all the critics love u in new york
u can dance if u want 2...
if asked, i will argue that the centerpiece of this entry is those (self-)proclaimed multi-talented folk. but really, it's just another excuse for me to talk about more niggas who get on my nerves.
let me briefly digress: i enjoy watching television when i'm not sober. ironically, i feel a bit more lucid during those moments of insobriety, and less of a vegetable. i'd like to say that i'm more eloquent when articulating my theories and dissatisfaction about those niggas on my idiot box, but i know that'd just be my inebriated arrogance rearing its ugly head.
that said, last week i watched some music videos for the first time in a while. after catching that nigga baby get his neck tattooed in his video, "stunting like my daddy," featuring lil wayne (i like that dude), i caught some sleepy brown joint featuring pharrell... which was followed by some shit by janet jackson and nelly... which was followed by chi-city's lupe fiasco and jill scott... which was followed by not so lucid ruminations...
u don't have to keep the beat, they'll still think it's neat...
ok. pharrell really isn't that good of a rapper or singer. neither is nelly. (or kanye west, or...) so as i sat there listening to this nigga croon on the sleepy brown track, the thought occurred: not only is this nigga singing, but he has "perfected" his own style, and he expects me to take him seriously. now don't get me wrong, i fucked with "frontin'." i really dug that shit. but i dug it for two reasons: 1) i thought it was a really impressive record that was obviously heavily influenced by the wonderful work of michael peter pan jackson. 2) i bought the idea that pharrell was singing in a falsetto to pay homage to the gloved one. i thought his singing efforts were sort of a novelty, nothing to be taken to seriously. you know, that we were supposed to recognize that this nigga was a producer tryna sing.
apparently, i thought wrong. next thing i know, this nigga isn't just producing the tracks, he's singing hooks and verses. like, people are calling up pharrell and asking him to do this? word?
oh, there's a line of rappers who took themselves quite seriously after winning their episode of the reality tv show, celebrity karaoke. ja rule wails, "what would i do without my babaaaay," and suddenly this shit is spreading like mono at a kissing booth; rappers with rudimentary rhymes all of a sudden think they're old blues eyes. and we--if i may once again employ my dear mrs. robinson's slang--are letting these niggas make it.
as i sat there mouth agape at this realization, i decided that from that point onward i would no longer eat this atole like it was some sugary, buttery grits. perhaps my activism alone could quell this whole rapper/singer/actor/poet bullshit. what happens if we don't? well, let history teach us: nelly and kelly win a grammy, and a few years later that nigga teams up with miss jackson if you're nasty. apparently, she and j.d. thought no one other than the saint lunatic could ressurect a career that had lost more air than a pierced nipple. really? c'mon, now. that nigga can't pronounce his -er/-ar suffixes correctly, let alone sing.
u can wear what you want 2, it doesn't matter...
this brings me to my next/central point, which isn't, surprisingly, that jill scott writes really bad poetry. see, i understand the desire to be multi-faceted, multi-talented. shit. some essentialists would suggest that it's in our blood. the nigga benjamin banneker was a clockmaker, mathematician, astronomer, and some other stuff. but let's be real, here. just because you sang a bar or two in a song that went number one doesn't mean you're good at it. i had a hole in one at putt-putt once. i did not try to sign up for the lpga. i understand my limitations. and niggas out there need to, too.
yet i understand the temptation of believing your own hype. the public continues to eat this shit up like it's good or something. ashanti will continue to provide us with deeply moving stanzas if niggas keep buying her book. take myspace, por ejemplo. i've never seen more masturbation over modicums of mediocrity (check that alliteration, playa) in my wholeentirelife: oh, [insert random myspace screenname here], your blog really touched me/spoke to me/said exactly what i wish i could say. say word? nigga, please. it takes more than a season of def poetry jam and a visit to thesaurus.com to cop eloquence. get over yourself, nigga. that shit wasn't profound. (well, if it was profound anything it was profoundly uninteresting and wack.) your black ass works at the post office for a reason. oh my how i digress.
there's a point in the alleged hateration: we can do better. we can expect better. so why don't we? then, maybe our brains would stop rotting, and we could recognize, cultivate, and support folk who provide incredible art. i know i'm making a value judgement here. but it seems like no one else is, so why not me?
u could cut off all your hair, it doesn't matter...
i'm merely perplexed by the idol worship that compels these niggas to proffer to the public such wackness in a variety of forms. it's not enough that alicia keys suggest that black couples love like ike and tina; she wants to provide that shit in poetic form, too. and each time her book is sold, we're advocating that bullshit. please understand: i fully support self-expression, and i'm not saying that people should just stick to what they're good at and/or what they know. hell, i really suck at bowling, but i think it's loads of fun, so i play an occasional game. i just can't get down with adulation that inspires hubris and (more) second-rate artistic output, while we continue to ignore or claim that we just "can't get into" people who have really honed and paid respect to the craft that chose them. the less than average dissonance of the former has deafened us to the point that we can't even hear the latter. and that's pretty sad.
call me a hater, whatever. i'ma muhfuckin' tastemaker--albeit my own. keep nibbling on chips ahoy for dessert. i'ma get into this baked alaska.
perhaps this is all an aesthetic i've yet learned to appreciate.
whatever, man. them niggas is wack. (ebonics intended.)
it's time 4 a new direction, it's time for jazz 2 die. 4th day of november, we need a purple high...
language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. language alone is meditation. ~toni morrison