Thursday, May 1, 2008

Hip-hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes

Etheline and myself were up late painting last night. Luckily I'm on duty this Friday night which means I get to pull together the Friday night program. So I was using my genuis artistic skills to paint a vibrant poster that would convince residents that their friday night would be well-spent in the halls with me, versus getting drunk at a house down the block...

and Etheline was trying to make brown with our six primary colored paints we had. (she's really into trees) What we ended up with was four bowls of some purple-ish/ grey-ish color. I thought it was quite the color though.

Since I highly doubt any of my lovely residents would be willing to sacrifice their friday night with their favorite resident assistance, I thought here would be a great place to advertise for my program =).

Xavier Friday Night Programs presents a screening of:

"Hip-hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes"
Friday May 2nd 8:30 PM

Hip-hop is a man's game... but does it have to be?
"Beyond Beats & Rhymes" takes an in-depth look at masculinity and manhood in rap and hip-hop, where creative genius collides with misogyny, violence and homophobia, exposing the complex intersections of culture and commerce.
Join Xavier residents in the screening of this documentary followed by a brief dialogue afterwards where residents can share their own experiences and perspectives on hip-hop.

What?! Shocking I know! Misogyny??! Violence?!? Homophobia??! How could hip-hop have any relevance to all these larger societal oppressors?!?! I mean Lil Wayne? Souljah Boy? Eminem? no wayyy......Snoop Dog?? Snoop Dog has been helping children.. right? Here, I'll even show a picture of Snoop Dog in his finest.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to hate on hip-hop, nor do I mean to "villafy" these talented artists. I actually admire hip-hop, although differently than a hip-hop head may. Some of my favorite artists and musicians happen to be hip-hop artists, for example Lupe Fiasco (whom I happen to be in love with), Common (whom I quote often: "when we lessen our women our conditions seem to worsen"), blue scholars, Macklemore's alright... Hip-hop has done amazing things, there's just something transformative about hip-hop. Something about the ways in which it can cross cultural boundaries and bring together those that would normally choose not to engage in one other. Or perhaps, that would be my own biased assumption..

Okay lets start with Lil Wayne. I actually was okay with Lil wayne when I first heard him in Duffle Bag Boy (What?? Duffle Bag Boy?? that's like, so recent, Lil Wayne goes WAY BACK. Yeah, well I already mentioned that I'm not a freakin hip-hop head, so stop judging me on the basis of one.) Anyway, sorry it just seems like whenever I show the slightest interest in hip-hop that is not mainstream, I feel like hip-hop heads around me are just glaring through me as if I was some sort of poser. It's as if hip-hop heads are protective about who loves their music. It's music, no one owns it. For example, I was at the bar at the Cunninlynguists show and a male asked me what I was doing there. "Why are you here? You don't listen to Cunninlynguists." What the hell? Girls can't listen to some good hip-hop like Cunninlynguists? Actually I sort of understand now why any man would assume that females would not be interested in Cunninlynguists, they are closely affiliated with Tonedeff (.. at a previous show Tonedeff pointed to me and some girls around us during his performance and alluded to something about a threesome. What surprise huh? a man making sexual references to a group of females without these females doing the slightest thing that would even hint at something suggestive like a three some, but what's new? I was at a party once my freshman year, and this is freshman year when I took my first sip of alcohol. A guy told me him and his girl wanted to have a threesome and if I was interested. First of all I highly doubt it was him AND his girl that wanted it, why didn't the girl come ask me, obviously it was his idea. Pervert.) also, Cunninlynguists and PackFM are affiliated with one another as well. If you are unfamiliar with Pack FM's work let me give you a preview:

Now here's a story 'bout a girl that I'm sure you all know
She turns around when they yell (Ho-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
You always see her at the shows, Gucci glasses on her nose
Too much make up on her face or hardly wearin any clothes
She ain't interested in flows, and she knows it's a fact
She's always early but ain't trynna see the openin' act
She wants the dough she could stackShe startin' local wit rap
She in the front row but really trynna go to the back
Oh, excuse me, let me introduce you to the groupie
Flash the car keys and the sharpie, you can autograph the coochie
Now ask yourself, "How many stars can one chick date?"
Her little black book resembles Kay Slay mixtapes
She got 2 Source covers, 4 Grammy nominees
A hot 16 in the cypher'll prolly have her on her knees
But she'll have you beggin' please, cuz she's always on her toesAnd there's a simple way to call her, let me tell you how it goes...

Hi-dee-hi-dee-hi-dee-hi (Hi-dee-hi-dee-hi-dee-hi)
(She's a...) Ho-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh (Ho-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
(She's in...) Hee-dee-hee-dee-hee-dee-hee (Hee-dee-hee-dee-hee-dee-hee)
(Now if you know her say...) Ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay (Ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay)
Hi-dee-hi-dee-hi-dee-hi (Hi-dee-hi-dee-hi-dee-hi)
(She's a...) Ho-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh (Ho-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
(She's in...)Hee-dee-hee-dee-hee-dee-hee (Hee-dee-hee-dee-hee-dee-hee)
(Now if you know her say...)
Whoa-oh-oh (Whoa-oh-oh)V
:Now when you see her at a show
You wanna get this girl to blow
Just tell her you could flow
You don't really have to prove it
She don't listen to the music
The truth is she kinda stupid
Don't get gassed if she hollas
Cuz she's all about the dollars
But I tell you this, she swallows

He actually decided to perform this song at the Cunninlynguists show, which I found particularly intersting because this song is not one of his most popular songs. It's not on any of his myspaces, I can't find it on imeem or youtube, I feel like he's aware that it's a shitty ass song but yet he felt the need to tell us this story about Suzy live, at his show, where I, a woman, could've been a Suzy. I really could have, I have Docle & Gabbanna glasses, and I wear make up, I wasn't dressed half naked, but I have before. But anyway, I'm not going to dedicate this blog to PackFM, not quite. I need more time to write a blog dedicated to him, and I work in about 10 Minutes. This blog was supposed to be about Lil Wayne. I guess we'll just to wait on that. Have you heard his club hit "pop bottles?" If not, here is a preview.
I love how Lil' Wayne's verse just fits so well with the topic of the song. But of course the ways in which we rate a quality of the song is probably not in the cohesive-ness of the content of the lyrics.. which makes it perfectly okay for Lil' Wayne to throw in a "shut up bitch swallow" here and "shut up bitch gargle" there....

I should head out to work, but I do want to dedicate a blog to Lil' Wayne, and more specifically why it's important to acknowledge that there is a difference between mainstream hip-hop and just hip-hop. There are a lot of hip-hop artists that use misogynistic undertones, I'm sure, but why does Lil' Wayne stand out to me? Because everyone loves Lil' Wayne. TRL, MTV, the clubs.. they all play Lil' Wayne. He's POPULAR. so yes, it bothers me that an artist is deemed popular when he says stuff like "shut up bitch swallow, and if you can't swallow, shut up bitch gargle." But ofcourse it's Hip-hop, so it matches well with his "image." Can you imagine Jack Johnson saying that...? Think about it, at the club, you see Jack Johnson bust out on his guitar to the tune of Banana Pancakes "can't you see it's just raining? if you can't then well, shut up bitch. Can you please swallow, and if you can't well then gargle" Of course, Jack Johnson is white, that would be too much of a paradigm shift for this society to handle. Perhaps I shouldn't have racialized that, because we all know what Eminem likes to say in his songs..

"Now I don't wanna hit no women when this chick's got it coming
Someone better get this bitch before she gets kicked in the stomach
And she's pregnant, but she's egging me on, begging me to throw her
Off the steps on this porch, my only weapon is force"

but Eminem is a rapper, so this sort of language fits well with the "nature" of hip-hop. They "jive" well together. anyway, so then why did I have to racialize lil' wayne and Jack Johnson? Whether or not we choose to see it or not, mainstream hip-hop is racialized. We would rather see the "minorities" of this country take part in misogynistic lanugage, and homophobic tendencies rather than perfect white people.
Just imagine if everyone in Nelly's video "tip Drill" was white. Only minorities can pull off the graphic sexual images and intense degradation of their women with out being labeled as "porn." And Tip Drill is a club hit as well.

okay I'm really late to work. But come out to my program if you're in the area! I promise to be open minded, well I'll try my best. But the awesome Know choice and Akrish might be facilitating the dialogue, and they are a lot more open-minded than I am,
they're sexist though. jk.

Positivity is important. Which is why I'll make one last video post that is a bit more uplifting.

let us close with the wise words of Ms. Inga Muscio (actually Etheline found this quote..)

"The only Bush you can trust is your own Bush."

That's right ladies, hopefully your bush is still there.


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