I’ve been called many things, but lately I’ve been referred to as a surly individual. However there’s one thing not many people know about me: I’m a fan of all things silly/light-hearted/quasi-retarded. Take Ray J, for instance. He may come across as some venereal disease-ridden, so-called smooth operator who inexplicably tagged Kim Kardashian, but when I see him I think of little Willie Norwood a/k/a the kid who used to get chased around the locker room after PE class to avoid catching fades from the bullies back when we were short-lived classmates in junior high.
And that’s the thing with hip hop; most of the public personas we all see are nothing more than that. Unfortunately, we’ve spent so much time on those representatives that most of us never know of the other sides of that proverbial coin. Think about it: most of youse by now think I’m some reclusive hermit teetering on the edge of destitution who relies on half-assed posts as my primary source of income.
If this was 2007 and I was still writing for the good ship Amistad, you may have been right.
A few years ago I was one of those elitist type of rapster fans that felt that anything minutely unintelligent was blasphemous to the culture of hip hop. But as I got older and more cynical I realized that most of the nignorance abound in rap should be taken with a grain of salt. So I found it rather humorous that a person like Lil B from The Pack could be taken serious in rap’s hipster/half-ass hardcore humdinger. When some friends introduced me to his stuff a few months – particularly his magnum opus “Like A Martian” – I, admittedly, thought his music was some of the most idiotic stuff I’d ever come across. Misogynistic rants, nonsensical boasts and other kinds of jibba jabba galore, it was the stuff that originally made me wonder what the hell was wrong with rap.
However, when I actually met the guy last March in Texas for SXSW I was, well, verklempt at how down to earth and easily approachable he was: essentially the complete opposite of what videos like “Look Like Jesus” portray him as. That experience actually compelled me to view his music in a different light, and while I don’t necessarily prefer his music over the stuff I grew up on I will admit that it makes me laugh. And isn’t that what hip hop is all about: songs that make you crack a smile as well as think?
I’m not trying to convince everybody who reads this to jump on the Lil B bandwagon, but I am saying that the age-old adage of “more than meets the eye” rings more truer in today’s rapster community than ever before, considering most everybody refers to what was previously considered a geeky, quasi-homosexual platform for nearly all of their hip hop wants and needs. And for those wanting to know, I’m not a hermit teetering on the edge of destitution. That’s word to all this ice and Nikes my slave masters allowed me to cop.