Get money till I die, got my hand on the bible...
Rock wit' it, roll wit' it...
or do like I do, drink beer from it
- Get Ya Hustle On: You’ve probably seen Juve’s masterpiece “Get Yo’ Hustle On” by now, but if you haven’t peep. It’s really great. Some folks find the need to comment on the apparent contradictory messages between the song itself and the video. My thoughts on this absolutely ridiculous criticism are as follows:
I find the criticism of "the message" of this song absolutely fucking ridiculous. It's not a fucking accident that the video is so critical of the government while the lyrics of this song seem to just condone crack selling. To assume that it's just some sort of accident is to give Juvenile absolutely no credit and is to ignore the role of the rhetorical technique known as "signifyin(g)" in the history of black music(s).
This shit is flat out great... at least rhetorically. I obviously don't think it's particularly good advice to literally advise everyone to go sell crack and I don't think Juvenile really thinks that selling crack is really going to help New Orleans in any large-scale, long-lasting way. This shit is obviously on some "Fuck it... they didn't help us before this shit, they didn't help us during, and if they're not gonna help us after the shit either, we're gonna do what the fuck we gotta do to survive."
The whole thing about Katrina was never so much that FEMA dropped the ball--even though they definitely did--but that none of these people deserved to be in such dire situations in the first place that allowed so many of us to overlook them so easily, right? So, what has changed since Katrina? Pretty much fucking nothing. There's still poor people everywhere who are fucked, so fuck it: the only thing for many of these folks to do is keep hustling or start hustling.
If you wanna read this song purely as straightforward "advice" or some shit, obviously you're gonna be let down (and I think it's always a mistake to read black music as straightforward). But, if you take this song along with the images portrayed in this video seriously, I don't know how you can see it as anything but very passionate and important criticism.
In other words, if we agree that in the blues, "the message" of the song was actually much more complex criticism than the lyrics suggested on the surface, why can't the same thing be said about hip-hop? It is after all black music that comes from very similar music traditions.
Again, I don't know how you can separate the video's messages and the song's message. To me, it is not a fucking coincidence that the two are paired together as such. They act as criticism together. To read it any other way, I think, is to ignore the history and tropes of black music.
- Autistic Folks: This is hardly a groundbreaking insight, but man, autistic people are an interesting breed of folks, especially the “idiot savant” ones who are capable of pretty inhuman feats of math, artistry, and, apparently, athleticism. Can’t we think of a better term than “idiot savant” though? Jesus, how offensive is that shit? Anyway, this autistic kid scored 20 points in 4 minutes. Makes you wonder if Kobe is autistic. Byron Crawford wrote an interesting piece about Hova being an idiot savant a while ago. It’s pretty funny, and possibly true… except for the Bleek part.
- Knitted Digestive System: I feel like I’ve posted this before, but this knitted digestive system is next level whoa steez.
- I Heart AI: My newest piece on FreeDarko: I ride for AI forever… win or lose.
- If Loving Bob Marley is Wrong, I Don’t Wanna Be Right: Wait… are you telling me the white, pot-smoking hippie kids aren’t engaging Bob Marley authentically?!?! WHAT?! Seriously though, this criticism is fucking stupid. I have no problem with the “real, true Bob Marley lovers” (i.e. the ones who like the early stuff better!) actively trying to preserve Bob Marley’s legacy—or at least redefine it so it encompasses more than just “Legend” and “Exodus”—but I find this type of authenticity grandstanding to be downright ridiculous. I mean, seriously. Is it a surprise that white kids aren’t engaging Bob Marley “authentically”? Let me be frank here: when I was listening to Public Enemy in my early teenage years, unfortunately, it’s not because I empathized with the struggles of the black community or agreed with Chuck D’s politics. I was an apolitical, upper-middle class suburban white kid who didn’t know shit about Malcolm X or Louis Farakhan or, really, much of anything besides college basketball. I liked the fucking music because I liked the fucking music. I think it goes without saying that I was not engaging the music “authentically” and, I think we can safely assume that I’m probably still not engaging hip-hop “authentically” (see my rants about Dipset and Derrida for confirmation). But, dude says “The problem with Bob Marley in white America is one of perspective. Many of Marley's songs are about resistance and violent revolution.” Of course this is the “problem”! This is the great postmodern “problem”: postmodernism has taught us that (a) context is always of the utmost import, but (b) it’s also fleeting and pretty much inaccessible in any “authentic” way. Again, I don’t mind folks trying to redefine Bob Marley’s legacy, attempting to call out these “inauthentic” imposters who are reading the music “incorrectly,” but there is always at least a twinge of condescension in these posts that assumes that it is possible to really engage this music “authentically.” The great question is, where does this leave us? This is a profoundly difficult question to answer and isn’t going to be something that gets answered in a blog entry. But, what I do know is that to frame the argument in the (for all intents and purposes) mythical terms “authentic”/”inauthentic,” you’re setting yourself up for failure. Or, in short, what else is there to say after you’ve said the following: “These folks are engaging this music ‘inauthentically’ but these folks aren’t.” What is there to say after you’ve said “These folks are doomed to miss the point because of their context”? This isn’t just a piece explaining “Hey, there’s more at stake in Bob’s music than you might’ve originally thought.” This is a piece attacking the “inauthenticity” of the folks that like Bob Marley for reasons other than the “authentic” reasons. I thought that type of criticism died when punk ‘zines stopped writing articles about who sold out and who didn’t.
Wayne, can I get you to weigh in on this?