Thursday, April 19, 2007

Imus and Hip Hop

The ABJ's music critic, Malcolm X Abram, gets my vote for most insightful column about the relative significance of Imus' rude words and the hip hop members of the he-man woman haters club.

I agree that comparing the patriarchal sins of an old man to the posturing of many contemporary rappers is not very useful. Abram points to:
"The bulk of rappers who deal casually in misogyny are young black males from communities where toughness -- or at least the illusion of toughness -- is a necessary survival trait, and emotions and trust are signs of weakness. It's not a mature outlook, but in the tough guys' world, the odds are stacked against them. They don't fall in love and they sure as hell don't rap about it (unless they think it will be a hit song on ``blazing hip-hop and R&B!'' radio). The attitude that tough guys ``don't love them hos'' (though you better not say anything about their mamas or sisters) is in part a defense mechanism that has become the standard posture of the ``gangster rapper'' and has proven to be very financially rewarding."
Of course, kids will choose the music and lyrics that are guaranteed to set adult teeth on edge. They dress and speak in ways that separate themselves from main stream culture. There is sad immaturity in the posturing and demeaning words found in too many hip hop lyrics. Abrams points to the exploitation of young artists, many who grew up with nothing, and then find themselves paid lots of money to produce "what sells." He urges more conversations among all interested parties.

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