Ceditorial: Outsiders Peer Inside

Ok, I don’t know how many of you are sick of people trying to destroy our culture and/or the feelings within the hip-hop community. But the one thing I can’t stand is when someone who doesn’t understand, know or want to know what the culture is about, spews ignorant statements towards a positive group of […]

Ok, I don’t know how many of you are sick of people trying to destroy our culture and/or the feelings within the hip-hop community. But the one thing I can’t stand is when someone who doesn’t understand, know or want to know what the culture is about, spews ignorant statements towards a positive group of people without knowing what it is he/she is talking about! For many of you in the New York area, you may know of ‘pink lips’ Stanley Crouch, who writes for the Daily News. Now, for years I have noticed that he is perceived to be the ‘voice’ of Blacks as far as the mainstream white media is concerned and probably the only reason he keeps his job is because of the constant and ignorant attacks he places on the Black community. I guess the Daily News feels like if one of them wrote some of the things that ‘Pink Lips’ writes, they would be crucified by the Black community so why not let one of our own do the lynching for them!

The title of his column on Monday, September 8, 2003, is “Rappers Kill Themselves and Culture.” Of course this catches my eyes and since I have a very low opinion on this ‘writer’, I go to see exactly what ignorance he is ready to spit! Of course, he didn’t disappoint me! Please, if you can, go read this article off the Daily News site (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/col/story/115822p-104320c.html), especially if you are not in the New York area. For starters, he makes reference to another rap war going on because of the murder of Murder, Inc. associate, D.O. Cannon. Here’s what he wrote:

‘There are those who will see the murder last week of the rapper known as D.O. Cannon as something about which we can say little other than, “There they go again.” The victim, a largely unknown figure who worked for the Murder Inc. label, went down before achieving any kind of notoriety. He is now no more than an indication of another rap war.’

First off, because a rapper or a person associated with rap is slain, beaten up or robbed, doesn’t mean there is a rap war. If that’s the case, then anytime a Black man is robbed by a person of another race, then that means there is a race war going on. Sounds stupid, right? Why is it that someone who is on the ‘outside’ of things, KNOW what is going on and KNOW how to report it? Just because a Black man writes about something Black-related, doesn’t mean he knows what he is talking about!

‘But it seems to me that we should do more than expect rappers to now and again bump each other off. We should better understand what they have brought into the world of popular entertainment.’

Ok, ignorance at it’s best! So you mean to tell me that rappers started killing each other off before others started killing each other? Does this mean when people of other races, cultures or other genres of music kill another, it’s because rappers were the first to do it?

‘Perhaps the grandest irony is that there is absolutely no violence at all in the place from which the thugs of gangster rap get their ideas, their philosophy. Their so-called gangster esthetic comes straight out of Hollywood, particularly Ernest Dickerson’s film “Juice,” which starred Tupac Shakur as a neighborhood menace who modeled himself on the psychopath portrayed by James Cagney in “White Heat.”

Films such as “The Godfather” and “Scarface” are treated as training films for living the treacherous, gaudy life of a criminal. Michael Corleone is something akin to a folk hero, fictional though he might be.’

OK, let’s back track here! There is absolutely no violence at all from where the rappers get their ideas! Where did this man grow up? His parents did a tremendous job of keeping all the bad news from him. There was never any violence until rappers started spitting words, right? So, the Godfather, Scarface and Goodfellas were not based on the dealings of the Mafioso back in the days? Al Capone was a fictional character, as was John Gotti? And there was no violence in rap or the world at all until “Juice” came out, right?

‘When these ignorant knuckleheads with gold teeth are visited at their mansions on “MTV Cribs,” their “art works” are almost always movie posters for gangster films!’

Oh, so that means there are no white kids in all of America that doesn’t have movie posters from their favorite movies? That didn’t start until Hip-Hop became a ‘fad’, right? And where does Stanley Crouch get the nerve or the right to label these human beings, ignorant knuckleheads? I bet if these same ‘knuckleheads were white; he would never used those terms in the publication he writes for! And another thing, besides maybe Juvenile, how many rappers actually have gold teeth anymore? And the last I checked, that gold teeth fad started when he was young and his generation was full of pimps and drug dealers!

‘That they have terrible taste and are inarticulate clowns of one sort or another does not make them that different from most of the people in popular music.

What does make them different is that their lives are often on the line. The putting each other down that was once considered a lot fun when rap was young can actually amount to a battle cry.’

How many rappers lives are on the line that wasn’t on the line before they entered rap? And on the flip side, how many rappers lives are on the line? The rappers I see when I go out always look happy and enjoying life! And putting each other down is called battling and it’s been at the forefront of hip-hop since the inception! That is what MADE hip-hop (outside of the artistry) in the early days. Crews battling each other and at the end of the day, that was it, it made people go back to the drawing board to get better. Know the history before commenting!

‘Most of all, whenever another rapper is killed and everyone else in the field beefs up security and travels in custom-made bulletproof gear, we should remember that the stars of all those Hollywood action films – people like Sylvester Stallone, Charles Bronson, Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis and Al Pacino – have never faced hails of bullets off-screen. If they had, they would have taken different roles.’

I’m sure Stanley Crouch spoke to these artists themselves and they confided this to him!

‘We know, however, that two of the biggest rap stars ever, Shakur and Biggie Smalls, were killed gangland-style. Their murders and that of D.O. Cannon last week prove that there are still people in the world of gangster rap who slaughter like the fictional scum they admire.’

Hello, this is America, the villain is ALWAYS admired! Don’t you go to the movies yourself? And speaking of, how many people in ‘the world of gangster rap’ have been convicted or even charged with committing a murder? Please tell me!

‘Rap scholar Baz Dreisinger observes, “Some of these people, like Snoop Dogg, were not really gangsters. When Snoop claimed to be a Crip, his supposedly being an authentic criminal was very good for his career. In the process, he became something that he wasn’t.”

So if you are lucky and the public’s taste is bad enough, pretending to be a criminal can make you rich. If your luck is bad, however, you could be killed.’

Ok, Mr. Crouch (What an appropriate name!), maybe in the lily white neighborhood you come from believe that Snoop’s career was bolstered by his ‘gang-affiliation’. But in the world of hip-hop, we recognized his talent on the mic and liked him for that. I don’t care if he was a boy scout or a gang member. I liked his style and his flow, which had nothing to do with his ‘supposed’ gang ties! And let me tell you another thing, the REAL criminals are the record executives and the labels they work for, the radio conglomerates and the such, that control this business. If you knew anything about the percentages and splits and the shady dealings of the industry, you would know that artists are getting raped, beaten and thrown away, like victims of other crimes!

‘Our entertainment culture has never been in a place like this before. Let us do whatever we can to make sure that it does not remain there much longer.’

Stanley, you have a LOT to learn concerning the music industry. These same thugs that you are referring to are actually earning money legitimately and you don’t have to worry about them sticking the likes of you up in the streets. You should be happy about that! They focus their attention on the industry and NOT on your earnings like it was years before rap afforded young, black talent with opportunities to get off the street. And don’t think that because the ‘popular’ thugs are hot, that they are the norm. They are the minority! Know what you are talking about before you open your mouth!