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Talkin' Shit: The Crack Emcee

 

GUEST EDITORIAL

The Crack Emcee talks about his recent adventures in France, global politics and- get this- music.



All summer long, France, the nation that thought America was so cool they gave us the Statue of Liberty, has been trying to sing a break-up song and it's lyrics go like this:
    Fuck what I said, it don't mean shit, now
    Fuck the presents, might as well throw 'em out
    Fuck all the kisses- they didn't mean jack
    Fuck you, you ho, I don't want you back
"Fuck It (I Don't Want You Back)" is by this Staten Island kid named Eamon and, with it's re-working of Sinead O'Conner's cover of Prince's "No One Compares To You", has been playing all over France (especially on the radio) perfectly summing up the French response to President Bush's, go-it-alone, foreign policy.

But, now that the Iraqi capture of two French journalists has made them a political deer-in-the-headlights, they might wanna concentrate on the words of Eamon's plastic ex-girlfriend, Frankee ("Fuck what I did, it was your fault somehow") in her note-by-note hit reply "F.U.R.B." (Fuck You Right Back) because- as "Crazy" Zell Miller's speech, at the Republican National Convention, made clear- America and France ain't, exactly, boyfriend/girlfriend- no more.

And I'm not surprised. Though I can't say (as many people suggest) they hate us, there is some resentment there because, like a jilted lover, they've seen the U.S. outgrow them, politically and culturally, and they trip on that - hard: they think of themselves as "The Shit" but our country has had to save their butts and, despite what they always knew was sketchy information, they thought they understood "The New World". For instance, they've developed a healthy fascination for all things Californian, so the Royal Gigalos' House Mix of "California Dreamin'" (the old Mammas & the Pappas hit) is huge. Of course, I haven't heard it once, in the U.S., but you can't escape the line, "I'd be safe in warm- if I was in L.A.", there- or the impression that they think we're groovin' on it, too.

To show where they go waayy off-track, I, also, couldn't escape Billy Paul. His music just kept comin' up, over and over, in various CD collections and bars. Which lead me to wonder, what other culture on earth is, still, seriously listening to Billy Paul? What other culture on earth thinks Billy Paul's cover of Elton John's "Your Song" is superior to "Me & Mrs. Jones"? What other culture on earth is playin' "Your Song" in clubs?

And, make no mistake about it- I don't care what's goin' on in the world of foriegn relations- it's in the French nightclubs where things are getting really weird: the club scene in France, like the French language, is really difficult to translate because we don't have anything like it, here, but- sounding like James Carville, trying to explain why he used to work for "Crazy" Zell- many good French DJs told me they think of the French as "Special", which could mean anything- from quirkily unique to retarded- but, after seeing people going crazy for "Dragostea Din Tei" by Poland's O-Zone or leaping around, like mini-mohawked, mousse-haired idiots, trying to sing along- in english- with David Guetta's "Atomic Food" (actually, screaming "Beef!" "Carrots!" "Tomatoes!" "Ham!") I got to thinking, instead, that too much House Music just makes them dumb.

One exclusive club made me take off my Kangol to hear Joan Jett's "I Love Rock 'N' Roll" and Nena's "99 Luftballoons" - which, I know, is a European anti-nuclear protest song but Jesus. Another American favorite, heard everywhere, is the late Barry White's "Let The Music Play"- but that's, pretty much, the only Barry White song the entire country knows. Or wants to hear: to them, that song is "good" American music, damn it.

France has this love for the underdog (dark skinned) so Rap music has, definitely, entered their time zone- the Black Eyed Peas' "Hey Mama", especially, but mostly of the DMX, 50 Cent, Wu-Tang, knuclehead variety- but play 'em anything odd, or just different and you'll have 'em runnin' for the hills, screamin' blasphemy.

Of course, they've got plenty of local Rap stuff to keep the kids happy, like Arsenik, IAM, the gold-plated Joey Starr, and, the too well-known MC Solaar. But, just like their love for Sean Paul, it's hard to take it all seriously, politically or otherwise.

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