You guys know I enjoy my share of music by cracka-ass crackas, but even I’ve got my limits.
The other day, I just so happened to wake up at like 6:00 in the morning, because I’d passed out drinking beer at like 8 p.m. the night before. I thought for a minute that, since I was up anyway, this might be the day I finally begin to get my shit together. But then I was just like, fuck it, and started watching TV for about four hours, at which point I went back to bed.
I caught some of that morning top 20 countdown they run on VH1, which I hadn’t seen since I was in college, and it occurred to me: white music has never been quite as cracka-ish as it is in 2007. Which is ironic, since black music has never been quite as… um, what’s the word for this… let’s just say, southern as it is in 2007. If you’re like me and enjoy music that falls somewhere between the two extremes, it’s kind of a shitty time to be alive. But what else is new?
Take for example this song “Hey There Delilah” by the Plain White T’s. Wow, that’s some cracka-ish shit! Even more so than the likes of Matchbox 20 and whatever it is they used to play five or six years ago, which is positively wiggerish by comparison. Listening to it the other day, I was picking up some serious “More Than Words” by Extreme flashbacks, which is not something I necessarily needed. (It also reminds me of the Dynamite Hack version of “Boyz in the Hood,” for all my late ’90s heads.)
There’s also that song “Big Girls Don’t Cry (Personal)” by Fergie, which is a complete 180 from shit like “London Bridge” and “Fergalicious” from earlier this year. It’s almost too white to get played on a top 40 station, let alone on hip-hop stations along with the rest of her bullshit. Presumably this is a play by her label to shore up her support out here in the fly-over states. I couldn’t imagine a black artist being able to pull anything like this, even if they wanted to.
Jon Bon Jovi of all people provided some insight into this trend during a recent appearance on the Howard Stern Show, another cracka-ass cracka program I tune into from time to time. I don’t know if his new album is a legit country album or not, but it’s being sold as one. It’s actually called Lost Highway, which is the name of the alt-country tax write-off division over at Island Def Jam. But basically what he was saying is that he was left with no other choice but to play country music. That is, if he ever wants his shit played on the radio anymore.
For those of us old enough to remember the 1980s, it seems rather odd, if not fortunate, that Bon Jovi of all people would have a hard time getting their shit played on the radio. Granted part of it is that those dudes are like 50 and haven’t had a single good idea in like 20 years. But part of it is that a lot of white people these days – kids in particular – just plain don’t want to hear that shit. As Jon Bon Jovi pointed out, Top 40 radio these days is much blacker these days than it was back then. As such, artists these days are faced with two choices: blacken things up a bit, or start singing country music.
Or, if you’re Fergie, both.
I can’t imagine how this could possibly bode well for anyone who enjoys good music, but it must be especially shitty for young black artists. I mean, at least a cracka-ass cracka has the option of either wiggering it up or playing to their base, if you will. Black artists these days pretty much don’t have any choice. It’s either get your Pimp C on, or end up at Koch, where you’re probably going to end up anyway. Probably the only really successful hip-hop act who’s managed to combine consciousness with an appeal to the lowest common denominator is Kanye West, who’s rhymes only seem smart to people who don’t know any better. Meanwhile, what’s there for the rest of us?