Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Cuuurtis Jackson and Obama: Brothers In Arms?

(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,

I'm starting to get really tight over this whole issue of who is allowed to be black and hatred old guard blacks are throwing at Obama.
Last week Robert Ford said about Obama,

  • "Every Democrat running on that ticket next year would lose — because he's black and he's top of the ticket. We'd lose the House and the Senate and the governors and everything.
He later apologized.

From the same article,

  • Darcel Lancaster, an 18-year-old Claflin freshman, spent nearly two hours waiting in the morning's chill to be the first in line to see Obama. The biology major said she wouldn't commit to Obama's campaign.
    "I'm going to look more into others," she said. She doesn't expect him to win every black vote — including hers. "Some people think he's not black enough," Lancaster said. If she picked Obama, it wouldn't be because of his race, she said. "He's not full black," Lancaster said.

Full black.
What the flying fuck does that mean? Who is full black? Who is full anything?

I would like some American Negroes to show me the DNA tests that prove their great-great-great grandmother didn't get raped on the plantation somewhere down the line. Show me that and I'll stop riding with Obama.

That should be the new black card. Official DNA composition results.
I've 99% West African fool, my 7X great uncle hung out with Nat Turner and I was the secret fourth man in the Sean Bell car.
And what fool?!
Beat that.


  1. Do you have another link for the article, because the link you supplied is not working. .

  2. Does anyone notice that none of this happens in the underground? You may have minor beefs but things dont get violent or out of hand.

    Mos Def, Kweli, Madlib, Little Brother, Dilated Peoples, EL-P, MF DOOM etc, etc, etc dont seem to be caught up in this nonsense or need body guards.

    I think the frame of the discussion needs to be changed. There is a large swath of rap music where there is little or no problems.

    When was the last time someone got shot at a DMC battle? Or a B-Boy battle?

    Ive never had issues going to underground shows.

    It is always the major label or the "dumb nigga music" that causes all the problems

  3. The questioning of Obama's blackness is incredibly sad. How come you can hardly voice a critique of all the ignorant rap shit in the media before someone calls you hater, but you can question the legitmacy of an intelligent, hard-working black man trying to help all of us and all you here is cricket-chirping in the background? It's always some totally non self-aware black person crying about who's black and who's not. My fro is bigger and rounder than Debra Dickerson does that make me blacker than her?

    Once again it all comes down to fear. The old guard and disenfranchised blacks that propigate this bull are afraid that the blacks that are pulling away from them socio-economically and no longer allied with them politically. Of course, that's not true. No matter where the house is or how big it is, we're still black so anything that dimishes the prison-industrial complex or keeps white people from easily acquiring guns is going to be in our best interest. I got a benz, not a lobotomy. (Actually, I don't have a Benz, but I have really bad credit. Am I black enough now?)

  4. Which article didn't show up?
    Let me know.

    - Yea, the vibe at underground shows is different because they exist as an alternative to the whole bullshit mainstream rap culture. If they started getting violent, it would defeat the whole purpose.

    - I feel you on that. Call out rap music and people say you're a sellout. Question anyway positive and you're being real.
    The only solace is that dudes younger than me see how rap music is fucking shit up.

  5. The lack of support Obama has seen from the black community is surprising and disheartening.

    All these electable questions are nonsense. Obama would beat any of them Republican nominees.

    Hillary Clinton is an opportunist politician to the hilt.

  6. So many once-devout rap heads I know feel the same way. They (and I quite frankly) have come to loathe what rap has come to stand for, but rap is not causing this shit; the culture of ignorance and irresponsibility is. They only gravitate toward rap because it's popular and has become shorthand for (ignorant) black authenticity; if rap had never gone mainstream, there would be the same stupid coon culture, it would just have been propagated through other vehicles. I’m convinced, for example, that the hood DVDs would have sprung up independently. And look at the influence of the pimp/ho culture: it has been around much longer than rap has.

    And yeah, the Obama shit is ridiculous. There’s no way black folks will reject Obama because he’s not “black enough;” however, I won’t front: if he had a white wife, he’d be in trouble with both conservative white voters and a number of black voters.

    There’s an important point in this whole thing that people are glossing over: American black folks (those marked as descendants of slaves) are considered morally and culturally inferior to all other black folks around the world. This is in part a general expression of the role the concept of the immigrant often plays in racial discourse (“why can’t you blacks be more like group X: they came here with nothing, work(ed) hard and made something of themselves”); but I think that the stigma of American slavery, which is deeper than most people think, has driven this distinction. All of this is responsible for the jealousy and backlash from the old black guard (themselves a bunch of regressive opportunists under whose “leadership” popular black culture and community values have reached their nadir).

    Dickerson is a headcase. She has many issues, especially with black men. I’m sure she spent many a lonely night in her dorm room wishing that a Billy-Dee would sweep her off of her feet. Now she’s extremely defensive about the fact that she married a white guy.

  7. No the Obama thing is not surprising. What cracks me up about it, though, is this bit:

    The biology major said she wouldn't commit to Obama's campaign.
    "I'm going to look more into others."


    Good God, I hope she is talking about in the primaries. If she is talking about not supporting him if he makes it as one of the BIG presidential candidates, I will take back everything I have ever said about this not being a crab-in-the-barrel issue. Black people support every Bell Curve reading DL klansman with a donkey stamped on his ass. Not supporting this Dem over "Black enough" bullshit would be some true hilarity.

  8. OH SHIT! Did some fronting ass white people make Ford apologize because he put white hate on blast for all the brainwashed negroes to see? Now that he's said it, I have to wonder if it is true. Will the American Base be driven further into the arms of the Republican Party because the out-of-touch archlibs running the Democratic Party are too stupid to see what the nation is and isn't ready for?

  9. Good post...funny how Cam a have the public believe he doesn't reside within the same living conditions...the Obama backlash is coming early and often he should've waited until a year away from the primaries not two.

  10. Did you expect anything different? This is so typical of the hating from within that harms the black community. We actually have a candidate that is capable of winning yet we're too busy getting caught up with arbitrary details. The not coming from the same background doesn't stick for me, because there's no way, Obama, looking the way he does, hasn't had to carry the label of being black (and all that comes with that) around his entire life. Not to be a hater, but this is one time I'm glad that black folks don't actually vote. But then again, knowing the f'd up mentality of our people, this will probably be the one time they do come out in droves...just so they can hate on one of their own. And even if he didn't share the exact same experiences as you, is that a good reason to vote for Hilary instead of him. Is her white bread, Ivy League experience more relatable for black folks than Obama's? And what about where they stand on the issues, and who will probably be more likely to help out poor black folks? This is just mind boggling, man...

  11. Quite honestly, the Independent Lens program wasn't that interesting. I desperately wanted it to be really good and insightful, but if I'm being honest with myself, I've got to say that it ultimately left me feeling unfulfilled. It provided very little insight into most of the issues themselves, only giving an overview and then barely scratching the surface in its attempt to examine the issues.

    Maybe it was the time limitations of the hour-long segment? Maybe, in a related point, it was too broad in its aims, spreading its focus over too many topics, never really giving the necessary time to the individual issues in order to examine them with real depth? Maybe -- I have no idea.

    I'm not trying to be unreasonable. I didn't sit down with any expectations of an easy answer, a simple response to incredibly complex sociological issues, but I did expect a bit more insight than I saw.

    Did you take much of anything from it, or did you respond to it in a similar way that I did?

    Seen that Lowell Bergman series on Frontline about the national media? Shit is solid.

  12. go14 - I think black people will come around to Obama. Just a lot of ignorance and skepticism to break through.

    eauhellz - I Cosign all that. I didnt even know Dickerson had a white husband. Pretty damn interesting.

    Anonymous - Ford is part jealous and maybe part right. But I don't think Obama would drive the Democratic ticket into the ground.

    911 - Obama had to start early or he wouldn't have gotten past Edwards and Hilary's shine.

    Nate - The shit is so sad on multiple levels.

    Anonymous - The PBS Doc didn't tell me anything new it was just interesting to see the on the street reactions to everything he asked. But it was to broad and too short. I agree.

    The Bergman doc is pretty damn good. That shit got me thinking much more than the HipHop Doc.