Wednesday, March 4, 2009

On Michael Steele and Hip Hop

Okay, so I'm from the old school of the hip hop generation. I remember hearing "Rapper's Delight" and "Planet Rock" on the radio when I was in elementary school, and I loved it. I will admit that as I moved toward adolescence, I gravitated toward new wave, almost anything coming out of the UK musically, and pop. But hip hop was always there. Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, Dana Dane, Salt-n-Pepa, Whodini, Roxanne Shante, etc. all kept me linked to hip hop during that period of exploration. But it was Eric B. & Rakim and Public Enemy that really got to me. These brothas were serious. Throughout my undergrad years, I was bouncing between R.E.M. and hip hop. I'm rambling I know, and I have a point, but I can hear all of that music in my mind right now.

I brought this up, because I have been bothered by Michael Steele for the last few weeks now. I have listened to him put forth outdated slang and strange utterances, all in the effort to bring some version of a hip hop sensibility to the Republican Party (which makes me wonder if Frodo Baggins had an easier task). It was particularly painful watching him on D.L. Hughley's show trying to offer Chuck D. praise for pulling himself out of the projects where he never lived (talk about getting your face cracked on national television). I won't even talk about Rep. Michelle Bachmann (as my Irish boys would say "Jay-sus"!).

Mind you, I think that it will be good, in the long run, to have it so that people will not be able to tell one's political party based on the color of one's skin. But, I just don't believe he is going about delivering his message the right way. Nor, do I believe that he really understands hip hop. Steele reminds me of my Pops, in that my Pops can appreciate the beats of hip hop, but he is really an old school R&B lover. Steele, most likely, is in a similar space. I think Ari Melber does a good job of explaining the difference between Steele and Obama. And, Ta-Nehisi Coates does an even better job of showing Steele's disconnection.

Ultimately, hip hop is about authenticity; it's about representing yourself. I am a gay, bougie, history & politics loving, proper talking black man, and just like Ledisi says, it's "Alright." Once Steele understands that, then he might be able to give the people some real hot spit (look it up).

Don't Believe the Hype - Public Enemy


Fiona said...

Not to be a brat, but...I mentioned this in comments like 200 weeks ago.

His language bothers me, although the fact that it elicited "you da man" from Bachman makes it *almost* worth it. That moment was priceless.

hscfree said...

@Fiona: I remember that you did. I just wanted to get something else out there after I saw in the last few days at different venues doing what he has been doing.

Dennis said...

Come on, have you ever been to Nassau?

I'm really wondering how long Steele lasts at the RNC. Even by recent GOP standards, he's horrible. BTW, I love Melissa Harris-Lacewell's take on Steele during her several appearances recently on Rachel Maddow's show, re: the GOP going to "Planet Black Guy" to get the kryptonite with which to fight Obama.

Scott said...

I never was much into hip hop, but I do love John Coltrane, so um...can I be da man?
Steele is an embarrassment for sure. Maybe they can replace him with that truly cool Keyes guy...
Just a thought.

Chris said...

What would KRS-One think?