Jonah Goldberg on Rap Music

|

He gets it exactly right.

West is simply the latest example of decades of hucksterism. Under the headline "The Passion of Kanye West," the rap star graces the cover of Rolling Stone posing as a bloodied Jesus with a crown of thorns. I particularly enjoy the publicity around the piece. Clearly borrowing from the same press release, publications across the country proclaim that the "outspoken rapper defends his brash attitude inside the magazine."

Ah, yes. It's about time. After all, it's so rare to find a rapper with a brash attitude. Normally they're shy, retiring types overflowing with modesty and humility. I was particularly enamored with the "aw, shucks" Andy Griffith personalities of Ni**az Wit Attitude and the late Tupac Shakur.

We're supposed to believe that West has been persecuted for his anti-Bush tirades and his determination to keep it real. But his biggest complaint is that people criticize him for being arrogant. "You want me to be great, but you don't ever want me to say I'm great?" he asks.

Of course, the editors also hoped to stir up some controversy, maybe even incite some religious conservatives to play to type, by exploiting the imagery of Jesus's suffering. I never went to Sunday school, but I don't recall that Jesus was crucified for being smug....

Obviously, none of this is unique to rap or "black" music (quotation marks necessary because white suburban kids are the biggest market for the stuff). Big corporations have been marketing "rebellion" since the 1950s. And the kids fall for it every time. In 1968, Columbia Records promised in an ad that "the man can't bust our music!" Madonna made her career glamorizing slattern chic and attacking bourgeois morality. Now she peddles children's books.

Bravo! RTWT, as the kids say.

Bookmark and Share

Pages

Mama-Lu's Etsy Shop

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on February 4, 2006 8:02 AM.

That smell... was the previous entry in this blog.

For the Chicago Peeps is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.