Guest Editorial: The Crack Emcee
Everything that happens in Hip-Hop is political - and, especially, in an election year: first off, Janet (I want to help my brother) & Justin's troubles don't matter- they ain't Hip-Hop - except to Michael Powell who is looking for blood. De La Soul is doing voter outreach, while Oaktown's Paris, apparently, STILL wants to kill the president (and his daddy). Sheikh Terra and the Soul Salah Crew, the new English rap group that's down with al-Qaeda, also want Bush's head - and they've just released Dirty Kuffar as a way to get it. Meanwhile, on stage, Michael Franti has been torturing a lyric ("You can bomb the world to pieces but you can't bomb it into peace") worse than Mel Gibson has been torturing Jesus in the theatres. I haven't heard anything out of The Coup. Maybe, like that Mexican dude in the Aphex Twin's "Windowlicker" video, they just don't give a fuck.
And why should they? Remember: the release of a Public Enemy album used to make the front page of the New York Times. Remember: just a few presidential election cycles ago, Bill Clinton thought it necessary to shut down Sista Soulja. Oh, "the good ol' days" of political rap. Now, after 9-11, The Wu-Tang Clan pose like the Marines but have you heard anything, really political, out of them? (There ARE nine of 'em, right?) And didn't our Grammy winner, Dr. Dre , say he was gonna use the ol' Osama/Yo Mama/Mad Bomba rhyme for somethin'? I have a sneaky feeling Osama bin Laden is gonna get away with bein' THE ONLY PERSON ON THE PLANET that hasn't heard Dre say, "You can suck my dick." And speakin' of Dre (and suckin' dicks) shouldn't Eminem be speakin' up on the gay marriage issue? Shouldn't he be hookin' up with Elton John, and the Deep Dick Collective, by now? Maybe making a big rap/sing along about how abnormally "normal" this normally abnormal display of gay coupling is?( Then again, as ho-hum as "White America" was, I don't know if gays would want Em to come to their defense, right now) Whoa - I just had an idea: maybe, rather than just the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus serenading the same-sex love birds, couldn't Chingy zip out to S.F. and sing, "I like the way you do that right thurr"? C'mon! Maybe I'm just too Old School: the kind of stuff promised by "The Message" - that rap would be the black CNN - are long gone now. Everybody shoulda known, once the scene got to be all about fashion, that the artists would become as dumb - and compliant - as the models they're slobberin' to hang out with. Ol' Russell Simmons got his hat handed to him the very first time he got in the political arena (which was, also, when the really rich and powerful handed him his first, real-world, we-all-got-to-watch public defeat: our so-called leader proved to be very, very, naive.). The people Russell was learning from look bad, too, whether they're into progressive politics, or Hip-Hop, or both. In San Francisco, did the well-publicized fact that Green Party star, Matt Gonzalez, didn't have any Hip-Hop in his music collection keep him from becoming mayor in the last election? (Probably. Lack of "juice" and all that. Was it too much for him to know one good rap group?) Which brings up the question, who does John Kerry - or John Edwards, for that matter - listen to? (W. is, obviously, into Country,...) What are they gonna inspire the rank-and-file with? And, whatever they use, will it be hype enough to push them over the top? (Don't forget, the last time around, Ralph Nader had lots of Hip-Hop fans - and got blamed for Bush's win.) Will the candidates choice of music appeal to the average Hip-Hop listener - or just the corporate negroes? And if the Democrats do a Clinton repeat - using something like Fleetwood Mac for back-up - can they beat George W. Bush in November? I'm doubtful. Stay tuned.