Monday, July 07, 2008

The Hip Hop Generation Gap: I Cram to Understand


What in the name of patriarchy is Ice-T talking about?

Cop Killer Ice-T? Law and Order Ice-T?

It isn't clear to me whether Ice-T is more angry at Hurricane Chris's
and Souljah Boy's perceived lack of "black thug" masculinity or at the
their inability to measure up to Rakim, Das Efx and BDK as emcees.

"Man Up"?

"Take those beads out your hair"?

Please take a moment to understand the irony of a gangster rapping black
man pulling his Cop Killer song amid political controversy, turning around
and acting as a police officer on a television show, then criticizing
myspace rappers for ruining hip hop.

It took me a minute to tie that together. Irony is bugged.

Why did societal pressures influence Ice-T to pull cop killer,
but there is not nary chirp about 50 or Prodigy rapping about killing
20 dudes on Thursday after breakfast?

Because the murder of black men fails to enrage us.

Talk about the public performance of "The Black Thug".

Ice T has been moving in some real, ahem,
non thuggish,
circles for the last 8 years so he comes across as putting
10 on 2 for telling someone to man up.

Granted, I will note that he has performed as recently,
as 2006 as a rapper.

However, it would be interesting to see how he performs his day
to day masculinity on the set of one of his Dick Wolf projects.

What Ice-T and many of us fail to understand is that, since Mc Hammer,
in general, and since The Chronic specifically, since the advent of
Soundscan, Hip Hop is like property in Downtown Brooklyn,
Oakland or Chicago.

Its worth a lot of money to those who own the rights to it.

Capitalism performs a specific function with precise efficiency.

This function is to obtain the most profit out of capital (productive

Sometimes that capital is a rental house other times its stock in Viveindi
Universal Studios

Let me ask you this.

Why is a cd that cost $3 cents to make $15.99 in the stores? Profits.

Why is the rent $1100 this year, when it was $850 three years ago? Profits.

Why is gas $4.20 per gallon? Demand, Supply shortages AND Profits.

Quality control, culture or People be damed.

There is a comment on a three year old post on Hip Hop Blogs, ironically
on the hip hop generation gap which
sums up why 2008 is not 1988.

The commenter interestingly named, Iamtheskidwad writes,

I think it's important to see that the exceptional 1% comes to represent and define an era. 99% of artists today are just as wack as back in '89 (when there was just sunshine).

Overall, I think the quality of rap music overall has remained solid to this day. But I definitely agree that we don't have that special 1% anymore. This is old news, but I think the optimism and the sense of possibility was a big part of it. The music had an expansive consciousness. There was a balance between the individual and the group. Rappers still had a little restraint. They were still conscious of their role as representatives of black people and the struggle. Now the attitude is like, "Of course I'm part of the struggle... I'm black."

I also think the audience in the 1980s was looking to rap music to address a wide range of issues. The music had a multi-dimensional social and cultural purpose. But now the music seems to have a much narrower purpose: hedonism and typecasting.

I know this might strike some people the wrong way, but back then I think it was more about being a person, an individual. Now, it's way more about being black in this very self-conscious and superficial way.

I find it ironic that now that a lot of the artistic chains have been lifted, black artists can say anything they want... and yet somehow precisely the opposite is what happens: a lot of rappers seem to be reading from a script on "how to be Black." sorry, i just had to say it.

Upon rereading that I moved by both the honesty, eloquence and sincerity.

Rappers had a little restraint.

Now rapper turned actor-rappers are telling the myspace rappers to man up.


the prisoner's wife said...

aww, pimpin quotes? kidding.

but as we discussed yesterday & as the commenter alluded too, this is nothing new. there have always been Soulja Boys & there always will be. and if ANYONE should understand capitalism it should be a pimp, Ice-T. he should know that money, not a culture, not a particular person, is what drives the popularity of things and that he is allowing his view of "what's hood" and/or masculine overshadow his knowledge of the business.

i mean, i hate their (souja boy + hurricane cris + et. al) music, but who am i to crack on their masculinity? isn't that the same thing people tried to do with the Fresh Prince? he was somehow not black enough because he rapped happy, as if black folks are never happy & hip hop ain't about a party.

Model Minority said...

isn't that the same thing people tried to do with the Fresh Prince? he was somehow not black enough because he rapped happy, as if black folks are never happy & hip hop ain't about a party.
Don't get me started about one dimensional portrayals of Black men.

Like they be killing for breakfast lunch and dinner.

I counted a half dozen black men riding bikes in Forte Green with their sons. HALF DOZEN.

Talk about trumping stereotypes.


Is that I am thinking of doing a 501 c 3 & C 4.

Blood. This Gender and Hip Hop shit is turning into a movement.

Yikes. Yeah.

neo said...

I tried to ignore the Ice-T vs. Souljah Boy debacle and with some measure of success. I mean for me to comment would be almost like pulling teeth. It's sad really, Ice-T thought he was speaking for old heads, 80's babies and such and yet we're all giving him the gas-face...I side with SJB, the best way to teach the young'uns is not to diss but talk to them, show them, guide them...

Model Minority said...

It's sad really, Ice-T thought he was speaking for old heads, 80's babies and such and yet we're all giving him the gas-face
Whats incredible to me is how he is repping his masculnity.

I mean. Mr. Cop Killer is PLAYING a cop on tv and telling 20 year old rappers to stop smiling.

510 said...

I found it more interesting that my sister called me not knowing the meaning behind "superman that hoe" and then being totally shocked when I told her.

Aunt Jackie said...

Well considering the fact that Soljah Boy got rich and famous with a song about having unprotected sex and cumming on girl's backs...I'd like the dude to man up my damn self.

That being said Ice T has evolved, which is to sat that there's a chance Soljah Boy can also evolve.

Cop Killer was about raging against the machine.

Superman Dat Hoe (or how ever the hell you call it) is about raging against our young women.

Personally I'll take cop killer!

Model Minority said...

a song about having unprotected sex and cumming on girl's backs

Your lying.

There is no way.

OMG I am feeling my inner C.Dolores Tucker.

When you say you would like for him to man up, what would that look like?

Aunt Jackie said...

Perhaps manning up for a teenage boy promoting unprotected sex would be doing some damn community service and talking to the teens and tweens about using condoms, protecting themselves during sex and maybe passing out condoms...

these kids listen to each other so since he's in the spotlight maybe he should use it to his advantage.

The single fact that his song is about something so vile and kids all over the place are doing the dance and not understanding the words sickens me...

I mean truly sickens me!

Kevin said...

I have to admit, after digging pretty deep into the whole Soulja Boy Crank Dat phenomenon, I'm still a bit skeptical about the sexual reading of "Superman dat ho." Granted, using the word "ho" is pretty wack but as far as I can tell, the sex definition seems to have been retrofitted via urbandictionary and it is equally likely that they were describing their goofy dance step.

But assuming I am wrong and SB was referencing some fake sex act, it doesn't surprise me. Dude was 16 when he wrote the track! That's what 16 year old boys talk about among each other - even enlightened, caring, thoughtful ones. Dirty sanchez, rusty trumpet, donkey punch. Look these up! They are the among the many things that sexually inexperienced boys speak about - this one just happens to have been blown up unexpectedly on the back of 1000s of YouTube videos.

The SB phenom has been pretty empowering for a lot of kids. It definitely complicated the performance of masculinity in hip-hop and permitted goofy, fun rap to get big again. Certainly it is not beyond critique, but I hope that we can see the positive impact it might have despite that one contentious phrase.

M.Dot. said...

Hey Kevin,

Thank you for stopping by and for sharing.

Supman that ho isn't a contentious phrase, it is the hook of the song, the connector if you will, and the name of the dance.

I am a nerd. You are a nerd. So I surveyed a dozen sites on a definition.

More or less to supman a ho is to cum on her back, w/o her knowing, so when she gets up the sheet is stuck to her back as if she has a cape.

Yes 16 year old boys talk about sex. They are awkward and silly.
They have been and probably will be until eternity.

Sure as one song it is relatively harmless. But taken with Young Geezy, Young Joc, Lil Wayne, 30-50 percent Urban unemployment, 3 strikes, Rockefeller drug laws.

Its one big toxic package.

I wager that I am moved by this issue being, as a Black women & hip hop head, I have to be mindful of how these songs normalize sexual access to our bodies in general and on the streets specifically.
I posted a video last week by, Tracey Rose, titled Black Woman walking that speaks to this.

Hence my issue with the "Try and fuck a black girl" line in The Wackness.

Hence my issue with a drunk white girl kissing me in Boombap party three weeks ago.

Hence my issue with young man FOLLOWING ME into a police department in a train station in the subway claiming that I harassed him.

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