Wednesday, October 09, 2013


I'm an ignorant rube when it comes to pop music.  But I did hear this song yesterday and I liked it. It sounded nice and the lyrics are brilliant.

But every song's like gold teeth, Grey Goose, trippin' in the bathroom
Blood stains, ball gowns, trashin' the hotel room,
We don't care, we're driving Cadillacs in our dreams.
But everybody's like Crystal, Maybach, diamonds on your time piece.
Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash.
We don't care, we aren't caught up in your love affair.
I heard that and thought, "Yeah, that's why I usually just listen to the old stuff."  Because I don't care about Crystal or diamond watches.

So it's kind of funny how I just heard this song, dug its message, and this morning, I read this:
An international war of words has broken out over a New Zealand pop star's chart-topping single, after an American blogger labeled the track racist.
Racist?  Let's hear this.
"While I love a good critique of wealth accumulation and inequity, this song is not one; in fact, it is deeply racist," wrote Bayetti Flores. "Because we all know who she's thinking when we're talking gold teeth, Cristal (champagne) and Maybachs. So why shit on black folks? Why shit on rappers?"
Now this is where one could explain that hip-hop culture is multi-racial and global.  To equate "rappers" with "black folk" is not only wrong on the merits, it's actually kind of racist in itself.  So let's just dispense with that altogether.

Why shit on rappers?  For the very same reason that all of the stuff Lorde is talking about is so obviously about rappers.  In this day and age, rappers who talk about Cristal and jet planes are tired cliches.  If you were a baby when Biggie Smalls died (as Lorde was) then this stuff just isn't going to speak to you.  It's your parents' aspiration, not yours.

To make it about race is missing the point.  Big time.

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