Oct 31, 2007
Reprinting Content
So in lieu of coming up with something original, here's an article I wrote for the paper a few weeks back, entitled "Rap is like History Volume 1: Presidents and Rap." The worst part is that I implied it would be a series, which means I'm probably going to end up writing "Roman military campaigns are like seminal rap albums" or something stupid like that in the next few weeks. For now, here's what is effectively the mixtape of this blog so far. Enjoy!

Did you know that real history is a lot like rap? It’s true! For example, here are some presidents, and here is some rap. Think about how they are the same!

The O.D.B. is the Andrew Jackson of Rap
There are two anecdotes that corroborate this. First, in 1835 Richard Lawrence tried to assassinate Andrew Jackson. Lawrence was a mentally deranged man who believed that only Jackson stood in the way of Lawrence’s ascenscion to become the king of England. Lawrence approached Jackson in the Capitol Rotunda and fired two pistols at him. Incredibly, both misfired. President Jackson promptly proceeded to start beating Lawrence with his cane as his aides restrained Lawrence. Similarly, when a would-be mugger attempted to stick-up ODB and his Wu-Tang compatriot, RZA, ODB grabbed the shotgun from him and turned it back at the robber.

Secondly, Jackson owned a parrot named Poll. Poll was brought to attend Jackson’s funeral in 1845. To date, Poll has been the only parrot on record to have been ejected from a Presidential funeral, as Poll would not stop swearing.

If teaching a parrot to swear does not embody the O.D.B., I don’t know what does.

The D.O.C. is the William Henry Harrison of Rap
The D.O.C. released one classic album, “No One Can Do It Better.” It received widespread acclaim from just about everyone, including 5 Mics from the Source. Shortly after that, he got into a car accident that crushed his larynx, forever altering his voice. He never achieved the same level of success. Similarly, William Henry Harrison, the hero of the Battle of Tippecanoe, was responsible for the legendary campaign song, “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too.” After being elected and delivering a two-hour long inaugural address on a cold, wet day, he caught a cold, could not find any place to rest, developed pneumonia, and died 30 days into his term. They are easily one and the same.

Dr. Dre is the Grover Cleveland of Rap
1884: Grover Cleveland is elected to office, ending twenty-four years of postwar weak Republican rule during which time the nations powers primarily lay in the hands of the Senate. With a reputation for being incredibly honest, he uses his vetoes more than all previous presidents combined.
1992: Dr. Dre releases The Chronic, a seminal album famous for popularizing gangsta rap. It features a bunch of disses to Eazy-E, which are kind of like veto power over Eazy-E.
1888: Grover Cleveland wins the popular vote but loses the Electoral College in his re-election campaign.
1996: Dr. Dre leaves Death Row Records and gets off to a rocky start with his new label, Aftermath.
1892: Cleveland wins re-election because of something about tariffs and gold reserves, thereby giving context to the word “nonconsecutive.” He continues being effective.
1999: Dr. Dre releases “2001,” which is also a good album.
1896: “Nowadays everybody wanna talk, like they got something to say. But nothing comes out when they move their lips, just a bunch of gibberish! The agrarians and silverites act like they forgot about Cleveland.”
2007: “Detox is comin’, y’all.” Or something.

Kanye West is the Woodrow Wilson of Rap
Haters often ignore Woodrow Wilson’s visionary diplomatic policy, plans for a New World Order, leadership through World War I and the Versailles conference, and his molding of the United States into a benevolent imperial power. Instead, haters like to focus on how he was quoted in “Birth of a Nation.” Even though he was quoted on the KKK: “...no more obnoxious or harmful organization has ever shown itself in our affairs.” Likewise, haters like to ignore that Kanye West has released three albums essential to any hip hop library and instead focus on how he’s got a bit of an ego, as opposed to every other rapper who is incredibly modest.

Aesop Rock is the Warren G. Harding of Rap
If someone tells you they love rap and when you ask them who their favorite rapper is they say “Aesop Rock,” that’s kind of like someone saying that they’re really politically active and you ask them what their political leanings are and they say “Libertarian.” It just doesn’t count. That’s not to say Harding was a bad president or Aesop Rock is a bad rapper. It just doesn’t count. Harding wasn’t technically a libertarian, but he’s the closest those chumps have.

LL Cool J is the Lyndon Johnson of Rap
LL Baines J

Eazy-E is the Richard M. Nixon of Rap
Eazy-E was a member of the highly successful N.W.A., just as Richard Nixon was part of the highly successful Eisenhower administration. Both of their solo projects started out highly successful, with Eazy’s album “Eazy-Duz-It” going double platinum and Nixon being elected to a second term. However, toward the end of Eazy’s term with N.W.A., it was revealed that he and N.W.A. manager Jerry Heller had been skimming money off the top from N.W.A., just as Nixon was revealed to be involved with the Watergate burglaries. Following this, Nixon resigned in disgrace, and Eazy-E got AIDS and died.

Sisqo is the Gerald Ford of Rap
Sisqo, the highly successful lead singer of Dru Hill, bust onto the scene in 1999 with his hit “Thong Song.” While Thong Song made him a whole mess of money, years later everyone agreed that it was a corny novelty song and Sisqo was actually a huge tool, with his bleached hair and all that. Likewise, Gerald Ford was the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives from 1965 to 1973 where he was a fair leader and an inoffensive personality. Richard Nixon picked him as Vice President after Spiro Agnew resigned in 1973; the next year, Nixon resigned and Ford became president. He was not a very good president, and he lost a lot of popularity when he pardoned Nixon. Everyone now agrees he was a much better congressman than a President.

Suge Knight is the Ronald Reagan of Rap
Suge Knight, the co-founder of Death Row Records, entered the unfortunate situation of running a rap label in the 1990s while simultaneously feuding with every rapper working in the 1990s. I am surprised he is still alive. Reagan, on the other hand, was a crazy neocon who had Alzheimer’s for probably half of his term, refused to talk about AIDS until someone famous died from it, quadrupled the deficit, and was involved in the Iran-Contra affair. The point I’m trying to make is that both of them are incredibly powerful chumps.

Cam’ron is the George W. Bush of Rap
Cam’ron has beef with a whole bunch of folks and insists on starting trouble with people like Jay-Z, 50 Cent, and Ma$e. He was once shot in the arm three times after someone tried to carjack him, then drove around flashing his lights and going the wrong way on streets trying to get a cop’s attention because he didn’t know where the nearest hospital was. He says he doesn’t know who shot him and he’s “not a snitch” and wouldn’t help the police find out who it was. When he was asked if he would tell the police if there was a serial killer living next door to him, he said he wouldn’t tell the police, because helping the police violates his code of ethics, but he would “probably move.” Apparently, though, he did cooperate with the police when 15 guys beat him up in 1999. Among people who I would want to raise my theoretical children, this puts him at the bottom of the list, right next to George W. Bush.

Labels: ,

Oct 13, 2007
Fuck Nerdcore
Sometimes I feel a little bit self-conscious, like I've thrown myself too fully into this rap thing. But it seems like by the nature of the rap game, it's by default the most interesting thing on the market. Oh, it's just talking fast to music, or oh, it's so violent and misogynistic.

The thing about hip hop is that it's the only genre that is so persistently bizarre, where there's a culture surrounding it in which fucking weird things happen all the time. I mean, beyond the previously mentioned Snoop Dogg moving to Australia, 50 Cent getting caught in an embarrassing display of lipsyncing, anything R. Kelly does (it sort of counts), the T.I. show at MSG, MIMS in general, and the absurd Graduation vs Curtis showdown, not to mention Lupe Fiasco, Paul Wall, and Twista's inexplicable appearance in this:



Then there's Chamillionaire's sampling of The Final Countdown on Ultimate Victory and how his song "Hip Hop Police" is the first song about Crime to appear on Radio Disney (he says "Heck Yeah" instead of "Hell Yeah," if you believe Wikipedia and I do believe wikipedia).

Then there's this classic from 1983:



Actually, this might continue with the Chamillionaire theme for a while, as he's starting to get funnier and funnier:



And then there's Kanye's Old-Ass Cousin



To love the genre, to love the culture, is to embrace the ridiculousness of it all. Maybe it is just because it is still in its adolescence as a genre, artistically. Rappers, paradoxically, seem to take themselves a lot less seriously this decade. Maybe it's reactionary to the Suge Knight era, but I think it's a turning point for the genre. It's not joke rap, but it's to the point where rappers can goof off, and I find no end to the enjoyment.

Labels: , , , ,