September 23, 2009

Did Obama change hip-hop? As much as he's lowered the seas and reduced the deficit.

I like Common but if he really thinks Obama has changed the face of hip-hop, he hasn't been listening to hip-hop.

Rims and bling? They're "super-played out," Common said, explaining that hip-hop is finding another direction and President Obama is helping point the way.


"I also don't find as much gangsta talk," he said. "You see the whole chain-shining-and-rim era is gone. That's like super-played out. Just to have that, I think, is part of the Obama effect."

Really? The song "My president is black" was probably the biggest Obama hyping rap song after his election. While it was recorded by fairly big artist Young Jeezy, it was remixed and rerecorded by everyone, in particular king of the rap world, Jay-Z.

The original version
: "My president is black, my Lambos [Lamborghini] blue, and I'll be g-ddamned if my rims ain't too."

The Jay-Z version: "My president is black, my Maybach is too. And I'll be g-ddamned if my diamonds ain't too. My money's dark green and my porsche is dark gray, I'm headed for D.C., anybody feel me?"

The Nas version (Nas is considered a "thinker" in the hip-hop community, meaning he's big on conspiracy theories and rarely makes any sense): "My president is black, rose gold on charms, 22 inch rims like Hulk Hogan's arms.

Just to prove I've done some research on this, check out some of the top hits on the hip-hop chart this week.

#3. Drake and Trey Songz "Successful"

Chorus "I want the money, money and the cars, cars and the clothes."

#4. Jay-Z "Run This Town with Rihanna and Kanye West"

I don't even know what to quote here, the whole song is about how they have more money than the people who hate them.

#6. Fabolous "Throw It In The Bag"

Once again, a whole song about how much he can afford while others can not. His girl can just "f*ck the price tag, just throw it in the bag"

And that's just the songs I know on the list, I'm fairly confident some of the other ones I don't know contain the same themes.

In fact, with all the articles about how plum embarrassing it is to be rich in our current economic climate, no one ever talks about the fact that rappers are still braggy and showy about the money they have. Don't get me wrong, why shouldn't they be? They earned it, they can paint their Lambo any color they wish and commemorate it in song. But Common shouldn't pretend that things have changed. Nothing has changed. And that's fine by me.

Posted by Karol at September 23, 2009 01:10 PM | TrackBack
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Common is a pretentious pseudointellectual idiot. Nowadays I prefer an openly ignorant gangsta rapper to a pseudointellectual "conscious" rapper.

Posted by: T. AKA Ricky Raw at September 23, 2009 06:59 PM

I am appalled that more people haven't commented on this. Anyway, the kind of change Common is talking about would be a disaster for hip hop. The whole point of it is to trash talk rivals and brag about money and power.

Posted by: Dorian Davis at September 23, 2009 07:37 PM

Well, I suppose it's possible that as the economy craters, these numbskulls might have less money to brag about. Then they might have to change. Can't imagine what they'd sing about otherwise, though. Maybe they'd fight each other more, or something.

If Obama does herald a change in music, it will probably develop in ways unexpected. My guess is that there will be a resurgence in angry music somewhere down the line, especially if he isn't re-elected in 2012.

The kinds of nitwits who believe in conspiracy theories and have to brag about how much money they've got are never going to be able to deal with the fact that Obama's a disaster, so there will be more anger over the "racist" society that tore him down.

It's all very depressing to consider, actually.

Posted by: Kensington at September 23, 2009 07:41 PM

I agree with Dorian - this needs to be posted on a more music-centric site where readers would get a true appreciation for how succinctly and meticulously you ripped Common's argument apart. His love for the Big O has turned his brain to mush.

Posted by: Jigga at September 24, 2009 10:57 AM

i saw common perform last spring. it was a great show, except for overblown interlude about how we finally had a politican who was going to make everything OK. it was really as if he were expecting the messiah. when anyone invests that much energy into making something happen, you really cannpt convince them that it's not everything they imagined.

as for the political philosophy undergirding most of hip hop.... well, it's best just to enjoy the beat, the lyrical virtuosity, and ignore the 'message'.

Posted by: j r at September 24, 2009 11:04 AM

cool blog

Posted by: Roberto at October 4, 2009 05:32 AM
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