Tuesday, April 24, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Republicans Hate Rap Music!

I'm really not sure why I'm even bothering with what I'm about to write.

I'm an African-American liberal who lives in a very white, very conservative community and in no place is that more greatly reflected than in the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper.

Every Saturday, the paper turns its "Lifestyle Section" into "Religion & Ethics", which is basically a transparent excuse to run not one, but two editorial pages in one day.

Just remember, kids: It's the gays and minorities who have "an agenda" (don't forget the exaggerated quote pantomime with your fingers). Let the conservative persecution complex commence, as authored by some old broad:

My friends say I'm going to get hurt one of these days. There was, for instance, the time I was at a gas station in North Park when a young man pulled up, leaving his rap music booming with all the subtlety of a plane taking off from Lindbergh Field.

Yep…it's one of those articles. Quick translation for those who aren't locals: North Park, while not the worst part of town, is just about as "hood" as San Diego gets. Combine that with the implied threat in her first sentence and I'll bet a paycheck that the "young man" she describes wasn't part of the 70-80% of rap album buyers who are white.

I couldn't help but hear the words.

"Excuse me," I said to him. "Would you like to see your sister raped?"

His face scrunched up like an album left too long in the sun. I tried to explain. "That's what your song is saying – it's talking about raping your sister. Have you ever really listened to it?"

Even conceding that the polite thing to do would've been to turn down the "bitches-n-ho fest" while at the pump, I'm left wondering what the hell this has to do with anything. Rap foes have turned their embarrassingly narrow knowledge of the genre into their own self-serving sermon on morality. Won't somebody think of the children?

F*ck you.

I'll worry about my own son. Now, in accordance with your parents wishes, you may go out into the hall and pray for our souls. (Oh, and "an album left too long in the sun"? Yeah…dude was Black.)

He shrugged and turned his back. So much for my superhero powers of persuasion. I got to thinking about that incident after radio host Don Imus was fired for calling the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos." Imus argued unsuccessfully that rappers use a lot worse language and they get glorified.

And, so there's her point. The Don Imus World Tour of Martyrdom/Trail of Tears continues by way of the "everyone else does it, too" argument. I'm pretty sure I was six the last time I used that one.

Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are among those who have gotten buddy-buddy with famous potty mouths.

Here's the author's checklist of points, so far: 1.) Blacks are inconsiderate of others and play their music too damn loud. 2.) Don Imus was the victim. 3.) Democrats = N-Word Lovers.

We'll keep a running total the rest of the way for your convenience.

Obama invited Ludacris to his office to discuss the rapper's AIDS campaign. This is a man who raps about killing people and flicking pennies from an overpass at rush hour. And those are his good points.

Over at Inside Pulse, a Moodspins discussion on Imus led to one reader referring to Ludacris as a "gangsta rapper". The notion is, of course, laughable to anyone with ears, but the reader went so far as to post a handful of words from a Ludacris verse to prove his/her point. This is the equivalent of calling Pulp Fiction "gay porn", because Ving Rhames gets raped.

Here's the difference: Pulp Fiction = "masterpiece"…Rap Music = "filth" (just ignore the violence and "n-words" in the former, because when you take them in context…etc.)

And, I'd argue that Luda has a few other good points: he's a decent actor, he's funny as hell and…oh yeah, he's part of a campaign against AIDS.

Clinton's rendezvous was with Timbaland, who threw a fundraiser for her at his Miami home. Timbaland's lyrics are salted with a derogatory description of women (rhymes with "witch"), the n-word and the before-mentioned "ho." And these guys are considered mainstream artists.

"Rhymes with witch…" Hilarious. And, not to wait until now to get picky, but I'd argue that Tim is a mainstream producer, as opposed to a rapper. But, why differentiate between those evil Negroes, when it's easier go after the whole group?

Earlier this week, two local organizations that represent mobile DJs – like those who go to weddings and corporate parties – announced they will stop playing music with violent or hateful lyrics.

OK…at this point even the most hardcore Hip Hop hater has to agree that she's reaching here. Show of hands: How many of you have been to a wedding or "corporate party" and heard Hit 'Em Up? Yet, the "news" that a pair of local mobile DJs have taken a stand (more like a "kneel") on a nonexistent issue in their industry is supposed to reinforce her point? Tell me when they stop playing The Chicken Dance.

Newsboys, a faith-based rock group, has a rap song out that includes these lines: "See I agree we oughtta boycott hell, but we oughtta boycott dumb lyrics as well."

I think what I hear them saying is that smut is smut – no matter how good the beat.

I think what I hear them saying is that listeners should boycott Newsboys and their dumb lyrics. And, that grammar? Sheesh!

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, The Associated Press reports that police union leaders want a city firefighter fired over anti-police rap lyrics he wrote about turning "pigs into bacon bits."

And the hits keep coming.

Point #4: When your soapbox falls apart under your own specious reasoning, you can always rely on a weeks-old non-story to hammer your point home.


greg hayes said...

First off, longtime reader from back in your 411 days, Cam and it's great to see that you're still writing. A few years ago, I remember writing you and saying something to the effect of "I don't like your taste in music, but I still read all your reviews". Well, I kind of feel the same way here. Even though I'm one of the "conservatives" you're bashing, I agree that this lady's writing is from a position of ignorance. That said, I think we're way overdue in examining the language in much of the mainstream music (not just rap). I'm not naïve enough to think that 50 Cent or Eminem are going to start rapping about rainbows and lollipops, but I'd hope that the Imus hubbub can start a meaningful dialogue from the record industry that does 1000x more exploiting of "urban life" than any rapper could. Now, it's time to check your archives and see what else I can bitch about.

Tom said...

Hip-hop took over from heavy metal as the evil music of choice like, what, 20 years ago now? Isn't your shift just about over?

mike mejor said...

It’s a no win argument for rap fans, Cam. The type of folks who’d write the above article don’t listen to it and rely on Google to search for “LUDACRIS KILL BITCH HO” to cherry pick and selectively argue the case or just listen to Bill O’Reilly, quietly nod along and parrot his words when appropriate. The frustrating thing is that MTV, BET show nothing but the videos that represent the worst of the genre, while FM radio plays nothing but the South shit that dumbs the genre down for the lowest common denominator. Why would these people have any use for artists like Common, Mos Def, Kanye West, dead prez, Chuck D, KRS-One, etc? It’s easier to paint everyone with the same brush and then focus their narrow minded disdain at movies, TV or whatever else is leading to the downfall of society…this week.