Wednesday, January 09, 2008

And '90s gangster rap, when it all went mainstream, was toned down to appeal to 'mainstream' America

Which is white in the eyes of marketers. This fits into the theme of the last post, about drug use not really having anything to do with political orientation. It's been said before by various people but I'll say it again: Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre created a mainstream form of rap by toning down the drug use, cutting out most of the politics, and turning down the explicitness of the sex. Which might come as a shock because they're associated with heavy marijuana use, but if you compare their music with what went before you'll see the difference. For instance:

In the song 8-Ball by N.W.A. Eazy-E starts out by saying:"I don't drink brass monkey, like to be funky, nic nag Eazy-E yo eight ball junky" with an eight ball being a bag of cocaine. While "The Chronic" sells to wanna be white gangsters and frat boys, cocaine brings up memories of D.A.R.E. an d Reagan's "War on Drugs", which is a no-no.

It's really easy to talk about the lack of political perspective from these latter day rap stars. Basically, the songs devolved into personal stories of hard times, which while interesting don't have the same confrontational themes of "Straight outta Compton" and "Fuck the Police" by N.W.A., for instance.

As for sex, which they seem to talk about incessantly, it's all vanilla compared to some of what came before. An example of this is contained in "Me so horny" by 2-Live Crew.

"Put your lips on my dick and suck my asshole too."

I don't think you're going to hear Snoop Dogg saying that any time soon.

Less drugs, less politics, less really raunchy sex, brought to you by some enterprising rappers who wanted to make loads of money by marketing commodified dissent to white audiences, from all across the class spectrum.

And it worked.

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