Hip-Hop: Art Or Commercial Shiite?
I posed this very same question to readers at DALLAS PENN Dot Com two years ago after I read this dope piece in Vanity Fair about how the SugarHill Gang was formed. Did y'all know that them niggas didn't even know each other from another blank nigga on the street? One of the dudes was a weedcarrier for GrandMaster Caz and stole that nigga's rhymebook in order to create the song lyrics for 'Rapper's Delight'. In reality, the very first incarnation of rap music that was played on the radio was actually ghostwritten. The game was bullshit from out of the gate and I didn't even know that much. All the producer, Sylvia Robinson knew was that jigs up in Harlem were snapping their fingers to this shit and she and her hsuband needed a hit record to pay back some of that mob money they owed from previous failed disco recordings.
Now ain't that a bitch?!? Literally, and figuratively.
So all throughout my life the music that I used as my personal fucking soundtrack for when I wanted to get high, or get some pussy, or voice my social and political frustrations was merely a sham created to make me want to consume shit. Fuck! I hate when I get bamboozled. This is why I never believe Black people when they say anything. As soon as you turn your back that motherfucker will be trying to get money from you to line his pockets.
Fucking Run-DMC sold me a lifestyle that had me wanting shelltoe adidas and a black fedora hat. The Beastie Boys convinced me to invite my white friends over to party in the basement of my parents' crib. Public Enemy had me wearing a stopwatch around my neck along with an African medallion. Slick Rick convinced me to buy a pair of Bally shoes. N.W.A. taught me not to give a fuck about a racist pig cop. A Tribe Called Quest said that it was cool to be Black and NOT be mired in poverty so that your mind could think of other shit like effing chicks. Yo-Yo made me want a broad with light green eyes. NaS reminded me all over again why I love this shit in the first place. All the while I'm being sold down the river.
I say all this to frame my feelings about the hyped up Hip-Hop that was officially released this week. Whether KanYe outsells Fifty, or vice versa, I hope every one of you that reads this drop buys both. Studies show that most of you won't enter a polling station this November, but you will all spend hundreds of dollars between now and Election Day. Let your wallet be the hand on the lever and kindly vote to continue the charade of surreality that is rap music. I want to hear more songs of gun-slinging mayhem spoken by millionaires hermited away in sound studios on private mansions. I want to dance to more jams of available, intoxicated women recanted by people that couldn't tell me what a woman even smelled like. This is the fantasy world that rap has always occupied from the minute it was first broadcast over the radio. And I don't want it to stop.
I will remain faithful to the corporate ethos that has consumed Hip-Hop in it’s totality. I will spend all my wages on the items du jour. Spinning guns on my teeth, Louis Versolo on my ass, and candy paint on my 2008 Edsel SUV, sitting on 54 inch rims. I’m too far in to stop the fantasy so I might as well go hard since I can’t go home. Hip-Hop never had a home anyhoo. Shit was always on rented time. Standing back looking at KanYe and Fifty helped me realize this after all. KanYe’s desire for white bitches with no commitment or love, and Fifty’s lust for money with no conscience or social responsibility has illustrated to me that neither of these salesmen are artists in the first place. They are both just pitchmen for end of days lifestyles. What was I thinking before by trying to put on a cape and save Hip-Hop with my self-righteousness? The only way to save Hip-Hop is to spend all of my savings, and that starts with me going out and buying these two CD’s from the most expensive retailer I can find.
I want General Electric to see my vote loudly and clearly. Don’t stop the charade and parade of wanton imagery. I’ve built my life around this shit and I don’t want you to take it away now. More KanYe, more Fifty, more DipSet, more OutKast. Not so much Jeezy. More Redman, more Raekwon, and even [gasp] more Lil’ Wayne. I am ready to take the blue pill now (and possibly some purple ones too). Ignorance is bliss and I vote for Team Status Quo.
Stat Quo… Not so much.