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When keeping it real(ist) goes wrong
July 22, 2009 5:38 PM   Subscribe

Back when he was younger, Jay-Z was a merciless, ruthless killer in the "beefs" which define hip hop politics. [...] As Jay-Z got older and more powerful, the marginal benefits of such battles declined and the costs increased even as the number of would-be rivals escalated. Just as the U.S. attracts resentment and rhetorical anti-Americanism simply by virtue of being on top, so did Jay-Z attract a disproportionate number of attackers.
Marc Lynch compares international relations to rap feuds, with Jay-Z as the hegemon and up-and-comer The Game as the "insurgent."

Lynch's article inspired several reactions, and landed him an interview with NPR earlier today.
posted by aheckler (16 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I listened to the NPR interview this morning - it's a fascinating correlation, if not somewhat stretched. Maybe they should consider using these kinds of analogies to teach kids about how politics (international or otherwise) work.

Actually, I just pictured my high school civics teacher doing this. Not a pretty picture. Nevermind.
posted by jabberjaw at 5:43 PM on July 22, 2009


...as a hegemon, Jay-Z is not a status quo power. He's a counterrevolutionary actor.
Academic textual analysis is what's killing hip-hop.
posted by GuyZero at 5:47 PM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dammit! I forgot that I wanted to post this the other day.

That said, here's Anthony Weiner (D-NY) knowing a lot more about hip-hop than you'd expect.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:52 PM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


somewhat stretched

You can say that again...
posted by AwkwardPause at 6:49 PM on July 22, 2009


This would make a lot more sense if anyone, anywhere gave a shit about the Game.
posted by Damn That Television at 6:50 PM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wow. Looking up Weiner, not only does he have Pitchfork worthy musical creds, he was roommates with Jon Stewart after college. Wow so if Obama's the cool kid who's president of student council and everyone wants to be friends with, Weiner's the guy you never knew was cool and as you're flipping through his record collection you notice his Neko Case album is signed with a special note and he mentions that they dated last summer in such a nonplussed way you really can't believe he's real.
posted by geoff. at 7:10 PM on July 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


Just as the U.S. attracts resentment and rhetorical anti-Americanism simply by virtue of being on top

Yeah that's pretty much it
posted by regicide is good for you at 7:47 PM on July 22, 2009


I heard this on NPR too. This guy must be such a bore at parties. Just sayin'.
posted by cnjnctvsynth at 8:43 PM on July 22, 2009


This would make a lot more sense if anyone, anywhere gave a shit about the Game.

Damn you, Damn That Television. You just made me lose The Game.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 9:18 PM on July 22, 2009


This comparison could apply to absolutely any situation where one person or group goes from having little power to having lots of power, couldn't it?

But most of them would be OMG WACKY DICHOTOMY!!!!1 to get on NPR.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:41 PM on July 22, 2009


wouldn't be
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:41 PM on July 22, 2009


Total derail, and I'm only picking on this because it's the latest one I've seen, but...
...he mentions that they dated last summer in such a nonplussed way you really can't believe he's real.
People do this all the time, and I'm sure eventually it'll be accepted usage, but one of my biggest grammar pet peeves is people using "nonplussed" in pretty much the opposite way of its meaning.
posted by kmz at 10:18 PM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


This comparison could apply to absolutely any situation where one person or group goes from having little power to having lots of power, couldn't it?
But most of them would be OMG WACKY DICHOTOMY!!!!1 to get on NPR.


Sure. But everyone knows who Jay-Z is, and it's a rather stretchy metaphor, given that historically respect and power go hand in hand in hip hop, and that these are amassed through battle raps and beefs, making the analogy rather direct and giving it a great deal of flavor and impact, given that anyone who follows hip hop will be familiar with most of the main players and their history. That familiarity is essential to being able to play out the likely consequences of a given response by the hegemon, and thus makes this a particularly resonant metaphor for illuminating certain IR concepts and schools of thought. You could run the same thought experiement with some variation of contemporary consumer technology companies or the Jesuits v. the Franciscans in Catholic church, but these groups compete differently and are less familiar to a modern audience.
posted by Diablevert at 12:03 AM on July 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Heh, as I was reading this, it was narrated on NPR. Oh, I'm a nerd.
posted by fermezporte at 4:27 AM on July 23, 2009


The Hive Queen Latifah and the Hegemon?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 5:23 AM on July 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is going to sound a hell of a lot like tooting my own horn, but I've actually met Congressman Weiner. He recently invited me, and some pretty great other people, to testify to his subcommittee on cybersecurity issues threatening the Internet today. He was actually quite thoughtful and well informed. And heh, because of him I got to testify to Congress. As far as I'm concerned, dude's awesome, even without Jon Stewart roommatehood status :)
posted by effugas at 5:39 AM on July 23, 2009


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