And I know that an old if not yet dead white male who thinks rock and roll died when Buddy Holly went down in a plane crash with Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper is rushing into terra incognita in discussing this topic. But I also know that most of the rap that the wider world knows is gangsta rap, and to read the lyrics, listen to the songs, and watch the videos of some of the most popular rap songs is instructive, diagnostic, and disturbing.
As it turned out, behind their political rhetoric, the Panthers were simply gangsters, their resistance mere criminality. Did they not savagely beat Rodney King in Los Angeles?
Cop killer, fuck police brutality! Fuck the police, for Rodney King. Fuck the police, for my dead homeys. Fuck the police, for your freedom. Cop killer, but tonight we get even! In the rap worldview, as it developed, the police actively set out to murder blacks. In fact, Tupac raps, if blacks commit crimes, mainstream society bears the blame for inciting them to do so:.
Give the crack to the kids, who the hell cares, One less hungry mouth on the welfare. In a final, diabolical turn, the police then hunt down black youths for dealing the drugs that whites introduced into their community in the first place. Later rappers focus their ire on racial profiling, charging the police with purposely harassing blacks out of racist malice.
Jay-Z, the one irrepressibly witty rapper, also thinks that the cops stopped him because of racial profiling, assuming that any young black is likely to be a criminal. I know a lot of you are. Make sure to keep some handguns hidden away:. Rappers have to display the correct pathology. Almost 30 years ago, Michael Harrington wrote of the other America, the underclass in this country that lives in the shadows of high-rise society.
Since then, the gulf between the two Americas has widened to new levels of disproportion. Yet there is music sounding out from this other America, and its message is cautionary, filled with information, warning and, yes, rage. We must confront that reality, however it may offend or disturb. Rappers and record companies are doing the country a favor by warning it what danger bubbles down below, so the mainstream can reform its unjust ways and change the toxic environment before violence erupts. U ndoubtedly, rap reflects violent resentment churning in the ghetto, though without the political significance that the Warner exec gave it.
Does all this matter? Well, we all see the world through the spectacles of our culture and subgroup; we depend on belief and prejudice to understand our experience; we slip into the manners and rituals of our culture as a way of knowing who we are and how we should behave.
No one gives you a book that opens up the world of possibility beyond your cramped existence. Meanwhile, through the headphones that you always wear pulses the beat of rap, driving out thought and underscoring the message of anger, hatred of the oppressor policeman, and resentful entitlement that the lyrics convey. You go home and watch rap videos on BET. You dress like a gangsta, talk like a gangsta, behave like a gangsta.
And what results? Over 16 percent of black men have been in prison and S uch things grow out of culture—and not just in U. In the U.
It would violate his code of ethics, he says, and hurt his business. A vicious circle now operates between the gangsta kids and the police. The kids dislike and fear the cops; the cops—looking for suspects whom victims have described as black, or seeing youths dressed as gangstas behaving as if they might be carrying weapons—stop law-abiding blacks, who then feel all the more victimized, angry, and resentful.
And when frightened officers, black or white, mistakenly kill an innocent black man, like Amadou Diallo, such kids—and their mothers and neighbors, who write to City Journal often to say so—take it as proof that the cops are out to kill blacks on purpose. Was 50 shots necessary for Sean Bell? Or 45 shots for Diallo? Come on, we all know none of these situations would ever happen to any white kids. Just look through old photos of Harlem and see young men and women dressed up like fashion plates out of Henry James or Thomas Mann, or like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Look at the black musical celebrities who took such care and made such an impression on people my age: Count Basie, with his elegant mustache, always in a tie and jacket; Duke Ellington, debonair in white tie and jauntily cocked top hat; gorgeous Lena Horne, radiant in her shimmering evening gown—all with the bearing of counts and dukes. What would they make of the gangstas? The gangsta style, only 15 or so years old, is the malign outward expression of a malign worldview.
It can make them unemployable. But I read it as a kind of provocation and reproach: a contradictory combination of WE can use this word, but we dare whites to try, and Whites think they are doing us a big favor by not calling us this, but see how little their puny gesture means to us. It is hard-core porn—and please be warned that the bad language so far is as nothing compared with what follows.
I apologize, but I have to show you the coarseness of the language to convey the coarseness of feeling that is so troubling. Now do my niggaz wanna fuck tonight?
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Hell yeah. How many ladies wanna fuck tonight? We do, we do. Tell me what you want, do you want it missionary With your feet crammed to the headboard? Do you want it from the back with your face in the pillow, So you can yell it loud as you want to? Do you want it on the floor? Do you want it on the chair? Do you want it over here?
It’s only wrong when YOU do it! The psychology of hypocrisy
Do you want it over there? Do you want it in ya pussy? Do you want it in ya ass? W ithout feelings other than lust, relations are impersonal and narcissistic. Sticking out of a doghouse, we see only the saucily tilted hindquarters of, well.
Kendrick Lamar and the Height of Hypocrisy in Rap Music
It is beyond pornographic. Of course, if you do have a personal relation with a woman, it is likely to get annoying.
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Sings Snoop himself:. Ya got to control your ho. Can you control your ho? White raps:. Perhaps I went to jail, That left us out of touch. Shoulda shot some mail or something. Baby I really wanna see what you got now. I got a woman and shit, but I must admit this: You at the top of my list, Unforgettable. White feels about his current woman, of course, is her problem. T he great accomplishment of civilization has been to replace the reign of force with the rule of law, and to humanize the animal realities in which our lives are embedded by means of manners and rituals that give those realities a human meaning.
And many of the popular songs of the s and s, making the promise of permanence explicit, end with talk of marriage. It makes him yet another lemming, scoring easy approbation from his peers and the media. He was frequently blasted for such lyrics but never felt compelled to apologize for them.
Eminem did exactly what he was supposed to do with his platform last night as a leader and as a hip hop artist, nobody should be hatin. Donald Trump held a massive campaign rally in Scranton, Pennsylvania, standing with the regular folks who helped elect him president the next day. So Eminem and other celebrities will continue to blast Trump, and the trained seals in the entertainment and media echo chamber will clap. She holds a Ph. D in international relations from Columbia University.
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