Insidious new trend: Minstrel show rap.
Flush with revenue from the likes of Mike Jones’ Who Is Mike Jones?, the Ying Yang Twins’ “Wait (The Whisper Song),” Three-Six Mafia’s Academy Award-winning theme to Hustle and Flow, and D4l’s “Laffy Taffy,” record labels are rushing out to sign the most coon-like negros they can find.
Granted, it can be argued that hip-hop became a minstrel show of sorts the first time some jig put on a gold chain and began pacing back and forth gripping his unit. No Richard Simmons. But that was unintentional. The following can only be viewed as an outright and purposeful embrace of minstrelsy.
DJ Webstar and Young B – “Chicken Noodle Soup”
Ironically, while minstrel show rap obviously has its origins in shitty southern hip-hop, it was a group of jigs in Harlem, New York who were the first to cross that line into actual minstrelsy. If you notice, there’s hardly a difference between the Chicken Noodle Soup dance, which is all the rage on YouTube these days, and the actual dances performed in 19th century minstrel shows.
As educated jig Marc Lamont Hill put it:
Am I getting old or is this dance, with all of the shuffling and light footing, nothing more than new-school minstrelsy?
Even DJ Webstar’s name has circus freak show connotations as it calls to mind the hit ’80s TV series “Webster,” which starred an adorable 25-year-old black midget. No Neverland Valley Ranch.
Peep: DJ Webstar and Young B – “Chicken Noodle Soup” [YouTube]
Jibbs – “Chain Hang Low”
Similarly, you have to wonder if the minstrel show connotations in young St. Louis rapper Jibbs’ current hit “Chain Hang Low” are purely a matter of coincidence. As “revealed” in the New York Times earlier this week, the songs melody has its origins in a song that was once a staple of minstrel show routines.
In the 19th century it was a minstrel mainstay known, depending on the lyrics, as “Zip Coon” or “Turkey in the Straw.” [...] And now, thanks to the St. Louis rapper Jibbs, the old song provides the basis for a new hip-hop hit, “Chain Hang Low.”
If Jibbs wasn’t aware of this, you have to assume the TIs at Geffen were. Indeed, I doubt this was a coincidence at all.
Peep: Jibbs – “Chain Hang Low” [YouTube]
Ms Peachez – “Fry That Chicken”
That said, I’m sure a case could be made for young black kids like Jibbs reappropriating once-racist music the same way black people haven taken all of the fun out of the word nigga. Ms. Peachez’ “Fry That Chicken,” meanwhile, is just indefensible.
I’m not sure what the deal is with actual minstrel show music (“Turkey in the Straw”) as well as modern day minsrel show rap (“Chicken Noodle Soup,” anyone?) referencing food in general and poultry in particular(?), but fried chicken itself obviously has racist (if mostly true) connotations.
Also, what’s the deal with “Ms. Peachez” frying chicken outdoors on what appears to be a plantation?
Peep: Ms. Peachez – “Fry That Chicken” [YouTube]
Perhaps predictably, the hipster community having a field day with this one. As one cracka-ass cracka in the comments section at YouTube put it:
I read in the newspaper that Ms. Peachez is suing the man that filmed this because he did so without her knowledge. Apparently this was a private family reunion and not a rap video at all.
Yeah, real funny.