Well, here’s a thing. Some coming out, kind of, and discussion of sexuality in the hip hop realm. One thing’s for sure, it never was an island. Just had some dominating censors policing a certain story and identity. For some. There’s always diversity if you look. And those afraid of it trying to hold it back.
Giroux’s article about ‘Lil Wayne’s Lyrical Fascism’, here, makes good points. The erosion of civil rights values, the pornification of everything to make the bottom line plumper, the casual cruelty of spectacle. ‘Course. These things I agree with.
I also get pretty allergic to a certain claiming of status about the ‘moral witnessing’ that civil rights era activists, and writers who remember them, engage in. Yes. Honouring, remember, upholding. Yes. But ‘higher value’ can wedge in that generational gap to become preaching. Try living in the youth cultures that routinely trade in misogyny. Try being a female artist.
Yes, people of any age can (and some do) question consumerism as the basis of all things. Yes, people of any age, gender, race, sexuality, and ability can get themselves educated about the multiple struggles that have gone before. That continue.
There’s also a need to look at the ways that precarity of work and disposability of people affect the ways that people think about themselves. And justice. And history.
Now. I don’t want to give excuses (and I won’t, for misogynistic, racist crap). It’s pretty likely that if I can accuse others of sounding inflated and preaching, they can accuse me of sounding resentful.
But the system that applauds Lil Wayne didn’t come out of the abyss*. And, of course, systems are made and sustained and changed by people. Like those marchers, those preachers. And MCs and those who stop applauding.
By female artists rapping back. By male producers steering clear of the schtick.
*Or did it.
I wrote a little blog post for CAPSTRANS at the University of Wollongong about my PhD research on self-branding by conscious hip hop MCs Urthboy, Ladi6 and K’naan. It’s here.
The question, does Australian hip hop have a problem with racism? has been getting extra attention lately. Grand, very grand. (Oh yeah, perfect final bit for the thesis …) No, but it is confirmation of what many artists and scholars have been noticing.
I enjoyed hearing these voices together in one place. Of this (yeah, subjective …) list of the top in Australian hip hop, one, one was a lady (the force herself, Nay from The Last Kinection).
What’s the problem? Top artists doesn’t have to be numbers of units moved. I guess they vaguely meant biggest profile. Guess how profiles get bigger? Articles like this are a part of it. Sky High, Macromantics, Layla? Hello?
The old ‘affirmative action’ debate, essentially. More inclusion does need to happen. This is partly on the gate keepers of music press/web and record labels (yes, some of whom have included ladies. Still more room. More).
Meanwhile, ladies are just doing it, calling it out:
I recommend following @BustyBeats and @AustralianBooty on the twoosh to help amplify the call.
For fuck’s sake, how much longer?