Sunday, May 07, 2006
Clear & present danger
Those defending deadly art as free speech add to buffoonery
By Stanley Crouch
I guess it’s hard out here for a rapper. You never know when the lead will fly or when it’s time to die.
Here is an example: Last week, at the infamous Hot 97, yet another rapper, this one going by the name of Gravy, took a bullet in his backside while surrounded by a group of happy hangers-on, all of whom fled screaming while the victim entered the Hudson St. building for an interview.
It’s hard out here.
The police found Gravy, whose real name is Jamal Woolard, bleeding from one of his rear cheeks and limping around inside of the building.
A group of knuckleheads had gotten out of a black Escalade and opened fire shortly after Woolard arrived. The intention might have been to kill him instead of wound the rapper in the buttocks.
Either they were poor marksmen or they couldn’t tell the difference between his head and his backside.
One never knows.
Security had more shooting skills when the rapper known as Proof was shot through the head a couple of times in Detroit last month after blasting a cap into another man’s head at the hottest moment in an altercation.
Proof was never to leave the cooling board; his victim was taken to the hospital in critical condition. He later died. Proof was Eminem’s best friend.
According to 50 Cent, Eminem is recovering.
It’s hard out here.
Yesterday in Cincinnati, in the wee hours of the morning, a member of the entourage of rapper T.I. was shot dead and three others wounded on a highway after leaving the Club Ritz, where a hassle began because some men had money thrown in their faces during an after-party for the Atlanta rapper and his protégé Yung Joc. Like our Hot 97, the Club Ritz seems to be a modern-day OK Corral.
All of this action makes it understandable why the authorities in Las Vegas are trying to prevent the presentation of rap concerts. They fear that people will be shot or killed.
Defenders of this cultural swill pretend it is a censorship issue or an issue about artistic freedom, neither of which is true.
What we have is truth in advertising. In the past, Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando and Al Pacino only pretended to be gangsters; they were actors and their film enemies never fired a real shot at them. The same is true of Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, neither of whom has ever had to duck real bullets.
On the other hand, these men who act out these brutal coon shows in which pimps and gangsters are glamorized find themselves more often than they would like, either killed by bullets or wounded by knuckleheads who have been less impressed by their preposterous claims for artistry than they are by their claims of being rough customers.
Well, it’s hard out here for a …
One wonders just how long an idiom will be able to hide behind arguments for freedom of speech and artistic freedom when neither argument has anything to do with the misogyny, buffoonery and latter-day minstrelsy that so clearly dominates hip hop.
For those who argue that all of the vulgarity and misogyny only represent one part of hip hop, my question is when will this so-called positive hip hop rise in the market and rid us of this destructive drivel? Soon? I wouldn’t bet on it.