Welcome to the South Easy
Interesting piece by Lauren Carter on a site called Rap Rehab called ‘The Problem With Hip-Hop Journalism‘. She nails a couple of points: first dividing modern hip-hop journalism into aggregators/industry mouthpieces and patronising liberal wannabe intellectuals; second a neat statement of the classic ballache, “Journalism requires getting close enough to cover a subject accurately and thoroughly while maintaining enough distance and independence to report on it objectively.” This is why there was a problem with Benzino owning The Source. Then she goes into a lot of stuff about race which I’m not really qualified to comment on, except to say it’s interesting and and you really ought to read it and I wonder what the implications are for me writing about white British rappers?
Yeah, it’s a side issue for her and rightly so, I don’t presume to marginalise her problem by expressing mine (hell, no!) but… She’s saying that the liberal media glorifies self-destructive behaviour by black men to perpetuate the status quo, with individual writers either consciously complicit or ignorant agents of the system. Where does that leave me, do I get a pass cos sometimes I also write about (predominantly white) UK lad-rap? I guess I’m complicit in the destruction of my own race when I plug ignorant white rappers, but doing my bit for white supremacy when I plug ignorant black rappers.
I’m not sure that stupidity is the best defence, but in this case it’s an honest one. I’m the type of fool who’s dumb enough to enjoy ignorance in many forms: Caucasian, Asian, African, whatever. If the beat is on point I’m an equal opportunities moron. But also not all ignorant music is related to or encourages ignorant actions. I tend to assume most raps are fictional. A better way of letting off steam than sticking a knife in someone. Obviously that’s not always the case, and Carter brings up problems that need to be talked about. But surely listening to what’s going on in the music is first stage in that. How else can you be sure every expression of ignorance is a glorification of it and not some kind of morality play? Surely there’s going to be both types of record, how can you judge which is which?
Or am I just looking for a get-out clause to explain away my love for Chief Keef? Thing is, I swear my love of his ‘Hate Being Sober‘ was down to my identifying with the boneheaded hunger of that hedonistic impulse, but maybe I was wrong. Maybe it’s because, as Carter says, I’m ‘more comfortable with black stereotypes and caricatures than real people‘. I’ll have to stew on that for a while and get back to you. Later.
It’s minstrelsy. And until you understand the implications of modernizing such an oppressive form of artistic performance, I guess you’ll have to continue to “stew on that”.