(See this shit ASAP)
I tried to stay away from the Negro Circus that is 50 Cent's and Cam'ron beef but then last week I was told something that got me thinking.
"Hip-hop has destroyed the black community."
Hearing that statement in the context of seeing the above PBS doc last night and reading about all the fights that broke out at every rap related party during the NBA All-Star Game got me thinking about how that statement would have been heresy to me 10 years ago and how I completely agree with it now.
And then I saw Cam'ron's diss track "Curtis" on the YouTubes (I really was trying to avoid the beef.)
Watching the 50 Cent / Cam'ron "beef" take place in the hyper speed world of Internet time (From radio beef to music video in 24 hours? Can you say staged?) was interesting in its own sick way but the shit that really caught my ear was Cam'ron's attacks on 50.
Cam was basically was checking 50's hood status because 50 has a house in the suburbs.
Cam'ron has a house out in the suburbs too.
Who is he fooling? Do black people really believe this shit?
Anyone think Cam is really eating General Tso's Chicken on the stoop of some project where the feces odor from the stairwell and urine smell from the elevator lingers over his meal?
The NY Times recently pointed out that rappers are flocking to Alpine, NJ for mansions like it's the new Section 8 and Cam's mortgage dealer was interviewed in the article.
From the article,
But what about lyrical content? Can a rapper really stay true to his street roots when his neighbors are horseback-riding hedge-fund managers and wild deer are scampering across his dew-covered front lawn?
“First of all, when you talk about New Jersey, you’re not talking about Beverly Hills,” Mr. Harrell said. “The influence of the urban experience is 30 minutes away, but you don’t have to be in the noise all the time.” He added, “You have to have quiet as an artist to hear your inner voice.”
And Fabolous said he had not entirely isolated himself. “I still go back to Brooklyn all the time,” he said, “just to remind myself how far I’ve come and get inspiration from that. And I don’t think if I see a deer on my lawn, it will shake me too much.” He added, laughing, “If I do see a deer, it might be something funny I can put in a rhyme.”
Even if Cam did stay in the "hood" would that claim even still be relevant?
Most hip-hop today sounds like a commercial for a hedge fund managers weekend vacation.
The shit is so out of touch with modern black life and American life as a whole that it really doesn't speak to most black people. And the people who are selling these pre-packaged urban Happy Meals are frolicking with dear out in the fucking woods somewhere.
The hood is not a place anyone should come back to once they leave, but don't pretend you're authentic because you film your street DVDs in the projects. C'mon.
I'm not breaking any news by saying that rap glorifies the most destructive aspects of the African-American experience. A recent article about DJ Drama in the NY Times (good read) ended with this sad little blurb,
- In fact, Julia Beverly, the editor of Ozone, a Southern hip-hop magazine, suggested that it was more likely to improve his image and album sales. “Really, this takes him to a gangsta level,” she said. “It gives him a little something extra. It’s messed up, but if someone goes to jail or dies, it elevates his status and just makes him more of a star than he was before. That’s the way the entertainment industry works in general. So, having cops at your door with M-16’s at your head, and MTV News reporting on the raid, calling you the biggest D.J. in the world? You can’t pay for that type of look.”
Most black people ain't making it rain. If they could there wouldn't be a riot every time some dumb jig rapper through money in the air.
This beef and the whole Obama controversy all traces back to the question of "What is Black?" and who controls that blackness.
Peep this dumb bitch Debra Dickerson on the Colbert Report,