i can't believe what its come to. the state of hip hop has gotten so awful, that it is now okay for white people to say whatever they want about hip hop with total impunity. and in the village voice no less. who would have thought that their blog page would become the mouthpiece for a new generation of white hip hop fans whose attitudes on race don't differ much from that of a duke lacrosse player.
man. i hate that people are going to think that i only started this blog to talk about tom breihan. the fact of the matter is though i haven't had much to say about hip hop in the last couple of days. thats until i read his review of the roots show at carnegie hall, a show which i unfortunately didn't attend
dude didn't hate it, but the review was pretty dismissive. he dismisses slum village like they are irrelevant ("Slum Village? You'd have to ask someone who cares about Slum Village"). he talks about common like he's an irrelevancy ("I don't much like Common, but he is a commendably dedicated live performer, running around the stage and generally staying on beat, though he too insists on busting lame freestyles.") he dismissed black thought, who while boring a lot of the time, is one of the better rappers we've ever seen as "a good worker bee." and he says that kweli can't stay on beat, sounds pretentious when he's talking about nina simone, and can't ride a beat to save his life. in a response to a comment, he says that kweli sounds better when "hes having fun."
what?! you've got to be kidding me. i'm not sure what tom means by that, but to me it seems like he's saying that kweli would be a lot better if he were talking about partying, girls, crack or guns, and not talking about positive stuff.
everything he ever says about a rapper who isn't young jeezy, the clipse or 3-6 mafia (all of whom i like also) is totally dismissive. if its not crack rap, this white boy from baltimore doesn't like it.
it's funny because a week ago i was in baltimore, and my wife and i stumbled into a really bad neighborhood in east baltimore. this was one of the worse neighborhoods i had ever seen. and after we found our way out, i honestly felt guilty about the fact that i listen to shit that glorifies drugs and guns. when you are confronted with the ramifications of the shit that these guys glorify, it makes you realize that its not a game. to some people the shit that the jeezys and clipses of the world talk about isn't a joke and isn't a ghetto gangster movie to make your white-bred life more interesting.
i'm not saying that these artists don't make good music. i've said it before and i'll say it again. i like all sorts of hip hop, and i'm not going to completely write off an artist because of lyrical content. but at least i acknowledge that the shit isn't necessarily cool. but when tom writes from his $1100/month apartment in williamsburg (or whatever lame, gentrified hipster neighborhood he lives in) and fails to acknowledge that crack rap ain't exactly good for the community that it effects, it absolutely incenses me. compound this with the fact that he writes articles like his review of the roots show that totally dismisses positive hip hop, and it makes you realize what's going on...
tom's a white boy who wants to listen to music that affirms what he really thinks. he may use big words and an air of pretension to talk about it, but it doesn't change a thing. he's a white boy who praise negative depictions of african-americans and feels threatened by the positive depictions of them...there's a name for people like that. its not going to take you long to figure out what it is.....