Minstrel rap is back

Minstrel rap ain’t dead, it just took a vacation for a couple of years. You know how black people like to take extended periods of time off from work. As the saying goes, when the weather is too hot, niggas don’t wanna work. When the weather is too cold, niggas don’t wanna work. And when the weather is just right, niggas wanna have a barbecue!

I’d have to check, but as far as I know, it’s been a couple of years since there’s been a rap song that specifically references chicken. Of course, there’s been any number of songs that are embarrassing to black people in some form or another. Take for example Soulja Boy’s entire oeuvre. And hardly a day goes by when there isn’t a video on World Star that functions as a reminder of the sad state of affairs in the black community, a la the video of Derrion Albert’s head getting split open to the white meat. (Rest in peace.) But there’s been a conspicuous absence of actual white meat. If I didn’t know any better, I might even suspect it’s had something to do with Barack Obama being in office.

A few years ago, you could hardly swing a dead cat on the Internets without hitting a video of black kids dancing and singing about chicken. There was “Fry That Chicken,” and “Chicken Noodle Soup,” and “Chain Hang Low” by Jibbs’, which features an interpolation of the song “Zip Coon” aka “Turkey in the Straw,” a classic minstrel show number. If you count turkey as a form of chicken, which isn’t that much of a stretch (I’ve gotten the itis from both), that’s enough for a trend story in the New York Times, the newspaper of record. You couldn’t help but think that there was some conspiracy by the major labels to push minstrel rap as the proverbial new ska. I said as much in a post for this site, which was referenced and/or ripped off wholesale in a number of media outlets. At one point, there was even a public radio show where Jesse Jackson commented on it. And I know it’s referenced in some book, which also includes a footnote explaining the meaning and origin of the term tall Israeli. The author emailed me a while back, I guess to see if I’d be pissed if he called me an antisemite. On the contrary, I viewed it as merely another stepping stone to cementing my status as the leading black public intellectual.

But I digress.

Over the course of the weekend, two new videos hit the Internets, suggesting that the minstrel rap trend is far from over. The major labels might not be behind it as strong as they were in ’06, when there was still a glimmer of hope from rap album sales, but that hasn’t put a damper on the DIY spirit. As far as I can tell neither of these new clips was produced with the aid of the aforementioned tall Israelis.

One definitely wasn’t. It’s a clip of a baby, on a table, doing the stanky leg. Whatever that is. It’s like those dancing baby commercials from the late ’90s, except it’s so real and it’s so sad. The youngest person in my family (that I’m forced to deal with on a regular basis) is 27, so I don’t know jack shit about babies. But I can’t imagine the baby in this video is any older than a year old. It’s a wonder it can even stand up on its own, let alone dance far better than I can. If it doesn’t grow up to be morbidly obese (i.e. even beyond the standards of black strip clubs), that ought to serve it well in its career working the pole. (If you haven’t seen this video already, it’s posted on my own site today, under the title “Why we can’t have nice things.”)

The other video looks all slick and professional, and features a number of cars that probably cost quite a bit, if only for the umpteen inch rims, leading one to think that a white person must have cut a check in order for it to be produced, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the funding came from the proceeds of the black Muslim trade. After all, it was filmed in Chicago. The video “Chicken Waang” by DJ Solo was posted on the Chicago rap blog just a few hours ago, but already it’s caused it’s share of commotion. The consensus in the comments section seems to be that it’s an embarrassment for black people in general, and Chicago rap music in particular. As if Chicago rap music needs any more embarrassments this year.

Watching the video for “Chicken Waang,” which features an entire neighborhood of people posing with bottles of barbecue sauce (no, really), and shaking their asses next to $600 cars with $6,000 rims, you wonder if it ever occurred to any of these people what an embarrassment this video would be. But then you’re reminded that it could have been a lot of worse. This video may have been produced in the same area where Derrion Albert brought a whole new meaning to the term white meat. It came from the same city and the same overall class of people anyway. Obviously, the thought process is just way different than it is most other places.

  • General

    Dammit, if only “Chicken Waaang” had been released a couple of weeks ago, Chicago might have gotten that Olympic bid for 2016

  • Vakuru Chaivo

    That song is going to be a hit out here in N.Korea. Sh*t we can’t even afford chicken feet for supper and dj solo got chickens spinning on rims in bbq sauce!

  • SOUTHSIDE A-TOWN

    “You know how black people like to take extended periods of time off from work. As the saying goes, when the weather is too hot, niggas don’t wanna work. When the weather is too cold, niggas don’t wanna work. And when the weather is just right, niggas wanna have a barbecue!”
    ^^ROFL!!!

  • Lunatikstwocents

    Wow..Minstrel Show 2009.
    I guess people dont realize how ignorant and stereotypical this looks.

  • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grands

    “Do ya ears, hang, low…”

    My wife put me up on that coontastic song when “Chain Hang Low” first came out, then we found it online just to listen with disgust.

    Minstrel rap didn’t even take a vacation. Ignorance just gets smarter as time goes by. I figure I might as well cash in on the sambo money while the getting’s good. About to drop my singles online, “Mayo Sammiches” & “Somewhere (a horse is freezin’ his ass off)”.

  • JB

    Most of these videos (Chicken Waang (sic) Included) would be funny except for the fact that the “authors” of said “musical pieces” are serious.

  • HNIC

    These videos are the perfect set-up for the “Watermelon” parody that Affion Crocket, Nas & Mr. Mariah Carey… um, I mean, Nick Cannon, came out with a few months ago. If you haven’t seen it, you should check it out via Google, ASAP. It’s amusing, yet disturbing, (due to its accurate depiction of the “sub-genre” of Minstrel Rap Music) at the same time.

  • latino heat

    the Chicken Waang video has already been removed from You Tube. anybody else know where to find it?

    • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grands

      @heat

      I just saw it, heat. Less than 5 mins ago. Look up “watermelon affion crockett nas”.

      @HNIC

      Damn, good looks on that. That was awesome, in a bad & good way. Is that where it’s headed? Or, is it there now, & we just haven’t noticed yet? Hmmm…

      • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grands

        @heat

        Oops. Never mind.

  • $ykotic/Don McCaine

    “What People Do For Money”-Rockmaster Scott & The Dynamic Three

    The youngin’s are taking massive L’s this year. Someone clean this up before y’all totally get written off.

    Get some respected OG’s in the camp instead of Franklin, Grant & Jackson. They would have told you BBQ sauce, rims & chicken ‘waangs” is not a good look in 2009.

    Actually it’s never is a good look.

  • latino heat

    @ Grnad$

    i seen the Watermelon video, but the Chicken Waang video is gone. it’s probably for the best though.

  • HNIC

    You’re welcome, Grands! You’ve posed some great questions, which could spark a few intellectual debates and/or open dialog on that topic. I certainly hope that we’re not heading in that direction.

    Overall, I don’t believe that we’re there yet, but, from what we’ve seen from a few individuals, it leaves me a little uneasy & disheartened about where our culture is headed, in the future.

    Then again, they say that everything is cyclical. So, even with the few bad apples that we currently have, we’ll still have some artists that maintain or exceed the standard to receive the seal of approval that the forefathers of this culture laid the groundwork for.

    Simply put, we’re resilient enough & wise enough to not buy into this sort of foolishness, in my opinion.

    • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grands

      @HNIC

      Word. But you know the adage “one bad apple spoils the bunch”. Society, to me, thrives on negativity & commerce. Combine the two, & WOW, we end up with love songs about BBQ & car rims. In this case (Hip Hop), we’re all ready being exploited, disrespected & not taken seriously. Then, we offer up some of the most stereotype-confirming music in the history of the art itself. While the videos we (the Hip Hop culture) all watch may not be all that bad to us because we can relate, dude, can you imagine how it looks to the outside world?

      That “Watermelon” shit can easily be replaced with “fuck bitches”, “I kill niggas”, “I’m selling dope & don’t care who it hurts”, etc, if you understand what I’m getting @. Granted, “Watermelon” was a parody, but it’s more or less exactly what’s translated on TV. Like I said, we may be there as we speak, but can’t see the forest for the trees. I hate to say shit like “Thats why nobody takes Blacks seriously”, but we throw these images, gestures & sentiments @ the world ourselves.

      That ‘Watermelon’ video should be a wake-up call for lots artists, but sadly, I think more people will just laugh, as opposed to laughing & realizing that the level of ignorance we put out is how we are judged by society, be it good or bad. I know dudes are trying to get paid, but when does it end?

      My grandmother would slap the civil rights out of my ass if she caught me dancing a jig while sangin’ about some fucking chicken! I’m almost positive MLK jr didn’t put his life on the line for niggas to re-create minstrel shows, but cats are surely getting their ‘Amos ‘n’ Andy’ on these days.

      Even still, that ‘Watermelon’ shit was mad funny. Just in a bad way.

      • HNIC

        What up, Grands!

        I agree with a lot of what you said. I tried posting a response, earlier today, but, for whatever reason, it didn’t. So, here we go, again. I feel you on your statement about society thriving off of negativity & commerce. I believe that those things are what this country of ours is built upon. If negativity equals violence & ignorance, our society used & abused those things since the beginning of time, in varying degrees rendering various results. Although, it seems that Hip Hop has repeatedly been demonized to become the scapegoat for all of society’s ills. Someone has to be the culprit for our collective (society’s) misteps, shortcoming & overall failures, right? (See Bill O’Rielly, Rush Limbaugh & many other white, middle to upperclass conservatives & even most of our own elders.)

        But, I digress.

        To those people, perception is reality. So, those aforementioned bad apples do spoil things for the rest of the bunch. However, we, as consumers & followers of this culture have the power to determine what we choose to accept as our representatives. If we admonish & not support what these people are attempting to pollute the culture with, then they will eventually fade away into the background, never to be heard of again, or they will evolve to become what our fellow hip hop fans admire & support. Feel me? Each of us, individually & more importantly collectively, can be the catalyst for change.

        I only hope that this new generation will begin to become inspired by & in turn begin to emulate the leaders that fathered this movement. You can hear how our generation was inspired by other artists; such as, Chuck D (& Eazy E) influenced Ice Cube, Big Daddy Kane influenced Jay-Z, Rakim influenced Nas, Slick Rick influenced Andre 3k, Too Short influenced Snoop Dogg, so on & so forth. If that were the case, there would definately be hope for the future generation of hip hop. All is not lost, my dude.

  • BIGNAT

    “when the weather is too hot, niggas don’t wanna work. When the weather is too cold, niggas don’t wanna work. And when the weather is just right, niggas wanna have a barbecue!”
    man bol i can’t lie i had to text this shit out to people because it was so funny.

  • Shawty J

    “As the saying goes, when the weather is too hot, niggas don’t wanna work. When the weather is too cold, niggas don’t wanna work. And when the weather is just right, niggas wanna have a barbecue!”

    LMAO!

  • Brass Tacks

    Yay! another win for the I Have a Dream Speech!
    I am sure MLK Jr. is having massive convulsions just watching this sh**…. talk about FAIL!

  • Brooklyn

    wow, niggas don’t have no shame. i wish i would make a video where i’m doing the steppin fetchit while holding bbq chicken in my hand, even as a joke that’s not a good look. the fact that these niggas was serious is just sad. this reminds me of that spike lee joint “bamboozled”, the things a nigga’ll do for money, it’s really sad. these folks are literally whoring themselves out, and unlike actual whores who do their jobs in alleys, motels, and the backseats of cars, these motherfuckers put their whorish behavior on the internet, where everyone can see them.

  • Enlightened

    Bol-

    I’ve figured it out man. I see how when you google search, you’ll see people who put popular people in the middle of shit just to get their hits up, but they’ll do it in a dumb ass way like

    “buy lava 2000 soap Angelina Jolie and I guarantee you will experience Angelina Jolie smoother skin and your loved one will Angelina Jolie love your new scent”

    You, on the other hand, keep dropping Derrion Albert’s name in your blog. But you do it more slick and professional by acting like he actually has something to do with your blog. I get it now.

    But let me say this, just hope that no one has a camera when it happens, and hope that they don’t stomp you after you’re unconscious because one day somebody is going to catch you and beat the brakes off your ass unmercifully. I’m sure you’ve accepted the fact that it’s bound to happen.

    I just wish you the best of luck when that day comes.

  • GIFT

    Bol is a throwed ass nigga, but what he’s sayin makes a whole lot of sense. It wouldn’t surprise me if there was a conspiracy to make us look like fools, and what’s worse, is hiphop is letting it happen. Everytime some new nigga who is always dancin, or has elementary style rhymes is considered the shit, then we as a culture have a huge problem. Labels are signing alot of bullshit artist w/no originality, telling them to make some comerciallized bullshit, slap some “swagger” adjustments on these fake niggas, and try to call it hiphop. Minstrel Show at its finest. hiphop needs help bad!!!!