LIBERTIES

There’s a special place in hell reserved for people wandering around saying “Trill” and “We out here”. Especially hipst… actually, let’s be more direct — whiteys. Unless you’re Haystak or Lil Wyte or something. Self hating hipsterdom of the Homer Simpson “It’s funny ‘cos it’s true! We’re so lame!” kind is equally jarring, but honestly, the only rap nostalgia I’m interested in is a restoration of the days when melanin-deficient rap nerds got a “What do you know about hip-hop?” reaction to any attempts to spark a chat about Rap-A-Lot. I used to enjoy the vicarious thrill of listening to X-Clan, King Sun, Ice Cube, Public Enemy, Geto Boys and Brand Nubian just because they didn’t seem to want me listening to them. They weren’t retweeting my endorsement — rappers were taking my international money order for fan club membership or merchandise and sending me nothing because I was a white rap fan and I didn’t deserve it.

It was a poorly kept secret that we were the ones funding the industry by making up a lion’s share of music purchases, but nobody seemed to cut us any slack — we were honkys, crackers, goofy dudes or cops with amplified caucasian dweebiness on album interludes. We kind of knew our place. Even MC Serch sometimes sounded so disappointed at being white that he’d berate white devils too. Somewhere down the line, the pet white characters like that white dwarf in Too Much Trouble, Miilkbone and Knucklehedz gave way to a post-Eminem world where wild liberties are taken, kids that aren’t Paul Wall have fronts, people actually debate whether it’s cool for white people to say “nigga” (some people even think it’s cool if Gwyneth Paltrow does), hug rap replaced thug rap and even the gooniest goons seem to want to interact on social media, not helped by a climate of dickriding where rappers and hip-hop personality on Twitter “reacting” to stuff is a big deal and everything has to be “addressed”.

As is the case with high-end brands and formerly snooty stores wanting to be buddies all of a sudden, I’m not sure I’m comfortable with rap’s acceptance of me. I’m assuming that the NPR intern kid is white (posisbly even fictional) and there he is dismissing Public Enemy — that would have been a beatdown in 1988 (not that I’m advocating one and it’s kind of quaint that kids still want to be music journalists). Now it’s just a low-level viral ticking off. And how did you just get on the Trill talk when UGK said it 24 years ago (20 if we’re talking Jive records)? “We out here” is strictly for white teed characters in the background of WSHH videos. Revoke those passes people — hip-hop needs to start getting intimidating again. The music’s still on point but some folks need to be kept in check.

Anyway, everyone knows the only white dude hip-hop allows is Phil Collins.

If you spotted the mysterious artwork for Pasolini’s ‘Trilogy of Life Criterion Blu-ray set doing the rounds this week, which may or may not be a fake, because its origins are mysterious, you’ll have spotted the homage to Basquiat in there. Whatever the origins, it’s a lot cooler than Swizz Beatz shouting about “That Basquiat Life!!!!!” on Twitter. Is a disfranchised, heroin addled existence something to add multiple exclamation marks to? How about, “That Mark Rothko Life!!!!!”

I maintain that Long Beach’s Proper don’t get their due for breaking from the collaborative norm just before a hype communication infrastructure was in place. Their ASICS GT II used speckles when they were still cool and applied military grade ripstop long before everyone else did. In a ‘Sneaker Freaker’ interview in 2005, they talked about a Gel Lyte III they were working on (seemingly coinciding with the model’s reintroduction). And then, nothing. This Knicks-colour version of the shoe is one of the great lost collaborations and it even has a phantom-like quality, thanks to some wonky Photoshopping. If this shoe had come out, I would have lost my mind and I still think it holds up, despite the slew of makeups that have dropped since.

0 thoughts on “LIBERTIES

  1. While I can’t say I’ve ever quite felt I wasn’t meant to be listening to PE and the like, I do probably feel much the same way as you on the new found love affair between Hip Hop and social internet media. In fact the whole thing just baffles and scares my cave man like mind. I’ve never tweeted nor had a face book account. So in a selfish and nostalgic way I pine for the days when I could be sure my lack of I.T knowledge would be the last thing to stop me from understanding a bar. In contrast, these days it seems to be the primary cause of lyrics going over my head. Recently I listened to Nas’s song ‘Daughters’ and there’s the line “she put the condoms on the table and Instagramed it”. I had no idea what that meant until the other day when I finally found out what ‘instagram’ was! I love it when Hip Hop drops science, maths or history on me, but internet meme’s I could do without (not that the aforementioned Nas example is a meme)

    I don’t have any problem with the idea of twitter. Its just that from what I can see, 85% of the time rappers only use twitter as a platform to stroke their ego’s through profuse re tweeting of the most cringe worthy complements, or cheap marketing. If someone pays you a nice complement your supposed to keep that to yourself! Twitter beefs have done the world no good either…kids are growing up now thinking that beefing on twitter is hard; ” yo, he used a lol, that’s how you know my tweet had him shook bruv, and he took like 5 minutes to reply, he’s shook init!”

    In reality though, I know the truth is I’m just a dinosaur and the problem is me. I’m still running on analogue in this digital age.

    P.S I love that Bone Thug/ Phil Collins music video! Its hilarious. Probably because of Wish’s face while he’s draped over Phil singing to him “with a little ooh wee, with a little ooh wee”. You know Phil must have been thinking “how the hell did I let these guys talk me in to letting them sample my song”

  2. As much as I enjoyed listening to PE I didn’t feel it was meant for my ears and life. I think the most difficult thing for me growing up was not being able to relate to anything rappers were talking about. It did however paint pictures and tell stories that were very inspirational and entertaining.

    I forever am a fan of the Soul Assassin crews and felt like I fit in more with these non black groups (misguided it may be). I remember at a Cypress Hill gig they were supported by Funkdoobiest and Lords of the Underground. Both the Hill and Funkdoobiest shook hands and gave love to the front rows of mad kids of all colours. However, LOTU avoided white hands and left no doubt in anyone’s mind that they were purposely shunning those not of colour. Was a shame and sticks with me even after some 15+ years. Chief Rockers they were not. I paid my money and rapped along but left with some confused feelings.

    Funnily enough I think the Wu Tang were so phenomenal it didn’t matter what colour of the rainbow you were it had an impact.

    As for present day, the best hip hop is coming from white mcs and producers. La Coka Nostra (Ill Bill, Slaine, Danny Boy) Apathy, Alchemist, Action Bronson, DJ Lethal, DJ Muggs and so on.

    Twitter is a useful tool and will sadly be used by some for nonsense and ignorance. I love that I can follow some of my heroes and though I don’t need replies it feels good to interact.

  3. When I was coming up in the 1980’s ans 90’s, white, we listened to rap just to learn the enemies mind-set. Of course we always knew there were the dumb fuck suburban pussy white boys out to suck every black (and white) dick on the block. They would have killed their parents and school class (and later, did) to “appear hard”. The real “white brothers” were just steady learning; and learn we did. Now we got spokeSmen like, Haystak, Lil’ Wyte and others who took the black boys game and up’d it to a level they can’t compete with. Black rap has played out the “we had to suffer” bullshit per Cube the hollywood whippin’ boy. Ice Tit’s being led around on tele by our white sister steady on the on the gank (much love blondie) until now even the suburban kids snicker at their corny black asses. Em got inside and twisted them up so badly that now they think JayZ and Lil’ Wayne is A+ hip-hop and weak ass shit like Drake, Chains and those other no-skill having phonies is on deck to take the reins??? – LOL, excuse me but, nigga’ pleeeeze.

    Po’ white children from the 1970′ thru to now have taken the heat for some old bullshit PE and sell outs like Serch been handing out since the days of bussing. The white boys out there that want to keep riding that old played out dick can continue if you wanna’ but, the ladies are watching and they know sell out cowards when they see um’. If you want to reclaim your identity without having to be a damn skinhead or nazi or some ol’ other played out BS, keep on You Tubing Haystak, Jelly Roll and the rest of your own brothers. Show that you can enjoy a lil’ “wayne” if you wanna’ but, YOU STILL A WHITE BROTHER! CWB TILL I DIE!