Thursday, September 29, 2005

I'm a mothereffin' P. I. M. P.


Uh-oh, busghettios


- It’s Coming: Fuck Juelz Santana’s new album. Fuck the new Clipse Mixtape (though this shit is crazy hot). THIS is what I’m really REALLY waiting for. Peep Free Darko’s recent comments sections and read anything by Rocco Chappelle. He’s coming to take-over the blogosphere and I will happily secede all of my assets to the dudest of dudes. Never mind the fact that he actually knows somebody who likes the Black Eyed Peas. That is irrelevant. The end is near. I welcome it with open arms.

- Green Friendly Web Hosting: If the “end isn’t near” like I predict above, well, at least there’s Green Friendly Web Hosting for the hippy in us all: wind/Solar Power Web hosting. Like, that’s totally righteous, bro. But, yeah, it is actually pretty cool.

- Illmatic: This video on the making of “Illmatic” reminds me of some good ol’ days. Really dope. Not that you need reminding, but it definitely reminded me why “Illmatic” is one of the best rap albums ever. Period.

- Chuck K verses Bill S: I dunno why I even bother posting shit like this because everyone probably already reads it anyway, but Parts 1 and 2 of the Bill Simmons versus Chuck Klostermann interview/wank-fest are up. Reading this shit is excessively difficult. These guys both think they’re way smarter than they actually are, I think. I mean, they’re both pretty funny and have their moments, but this shit is unbearably long-winded. Shut up. I just realized that nothing makes people want to click a link more than describing how “bad” it is. I can almost guarantee that more people are interested in reading this shit now that I’ve dissed the shit out of it and will refrain from reading the “good” article I’ve posted below. I’d say “any publicity is good publicity,” but it seems more apt to say that, for bloggin purposes: bad publicity is good publicity and good publicity isn’t publicity at all. Anyway, let me know if I’m crazy or if this shit really is pretty god damn unreadable.

- Officer Criticizes Detainee Abuse Inquiry: Good article. Gyeah. Good for him.

- SCrimpin’: We’ve actually updated The Shrimp! Rejoice. Joe Buddens, Lil Kim, Three 6 Mafia sittin’ in a tree.

- Misogyny in Rap: I think I’ve posted about misogyny in hip-hop on this blog before, but it came up on a messageboard again recently and I posted the following shit addressing the image of “pimpin’” and misogyny in general in this thing we called “rap music”:
    The issue of misogyny in hip-hop is, like all things worth talking about, a ridiculously complicated one. First of all, let it be said that I find the glorification of "pimpin’" to be some pretty ridiculous shit that at a very basic level I simply don't agree with but (a) this doesn't mean I can't and/or shouldn't enjoy music that "glorifies" “pimpin’” and (b) the glorification of "pimpin’" and misogyny is simply too complicated in rap music to be either "for" or "against" it in any simple way.

    First of all, I really don't think art is something that teaches what one thinks about a certain subject. I think art has the capability of teaching how one thinks (i.e. it can challenge your abilities to comprehend, analyze, criticize, etc), but I really don't think art in general informs people's values--it's much more just a reflection of them. That being said, the glorification of "pimpin’" in hip-hop isn't THE problem, it's simply a SYMPTOM of a larger problem: namely, the reality that is the oppressive objectification of women in our society. Which is to say that I don't think there are a lot of dudes out there who respect women and treat them "equally" (whatever the hell that means) who all of a sudden hear's a Too Short song and says "You know what? I ain't gonna love these hoes anymore." That's not how the human psyche works, as far as I'm concerned. Folks who are going to place value in "pimpin" and glorify it aren't people who have been transformed into seeing the beauty of the pimpin' ways by the song "P.I.M.P." They are dudes who already don't hold women to the highest regard. So, it's perfectly possible for a lot of folks to like a song about "pimpin'" and not agree with the message.

    Secondly, I think the glorification of "pimpin'" isn't as simple as it sounds on paper. I'd argue that this pimp character is used so frequently in rap as a way of expressing masculinity more than it is a way of oppressing strong females. Rap music is an extremely "masculine" art form that is interested in performances of power, confidence, and virtuosity. Often times, unfortunately, this performance of power is based on misogyny and domination over females but you'd be hard-pressed to make the argument that THAT is the primary function of the glorification of pimpin' and misogyny. When Snoop says "We don't love them hoes," he's not talking to jawns (which in and of itself is misogynistic, i.e. to not even consider that your audience might have listening and interested female subjects), he's addressing his dudes out there saying "I'm the man, homie." This of course isn't to excuse the misogyny, but it's worth pointing out that the misogyny in rap music is not as straight up-and-down good/bad as we'd like it to be. The misogyny is an attempt for the black man to exert/perform some sort of power in a society where he's been robbed of much of that power for over 5 centuries. Of course, that don't make it "right" in any sense of the word. In fact, it's quite reprehensible, but we should realize that it's a very real product of our country's institutional racism that still prevails to this day. The same thing goes for 'hood homophobia. It's not like these dudes are "scared" of gay people or even really feel threatened by them--it's simply an exertion of power because they LACK any other power. It's misguided and disgusting and awful, but it's a reality of oppression.

    Which is all a long-winded way of saying: don't hate the player, hate the game. Misogyny in rap is a reality because of the system that relentlessly oppresses. Oppression breeds oppression so to expect there to be a change in how rap music feels about the power relationship between men and women WITHOUT THERE BEING ANY ACTUAL, REAL-LIFE SOCIOECONOMIC CHANGES is a bit naive as far as I'm concerned.

    And, lastly, the oddest thing about all the misogyny in rap music is how females respond to it. Any club DJ can stand testiment to the fact that jawns are the ones that like the most misogynistic songs. I remember reading a post on some blog recently about "The Whisper Song" and how blah blah blah it was all misogynistic and offensive and shit, but my first thought was "Well then why the fuck do jawns LOVE that shit?" I suppose you can make the argument that these jawns are stupid or something and like it in spite of the misogynism, but that's way too easy (not to mention ridiculously elitist and basically assumes that any jawn who likes that song is stupid). The reality of it is that these jawns like that shit BECAUSE of the misogynism. This isn't to say that these jawns secretly have a desire to be opressed and their approval of the Ying Yang Twins is a latent expression of that. No. I think these jawns find a real sense of power in the misogyny on some "Yeah, fine you want to objectify me and hyper-sexualize me? Fine. I like sex. I'ma use that to my advantage." Some jawns find a real sense of power in accepting the misogyny and brushing it off. It's a somewhat compliated rejection of the misogynistic message by completely accepting it: "Think you're gonna offend me by saying you're gonna beat my pussy up? Nuh uh, honey! I want my pussy beaten up!" Whether or not we agree with that sense of power that these jawns get from that type of acceptance is beside the point.

    I dunno. This whole conversation is a really complicated one and we can sit here and say "Yeah, fuck all this pimpin' shit!" and be righteous and adequately liberal, but the fact of the matter is that it's way more complicated than all that. A lot of shit rappers say still makes me cringe (I find that new David Banner song with Too Short to be pretty repulsive at times), but to be either simply for or against misogyny in rap music isn't the point. It's much more important to understand what the fuck is going on with the power shifts and performances, and see what's informing those values.

    I guess in sum: art is only as offensive as the social conditions it comes from. And, to me, the real social conditions that inform the art will always be more offensive and dangerous that the art that represents them.


- PS: While I’m in the spirit of sharing random ramblings, here’s another (from an email I sent my dude) about my relationship with Anticon and white underground (“emo”?) rap:

    I thought it was pretty common knowledge that I was previously an Anticon producer... What's funny is that several of the dudes I associate with who either used to or still do produce for Anticon (Controller 7, Scott Matelic, etc) have basically moved in much the same direction that I have over the past few years with regards to tastes in hip-hop. I think we all have a certain degree of respect and nostalgic appreciation for a lot of that stuff, but we also recognize its place and find ourselves investing in shit that we would've hated when we were deep in our underground-white-boy aesthetic. I still don't mind the existence of Anticon and frankly find their music, at the very least, to be honest music (i.e. suburban white kids who grew up listening to equal parts Freestyle Fellowship, Mobb Deep, and indy rock perhaps shouldn't be making hip-hop that sounds like Young Jeezy), but I don't get a lot of enjoyment out of it anymore. Perhaps I'm just back to exoticizing the "black experience" the same way I was when I was 13 and 14 listening to Mobb Deep and Nas but I'd like to think of it as coming to grips with a different set of aesthetics more than some racist "exoticization." I find most Anticon fans (95%+ of which are white) or on the verge of being flat out racists though and this is what pisses me off most about groups like Anticon and Atmosphere and Sage Francis and all these underground white rappers that continue to encourage their audience to hate “black”/street rap. I don't care if these kids actually like the music, but when their idols support the notion that this primarily "black rap" is "garbage," it's not far from old white folks saying "That's just jungle music."

    I'd like to think that now I'm capable of appreciating every little niche and genre of rap music for what it is, not expecting it to do things it has no intention of doing. I know it's sacrilege to admit, but I still do like a lot of Buck 65 stuff (particularly some of his earlier stuff) and I love Cam'ron--a rapper I absolutely HATED when "Horse and Carriage" came out and for several years after that.

    I dunno. Rambling. I haven't bought an Anticon related product in probably 3 or 4 years. A lot of those dudes are still my dudes, but they aren't making music I'm particularly interested in anymore... but I'm glad they exist. I just wish their fans wouldn't be so quick to laugh at phrases like "white privilege" and could more intelligently articulate why exactly it is they love Mobb Deep's "The Infamous" but despise 50 Cent's "Get Rich or Die Tryin'."

    White underground/emo-rap fans scare me with their latent racism that they absolutely refuse to account for or even admit is present.

    Rambling.


I should know, after all. I was one of these underground-white fans who was completely oblivious to my latent racism that accompanied my tastes. Sometimes privilege is so ubiquitous, it doesn't appear to be "privilege," it just appears to be reality. It's difficult to trasnport yourself outside of your "reality grid," but once you do, it's pretty enlightening.

-e

11 Comments:

At 8:12 AM, Anonymous Emmylou said...

Emil! you are a great writer; very clear and concise...finish your thesis dammit! You make an excellent point about misogyny in hip-hop stemming from a reaction to oppression. However, your response gives the impression that because this deep-rooted oppression is not going to be lifted any time soon, then the symptoms of this oppression can be understandably overlooked and allowed to flourish. For example, prostitution in this country is not ever going to be legalized and will therefore always create deadly, oppressive, and dammaging situations for the working girls and boys. Organizations such as HIPS (helping individual prostitutes survive) knows that the institution of prostitution is never going to be completely eradicated; so they treat the "symptoms" of prostitution by setting up shop in notorious working corners and giving out condoms, convertable crack kits, clean needles, food, etc. I don't have an answer that would solve the issue of misogyny in hip-hop, but I feel that detrimental behavior or trends should not be overlooked simply because it is being generated by a larger, more encompasing force. I don't know, you are smarter than me so you probably have a good explanation for this.

 
At 8:55 AM, Blogger Anthony Miccio said...

I don't think I know Rocco C. (I don't think - if I do, its not by that name) but I know Bo Bliz! Went to State High together.

 
At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your big words scare me.

 
At 10:25 AM, Anonymous kibby said...

emmy-- that's a really good point. I don't think, however, that the post was suggesting or giving the impression of "overlooking" the misogyny in hip-hop. I think that the point was that people are quick to condemn the machismo and misogyny found in hip-hop without looking at where it comes from. If you understand the historical, social and economic trends that have informed and influenced this attitude in hip-hop, then it seems far less insidious. It almost, to me, seems like a reasonable reaction. I think that the discussion of misogny in hip-hop is interesting and worth discussing but also somewhat short-sighted because our overall cultural values aren't often taken into account. And what about misogny in other-types of music?It's my understanding that there have been quite a few women who have been/are succesful in hip-hop. Exclusion of women in other genres of music is at least as misogynistic as saying bad shit about them. Maybe even more so! Why does that get discussed far less than misogy in rap music? Also, I've heard shit being said about women that's just as bad, if not worse, in other types of music. I dunno, maybe it is being discussed but I just don't read articles/essays/blogs/anything about ICP or cock-rock. Maybe I should start.

 
At 11:11 AM, Anonymous Emmylou said...

Kibber,
Oh, I know other types of music say some foul-mouthed shit about women too, but that was not the subject of the blurb that was posted. So I guess you can expand my thoughts to all genres of music that "seem" to regularly endorse misogynist attitudes. But then your subject for discussion gets too big and you start to lose the plot. I just think that hip-hop is more noticeable on the women-as ho's front because songs with those messages are relentlessly played on MTV, which is the only medium where white, middle-aged, conservatives might possibly hear these songs. There is not much discussion about ICP bashing women since no one other than angstey teenagers are going to pick up the cd randomly at a store, or overhear it on MTV or VH1.

 
At 11:28 AM, Blogger emynd said...

Hey, can we not talk about Insane Clown Posse on my blog? Please. More tomorrow. I'm actually busy.

-e

 
At 12:47 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

that's what project blowed was for--so you could be an underground dork while imagining it had something to do with the great, storied history of black music. i also thought aesoprock was black the first time i heard him, but that was probably because he just sounded like saafir to me.

your argument about mysogyny as masculinity-affirming performance is that same one i've been trying to kick for a few weeks now about homophobia in hip-hop. masculinity constantly threatened by a power strcuture that denies it rights, dignity, opportunity, etc. is esp. sensitive about anything further undermining masculinity. as the stereotypical, limp-wristed gay man does.

nevermind that that's only part of the story of homosexuality in the hip-hop community, inner city. . .and let's not even bring prison culture into this

i can say more about this but have to do work. hopefully people can extrapolate the rest of my ideas on this

 
At 12:56 PM, Blogger Drew said...

so...much...brain power...drew...has...limited...vocabulary...

 
At 1:33 PM, Anonymous bliz said...

miccio,

yeah i know you. in fact, i think i live close to you. i saw you walking down 2nd st in south philly a week or two ago. i was driving so i didn't holla. hope you are doing alright dude.

oh yeah, fuck hos, gay people, and especially white rappers.

Sincerely,
bliz man(the cuddler)

 
At 2:47 AM, Anonymous aaron said...

e - when you quote stuff, can you do it in a bigger font? I only get 2 prune juice breaks per day and I don't want to spend them squinting at my monitor.

 
At 7:13 AM, Blogger emynd said...

Aaron,

Don't worry about reading the small font. Next time there's small font, just skip it and assume I'm calling you a racist.

-e

 

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