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2.07.2008

Did anyone else see 50 spit that ignorant nonsense the other day? You did? Good. So anyway, watching that and reading the comments got me a-ponderin'. (Digression: you notice how white people refer to 50 as "Fiddy?" I've never heard a black person call him that, and yet, it's "Fiddy this" and "Fiddy that." Something about that just smacks of mocking and, yeah, I'll say it, unconscious racism.) My conclusion? 50 is the Al Sharpton of hip-hop. Don't see it? Ok, consider this. 50 Cent is utterly irrelevant in hip-hop. His music sucks, he's constantly making an ass out of himself, he was crushed by 'Ye in sales, and yet he just won't shut up. We are constantly barraged by his ridiculous statements on outlets like Gawker, and TMZ, and The O'Reilly Factor. He's everywhere, and nothing he says or does ever means anything. And he's proud of it, and the media eats it up. He's a freakin' fool. (And no, I still haven't forgiven him for criticizing Nas for reading.) At any rate, this leads me to the point of this post. If 50 is the Al Sharpton of hip-hop, where do the other members of the hip-hop nation fit into the Civil Rights Movement? Well, in my highly oversimplified and completely unqualified opinion... Malcolm X. Jay-Z. Once revolutionary and angry (circa Reasonable Doubt), Jay has mellowed out significantly. He can still bring the fire when need be, but he has nothing to prove, and a lot to teach. Just as Malcolm rethought things after he made his pilgrimage, Jay-Z just needed to retire for a bit and gain some perspective. Martin Luther King, Jr. Nas. A lot of people forget that MLK wasn't getting much love at the time of his death. The Americans didn't love King, they loved dead King. Nas isn't getting much love these days, either. I greatly suspect that he won't really be appreciated for his genius and until some later date. Jesse Jackson. Cam'ron. Charismatic, a little flamboyant, kinda smart, somewhat ineffectual, good at making other people look good. Rosa Parks. Mary J. Blige. Only because they both get mad recognition for doing something that is incredibly simple (in MJB's case, her lyrics), but means so much to ordinary people. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Cornel West. Did you know Brother West is fixin' to release his second album? Bayard Rustin. Lil' Wayne. There isn't really a reason for this choice, I just thought it was a funny juxtaposition. Angela Davis. Jean Grae. She's a G, 'nuff said.

11 new thought(s):

G.D. said...

I gotta disagree with the Sharpton thing.

Sharpton, while clearly a very flawed leader, has taken some unpopular stances --- and been on the right side of him. i'm specifically thinking about his work in Vieques, an issue that became big --- and got resolved --- directly because of his influence.

shani-o said...

g.d. - thanks for commenting! I'm trying (and failing) to resist the urge to say that even a broken clock is right twice a day. Sharpton is so immensely self-serving that I look upon everything he does, including going to jail for 90 days, with serious suspicion. He seems so very disingenuous.

jameil1922 said...

i think sharpton is very appropriate. Fiddy is SO annoying. can't stand that pronounciation. and at work they're always tryin to tell me its correct. i'm like YOU CAN'T TELL ME!!

Stacie von Kutieboots said...

yo, this post is ON IT!

I never would equate Jay with malcolm (cause I like X and not Z) but your points are sooooooooo valid!

my fave? jesse as cam! LOL so true!

jean grae is the ONLY female MC I like. she's opened for like, 3 shows i've been to and she KILLS it! they're not ready for her!

Yellow Rebel said...

i think of nas moreso as the malcolm x of hip-hop

shani-o said...

@ Jam- lmao! This is why you're effin' hilarious.

@ Stace- sometimes I'm right, mostly not though, haha.

@YR- I was initially gonna go with that, but I don't think Nas is quite as revolutionary as he thinks he is.

Yellow Rebel said...

See that's the thing...

I thought abut it once and in a very abstract way Nas & Jay were like Malcolm & Martin (keyword: abstract)...These two men took issue with each but ultimately resolved everything to come together for a common cause, much like Jigga and Esco.

Jay to me is more popular in the eye of the general public, largely because the moves that he makes in the entertainment world and corporate world are usually more accepted in mainstream society, much like how Martin's ideology (Black Liberal Idealism) was more commonly accepted than Malcolm's more militant approach. Nas' has ascertained a lot of success, but he doesn't necessarily have that pop appeal that has made Jay-Z into a brand name. Nas' in one of the few artists that have cultivated their reputation on just straight up street music.

the joy said...

Very astute. Can't wait for 50 to get a perm, and I've also wondered about the fiddy thing. Maybe its cuz he has a NY accent and says "fithy" himself and they assume that's what he's saying? Either way let's not musoronounce numbers, yes?

Oxymoron said...

Grandpa Al aint all bad. The other black leaders are to busy reaching for white votes to really stand up on a black issue.

If the police beat me up, guess who's coming up the hill with a protest signl? Ol' Grandpa Al!

R. Joseph Donigian said...

LOL. You just wanted to call Lil Wayne gay. I see you.

shani-o said...

Joy- YES!

Oxy- LOL, let's just avoid the police at all costs, shall we?

Rob- You know me so well.