Saturday, September 10, 2011

Regarding "Soulja Boy"; I've got something to say . . .

  Two friends posted today on FaceBook regarding the lyrics to a song by the so-called 'Solja-Boy' rapper.  The controversy the young man DeAndre Cortez Way stirred up with the lyrics to "Let's Be Real" is a shining example of why I despise that genre of the entertainment industry at large, virtually every aspect of it.

  Without doing him the honor of quoting him directly, he spits disrespect
at the United States Military, our domestic federal investigators and everyone who has made a sacrifice of time with their loved ones for the greater good in the last ten years since that horrific day in September.

  DeAndre Cortez Way has made an hasty apology to the United States Military.
According to TMZ in an article published Sept 2nd, 2011;
"A rep for Soulja's management team, Debby Coda, tells TMZ,
both the rapper's management and his record label have been working nonstop since Friday{presumably Sept 2nd, 2011} to take the video down off the Internet."

  Hmmmm . . . DeAndre Cortez Way will need the assistance of the very domestic investigators he spits at to accomplish wiping the Internet of the offending material in it's entirety.
I believe the whole of the lyrics could be preserved in a line by line literary critique, copyright free.  However, I can think of better representatives of rap/hip-hop lyrics for that purpose.

  Speaking of literary critique and the reasons I despise most of what comes out of the rap/hip-hop genre; in my opinion, most of what passes for poetic/lyrical expression of thought has devolved to dreck

  What passes for "good" content?  Everything that puts ducats in the duomo;
misogyny, class-ism, racism, anarchy, exploitation, and every foul-mouthed expression of "personal" freedom one could ever think of,
with the caveat that everything offered has merit and should never be judged.

  Hip-hop & rap certainly have not cornered the market, nor do other genres
escape scrutiny but we are only looking at one genre and one song for comparison, contrast and critique.  So we will not compare DeAndre Cortez Way's lyrics to say . . . Shakespearean iambic pentameter or even the more recent rebel; Dylan Thomas, a hot mess himself until his own excesses put an end to his career.  These comparisons would earn this author the criticism of comparing apples to oranges, so-to-speak.

  What about comparing apples to apples?  Long gone are the days of Afrika Bambaataa's ground breaking collaborative efforts with giants of other genres such as James Brown and Herbie Hancock.
My personal favorite, KRS-One, aka "The Teacher", still spends much of his time lecturing about hip-hop cultural roots at universities.  A far better use of the cultural resources created by pioneers in the hip-hop genre than what passes for "good" all these years later.

  Is there anyone even loosely  associated with today's hip-hop culture offering artistic, creative, uplifting work to the public?  Truthfully, I cannot answer as I do not listen to popular music much anymore.  I was spoiled rotten by generous,  unknown musicians who have shared their vocal and instrumental talent with me since I was fourteen years old asking only my appreciation in return.

  I can name one more artist whom I admire, although he is a fine painter, not a musician; Kehinde Wiley.  If you google him (I guess that is an official verb now), you will be taken to his flash based website.  Instead, I would direct you first to an interview by ART-interview Online magazine. {}  Hear him discuss his unique approach in his own words, then go to his dot com and meander through the galleries.

  Recently, I received the blessing of the end of my son's contracted service
to the United States Navy.  As a human being, he is no different than DeAndre Cortez Way.
As a young man he is in every way, different than the so called rap "artist".
He chose to shut up and put up, in service to his country before he finished high school and postponed college. 
He fulfilled his contract honorably.  You bet I am proud of him.
Guys like my grandfather who served before, during and after WWII, get to preserve their service publicly by adding "U.S.N., Ret." after their name.

  DeAndre Way will not be able to sport such an honor, ever.  However, should he wise up by putting some of his ducats to use paying for a well-rounded Bachelor of Arts degree, he could sport the honorable B.F.A. Then he would be among the elite in his genre and he might have something to say worth listening to.