Saturday, April 07, 2007

When Hip Hop tackles serious issues

Hey, I love to laugh as much as the next guy, but I learned at an extremely early age that life in general was no laughing matter - lessons that my loved ones always found ways of teaching me through the wonderful world of sports. When I was a toddler my father refused to let me win at anything, he'd knock me down whenever I tried to tackle him while playing football, he'd aggressively block my shot like he was an All-American center playing in a fucking college championship, and every time I started to cry he'd say something like "You cry and I'll fucking beat you, please prove me wrong, don't grow up to be a fucking queer!"(I didn't know what a "queer" was back then) Even though my mother is the compassionate one, the parent whose love and kindness is the only thing that stopped me from being a contract killer who eagerly dispatched people with dull butter knives and shit, she also had her moments when it came to teaching me life lessons through athletics. I remember it vividly like it was yesterday, her pitching to me in the backyard, me anxiously awaiting to swing for the proverbial fences, only to be purposely hit with the ball with all the might a 5 foot woman could muster. Whenever I looked at her in a rather bewildered fashion she'd always say "If your narrow ass ever reaches the major leagues, just imagine all the balls whizzing by your chin with the ill est of intent?" - realizing her accidental homoerotic reference, she'd then blurt out "Jesus, I hope you don't grow up to be a fucking fruit!"(By that time I knew what a "queer" was, but "fruit" went right over my head.) Then there was that incident when my grandmother tried to teach me how to box, her holding up her fists and wreaking of "Old Milwaukee" beer, knocking the Fruity Pebbles out of my pediatric ass as if I had just downed her last beer. With tears flowing down my face, feeling a knot develop in my throat as thick as a midget's handshake, I remember her angrily wiping my face and yelling "Wipe that shit! Wipe that shit! What are you, a fag?"

Besides me feeling extremely lucky to have not grown up to be a raging homophobe despite my family's future fears of what my sexual preference might be, I defnitely learned some very important lessons. My father taught me perseverance, my mother instilled a toughness in me, and my grandmother taught me if an extremely old woman ever hits me again - knock her "Billy Holiday" listening ass clean the fuck out!

I guess that's why I'm such a fan of Hip Hop when it drops the usual bravado, leaves the verbal dexterity for the next track, and decides to tackle some of the serious issues of the day.

Boogie Down Productions: "13 and Good": This might not seem like a universally important issue to any of you out there, but eagerly trying to reach the small intestines of a woman mid-coitus - only to find out later that she is jail-bait, scares a black man like myself more than hypertension or my local police department. Granted, I'm a pretty paranoid guy anyways, but this song is the sole reason why I grill my late night conquests as if they were getting questioned in front of Congress. Everything from asking for her drivers license, baby pictures to prove that she was indeed born a female, and random pop culture inquiries where I sing he song "Let's get physical" under my breath and immediately ask the woman "Who sang that?!!"

Ice Cube: "Alive on Arrival": If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times, in terms of the vast landscape of topics that it covers, Ice Cube's "Death Certificate" is a Hip Hop album with the largest arsenal of subject matter in my personal opinion. From Blacks in the Military, Venereal Disease, Interracial Dating, the treatment of black people in Asian owned stores, the gang culture, he could have left out one of the greatest diss tracks ever(No Vaseline) and it would still have been a classic album. With this particular song, where he documents his struggle to get proper health care after being on the business end of a bullet, in this age where so many people don't have any health care insurance, I'm sure people can relate.

Digable Planets: "La Femme Fetal": The worst kept secret in Hip Hop is that mediocre forms of the genre don't particularly age very well, causing cantankerous assholes like myself to slam something mercilessly that I at one time revered. Hip Hop revisionists, I include myself in that dastardly group, sometimes feel the need to take a proverbial watery shit on Digable Planets, viewing them as a mere concoction like alcoholic beverages from skilled bartenders or "The Monkees". But based on what passes as Hip Hop nowadays, people who gratefully grew up to Public Enemy and Rakim as I did - now claiming that functioning illiterates like Lil Wayne are now our millennium's great orators, and all of the unworthy microphone wielders who clearly don't have a genuine love for Hip Hop, I appreciate groups like Digable Planets right about now. Especially songs like this, yes I do hold them accountable for all the poetry posers over the last decade, but I can forgive Butterfly's spoken word delivery based on how intelligently he approaches the abortion issue. Bringing up the hypocrisy when it comes to the people against abortion who have a penchant for fire bombing clinics, how rich people would still be to get abortions if it was outlawed, and how a woman should be able to do what she wants with her body.

De La Soul: "Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa": Every time I think about De La Soul now, and how they have always walked to the beat of their own drummer while putting out stellar material, I suddenly get the urge to walk into the MTV building and commit mass murder on all those fucking hacks - individuals so corrupted by the Clear Channels of the world and Lil Wayne's ejaculate that they had the nerve to leave De La Soul off of their "Greatest Groups of all time" list recently.(Dirty cocksuckers) My angry rant aside, I always admired how they approached the topic of sexual abuse in this song, they didn't try to get too flashy lyrically, and they left out the Hollywood ending and made it as gritty as possible.

A Tribe Called Quest: "The infamous Date Rape": As much as an insufferable pervert that I pride myself to be, the one thing that makes me hop off a girl faster than her saying "I was born a man" while making out - are the words "No!". Hey, I've seen enough prison drama's to know what they do to rapists in jail, and with my long hair and fat ass - I'm sure that whoever could beat me in a fight would proceed in treating my sweet rectum like a fucking pin cushion. If a chick even said "No" even in that "I'm really loving it" sort of way, before she knows whats going on I'm already in her restaurant - feverishly beating off, hoping that huge portrait of Jesus on her restroom wall doesn't prevent me from ejaculating. This song should be the anthem for horny guys everywhere, no matter how excited you get while making out, your genitalia could resemble smurf nuts for all I care - ignoring unwanted advances can land you in the pokey.(It can put you on the business end of the "pokey" as well)

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