Monday, February 1, 2010
TBG Beats: Shuck n' Jive
M'man Sam writes:
Did you see the video that Nas did with Nick Cannon? The shuck and jive one? It was pretty over the top and I thought the song was actually a little too catchy (though that was probably part of the point).
Blackface? Watermelon? Massa?
Oh, Nas. You marshmallow militant, you.
I agree with both your points, Sam. Particularly, the inherent catchiness of this intended-to-offend ditty. What can I say -- I'm a sucker for the Old Negro pronunciation of the letter "R". I'm just not sure that the intended message will get through to the audience.
The video feels like an ineffective outtake from Chappelle's Show -- satirical, but simplistic. And, without any of the barbed-wire substance that makes great satire stay with you. Am I supposed to be shocked by the blackface? Sorry, Nas, but Public Enemy's use of it in the Burn Hollywood Burn video was infinitely more effective.
In 1991, Public Enemy was a much more credible messenger of Black pride than Nas has ever been. Nas has been screaming "hip hop is dead" since his 2006 album of the same name. But, let's not forget that in the face of scathing public criticism from the same bojangin', money-makin' acts he was criticizing, Nas softened his stance to avoid alienating his dwindling fanbase.
As I wrote in my review of the album, Nas has always been more bark than bite.