Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Trash This: 'Soulja Boy Tell Em' is not Hip Hop
"I remember when I fell in love with hip-hop..." These words start the movie Brown Sugar. In the film, hip hop and it's progession, evolution, rape, and redemption were juxtaposed with the relationship between the movie's main lovers Dre and Sid. In the movie, Dre finds himself working in the recording industry where he struggles to sign talent that is both marketable to the mainstream public and true to and respectful of hip hop's origin.
Now, here's the thing. Much like the black and white Bentley photo, art is in the eye of the beholder. Such is the case with hip hop music. Now, I am not presuming to be the preeminent aficionado of all things rap. I merely believe in looking closer, and looking to the deeper meaning to lyrics. I am trying to get a story or a lyrical illustration of some deeper meaning behind the words. Outkast raps about real issues, as does Lupe Fiasco and occasionally Lil Wayne. And sometimes I recognize that some rap is just about having fun and it doesn't have to have a meaning (or even include proper use of the English language) like the Yin Yang Twins. But there is a fine line between fun and buffoonery. Some artists walk that line, and some completely cross over to minstrel territory. That is to say, there is a point when rap music becomes offensive and disrespectful. Not offensive in the obvious meaning, but offensive in its brutal assault on the art form and creating a stark image for the American public.
We have started to produce, package, and sell processed meat to the public. And then we get surprised when America gets high blood pressure. That is to say these popular images can often begin to define a race rather than be a funny snap shot of the few.
Some of this rap today is not hip hop...it is hip-pop. There is no artistry or unique and groundbreaking style that goes into the creation of this brand of rap music. It is processed meat that will not stand the test of time. Years from now we will look back and realize how stupid we all looked doing the "crank dat" dance.
This is not aristocratic, THROW IT AWAY.