Double Standards in Hip-Hop

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Vexer
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Tue Jul 20, 2004 3:55 pm

Hip-Hop Fridays: The Indecency Double-Standard by Ashanti M. Alvarez



Corporate censorship of perceived indecency has reached a new and offensive level in my opinion: the silencing of one of Hip-Hop’s most promising, innovative, and inspiring rappers.

The offender is Viacom via MTV and BET, and the rapper is Kanye West, who critics and fans have embraced for delivering a hip-hop album that is refreshing, thought-provoking, witty, and funny without celebration of guns, violence, and misogyny.

Kanye West’s second single, “All Falls Down,” explores the self-conscious obsession with materialism among many young Black kids and adults and the hip-hop generation in general. West brings up the discussion - which is so necessary - without talking down or being disparaging. One of the lines in “All Falls Down” is “Drug dealer buy Jordans/crackhead buy crack/and the white man get paid off of all that.”

MTV and BET excise the words “white man” from the song and West’s video. Meanwhile, they allow Lil Jon to chant “skeet skeet skeet skeet m#%&rf#%&*s.” Skeet is slang for ejaculate (n.,v.).

“All Falls Down” was airing regularly when Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry appeared on MTV’s “Choose or Lose” in a bid for the youth vote and just to look cool. He was asked what kind of music he likes now. Maybe he was pandering or being sincere, or both, but Kerry said “ I’m fascinated by rap and hip-hop…There’s a lot of anger, a lot of social energy in it.” And I think you’d better listen pretty carefully.”

Well, John Kerry, we can’t!

I wrote a previous column in defense of Howard Stern when Clear Channel Radio, for no apparent reason, took him off their six stations. Viacom, through Infiniti Broadcasting, owns most of the stations that carry Howard Stern, as well as the flagship rock station in New York. When I wrote it back then, the column was a defense of Stern and his 1st amendment rights - not Viacom. Now more than ever, it’s necessary to point out that there is no difference between Clear Channel, Viacom, Disney, or any of the huge media companies.

Because for them, it’s okay for us to have our women in leashes, to spray beer on them, to bust off caps in the air while dancing and wearing huge gold grins. It’s okay for us to talk about dealing drugs, like the Clipse, but to imply that a piece of the profits may go to White dealers, no, can’t do that period. It’s okay for us to write entire songs dedicated to our fetishistic love for sneakers, sending Nike sales sky high – but to point out that White CEOs are the ones profiting off that material lust? Stay in your place. That’s what Viacom is saying to me.

It’s a shame that MTV and BET will play video after video of Black women in virtually no clothes “shaking it like a salt shaker,” face all cut out of the picture, but they can’t air those two little words “white man.” They’ll play a video of Nelly sliding a credit card through some chick’s behind. MTV let Madonna and Britney Spears kiss in front of several million teenagers, but they’re silencing Kanye West. Is the line controversial? Yes. Indecent? You tell me.

Kanye West’s rhymes are so different than anything on MTV right now. It’s like a mix of Talib Kweli and Jay-Z, whom West’ brags about getting on a record together. Lyrically, those two are probably better than West, but topically, West strikes a great balance between all the many hip-hop heads out there. His album speaks to those standing on the corner all winter, those sitting up in the classroom, the ones slouched in the SUV next to Mom, the ones wearing backpacks and headphones and listening to dead prez.

That’s what they're afraid of. A wide range of people have related to Kanye West because he is speaking the truth, as he sees it. He speaks it on “Never Let Me Down” when he says: “Now niggas can’t make it to ballots to choose leadership/But we can make it to Jacob’s and to the dealership/That’s why I hear new music and I just don’t be feelin it/Racism still alive, they just be concealin it.”

And “they” includes MTV, BET, and Viacom.

(From http://www.blackelectorate.com)
BrothaNature
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Wed Jul 21, 2004 2:29 am

NO ARGUMENT ON THAT!

And I will take it a step further and point out that Howard Stern, not only featured a segment of a Klansmen critiquing released moves, but frequently had an "African" American guest, "King Of All Blacks", talk down on Black people and encourage whites to use the N word. :roll:

And dont let me go there on Disney. I do believe they were the main ones in the 80's sendin' out racists messages (Dumbo). One of their children's books showed an image of a boy in Africa, saying, "There's birds, elephants and monkeys". Yet, there was not one monkey in the picture, just the animals mentioned and two African Brothers!
Vexer
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Wed Jul 21, 2004 10:08 am

So much politics in the game.Its not jsut about art anymore.I just hope people can see that.the images in Rap today really portray black people in a negative light.Like all we are interested in is overconsumption.as soon as someone says something thoughtful its censored.How can the phrase "white man" be considered vulgar.Really c'mon now.Its just bcoz the powers that be don't want niggaz to be conscious of anything else other than the Sambo shit that they're pushing right now.
BrothaNature
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Thu Jul 22, 2004 4:00 am

That's why the younger generation needs to pull their resources together and "create capitol". The Bill Cosby's, the Jesse Jackson's, the Oprah's and the Don Kings are'nt going to do it, so why not us? The old cival rights model of protesting aint gon cut it, ownership will.

After all, the Hip Hop generation does not control mass media, and very few artist run independent companies with other ventures. And thats how the game is played.
Vexer
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Thu Jul 22, 2004 9:49 am

I agree with u 100%.the problem is the raps 2day don't skool young niggaz into that type of success mentality.instead focus is on instant gratification and overconsumption.anytime someone tries to analyse then the shit is censored.this gaurantees that niggaz will never have the right attitude.i'm sure a lot of brothers will only figure the game out when its too late.
trae_z
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Sat Jul 24, 2004 7:52 am

hey before u go all critical with ur:

"Kanye West’s second single, “All Falls Down,” explores the self-conscious obsession with materialism among many young Black kids and adults and the hip-hop generation in general"

for real i wanna say that i've listened to that song over and over again, even got the cd(kanye sure is my man) but honestly i never knew the song was all about that. i guess kanye didn't try enough to make his lyrics dechiperable at first hear. even from the video one would find it very hard to know what the song was all about. well maybe it ain't all kanye's fault and i didn't listen well. am a go look up the lyrics online anyway...but for sheezy i look forward to Jesus walks!

[quote name="Vexer"]Hip-Hop Fridays: The Indecency Double-Standard by Ashanti M. Alvarez



Corporate censorship of perceived indecency has reached a new and offensive level in my opinion: the silencing of one of Hip-Hop’s most promising, innovative, and inspiring rappers.

The offender is Viacom via MTV and BET, and the rapper is Kanye West, who critics and fans have embraced for delivering a hip-hop album that is refreshing, thought-provoking, witty, and funny without celebration of guns, violence, and misogyny.

Kanye West’s second single, “All Falls Down,” explores the self-conscious obsession with materialism among many young Black kids and adults and the hip-hop generation in general. West brings up the discussion - which is so necessary - without talking down or being disparaging. One of the lines in “All Falls Down” is “Drug dealer buy Jordans/crackhead buy crack/and the white man get paid off of all that.”

MTV and BET excise the words “white man” from the song and West’s video. Meanwhile, they allow Lil Jon to chant “skeet skeet skeet skeet m#%&rf#%&*s.” Skeet is slang for ejaculate (n.,v.).

“All Falls Down” was airing regularly when Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry appeared on MTV’s “Choose or Lose” in a bid for the youth vote and just to look cool. He was asked what kind of music he likes now. Maybe he was pandering or being sincere, or both, but Kerry said “ I’m fascinated by rap and hip-hop…There’s a lot of anger, a lot of social energy in it.” And I think you’d better listen pretty carefully.”

Well, John Kerry, we can’t!

I wrote a previous column in defense of Howard Stern when Clear Channel Radio, for no apparent reason, took him off their six stations. Viacom, through Infiniti Broadcasting, owns most of the stations that carry Howard Stern, as well as the flagship rock station in New York. When I wrote it back then, the column was a defense of Stern and his 1st amendment rights - not Viacom. Now more than ever, it’s necessary to point out that there is no difference between Clear Channel, Viacom, Disney, or any of the huge media companies.

Because for them, it’s okay for us to have our women in leashes, to spray beer on them, to bust off caps in the air while dancing and wearing huge gold grins. It’s okay for us to talk about dealing drugs, like the Clipse, but to imply that a piece of the profits may go to White dealers, no, can’t do that period. It’s okay for us to write entire songs dedicated to our fetishistic love for sneakers, sending Nike sales sky high – but to point out that White CEOs are the ones profiting off that material lust? Stay in your place. That’s what Viacom is saying to me.

It’s a shame that MTV and BET will play video after video of Black women in virtually no clothes “shaking it like a salt shaker,” face all cut out of the picture, but they can’t air those two little words “white man.” They’ll play a video of Nelly sliding a credit card through some chick’s behind. MTV let Madonna and Britney Spears kiss in front of several million teenagers, but they’re silencing Kanye West. Is the line controversial? Yes. Indecent? You tell me.

Kanye West’s rhymes are so different than anything on MTV right now. It’s like a mix of Talib Kweli and Jay-Z, whom West’ brags about getting on a record together. Lyrically, those two are probably better than West, but topically, West strikes a great balance between all the many hip-hop heads out there. His album speaks to those standing on the corner all winter, those sitting up in the classroom, the ones slouched in the SUV next to Mom, the ones wearing backpacks and headphones and listening to dead prez.

That’s what they're afraid of. A wide range of people have related to Kanye West because he is speaking the truth, as he sees it. He speaks it on “Never Let Me Down” when he says: “Now niggas can’t make it to ballots to choose leadership/But we can make it to Jacob’s and to the dealership/That’s why I hear new music and I just don’t be feelin it/Racism still alive, they just be concealin it.”

And “they” includes MTV, BET, and Viacom.

(From http://www.blackelectorate.com)[/quote]
ProZak
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Sat Jul 31, 2004 1:45 am

[quote name="trae_z"]hey before u go all critical with ur:

"Kanye West’s second single, “All Falls Down,” explores the self-conscious obsession with materialism among many young Black kids and adults and the hip-hop generation in general"

for real i wanna say that i've listened to that song over and over again, even got the cd(kanye sure is my man) but honestly i never knew the song was all about that. [/quote]

no offence, but if you didn't hear that you obviously haven't listened to the song very well, or maybe your english is not as good as you think it is

and @ Brotha Nature, how is a movie about a flying elephant racist? Just wondering, I think I've seen the movie when I was little but I don't remember anything that can be interpreted that way. But that was a long time ago, so tell me!
BlackIce
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Sat Jul 31, 2004 3:05 am

[quote name="ProZak"]
[quote name="trae_z"]hey before u go all critical with ur:

"Kanye West’s second single, “All Falls Down,” explores the self-conscious obsession with materialism among many young Black kids and adults and the hip-hop generation in general"

for real i wanna say that i've listened to that song over and over again, even got the cd(kanye sure is my man) but honestly i never knew the song was all about that. [/quote]

no offence, but if you didn't hear that you obviously haven't listened to the song very well, or maybe your english is not as good as you think it is

and @ Brotha Nature, how is a movie about a flying elephant racist? Just wondering, I think I've seen the movie when I was little but I don't remember anything that can be interpreted that way. But that was a long time ago, so tell me![/quote]



@prozak

The flying elephant wasn't the racist part prozak, it was when the boy said "look at all the monkeys" and there wasn’t any monkeys in sight. Just little black kids!

Thats like me saying to you "look at all the pink pigs", and then you turn around and see nothing but white kids!

What would you think?





http://www.unique-chemistry.com
ProZak
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Sat Jul 31, 2004 3:10 am

[quote name="BrothaNature"]And dont let me go there on Disney. I do believe they were the main ones in the 80's sendin' out racists messages (Dumbo). One of their children's books showed an image of a boy in Africa, saying, "There's birds, elephants and monkeys". Yet, there was not one monkey in the picture, just the animals mentioned and two African Brothers![/quote]

oww, so this childrens book is dumbo...sorry didn't get that, i thought he was talking about two seperate disney products
rhymeswithfire
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Wed Sep 22, 2004 1:35 am

well since the giant viacom is swallowing up all the media companies and MTV, MTV2, VH1 and BET among others are all owned by a single company don't expect mixed messages. All you'll get is poison and if you're not hollering about materialism, calling women hoes or packing gats that's as big as lil bow bow, don't expect no airtime. Don't expect to see dead prez or mos def in heavy rotation. And only jay-z can show gats and get away with it b/c he's a big star. But if you try that (or your favorite underground artist), expect to be censored quickfast. NOt that we should be glorifying gats when black on black crime is at an all time high and 13 year olds shoot each other dead almost every other day in the United States capital. Back in the day Public Enemy chanted fight the power, now everyone is just chasing the almighty dollar and its self destruction all over again.
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