September 11, 2015

Everybody's going downtown, to the capitalist gangbang

Internets,

It's just not in the nature of hip-hop to show respect for one's elders, and there isn't anything wrong with that. In fact, it's one of the reasons I used to like hip-hop.

I used to love to see a young MC coming up in the game attempt to make a name for himself by shitting on those who came before him. The first couple of BDP albums, which are amongst the best albums of all time, of ALL TIME, are filled with thinly veiled, seemingly unprovoked shots at Run-DMC, the most popular rap group at the time, not to mention shots at the Juice Crew that are likely more vicious than you recall them being, or understood them to be back then.

Could a rapper in 2015 get away with suggesting that a female rapper is only good for steady fucking? Probably, but you best believe there would be a thinkpiece... regardless of how true it was. LOL

Big Daddy Kane, Melle Mel and Kool Moe Dee's complaints that no black rapper ever thought to invite them to rap on TV with their shirts off at the age of 56 aren't about anything other than the fact that Macklemore must have backed up a Brink's truck to the assisted living facility where they live, and so now they've cultivated a sense of entitlement. When it comes to black rappers' money, they feel the same way I feel about women.

In an interview the other day with XXL, which is still hanging in there (I commend their endurance), Big Daddy Kane, Melle Mel and Kool Moe Dee explained how Melle Mel, Moe Dee and Grandmaster Caz's appearance on Macklemore's "Downtown" came about, what it was like working with Macklemore both on the song and at this years VMAs, and of course it wouldn't be an interview with rappers—let alone old rappers—if they didn't discuss how they feel about the current state of hip-hop.

Kane was there because he was the one who set the whole thing up. He's friends with Macklemore's manager, which I felt that he perhaps should have qualified, having once posed for Playgirl, a magazine only read by teh ghey men. He said he had no idea. Does he not know any girls (other than Roxanne Shante)? Girls don't read magazines with pictures of naked guys in them. They claim to not like it when you send them pictures of your peen unsolicited on social networking sites, though I question if that's really the case.

Kane functioned as Macklemore's elderly-negro whisperer. The song "Downtown" has a bassline not unlike Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's "The Message" (featuring Melle Mel), to the point where he probably would have been forced to cut an old black person a check anyway, if he hadn't purchased a cosign from Mel, Moe Dee and Caz. And in fact, I wonder if he didn't still have to cut a check to someone from the Robinson family, a descendant of Sugar Hill Records founder Sylvia Robinson, after what happened to Robin Thicke and Pharrell with "Blurred Lines."

If Thicke and Pharrell had been thinking, they could have brought in someone tangentially related to Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give It Up" from jump and thus probably avoided having to pay out more than what 99.99% of artists will ever make in their entire careers. (Obviously it would have been difficult to bring in Marvin Gaye.) It's something to think about, both in terms of what Macklemore's motives may have been and how this came about.

Sylvia Robinson's son, who performed with Sugar Hill Gang after Master Gee left, died recently, and other members of that family either died relatively young or got locked up in the past few years (as did Big Bank Hank, come to think of it). That may have been the Illuminati clearing them out to make way for this Macklemore song.

Macklemore is nothing if not business savvy. He had the sense to pay the TIs to use their payola system, which is how "Thrift Shop" and those other songs became some of the most popular songs of whatever year that was, while still retaining ownership of his music. He's got the same deal many a bum rapper had with Koch Records back in the '00s, except he's actually making money. There's no way he would have dropped "Downtown" without making sure all his proverbial ducks were in a row.

He's also an expert at staging publicity stunts to boost his credibility amongst various communities. Lest we forget, this is the guy who once performed before something ridonkulous like 79 simultaneous teh ghey weddings, live on stage at the Grammys, presided over by Queen Latifah, who doesn't even like to be associated with gay shit in public—unless it's something (ostensibly) ambiguous, like the movie Set It Off.

In the interview, Melle Mel said he wasn't aware that Black People Twitter was upset that Macklemore beat out Kendrick Lamar at those same Grammys. He might not even know what Twitter is. So I'm thinking he must not have been aware that Macklemore later texted Kendrick Lamar about how bummed he was that he "robbed" Kendrick... and then screencapped that shit and posted it on Instagram, so everyone would know that he was suitably remorseful about his cultural appropriation.

Purchasing Melle Mel, Kane et al., as if this were still slavery, is ingenious in that it makes Macklemore pretty much critic-proof for the rest of his career. He put money in the pockets of the people who actually invented rap music, who clearly could use it, which is something the rest of these clowns never did, even the ones who are worth upwards of a billion dollars.

And so now the pioneers are kinda obligated to jump to Macklemore's defense whenever someone questions his credibility, as they do—seemingly reflexively and oftentimes unprompted—throughout the XXL interview. It's the equivalent of when one of your white friends bails you out of jail. Arguably, he's as valuable as any of your black friends, if not more so. You can't just have people out here talking shit about him.

An even more apt comparison would be a celebrity who's been paid to shill for a certain product.

Take it easy on yourself,

Bol

http://www.amazon.com/author/byroncrawford