destroy ALL food. According to YOU, that's the only way that we can solve this problem. Do you really think that every Italian with some mixed herbs is going to come in your house and steal your cutlery."

Idiot.
posted by seanyboy at 8:52 AM on April 21, 2007


Sepia portrait, uh, busts a move? And while we're on the feminine, lets not forget the masculine applications of HH poesy:

"Here, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg decide the best way to voice their displeasure with Eazy-E is to rap about sexually assaulting him. In fact, the song contains countless lines that would be at home at a prison rape orgy (we've been to many of these), including "It's time for the doctor to check your ass," "Play with my bone, would ya Timmy?" "I'm hollering 187 with my dick in your mouth," "Luke's bending over, so Luke's getting fucked," and, of course, "Eazy-E can eat a big fat dick." That's not even mentioning the above one-two punch of outrage. First, Dr. Dre claims that his dick can fit between Eazy-E's two front teeth, which is both the least impressive brag about dick size in rap history and proof that Dr. Dre has no idea how fellatio is performed. Next, Snoop drops in to serve notice that his nuts are in fact on Eazy's tonsils, which would give Snoop the longest scrotum in recorded history. We're not 100 percent sure why that's supposed to be impressive."
posted by wallstreet1929 at 7:48 PM on April 21, 2007


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