Thursday, November 10, 2005

Like, in order to spit it dope/ you gotta have a criminal past/ similar to the cast of "Diff'rent Strokes"...

The Washington Post doesn't care much for Get Rich or Die Tryin'. But I'm more interested in how the review genuflects before the holy trinity of middle-class patronization of rap and hip-hop. I'm by no means an expert on rap or hip-hop, but these three things always seem to pop up when someone even more unfamilar has to comment on the genre:

1. The "These-rappers-and-their-crazy-names! How-am-I-ever-to address-them-properly?" cliche joke:

"...his first record was about to hit the streets in 2000 when Jackson (Mr. Cent?) was gunned down..."

Bah-dum dum! And how do you feel about airline food? The French?

2. The romanticizing of the old school:

"The young Marcus, played by Marc John Jefferies, plasters his bedroom with Public Enemy and KRS-One posters, wistful reminders that rap was once a vehicle for provocative agitprop rather than macho posturing."

Saying that all rap was political back in the day is idealizing the past. Saying that rap is only about macho posturing now is ignorant of a lot of rappers who don't get airplay.

Of course, Talib Kweli pretty much says the same thing on the DangerDoom album. Which is awesome.

3. The co-opting of out-of-date slang for irony's sake:

"As Howard's character says in the film's first genuinely observant moment: 'I see you have a little Napoleon thing goin' on there.' Word."

Word? For some reason, this reminds me of an old Chris Rock punchline: "Uh-oh, here comes the neighborhood."


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