Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"I sold water last summer, holla!"

It must be your ass.

This is about a week too late, but I have a smidgen of free time, so I'll indulge myself. Last weekend, ABLLE, the black/Latino men's group on campus hosted the CHAS conference for men of the same background from other liberal arts colleges. I didn't register (whoops!), but I did attend their showing of "Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes" by Byron Hurt. You can watch a preview of the movie if you click on the link, but here are some quick things to note:
  • Chuck D thinks every rapper out is a punk.
  • There's a guy who says something to the effect of "money's my bitch, and I'm trying to get my rape on"
  • Another dude, when talking about what kinds of characters record companies want artists to portay, says the title of this post.
  • Mos Def's intelligence shtick is just that, while at least Busta is honest in his homophobia.
Chuck D' presence in the movie is a bit confusing. He does make some good points about who is controlling images and corporate responsibilty, but when he shifts equal blame to rappers is where I have a problem. It's not that rappers should not be held responsible for their lyrics, but if you're going to chastise Clipse for how they portray themselves on record, why do a spoken word into for a guy who made a song called "Rape?" Sure it is a metaphor, but does that make it OK? Most people would say no. Besides, the Clipse aren't really famous, so it's hard to make a case that they in particular are using stereotypes to cash in. Besides, they've been making songs like this since "The Funeral." Also, Chuck D is rumored to be doing a song with Nelly on the Derrty One's new album. Just sit on that for a while.

I saw the movie last semester and liked it, and Black Thought, James Peterson and Marc Lamont Hill were on the panel, so I figured it would be productive. It was, to an extent, though I got the feeling that for some people watching that movie was the first time they had seen those issues discussed in regards to rap. I asked to questions, which Patrick and I talked a little bit about on Sunday:
How trusting should someone like me be of a person like AL Sharpton, who seems like he wants total control of the images of black people that are displayed to the masses? How can I be sure he's going to ensure a diversity of images?

Would rappers get so much heat if they marketed each album as a "concept album?"
According to some, there are plenty concept albums in rap, and the idea of a concept album is really an excercise in self-importance. Discuss.

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