The Hip-Hop Witch Project: Don’t Throw Stones in Rap Houses
I apologize in advance for the strangeness drizzled throughout my blog weeks—I’m just not the list-y type, nor one for cheap laughs. What I am partial to, though, is a great story. I’ve written a couple XXLMag.com blogs in the past focused on my favorite storytelling rap songs, of a more provocative variety, tracks such as Jean Grae’s “Taco Day” and Souls of Mischief’s “Anything Can Happen.” (They’re also blogging on XXLMag.com this week).
This fondness for fiction plays a substantial role in the recurring film-meets-hip-hop themes of my blogs here, and today it’s front and center. Truth be told, I’m actually quite pleased that I’m able to work in some abstract things onto a hip-hop website, hopefully connecting them to the culture in some sort of believable way. If not, I’ll just continue to bounce such random ideas in my head and not bother you always-appreciated XXLMag.com readers with my eccentricities in the future.
Today’s left-field topic comes directly from one of my favorite short stories: Shirley Jackson’s chilling piece of ballsy literature, “The Lottery.” First published in the June 26, 1948 issue of The New Yorker, it’s a strikingly unsympathetic look at one small town’s yearly harvest ritual, which revolves around human sacrifice as a means of ensuring a good crop. How it works, see, is that, on the 27th of every June, the village’s citizens all gather around. The head of each family draws a piece of paper, the fam-runner whose paper has a black mark unwittingly sends his family into the lottery’s nightmare round. Each member of the unlucky family picks a paper slip, and then the recipient of the black-marked sheet is pummeled with stones tossed by the townsfolk until he or she is dead and full of rock-issued welts.
“The Lottery” is pitch-dark and a quick shot to the gut, yes, but it’s also beautifully written and fearless. The tale cemented Ms. Jackson’s legacy, which didn’t need much solidifying as it were (she’s widely hailed as one of the most influential horror authors of all time for many reasons beyond the greatness of “The Lottery”).
But enough of that here.
Like yesterday’s random The Pharcyde Anvil!: The Story of Anvil lead-in graph, this tribute to “The Lottery” has a XXL-purpose. I swear. It’s right here. And thanks for the patience (if you’re still reading and haven’t drifted off into the Bangers section by now).
Taking the homicidal portion out of the story, of course, I can’t help but wonder how a toned-down hip-hop version of “The Lottery” could play out. This is how my mind works, so take it as you may. The fake set-up could go something like this…
An assembly of crews locked into a photo studio; G-Unit alongside Triple C’s, Young Money next to G.O.O.D. Music. A black box placed in the center of the room, stuffed with one slip of loose-leaf for each attending rapper. The participating superstars—50 Cent, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne and Kanye West—pulling out what they hope isn’t the blackened slip. Weezy’s hand, hypothetically, emerging with the cursed object, forcing F. Baby and his YM comrades to test their individual luck. Nicki Minaj, sadly (and fictionally), losing this lottery; adhering to the rules, her groupmates would have to hurl stones her way, still—lyrically-insulting ones, however, not actual rocks. A Nicki Minaj (or whomever stood in her end-of-the-lottery place) roast of sorts, that she’d have to endure without any chance of retaliation. Hence, a completely one-sided battle.
What would the purpose of this event be? To test the respective crew’s loyalty. Imagine if “The Hip-Hop Lottery” was in existence at the time when Game was just starting to make his angry feelings toward G-Unit known in public. Would the other members of Young Money, Drake not included, reveal any feelings of resentment toward Nicki Minaj’s solo acclaim?
Maybe I’ve watched that great Twilight Zone episode “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street” too many times. I wouldn’t doubt it. But tell me, XXLMag.com heads, am I on to something? Or do I need to lay off the proverbial pipe? —Matt Barone