Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Biggie And The White Boy

I am out of printing paper at home. I need lots and lots of printing paper for my side hustle what can I tell you. I run out at least once a month. I am heading to my whip in the parking lot of the Office Depot after stocking up, and there is some serious ass Biggie Smalls on someones car radio. )))))))a nigga never been as broke as me, I like that When I had two pair of Lees, besides that...((((((( I recognize the tune "Sky Is The Limit", damn that shit sounds good. So I look around as the music and the car gets closer, and I'll be damn if it isn't a white boy. The
young head is looking at me and head nodding, and for a brief moment we make eye contact while he waits for my acknowledgment of his bumping ass sound system. (He must have seen me rocking my head to that shit) But I can't acknowledge, I know the album he is playing, and I know some of the lyrics, and I am thinking; "what the f**k is he doing listening to this shit?"

But how stupid am I? Long after he is gone, along with the sound of biggie and the bumping ass base line, I am thinking about why I couldn't acknowledge my melanin challenged friend. I am stupid, because Biggie's albums have sold millions, and like other hit making rappers, most of his sales are made to white kids and not black kids from the inner city. And the truth is, I have heard white kids bumping rap from their cars before, and yes the "N" word was prominent in those lyrics too. I don't know, call it a post Imus consciousness, but the shit actually made me feel uncomfortable.

Still, I am not going to join the rap pile on crew. Truth be told, I love rap music, I have written about it on this blog before, long before Imus and his NHH comments. But lately I haven't been feeling most of the stuff coming from the ranks of the hip hop artist out here. ("Nas" might be right, maybe hip hop is dead).....well I take that back. When I hear Baby Huey from the "Lue" telling my ass to "pop lock and drop it" my old ass is up and locking. Yes I love that song so sue me. But I digress. So even though I can't pile on the rap artist, I have a dilemma. I keep asking myself if it's because I don't like the music coming from the artists these days? Is it the Imus thing? Or have I just become more sensitive and aware of the responsibility certain artists have to their community?

This is tough for me, because I pretty much believe that artist should be free to sing, write and perform whatever they want. If you don't like it, then turn it off. So I am not feeling this call for a ban on the "N" word. It just smacks of censorship to me. Do I wish that hip hop artists wouldn't go there? Of course I do. Hey, I don't want to feel uncomfortable when some young white kid gets a pass to say "nigger" to my face just because it's in a song. Or some ignorant ass old white man thinks he is being cute by trying to imitate shit from our culture.

So what do we do? Honestly, I am more of a beats than a lyrics guy myself.- Although I appreciate a nice flow as much as the next guy. I try to know as much about the producers behind these dudes as I do the rappers themselves. So if there is a bumping beat and the rapper sings "Mary Had A Little Lamp" I would probably still be feeling that shit. In my world, the lyrics that demean, and the "N" word is not necessary for a hit. But I am starting to suspect that some of these same white suburban kids that eat this stuff up now, would not be heading to the record stores after they get their allowance money if the lyrics were to change. I guarantee you, they probably wouldn't touch the cleaned up CD's with a ten foot pole. And that's the problem. We are depending on these kids to stop buying these CD's which would cause the record companies and the artists to change their marketing strategies or lose money. Well in my humble opinion, this will never happen.

When that kid was looking at me in the Office Depot parking lot he was saying; see I am one of you, I can bump this shit, because I know what's up. We are kindred spirits you and I. You the big bald headed black man, and me the young white kid in the sports car.

Well we are not kindred spirits, and if we did have something in common, it wasn't this. Yeah I love and respect "Big" for his contribution to the game, (Hell his mother is from the "Rock" for crying out loud!) just like you do. But don't get it twisted that is where our commonality ends. And not "Big", not "Pac", Not "U Roy", or any other rapper, will be able to bring us together over a f*****g song.


Anonymous said...

To qualify my comments, I am at the very tail end of the baby boomers. I am over 40 now. I hate rap--and always have. Putting Biggie, Pac, and possibly Lil' Kim aside, I can't see the artistry of HIp Hop--beats or lyrics. Even with this reservations, though, I have been down for Hip Hop. I have supported Hip Hop because it empowers and inspires so many black males to achieve financial goals, establish empires of sorts, and branch out into industries beyond music.

On the other hand, Hip Hop, has been disastrous for young black girls--now women. I can't get with this. Thus, I no longer can tolerate Hip Hop because of the significant harm inflicts to the self esteem of black girls. The effect of Hip Hop is real too. Black girls, for example, tolerate verbal disrespect now that was essentially unheard of in my generation.

Hip Hop turned the gender tables--and put black men in total authority over black women in the industry. In 2007, despite Hip Hop gains, there are no black women in self-empowering positions in the music industry. There doesn't appear to be, for example, a Suzanne DePasse. And the only women who appear to have visibility are women connected to men--Kimora Simmons, Pepples, before her.

So, good riddance to Hip Hop. Maybe, we can go back to loving ourselves. For a good 10 years of Hip Hop, love was a foreign word. Even now, posturing is too much of the norm to allow for loving relationships. (How I miss Motown.)

Furthermore, Hip Hop is Rock's travel companion. No wonder whites are Hip Hop's biggest fans. They are both--in their main and too often--about anger and empty rebellion--rather than hope and meaningful protest.

Finally, Hip Hop is so depressing t ome. It assures the fears of the black women who worried about full alignment with the Black Panther Party in the '60's. They feared that the Panther's agenda sought sexist. one-sided results. Hip Hop validates these fears. Black men in HIp Hop have sold Black women for a dollar--to sell to white people a product that denigrates black women.

Brian said...

Field.... you are slowly coming around. You just need a little more work.

I personally hate Rap....and am proud of the fact that I have been Rap free for at least 15 or 16 years now. Rap has become a Cancer for our people.... No it is not the cause of all of the ills that have befallen Black folks, but it reinforces certain behaviors that make it nearly impossible for the Black community as a whole to change the huge disparities that we see in different areas....from education to homicide rates in big cities like Philly.

Rap Culture was co-opted by thug/gang culture in the late 80's- early 90's and now that culture has begun to co-opt modern Black culture.... in other words, "thug-life" is becoming the mainstream....and it's dragging Black America down the toilet.
Almost none of the commercial rap (that most folks around the World are hearing) is positive or uplifting. It certainly doesn't show Black Americans in a positive light.

Another problem with it is that it is killing our image in this country and around the world. In many countries, Rap is the Ambassador for Black folks... it is what represents us to some parts of the world and becomes the predominant example of Black Americans.

It is now time to kill the Cancer or to cut it out... because if we don't, it will continue to drag us down.

Yeah....we need to work on you a little more. But what in the world will convince you that the Cancer has to go....or that the Black community is even sick? Are you in denial?

The video of Akon simulating sex with a child on stage was not enough for you? Hmmmmm.....

Do you like other forms of music?
What other genres do you like?

We need to cure this Rap addiction.

Christopher Chambers said...

They have robbing our flava--be it good flava or bad flava--for centuries. They, not us, turned our comedy and music into minstrel shows. They stole Scott Joplins rags; they stole our R & B and Jazz, melded it with their hillbilly crap and made Rock and Roll. But there's something more insidious about this and you should have planted a baggie of smack in his car and then 911'd him...

PS Yes "Massa" Massie makes me vomit. Wanna see something even more bizarre? Check out my blog post today on the new CLARENCE THOMAS bio. The passages about his strange friendship with Rush Limbaugh and the dude who shot down Lani Guanier are eye opening. Did you know he and Lani were tight?

field negro said...

ravenravings, good comments and I co-sign with SOME of what you said. Yes Hip Hop has gone backwards, and yes the lyrics should be cleaned up. The game has become diluted with mediocre artist who the record labels promote. But we could say that about every industry where the arts are involved.

And A.I. I knew you would comment on this one ~:)~ and I respect your steadfast adherence to your principles. But....I think we have to bring you over a little more to the middle of this debate and help YOU to come around a little bit. Hey, I have moved away from my blind loyalty to Hip Hop, and I think that the least you could do is try and meet me closer in the middle.

Chris I will check out that article on your site; and I will be looking to see if a certain blog has been delisted ;)

The Christian Progressive Liberal said...

Field, I had a similar experience here in DC two days ago. I'm walking to the Metro near George Washington Univ., heard Jigga coming from a bumping sound system, and the car pulled up on 20th and Pennsylvania, and I look to see a Maxima full of white guys with their heads bumping to the beat.

All I could think of was, "I wish I had a camera or a YouTube link so Don Imus can stop blaming rap music for his bigotry, cause it's clearly not Black People making Jigga rich."

Dangerfield said...

Field good choice for house negro, the michael massey is a pure bred coon. He is an idiot the fact that he wont put a better picture of himself on the net is proof of that. What a Jacka@s

JustMeWriting said...

Good post Field! Personally, I feel the same way when I see and hear white people enjoying things of our culture and the only thing that comes to mind is when Paul Mooney said "don't like it too much, because white people will take it.." That's where the biggest offense lies for me. I know the great debate over the accountability layed on the plate of the hip hop artist, but in regard to this...the music was made for and about black people and I think without the consideration tha t ANYBODY could listen to it.

For that very reason we need to modify that form of art.

west coast story said...

I’m on the high end of the boomers so I freely admit to generation gap. Generally, I deplore rap, with rare exceptions as noted--the Beasties, Queen Latifa, some of Eve, some of Common, some of Kanye, and a couple others. Lil’ Kim would not be one of them. I’m also a jazz fan so the musical bar for me is set pretty high. I also like rock and roll and R&B, particularly from the 1970’s back to the beginning (although some good stuff has come out since then). There was a lot of cross pollination from jazz to R&B and rock and back to jazz, particularly during the late 1960’s and 1970’s.

Musically, the worst thing about rap is that it is so mind numbingly repetitive and boring. The things I like most in music such as the sound of a musical instrument played to the limit, is missing for me in rap. The lyrics, such as they are, seem to stem from juvenile bathroom humor. I honestly understand how this might appeal to young people, but to adults?

Women have never had a strong place in the music industry on the business side, no matter the genre, so you can’t really blame hip hop for that. Suzanne de Passe was an aberration. How many other de Passe’s can you name? I was looking at a list of 100 women in entertainment from 2005 and almost all of them were related to television and film. Women have done okay in film and television but are still not big players in music. I wish it were not true.

Finally, please don’t blame this on white people. Black people engage in self destructive behavior then cry about white people made them do it. White people are not our mamas and daddies. This paints us as victimized, whiny, helpless, hopeless, children. For years, rappers have been spouting filth about women, calling everybody a n***er and now we’re going to get upset about it because white boys in the ‘burbs are digging it and we’ve discovered that white people are making money from it? Black folks, including a lot of black middle class folks, have been defending rap for a long time and those of us who dissented were told we didn’t understand life in the ‘hood and how rappers were “keeping it real.”

Russell Simmons, Shuge Knight, P Diddy, Dr. Dre, et al., made choices about the music they wanted to produce and promote. Death Row Records turned out to be only slightly more than a front for organized crime. These were choices made by adult black men. Please don’t blame this on white people.

Field: Thank you for this website and for putting up with my crusty opinions. I really respect how people come here to give their views on issues and do so respectfully. This has become my favorite place to drop in on. Nice group of folks here.

Anonymous said...

I grew up and still live in Phoenix, AZ so I see this scenario every day! These white kids kill me with their boomin' systems! I cringe every time I hear the word "Nigga" blasted out of a white kid's car!

But I don't get mad at the ofays. Instead, I get mad at the irresponsible "artists" who pollute their songs with that ignorant word!

It's become so mainstream that some of my white friends don't hesitate to use the word around me when reciting lyrics to a rap song! It's depressing.

But I agree with field, we can't censor rap. It would be impossible these days.

However, I'd love to see all cities host more hip-hop summits so they can discuss their issues with this genre of music. Hopefully, the black community would stand up and tell rappers and record executives that they are not tolerating the use of the N-Word anymore!

And hopefully, the rappers and record executives would listen ...

Anonymous said...

"And hopefully, the rappers and record executives would listen ... "

Good point! But somehow I think with all the $ invovled, that is just a pipe dream.

west coast story, thanks for the kind words, and thanks for your contribution to these discussions. We might only agree 50% of the time, but my respect for you is always 100%.

Andrew Kujan said...

Mainstream Rap certainly has its issues, and as "a white kid who listens to hip-hop loudly in my car" let me just say I never assume any sort of affinity with the black denziens of Baltimore simply for blasting Jadakiss or club music on 92.3.

I guess it will sound strange for me then to come on this blog and defend hip-hop, at least in some forms. Particularly underground rap (which while populated by many black artists, is very popular with white audiences) which I think contains many more positive and talented artists.

Folks like Immortal Technique, Mr. Lif (philly i think?), Edan, and thousands of others continue to create rap and hip-hop that is intelligent, entertaining, and usually devoid of the n-word and uncritical references to drug dealing, murder, and misogyny. Of course they do not have the powerful cultural effect of someone like Jay, Nas, Big, or Pac, or the mouthpiece of idiots like Cam, Rick Ross, or Jim Jones (sorry Jim, endorsing drug dealing and witness murder in your music while simultaneously calling for the repeal of RICO is both dumb and hypocritical).

Anonymous said...


I think this is the first time that I've seriously differed from you.

I hate rap. I hate hip hop. I've been a hater ever since I really listened to C.Delores Tucker and realized that she was right.

Ever since D.W. Griffith, there has been a concerted effort by others to portray our community as 'less than', 'savages', 'inferior'. But, always, our community stood up and fought back, standing up and saying- ' how THEY are portraying us, is NOT how WE ARE'.

We had always been the voice of protest; always fighting for and revealing our humanity.

Until rap, hip hop.

This is the first time, where we have wholesale collusion and participation from folks that LOOK LIKE US,

in the globalization of the dehumanization of us a people.

Quite frankly, it's one of the best hustles ever put forth.

A bunch of House Negro/Sellout/Uncle Toms...

pretending to be the Ultimate Field Negros...

All the while intellectually and emotionally poisoning our children, who, sad to say, weren't even their main target. That they did that to our children, well, it's just 'collateral damage' on their way to collecting their 300 pieces of silver, i.e. ' getting paid.

After all, we know that they were shinnin', grinning and cooning for the White Boy in the suburbs - their TARGET audience. Welcome to the Modern Day Minstrel Show.

Make no mistake, Field, the image of the Black man is now Snoop and Fiddy around the world. The image of the Black woman is a L'il Kim, Superhead, or the Video Ho. Those images on BET don't just beam into Nebraska, Idaho, and Montana, completely warping their image of who we are as a's all around the world.

And, we are treated accordingly all around the world.

You call out Condi for putting a 'Black Face' on Shrub's Horrid Foreign Policies....

What do you think those rappers, and the Black Backstage 'Bosses' like Russell Simmons and Jay-Z are doing?

They put the ' Black face' on our global dehumanization, FN.

They are every bit the sellouts that you accuse Condi of being.

She did it for the power.

They did it for thelr 3000 pieces of silver.

Anonymous said...

OT:Just spreading the word about our CBC Sellouts about Habeas Corpus.

Sanford Bishop
Artur Davis
David Scott

Woozie said...

They currently don't touch the cleaned up versions of the CD's. I don't think it's because people are looking for an excuse to say the N word because its in a song, I think its because often times the way they remove the N word from a song messes up the flow and it just makes the track sound like it's skipping. Knowing that record companies are driven by profit and profit alone, they could be doing this on purpose.

wst... said...

fn - just read your post and comments then bounced over to newhouse news service and happened to see a news article there called: The Latest War Of Words in Hip-Hop thought your readers and you might be interested.

Anonymous said...

"I guess it will sound strange for me then to come on this blog and defend hip-hop, at least in some forms. Particularly underground rap (which while populated by many black artists, is very popular with white audiences) which I think contains many more positive and talented artists.

Folks like Immortal Technique, Mr. Lif (philly i think?), Edan, and thousands of others continue to create rap and hip-hop that is intelligent, entertaining, and usually devoid of the n-word and uncritical references to drug dealing, murder, and misogyny. Of course they do not have the powerful cultural effect of someone like Jay, Nas, Big, or Pac, or the mouthpiece of idiots like Cam, Rick Ross, or Jim Jones (sorry Jim, endorsing drug dealing and witness murder in your music while simultaneously calling for the repeal of RICO is both dumb and hypocritical)."

co-sign with this Andrew!

"Ever since D.W. Griffith, there has been a concerted effort by others to portray our community as 'less than', 'savages', 'inferior'. But, always, our community stood up and fought back, standing up and saying- ' how THEY are portraying us, is NOT how WE ARE'.

We had always been the voice of protest; always fighting for and revealing our humanity.

Until rap, hip hop.

This is the first time, where we have wholesale collusion and participation from folks that LOOK LIKE US,"

But I co-sign with these statements from rikyrah as well!!


I swear I will figure this thing out one day :)

Hathor said...

Rap existed before hip hop. Its the message not the beat and its the individual that creates the message. The emphasis should be on criticizing the messenger instead of the genre. Check out Prussian Blue lyrics at youtube, with such innocuous music.
In other countries, some young people have used rap as a revolutionary response to injustice.
I heard one jazz musician state that one reason that record scratching and sampling was becoming popular; was because there was no music in the schools. This is where poor children had been able to participate in music, they could use the schools instruments and be taught how to play. In most troubled school systems, music and art were the first to go.(I happen to believe if we want mathematicians we should have music in the schools.)
You know I thought Jackie Wilson sang rock 'n roll, he didn't sound country to me.

Anonymous said...

OT:Getting our questions answered about the issues important to our community:

Tavis Smiley is taking questions for the Democratic Debate in June at Howard University:

There are some very bright people here, so let's send in our questions, because quite honestly, if they don't get asked at Tavis' debate, what's the likelihood they will be asked at all during this election season?

-=Topper=- said...

I think of rap music as a rebellion by these artists, and as usual tighty whitey picked up on it. The message we don't want to be white like you.

Tighty whitey is really to dumb, but the record producers aren't they are only to ready to bank on a stereotype that already exists.

White people good, black people bad. Most people look at rap musicians as common thugs. I am not going to play into that.

Not that I take Bhusta Rhrimes seriosly. Honestly I don't think he takes himself seriosly. He was in a video with Dave Mathews for crying out loud. And Dave has to be the worst thing to come out of crackerdom for quite some time. But he's banked, so here we are with the worse that either side have to offer.

On the other hand, Andre 3000 has a cartoon for the kidlets that is actually quite entertaining. But I don't diss Outkast, I rather like them. And Snoop Dogg has a place in my streaming line up along with Nelly. Oh I know it.

But they are in the company of Gretchen Wilson, Sara Evans, Earth Wind and Fire, and the undisputed truth.

I like it, I play it. I don't pretend to like Rap, used to hate it. But then again, it comes from some where. But I think once they come to grips with who the target market has become. Stupid white kids. Rap will change.

Some of the indies have already gone there, and voince an oppinion against Bush.

"That n***a's is just a bitch. Ok so they couldn't refrain.

See on on the flip side. We all should get together on skype sometime. Round table discussion in the field.


Paul said...

field, I was with ya until the last para... to me, one of the many positives of Hip Hop culture is the inclusive diversity. You know as well as I do that Puerto Ricans and a few token whites partied at those block parties where rap had it's genesis, and as the culture exploded it was inevitable that some whites would check for the beats, the flows and the styles just like we do.

So, yeah, you might not be a kindred spirit with the kid in the car, but you were both feeling Biggie so isn't that a start?

Go to a De La Soul show in Amsterdam and watch in amazement as race, for a moment, becomes irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Not in a positive mood this morning, because of insanity yesterday on a public bus.

One of our ' Brothers' decided that he wanted to ' settle some stuff' on a public bus, and wound up shooting 5 people.

5 Students.

5 children whose only crime was that they were going home from SCHOOL - doing what they should be doing.

5 children, of course, who didn't have a Goddamn thing to do with the gang mess that our ' Brotha' was ' settling'.

Of course, the person he had a ' beef' with didn't even get shot, as is the case.

As of now, only one has died. Handsome young man. Doing what his parents had raised him to do - he died because he tried to protect someone else.

Ain't that a bitch. He tries to save a life, and he's gone.

While the lowlife $(#*&@^#er who did this is still walking around - they haven't found him yet.

I don't want to hear one friggin' word about how that murderer is oppressed. We make too many excuses for urban terrorists as it is.

Just had to get that off my chest.

dnA said...


Do you listen to Murs?

"Good music transcends all physical limits
It's more than something that you hear, it's something that you feel
When the author and experience and passion is real
Used to feel I should be silent, I was scared to do this song
But I want everyone aware of what is going on
Yes it is jazz and yes it is the blues
And yes it is the exact same way they did rock
But I refuse to watch the same thing happen to hip-hop"

The song, "And This is For..." of the Murs 3:16 album is all about exactly what you're saying in this post.

Anonymous said...


I'm sorry about the shooting--really, really--but your comments are unfortunate. One--and this is not just you--please stop with suggesting that their should be some inverse correlation between good looks and bad things happening to some one. That the deceased kid was good looking should be as irrelevant as the kid wearing a read shirt when he was shot. I find this almost peculiar to black people--and have had to take even judges apart for making such a statement--and apparently making such connection. "Oh, I had this boy in my courthouse, and had to send him. But he was so good looking."

The other thing about not wanting to hear about oppression as an excuse or explanation. What would you offer to explain it? Native corruptness. I actually think it is related to your handsome comment. Our standards are set too high for ourselves--not to low. The smartest and handsome and well behaved--and a financial miracle worker--if not--the community believes that you almost deserves what you get. A "C" student in the black community only deserves jail--let many people in the Black community tell the tail.

But I'm with James Baldwin--it is not a wonder why so many of our ids fail and misbehave, it is a wonder that any thrive at all.

Abadiebitch said...

Ravenravings do you keep a blog? If so, I would very much like the URL if you are willing to share.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry about the shooting--really, really--but your comments are unfortunate. One--and this is not just you--please stop with suggesting that their should be some inverse correlation between good looks and bad things happening to some one.

The shooting was too fresh, so the personality of the victim, outside of his bravery hadn't been filled in. I can now say that he was a good student, a kind young man, who was helpful to his parents in helping them take care of a grandparent with Alzheimers. Of course, the way that he died proved that he was brave. Just the kind of young Black man that we all should want. And now, he's dead, and the urban terrorist who killed him is, of course, still walking around.

Rich Fitzgerald said...

Want to change the lyrics in Rap/Hip Hop - push for changes in the economic disparity that exists in most of these kids life before they blow up.

Sad to say, but that's just their reality, curse words and all. I live in the hood, by choice. I bought into the neighborhood at the beginning of the growth curve and I still see kids 8 - 18 walking around cussing like sailors, looking thrown away, and basically living below the standard I've set for myself and my family. The fowl language is embedded in them. I know you've seen the ghetto (state of mind) mother who decides it's okay to tell her toddler "shut the fuck up, before I beat your little ass" or some other dumb spit that she might decide to say.

My point is this. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. You can ban rap/hip hop all you want, you can censor the lyrics, it won't change the crux of the matter and that is that these lyrics just reflect the poor quality of life that exists in many of these homes that most of America has turned their eyes from because the can't stomach the view.

Kip said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian said...

Rikyrah.... we need to talk :)

Send me an e-mail.

west coast story said...


What an awful thing to happen to those children. I understand your feelings perfectly. Focus of our attention should be on what happened to the kids.

Francis Holland said...

Of course, most of us have had the experience that you recount. What's going on here? We hear music by Black people and we feel good. Then, we seek to share a sense of brotherhood with the person listening to that music, but we find that we cannot do so, because that person is white.

This, for me, is a clear example of how CEIB (Color-aroused Emotion, Ideation and Behavior) affects what we think, how we feel and what we do about it.

You thought, perhaps, "Great, here's a brother with whom I can share my love for Black music." But, when you perceived the skin color of the person listening to the music, that was the cue that aroused new and confusing thoughts feelings, based on memories, training, experience and environment.

Let me use this as an example of how I think we need to talk about CEIB: In spite of having these confusing feelings, you are a practicing lawyer with a great blog, family and friends. I think that with CEIB as with any emotional challenge it is important to distinguish between "mild," "moderate" and "extreme" cases, based on the symptoms and the effects that the symptoms have on your life.

Psychiatrists and the Federal Government consider a condition to be "extreme" only if it prevents you from functioning in a major life area. Since you didn't beat up the man and end up in jail, and you were able to work in spite of the incident, and continue your blog and family and friend relationships, it doesn't seem to me that your CEIB can be considered "extreme."

Since white people regularly visit your blog and interact with you, and since you interact successfully professionally with whites every day, I don't even think your case could be described as "moderate." So, it's probably mild, like everyone else in America who has these feelings but somehow still manages to function in life areas.

But there are a lot of whites and Blacks who act out in anger and end up in jail in a situation like the one you described. That's "extreme," because going to jail clearly prevents them from functioning in several major life areas at once.

People who lose their jobs because they compulsively insult others based on their skin-color have an "extreme" illness, because the thoughts and emotions aroused by the perception of their own and others' skin color are leading to behaviors that prevent them from making a living, harming their careers and perhaps even making them liable in civil actions for discrimination.

I think if we begin to think about Extreme, Moderate and Mild Color-Aroused Emotion, Ideation and Behavior Disorder (ECEIBD) in this way, it will help us to sort out of thoughts, emotions and behaviors, share them with others and determine what to do about them as individuals and as a society.

But, to make any progress with this we have to acknowledge that terms such as "racism" do not encourage or help us to determine the severity of our condition or to identify the specific ideation, emotion and behaviors involved, to determine what we can or should do about them. But, we should either abandon the psychiatric medical perspective for ALL emotional problems or apply it vigorously to THIS problem as well, which is really the most serious and pervasive problem of emotions, ideation and behavior that the United States (and most other countries) have ever faced and have always faced.

Unknown said...

I just had to drop some words here. I'm not feeling linear at the moment...

94% of everything is crap. We all know that, I hope. With music, the percentage may be even higher. Why would hip-hop be any different?

I live in whitebread Seattle, where apparently the county assessor seems to think we're all rich, as the price of housing exceeds the average worker's income by a factor of about 25% or so. There is no ghetto here, just much (over)working poor and then a strata of well-off corporate slaves from Microboeinghauser.

Whenever I hear obnoxious hip-hop blasting from any vehicle other than a ten-speed, I instantly assume it's some suburban whiteboy. I am seldom wrong in my presumption.

On the other hand, I go to jazz shows and reggae shows and African drumming circles...and the audience never has a Black face in it, except mine and the musicians'. Oh yeah: I get told it "must be the White in me" that makes me appreciate poetry and theater, as if it's just not a Black thing to do. It's quite possible that Black folks have a f**ked-up version of what Black folks are supposed to do and be like. Like my ex- who said "No black person would ever listen to Kraftwerk." Yeah...tell Afrika Bambaataa that. Dumb ass.

Olatunji told me once that "The drum is for the body, the voice is the breath for the soul"--you're diggin' the instrumental side of things because your body needs it; the voice...well, the voice is largely missing from hip-hop, since there is no breath...just words, all coming too fast, too elaborate, too intricate, because our people have to process all the bullshit ideas of everyday life in order to find their voices. In that sense, I suppose Mega Rich is right: one would have to change the conditions of life to change that tactic we use for surviving them.

In another sense Mega Rich is dead wrong: the lyrics aren't what they are because they describe conditions of actual life. They may sometimes, but it's rare. Most of the time it's pure fantasy, bordering on cartooning (Snoop comes to mind instantly). And of course the other part of the equation is missing from Mega's words: mo' money. Those are the words artists spit and rattle because those are the words producers and A&R reps think will sell. Much of the music industry is still an attempt to please the mass(a'). The problem is the mass(a') actually thinks our cartoons and fantasies about ourselves are what we are really like. No blame here, unless you wanna ascribe some.

The rise of digital distribution makes it a little more possible for the unheard to become heard, and put out whatever message they wish (provided someone can actually go digital in the first place--this is not always a given, for various cultural and financial reasons).

Out of this, one can see a number of white hip-hop artists truer to the spirit of the music than the Black tokens on VH1 or On Demand...Aesop Rock, Atmosphere, El-P, Cage and others...and Black artists like Murs, Mr. Lif, Akrobatik, Immortal Technique, Jean Grae who can crack an audience whose existence MTV never bothered to care about.

The Black artist in blackface is nothing new; it's a typical way we sell ourselves to white folks. Why are people surprised at this? We don't present our selves/souls/lives to white folks as we are, because most of them simply wouldn't care/understand. We dress our words up because we know our audience, in some attempt to bleed money from them. Why then be shocked when white folks have to respond through a filter?

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Anonymous said...

You don't like "whitey" listenin' to yo' music?

Too fuckin' bad. You know white folks have made rappers filthy rich, don't you?

It sure ain't broke-ass niggas in the hood buyin' that shit.