I swear history just travels in unimaginative circles. The same issues our fathers faced in their day, we are facing now in this post-millennium BS that we call modern society. After years of lying history books, recycled headlines, uninspired lectures, and cheesy fireside chats, I’ve grown hip to the fact that significant people, places, and things revisit us over and over in different vessels. So, in honor of the Jay-Z song “22 Twos” and being old enough to see history repeating itself before my eyes, here are “22 News.”
1. Beyonce is the new Diana Ross.
The lovely torch for diva-incarnate has been passed. Beyonce is as iconic as the Motown legend, with less made-for-TV drama. Destiny’s Child was the new Supremes. I’m just waiting for 2024 when one of ex-members of DC get strung on coke, making way for Dream Chicks starring Keke Palmer as Kelly Rowland.
2. Cornrows were the new Afros (until Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson got rid of theirs).
In the 70’s everybody and their mama had a ‘fro. In early 2000’s, everybody and their mama had cornrows. I mean everybody. Lil Bow Wow, Ludacris, Alicia Keys…David Beckham, Kevin Federline. Now cats are either back to Caesars or walking around with those iffy ‘Frohawks.
3. The recession is the new Depression (maybe not).
Ok so the recession is definitely not the Depression. But the Lehman Brothers’ collapse gave those dudes in the three pieces minor strokes for a few weeks. Plus more homeowners have defaulted on their mortgages this past year than hood Chinese food restaurants have been robbed. It may not be Of Mice and Men out here, but times is hard.
4. Barack Obama is the new Martin Luther King Jr.
And “Yes, We Can” is the new “I Have a Dream”. Now instead writing cliché essays on their favorite civil rights leader, students across America are writing cliché essays on their favorite president. Let’s just hope sixty years from now, there are no liquor stores on Obama Boulevard.
5. Ron Artest is the new Dennis Rodman
Dennis Rodman wore 91. Ron Artest wore 96. Both were hired by championship teams who felt muscle was the missing puzzle piece in their dynasties. Both have mindfucked their opponents on the basketball court. Rodman, through dyed hair and sexual psychology. Artest, through temper tantrums and “prison rules” defense. Oh yeah, both are randomly supporters of PETA.
6. Air Force Ones are the new Air Force Ones
As validated by the sneaker’s 27 year old history. Put it this way, what do a seventeen year old and a 43 year old have in common? They both wore Forces when they were sixteen.
7. Tupac is the new Malcolm X.
And Thug Life is the new Nation of Islam? Sounds weird, but let’s really think about this. Both ‘Pac and Malcolm were fiery orators. Both icons have made a stronger impact after death than when they were living. Both had memorable beefs. Malcolm with the honorable Elijah Muhammad, Tupac, of course with the Notorious B.I.G. There’s still some debate as to how political Tupac was during his life, but the other similarities all but suggest reincarnation.
8. Lil Wayne is the new Tupac
Though Wayne has yet to brandish his on screen finesse, the New Orleans omni-lyricist parallels the great ‘Pac in many ways. Both have that lugie-spitting I-don’t-give-a-f###-ness and both love showing their chests off. Plus, look at the work ethic. God forbid Wayne meets an untimely demise. Do you know how many posthumous mixtapes will be swarming out there?
9. Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the new Sugar Ray Leonard
Pretty Boy and Sugar Ray have combined for 76 wins and 3 losses. They’ve split their combined 50 knockouts dead even. Leonard’s 80’s flash and vigor is Mayweather’s post-millennium swag and bravado.
10. 30 is the new 20
With more and more people enrolling in graduate school, accruing those loans, and putting off marriage and children to their middle ages, life is starting later and later these days. Jay-Z perceived it on the Kingdom Come (even though he’s nearly forty) and a whole platoon of middle-aged 90’s rappers rejoiced.
11. Weed is the new Tobacco
In Massachusetts, marijuana possession is no longer a criminal offense. Plus, celebrities, drug dealers, and radical doctors have done all they can to demystify weed’s unhealthy side effects. Just like with gay marriage, American will fall into place the same way with legalization—state by state. Stay tuned for the THC patch y’all.
12. Las Vegas is the new Los Angeles
It is not uncommon to catch a glimpse of someone like Ben Affleck at the poker table or see the whole front row at Caesar’s Palace lined with celebrities for a world-class boxing match. If Los Angeles is where average joes like me go to see celebrities, Las Vegas is where celebrities see celebrities.
13. Brazil is the new Las Vegas
Remember, prostitution is legal in Nevada, not Las Vegas. So, you might find your chin to the pavement the next time you try to fulfill that sex vacation that you and your pool buddies have been entranced by. Brazil is the new spot. Ask any barbershop in the hood, Rio makes even the most underwhelming libido seem like it’s been souped up on goat weed.
14. Global Warming is the new Ice Age
I know…why think the destruction of the world into existence? Well, I’m just reminding everyone that we’re only a few factory puffs, gas guzzlers, and carbon emissions away from being on the next What Happened to H### Sapiens? NOVA documentary. Unless we want to steal shine from the wholly mammoth, this is not a good look.
15. September 11th is the new Pearl Harbor
C’mon, are you really gonna fight me on this one? September 11th is the new Pearl Harbor because September 11th was the first attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. I’m just making sure I eat my veggies so I can be one of the last living people from that era and make money reminiscing about the fateful day to a bunch of narcotic sixth graders.
16. BET is the new Black Face
It’s been few years now, so it should really be BET is the old Black Face. On any given Sunday, count on young black kids—and young white kids still forming their impressions of the African-American race—to be tuning in and getting their daily dose of rim spinning, baby-mama cursing, champagne-poppin’, sizzurp-slurping, grill-flashing indoctrination. Stay tuned ten years later when The GS Boyz get a lifetime achievement award.
17. College is the new High School
And the administrative assistant is the new factory worker. What does a Bachelor’s degree get you nowadays anyway? A piece of paper and $30,000 of debt? Plus, with online programs and accelerated curricula, more and more folks have access to higher learning.
18. Compact Discs are the new Vinyls
I get this nouveau vision of the future, when I have kids and we’ve gone from laptop downloads to frontal lobe brain chips, that that my seeds will discover a hoard of all my CDs—The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Aquemini, Illmatic— in the attic. It’ll be just like the vinyls I discovered as a child, Thriller, Songs in the Key of Life, What’s Going On. The music itself transcends the outdatedness of the medium.
19. No One is the new Jordan or Jackson
Who? Kobe, Lebron? Chris Brown, Usher? Those of us who came of age in the 80’s and 90’s have turned into those contemporary culture-condemning grouches. Maybe we are just cynics, but it’s hard to foresee another Brian Russell buzzer beater or Moonwalk anytime soon. Honestly, it’s gonna take more than a lifetime for these legends to be eclipsed.
20. Usain Bolt is the new Michael Johnson
Literally. After supplanting Johnson’s world record in the men’s 400, Usain became the unequivocal fastest man in the cosmos. Johnson’s gold boots have reincarnated into the lightning bolt pose. Needless to say, swag is a shape-shifter.
21. Flying While Middle Eastern is the new Driving While Black
Have you been on an airplane with a man in a turban and felt guilty at your own uneasiness? Airport searches are random for everyone except for those of Arabic descent. For us minorities, it’s racial profiling on suburban roads. For them, it’s racial profiling over friendly skies.
22. Iraq is the new Vietnam
Says the anti-war demonstrations, innocent soldier casualties, protest songs, inflammatory editorials, attacking pundits, lying conservatives, media monopolizing, demonized foreign leaders, and imperial interests that seem recycled straight outta the shaggy-haired 60’s.
There you have it. Life is just the same soup reheated. So next time you go googling Paris Hilton or stalking Halle Berry, say to yourself, “Am I stalking the next hot thing or a freaky, historical ghost of the past?” History tries to play you like that. Marinate.
Sidik Fofana is a Senior Writer for allhiphop.com. His blog is at http://cornerboyjazz.blogspot.com