Making Connections between Odd Future x Jay Z x Beyonce

In my head I have been trying to make sense of Beyonce, Jay-Z and Odd Future and how audiences have received, accepted and criticized their work.

I have written about Beyonce here and here. Jay-Z here. I add Odd Future because I have yet to see a feminist analysis of them and I am theorizing that there is a connection between how audiences see them and how audiences see Jay and Beyonce.

Jay and Beyonce

Many of my friends get incredibly irritated when I say that I want Beyonce to sing about her husband. To talk about how he likes his eggs. Does he like cheese on them, hot sauce, cracked black pepper, scrambled hard.  I am not interested in how the man likes his eggs per se. I am using it as a way to open up a conversation about how audience desire shapes what artists talk about. I contended that Jay Z does not talk about loving his wife because honestly white and black audiences, and multiracial audiences are not interested in hearing about him talk about her.

“Take em out the Hood, Keep ‘Em Looking Good, But I don’t Fucking Feed ‘Em. – Jay Z, Big Pimpin‘.

In fact in this post Britini Danielle @ Clutch Magazine discusses Wiz Khalifa claiming Amber Rose publicly and the proliferation of the “we don’t Love them ho’s comments on blogs.

I am interested in Black people being rendered as human being in pop culture and in there day to day lives at work, on the train and in the grocery store. Why? I want all people in general and Black folks in particualr to be rendered as human beings. Singing about how your lover likes his or her eggs is incredibly humanizing. Talking about how much you love them is humanizing as well.

Honestly, I prolly wouldn’t care how Jay-Z liked his eggs if Black men and women controlled how their stories were created, told, distributed.

1. If they could greenlight their own films and Hollywood and control how they were distributed.

2. If there wasn’t a need for documentaries exploring the “lack” of women in hip hop.

3. If there was a space for Black women in pop culture who don’t fit the “Long haired thick red bone” aesthetic. Peace to Jennifer Hudson.

Does pop culture have to be humanizing for Black folks? If no, what is at stake if it doesn’t humanize us. If yes, what does that look like?

Odd Future

The first time I heard a DJ spin Tyler’s Yonkers, I was like who the hell is this? The beat sounded bare like early Clipse work. As a blogger, I read about what music bloggers are writing about, often before or whenI listen to the music. In fact conversations tend to percolate in my twitter timeline before writer #Natureofthebeast.

Here is Odd Future at a show performing Kill People, Burn Shit, Fuck School. @1:42. 109,664 youtube views.

Here is Tyler the Creator’s Yonkers. 14 million + youtube views.

There as been a ton written about Odd Futures popularity on the Black and White blogosphere and with multiracial audiences.

In the Chicago Sun-Times profile by Thomas Conner, Odd Future members contend that,

Odd Future’s lyrics, they maintain, are preposterous artistic expressions rather than reportage or incitement to action.“Nothing is really serious,” Hodgy Beats told the Sun-Times this week from a tour stop in London. “It’s just like all the things in our music. It’s in the atmosphere, it’s in the world, and it’s in our lyrics. … I think it’s funny that people flip out about s— like that.”

In an article titled “Odd Future and the Middle Class White Music Geeks that Love Them” the author writes,

It’s the general consensus of music writers everywhere (almost all of them white) that Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All can do no wrong.  The 11-piece L.A. collective, consisting of singers, rappers, producers, and visual artists between the ages of 16 and 23, has been praised as the next Wu-Tang Clan, the future of rap, the ultimate 21st century hip-hop group, etc., etc.  Their confrontational lyrics and gritty No Wave approach to hip-hop seem to attract more people than they scare off.  However, almost all of this praise has come from middle-class white critics and fans with interests in underground music. A photo of one of Odd Future’s notoriously raucous gigs shows a sharp contrast between the black, teenage group members onstage and the pale, white, twentysomething audience.

What does it mean that the most laudatory voices for Odd Future are White Male “music geeks”?

Should Odd Future be able to make the music that they desire, for largely White audiences given the history of Black images in this country?

Beyonce x Jay Z x Odd Future

Earlier in the post I stated that there is a connection between how audiences see them. However, we can’t really have a conversation about Black people and images without looking at the history of Black images.

Dave Chappell walked away for a reason ya’ll.

So, what is the history of images of Black people in the US? Whitney Peoples in the article “Under Construction: Identifying Foundations of Hip-Hop  Feminism and Exploring Bridges between Black Second-Wave and Hip-Hop Feminism” gives a thorough explanation. She writes,

Much of mainstream rap music has been reduced to a never-ending obsession with monetary gain, appropriation of patriarchal notions of power, material possession, partying, women, and sex, all of which are secured and protected through the hyper masculine threat of violence. Mainstream rap music is most easily commodified because it represents ideas of blackness that are in line with dominant racist and sexist ideologies; it has economic potential only because it works hand-in-hand with long established ideas about the sexual, social, and moral nature of black people.
In other words, the images of black male violence and aggression that dominate mainstream rap music are highly marketable in America because of already existing ideologies of racism that long ago named the black male as supreme aggressor and physical and sexual threat. Similarly, the images of sexually available black women that pervade rap music are marketable because of already existing ideologies that designated black women as hypersexual and morally obtuse.
Peoples is essentially saying that mainstream rap and I would extend that to say Odd Future (they are clearly underground but beloved by “White music geeks”) is popular and earns corporations money because they affirm already existing ideas around black men being homophobic, violent and hypersexual.

Having written this, I am left with a few questions.
Does Odd Future get a pass because “White music geeks” have the power to legitimize rappers with a sizeable fan base who think that rapping about rape, murder and homophobia isn’t really that serious?

Does Beyonce need to write about how her husband likes his eggs?  What does it mean that a middle class woman, who earned $80M in ’07-08 , spent a significant portion of her career writing about men soldiers, men who hustle, etc?


Is it legitimate for Jay to have continued to rap about crackwhen he was a millionaire? Is this selling a fantasy of a certain kind of Blackness to young people of all races? Can the man who wrote about Big Pimpin’ write about his wife?

Obama, Cosby & All Star Weekend


Obama and Cosby don’t have anything to do w/ Allstar weekend, at least on its face. Give me a couple of days I will come up with a link. lol!

Dope article in the TIMES OF ALL PLACES on racism and how the Allstar weekend is being portrayed in the media.

Stain of Racism Feeds N.B.A.’s Renegade Image
HARVEY ARATON

My wife and two sons were with me at the recent N.B.A. All-Star weekend in Las Vegas. The crowds made us feel more claustrophobic than threatened, but maybe that was because we weren’t roaming the nightspots any more than we would have in Los Angeles or New York.

Look for trouble in any densely populated city, and especially where people consume alcohol, and chances are you’ll find it, with or without America’s usual sports suspects — the N.B.A. and its alleged army of hip-hop followers — to blame it on. Rather than stay out into the wee hours, we went to a legends brunch to hear Magic Johnson and John Havlicek speak, to catch glimpses of Kareem and Dr. J.

Contrary to what you might have heard, All-Star weekend was not confined to a strip club or even the Strip.

You can argue that Las Vegas was not the ideal site for an event that traditionally attracts thrill seekers hoping to attach themselves to celebrities and their posses. But the casting of the weekend as a lawless referendum on the N.B.A. product has become exaggerated to the point of being imbecilic and has left Commissioner David Stern in a delicate position, between a Pacman and a hard place.

In an e-mail message, Stern said he was inclined to let the Vegas storm pass, move on as the regular season hits the homestretch. He also said he was ”not necessarily a majority among N.B.A. management,” meaning the strategy is ”subject to change.”

He may yet ask why nobody blamed Nascar for the death of a motorist who was shot in a road-rage encounter during a traffic jam after leaving the Daytona 500.

He may have to point out again that no N.B.A. player was involved in any Las Vegas transgression, compared with a number of N.F.L. players who over the years have turned Super Bowl week into episodes of ”Miami Vice.”

He may crunch crime statistics relative to other sports events and large gatherings like New Year’s Eve that, he said, would prove that All-Star weekend was no behavioral aberration.

Opening an offensive may also be subject to critical interpretation, Stern acknowledged, writing: ”It sounds so damn defensive to throw other numbers out there to defend what has to be acknowledged as bad behavior, although of the 400-plus arrests in Vegas, almost 200 were for prostitution — there I go again.”

Without question, there were people in Las Vegas you wouldn’t have hired as the baby sitter or wanted to run into at the wrong time and place. But check the newspaper clippings and broadcasts from the actual weekend: Nobody raised the terror alert to red, at least not until waking up Monday and hearing about an ugly incident that involved the Tennessee Titans’ Pacman Jones hours after All-Star weekend formally concluded.

Hindsight is 20-20, but a troubled football player accused of inciting a triple shooting — how, exactly, is this a reflection of Stern’s league?

A few hundred arrests over several days, roughly half for prostitution in a city that is the home office for Hookers R Us — how does this qualify as an indictment of a certain (read: African-American) element now said to have been running rampant everywhere but between Dick Bavetta and Charles Barkley during their charity race?

Isn’t it possible that a fair percentage of those arrested included some from among the tens of thousands in town for conventions unrelated to the N.B.A. or to celebrate the Chinese New Year? Or are only black people vulnerable to the seductions of Las Vegas?

”The subject is just so delicious that everyone from Imus to Letterman thinks it’s just hilarious to dump on the ‘hip-hoppers,’ ” Stern wrote. ”Of course, race plays a part in the perceptions. Do you doubt that there were more African-Americans in Las Vegas last week than at any time in its history, and some people felt threatened by that simply as a matter of culture?”

It must be noted that Jason Whitlock, an African-American columnist for The Kansas City Star and America Online, initiated the criticism of All-Star weekend. But his perceptions represent only one of the hundreds of journalists in Las Vegas and ultimately have become less the issue for Stern than the latest round of mostly uninformed N.B.A. bashing it triggered on Talk Show America.

We know Stern’s league has issues. But, once again, pro football players and their entourages have been on a criminal rampage for years while a majority of the news media ignored the sobering reality on the way to another Super Bowl buffet.

Maybe it was the relative anonymity of the average player in a team-first league, compared with the N.B.A.’s individual marketing strategy, that has wrought a more flamboyant and inflammatory product. And maybe, as the Dallas Mavericks’ owner, Mark Cuban, argued via e-mail: ”Football pays the bills for the sports media in every N.F.L. city and some non-N.F.L. cities. It’s that simple.”

Americans respect selling power, benevolent or not, and no athlete wielded more in the 1990s than Sheriff Michael Jordan. But not long after the Bulls’ dynasty crumbled, the N.B.A. was being characterized as too young, too edgy, too scary — code for too black — as it was said to be in the late 1970s, pre-Magic and Bird.

Now it’s also the hip-hop capital of America, Thugs R Us. As if what was possibly the worst N.B.A. disturbance ever, the Pistons-Pacers brawl in November 2004, wasn’t at least half the responsibility of a largely white crowd at the suburban Palace of Auburn Hills.

Talk about drunk, about lawless. And in that case, we do have the video to prove it.

  • So the verdict is that negros are ignorant and don’t know how to act BUT, violence in the NFL is not worth mentioning, nor does it constitute news.
  • Witlocks article gave me the impression that he does not Like Black People, and the Vegas activities gave the the green light to tell the world about it.
  • I never thought of how many people EAT off football, and consequently have an incentive to keep mum about football related violence.
  • Too young, too edgy, too scary, code for being black. That is a dope t-shirt idea.

Somebody send me his address so I can send him a thank you card.

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I love what Koch means to hip hop.

It forces cats to crunch the numbers.

As record sales keep sliding, the rise of Koch coincides with the lowering of rappers? expectations. Five years ago, no self-respecting rapper ? certainly no self-respecting New York rapper ? would ever have bragged about selling 400,000 records. But if you?re not going to sell a million CDs with a major label, you may well be better off at Koch, accepting a lower recording and promotional budget in exchange for a higher royalty rate. That?s why rappers are so ambivalent about Koch: signing there means giving up the dream of pop stardom, or, at any rate, deferring it.

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Sports serves as a wonderful platform for racialicious ponderings. God Bless America.

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