Saturday, May 14, 2011

Common: The World's Nicest Gangsta

So yea, being in Vancouver is taking a toll on my blogging schedule. Nevertheless, I'll be here as much as I can. Thanks for sticking around.

Okay, so here's what we got:

A White House event intended to be a celebration of poetry and the power of spoken word went off without a hitch Wednesday but enraged right-wing pundits upset over the invitation of the rapper and poet Common.

Common appeared at the "Evening of Poetry"event -- part of Michelle Obama's White House Music Series – where he recited some lines amidst piano accompaniment in front of the audience of children and adults.

Some critics of Common's participation in the White House event, which also featured comic and writer Steve Martin and singer Aimee Mann, were upset that the rapper has slammed former President George W. Bush in his poetry.

More here.

I'm out of the country for one week and these Repugnicans (I shouldn't say that. But it's kinda funny, so I'm keeping it!) haul off and insult my favorite rapper. It's like they were waiting for me to leave so they do it behind my back!

Ever since I heard about this story yesterday, I've been trying to figure out how to tackle it. It's been a bit of a conundrum, really. I've been wondering why I'm not cursing a blue streak and spitting lava about it.

Perhaps because it's the type of reaction I'd expect from people who have no sense of their world. I mean, I can't be surprised by the conservative response, because the Right is notorious for not doing their research. I'm sure no one will mistake Sarah Palin or Karl Rove for hip hop scholars or being in touch with the pulse of the youth. Nor am I shocked or miffed by the lack of sophistication displayed by those wonderful kids at Fox News. Those lovely folks know their shtick really well; absolution, divisiveness, and fear. They do black and white like nobody's business.

So the only thing left for me to feel about this is excitement and happiness. Consider this: Common's first album, Can I Borrow a Dollar?, was released in 1992. That means he's been a professional recording artist for 20 years. Twenty. And while he's always had a very solid base of loyal fans, written some of the most powerful, thought-inspiring, and imaginative lyrics in the history of hip hop, advocated against the use of anti-gay and homophobic lyrics in rap music, participated in the "Knowing is Beautiful" campaign for HIV/AIDS awareness, written children's books, and created the Common Ground Foundation to help empower kids in disenfranchised communities of Chicago, he's never had an album sell with real mainstream success. He's never had anything past a gold-selling record (500,000 copies sold, but less than 1 million).

So good for him that he's made some stuffy right-wingers mad. I hope they call him a cop-killin, gangsta grillin, gang-bangin, drug-dealin, woman-beatin, Impala-drivin, saggy-pants-wearin, child-out-of-wedlock-havin, thuggin, gold-tooth-havin thug for the next two months. Maybe people will finally get a chance to hear what he has to say.


Here's Common's "The Sixth Sense". I think this pretty much sums it up.


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