The Two Faces of Hip Hop
Published: August 01, 2010
Orgianlly written November 2004
Let's make this short and sweet. The cultural ideology behind Hip Hop is schizophrenic. At least once a week, the Hip Hop nationalists talk out of both sides of their necks. When it comes to sending the "right" message, the word "right" is entirely relative and shifty.
Filed under events that confirm we are even closer to return of the Messiah, a white man actually had to don white make-up to impersonate a black man.
Perhaps you recall the events of last month, when our resident hellion, white-boy rapper, Eminem stirred up trouble by using his new video, “Just Lose It” to mock Michael Jackson and his child molestation allegations. In the video, Eminem dresses up like Jackson and in one scene has little boys jumping around in the background to the lyrics, “Come here little kiddie, on my lap / Guess who’s back with a brand new rap? / And I don’t mean rap, as in a case of child molestation.” When word of this spread, the pedophiliac-accepting masses were incensed at Eminem’s lack of reverence for the hallowed St. Michael.
Jackson himself was no happy camper either. The video in question brought to light a topic that Jackson has been more than candid about: his propensity to “play” with boys. Claiming that Eminem “crossed the line,” Michael’s umbrage led to a protest, asking cable music stations to pull the video off the air. And by golly, it mostly worked.
VH1 and MTV didn’t comply, but in a clear case of pot and kettle banter, Black Entertainment Television’s founder and president Robert Johnson announced that BET would be yanking the video because he felt it was “inappropriate.” In a stroke of irony, it seems the founder of BET (which is by the way a grand purveyor of ubiquitous amounts of hedonism on a 24-hour-basis) had a run-in with morality.
At this point, it is assumed that the word “inappropriate” could only be defined in the most Bill Clintonesque manner possible. Which is only to say that the definition in question is more vague than Kevin Spacey’s sexuality. Then again, at least Spacey attempts to pick a side.
Let us remember that BET is the same channel that daily takes booty-gyration and grinding to new lows with their late-night show “Un-cut,” which airs uncensored clips of music videos along with a couple doses of impropriety, sexual behavior and scantily clad women. While these things don’t fit under the banner of “inappropriateness,” apparently Eminem’s video does.
Others in the hip hop community have also taken issue with Eminem’s assault on St. Michael. In a press release, Ray “Benzino” Scott, a founder of “The Source Magazine” and perpetual thorn in Eminem’s side, wrote the following concerning the video, “For too long influential people in the hip-hop community have stood by Eminem while he has made a mockery of the culture that inspires and motivates our young people to achieve and be proud of their black heritage ... “
It is quite possible that Benzino was on crack when he wrote that as anyone who’s flipped through “The Source” magazine lately would be hard-pressed to find much of anything about which the black community should feel pride or self-worth.
This is among many accusations Benzino has made in his magazine against Eminem. A year ago he accused the rapper of using the N-word and disparaging black women in his lyrics captured on some old tapes. While it is highly likely that the accusation is true, to paraphrase a favored Biblical passage, “Hello Speck, meet the Plank in eye.”
The validity of the claims from blacks in the Hip Hop community against Eminem are severely hindered by a culture that regularly plasters hootchified black women across magazines and on television, “droppin’ it like it’s hot,” wearing dental floss, and acting like slaves on the auction block while men call them everything but their given names. As evidence would have it, Eminem’s accusers don’t have a case.
To date, it doesn’t appear that the revelation of hip hop’s moral bi-polar disorder has yet descended upon the critical mass of the culture. The events that must transpire to bring people from the current state of delusion to the land of enlightenment and rationality will have to be drastic. Not even a thong boycott could save this wreck.
BET’s leadership is disgraceful. Would we ever see Robert Johnson’s teenage daughter Paige wearing what the video hos wear and shaking her posterior while a man calls her out of her name? It is highly doubtful, yet Johnson thinks this behavior to be an appropriate representation of the rest of the black community.
Before embracing the role of the “Moral Police,” the collective minds behind hip hop need to decide what it is they want to portray. For crying out loud, choose a flippin’ motivation; pick a side and stay there; and more importantly get a clue.
Ambra Nykol is a columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Soundpolitics.com, Seaspot magazine and Modestly Yours. She owns and blogs at nykola.com where she's been bothering people since 1981.
Copyright © 2013 you129 & Ambra Nykol. All rights reserved.