Sasha on Shadow, Diplo, Eminem & Minstrelsy

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*sighs*

The Brainwasher (Twilight), Friday, 27 May 2005 14:40 (9 years ago) Permalink

album filler from black musical artists don't feature sluggish tempos, strings, slow minor-key melodies and guitars. right.

miccio (miccio), Friday, 27 May 2005 14:45 (9 years ago) Permalink

blind praise to thread

Gear! (can Jung shill it, Mu?) (Gear!), Friday, 27 May 2005 14:49 (9 years ago) Permalink

I'm usually all for SFJ's work, but this piece left me scratching my head on more than one occassion It makes lot's of assumptions that just don't hold up. Lot's of grand, sweeping statement that seem a bit silly..and really, just the concept of this is a bit weird. Diplo playing 'black music' is somehow akin to a minstrel show? There have been white DJs who played 'black music' since the emergence of DJing as an artform..

The Brainwasher (Twilight), Friday, 27 May 2005 14:49 (9 years ago) Permalink

I tried to look at this the other day and both then and now I can't seem to get the pdf file to work on the computer here at work. anyone care to cut-and-paste the text (if possible)?

Al (sitcom), Friday, 27 May 2005 14:50 (9 years ago) Permalink

I think he's being a little too kind to himself when he suggests Ui could be mistaken for minstrelsy.

miccio (miccio), Friday, 27 May 2005 14:50 (9 years ago) Permalink

Sasha Frere-Jones, "When Blackface Has No Face"
Working draft.
Please do not copy or distribute without author’s permission.

My thinking about this panel started in the most obvious place: Eminem, the closest we have to a single, unified, popular 21st century minstrel. A few minutes later—I am slow—Beastie Boys came to mind. And then there was a long pause. It went on for hours. Despite the prolonged and acute popularity of both of these acts, they are the whole kit and kaboodle, and I am using kit and kaboodle in its technical formation: acts that stick to one genre, sell lots of records consistently and that people care about. Hip-hop is the subset of pop music that ate the set—it is the set now, and making the distinction that Eminem is more blackface than, say, Limp Bizkit or Linkin Park, would not hold true in every theoretical showdown. We don’t want to make the mistake of importing the terms of Lott’s discussion—which begins many lifetimes ago, in the 1830s—into the present, difficult to decode historical moment. Blackness, like capitalism, is an idea that has diffused itself through both social relations and artforms. Anyone looking for a pure specimen of “whiteness” or “blackness” has gotten lost on the way to the hockey arena. But still—hip-hop started black as midnight and is now as popular as money itself. And yet we have only two significant, while Billboard Top 10 superstar rap acts, almost thirty years into the game. I don’t think that means blackface has disappeared. It may have simply left the face behind.

In Love and Theft, Eric Lott describes how minstrel music of the 19th century assigned specific aesthetics to specific racial groupings. Lott points out that the popularity and ubiquity of minstrelsy—like any pop genre, I’d add—reinforces the aptness of these assignments, turning artistic relationships into correlations then classed as “natural.” As I read, and thought of how actual, solid people get stuck to music that is never not in flux, and how this helps pop music to do its work so quickly, a passage jumped out. Reading it, I felt like I was in the present moment. I thought about how pop, especially hip-hop, is a game of telephone where people understanding each other is subordinated to simply hearing each other, an act where any tools of amplification are considered fair game. This is from page 23: “There was a third tradition infusing the most common characters of antebellum minstrelsy, who, Nathan Huggins argues, were often little more than blackfaced version of heroes from southwestern humor.”

Doesn’t matter who thought it up; once the cork is on, and the show is a hit, the move is “black.” This took me back to my introduction to the cultural politics of pop music. I was sitting in on a rehearsal as a teenager and watching my hero guitar player talk to his bass player about a part the bassist was playing. The two went back and forth, talking about picks and fingers and thumbs, but they couldn’t understand each other. Eventually the bass player, whose name I have fortunately forgotten, said “Oh, you mean you want me to play like a nigger?” This was about 1980, in a terminally liberal Brooklyn private school.

Twenty-five years later, the question hangs in the air. In fact you could say that much of those twenty-five years—which include almost all of hip-hop, Dave Chapelle’s TV show, books like Love and Theft, and a lot of cultural studies scholarship—was taken up by answering, dismissing and rewording that question. White musicians now know an awful lot about the theft behind their love. I may be in the minority here, but I think musical kids know more about the world around them now than I did when I was a teenager. Can these increasingly educated young artists fully participate in a process of artistic miscegenation that may be, not epiphenomenal, but possibly the big point of American popular music? If white people were so willing to do blackface, wouldn’t there be more than two white rappers who regularly chart in the Top10? And there are still only two, almost thirty years in. And there are hundreds of new hip-hop records released every year.

So blackface brings us to having no face at all, a possibility, a way to have your love and eat your theft. I am talking about the 90s and the 00s, and two talented young white men, Josh Davis and Wesley Pentz, who might have been minstrels one hundred years ago. But as DJs and producers, their music usually comes without a face. They may have a considerable aesthetic and spiritual link to Eminem and the Beasties, but they have made very different choices, choices that change their relationship to the past (which includes minstrelsy), their chances to be popular and the audience they can reach. In fact, I am more interested in the idea that Shadow and Diplo are not modern minstrels, and what kind of loss that might represent.

Neither of the people I am talking about are rappers. Both are DJs and producers. Josh Davis is known professionally as DJ Shadow, and Wesley Pentz performs and records under the name Diplo. Shadow has been working for over ten years; Diplo just a few. But both began their careers as white DJs with an affinity for black music. One of Shadow’s first gigs in the early 1990s was providing a remix for a rap group called Lifers Group, black prisoners doing life sentences who had made an album for the Hollywood Basic label. His early songs and mixtapes showed a terrifying appreciation for the funk records that had been sampled to create hip-hop in the 1980s. Diplo first gained notice a few years ago as a member of the Hollertronix duo, a Philadelphia DJ duo who specialized in playing Southern and Eastern rap to club audiences and making skilled, funny mixtapes. Recently, Diplo has been one of the most visible European-American DJs playing the working class Brazilian dance music known as “baile funk,” “funk,” or “funk carioca.” But when both Shadow and Diplo got signed and had to make proper albums people could buy in stores—and Shadow confronted this moment almost a full decade before Diplo—a similar tendency crept into the work of both artists. Though their DJing is firmly rooted in black music, Shadow and Diplo recorded songs for their albums full of white signifiers: electric guitars, slow minor-key melodies, sluggish tempos, cinematic strings. The crunk was in the trunk, at least some of the time. Live, as DJs, Shadow and Diplo still play music that most people, if pressed, would call black. But, under contract and in the studio, they move closer to signifiers of whiteness. Shadow, several albums into the game, is moving further and further from the hip-hop he started with.

I am not pretending to be a mind reader: I have no evidence the music Shadow and Diplo make on record is any less dear to them than the music made by other people that they choose to play in clubs as DJs. I have no evidence that, like many artists, they simply want to keep themselves engaged and play with as many forms as they can master. But I also can’t pretend I don’t hear a significant difference between what got them in the door and what keeps them in the room, and that difference is a big one, out there in the world of consumers and producers. What makes this happen? Does political correctness, the condom of pop culture, prevent them from directly aping the music they love? Did they read “Love and Theft” and freak out? Do they make “whiter” records prophylactically, to forestall the wearying effects of being called cultural thieves in the pages of newspapers, on message boards and blogs? Do white DJs play black music out, but lean white in the studio because we’ve got hard evidence that your sales go up when you sound more like Depeche Mode and less like Ultramagnetic MCs? Or are they sick of having to justify their love? A hundred years ago, maybe Shadow and Diplo would have ignored the theft and made music only from love, showing their faces, perhaps with freaky social consequences. Maybe the language of cultural studies is impoverished now. Maybe there is no way to tell the love from the theft, except by looking at the difference between, say, Eminem’s and Devin the Dude’s royalty statements.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Friday, 27 May 2005 14:53 (9 years ago) Permalink

"album filler from black musical artists don't feature sluggish tempos, strings, slow minor-key melodies and guitars. right."

That stuff isn't exactly filler on these guy's records.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Friday, 27 May 2005 14:54 (9 years ago) Permalink

... did you get SFJ's permission? :p

The Brainwasher (Twilight), Friday, 27 May 2005 14:55 (9 years ago) Permalink

In its original context - the EMP panel - Sasha's piece seemed very smart and on point, it may not have been *right* but it was exploring the idea of 'minstrelsy' as a living thing rather than something to be poked and hmmmm-ed over at a distance.

Tom (Groke), Friday, 27 May 2005 14:56 (9 years ago) Permalink

PIRACY FUNDS DISCUSSION!

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Friday, 27 May 2005 14:56 (9 years ago) Permalink

is anything SFJ says in that essay a revelation to anyone? theres nothing especially new there.

ppp, Friday, 27 May 2005 14:57 (9 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, you're right this race thing has been done before, lets stop talking about it and maybe it'll go away.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Friday, 27 May 2005 14:59 (9 years ago) Permalink

Basically he wonders why live shows are animated and dance-enticing while albums are overblown and draggy. Maybe its a black and white thing. Maybe its self-awareness.


I'm kind of annoyed that he's still pulling the Eminem is a minstrel thing long after the dude has flipped the script from destructive "black" figure to "white" defender of morality and decency.

miccio (miccio), Friday, 27 May 2005 15:03 (9 years ago) Permalink

"album filler from black musical artists don't feature sluggish tempos, strings, slow minor-key melodies and guitars. right."

I like how Shadow's "You Can't Go Home Again" starts off post-punk gets more and more Three 6 Mafia as it goes along.

Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Friday, 27 May 2005 15:03 (9 years ago) Permalink

The problem isn't that he's talking about race the problem is that these are really basic, unthought-out retreads that shed no light on anything.

miccio (miccio), Friday, 27 May 2005 15:04 (9 years ago) Permalink

"Yeah, you're right this race thing has been done before, lets stop talking about it and maybe it'll go away"

good plan.

my point is that i dont really see SFJ bringing anything that new to this discussion other than 'eminem = MINSTREL!!!!!!!!' all over again. its not the same thing for a whte artist to do black music as it was in 1910. there are new factors at play now. not saying its a clean cut matter, or that indeed it doesnt matter, just that this seems like it could have been written in 1976 - just substitute eminems name with say, jagger and durst with plant.

ppp, Friday, 27 May 2005 15:05 (9 years ago) Permalink

OTMFM.

ppp, Friday, 27 May 2005 15:07 (9 years ago) Permalink

i meant miccio - OTMFM.

ppp, Friday, 27 May 2005 15:07 (9 years ago) Permalink

haha should we add the bass player anecdote to the "when was the first time your liberal childhood was sullied by racism" thread on ILE?

miccio (miccio), Friday, 27 May 2005 15:09 (9 years ago) Permalink

I don't like how he backs away from making an assertion about the so-called drift of Shadow's music away from hip-hop referents; he uses a rhetorical question ("Does political correctness, the condom of pop culture, prevent them from directly aping the music they love?) and then doesn't cite examples from "The Private Press" proving that Shadow's gone all white on us.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Friday, 27 May 2005 15:16 (9 years ago) Permalink

in the context of the panel this was supposed to be delivered on (eric w. read it in sasha's stead) it felt like the only human among the space aliens.

i haven't had time to go back and re-read yet.

strng hlkngtn, Friday, 27 May 2005 15:25 (9 years ago) Permalink

maybe only tangentially related: most european dance acts release floor filler 12"s, but when it came to the album? noodly filler. same scenario. that is something that has faded now, but, still, the number of great house/techno albums is tiny, compared to the number of great 12s. perhaps the same feeling is at work, a feeling that they must do 'more', whatever that 'more' is. they should have just made back-to-back bangers, but, for some reason, they didnt.

compare: the manix 12's on reinforced. the 4hero album

same problem

why?

charltonlido (gareth), Friday, 27 May 2005 15:26 (9 years ago) Permalink

The obvious answer is that they want to show that they can do more that put out catchy 4/4 house songs.

The Brainwasher (Twilight), Friday, 27 May 2005 15:28 (9 years ago) Permalink

I'm surprised Rick Rubin's name isn't mentioned (tho I guess his presence is there by proxy via the Beastie Boys).

David R. (popshots75`), Friday, 27 May 2005 15:36 (9 years ago) Permalink

The obvious answer is that they want to show that they can do more that put out catchy 4/4 house songs.

and is it possible that a similar motivation could be at play with shadow and diplo?

charltonlido (gareth), Friday, 27 May 2005 15:38 (9 years ago) Permalink

ding ding ding

Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Friday, 27 May 2005 15:39 (9 years ago) Permalink

Maybe its a red herring, but is it possible that copyright laws are a factor here? I've long felt that the cost of using a sample has turned DJ'ing from a recorded-emphasis art to a performance-emphasis art.

Jack, Friday, 27 May 2005 16:09 (9 years ago) Permalink

House caucasian?

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Friday, 27 May 2005 16:12 (9 years ago) Permalink

But what about the other question he raised:

"If white people were so willing to do blackface, wouldn’t there be more than two white rappers who regularly chart in the Top10? And there are still only two, almost thirty years in. And there are hundreds of new hip-hop records released every year."


steve-k, Friday, 27 May 2005 16:13 (9 years ago) Permalink

xpost - As opposed to house Atreides and house Harkonnen.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 27 May 2005 16:13 (9 years ago) Permalink

caucasians have been making house for years!


(sorry)

(xpost)

Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Friday, 27 May 2005 16:14 (9 years ago) Permalink

Gear! (can Jung shill it, Mu?) (Gear!), Friday, 27 May 2005 16:16 (9 years ago) Permalink


Minstrels took jobs away from black folk and added insult to injury by portraying them through subhuman characterizations. So any comparison to how Eminem and DJ Shadow operate is very, very vague. Of passing interest.

Ian Christe (Ian Christe), Friday, 27 May 2005 16:26 (9 years ago) Permalink

Oops.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 27 May 2005 16:27 (9 years ago) Permalink

Field caucasians who like house?

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Friday, 27 May 2005 16:29 (9 years ago) Permalink

Minstrels took jobs away from black folk

for the most part, blacks wouldn't have gotten those jobs in the first place. also, there were lots of black minstrels--African-Americans who corked up for the stage.

Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Friday, 27 May 2005 16:29 (9 years ago) Permalink

Field caucasians who like house?

[[raises hand]]

Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Friday, 27 May 2005 16:30 (9 years ago) Permalink

Do ppl. think tripwire is sorta minstrel too, or is it something totally else?

Sterling Clover (s_clover), Friday, 27 May 2005 16:35 (9 years ago) Permalink

If white people were so willing to do blackface, wouldn’t there be more than two white rappers who regularly chart in the Top10?

The mistake here is assuming that rap is the only form of blackface available to white people, rather than simply the most obvious.

miccio (miccio), Friday, 27 May 2005 16:49 (9 years ago) Permalink

I was pretty struck by exactly this while listening to the Diplo album, though in very different terms -- I find it kind of depressing the way hot-beat types always come out with albums that go after the DJ Shadow template (Diplo, Blockhead, etc.). It seems to be industry-standard, at this point, and I'm sure part of the whole impetus of their doing full-lengths is that they happen to have that stuff in the first place -- all the moody, quiet stuff that isn't going to work for singles or vocalists, collected under their own names. Still, it strikes me as really odd that so few decide to bring in a bunch of vocalists and do the ambitious pop albums they clearly could.

There's a level on which I really do think it's an issue of identity and distancing. DJing, mixing, digital signal processing -- they've all made it possible for gangly white kids to approach genres they might not physically feel comfortable in (whether having to do with hip hop or sonic assault) with some sort of built-in distance; they're kind of playing the stuff, activating it, and manipulating it, but they don't have to exist in it in a physical sense. And I kinda wonder if there's some of that same removal that happens here. I mean, I doubt it's the case with Shadow, at least, or probably Diplo either -- but it's easy to imagine a situation in which a guy feels comfortable running off hot beats for some vocalist (assembly-line removal) as opposed to putting something out and saying "I MADE THIS, this is what I actually centrally do and put my name on," which is a slightly more vulnerable position.

nabisco (nabisco), Friday, 27 May 2005 16:52 (9 years ago) Permalink

I mean, doing the pop beat for someone else can feel like a craft and genre exercise (removal), whereas coming along with an LP of it puts you right behind it, in what some will evidently call blackface.

nabisco (nabisco), Friday, 27 May 2005 16:54 (9 years ago) Permalink

I find it kind of depressing the way hot-beat types always come out with albums that go after the DJ Shadow template (Diplo, Blockhead, etc.). It seems to be industry-standard, at this point

what's weird about this is that none of it really sells or garners even a decent-sized cult audience. or does it? I can't think of any examples that did offhand, at least. happy to be proven wrong, though, as always.

Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Friday, 27 May 2005 16:56 (9 years ago) Permalink

speaking of which, that new singleton produced movie "hustle and flow" brilliantly seems to have cast DJ Qualls of "the new guy" fame as the whiz-kid dj!

Sterling Clover (s_clover), Friday, 27 May 2005 16:56 (9 years ago) Permalink

haha what's weird about DJ Shadow type albums not selling?

miccio (miccio), Friday, 27 May 2005 16:57 (9 years ago) Permalink

haha what's weird about DJ Shadow type albums not selling?

the fact that people are ripping off the template. it reminds me of Elvis Costello bitching about John Wesley Harding sometime around 1991: "If you're gonna rip someone off, rip off someone who sells records!"

Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Friday, 27 May 2005 16:59 (9 years ago) Permalink

well its critics' fault that people bother ripping off middlebrow "class"

miccio (miccio), Friday, 27 May 2005 17:00 (9 years ago) Permalink

the thing I found most offputting about the piece is the overuse of the phrase "blackface" as shorthand for "white people making black music", which seems not just a little unnecessary and oversimplified but also played for shock value.

also, there seems to me to be a world of difference between 1) a white rapper who employs a lot of black slang and cultural reference points in their lyrics and 2) a white DJ who plays primarily music by black rappers. the former is inhabiting the same roles as black rappers, whereas the latter doesn't necessarily cop to the slang (although they often do, as in the case of, well, people who call themselves things like 'hollertonix').

Al (sitcom), Friday, 27 May 2005 17:11 (9 years ago) Permalink

Sasha has never said anything thats made me think about music in a different way. He's cool to quote for upper east side yuppie's. "SFJ laid out grime today. Lets go sip our lattes and discuss it"...Bleeech!

Jockey, Friday, 27 May 2005 17:21 (9 years ago) Permalink

I'm not always sure, actually. Or at least I don't like to assume. I wish you'd use a different adjective sometimes.

miccio (miccio), Monday, 25 July 2005 18:38 (8 years ago) Permalink

* I've been hearing a lot of DIP SET DIP SET hate recently. Yeah, yeah... I know they're corny, the pink, the no homo, whatever.... If I want to get my party on like Andrew W.K., I don't want some teary-eyed dude crying about feeling guilty about selling cocaine and seeing his moms getting her ass beat or some Al Sharpton Jr. spouting kill-the-white-man stuff, I want Cam and some Girls Just Wanna Have Fun jawns. DIP SET DIP SET DIP SET DIP SET!

2, Monday, 25 July 2005 18:51 (8 years ago) Permalink

who said that?

miccio (miccio), Monday, 25 July 2005 19:03 (8 years ago) Permalink

Sounds like Nick

Candicissima (candicissima), Monday, 25 July 2005 19:06 (8 years ago) Permalink

i agree w/ 006-

actually i wouldnt even suggest that a cam record contributes directly to a crack problem, altho i think he and we are implicated in smthng larger that does, just saying my suspicion is cam fans of the blogger persuasion are basically getting off on it, and ignoring it publicly

haha xpost- http://governmentnames.blogspot.com/2004/07/yo-dizzawgs-saturday-night-was-off.html

2, Monday, 25 July 2005 19:07 (8 years ago) Permalink

Haha. The infamous parody! I knew it sounded like him.

Candicissima (candicissima), Monday, 25 July 2005 19:11 (8 years ago) Permalink

plumdrank: http://hotx.com/jb/joebob07-14-96/moviepic.gif
plumdrank: peep game on candyman!
HotelOpera: like woah
plumdrank: word to chicago projects where my wardrobe costs more than the standard of living
HotelOpera: guy with a hook hand, if you're ever in NJ, holla at a brother.
plumdrank: he spun mad bees in my face and nuff disembowelling

2, Monday, 25 July 2005 19:19 (8 years ago) Permalink

"peep game on gas prices!" was a phrase that for some reason stuck with me to the degree that I would quote it randomly in company that would clearly have no idea what I was referring to.

deej.., Monday, 25 July 2005 19:28 (8 years ago) Permalink

2-
I guess throwing up pictures of minstrel shows and calling me racist is a lot easier than making an actual argument against me. Cam'ron is funny because he wants to be funny, not because we're laughing at him. And if you don't think so, then you're not listening.

And do you think cocaine is exclusively a black problem? Do you that only blacks are misogynistic? Maybe you should check some of own assumptions, anonymous.

s>c>, Monday, 25 July 2005 22:30 (8 years ago) Permalink

yeah i know cam is tryna be funny! and yeah some of it is funny! look- chris tucker is funny too but if you saw trent lott knee-slappin to a kkk joke in rush hour 5: eye-buggin fever, you might go hey why does he think this shit is so funny?? and when i see white middle class hipster rock dudes trippin out to cam mp3s about sellin crack to 8 yr olds or whatever that shit is how i feel too. crack is obv not a black problem, plz believe i can tell you stories bout some white and mexican crackheads in my life. but it is a black problem when black artists are sellin it to white audiences like this, about how it fits into and eventually represents black culture. i mean im from the south and if there was a fake hillbilly dude who sang jokey country songs about meth addiction or whatever gettin ate up by rich NYC white hipsters itd be fucked up too. even though there is some good jokes down here about meth addicts! just like theres good jokes about terrorist beheadings and slavery and the holocaust and what the fuck ever. i just doubt how many other facets of black life these rich white post-PC hipsters actually wanna think about besides crack sales, violence and misogyny. like, how come rock nerd/hipster white folks always choose biggie over pac? i wasnt tryna say youre a racist w/ the minstrel pic, you actually made a better point than 90% of the ppl in this thread, but cuz of that it was the best articulation of the its-just-comedy bullshit that gets thrown around. i got no problem w/ over-the-top entertainment but between all the jacked iconography and regional exoticism and nerdy messageboards and all-white parties w/ mad southern crunk jernts and nuff indie dance flava i think alot of these clued-in white kids now dont care or think about real actual black folk beyond slang, punchlines and 'entertainment'

2, Monday, 25 July 2005 22:59 (8 years ago) Permalink

how do you expect me not to take that personally, 2? that like me saying that i don't mean that you're a bitch when i call you a bitch. and you assume that i'm a "middle class hipster rock dude"? i can't remember the last time i bought or even downloaded a rock album. i've dedicated about every last second of the past five years to hip hop, and in every facet of the industry. and i took a significant pay cut to do so. i don't say this to get into some credential pissing contest. i'm just saying this because your assumptions really hurt your argument. i don't wanna be your straw man, anonymous number.

and cam is misogynistic, violent, greedy, hateful and self-serving. that ain't black people. that's me, and it sounds like that's you. and that's why cam'ron equally repeals me and intrigues me. that's the ambiguity that i was speaking of.

s>c>, Monday, 25 July 2005 23:25 (8 years ago) Permalink

man when did i say you were a middle class hipster rock dude?!?! all i know about you is that post, and like i said i just pasted it cuz you spoke on that one idea!! look im not gonna name names but most everybody knows who im talkin about when i say this shit and its not you or even most of ilm (still busy tryna get timbaland & grime), and even in that wack community i think this kind of racial essentialism is only one part of it. but its there and you cant pretend that kinda shit does not come into play for a large part of cam's white hipster fans

2, Monday, 25 July 2005 23:33 (8 years ago) Permalink

but yeah sorry for comin w/ such lazy, unfocused shit up top, i just got internet at home so im tryna swerve back into the actual explainable kinda arguments instead of dumb funny generalizations you make w/ your friends- im not sayin you or anybody here is a racist for liking dipset, just that fuckin w/ dipset wont make you NOT racist. btw what parts of the rap game do you work in?!

2, Monday, 25 July 2005 23:37 (8 years ago) Permalink

haha aight one more thing, i am so tired of this comeback that somehow if you point out a racist stereotype you must buy into that shit too- dipsets crack bullshit represents black folks cuz they are black and they use this blackness in their image, not cuz all black folks are slangin rocks. its like if you say those mexican pickaninny stamps are racist and i go 'YOU THINK ALL BLACK KIDS EAT WATERMELON HUH???'. the fact that some shit is hurtful stereotypes has nothing to do w/ whether its true or not!! its just an easy gotcha to turn it around and pretend im only seeing it cuz i think that. if you ask a midwestern housewife what a crack dealer is, theyre gonna picture a black man who looks like cam (give or take the purple furs), and while most of that has to do w/ reagan and economic discrimation and the legacy of jim crow etc etc etc a tiny tiny tiny tiny tiny bit of it has to do w/ cam himself. and i got no problem w/ this when it fits into the giant multi-faced world of rap music but when i read a rap blog now i see three faces of rap on that shit- mainstream production weirdos, unrepentant crack dealers, and white emo cats. thats it. maybe kanye or com if theyre on a 90s tip but really youd be lucky at this point. "and cam is misogynistic, violent, greedy, hateful and self-serving" man if its just about that instead of blackness how come hipsters dont fuck w/ fred durst or toby keith? how come all their fav white artists are nerdy pussies but then on the rap side its cam and lil jon?? it just feels like some white folks choose a few stand-ins for black culture and usually its hilarious ghetto fuck-ups (or intentional avant garde geniuses, depending on what kind of rap blog asshole you are)

2, Monday, 25 July 2005 23:55 (8 years ago) Permalink

actually i dont think the kid on the mexican stamp got a watermelon

2, Tuesday, 26 July 2005 00:01 (8 years ago) Permalink

I, for one, wish the kid on the mexican stamp got a watermelon. Why for he no get a watermelon?

I want a watermelon.

Forksclovetofu (Forksclovetofu), Tuesday, 26 July 2005 01:38 (8 years ago) Permalink

you are an idiot

2, Tuesday, 26 July 2005 01:41 (8 years ago) Permalink

man if its just about that instead of blackness how come hipsters dont fuck w/ fred durst or toby keith?

miccio and xhuckx: officially off the hook.

i just doubt how many other facets of black life these rich white post-PC hipsters actually wanna think about besides crack sales, violence and misogyny. like, how come rock nerd/hipster white folks always choose biggie over pac?

tons of reasons, not least of which is that 99% of the time, hipsters are more interested in cleverness than in raw slice-of-life emoting (charlie parker always more popular in nerd-jazz circles than billie holliday).

how come all their fav white artists are nerdy pussies but then on the rap side its cam and lil jon?? it just feels like some white folks choose a few stand-ins for black culture and usually its hilarious ghetto fuck-ups (or intentional avant garde geniuses, depending on what kind of rap blog asshole you are)

or maybe they get their cry on to sensitive people with guitars (John Mayer, Modest Mouse, Coldplay) and their dance on to hip-hop, which if you haven't noticed is what MTV/BET/Vibe/XXL are constantly telling us is The Way It Is. i'm not saying this is an excuse, but it's not like the hipsters' take on hip-hop is any more fucked up than the rest of the world.

between all the jacked iconography and regional exoticism and nerdy messageboards and all-white parties w/ mad southern crunk jernts and nuff indie dance flava i think alot of these clued-in white kids now dont care or think about real actual black folk beyond slang, punchlines and 'entertainment'

but this is what always happens, has always happened. thanks to record stores, mail-order mix tapes, all-white parties and DJs, you can be down with whatever hip-hop you want and never have to lay eyes on a black person outside of an album cover. which usually means you're going to have a distorted view of black culture, based on the values of your own culture (in this case, valuing cleverness over authenticity), and you're going to get it wrong. it's not just these hipster kids, it's everybody.

the problem isn't that white people are listening to hip-hop, it's that white people/Dipset fans still aren't engaging with actual black people, which might make us think twice about laughing at jokes about crack. but other than chastising them for being so insular, i don't think it's fair to blame someone who gets their music criticism from their local alt.weekly for liking only Dipset. it's a problem with not enough black voices in the media, at record companies, at MTV.

(basically i'm just repeating ideas from Bomb The Suburbs now, sorry)

yuengling participle (rotten03), Tuesday, 26 July 2005 01:56 (8 years ago) Permalink

shit thats a long reply!! ok just a couple-

"based on the values of your own culture (in this case, valuing cleverness over authenticity), and you're going to get it wrong. it's not just these hipster kids, it's everybody."

how come i know all kinda regular white non-hipster kids who love pac than?! and for his authenticity instead of cleverness? how come pac is the best selling rapper of all time, for authenticity instead of cleverness?

"or maybe they get their cry on to sensitive people with guitars (John Mayer, Modest Mouse, Coldplay) and their dance on to hip-hop, which if you haven't noticed is what MTV/BET/Vibe/XXL are constantly telling us is The Way It Is. i'm not saying this is an excuse, but it's not like the hipsters' take on hip-hop is any more fucked up than the rest of the world."

what about nu metal?? i love some korn & distubed & limp bizkit cuz its crunk as fuck just like bohagen or youngbloodz or trillville or what the fuck ever. if black folks dont get to make sensitive music for non-hipster ppl how come the billboard charts is half r&b ballads at any given time?? and how come 99% of hipsters hate r&b ballads almost as much as they hate pac?

2, Tuesday, 26 July 2005 02:12 (8 years ago) Permalink

how come i know all kinda regular white non-hipster kids who love pac than?! and for his authenticity instead of cleverness? how come pac is the best selling rapper of all time, for authenticity instead of cleverness?

I dunno which is worse really but I know in my experience I know more 2Pac-loving insufferable "it's all about the authentic expression and experience, man, damn the man cause he's got his boot on the neck of the blacks" white people than the "ohmigod, cam's take on crack is totes rofflicious" type. Who like to rail on most R&B as sterile and overly commercial. Hipsters don't have the market cornered on willful interpretations of the black experience via their musical choices.

Candicissima (candicissima), Tuesday, 26 July 2005 02:25 (8 years ago) Permalink

so now im insufferable?!?!

2, Tuesday, 26 July 2005 02:34 (8 years ago) Permalink

anyway if you love pac you cant really hate r&b, unlike cam who only samples ironic 80s rock

2, Tuesday, 26 July 2005 02:34 (8 years ago) Permalink

i mean i know more pac-was-revolutionary white guys than dipset LOL white guys (them i only know from the internet thank god) but you really think theyre equally bad?!?!

2, Tuesday, 26 July 2005 02:38 (8 years ago) Permalink

I remember buying Supreme Clientele and Venomous Villain at Amoeba and the jittery backpacker working the register derided my choices, saying he was more down with "authentic" stuff like Dilated Peoples and People Under the Stairs and Swollen Members. I said, "wot about 2pac" and he replied, "2pac was an asshole! Paid the price for it, too!"

to Amoeba's credit that was the only time I ever saw that kid working there.

gear (gear), Tuesday, 26 July 2005 02:44 (8 years ago) Permalink

(damn xposts. Candicissima OTM though.)

how come i know all kinda regular white non-hipster kids who love pac than?! and for his authenticity instead of cleverness? how come pac is the best selling rapper of all time, for authenticity instead of cleverness?

i'll admit i don't know a lot of pac's music, so i'm out of my depth. maybe you're right. all i know is that to these ears, pac seems less interested in constructing clever puns than biggie. what little pac i've heard is very confessional and melodramatic ("Dear Mama"), and i think that appeals to teenagers and other normal people. hipsters hate a certain breed of melodrama more than anything - the indie rock weepy stuff they like is mostly oblique, the emotion mediated somehow. but i don't think it has a lot to do with race. i don't think you'll find a lot of people giving props to Dashboard and Weezer at the same time as Dipset.

what about nu metal?? i love some korn & distubed & limp bizkit cuz its crunk as fuck just like bohagen or youngbloodz or trillville or what the fuck ever.

i never ever see nu-metal on Much Music (local video channel) anymore. the only rock i see anymore is sub-ATDI bullshit. the fact that hipsters hate nu-metal but like Lil Jon is at least partly due to self-loathing; they want to rock out but not like their little brother does, so crunk is the only other heavy thing available. (it's not a coincidence that lots of radio stations boast "everything but rap and heavy metal" or sometimes "rap, heavy metal and country").

if black folks dont get to make sensitive music for non-hipster ppl how come the billboard charts is half r&b ballads at any given time??

yes R&B but not ballads (i'd say a ballad is something you couldn't play in a club). go look at the hot 100 singles. how many R&B balladeers sell more records than hip-hoppers?

... and how come 99% of hipsters hate r&b ballads almost as much as they hate pac?

i've always wondered about this, but i think it's because they're too emotional and not clever enough. again, most hipsters like things that deliver their emotion through an intellectual screen, through deliberate obtuseness. not there in a Beyonce ballad.

yuengling participle (rotten03), Tuesday, 26 July 2005 02:49 (8 years ago) Permalink

Um, a bit off-topic, but Sasha F-Jones doesn't really address any of the criticism of Diplo (born W. Pentz)and his not attributing credits on his mix cds in his New Yorker piece on Diplo and Brazilian dj, DJ Marlboro, does he?

"Since 2002, when the two began collaborating, Hollertronix’s aesthetic has become the template for modish d.j.s all over the Northeast: bumping, grinding commercial hip-hop blended with unlikely samples from well-known pop songs. Pentz is a particularly talented bricoleur, who knows how to match non-American beats (Radiohead, Elephant Man) with big-selling American voices (Lil’ Flip, Trina) and produce a sound that is unexpectedly fresh. When Interscope Records commissioned a remix of Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl,” which was the No. 1 single in the country for four weeks this spring, the company hired Pentz."

At Rothko, Pentz’s d.j. partner was not Low Budget but Fernando Luis Mattos da Matta, a forty-two-year-old Brazilian who goes by the name Marlboro and to whom Pentz has become close, thanks to the latest in a dizzying series of cross-cultural musical appropriations that began nearly thirty years ago."

steve k, Tuesday, 26 July 2005 02:55 (8 years ago) Permalink

2, I didn't say that you're insufferable. I'm just saying. I can't speak on your musical tastes. (Whoever mentioned the thing about all the #s making them feel like they're stuck on Sesame Street was way OTM.)

i mean i know more pac-was-revolutionary white guys than dipset LOL white guys (them i only know from the internet thank god) but you really think theyre equally bad?!?!

Neither is necessarily bad but about equally annoying. I say both types always seem to me to be a little too excited to interact with real life black people. Or tell you about those other ones that they know.

xpost And the cynic is me is not especially surprised that Diplo and Malboro are teaming up together now. Maybe Diplo got a little tired of the "you're just a carpetbagging white boy" grumblings.

Candicissima (candicissima), Tuesday, 26 July 2005 03:05 (8 years ago) Permalink

trife i feel you on this but i think patronizing this is REAL emotion, man, like the blues! Its about the hard life of the blacks! can be just as annoying. I'm not saying you're doing that at all obviously. But I know plenty of kids who do (and, like you, i know them in "real life" and the dipset kids from the net.)

deej.., Tuesday, 26 July 2005 03:22 (8 years ago) Permalink

"Cousins, first, second, third and distant, let's have Mantan take us all the way back to a much more simpler time. A time wen men were men, women were women, and Neggras knew their place. Cousins, I want all of you to go to your windows. Go to your windows and yell. Yell, I'm tired of the drugs, the crack babies born out of wedlock to crackhead aids infested parents. I'm tired of the inflated welfare rolls while good wholesome Americans bring less and less of their paycheck home every two weeks. I'm tired, you're tired, we're all tired of these so-called bible- thumping God fearing, whore mongling Professional athletes. Aren't you tired of these basketball-dunking, football-running, hop-hip rapping ebonic-speaking sex offenders who got ten kids from ten different Ho's?"

Sterling Clover (s_clover), Tuesday, 26 July 2005 03:54 (8 years ago) Permalink

i cried so hard at bamboozled!

ok, 1st thing and this is experience talking so its limited, but this big over pac shit has dick to do w cleverness or melodrama. 2 otm. its just some efficient we cn buy ready to die and be thru w them bullshit. i heard a ton of live pac and big w bonethugs gettin rides w kids in the midwest, no limit too, pun, whatever, but i think to this post or retrospective audience the pac cds are recursive and infinite, untouchable, parentheses like um the quote crack problem, and if you just look at the music videos, pac ridin thru the dust, little preadolescent posthumous notorious clean as fuck, that its most of all a class thing? big rappin abt videogames, plus shakier body image, coffin speculation

earlier today i ws reading this twelve year old luc sante review of clockers and obv much shit has changed not least the way ppl wanna fuck w rap in terms of persona but i like the spirit, the caution

"Still, what engages the reader is not merely the mechanism of the mystery but the depth and spaciousness of the depictions. The book's chief pleasure lies in recognition, that lure of naturalism rendered suspect by modernism, the immediate identification of people, places, and things we've maybe only glimpsed peripherally in life, but which are here suddenly presented in rounded trompe l'oeil, not to mention trompe l'oreille. There is, of course, more than a hint of voyeurism in our appreciation of this vantage."

"The surface particulars of the inner-city experience have been represented with varying degrees of glibness so many times that they have become hollow conventions in the minds of most people who do not live there, no more substantial than the main street of Dodge City or the floor of Doc Holliday's saloon, so that their bona fide counterparts on the evening news can be briefly perceived and then dismissed as abstractions."

"After all, while fiction may be fiction and owe no fealty to the matter it transforms, a novel that depicts an ongoing disaster bears a special responsibility. Price's intentions are entirely noble, and his skills are more than sufficient to give them force. It may be, however, that no intentions or skills can contend with the poverty of realism in an age of documentary saturation. It may seem unfair to cavil this way at Price's large achievement, but then it may be a measure of its success that it suggests a further step: that the reader, who can so easily and passively consume the experience of the novel, be made to work for it."

006 (thoia), Tuesday, 26 July 2005 05:09 (8 years ago) Permalink

5 months pass...
http://www.ninjatune.net/qtvideos/epks/diplo_epk.mov

Has anyone on ILM commented on the fact that Diplo's Electronic Press Kit makes heavy usage of footage of his djing a mostly black high school dance?

Seems to be working on a couple of levels: first, it's a kind of lo-fi, anti-rockstar-rockstar sensibility "Haha I'm playing at a high school, etc." But more importantly, it gives him the "Black People Seal of Approval" -- the same one Eminem needed to launch his career as the first white rapper to escape the gravity of Vanilla Ice. Look, they're dancing to it! They like it! And it also reaffirms his image as a merchant of music raw, exotic and sexual ("look at the freaky dances they do!".)

And yet I have to admit my first reaction to the video was just that I really liked it. In fact I watched it a bunch of times. It made me want to dance. It made me want to have more fun in general. And I think what saves the whole thing from being COMPLETELY condescending is that a lot of the footage is just about kids having fun and acting goofy.

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Wednesday, 11 January 2006 00:46 (8 years ago) Permalink

4 months pass...
hey babies remember that "since age 12 i thought i was someone else cuz I hung my original self from the top bunk with a belt"???? i think the real issue here is that man cannot posess a proper centrified gravity unless his waistline is at his balls. Your thoughts?

66666 (pds37), Monday, 29 May 2006 01:43 (8 years ago) Permalink

1 year passes...

the revive that had to be made

gershy, Friday, 19 October 2007 04:49 (6 years ago) Permalink

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Friday, 19 October 2007 06:18 (6 years ago) Permalink

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Friday, 19 October 2007 06:18 (6 years ago) Permalink

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Friday, 19 October 2007 06:19 (6 years ago) Permalink

can't we turn our attention to freeing t.i.?

J0rdan S., Friday, 19 October 2007 06:25 (6 years ago) Permalink

dylannn, Friday, 19 October 2007 06:55 (6 years ago) Permalink

so president bush-- the first one, the old one-- says to rhu rongji, "put us in charge for three days and we'll give you human rights, democracy and a free market." and zhu rongji says to bush, "okay, and we'll give you three 河南人 and america will be GONE in three days."

dylannn, Friday, 19 October 2007 06:57 (6 years ago) Permalink

FREE T.I.

J0rdan S., Friday, 19 October 2007 07:00 (6 years ago) Permalink

so president bush-- the first one, the old one-- says to rhu rongji, "put us in charge for three days and we'll give you human rights, democracy and a free market." and zhu rongji says to bush, "okay, and we'll give you three 河南人 and america will be GONE in three days."

-- dylannn, Friday, October 19, 2007 1:57 AM (2 minutes ago) Bookmark Link

^^^this was actually funny.

J0rdan S., Friday, 19 October 2007 07:00 (6 years ago) Permalink

here's another bush joke, big j

so, when george bush eats at a western restaurant in washington, he's always really proper: fork in left hand, knife in the right hand. but when he eats in a chinese restaurant in washington he's got a green onion in his left hand and a bottle of tsingtao in his right hand-- like a 山东大汗.

dylannn, Friday, 19 October 2007 07:06 (6 years ago) Permalink

haha the joke itself wasn't funny, i just loled at the random appearances of "rong"

J0rdan S., Friday, 19 October 2007 07:07 (6 years ago) Permalink

i don't know anymore zhu rongji jokes, man.

dylannn, Friday, 19 October 2007 07:10 (6 years ago) Permalink

hua guofeng, the forgotten leader between mao getting put in the ground and deng xiaopeng wresting control back. still alive and sleeping at the big 17.

dylannn, Friday, 19 October 2007 07:11 (6 years ago) Permalink

dylannn, Friday, 19 October 2007 07:12 (6 years ago) Permalink

dylannn, Friday, 19 October 2007 07:13 (6 years ago) Permalink

dylannn, Friday, 19 October 2007 07:14 (6 years ago) Permalink

dylannn, Friday, 19 October 2007 07:14 (6 years ago) Permalink

dylannn, Friday, 19 October 2007 07:15 (6 years ago) Permalink


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