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February 20, 2004

Seventeen Dollars Worth of Respect

Kevin Powell says the first intelligent thing I've heard him say in an article on black leadership in the Village Voice that was passed to me. In trying to explain the troubles of hiphop politics he said that you can't treat voters like people who buy your CD. Suddenly the beauty of the insult of throwing $100 of cash at somebody was made apparent to me.

I didn't expect it, but Prince showed in just a few moments why he has earned the respect of millions, beyond which, if he was political, he'd have a lot more truth to speak than any handful of mic-grabbin' kids in XXXL shirts. Prince was the subject of Tavis Smiley's show this evening, and there he was. There's something about his bearing that let me know that I'm going to be listening to him when he is as old as David Bowie. I think he's complete.

I've actually been listening to The Truth recently, and along with Chaos and Disorder, it's one of my favorites of all his works. I haven't got a third of the stuff he's done since Emancipation, so I'm not really up on what other acoustic or jazz he has done since Madhouse other than The Truth. Still, it's plenty and it fits right into my groove, especially 'Don't Play Me'.

This is something of his mood in the guitar duet he played with Wendy(!) after his interview with Tavis. (Is it just me or has Tavis gone to a voice coach?) Real cool and sophisticated. Suddenly, and especially after hearing him talk to Tavis, you realize what fantastic things he can do with his voice.

I'm left thinking about what Prince said about the 'ignant niggas' for whom Lauren Hill threw in a motherfucker in her lyrics. You get the audience you deserve. It's something so simple and true. I'll be certain to use that phrase in the future. And it takes me back to something I should liked to have said about relative immaturity of De La Soul's AOI:Mosaic Thump featuring 'Bumpy Knuckles'. I don't know when they are going to finish that trilogy, it's been over two years since Bionix and I wonder if they are done debating whether or not a party's still a party if the gangbangers don't try to turn it out.

The merchants of the music industry control the hiphop youth, but there's a man in his 40s teaching turntableism at Berklee, and Prince is soully rockin'.

A purchase of a CD isn't respect. It's a youthful impulse. And I think nobody should be surprised that a lot of hiphop won't translate into politics (ok that's all the hiphop bashing for today). When the Master Ps of the world go broke people are going to ask was he a musician or an actor or what? He's a hustler. I thought you knew.

One more thing. What kind of music gets swapped the most on Kazaa? That commercial crap. Merchants of the Business can't even get $17 worth of respect. They don't deserve it.

But the music lives on. Thanks Prince. Your still as cool as the other side of the pillow.

UPDATE: Transcript of the show. Download file

Posted by mbowen at February 20, 2004 12:31 AM

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