� Four Standouts | Main | You Go Girl �

January 19, 2005

Around the Way Art

Jimi warns Kanye West that he's about live the white critical equivalent of Stevie's 'Rocket Love' with his 10 Grammy nominations. Sounds about right, and no I don't remember 'Zingalamaduni'.

He's right about Lauryn Hill, of course.

I wonder how long the trend is going to last that folks from outside of the well-wrapped universe of black existentials are going to keep studying the insides of our heads in order to grok the deeper lyrical meaning. It's a tough call, because nobody really likes wiggers. Even when there are those I would venture to call 'partner' tell me that they like Miles Davis, I'm like 'what?'. That ain't love of Jazz, that's a correct answer. Piker. I can't imagine that blackfolks are ever going to give whitefolks a break when it comes to music appreciation, and isn't that a snitty little turn? We arrogantly say that we *do* own Jazz and Hiphop. It's black music, dammit! The rest of the world can only approximate true love for this music, so goes the arrogant chauvinism we show for it. We're like Japanese listening to Gaijin trying to speak our language. What expresses that better than the trailer for the new Will Smith movie, when he patiently explains to the chubby white guy that he should never, under any circumstances, try to bust a move on the dance floor? Ain't we something?

I believe that something about the music gets into other people's pants too. In fact, I'm counting on it. Because when I go abroad, I think that's going to be the only way I'm going to connect at a substantial lesson without a translator. I'm absolutely for getting the gutbucket of specifics on wax, never let it be said that I didn't groove when LL talked about Farmers thought I've never been there. BUT. Still, there's nothing like an instrumental, and I need instrumentals because it's hard to describe or talk about them, and that non-verbal has to get me a connection.

When I made this cut last week, I wondered whom it would affect. You have to have a bit of context to understand what a simple yet profound mix this is. So it came as no surpise that the dreadlock man selling incense in front of Boys Market on Crenshaw gave me props on the cut. (The sign may say 'Ralphs' but that will always be Boys Market.) And isn't that the heart of it? Knowing something OG is always more satisfying, especially as it is transformed into something else. That fat woman is always sexy to you because you knew her when she was a cheerleader.

Demystifying this is actually not so difficult. I think I know what it is. It's about falling in love. You see even though I know there are lots of blackfolks out there who know 'Wildflower' by New Birth, only my 8th grade class of '74 from Holy Name of Jesus School knows it to be the only slow record we were allowed to dance to at our heavily chaperoned grad party. And only Steve and Alfred and Patrick and I know what Veronica's dress felt like that night. It was cut up to here. >Hey hey hey hey!

Sorry, I'm very distracted with that memory.

What was I saying? Something about the dual edged sword of the particular. I think we should cut nons a break. It's not about transcendance, it's about sharing intimacy. Even if I never set foot in Asia, I have been given a chance to relearn the world. I put myself in the shoes of the outsider looking in. Let let me in.

BTW. Nobody makes slow dance records like that any more. What's up with that?

Posted by mbowen at January 19, 2005 08:46 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Hey Cobb,

I'm not sure I'd fall into conventional definitions of "wigger" in that 9 out of 10 raps songs that hit on MTVJ or wherever I don't like, but I think that has less to do with the fact that its Hip-Hop and more to do with the perceived quality of said Hip-Hop songs, though again, that's just my judgement, and how much can a white pastors kid in Chattanooga know about Rap? Little I surmise.

Still, there's something rather compelling about Kanye, Jay-Z, and a few others. In my mind they're *musically* talented and lyrically they go deeper than the "bitches & ho's" themes that seem to prevalent to me. So in that sense, I want to understand what they're getting at.

Is there a cultural divide tween the races in America? Sure, but in my mind that don't mean jack for me, you, or me and Jay-Z 'cause we can all be one in Jesus. I know that sounds preachy or optimistic, and I know that its "easy" for me to say as a priveledged pastors kid where the only disenfranchisement I experience is getting laughed at 'cause I can't pronounce certain items on the menu at a local taqueria.

Anyways, your statement about the issue being about "intimacy" I think is brilliant. But I want to make sure I understand: we shouldn't covet our cultural artifacts, but should be willing to share that with people on the outside? I think that might be an important lesson for everyone everywhere.

I've also got some questions 'bout what's going on in Kanye's song "Never Let Me Down". But maybe on a later post. I hope you dont' mind if I add you to my blogroll.

Your comic is also brilliant.

Posted by: JosiahQ at January 24, 2005 11:41 AM

Thanks brother,

I say share intimacy. Find the common and use it. You can never have enough friends. You can never have enough people backing you up.

Posted by: Cobb at January 24, 2005 11:58 AM