Wack goes back

I’m pretty sure the Waka Flaka Flame dude got arrested or something the other day. Heard it mentioned on Twitter. Of course, I could look it up, but I haven’t even bothered to try to listen to any of his music, so him being in jail would only matter if he lived in Durham and heard about my flat screen. As far as I know, none of that hold.
But here’s what gets me — why in the world do people hate him so much? I guess I can’t even say “people,” because somebody must like the dude if I’ve heard of him without hearing his music. But I do find that my more, shall we said, educated comrades hate the dude like he actually did something to them, not just make music they can’t feel.
I’m pretty sure he’s got some connection with Gucci Mane that goes beyond merely being contemporaries. If not, it really doesn’t matter for my point, which goes like this…
You know people have been making wack shit forever, right?
Hey, like what you like. Over the years, I’ve gotten less judgmental of people that like stuff I don’t, largely because I find people that use their taste in music to brag abut their “depth” or “intelligence” to be the most insufferable on Earth. They’re typically slaves to the beat like the rest of us. They just often have an affection for a different sort of beat.
Further, I realize most people consume music differently than I do. I’m fascinated by it. I think the song is the single most effective form of communication mankind ever came up with. I only download albums, not individual songs, because I want to experience music in a broad context so I can try to get everything a singer or group or emcee is trying to get across.
Most people just listen to music to be entertained. I can live with that. That’s the way I see movies. We’re all into what we’re into.
But more and more, I hear stuff from folks that I can’t entertain. I won’t stand for this ridiculous notion that back in my day — or any day preceding or following — that there wasn’t stuff out like this silly “Bedrock” record I heard the other day. Let’s not forget that I am a member of the generation that gave Hammer all that money he blew, that made it such that Vanilla Ice has never had to work again, and still know a few words to “Bust a Move.” Oh, we’ve got some skeletons, Jack. We’ve got skeletons a-plenty.
Guess that’s a function of nostalgia, the ability to forget all the stuff from back in the day we’d prefer not to remember. Most of us have a tendency to do this. With music, this is a condition exacerbated by the presence of adult contemporary radio, which hits us with banger after banger after banger, as if that’s what the radio sounded like in 1975. Nope, the wackness was sprinkled in. If you don’t believe me, just randomly go online and start listening to Aretha Franklin records you’ve never heard. Whoooo, she’s got some stinkers in there. And that’s the QUEEN.
Only good thing about the old days, folks — they’re old.
Now, I’ll give you this — the prevalence of caricatures in mainstream hip hop is disturbing. One thing I can say is there were less of those back in the day, largely because the suits at record companies were more willing to acknowledge they had no idea what rap was or really what to do with it. I’m not even sure they think they know now, but they think they know what sells, and that’s enough.
I realized how messed up the game was when I wound up at a dinner for work seated across from a PD — or something way up around there — at an urban radio station (oddly enough, David Shula was seated to my immediate left). Somehow, he got to talking about the entourages a lot of rappers had. You would have thought he was talking about Martians. He didn’t even know how to begin describing the guys, especially not with my black ass across from him.
Now how in the world could you possibly run an urban radio station and still be thrown off by the guys rappers bring around? It’s because, at this point, you don’t even have to know music to run a friggin’ radio station. I can get not knowing it and running a label. But a radio station? Yeah buddy, we’re in a messed up place.
But we’ve had caricatures for a long, long time, and we’ve had their wack music on the radio. It’s not new. Now, was our wack better than today’s? I’d be willing to discuss it.
But quit pretending like Waka Flaka Whateverthehell — who may be the next KRS-ONE, for all I know — or anybody else is destroying this music. He’s not. The Game’s always gonna have a Waka, just like it had all kinds of people you don’t even remember.
Guess that’s why it seems like wack is something new.

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