Friday, July 21, 2006

Bum Rap

113 Bum Rap – The Flip Side

Can’t have a flip side anymore because all the stuff is on one side of the CD and MP3s don’t have sides. But you get the idea… at least if you remember 78 or 45 RPM singles.

In any event, this corner has defended rap and hip hop music for years, now. Briefly, we’ve aligned it with folk music, music from the experience and expressing the hopes and dreams of the people who write or perform it. Primitive? Sure, but no more so than, say, the songs of Woody Guthrie or Little Walter. No more primitive than a Grandma Moses painting.

Now, the other side of the coin/disc/hit single.

The hopes and aspirations of the rappers appears to be the violent end to anyone who looks at them sideways (“whatchoo lookin’ at?) The subjugation of women (at least they’re honest about it,) and the taking of any loot they please (how is that different from WorldCom or Enron?)

Bum hopes and aspirations.

How does it get that way?

Try this one on for size: the matriarchal nature of their families. Scratch a rapper and you’ll find a guy who learned to be a man from a woman, probably his mother or grandmother.

That might have worked six or seven generations ago when there were still a lot of “traditional” families, but it doesn’t work now.

Today’s rap mammas teach their boys how to treat women. There’s often no man in sight to say “you don’t have to fight every day, you don’t have to treat women like crap, you don’t have to steal.”

The women teach the lessons until they try to teach the lessons. The lessons learned are the lessons untaught. The lessons TAUGHT are forgotten.

“Don’t do that!” carries no weight.

Is it the fault of the women? No. They’re doing all they know to raise their kids to be proper citizens. That’s THEIR hope and aspiration. But it doesn’t work.

This is NOT a diatribe in favor of what our old pal Dan Quayle called “family values.” What he meant was father, mother, obedient child. Have a house in the ‘burbs and go to church every Sunday. No sex before marriage. Marriage is forever. Daddy works, mommy stays home and raises the kid.

That’s bunk.

What’s needed to “cure” the ills that rap and hip hop describe are guys who are engaged, solid citizens, who understand the concept of concepts and the concepts of putting into the pot before, during and after taking out.

And that’s an ill that needs self medication, not a cultural HMO.

It isn’t just Black and Hispanic kids, either. It’s just that they’re the greater concentration; the most visible.

White kids are sneakier about it. But they want the same thing as their “urban” counterparts.

The proposition can’t be proved or disproved with any rigor yet. But it does demand research, and fast.

Can you wear bling and NOT carry a gun or box cutter?

Can you have an argument among males without it turning into a catfight and hair pulling contest?

Yeah, if you work at it.

Start with men – even the military if necessary.

Then learn that “vodka” and “locker” don’t rhyme.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2006 WJR

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