Read a bee oh oh kaaaay
July 10, 2007 3:54 PM   Subscribe

Read a Book. Drink some water. Buy some land (not rims). Brush your teeth. Wear deodorant (it's not expensive). Some say it's a parody, some say it's an important urban social statement set to a phat beat. The artist is Bomanni "D'Mite" Armah and it was originally aired at the NY Comic Con and a few times on BET.
posted by revmitcz (46 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I have read several motherfuckin' books.
posted by everichon at 4:11 PM on July 10, 2007

Am I gonna get shit for not using a "NFSW (language)" note in there? I can't imagine watching YouTube videos is ever SFW, but I apologize in advance for not giving fair warning.
posted by revmitcz at 4:12 PM on July 10, 2007

That is the best hip-hop video I've seen in a long time, and I can think of 15 to 20 people I know personally of all colors, creeds, and socioeconomic backgrounds who would benefit from watching it repeatedly.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 4:21 PM on July 10, 2007

I guess D'Mite missed the funeral 4 posts ago.
posted by thejimp at 4:23 PM on July 10, 2007

Reasonably fine rap, but the balance between humor (wear deodorant) and serious social commentary (raise your kid) seems a little off kilter.

I'd like to see more stuff like this, but honestly smart, socially aware rap has always been there, just not commercially accessible to the masses (read: radio listeners) which is a shame.
posted by wfrgms at 4:23 PM on July 10, 2007

I am in love.

/Dutifully goes off to read goddamned book.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 4:31 PM on July 10, 2007

all music groups should make songs like this. Like a social service.
posted by joelf at 4:34 PM on July 10, 2007

Sounds like someone's been listening to De La Soul.
posted by nasreddin at 4:37 PM on July 10, 2007

I liked the callout to Zora Neale Hurtson.
posted by joannemerriam at 4:42 PM on July 10, 2007

Is "urban" culture well known for not brushing their teeth and eschewing deodorant? I had no idea.

How is it they manage to do all that "hooking up" they're always going on about?
posted by sourwookie at 4:43 PM on July 10, 2007

Love this (particularly because I’m in publishing) … just wish he added “Get up on the trains for senior citizens and pregnant ladies.” Word!
posted by eatdonuts at 4:51 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

Also missing: "Don't make fun of other races and cultures if you don't want them to make fun of yours."
posted by ColdChef at 4:56 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

"Read a book, read a book, read a motherfucking book."

Soon to be adopted as the cornerstone slogan for the ALA's new reading campaign. Fo' schizzle.
posted by kozad at 5:00 PM on July 10, 2007 [2 favorites]

I dunno, I thought this was really pretty good, and I generally dislike most hip-hop, as a rule.

Thanks, nice post. :)
posted by perilous at 5:13 PM on July 10, 2007

It could've been funnier if it had tried to be more than a hip-hop version of Screamin' Jay's "Ignant and Shit".
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:29 PM on July 10, 2007

In my previous post they=rappers.

Pronoun trouble.
posted by sourwookie at 5:33 PM on July 10, 2007

this is brilliant.
posted by gnutron at 5:47 PM on July 10, 2007

Books, water, land, teeth, and deodorant are all intensely boring, though.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 5:49 PM on July 10, 2007

okay, so things have changed a little, but the more they change the more they stay the same. heavy, man. heavy.
posted by muppetboy at 6:35 PM on July 10, 2007

Dang. Wish I'd seen this before. Ya think I could get some land in exchange for my vast rim collection?
posted by miss lynnster at 7:19 PM on July 10, 2007

Also notable: the fact that they're sampling Beethoven's 5th up in that shit. I'm waiting for the day when a hip hop song features a Stravinsky ostinato or one of Ligeti's adapted folk songs or something. That would be some dope ass shit man.

[derail] speaking of these things, am I the only one who thought Nas was a tool for blatantly sampling an Iron Butterfly guitar riff in a song that was supposed to be decrying the lack of originality in modern hip hop? or was that meant to be ironic, so it's okay? [/derail]
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 10:26 PM on July 10, 2007

Also missing: "Don't make fun of other races and cultures if you don't want them to make fun of yours."

Why do people get mad at black comics for making jokes about other races when there most disparaging jokes are most often about black people(the vid is case in point)? The fire hit everbody and you ain't burn the hottest so why you crying?
posted by Rubbstone at 11:44 PM on July 10, 2007

Seems to me you can't really overgeneralize and say that ALL black comedians are hardest on black people any more than you can say that all white comedians do the same thing, though.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:39 AM on July 11, 2007

Seems to me you can't really overgeneralize and say that ALL black comedians are hardest on black people any more than you can say that all white comedians do the same thing, though.

But I love when they do that "black guys drive like this, and white guys drive like THIS" schtick, pointing out how uptight and square we are.

Cracks me up every time.
posted by John of Michigan at 7:51 AM on July 11, 2007

this is quite possibly one of the greatest things i have ever seen on the internet.
posted by daHIFI at 2:30 PM on July 11, 2007

the video reminds me of ralph bakshi's "street fight (aka coonskin).

and oh, the use of nigga here, was sooooo obviously used to make a muthafuckin point about the rap industry. love it!

posted by lunachic at 4:44 PM on July 11, 2007

I don't really get that at all. What is it meant to achieve? Smug middle-class people get to pat ourselves on our collective back for having read books? Who cares?

Christ, the next thing you know, so twattish video director will release a syrupy dirge advising us to "wear sunblock".
posted by howfar at 7:13 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

It's like the Coles Notes for Dead Prez' Be Healthy.
posted by poweredbybeard at 8:30 PM on July 11, 2007

What is meant to achieve, howfar? It's a straight up recognition of the fact that a certain set of "street values" are entirely fucked up, and I say this as someone who grew up in lower-class neighborhoods. There were always some who kept clean, and unfortunately many more who need to hear this, blasted from loudspeakers, over and over again.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 9:44 PM on July 11, 2007

yeah, unfortunately the sad reality is that whatever tooth-brushing does occur, i think gets lost on the types of food and alcohol that is the normal diet of many of the poor.

i wish i could play this video on the tv set that stays on blast with talk shows at the welfare office where i work. even just for one day. i would be in line applying for food stamps myself the very next day.
posted by lunachic at 3:23 AM on July 12, 2007

John of Michigan, you just reminded me of something... I remember seeing a guy open for Eddie Murphy in the 80s who did exactly that. I in art school & totally ready to make fun of how messed up white people are... but he started doing this thing on how we brush our teeth funny. And as he getting so into it, I was like, what? I mean, there is no particular WHITE way to brush your teeth. There's just the precise way a dentist says to do it, and then all of the manners in which each individual chooses to ignore that... but I seriously doubt that varies by race. It's not like "White people brush up & down! Ha! And what about those chinamen brushing side to side? What's up with that!?"

Although that said, this video implies that black people aren't doing it at all.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:40 AM on July 12, 2007

I in art school = I was in art school. Durrr. Clearly I should've been in typing class.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:42 AM on July 12, 2007

Miss Lynnster: That particular example comes from The Simpsons, where a black comedian makes that joke, prompting Homer to laugh loudly, wipe his eyes, and say, "It's true, it's true: We're so lame!"

posted by John of Michigan at 9:16 AM on July 12, 2007

I find this extremely offensive and this kind of racial stereotyping should not be encouraged/celebrated on a site that should be more socially conscious. What kind of white bigoted idiot produced this?.....

Oh, it was a Nigga ….. Well then, s’all good.

Drink some water, brush your teeth, read a book, raise your kid?

Actually it is offensive, no less so than if it had been done by a cracker.
posted by MapGuy at 1:03 PM on July 12, 2007

this post is useless with an mp3.
posted by boo_radley at 1:34 PM on July 12, 2007

boo_radley : thread no longer useless

(I know, I know, rapidshare sucks, but that's the link someone else sent me)
posted by revmitcz at 1:41 PM on July 12, 2007

I, for one, am glad BET has stopped remaining silent. If there is anyone above reproach for the current state of urban Black culture it is them. Oh. Wait.

I don't think I've ever seen anything so hypocritical in my life.

You don't encourage dignity, achievement, and self respect by calling people "niggas." What's next, "Become a feminist you stupid bitch?"

It's beyond insulting. The only public service this video does is establish once and for all that the irredeemable awfulness of BET.
posted by eisbaer at 1:58 PM on July 12, 2007

Sorry. The last sentence got mangled. Take the "that" out and put commas around the sub-clause "once and for all."
posted by eisbaer at 2:00 PM on July 12, 2007

Soon to be adopted as the cornerstone slogan for the ALA's new reading campaign.

Dude, the current one is Come Together @ Your Library, so I think we have a few decades to go. (my interpretation)
posted by jessamyn at 2:52 PM on July 12, 2007

What's next, "Become a feminist you stupid bitch?"

Actually there is a movement within the larger feminist movement to reclaim female-specific insults, including bitch.
posted by joannemerriam at 3:08 PM on July 12, 2007

Double entendrelicious.
posted by boo_radley at 3:10 PM on July 12, 2007

i didn't think it racist personally. but then again neither did i find ralph bakshi's "street fight (aka coonskin)" that had an all-star black cast back in the 70s, but was considered too controversial and racist by CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) and others. the biggest fans of the film in my circle are super "conscious" activist types, (not to mention spike lee). ....and ralph bakshi was certainly not "a nigga" (mapguy).
posted by lunachic at 5:32 PM on July 12, 2007

Not quite sure what brushing your teeth or personal hygiene have to do with Reading but hey, if it works, I'm for it.
posted by leo at 11:13 PM on July 15, 2007

I guess I am just a tad confused... I saw on the news tonight that a university board member used the "N" word that apparently slipped out, and was subsequently fired. The board said it would seek more diversity inorder to attone for what I don't know.
And just the other day someone had a funeral for the “N” word, which like Voldamort shall remain unspoken. Here however the same racist slurs (or is this speech protected under the Sarah Silverman treaty) are celebrated and laughed at while black face productions are considered heinous and revolting and a very serious matter indeed.

Is it the cartoon that makes the message palatable, maybe the music or snappy lyrics? If there is a grain of truth in these slurs or not is largely immaterial, it remains a stereotype and salacious regardless. Why is it acceptable in one context and not another? If I am white and say these things I am a racist bigot, if I am Chris Rock it is funny, bullshit. If it is funny in one context and not another, why is that?

Why are people held to different standards based on ethnicity? Is this the “all pigs are equal, but some pigs are more equal” pill you are asking me to swallow? The whole thing is getting a bit old, so which way would you like it? Oh, you want them to have the yellow cake and eat it too, just don’t drop that shit, it’s from the mother land. Dave kills.

By the way I think Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman and to a lesser extent this is funny-ish within its own context. This speech also often hinges on the edge of the vile and vitriol. But somehow when I sing to my kid that I love her more than bees love honey its ok, but I have to skip the verse that goes I love you more than Jews love money, because you know that would like be racist, and oh dear god if she repeated it somewhere and they ask her where she heard it and she said daddy taught me that song. But it does sounds so cute when Ms. Silverman sings it would probably be and inadequate defense.

Is it or is it not racist, vile and bigoted and why should it matter who says it? As Zappa said, “They are just words.” Or are they not? Why can Chris, Sarah, Tu Pac, and Snoop use these words and the university board member can not? If there is such a thing as racial inequality then please feel free to explain it in this context.
I thought that Civil Rights were about the elimination of double standards. Or was about the creation of special different standards based on the idea that you can laugh but only when we say it is ok. Not that anyone has the balls to answer but how exactly is this video different from Song of the South? Why is one celebrated and one banned?
Zippty do da Zippty a, oh me oh my what a bigoted day, read a book.
posted by MapGuy at 1:38 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

This should help put this in perspective a bit.

Come now, MapGuy, don't kid. People of a particular ethnic group do comedy about their heritage. The presumption is that people watching will understand the context, unlike your kid, who unless you specifically tell her otherwise may very well grow up thinking all Jews love money. (Growing up as a poor Jew, there were some instances of slack-jawed surprise, no kidding.) There's a difference between the artistic value of say, Song Of The South, which I like a great deal, and the idea that it may lead some kids to think slavery times were really quite rosy, as a few children are raised to believe even today.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 5:26 PM on July 19, 2007

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