Sunday, August 30, 2009

More Lexington-Related Ramblings

Yes, that would be the chapel on my campus where Bobby Lee is buried.

One of the reasons that well-intentioned but mildly racist white guys like myself listen to rap is to stress how we're cooler than other white people. Because, you see, while those white people listen to that shamefully white music, we whites are listening to cool black people music. Of course, this presupposes that black people are all cool and all like good music, which is racist, and when, in reality, say, Cam's fanbase outside of Harlem largely consists, or consisted, of clever adolescent/early-20s Jewish folk like myself. While, obviously, there are many black folk who do have good taste in music, otherwise Gucci Mane and Styles P would be shit out of luck, I am always surprised, being a sheltered white guy whose interracial socializing kinda cut out around 2005, by the incredibly bad taste in rap that some blacks have. To wit, I took a drive out to Roanoke with the gorgeous Spelman grad, dude from Houston, and an Indianan who went to school in NOLA, and what did we listen to?

  1. 'Death of Autotune,' which Houston dude said he liked in spite of the awful beat because Jay kills it. "Listen to the lyrics!", he said over and over. Yeah, I'm hearing those shits and they aren't too good.
  2. Copious amounts of Graduation. Kanye's rapping on that album, apart from the decent stuff he's doing musically, is fairly abysmal.
  3. The Common/Pharrell disaster. Gorgeous Spelman grad professed amazement at how I could like Dipset and not care for Universal Mind Control.
  4. Plies. Of all the ignant Southern rappers, you go for Plies? (Spelman girl even said that she liked it but would be feeling it even more if she had a few shots of Patron.) I ethered that album last year. Though I will admit that 'Plenty Money' is kind of catchy ("what's in my pocket dog, BIG FACE HUNNIHS, JUST LEFT THE MALL, BOUGHT EVERYFING DAT I WAWWWNNID").
  5. Some really generic Houston club shit about dude's swagger.
  6. Suck-ass Black Album cuts. Not until the other day did I realize how mediocre the Black Album actually is and how fucking virtuosic the highlights of BP2 are compared. That forced bullshit at the end of 'My 1st Song' where Jay pretends to be a nice guy with friends he didn't screw over and phonily looks back nostalgically on his humble beginnings, ughhh. Even 'PSA' is kind of lame. He starts wheezing on the second verse, and shooting at actors like movie directors isn't that hot a line. That guy who used to write for SLAM and moved on to ESPN once wrote in Scratch that the 'Excuse Me Miss' remix (AKA 'La, La, La') was Jay's last great hurrah, and aside from 'Diamonds' and 'Go Crazy' guest spots I completely buy that. (In fact, the 'Excuse Me Miss' remix is to Jay what 'Glitter' is to Cam, a track that at the time meant little and looking back means everything.)
  7. On the plus side, we did listen to the new Maxwell, the first few bars of Gucci's verse on 'Obsession,' and Soulja Slim's classic, 'I'll Pay For It.' But I was also subjected to arguments on behalf of Lupe's crap song where he pretends to be a hamburger. ("It's really deep, he's talking about the game through the perspective of a hamburger.") In fact, gorgeous Spelman grad went so far as to say today that "Lupe can get it. He can get ALL of it." To which I averred that he's an ordinary-looking nerd in glasses. To which she countered that it doesn't matter because he be saying deep-ass shit. Not in those words though. Oh, and I also learned from Houston that there were not even 4 songs on Carter III that would hold up a few years from now. That's not true.
Of course, the next day I go to a drink-all-day house party with white folk and I listened to Asher Roth (did you know that Beans did a track with Asher Roth? 50 seconds of joy in the midst of all that suckitude), Girl Talk, and lots of post-retirement Jay. Some drip tried to tell me how great he still was, how '99 Problems' is Jay's best song ever, and how Wayne used to be really bad and got really good. It's not so, he's great on the old Hot Boys shits. Oh, and the one very cute black girl at the party loves Game, is from Oakland, and doesn't really care for Too Short. (In other bafflement, she likes Woody Allen but has never seen Annie Hall, while she loves Manhattan Murder Mystery. Nice girl though.) And the decidedly not-cute black girl at the party said that she couldn't talk to me anymore because I like No Limit and 2 or three songs by Soulja Boy. Another Lupe fan. Yeah, people are retarded.


Anonymous said...

I read what you write about music but I missed your posts about race. But the first couple sentences of this had me because I love it when some hip hop bloggers write about music because I guess it makes them "different".

So, while I'm sure the big point of this went over my head, I love the shots.

Jordan said...

I'd rather listen to pretty much any garbage ass rap song than Red Hot Chili Peppers or Weezer or other shit unhip white people are still into. Plus if you listen to the lyrics, DOA is hilarious. That "aah" adlib, "I might bring back versace shades," "this might offend my political connects," etc. Not good, but entertainingly awful.

You're right that "I Paid For It" is a classic though.

Is Manhattan Murder Mystery worth watching? I'm getting closer to Allen completism in a way that's both satisfying and frustrating-there are amazing moments in largely useless mediocrities like Stardust Memories and Alice, but I'm wondering if there's a cutoff point where there's no need to watch the movies at all.

JoJo said...

don't expect anything better in Charlottesville, although Richmond keeps it real sometimes, but anything tight just gets turned ironic really quickly. I mean defnitely not UR, but I went to some alright VCU parties but that was before VCU had plenty money. And "Plenty Money" is a tight song, but I hear you on Plies.

JoJo said...

i just said "but" a lot