As a lover of Hip Hop, and a defender of said music til the day that I die, what I'm about to admit is rather difficult for me, but here goes: I secretly believe, at times, that certain music does influence violent behavior in people. I know, I know, I'm not supposed to say that because it gives asshats like Bill O'Reilly and those of his inbred ilk ammunition when they blame Hip Hop for the crumbling of society as we know it. But I also feel that movies can promote the same violent tendencies also, haven't you ever left a karate movie thinking that you could beat the next asshole who steps in front of you? I remember leaving the movie "The Last Dragon" as a kid, totally pumped up, feeling like I had "the glow" as I kicked the neighborhood bully in the face when I got home.(Granted, he quickly reminded me that movies are make believe as he gave me the pummeling of a lifetime, screaming "Sho-nuf! Sho-nuf motherfucker!!") I don't know what it is, but there is music out there that makes me want to walk up and engage in the age old art of fisticuffs whenever I hear it and smash some random asshole in the face.
But since I am 32 now I know that fighting is the last thing I should be doing, not only because I'm older now and adults shouldn't be acting so irresponsibly, but because women who I've dated say that I have a "nice butt" and having that distinction is the last thing you want to have in prison. So instead of using the following music as a soundtrack to me publicly beating the shit out of a random black republican, I listen to these groups when I am working out to get me pumped up. OK, and to occasionally throat-chop your occasional jackass. Hey, I'm not perfect.
M.O.P: When I hear someone label another individual a "Hypocrite", I always laugh to myself because it's my opinion that we all have some level of hypocrisy that we exhibit. If there was one group that exposes me as the gold medal hypocrite that I am, that group would indeed be M.O.P. See, I can go around talking my dreadlocked head off about the decline of Hip Hop because of the irresponsible violence and misogyny that is displayed by certain groups, but at the end of the day I love a group that promotes violence and misogyny ad naseum. If any of you see me at a blogger meet up and I refuse to beat up another blogger that you have beef with, just start playing some M.O.P, even start reciting the lyrics acapella and I will make sure that that blogger's next entry will be "How HumanityCritic beat my ass at a Meet-up". They have gotten me in the mood with songs like "How about some Hardcore", "Downtown Swinger", "Ground Zero", the song they had with Guru called "Blade", and the song they are famous for, the beat-down anthem of the century entitled "Ante Up". Their aggressive delivery, their gravel sounding voices, laced with tales of gun play that would make Scarface shrivel in the fetal position, nothing makes a chubby blogger from Virginia Beach want to dedicate his life to gangster-dom more.(This is sad, but while typing this I just raised an imaginary shotgun in the air and yelled "Clack-Clack, salute" ala Billy Danzenie. Sad man, just sad.) I have mentioned that violence depicted in Hip Hop is wrong, haven't I?
System of a Down: The problem with being a lifelong Hip Hop fan who now fronts a rock band is that a lot of rock traditions or trends offend my ingrained Hip Hop sensibilities. Like moshing, albeit silly, but even though I understand that people do this at certain shows, I dissuade the audience at our shows from doing so because of said sensibilities. I mean, I have damn near gotten into all out brawls because someone kept gently bumping me at a "Tribe Called Quest" show, just imagine my reaction if some burly motherfucker shoved me with the force of a mack truck while attempting to "mosh". I went into that diatribe to present the fact that I think that "System of a Down" puts out excellent "Fight Music", a fact that was uncovered when I fought a dude at one of thier shows a few years back.(More on that later) Whenever I hear their sped up melodies, rapid fire guitar licks, drum patterns that make you think that the drummer is trying to ruin his equipment, and haunting operatic vocals, nothing makes you want to assault your local nemesis faster. Songs like "Chop Suey", "Toxicity", "Violent Pornography", "Boom", and "B.Y.O.B", get you more hyper than a crackhead drinking Starbucks. Back to the fight, I was enjoying the musical stylings of said group as I stood in the audience bopping my head. Well, instead of starting off the garden variety mosh session by pushing me, some motherfucker punched me in the face. Suffice it to say I exercised my Hip Hop sensibilities on him by making sure he became intimately acquainted with the bottom of my shell-toe Adidas. The irony about "System of a Down" is that they are a politically conscious group, they pretty much have great messages in their songs.(OK, they do have a song where they sing in defiance, "My cock is much bigger than yours!" But overall, pretty positive.)
Rage against the machine: Another positive group that instigates ass whippings from your truly, Rage is another musical act that pumps me up whenever I listen to them. I don't know if it's Zack De la Rocha's angry delivery, Tom Morello's masterful and innovative guitar playing, or their overall political message that I pretty much agree with, I would definitely put them in the "Angry Young Man Music" category. Listening to tunes like "Testify", "Killing in the Name", "Bullet in the head", "Born of a Broken man", and my favorite "Bulls on Parade", makes you want to digest their political message and give your local politician and open handed bitch slap. Be careful though, the influence can cause you to get a public ass whipping like I got recently. See, as exercise I box, and the past few months I have been kind of feeling myself a bit because I have destroyed a few of the cats who frequent the same boxing gym that I do. So, in true HumanityCritic "asshole" fashion, I challenged a local golden gloves champion to a fight. I know he was out of my league and I should have backed down the day of our fight, but listening to "Rage against the machine" on the way to the gym got me in an ass whipping mood that particular morning. I got in the ring with the local champ, and for the first 3 rounds I went to town on him like he owed me money, so I thought. But in reality he was just waiting for me to tire myself out, and proceeded to give me an astounding beating that not only has me questioning my manhood, but at the time momentarily forgetting my name. Yep, listen to "Rage against the Machine", but at your own risk.
Ice cube(1991-1993): I know it sucks that I have to give a specific time period of Ice Cube's kick ass tunes, but it is in my humble opinion that he turned into a different Ice Cube after said period, a much wacker version. When he first went solo and joined forces with the Bomb Squad production team, you would be hard pressed to find another performer who expressed the angst felt by young black men everywhere. Unapologetic about his views, nothing soothed the effects of having a verbally abusive father more than playing his first album and his EP through my headphones, totally escaping reality. Thinking about me escaping to my room and listening to "Amerikkkas most wanted", "The N*gga you love to hate", "The Bomb", "Endangered Species", and "The Product", I suddenly want to find that dude who tried to bully me in Junior High School, look his ass up, and beat him in front of his wife and 2.3 kids for the pain he cause me 18 years ago. Even in college, when me and my boys would frequent certain clubs to see what asshole we could publicly humiliate with our fists, songs like "No Vaseline" and "Wrong N*gga to Fuck with" from Ice Cube's follow up album were in heavy rotation in our tape decks. Ahh, I miss the good old days.
Wu-tang clan: Wanna hear something stupid? I have not liked certain groups, not based on any sort of musical shortcoming that they have, but for the simple and idiotic fact that everyone else liked them at the time. This is what happened with me never being a Wu-Tang fan, just because of my weak and pedestrian attempt to be an "original thinker", I stopped myself from openly enjoying their music for longer than I care to mention. But even during the tenure of my misguided protest, I couldn't front on their music and the ability it had to start all out physical altercations. The early nineties was when the lions share of my fights happened, usually in a club where my crew immaturely fought some other crew, causing havoc on a regular basis. But come on though, I think that even Gandhi or your random member of any clergy would find it hard to not knock a motherfucker out if they heard classics like "Protect your Neck", "Shame on a N*gga", "Bring da Ruckus", or "Wu-Tang clan ain't nothing to Fuck with". Speaking of that song, one of the only times that I fought one of my friends is when I openly teased him about getting an STD as I sang, "Poon-Tang man Ain't nothing to Fuck with!!" Fight Music indeed.