Thursday, October 04, 2007

Party like a mock star

WHO'D'VE THUNK THAT a stupid rap song would engender such controversy -- and not about promotion of drugs, or violence, or sex, but because it transgresses some imagined boundary between the "real" and the "poseurs"?

On message boards like this and blogs like this a lot of black punk-rock kids vented their indignation that a bunch of crunk-rappers would dare rip off, and thus cheapen, their social signifiers and costumes without understanding the profound meaning behind it all!

On a blog at "Unofficially Afropunk," Chachalila gripes:

"I just hate the fact that the same style that I really love is now being viewed as some crappy fashion fad."

Cinnamon_girl complains that because of this trend:

"What's the noticible difference between me and the average 'rockstar partying' hoodrat these days? Pretty much just my double 0s til I open my mouth."


"F@$K posers and the Hot topic they came out of!"

It's amusing how 20-year-old kids are yelling about how “the mainstream” is going to “destroy our culture”! To a Gen-X-cusper like myself, this is the same hair-tearing that was going on back in the early ‘90s over the mainstream "taking over" “alternative culture.”

The funny thing (to an ancient 33-year-old such as myself) is the tremendous importance youngsters put on music and fashion choices: for all intents and purposes it takes on religious significance. Might I suggest that these folks are lacking something that bands and costumery can’t supply?

This is not to denigrate rock, or punk rock, or the afropunk community -- heck, I'm at least an associate member: I listen to punk rock, I've been to an Afropunk party, I joined the Afropunk message board. That's why I know about these sites to begin with. But this highlights the difference between people who view music as entertainment, and those who view it as identity.

BY THE WAY. As for the actual song  "Party Like a Rock Star," well, I know one shouldn't expect too much artistically from crunk rap. But still, I can't be the only one to notice the half-assed way they try to signify "okay, now we're doing rock" by pasting a single looping electric guitar riff over an otherwise standard crunk beat. But the riff is one of those minor key, faux-classical things that have been R&B/rap cliche for the last ten years. In other words: the kids making this music are all mixed up; as one might expect in this subgenre, their musical vocabulary is trapped around preschool level; and they don't even know what rock 'n' roll sounds like -- they're just aping the sound everyone else in the rap game is putting out. They wouldn't know a blues scale from a coke scale. (Which might be appropriate, actually.) If you asked them, they'd probably tell you rock 'n' roll is a white music form and always has been.

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