Correct me if I’m wrong, but for a good portion of the last few decades, Rap has been the dominant force in popular music. In other words, something that started in
urban black culture has been thrust into the mainstream, making it consumable by all. Does that mean that the art has been diluted, or that it’s just taken on a new form?
If you take a look at Billboard right now, I guarantee that you will find at least 5 rap tinged singles on the Hot 100 chart. And newsflash: everyone rapping, is not black. Over the years, the dominant consumers of rap music have been Caucasian teenage males, and for that reason, a brand new market has opened up for people of all colors to express themselves using a clever rhyme scheme.
Enter The White Girl Mob, a group of rapping white girls from California. Kreayshawn, the group’s leader, recently signed a million dollar record deal, based solely off of the success she saw with her independently produced song “Gucci Gucci” and it’s accompanying visual (which garnered millions of views on YouTube.) Check it out.
The first time I saw this video, I shook my head (because I thought the song was horrible) and kept it moving. But the internet was on fire with dialogue from people who felt like she had appropriated black culture. With her door knocker earrings, two toned asymmetrical bob, mile long multi-colored acrylic nails and a “stereotypical sista-girl tone in her voice” Kreayshawn (pronounced Cri-Shon) has made a mockery of hood culture. [Enter Eye-Roll Here] I think we waste our time getting worked up over things that don’t matter too often, but that’s another post for another day. My question is, when did we become so protective of an art form that we’ve allowed to be marginalized by our own people?
Let me get my Sidney Shaw on for a minute.
Rap, at one point, was based in substance. Do you remember Public Enemy, X-Clan, ATCQ, or even NWA? We might not have agreed with their approach on certain issues, but at least their rhymes were more than drugs, h*es, money and clothes. Now, we’ve found ourselves riding a bullet train to Nowhere Land with Soulja Boy, Lil B, and Lil Wayne…symbolically applauding and approving their releases by dropping our cash for their watered down ignorance. Now at this point, some of you will look at me and say, “There is a place for all of that in our culture, we can have Soulja Boy when we have the Common‘s and Lupe Fiasco‘s to balance it out.” Well, why then, are we so offended by a person like Kreayshawn? It’s time for a reality check. We created this. All of us. Each and everyone of us has bobbed our head to some basic rap song, requested it at parties, or watched the videos on YouTube. All of that, eventually translates to someone getting paid. Waka Flocka once said in an interview that he wasn’t interested in making “lyrical” rap because, no one wants to hear that all the time, and that’s not what’s selling. He’s got several platinum singles to prove his point. The simple economic theory of supply and demand bodes well here. We accept it, and it keeps coming. We live in a capitalistic society. There was a market to be tapped into, and The White Girl Mob has found and exploited it, just like all of the other dummy rappers we allow to bask in the limelight.
What baffles me more than anything, is how black people assume that the things we do in our community, will stay in our community…like we live in a bubble, or behind an impenetrable wall. Prime example? The usage of the word N*GGA. Now, I know for many this may be a sore subject…but it’s something that I’ve wanted to address for a long time. Let’s revisit The White Girl Mob for a moment. One of it’s members, V-Nasty tends to use the N-Word in her regular conversation…and of course, we will NOT stand for that! She made this video in response to her haters a few days ago.
Let me make this clear. I don’t agree with her using the word. As a matter of fact, I don’t agree with anyone using it. Paul Mooney said, ever so eloquently, that “everybody wants to be a n*gga, but no one wants to be a n*gga”… But we’ve made it socially acceptable to use in every day conversations. In my mind, the blame always trails back to…US. The things that we allow, have turned around and backfired on us. So take a minute and think about your role in the grand scheme of things.
I can’t bring myself to hate The White Girl Mob for something I had a hand in, and neither should you.