Friday, July 1, 2011

Hip hopping to the punch line

Vanilla Ice.
In 2009, Slate's Jody Rosen had finally  gotten tired of the joke that 'White people can't rap", and good for him. I wrote and slim rant a couple of years ago that whites are the last minority group one can make safely make fun of, free of the fear of being condemned outright and en masse. Rosen's  blog entry is  here  .On this matter, it would seem an effort on the part of purists to more or less undermine the idea that anyone of   pale countenance'  can have  hip hop street cred; not an organized conspiracy, just a habit of ridiculing the possibility . This , thought, constitutes the proverbial that has left the barn years ago.


Rap has been around for decades, it has saturated the mainstream culture it was trying to undermine and has, in fact, become the common expression of impatient self-gratification. Rap is no longer a black thing exclusively; while it remains an created by black musicians and whose architects and innovators remain predominately black, the style has been absorbed by young white people who've taken it as their own. White people can rap, some of them can do it brilliantly, many others succeed to lesser degrees. This is something black-centric exclusivists need to get over; music evolves, music changes, music is taken up by others who hear and adapt to their experience and sense of what makes musical and emotional sense; this is how musical forms remain viable, that is to day, dynamic. This has been the case for jazz, for blues, for soul, for rock; change or become an oldies act.