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Monday, November 28, 2005

Rex Murphy On Gangsta Rap (Holy Crap, We Can't Believe We Just Wrote that)
This* is why we periodically look through serious newspapers. You don't even need to read it. Because you just know. It's Rex Murphy. He's talking about gangsta rap. It's amazing on that basis alone. What follows is almost besides the point.

Nonetheless, our favourite parts:

Should 50 Cent be barred from Canada? Well, I don't know Mr. Cent. If I did, I could call him Fiddy...

This line of thought could apply to the whole genre of rap music -- a highly stylized, slickly marketed, ingeniously promoted subset of pop music. Its most successful products are every bit as polished as any Madonna video, and some of them almost as painful to watch. It is, like almost all pop music, pure product. It's designed to sell. And if profanity, violence, sex, and confected rage will move the product -- and very evidently this combination does -- rap music has the combination down pat. Some of it is clever. Some of it is a put-on. A whole lot of it is hyped attitude laced with lazy rhymes, flash and inexhaustible crudity...

I can buy the point that the entire phenomenon of rap music contributes to, or is a symptom of, a degraded and vulgar culture. But to lay any individual responsibility on the menacing doorstep of Curtis Jackson (for that is the rapper's real name, and you can see why he changed it since Curtis does not ooze gangsta' cred) for any of Toronto's deadly crime wave is purely opportunistic...

Does Mr. McTeague know that Destiny's Child once worked with 50 Cent? Will he ban them for the association? Is Beyonce a threat to peace, order and good government?...

There's another problem with Mr. McTeague's suggestion. Should we start a trade war on entertainers, the Americans may retaliate. They could send Celine Dion back. Let us not be hasty here...


Phenomenal. The usual suspects will sniff and whine because that's what they do whenever someone like this writes something like this, but if this doesn't end up in one of those year-end collections of the best music writing, the entire industry of music criticism needs to be re-evaluated**.

*When in doubt, use the Google loophole.
**We're actually not, for once, being sarcastic.

(This is probably just for a friend of ours. He's currently wandering around Europe and he's probably the only other person who will find this nearly as amusing.)

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