heaven01.jpgEverett: Uh, we hear that you pay good money to sing into a can.

Lund: Well, that all depends. You boys do Negro songs?

Everett: Um... well, uh, sir, we are Negroes. All except for our accomp... our accomp... Uh, the fella that plays the guitar.

Lund: Yeah, well, I don't record Negro songs. No, I'm lookin' for some old-timey material. You see, people can't seem to get enough of it since we started broadcasting it on The Pappy O'Daniel Flour Hour, so thank you for stopping by, but...

Everett: Sir, uh, the Soggy Bottom Boys have been steeped in old-timey material. Heck, we're silly with it, ain't we, boys?

Pete: That's right.

Delmar: That's right. We ain't really Negroes.

Pete: All except for our accompanist.

—from O Brother, Where Art Thou?

I'm sorry. I missed the great racial coming out party, Kumbaya-style. Word to the Gullah, I missed when everything became alright between us.

I know a lot of y'all outside the country may think shiite is all cool cause you see the Beckies dancing to 50 in Cancun on MTV, you know that Em loved Proof more than his own mom and you hear the tales of bros around here that are lucky enough to run up in a whyte broad every now and then. (Peace to all my Mandingos—the whyte man's ice is colder and his women easier.) But don't get it twisted. Shiite ain't all ebony and ivory side-by-side on a piano keyboard. Ninety percent of hipsters still get paralyzed like gargoyles in the daytime when a real, live nickel who doesn't bump Bloc Party comes up in their spot. (Word to Blackface Jesus, from what I've heard, some of them still touch dreads and ask, "How do you get your hair to do that?") Truth is, some of us can't even catch a cab in New York unless we got a Snowflake on our arm, you know. Clappas are gonna try to fool you and make you think everything is okay. That's why the first time a nickel gets too far out of line, his ass is out of here. They want to seem like good friends of the Negro.

Here's the trick: When "they" say it's about race, it's not. And when "they" say in ain't about race, you can bet your DVD version of Song of the South that it is. "They" don't really want to talk about race, so "they" talk about the shiite that's not about race and make believe they're dealing with the race issue. (Katrina, anyone? Diallo?) Clappas have been doing this for a long time. Hell, they don't even address issues of class in this country because, well, you can't talk about class without talking about race 'cause they're too intertwined over these parts. Best to avoid the subject altogether. Let's just fire this guy, get him out of here—whether he be a politician, sports announcer or radio personality. There. Problem solved.

So, when Fat Joe and Jadakiss are accused of selling out for collaborating with Paris "Jumpoff" Hilton, it's about race. Word to the sistas with the upturned noses when I'm chilling somewhere in the Gansevoort's shadow with something foreign, when the Old Grey Lady cries that Mike "Fort Minor" Shinoda's wack ass(a) and his wack-ass song is being ignored by hip-hop, it's about race. Now, I've never taken Kelefa Sanneh for a modern-day Sambo and I won't start now, but he does gloss over the race issue, regulating it to one graph of the piece. For shame.

Quotha, the Great K:

This is partly a question of marketing, and it has something to do with race too. (Mr. Shinoda, who is part Japanese and part white, might be received slightly differently if he were black.) But culture, and not just race alone, explains who fits where: the black Dallas rapper Cowboy Troy will never take the hip-hop world by storm (he's marketed as a country act), whereas the white Houston rapper Paul Wall already has.

As if Big & Rich are not > Cowboy Troy.

Mind you, K describes Shinoda as "not a very elegant rapper," calls the Fort Minor album "not very good" and notes that "no one who's accustomed to the sleek, slinky rhymes of T.I. (for example) is likely to be impressed by the workmanlike couplets [Shinoda] delivers." Yet, somehow, the story remains about how—according to the headline—"A rocker's rap is a hit, and the rap world shrugs."

I guess the possibility that some people just have bad taste is too much to fanthom over there on 43rd Street. Or the idea that Negroes only have but so much tolerance for whyte rap is too much to say without using euphemisms becuase, word to Kevin "Barack Obama's Vice President" Powell, Negroes can't be racist.

As if anyone could name more than three whyte rappers anyone with good taste cares about these days(c).

Which leads us to—and I know you've been waiting for it—the all-important question of the day: Would things be so bad for Tom Cruise if he jumped up on Letterman's desk as opposed to Oprah's couch? Didn't seem to be a problem when Drew Barrymore flashed her ta-tas. Granted, she's always had issues. But still. MI:3 > Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.

I say: Let the healing begin. And, excuse me, my Nubian sister, but can you tap that fine looking white girl on the shoulder for me? You may say they ain't got no ass, but I got evidence to the contrary in my porn collection. Lots of it.

(a) Step your Select game up?

(b) Let me help you out: Marshall, Bubba and, yes, The Streets.