Friday, August 29, 2008

Rap is Dead

Well, maybe not dead. It just got into a car accident and is living off a feeder tube, while friends and family search it's vacant eyes for signs of consciousness.

Perhaps it will revive itself, grow a new brain and awaken from its coma. Rap has died many deaths since the Sugarhill Gang, from "The Superbowl Shuffle" to the buffoonery of Vanilla Ice. Why not expect that it will rise like a Phoenix again?

I don't pretend to be a Rap connoisseur, nor do I have much more than a passing knowledge of its history. Like anything else, there are some songs I like, some I don't. But I am not blind to Rap as a cultural force.

Remember when Rap was just a fad? You, know, something for the kids like jelly shoes or Zima? I think that's what white culture prayed for - and always has when something new and extraordinary breaks from African American Culture. The same thing happened with Rock and Roll. "Oh, please, baby Jesus, deliver us into your gingerbread heaven from the scourge of beat driven sex music!"

But then, something more powerful than sex, more powerful than Baby Jesus dawned on the horizon. Money. As soon as the dollar reared it's head, it seemed like a new world. "You know what guys? I think we can SELL STUFF with this shit."

And lucky us. For in the wake of commerce we were subjected to some of the most astonishing advertising embarrassments ever. Here is but one:


"We like this rap,
It really rocks,
But we'd rather jump
in the barbecue sauce,
'cause we're chick-en-en-en!"

I am aware that not every poem or rap has to conform to all the rules of style and meter but ROCKS AND SAUCE DOESN'T RHYME. YOU HAVE A TEAM OF PAID PROFESSIONALS WORKING ON THIS AND YOU CAN'T EVEN MAKE IT RHYME?!?!?!?

This commercial is the equivalent of the newly single next door neighbor coming over unannounced to make balloon animals for your son's 15th birthday. It's awkward and desperate, you wish it would end, but you kind of HAVE TO WATCH.

I will not go into my revulsion at the use of anthropomorphic food. That deserves a frothing post unto itself.

It is tough to say that this ad is even an insult to Rap, because it so far and away beyond what could even be considered hip-hop, its ridiculous. Like many firsts, though, it might be bumbling and self-conscious, but in the end, its blood paves the way for more insidious things to come.

Rap didn't go away. And neither did the advertising industry's attempts use it for the big sell. There are hundreds of commercials that blast rap as it's underscore to express how powerful the the SUV is, or how sexy that Beer is, or how indomitable this NFL team is. Raps have been written with more savvy to sell food, clothes and toys.

And now the recouperation of Rap as a challenge to the staus quo is complete:

Oh. My. God.

What better way to show the world that Rap has no power than to put two Douchbags in car at a Taco Bell drive thru, have them beat box about the glories of the value menu and then reiterate their Douchbaggery as they have a hissy tiff over DOUCHBAG 1 HAVING TO SPOT DOUCHEBAG 2 $0.89 FOR A BURRITO.

In my limited experience, Rap is about rising above, sex, money, machismo, social injustice, sticking it to the man, cop killing, wife strangling, swearing, exultation, degradation, mo' money and mo' problems, how it's hard out here for a pimp, authenticity and empowerment. It is a polarizing and pretty amazing art form.

And I can safely say, that this commercial is NOT about any of that. It takes it back, turns it on it's ear.

Machismo? Nope.
Authenticity? Authentically reductionist and "ironic", maybe.

Sex? Seriously, man. These guys are virgins.

Notice, there are no women in the car.

And there never will be.

Lastly, I want to make mention of the weird splicing in of the food in this ad. Like a subliminal insertion of porn, we are subjected to a slimy expulsion of Orange over a bed of Alpo. And it happens so fast it's like "Wha?"...all I know is that I am sad and queasy and a little violated.

Rap is dead. Long Live Rap.


-j-j- said...

Note to self:

Stop sniffing glue and do a spell check before you publish.

I am my own worst proofreader.

Crazypants said...

Know what I hate? That "baby geniuses" shit where babies talk like and about grown up things. Like boy babies being sexually attracted to adult women. That WAY freaks me out.

-j-j- said...

Don't. Get me. Started.

Jan Smelk said...

Did you know I am incapable of rhyming? NO, you didn't. Asshole.

Old Ned said...

Bad advertising. Delicious.

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