Monday, October 08, 2007

Is Nelly Right? Rappers and their Problems with Accountability.


Man. Isn't hip good when its good?

I like hip hop.

And I presume that if you are reading this, that you do to.

Because I like hip hop I always keep my eye open for
intergenerational dialog that music fosters.

Case in point. Two things have arisen in the last few
weeks that I caught my attention.

First it was Nelly's comment about Hip Hop at the Town Hall

The second was David Banners comments at the Congressional
Hearings on Hip Hop.

I have a special interest in Nelly's comments because I am a feminist,
a b-girl. I addition one of VERY FIRST POSTS here ON THIS BLOG was
about Tip Drill. The following is an excerpt from an article from SOHH
about the Town Hall Meeting on Hip Hop

"People wanna say that rap is glorifying the problems from the neighborhood," Nelly continued. "The thing is, even if you gon' glorify it, it's still a problem. People wanna end the glorification and not end the problem. We're attacking hip-hop as a copout and it's an easy way to diverge everybody because older people don't like it. When we first started listening to hip-hop, my granny and them thought Run-DMC and them was straight hoods. She didn't get it. She's from a different era in music and it's the same thing as what's going on right now."

At one point during the discussion, former Essence Magazine editor Diane Weathers, who had previously been "angry with Nelly" because of his controversial "Tip Drill" video, acknowledged that she had misjudged the rapper.

"You know Nelly, it's nice to sit here and see how intelligent you are and that your children are doing well, because I was very angry with you over 'Tip Drill,'" Weathers told Nelly during the telecast.

"That's the whole point. When she said that, that should have been the end of the show," an animated Nelly stressed. "Because that's all you gotta do. Nobody comes to us and talks to us. Nobody gets our perception because they take in our entertainment."

What Nelly avoids is the gray area.

While I agree yes, in many ways the Elders ARE attacking the messengers,
however Nelly is a messenger who is getting crazy cake AS a messenger.

Its like me for instance.
Say I wanted to work at a war profiteerer.
Knowing what I know about

corporate america, the annals of power, and how wealth is
distributed around the world

I would have to sleep at night knowing that SOME of
my 5/6 stacks is directly correlated

to negotiating on the behalf GE, BOEING or god knows who else has a major
DOD contract (that is more than likely related to the Irag/Afghanistan) war.

I would have to sleep at night knowing that part of my cake was war cake.

I call it working for the dark star.

People do it every day. Its the game.

BUT, we ALL owe it to ourselves to be honest w/ the position that WE play
in the grand scheme of things.

Nelly gets off to an ambitious start, but falls short of stating exactly HOW he


Last week I was pollyin' with the folks Gotty about how
folks hate on Chris Brown.

And I responded that I don't have a problem with him.

And for the record, that back packers gonna hate on teenie boppers,
main stream gone hate on bpr's and around 'round we go.

He was listening to Uncle Murder, and was saying how he likes his ignorant
music from time to time.

I was like, Uncle Murder. Dudes name is "family member" murder?
What part of the game is that.

Then I turned around and acknowledged that I am a bigged @ssed Clipse head.

But here is the rub. He was making an argument about how ALL MUSIC doesn't
have to be political.

And while I agree that it doesn't it, the type of images that are allowed
to THRIVE WARRANTS being analyzed.

Think about it. If Ye ye were LESS arrogant would he get the shine that
he does? I belive that he would do respectable numbers in that
SOB's album every 2 years, but mostly cakin' as a producer.

Yeye wins, and for that matter Jay as well BECAUSE so much of
his work is about class mobility and reconciling where he came from
with where he is going.

Gotty retorted that Common sold, Yeye sold, Kweli is selling.

BUT my response was that they are on the margins
in the grand scheme of things.

Therefore when it comes to media representations,
Black men who's momma's have Ph.D's,
will not EVER represent the core of what Hip Hop means
to the masses.

Our culture, American culture, has a major investment
in ensuring that Black men remain perceived as
thugged out-sex crazed n*ggas who can't handle life
stress, anger or money.

Think about it. Why would a culture be SO fascinated by an alleged
OJ robbery or Michael Vicks case?

Why did the Jena 6 case take SO long to gain traction?

Ask your self who's interests are served by seeing
their cases played out incessantly in news papers and cable news

Surely ain't mine.


Go Brooklyn.



Shout out to my girl, the Super Leo, whose baby girl arrived
on my born day. <<<------ Goes to and spends cell phone
bill money on pink booties and onsies. But then again, I was just thinking
of stacking chips and getting the baby a share of google stock. Naah mean!

Do you think Nelly is pointing fingers and refusing to admit
how he contributes to the issue?

Or do you think that emcees get free reign and that it is up to parents
to raise thier kids?

If you think the latter, do you believe that you would be where you are
in life if people OTHER than you parents would not have looked out
for you?

I realize that I totally dropped the ball on David in this post.
I will have something on that later this week.



J!!! said...

rappers are right and wrong. for the most part they are messengers, putting their side of life out there. but at the same time, they dont have to say it the way they say it sometimes. its HOW they say alot of what theyre saying is what gets them in trouble. hey, maybe they dont know another way of articulating themsevles better. thats fine, but at the same time. if half these niggaz actually had their lyrics read back to them with no music, maybe say, in a library, half their shit would probably sound like nonsense. T.I. foolishly said in that bet discussion, aint no way you could listen to a t.i. record and not get anything from it. i like thar niggaz music, but i had to give that nigga the negro please stamp. cause there is plenty of his songs out there, that are in no way ment to uplift or make you think. half these niggaz buy into a macho stereo type where its not good to admit your wrong. and that shit is wack. and all they can do is scream free speech. but just because they have the right doesnt mean they can abuse it. james bond has a license to kill, but homie doesnt go around just killin anyone, right?

neo said...

Rappers avoid the gray area 'cos they know they do play a part in the nonensical-ness found in some of the glorification. I think its best to just admit the need to make profit in order to rise above the problems outside of the booth..It would even be better if they said, "ay mayne, I be doin' this strictly as entertainment so I can get paid 'cos I feel i be good at what I do ya dig?" That to me would be a better well-received argument from my standpoint.

Sure hip hop gets blame but what about responsibility and accountability? What about explaining to kids on some level that this "real rap" we talk about ain't really all the way real? Cos we sure as heck know rappers don't live EXACTLY what they rap about..

the prisoner's wife said...

i *heart* hip hop, but sometimes that shit leaves me hurt.

i couldn't bring myself to watch the entire "hip hop vs. america" shows. the audience was pretty much co-signing everything the rappers had to say because, well...they think they cute.

it hurts, but i think we've moved past hip hop being the CNN of the ghetto. there ARE some rappers who speak truth, are lyrically superior and sound like they took more than 5 minutes writing a rhyme. hip hop, after all is art.

but MOST of the rappers (and kids trying to be rappers) simply emulate white, capitalistic, american culture. we want to get rich...we want to make it, damn everybody else. we want that Good Life, yo! that corporate dark star shit you speak about. it's the lyrical equivalent of blood diamonds.

everyday a great many of my (male) students are trying to spit rhymes...i have one boy, VERY smart, but every time he raps he talks about guns and getting money and girl. the SAME shit you hear about on every damn video. it makes sense our communities being smart isn't cute (a whole nother topic).

you have people with middle-class backgrounds talking about slanging rocks, gang banging, and you have Ice-T's old ass STILL crip walking on VH1 (why lawd why?) and shit because that's what they THINK the people want. and sadly...the people eat that shit up 10 times faster they eat up some political/socially-conscious/feel-good rap because we'd rather go dumb to a hook & beats and not taking into what actually comes out of our mouths.

with that said...i am a sucker for some good old fashion, grimey ass hip hop...but unlike some, i am able to distinguish between real life & fiction. between a brotha waxing poetic about his & a negro employing poetic license, borrowing from the lives of others.

the prisoner's wife said...

btw: i think i feel in love with Tip all over again. he was the HYPEST dude in there the whole night. he looked like a kid at his first show...he was the only one up & dancing to everybody else's isht.

and busta....lawd, lawd...NOBODY does it like that man (big belly & all)

M.Dot. said...

but i had to give that nigga the negro please stamp. cause there is plenty of his songs out there, that are in no way ment to uplift or make you think.

N*gga please stamp.

Sign me up.

M.Dot. said...

it makes sense our communities being smart isn't cute (a whole nother topic).

What a dope project.

Making smart "cool" for young black boys.

M.Dot. said...

What about explaining to kids on some level that this "real rap" we talk about ain't really all the way real?

Kills the illusion, kill the appeal, kill the cake.

neo said...

True..there is something to be said about the illusion, some kids tho KNOW its all a coy to get 'em to cop cds..

Anonymous said...

I'm late, but this is what I have to say about Nelly: if you can eloquently articulate the difference between "people" and the entertainment they put out, you can see the wrong, the idiocy, and everything awful implied in swiping a credit card across a womans @ss. That is not entertainment, it's demeaning. Anyone who thinks of that as entertaiment should never touch a black woman again, and woman, nor should they be allowed to pretend not to be able to comprehend that there is a history of selling Black bodies (male and female) for the entertainment of Americans that is one of the main reasons that this country cannot respect Black Americans. Entertainment has always held some importance in cultural perception. He's disgusting, even if he can put together a sentence.
Some rappers do such good things with their money, don't they ever wonder why the only things that catch media attention is the ignorant???

M.Dot. said...

Anyone who thinks of that as entertaiment should never touch a black woman again....
Holy sh*t.

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