Sometimes the ignorant are worth thinking about

By | November 25, 2009

HipHopCultureI was reading this article on Lil Wayne on CNN today when, against my better judgement, I browsed the comments. I’ll admit this was a mistake, as comment sections are usually the sick ignorant underbelly of the Internet (except on this site, of course, where all my commentors are fine, upstanding pillars of community).

What shocked me in the comments was the people who claimed “rap isn’t music”? Are we really still having these kind of discussions? 30 years after rock entered the mainstream, did we question whether it was music? What about jazz? Gospel? Blues? Even heavy metal gets more respect by the close-minded than hip-hop.

As much as I should disregard the incoherent babblings of ignorant CNN commentor, I do think that his or her opinion is far from unordinary. Here is a question: how many white middle class over-30 friends do you know who admit hip-hop is their favorite type of music? How many of them won’t admit it for fear that they might get the “that’s not white people music” look? How many of them fold like the dude in Office Space and claim they like radio-friendly alternative rock or country?

What do you think? Are we at a point yet in America where it is socially acceptable for middle class or even upper class white folks to be legitimate rap fans? Or are those people still seen as “wannabes” and “posers”?

(Image found at http://www.kjmz.com.)

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4 thoughts on “Sometimes the ignorant are worth thinking about

  1. Clark

    All the racial boundaries around popular music (whatever it is at a given moment) are long gone, except to those desperately seeking something to invalidate that music. Personally, hip-hop is not my thing (I prefer musicians who play instruments and vocalists who sing; I accept the fact that this proves that I am old), but that’s all right. Elvis didn’t speak to or about adults in the ’50s, John Lennon didn’t speak to them in the ’60s and so on. I think the fact that hip-hop artists aren’t speaking on behalf of my generation and that the music irritates me is a sign that all is exactly as it should be.

    PS: Okay, I do/did dig Public Enemy, Beastie Boys and Run DMC.

  2. Andy

    Socially, it’s okay to like some rap, but not all of it. This is how we get the Trendy Hood Rapper (it’s been 50, Jeezy, T.I., Wayne, Gucci) and lose a lot of the underground beneath the guys held up as totems.

    As a white guy, and a young one, I get to listen to anything. Have I looked at my dad oddly for listening to Eminem? Yep.

  3. Brian

    All I know is I want to see that documentary and learn about sizzurp that purple drank.

  4. Keri

    “What do you think? Are we at a point yet in America where it is socially acceptable for middle class or even upper class white folks to be legitimate rap fans?”

    Do you think middle class white folks have the capability to be “legitimate” rap fans? Think about the themes in rap: discrimination, violence, misogyny, cries for social change… are these things with which stereotypical white middle class Americans can identify? And if they can’t, how can you expect them to listen? Racism, intolerance and low socio-economic status aren’t typically experienced by that group, so why would they express themselves through a music genre that doesn’t represent them at all? Rap isn’t for everyone, not just because of the “is it or isn’t it music” debate, but because the unified voice of rap is aimed at a specific audience, an audience that I believe excludes middle class white America.

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