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Shut Em Down?
July 23, 2008 8:11 PM   Subscribe

'We done heard your voice, we saw your marches, we don't want to hear that any more.' Music artist Nas directs pointed criticism toward civil rights stalwart Jesse Jackson and his generation. But he's not alone. Kevin Powell is running for congress and shares the sentiment.

At Nas' age, Jesse Jackson was marching in support of the Hawkins-Humphrey Bill for full employment. After saying "I got this", Nas has gotten onboard with a petition against a television channel to go along with his song. "It's a new day, it's a new voice," Nas says, citing Obama and members of the Hip Hop Community and the purported power of a new generation of folks to bring about positive change.
posted by cashman (87 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
"pointed criticism?" nas' 'message' is nothing more than a 'yo yo yo nas is in da house' kind of self-promotion.

powell's voice is infinitely more credible.

and i'll tell you the 'positive change' i'll be excited to see: when black (religious, often) leaders transcend their rampant, vicious homophobia. it NEVER ceases to amaze me when a group of people who have been persecuted elect to persecute others. it's disgusting, and it's all over the place among the highest level black activists.
posted by CitizenD at 8:42 PM on July 23, 2008 [11 favorites]


His impressive display of gold is most compelling.
posted by 2sheets at 8:48 PM on July 23, 2008


Today's advocates for "change" are tomorrows fat line toers.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:53 PM on July 23, 2008


I think there is something to be said about the fact that african american political leaders in this country have been deeply entrenched in the political power structure for a very long time. That kind of entrenchment tends to lead a politician of any race toward a sense of entitlement for themselves and their cronies -- and their kids.

I agree with Kevin Powell's assessment that Jesse Jackson's hate-on for Obama stems more from the fact that Obama is younger and didn't "pay his dues" in the existing african-american political establishment. And I'm fairly sure that that reflects very positively on the popularity of Obama because he's not considered to be beholden to that establishment -- and therefore his candidacy (unlike Jackson's several runs) is not seen to be running on "black" issues.

The downside of what has become of the 1960s civil rights movement is that, like many ideological crusades, it achieved amazingly good things but once its group of political leaders got a taste of power -- not only that, but entrenched, secure power -- it eventually started to consume itself from within and fall to schism after schism; why Jesse Jackson wants to cut Obama's nuts off is a signifier of just that sort of schism. Obama didn't pay his dues and genuflect before the proper powers-that-be and he has been less popular than one would expect in the african-american political establishment because of it.
posted by chimaera at 8:53 PM on July 23, 2008 [8 favorites]


Or what Burhanistan said much more succinctly.
posted by chimaera at 8:55 PM on July 23, 2008


While I can understand Nas' reaction to the increasingly embarrassing gaffes and arrogance of Jesse Jackson, I'd sure hope that Nas can get a wee more articulate about his concerns. I mean, did you listen to that spiel of his? "I'm here now! We don't need Jesse, I'm here, I got this..." Huh? Last time I looked, Nas was rockin' the mic, not engaged in policy debates and decisions, not involved in government or NGO policy... So, we don't need Jesse and the old guard cause now you're bustin' some rhymes for us, Nas? No thanks. That hip hop site might've felt that his dull rumblings were worthy of more notice and publicity, but it's just embarrassing, really, just as embarrassing as Jackson's off-mic whispers...

Thanks for balancing things out, though, with the Powell links.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:55 PM on July 23, 2008


Embarrassing is exactly the right word.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:10 PM on July 23, 2008


Ok, I'm a BIIIG Nas fan.. First of all the comments where you guys are perceiving him as a "yo yo yo nas is in da house" and a bling bling flashing rapper is misinformed and quite offensive to people that are in the hip hop community.

Now to get a sense of the background of the story with Nas and Jesse Jackson (and Al Sharpton) is that Nas' new album was originally to be titled "Nigger". And it was to hit on the political issues of the word. This was announced at a time where racism was hitting big media a lot with Sean Bell shooting, JENA 6, noose around statues of black figures, Obama, Imus, etc.. Immediately, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton denounce it. Nas takes offense because they haven't even heard the album (actually it wasn't even fully recorded yet) and Nas is a true artist. Nas' argument is that would Jackson or Sharpton have said anything Dylan or another respected artist was to create an album with such a title? Nas' album was to be released with a lot to say on it.

He addresses it in his lyrics:
"Nas the only true rebel since the beginning
Still in musical prison, in jail for the flow
Try telling Bob Dylan, Bruce, or Billy Joel
They can't sing what's in their soul"

Chorus to his song: N.I.G.G.E.R.
"They say we N - I - Double G - E - R
We - are - much more,
Still we choose to ignore,
The obvious.
Man this history don't acknowledge us,
We was scholars long before colleges.

They say we N - I - Double G - E - R
We - are - much more,
But still we choose to ignore,
The obvious.
We are the slave and the master,
What you looking for?
You the question and the answer."

And the quote where Nas says 'We done heard your voice, we saw your marches, we don't want to hear that any more.' was in response to Jesse's comments about Obama on Fox "News".

Nas is a true poet and please treat the man with some more respect than lumping him with some of the other shucking and jiving rappers. He's provocative and sometimes controversial but he's not a simple mind.
posted by pez_LPhiE at 9:14 PM on July 23, 2008 [14 favorites]


Kevin Powell: politician, poet, The Real World: New York (First season - 1992!) cast member, and right on with regards to the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
posted by unmake at 9:19 PM on July 23, 2008


For some reason the bar is much lower for rappers.
posted by plexi at 9:20 PM on July 23, 2008


I love Nas, but Krs-One is the go to guy. Q-Tip is really really smart, but he started sayin the N word at the end of his career. Krs-One and Chuck D. I wished I lived in NYC so I could vote for Mr. Powell.
posted by Flex1970 at 9:24 PM on July 23, 2008


Nas was great on the Colbert Report tonight.
posted by null terminated at 9:25 PM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wait, Jesse Jackson said he wanted to cut off Obama's nuts? On Fox News? What?
posted by boo_radley at 9:44 PM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I would love it if more political debates involved rap war-style chest beating. That's what was missing from the Bush/Kerry debates.

Bush: This is why I'm hot, this is why I'm hot. I'm hot cause I'm fly. You ain't cause you not.

Kerry: I am, whatever you say I am/If I wasn't, then why would I say I am?/In the paper, the news, every day I am/I don't know, it's just the way I am.

Bush: I'm a pimp in every sense of the word, bitch!
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:54 PM on July 23, 2008


Nas' argument is that would Jackson or Sharpton have said anything Dylan or another respected artist was to create an album with such a title?

Uh, yeah. Yeah. I reckon if Dylan or any other "respected artist" had released a record called "Nigger", then Jackson and Sharpton and many, many others would've had quite a bit to say about that. Yup, I reckon so.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:10 PM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


For some reason the bar is much lower for rappers.

Wow plexi, you're really on a roll spouting racist innuendo today.
posted by delmoi at 10:12 PM on July 23, 2008


Huh, I wonder what they had to say about Dick Gregory's autobiography of the same name.
posted by jtron at 10:14 PM on July 23, 2008


Wait, Jesse Jackson said he wanted to cut off Obama's nuts? On Fox News? What?

He was whispering to a friend while off the air.
posted by delmoi at 10:17 PM on July 23, 2008


For some reason the bar is much lower for rappers.

How is this statement racist innuendo?
posted by Daddy-O at 10:19 PM on July 23, 2008


Oops! Caught you smiling!
posted by longsleeves at 10:39 PM on July 23, 2008


necessary soundtrack for this thread
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:58 PM on July 23, 2008


I like Nas's attack on Fox news better. More like this, please, there are bigger targets than Jesse.
posted by madamjujujive at 12:07 AM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can't imagine why Jackson would be irate about Obama's Father's Day Speech.
posted by benzenedream at 12:18 AM on July 24, 2008


is misinformed and quite offensive to people that are in the hip hop community.

Heh. I wonder if my occasional ripping on Bruce Springsteen is offensive to people in the Adult Oriented Rock community?

pez_LPhiE, I dig Nas too, but if you thought that his statement in that clip was anything more than inarticulate bluster, you're dead wrong. Pointing that out is *not* offensive. It's just accurate.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:55 AM on July 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Nas just made you look. You're all a slave to a page in his rhyme book.
posted by basicchannel at 1:06 AM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wait, Jesse Jackson said he wanted to cut off Obama's nuts? On Fox News? What?

Single greatest media moment this year. I almost registered a domain name.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:49 AM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


nas' 'message' is nothing more than a 'yo yo yo nas is in da house' kind of self-promotion.

Seriously? What makes you say that? I'll agree that his linked message wasn't the best statement I've seen from him, but it's definitely a step above "yo yo yo nas is in da house."
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:50 AM on July 24, 2008


I'll add that I was skeptical of him until I saw him on the Colbert Report tonight.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:53 AM on July 24, 2008


Nas isn't very well spoken for a black person.
posted by srboisvert at 2:08 AM on July 24, 2008


Yes, I know I'm older than dirt... That said, I do NOT believe that rap is going to unite this country in a movement to bring equality to all races. It is divisive, it only furthers and reinforces the embedded racism so common in white America.

Nas didn't draw me in, he pushed me away. But, I will admit, no more or less than Jesse Jackson did with his comment.
posted by HuronBob at 2:56 AM on July 24, 2008


Where is OJ now that we need him?
posted by Postroad at 3:43 AM on July 24, 2008


quite offensive to people that are in the hip hop community.

Should I laugh, or should I cry?
Can someone explain
to this old white guy?

Tell me troll
what's your goal?
Hip Hop 'community'
ain't got no soul.

So you rap and so you sing
for your trashy tacky bling.
Big fucking deal
It's nothing real
Just cash for your corporate masters.
posted by Goofyy at 4:02 AM on July 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh good this is going to go very well.
posted by spicynuts at 4:57 AM on July 24, 2008


Nas delivers petitions with colorofchange.org.

Nas on Colbert.
posted by cashman at 5:32 AM on July 24, 2008


Nas on Colbert last night: http://www.comedycentral.com/colbertreport/videos.jhtml?episodeId=176907

I said it was offensive because one of the very first comments was 'yo yo yo whatever' which indicates to me that not only is this person ignorant of hip hop music but the commentator's automatic response shows that he/she thinks rappers/hip hop is dumb.

In any case, you're right Nas is usually pretty BAD in interviews. I follow him and his fans regularly complain about that.

Jesse Jackson has done a lot of America's race relations and Nas had acknowledged that in interviews but he's not in touch with the youth and that's what Nas is saying that the voice of the youth particularly urban youth is not expressed by Jesse Jackson anymore. He no longer represents their views anymore. Nas' views is more in touch with what's really going on.

Excerpt from a recent Nas interview:
AllHipHop.com: There has been some back and forth on what the real title of your album is, so just to officially clear that up…what is the title of your new album?

Nas: There is a title; it's called Untitled.


“Too many people took [the title] the wrong way. I think Al Sharpton; he didn't realize when he had lost. He lost when my record company stood with me. Jesse Jackson even had to change his tone when he saw that brilliant Black artists and White artists stood with me and understand what I'm talking about, even before they heard one song.”

...
"They know what I'm going to say before I say it, because they know what I'm talking about. So I feel like we beat them, we made them understand that we are apart of them. Where a lot of elders look down on the Hip-Hop generation and disassociate themselves and cut themselves off the younger generation, which to Black people seems insane. How could you stand for them to look down on me because my music reflects the lifestyle on the corner? That makes you look like you're out of touch, so that was my message."

source
posted by pez_LPhiE at 5:41 AM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks for those links, cashman.

Anyone taking on Fox is doing something right. But it is too bad Nas can't show a little more respect to Civil Rights era trailblazer Jackson, even if he has become a bit of an embarrassment.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:43 AM on July 24, 2008


From fpp: Nas has gotten onboard with a petition against a television channel.

Why obfuscate the network as just a television channel? Why not just say Fox.

comment reposted for emphasis:

I like Nas's attack on Fox news better. More like this, please, there are bigger targets than Jesse.
posted by madamjujujive at 3:07 AM on July 24 [+] [!]


Fox "news'" management are much more worthy of dying of a painful cancer death than a lowly press secretary.
posted by xorry at 6:04 AM on July 24, 2008


But it is too bad Nas can't show a little more respect to Civil Rights era trailblazer Jackson, even if he has become a bit of an embarrassment.

Well, that's the thing. Right now, every sane person in the US wants Obama (as opposed to McCain) in the White House. Anyone who looks like he might fuck that up, even if he's lovable ol' Jesse, needs to be pushed aside or locked in a closet until after the election. Then Nas can cuddle up to Jesse and say he's sorry.

But shame on Jesse for being so sloppy. He should have kept his mouth shut, especially when he knew the Republican propaganda team (Fox, of course) was on the premises.
posted by pracowity at 6:43 AM on July 24, 2008


He should have kept his mouth shut

Agreed, absolutely.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:46 AM on July 24, 2008


BTW, that comment upthread from chimaera was the perfect meeting of hammer to nail on head.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:53 AM on July 24, 2008


Right now, every sane person in the US wants Obama (as opposed to McCain) in the White House.

Really? You sure about that?

I for one, don't care for far left/right politicians. I'll take a moderate any day over ultra liberal or ultra conservative. Politicians out on the fringe never serve the countries best interests.

I hope Mccain picks Lieberman as his VP candidate too.
posted by a3matrix at 7:11 AM on July 24, 2008


Dear a3matrtix---Joe is NOT interested in being VP. He has said that. He would not help McCain if he were nominated. Joe wants to be appointed to the Supreme Court because he can never get elected in Connecticut ever ever again.

As for Jesse versus Nas, who am I turn to for my white leadership? Cheney, Pelosi, Billy Joel, Emminem, Keith Olberman, or Katie Curic? It is important that I know who is to lead me.
posted by Postroad at 7:18 AM on July 24, 2008


I would love it if more political debates involved rap war-style chest beating. That's what was missing from the Bush/Kerry debates.

As far back as 2000, I was saying I'd vote for Bush with a smile on my face if he'd opened a debate with, "Vice President Gore, WELCOME TO THE TERRORDOME!"
posted by COBRA! at 7:19 AM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I for one, don't care for far left/right politicians. I'll take a moderate any day over ultra liberal or ultra conservative. Politicians out on the fringe never serve the countries best interests.

Not to turn this into an election thread, but are you saying Obama is a far left, ultra liberal, on the fringe politician? Or am I reading you wrong?
posted by inigo2 at 7:21 AM on July 24, 2008


it NEVER ceases to amaze me when a group of people who have been persecuted elect to persecute others

You should cease being amazed, it's totally normal human behavior. No one likes being at the bottom of the pecking order.
posted by the bricabrac man at 8:10 AM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


That said, I do NOT believe that rap is going to unite this country in a movement to bring equality to all races. It is divisive, it only furthers and reinforces the embedded racism so common in white America.

Not to single out HuronBob, who I think quite highly of, or anyone in particular, but things like what's been said in this thread drive me up the wall. One of the things I hate most about metafilter, or maybe just like least, is the reception hip hop tends to get, here. There are a hell of a lot of mefites here who love hip hop, in all its flavors, and can defend it admirably, but the fact is that most of us are too busy listening to it to bother. So this one time, I'll take a small moment to say something.

This statement is akin to me saying "All rock music is about big guitars and screaming. It's all about worshipping the devil and doing drugs and I think it's poisoning our youth." This statement basically holds up a big sign saying "I don't know what I'm talking about but for some reason I'm still saying shit." There is no denying that there is divisive, stereotype reinforcing rap out there, especially in mainstream radio hip hop. That cash money style hip hop is absolutely complicit in the crippling debt problem among the urban poor in this country is undeniable to my mind. of course, it could be easily deniable to someone else's. That mainstream hip hop has shrugged off its opportunity to lift up its audience in favor of encouraging a lifestyle which binds them to rich, white corporate officers is (again, to my mind) a flat fact. But that is not all hip hop.

The fact is that hip hop took the record industry completely by surprise, which is why Chuck D, KRS1, and so many other independent minds were able to make their mark in its nascence. But the record industry caught on quickly, and the fact is that they've pushed a style of hip hop onto the culture that promotes debt, consumerism and irresponsibility because they know that it leads to unwise car purchases, jewelry, champagne, etc... and all with credit cards they can't afford to pay off and whose interest and fines will haunt them and their children for generations.

But hip hop's roots still exist, the influence of Public Enemy, The Ultramagnetic MCs, Tribe Called Quest and others continues to this day to give us incredible rappers with better things to say. It's not my job to give you the "underground hip hop primer" but I recall love for Aesop Rock coming out around here on occasion, Aceyalone, Del Tha Funky Homosapien, even Art house anticon dudes like jel and doseone.

What you find divisive is not hip hop. You find corporate rap divisive. That's what's racist.

This is why it drives me crazy whenever hip hop gets mentioned around here. It's like a pheromone for ignorant nursemaids gets sprayed all over the thread, and people come out in droves to tell everyone why they hate that jungle noise. If metafilter were a town, and Nas held a concert there, There'd be 15 people in the seats and 70k+ protesting outside the gig with signs saying "Stop the racism and violence!" "No bling here!" "Gangsta Rap is poisoning our youth!" Meanwhile everyone inside is wondering who the fuck you're protesting.
posted by shmegegge at 8:52 AM on July 24, 2008 [14 favorites]


I mean, really, what we're talking about is the fact that Jesse Jackson said he wanted to cut Obama's nuts off, and Nas told him to fuck off, and people have a problem with Nas?! I swear to god, sometimes it seems like some people here will side with whoever speaks least like a poor black kid, no matter what.
posted by shmegegge at 8:55 AM on July 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Right now, every sane person in the US wants Obama (as opposed to McCain) in the White House.

You either live in a city, or you don't get out much.

Obama/McCain are practically tied in Florida and Ohio. Obama leads in Penn, but all it'd take is a McCain upset there to put him in the presidency.

Any other year, I think, Obama wouldn't have a fighting prayer. He's changed positions on Iraq, FISA and others but the anti-bush crowd is so pissed off they could care less. We're a just right-of-center country and he's rather far left.

That being said.. I've made up my mind. I'm voting for T. Boone Pickens ;)

Oh, and, Nas is right. He's here now.
posted by rulethirty at 9:03 AM on July 24, 2008


and people have a problem with Nas?!

I like Nas. To this and the "this is pointed criticism?" discussion - I just don't recall a prominent artist or person being this specific in telling the old black guard to sit down. It's pretty bold, in my opinion, considering Nas has a long, long way to go before he even gets close to Jesse Jackson status as far as making actual change.

Jesse Jackson was meeting with Castro probably before Nas was even born. I have a feeling that this whole petition thing will be the IBWC in short order. Which is to say, nowhere, having zero effect.

He or anybody telling the old folks to step had better get some actual accomplishments in their back pockets before getting too haughty.
posted by cashman at 9:39 AM on July 24, 2008


rulethirty: this Left, I do not think it means quite what you think it means. Also Reality disagrees with you about Florida and Pennsylvania.
posted by Freen at 9:41 AM on July 24, 2008


I think the important thing to ask ourselves is WWJD?

what would Jeezy do?
posted by davejay at 9:47 AM on July 24, 2008


schmegge: I mean, really, what we're talking about is the fact that Jesse Jackson said he wanted to cut Obama's nuts off, and Nas told him to fuck off, and people have a problem with Nas?! I swear to god, sometimes it seems like some people here will side with whoever speaks least like a poor black kid, no matter what.

not speaking for anyone else:

having made the first comment, and perhaps having then helped set the tone for this thread, i'll just point out that my comment responded to the OP's suggestion that the nas clip s/he linked to was "pointed criticism" of jackson and other first-wave civil rights leaders.

the clip included in the FPP is, to me, full of inarticulate, pompous self-aggrandizement. all nas does is 'call a nigger out' and remind his listeners that he's going to save us all.

i've never heard of nas before this post. i'm not a fan of hip hop. counter to your earlier comment, i didn't just listen to 'corporate rap' in the process of developing my distaste. i have several friends who are old-school hip hop fans, and i've specifically asked them, over the years, to introduce me to hip hop which is outside the mainstream.

i'm sure it exists somewhere -- i'm not saying that i've heard every note of every hip hop that has ever been produced -- but i have not found *any* hip hop music pleasurable in the slightest. if it's not the racism, misogyny, homophobia, it's the materialism and utter lack of humility. it's not my cup of tea.

i love how your comment rails against those who say they don't like hip hop for making blanket statements ("it's like my saying that all rock and roll music is X...") -- and then here you are, making a blanket statement that those of us who find hip hop to be offensive haven't *really* listented to hip hop, just "commercial rap." your blanket statement is just as wrong as any other blanket statement.


bricabrac man: You should cease being amazed, it's totally normal human behavior. No one likes being at the bottom of the pecking order.

your point is well taken, but again i want to point out that i made my statement in response to the OP's phrasing. if we're looking for "positive change," then i'm going to set my bar higher than black people not calling each other "nigga." REAL positive change would, IMO, be represented by black (usually religious) leaders of the civil rights movement putting aside their personal distaste for homosexuality and embracing members of the GLBT community as fellow sufferers of prejudice. to me, seeing a black religious leader spouting hateful comments against gays isn't just "normal human behavior," it's a tremendous lost opportunity for connection and "positive change."
posted by CitizenD at 9:56 AM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


the clip included in the FPP is, to me, full of inarticulate, pompous self-aggrandizement. all nas does is 'call a nigger out' and remind his listeners that he's going to save us all.

sure it is. in this case it's not the same thing as a "yo yo yo, nas is in da house" style statement, though. Nas's greatest flaw is probably his ego. He often calls himself God's Son, and there are people who've said that he really considers himself divine. (I have no idea how well those people know him. My recollection of the statement, in fact, is poor.) Nas genuinely seems to believe that he will save black people, that he's destined to do so. His ego is virtually limitless, but it's not the typical "yo yo yo" anything. He's delusional, maybe, but he's not just another self-aggrandizing rapper. But of course you wouldn't know this since...

i've never heard of nas before this post.

no shit. see the part of my post above where people form their opinions in a state of ignorance. your comment wasn't even all that bothersome to me, but since you've brought it up, yes you were speaking ignorantly and made a foolish statement.

counter to your earlier comment, i didn't just listen to 'corporate rap' in the process of developing my distaste. i have several friends who are old-school hip hop fans, and i've specifically asked them, over the years, to introduce me to hip hop which is outside the mainstream.

did I say something about what you listen to? I can't find it.

i have several friends who are old-school hip hop fans, and i've specifically asked them, over the years, to introduce me to hip hop which is outside the mainstream.

i'm sure it exists somewhere -- i'm not saying that i've heard every note of every hip hop that has ever been produced -- but i have not found *any* hip hop music pleasurable in the slightest. if it's not the racism, misogyny, homophobia, it's the materialism and utter lack of humility. it's not my cup of tea.


sweet. enjoy the music you do like, with my blessing if that's what you're looking for.

i love how your comment rails against those who say they don't like hip hop for making blanket statements ("it's like my saying that all rock and roll music is X...") -- and then here you are, making a blanket statement that those of us who find hip hop to be offensive haven't *really* listented to hip hop, just "commercial rap." your blanket statement is just as wrong as any other blanket statement.

what blanket statement? I said hip hop isn't received that well on metafilter. it's not. that's not a blanket statement, it's just an observation of a trend. I said that hip hop related fpps bring rap haters out of the woodwork to talk about how all hip hop is one way or another, and they do. again, it's an observation of a trend. Nowhere did I say that everyone who dislikes hip hop is ignorant of it. I am speaking about people who insist that hip hop is a racist and violent form of music. Are you one of these people? I hadn't thought so. Honestly, what on earth are you talking about?
posted by shmegegge at 10:10 AM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


"i have several friends who are old-school hip hop fans, and i've specifically asked them, over the years, to introduce me to hip hop which is outside the mainstream."

That sounds a lot like the I have black friends argument.. but whatever.. country music is not my cup of tea but acknowledge it is legitimate and has a place.. because a country star expresses a opinion, it wouldn't be right to say that person is just a hick.. but that was the automatic response in the 1st 3 posts..

"i love how your comment rails against those who say they don't like hip hop for making blanket statements ("it's like my saying that all rock and roll music is X...") -- and then here you are, making a blanket statement that those of us who find hip hop to be offensive haven't *really* listented to hip hop, just "commercial rap." your blanket statement is just as wrong as any other blanket statement."

It wasn't a response to people who dislike hip hop.. it was a response to people who generalize what hip hop is.. And that's not a blanket statement. It's very specific to the group thinking that way.
posted by pez_LPhiE at 10:21 AM on July 24, 2008


schmegge, the blanket statement you made was: What you find divisive is not hip hop. You find corporate rap divisive. That's what's racist. so, not only are you making a blanket statement about 'corporate rap' - you're also making a blanket statement about everyone who disagrees with you and finds hip hop music to be distasteful or offensive.

in this case it's not the same thing as a "yo yo yo, nas is in da house" style statement, though.

uh, ok. i'll take your word for it. i guess i'm just not good at translating hiphopspeak. because when nas, in the linked clip above, says "I'm here now! We don't need Jesse, I'm here, I got this..." -- that sounds *a lot* to me like "yo yo yo nas is in da house."

please go back and re-read my original comment. everything i wrote was couched in reference to this FPP.* i didn't make any blanket statements about hip hop, rap, or nas as an artist. i didn't "form my opinion in a state of ignorance" since all i did was comment on the clip the OP included in the FPP.

i think you might need a chill pill.

*with reference to your criticism of this thread. i did include a criticism of black religious leaders who are homophobic and use their bully pulpit to spread hate, but that's nothing to do with the hip hop issue you seem to be so wound up about.
posted by CitizenD at 10:29 AM on July 24, 2008


pez_LPhiE (quoting me) "i have several friends who are old-school hip hop fans, and i've specifically asked them, over the years, to introduce me to hip hop which is outside the mainstream."

pez_LPhie: That sounds a lot like the I have black friends argument.. but whatever.. country music is not my cup of tea but acknowledge it is legitimate and has a place.. because a country star expresses a opinion, it wouldn't be right to say that person is just a hick.. but that was the automatic response in the 1st 3 posts..

wow. i think someone needs a reading comprehension study book.

please re-read my first comment. here, i'll include it here, to make it easy for you.

"pointed criticism?" nas' 'message' is nothing more than a 'yo yo yo nas is in da house' kind of self-promotion.

powell's voice is infinitely more credible.


where, exactly, in this quote do i suggest that rap or hip hop are not "legitimate and have [their] place"? what i did was criticize the nas clip included with this FPP. i concluded, after listening to it, that his comment was indeed NOT "pointed criticism" but, to me, seemed rather like pompous self-aggrandizement.

i then go on to praise powell, because, to me, his message is much more articulate.

and as for the " 'i have black friends' argument" -- i wrote what i wrote in response to schmegge's suggestion that anyone who dislikes hip hop hasn't really heard hip hop, all we've heard is corporate rap. so, while i'm touched that you would go out of your way to imply i'm a racist, perhaps you should shut your pie hole.

you both are working really hard to put words in my mouth, and i call bullshit.


pez_LPhiE: It wasn't a response to people who dislike hip hop.. it was a response to people who generalize what hip hop is.. And that's not a blanket statement. It's very specific to the group thinking that way.

uh....??????? this doesn't even make sense.
posted by CitizenD at 10:41 AM on July 24, 2008


schmegge: I mean, really, what we're talking about is the fact that Jesse Jackson said he wanted to cut Obama's nuts off, and Nas told him to fuck off, and people have a problem with Nas?! I swear to god, sometimes it seems like some people here will side with whoever speaks least like a poor black kid, no matter what.

no, what WE'RE talking about is the response of two black individuals (nas and powell) to jackson's statement, specifically, and the state of things with first-wave civil rights leaders like jackson, broadly.

this thread wasn't framed as a place to discuss jackson's comments. it was framed as a place where we could discuss the OP's various links regarding jackson's comments and the general state of civil rights activism. and that's what we've been doing -- and in the process, several members have offered the opinion that nas' "call out" isn't very articulate criticism.

there have been other threads where people have voiced their opinion about jackson. if that's what you want to do, why don't you go find them?

but, hey...way to be there with those blanket statements that all of us who have criticized nas' comments in the linked clip are "siding with whoever speaks least like a poor black kid." because, you know you're right -- each and every one of us is a balls-out racist. it couldn't just be that we're engaging in the discussion that was promoted by the content of the FPP.


cashman: i'm sorry to contribute to the derail in your thread. but this bullshit that schmegge and pez_LPhie are peddling is frustrating and infuriating. i find, again and again, that criticizing a black person equals racism in many peoples' minds. and i find that simplistic and counter-productive. so, i felt the need to address it when it reared its ugly head in this thread. i'm sorry if this isn't the kind of discussion you were hoping for.
posted by CitizenD at 10:53 AM on July 24, 2008


Freen: Instead of using one poll and wrapping it with an unnecessarily snarky remark, use an aggregate and adjust for margin of error. Realclearpolitics.com is typically the one I use, if only to see 'all' poll results at once.

McCain doesn't need to win the popular, just the electoral. Knowing how awful the DNC is at running campaigns, it's not a good idea to rule him out just yet.
posted by rulethirty at 10:54 AM on July 24, 2008


schmegge, the blanket statement you made was: What you find divisive is not hip hop. You find corporate rap divisive. That's what's racist. so, not only are you making a blanket statement about 'corporate rap' - you're also making a blanket statement about everyone who disagrees with you and finds hip hop music to be distasteful or offensive.

for the record, my name is as it appears at the bottom of my comments, not schmegge. on to things that matter, though:

that is not a blanket statement. I'm saying that the racist, divisive hip hop people like HuronBob associate with hip hop is not all hip hop. It's not hip hop that's racist, it's individual artists and specifically mainstream corporate artists. While there are racists in any sub genre of any genre of music, including underground hip hop, I'm taking it for granted that my audience understands this and is able to parse correctly that I'm referring to the racist/sexist/violent reputation that mainstream corporate hip hop has created. Frankly I'm surprised that you're trying to claim that what you take umbrage at in my statement is that it makes a blanket statement about mainstream radio hip hop.

As far as what it says about people who disagree with me, I don't see how that could be considered a blanket statement. You're going to have to be more clear.

uh, ok. i'll take your word for it. i guess i'm just not good at translating hiphopspeak. because when nas, in the linked clip above, says "I'm here now! We don't need Jesse, I'm here, I got this..." -- that sounds *a lot* to me like "yo yo yo nas is in da house."

I gathered that from your first comments. I'm saying that's a misconception. I don't know what else I can really say about this at this point, since you keep going at it. also, "i guess i'm just not good at translating hiphopspeak?" really? you're not making your case very well, here, and you're just coming off like an old coot who doesn't like the way whippersnappers speak nowadays.

please go back and re-read my original comment.

no, that's okay. it wasn't complex. i got it the first and second times I read it. I appreciate your concern for my reading comprehension, though.

everything i wrote was couched in reference to this FPP.* i didn't make any blanket statements about hip hop, rap, or nas as an artist. i didn't "form my opinion in a state of ignorance" since all i did was comment on the clip the OP included in the FPP.

I never said you did. Maybe you need to go back and re-read my last comment. At this point, I still have no idea why you're getting so outraged about this, since I already told you I wasn't talking about your comment. But hey, if this is cathartic for you, then I'll oblige. yes, you formed your opinion about Nas in a state of ignorance because, as you said, you had never even heard of him before this post. Nonetheless you characterized him in a way that does not represent him specifically because you were not aware of just how he perceives himself. This being undeniably the truth of the matter, do you really want to tell me that your opinion was formed with full knowledge of who Nas was and how he is? Really?

i think you might need a chill pill.

Says the guy who's practically frothing at the mouth over a comment that had nothing to do with him until he started getting all in a tizzy over god-knows-what. as I preview this I notice that you're also going off on pez_LPhiE for no good reason. you, sir, need to take a walk or something.

i did include a criticism of black religious leaders who are homophobic and use their bully pulpit to spread hate, but that's nothing to do with the hip hop issue you seem to be so wound up about.

my point exactly.
posted by shmegegge at 11:02 AM on July 24, 2008


oh my god, you're still going.

i find, again and again, that criticizing a black person equals racism in many peoples' minds. and i find that simplistic and counter-productive.

this has gotten ridiculous. no one has even mentioned racism. you're going off the deep end, here. calm down, find somewhere else to be. smoke a cigarette or something. you're really not doing yourself any favors, right now.
posted by shmegegge at 11:04 AM on July 24, 2008


i'm sure it exists somewhere -- i'm not saying that i've heard every note of every hip hop that has ever been produced -- but i have not found *any* hip hop music pleasurable in the slightest. if it's not the racism, misogyny, homophobia, it's the materialism and utter lack of humility.

So what you're saying is that you haven't tried listening to very much hip-hop after all, yah?
posted by FatherDagon at 2:27 PM on July 24, 2008


We're a just far right-of-center country and he's rather far left only slightly to the right.

FTFY :-)

Of the developed nations, it looks to me like only Australia sits not-too-distant from how right-wing the USA is. I find many positions that are mainstream and unassuming in a lot of countries are considered quite radical and lefty here - and compared to where the US political "centre" is, they are.

This is irrelevant of course, since the election involves only US voters and so the local concept of centrist is the only one that matters, but Obama's positions would not look lefty many other places in the developed world. (Obama himself would still look lefty though - he looks young and idealistic, which normally screams left)
posted by -harlequin- at 3:20 PM on July 24, 2008


rulethirty: Pay attention. That's precisely what pollster.com does, though their timeline regression analysis tends to be much more accurate and informative than just pure averages.
posted by Freen at 3:36 PM on July 24, 2008


Whenever the subject of race and class shows up on Meta, I just want to ask for a refund of my five dollars.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 3:40 PM on July 24, 2008


shmegegge: Tell me you honestly don't like Concrete Schoolyard, and I'll donate $5 to the charity of your choice.
posted by Freen at 3:57 PM on July 24, 2008


country music is not my cup of tea but acknowledge it is legitimate and has a place

Snoop and Willie got just the medicine for you. Or Wyclef and Kenny?

Metafilter *doesn't* deal with hiphop well. That's because most of its audience are middle-aged Gen X rockists who spent their formative years listening to Bruce Springsteen. And I also struggle with the possibility that it stems from the same quasi-bigoted impulse as the whole Disco Sucks phenomenon.

None of that alters the fact that Nas's statement as linked in the FPP was banal, ill-conceived and barely comprehensible. But the clips of him on Colbert were completely awesome, and that should have been the FPP.

Kudos to Cashman both for his links and for the context he provides in this thread.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:25 PM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


"one of the very first comments was 'yo yo yo whatever'"
Because it was true. I saw him on Colbert and thought he was great.
That clip was not great, and he was wearing dooky gold chains.
posted by 2sheets at 4:28 PM on July 24, 2008


shmegegge said:
this has gotten ridiculous. no one has even mentioned racism. you're going off the deep end, here. calm down, find somewhere else to be. smoke a cigarette or something. you're really not doing yourself any favors, right now.
Earlier, he said:
What you find divisive is not hip hop. You find corporate rap divisive. That's what's racist. [Emphasis added.]
What ever would we do if we didn't have shmegegge to give us moral instruction? I don't know, but I'd sure like to find out.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 5:31 PM on July 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'd think middle-age Gen X'ers would be fairly positive towards hip hop. I'm in that class and Public Enemy was as much a part of my formative years as was Sonic Youth or the Pixies. Hatred from that age group would be hard for me to understand since love of PE or Ice-T or Cypress Hill, etc., was terribly common amongst my lily white hipster peers.

Of course maybe they grew up, got the kids and mortgage, and suddenly this music was now terrifying to them.
posted by pandaharma at 5:37 PM on July 24, 2008


oh shit, crabby. you've clearly been doing your homework! here's a new assignment for you:

what, precisely, was citizend referring to when he brought up racism? here, I'll quote it for you.

i find, again and again, that criticizing a black person equals racism in many peoples' minds.

so, bearing in mind that that's the quote I responded to, that I even quoted in my comment, what do you imagine I meant when I said that no one has brought up racism?

hint: I meant that no one has accused anyone in this thread of racism for criticising either jackson or nas. but hey, I admire your gumption.

shmegegge: Tell me you honestly don't like Concrete Schoolyard, and I'll donate $5 to the charity of your choice.

they can have my J5 records when they pry them from my cold dead hands.
posted by shmegegge at 6:08 PM on July 24, 2008


just to be clear, because I want to know if that's what all this nonsense is about:

do you guys think I'm saying that it's racist for a mefite to find corporate rap divisive? as in "you think coroproate rap is divisivee? you're a racist!" if that's the case, let me state now as clearly as possible that that was simply not what I was saying. I was saying that corporate rap itself is racist. If you think the former is what I was saying, I don't even know how that would begin to fit in with the rest of my first comment.
posted by shmegegge at 6:14 PM on July 24, 2008


I watched the Colbert clips (most of the Colbert newsy one, all of the Nas interview) and I'm not really seeing anything that makes me think Nas has a leg to stand on. Incredible lyricist. Check. Ridiculous, hall of fame flow. Check. The ability to identify and attack a power structure. Um....Jury's still out?

Now if it was Jay Smooth (who is the guy in the "a new voice" link, and also appears in Nas's Sly Fox video), then I'd say aww shit, watch out. Paris? Immortal Technique? Krs? Boots? Nas needs to enlist some more folks before even thinking about making the statements he did. He cited David Banner and Jeezy and while I recall some of the described subversive elements Banner said he works into his music, though nothing notable about Jeezy replacing Jackson, I don't see how he could even seriously have thought that he could propose those figures could replace Jesse Jackson's...toe.

He's pointed in the right direction, but he hasn't done a thing yet. I hope he does, he just hasn't yet. Petitions? Pretty funny. It's a start I guess. Perhaps things are on the horizon using the collection of folks that happened as a result of this. But I sort of feel like Nas is like Newton at the moment. He's found some pretty shells and pebbles to look at. Meanwhile the Ocean of truth is out there with an incredible depth and systems he's not even aware of, laying before him.
posted by cashman at 7:17 PM on July 24, 2008


I was saying that corporate rap itself is racist.

I thought that was pretty clear from your comments.

That said, while I've never levelled the accusation, I've seen remarks about hip-hop on Metafilter in the past that I felt may have been indicative of racism. Of course, matters of taste are always too ambiguous to warrant a call out, but I've often felt that there was often a not-so-subtle bigotry towards young black men on display.

I'm not really seeing anything that makes me think Nas has a leg to stand on.

The Colbert piece doesn't make his Jackson attack any the less lame or incomprehensible, but it is the beginning of a piece of real, meaningful, socially responsible collective action from someone working in the industry, and I think that's important and worth commending. It also demonstrates, to anyone who was in doubt, that Nas is more than just a lame, 'Yo, yo, yo, my niggaz, Nas is in da house' dullard.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:17 PM on July 24, 2008


True. I probably just got distracted when he kept appearing to be unfamiliar with Colbert's formidable Schtick. It's definitely noteworthy. I just feel like if he's going to talk that smack, a year from now he'd better still be doing noteworthy stuff.

I guess I feel like he has something going, but it's not the same feeling of collective force that seems to follow people on a mission.

But really more than anything, it was just jarring for me to see what seems like a pretty transparent generational split/changing of the guard. The "we saw your marches" type phrasing they both used is pretty strong.

While on the one hand it's welcome, since protest strategies that are outdated really need revamping, and you could feel the "you are no longer relevant" fire coming for the naacp from a whole hemisphere away like Boss, it's still bordering on disturbing the disdain with which the comments were uttered.

Those marches, those voices - that took incredible courage. At the same time I agree with Tommy Davidson's comedy routine here (3:23-4:30). It's time for new ways, new voices. But it could really have been said in a more respectable way, and since we know you're never ignorant, how about getting some goals accomplished first, before you start acting like you're ballin out of control.
posted by cashman at 8:43 PM on July 24, 2008


shmegegge (i apologize for spelling your name wrong earlier):

i for one was offended by *your* racist comments, including:

It's like a pheromone for ignorant nursemaids gets sprayed all over the thread, and people come out in droves to tell everyone why they hate that jungle noise. (this is you describing what happens when hip hop is brought up on mefi.)

I swear to god, sometimes it seems like some people here will side with whoever speaks least like a poor black kid, no matter what. (this is you apparantly taking issue with people in this thread finding powell's criticism of jackson more articulate than nas')


You said: Nowhere did I say that everyone who dislikes hip hop is ignorant of it. I am speaking about people who insist that hip hop is a racist and violent form of music

But then you also said: What you* find divisive is not hip hop. You* find corporate rap divisive. That's what's racist. i'll note here that the "you" here is not directed specifically at me, but at all mefites who have ever criticized hip hop as racist.

are you able to recognize the contradiction between these two statements? are you able to see how insulting you're being? how in one statement, you're (supposedly) not generalizing that those of us who dislike hip hop are ignorant of it, but in the second statement that's exactly what you've said -- that we are ignorant of 'true' hip hop, and that the hip hop we think we've been listening to is what you describe as 'corporate rap'? these statements, combined with the racism of other of your statements, are why i responded so vehemently to you.

you go on and on about how i am coming from a place of ignorance because i am unaware of how nas perceives himself, how i'm ignorant of "who nas was and how he is". but, AGAIN, if you'll look closely at what i wrote, you'll see that i didn't characterize him at all. i characterized his statements as included on the "pointed criticism" link in the OP. what you're trying to suggest is that, because i'm not as well-versed in hip hop as some, my opinions or thoughts on this topic are meaningless. no -- not meaningless...to use your words, they're ignorant, ridiculous, foolish. well, i disagree with you. i don't believe i need to have a PhD in nas to share my opinions about comments he made which were linked in the OP.

i understand that you think that not all hip hop is racist. i really do.

but some of us disagree with you. some of us -- even those who have spent concerted effort trying to experience and understand rap and hip hop from many different angles -- conclude that rap or hip hop are not to our liking. you seem to have some distorted ideas about those who disagree with you -- including that we're too stupid to understand (or too stupid, specifically, to see nas as the poet he is), too old/fuddy-duddy/whatever, or are racists ourselves because we stand by our own experience of rap and/or hip hop as being offensive or distasteful (see first two statements in this comment). and you have no compunction whatsoever with insulting those who disagree with you.

this thread didn't start out as a bash-session about hip hop. in fact, it was going along quite nicely, until you decided to post your off-topic rant about hip hop and mefi. and then, when i tried to a)call you out on your inconsistencies/hypocrisy and b)direct the thread back to the issue at hand, you repeatedly insulted me. and, to boot, refused to address the issues i raised in your rant.

i know none of this matters to you, since it's being filtered through my 'hysterical' lens. but if you'd shed a few pounds of your righteous indignation, you'd see that you're incorrect in a number of your assertions.
posted by CitizenD at 9:02 PM on July 24, 2008


I really have no desire to interrupt the back and forth shit-a-thon, but this:

conclude that rap or hip hop are not to our liking. [the entire idea of hip hop itself, apparently, is the way you have stated this here.]

That's like saying "I conclude English is not to my liking because I think people say Damn too much and talk about money and women a lot of the time when they speak it."

It's silly. Okay here, look at this. It's One Man Army's verse off of "Lyrictricity", a song devoted to electrical metaphors. In his single verse, he works in a ton of them, while throwing in battle metaphors, inserting other artists (what he does with BeBe and CeCe Winan's names is just ridiculous), and using homophones to add dope layers of depth. And I haven't even gotten to the best part, which is him rapping - vocalizing - a current flowing through his lyrics. By the time he gets to the last word, the current he is rapping through, the one he devised for the song, interrupts him saying "Lyrical Originality". So it's simultaneously him saying it, and a proof of concept at the same time.
"Check out the high voltage, I got the ac-dc, to shock emcees and leave 'em whinin like CeCe, so Be Be, on the look out, I'm live-wired. You can't handle me - Gzz Gzz - I start fires. Crossin my path, don't make me laugh it aint worth it, call the nurses - all my verses blowin' all your circuits.

Peep the current, cause what I bring to the mic is like...Benjamin Franklin with a string and a kite. Electrocute emcees who battle weak- wait awhile. My flow is like death row- have a seat. Every sentence executed every time I said a verse, my frequencies hit your measurements where it megahertz.

Even with rubber gloves you still couldn't touch it. Make sure you're grounded when I bzz bzz bust it. Tupac ain't really dead, I took the headphones off my ear, put 'em on his chest and told the room to stand clear.

This is how I operate! You don't know the half - I'm half-freestyle innovator, half power generator. Got a short fuse when it comes to whack emcees I smack the taste out their mouth, like a nine-volt battery. I strike with a thunderbolt's accuracy. Zig, zag, zig through the crowd and hit the tallest kid in the back of me.

Electromagnetic - draw the crowd with my polarity. And lyrical ori-zig-zig-ginality.
That's without even talking about his flow from word to word, delivery, and the beat. If you can't appreciate the incredible artistry here, there's something you're lacking in terms of music appreciation, not those of us who do.

to shock emcees and leave 'em whinin like CeCe, so Be Be, on the look out

Catch that? Winan? BeBe?

Every sentence executed every time I said a verse

Extending the metaphor, he's rhyming three things at once here. Every time he says a sentence, it's like cutting off another artist's career, because he's that confident in his abilities. Secondly, it's referencing the aforementioned current, and its presumed ability to be at electric-chair levels. Thirdly, he's simply saying he's rhyming - he says a verse, he says multiple sentences within that verse.

Tupac ain't really dead, I took the headphones off my ear, put 'em on his chest and told the room to stand clear.

Do you know who Tupac is? Just the mental imagery here is fantastic. Tupac was a beloved figure to many of us (who liked him before everybody jumped on the bandwagon after he died - ugh). So he's taking off his headphones and using them like defibrillator paddles. He's got the previously referenced current to provide the electricity, meanwhile what's in headphones - obviously the music he's listening to. So he's bringing back this beloved figure with his conceived current, dope music, and the instruments of a musical artist, and he even works in the "clear!" medical terminology.

That is just incre--- you don't hear me. This is just one example from a virtually unknown artist. Did you not see the el-p post? Sure, nobody has to like anything they don't want to, but honestly, if that demonstrated artistry isn't enough for you, then the world is not enough, and maybe you can hold all genres to that standard and essentially stop listening to music altogether.

Of course I'd rather you consider that maybe the continuum of rap artists you and your friends explored was decidedly unsatisfactory for the judgment you subsequently rendered, but I'm just flabbergasted at seeing someone write off the genre like it was 1986 again.

And since this is how I feel right now, I'll leave you with a clip from Em.

"And when I'm down to my last breath? I'ma climb the Empire State Building and get to the last step. ...And still have half left."

There's a whole, fantastic world of incredible poetry out there, and you're writing it off. I suggest to you that whatever sample you used to make your decision was woefully inadequate. Like throwing away the internet because you can't stand yahoo, fark, digg and reddit.
posted by cashman at 10:11 PM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


wow. i *really* don't get this. why is it such a problem for me to state that i don't particularly enjoy hip hop?

cashman, i appreciate the example you gave. i appreciate your enthusiasm for this example and the genre of music from which it comes. however, i don't need you to explain it to me like i'm a 5 year old. i don't particularly need your dripping sarcasm or arrogance, either. yes, i know who tupac is/was. yes, i "get" the bebe and cece wynans (sp?) rhyme. clever. but, musically, it isn't the kind of thing that moves me.

why is that such a problem? i'm not saying 'your favorite band sucks.' i'm not saying that the genre is worthless. i'm just saying that, after considered, long-term exposure to both major artists and 'underground phenoms' (in the words of one of my friends who has shared his extensive hip hop collection with me), it's not what i'm searching for in music.

your post just echos what i had to say to shmegegge: it's just plain insulting to suggest that i have formed my opinion prematurely, ill-advisedly or foolishly. what dog do you have in this fight? what is it that made you think it was a good idea to post such an obnoxious comment?

look. i just don't like hip hop as a genre. for a lot of different reasons. are there some hip hop songs which i can appreciate, on some level? sure. although, i'll be dipped if i'm going to say anything further or name any by title or artist, given that no doubt the comments that would come would further insult me and my taste in music.

i feel like i must be writing in flibbertygibberish or something.

if someone came to you and said, "you know, i've had all different kinds of asparagus. i've had the regular green stuff, the white ones, the purple-ish ones; i've tried organic and non-organic; i've tried asparagus from my neighbor's garden as well as from big grocery stores; i've even tried asparagus in different countries and on different continents. and you know what? i really just don't like it."

would you go on and on about how that person's efforts at liking asparagus are "inadequate"? "Silly"? would you tell this person that they're "seriously lacking in [vegetable] appreciation"? would you suggest that person "should just stop [eating vegetables] altogether?"

i seriously hope you wouldn't. because, you know what? it would be rude. it would be pompous and belittling. and unnecessarily insulting. you could just say, "well, i think it's a shame - because i find asparagus to be richly textured and wonderfully varient in flavor. but, to each his own."

no, i didn't see the thread to which you referred in your comment. you know why? because, not being a big fan of hip hop, i didn't find the topic all that interesting and so didn't click on it. isn't that what we're "supposed" to do around here -- stay out of threads which are about topics of little interest to us, so that we can avoid the temptation to comment with 'bad intentions'?

as i've stated in this thread several times, YOUR post wasn't initially about the pros and cons of hip hop as a genre. this entire subtopic is a threadjack initiated by shmegegge. if it hadn't been for the insulting, racist comments by shmegegge and pez_LPhiE directed at people like me, people who -- for whatever reason -- don't like hip hop, i wouldn't have engaged in the discussion here, either.

so, fine. whatever. i'm done with this thread and this topic. i've tried to explain my comments and opinions, and have categorically been met with derision. i don't get it. but, that's life. there are lots of things in life that i don't get.

have fun storming the castle.
posted by CitizenD at 11:21 PM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yo, I'm outta here. Peace.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:02 AM on July 25, 2008


I'm not a big fan of rap music. I still enjoy Run DMC whenever I hear their work, and most other rap music since has paled in my estimation. I've begrudgingly learned to respect Eminem. Though not my cup of tea, I can see there's an artist hidden in all that subterfuge. Will Smith made rap pop, which I find simultaneously makes me smile and gag. Beastie Boys are very touch and go with me. Most other rappers, I can't even remember their names.

NAS' Sly Fox piece is worthy of merit, and I wish I coulda added to the number on that petition. Didn't know his name before tonight, but now he's got my attention. Whether or not he'll keep it, remains to be seen.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:30 AM on July 25, 2008


As for Fox Network being a propaganda machine and not a news source, I personally responded to that truth by tuning it out years ago.

That's my vote. I don't encourage its behavior. I don't watch Fox News. Those who do, do so because it tells them what they want to hear, but Fox doesn't speak to me and it doesn't speak for me.

I hate it when a news network gets press. A news network is supposed to report the news, not become it.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:35 AM on July 25, 2008


I don't watch Fox News.

Hey I don't either. Who in their right mind would? Unfortunately, while "tuning it out" is a good way to not let it bother you personally, the fact that there are people trying to call them on their bullshit, and publicize the fact that lots of people aren't falling for it, seems like a good thing to me. A reasonably worthwhile endeavor. But the nature of this and so many of your comments, ZachsMind, is that you seem to indicate that your view on the matter, your personal way of dealing with it, is the superior one. Why would anyone do it differently than me? Nothing wrong with being opinionated, mind you, but you seem so sure that your world view is somehow so much clearer than everyone else's. I guess it must be good to be that sure of yourself. Anyway...

while I wouldn't recommend watching Fox news, watching (or, preferably, reading) some news might be a good idea. You might've known, for example, that Chairman Mao has been dead for a long time.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:13 AM on July 25, 2008


Fair enough, CitizenD. Walk on.
posted by cashman at 5:01 AM on July 25, 2008


CitizenD, I think you've lost your grip. None of the comments you've quoted are racist. flat out. you're just wrong.

I mean, listen to yourself:

this is you apparantly taking issue with people in this thread finding powell's criticism of jackson more articulate than nas')

are you for real? you've got to be joking. I was taking issue with people in this thread taking the opportunity to criticize Nas for "bling" they imagine he has simply because of the way he speaks. I have said time and again in this thread I wasn't talking about your comment. You're just being dense at this point.

i'll note here that the "you" here is not directed specifically at me, but at all mefites who have ever criticized hip hop as racist.

again, this is not what I said. I was talking to people who had commented in this thread who believe that all hip hop is racist. I was telling them that what is racist is corporate hip hop, and that there is plenty of hip hop out there that is not racist. I didn't directly criticize anybody, except maybe HuronBob (who doesn't seem to share your fervor in this) and even then I said I wasn't trying to single him out so much as address a trend I'd noticed. All I was doing was defending hip hop. I didn't say that anyone else had to like it. I just defended it. there's nothing wrong with that, no matter how much hysteria you muster.

Are you even reading the thread? It seems like you're skimming for certain words and reading them out of context. You're not even coherent at this point.

Here is the point I made, in its entirety:

Not all hip hop is racist. Hip Hop gets a poor reception on metafilter because it is poorly understood. There is racist hip hop, but hip hop itself - the musical genre - is not inherently racist and it's entirely possible to find good hip hop that is not divisive and racist. don't mistake what you hear on the radio as being representative of all hip hop. it's the radio hip hop that is the problem, not the genre in general.

if you can't understand that simple point without waving your hands around and whining about being accused of racism, then you're too eager to adopt a martyr role. you've completely failed to follow the path of this conversation. you're in your own world of paranoia and self-righteousness. you've lost the plot.

if you'll look closely at what i wrote, you'll see that i didn't characterize him at all. i characterized his statements as included on the "pointed criticism" link in the OP.

first of all: i never addressed you until you swooped on me in your paranoid frenzy. so before you keep going about this, remember this very simple statement I made right at the beginning of your ridiculous tirade:

your comment wasn't even all that bothersome to me, but since you've brought it up, yes you were speaking ignorantly and made a foolish statement.

maybe bold emphasis is the thing that finally gets you to pay attention? I don't know. I had no problem with you thinking powell made a better point. I wasn't defending Nas's statements at all. I wasn't talking to or about you. But, as I said, you jumped at me about this shit, so fuck it. Yes, you were being ignorant and foolish, as I said. No amount of clarification on your part changes that. I know you were talking about his statments, and not him. But here's a pretty accurate paraphrase of what Nas said:

Jackson's marches and speeches don't fit this generation. I'm all this generation needs. Me and rappers I agree with will lift black people up.

Here is what you thought he said:

I'm calling Jackson out. I'm Nas. Yo yo yo, I'm here. Pay attention to me.

Your characterization of his statements is completely inaccurate and you only thought that's what he said because you didn't actually understand what he was saying, because you're "just not good at translating hiphopspeak" or whatever other ignorant nonsense you want to blame it on. You were wrong. I didn't get in your face about it, you got in mine. I addressed your comment because you were jumping down my throat about it. But you were wrong. You want to keep going at this, then fine. But when it comes down to it, nothing will change the fact that you're ignorant and wrong and paranoid about being called a racist. Everything you've said in this thread, every last word, is the result of ignorance and paranoia.

Now you've resorted in your desperation for the last word to call me a racist. You've refused to pay attention to what I'm saying, you've mischaracterized me and invented subtexts to directly contradict the very words I've written to clarify my comments. You've made an ass of yourself, and I'm done fueling your fire. Rant all you want, no one cares what you have to say about anything.
posted by shmegegge at 8:15 AM on July 25, 2008


FlapjaxAtMidnite: "But the nature of this and so many of your comments, ZachsMind, is that you seem to indicate that your view on the matter, your personal way of dealing with it, is the superior one. Why would anyone do it differently than me? Nothing wrong with being opinionated, mind you, but you seem so sure that your world view is somehow so much clearer than everyone else's. I guess it must be good to be that sure of yourself. Anyway..."

o.0

BWAAAHH-hahahahahahahahahahahahaha...!

[nearly hyperventilates with laughter for easily five minutes]

0.o

[falls on floor]

BWAAAHH-hahahahahahahahahahahahaha...!

[practically hyperventilates with laughter for easily ninety seconds]

Hahahaha *wheeze* hahahahaha *wheeze* hahahaha *wheeze*

Oh that was a good one. *wheeze* Oh that felt good. *wheeze* Oh I think I popped a rib. *wheeze* Hahahahahaha! *wheeze* Oh. *wheeze* Oh yer killin' me with that. *wheeze* Stop. Oh. *wheeze* Hahahahahaha *wheeze* I gotta *wheeze* --catch my breath. *wheeze* hahahahahaha! *wheeze* hahahahahaha! *wheeze* *wheeze* *wheeze*

[Silence. Flat on his back, Zach sticks his fist up in the air defiantly]

"I AM SUPERIOR!"

BWAAAHH-hahahahahahahahahahahahaha...!

[hyperventilates with laughter for... this goes on for some time.]
posted by ZachsMind at 6:47 PM on July 25, 2008


Now, calm down there, Zach, yer gonna hurt yerself...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:23 PM on July 25, 2008


Rant all you want, no one cares what you have to say about anything.

Wow, that's pretty fucking ballsy of you to say. What the fuck makes you so superior that you feel like your opinions are the only ones with merit, and no one cares what he has to say... about anything?

It's called respect, motherfucker. One of the most off-putting aspects of a lot of hip-hop/rap artists is their constant harping on the importance of others respecting them, yet they don't see the need to exercise it themselves. When you issue a dumb-ass pronouncement like nobody cares what you say, it makes you look like an egotistical, obstinate ass. You effectively castrate all the good things you've said with one fundamentally ignorant statement.

Sound familiar? This is the same kind crap that turns a lot of people off to folks like Nas. He's not a uniter... a uniter knows how to listen to his adversaries, even when he doesn't agree with them. Jesse Jackson, grandstanding show-boater that he is, at least understands the art of reasoned debate.

And just so you know, I agree with a lot of what you said. But statements like the one I quoted are the fucking antithesis of a healthy democracy. Exercise some fucking civility next time.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:36 PM on July 26, 2008


But here's a pretty accurate paraphrase of what Nas said:

Jackson's marches and speeches don't fit this generation. I'm all this generation needs. Me and rappers I agree with will lift black people up.

Here is what you thought he said:

I'm calling Jackson out. I'm Nas. Yo yo yo, I'm here. Pay attention to me.


This thread should probably be dead by now, but just in case it isn't -- I don't find a great deal of difference between your translated statement, and the statement that Citizen D (or whoever it was) thought Nas was making.

Both statements are pretty much content free. Both depend on assertion and bragadoccio, rather than providing reasoned arguments as to why Jackson's time is up. In light of that, it's really not surprising that people aren't able to discern what's actually quite a subtle distinction.

Nas is a wordsmith. He should know better. Presumably, he doesn't care because he knows that his fans and the market segment he's addressing will get what he's saying, but I find that truly disappointing, because it seems to me that there *has* been something of a crisis in leadership when it comes to young black voices on the American political scene. And while there are those artists who are genuinely inspirational and powerful voices for change, there are almost as many whose voices and messages are confused and/or confusing.

Much of the reason that Obama has been as successful as he has, is because he's taken the time and the trouble to articulate a vision in such a way that a much wider proportion of the population can buy into it. With Nas's initial statement here, he's barely articulating it with sufficient lucidity that even people who would instinctively want to support what he's saying would struggle.

Didn't know his name before tonight, but now he's got my attention.

I don't think you'd get much dissent from the statement that Illmatic is one of the ten greatest hip-hop albums of all time.

It drops deep as it does in my breath
I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death
Beyond the walls of intelligence, life is defined
I think of crime when I'm in a New York state of mind

posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:03 PM on July 31, 2008


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