Friday, April 14, 2017

ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADASS

   Yes, America with three K's. The latest from Brooklyn MC Joey Bada$$, who took the Hip-Hop world by storm just 4 years ago impressing folks with his beats bars and notable fact that he was only 17 at the time and fresh out of high school. As the second track states: "This is for my people, tryna stay alive and just stay peaceful". This album keeps the theme of being Black in America today, as the title and album cover may imply. On the cover, Joey is sticking out of a car window with both middle fingers up, while an american flag made out of bandannas, or at least a bandanna pattern is attached to the car. The bandanna presumably represents the gang culture Black men in America are villainized for, it can also represent that the U.S. is really the biggest gang of all.



 In the land of the free, it's full of free loaders 
Leave us dead in the street to be their organ donors 
They disorganized my people, made us all loners 
Still got the last names of our slave owners
-"LAND OF THE FREE"


    Every song is quite exceptional, from top to bottom this album bumps. With songs that sound GOOD, and raw honest lyrics. Musically this is the pure Hip-Hop you would already expect from Joey, with sounds that are reminiscent of Biggie, The Wu-Tang Clan, and Nas. ALL-AMERIKKAN BADASS is true testimony at its most genuine. There is no fluff, no dilution, just truth. Though, this album is a solid project there are a number of standout tracks. Which include, "TESTIMONY", "LAND OF THE FREE", this first single "DEVASTATED", wait wait wait, Never mind. EVERY song is AMAZING. Every hook, Every bar, every feature. The features also all appear to be a pleasant surprise. Yes, you can just read the titles yet when you haven't and the feature just begins spitting it's like taking a bite out of a fudge brownie lava cake and all the goodness just spills out. Features include SchoolBoy Q, J. Cole, Chronixx, Styles P., and more. I am thoroughly impressed by this entire album, in ways I can not express. Another track to highlight is "Y U DON'T LOVE ME", a direct message to America.

     With the political climate in the U.S., the election of an under qualified bigot as the president, and the Black Lives Matter movement this album is a declaration of what it means to be a Black man in America today, right now, currently. At the oscars three Black films were nominated for best documentary, "OJ: Made in America", "I Am Not Your Negro", and "13th" all providing historical and contemporary facts in regards to the criminalization, the villainization, and assassination of Black Men in America. Also the film "Moonlight" challenging masculinity and the vulnerability of Black men won Best Picture, the most prestigous Academy Award. Not that the topic is new but ALL-AMERIKKAN BADASS is so very necessary, especially right now. This album can easily go toe-to-toe with Kendrick's previous official album 'To Pimp a Butterfly" on the basis of content, context, bars and instrumentation. Not to mention the nod to Hip-Hop legend Ice Cube, who's debut album was titled "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted".

   Please do yourself a favor and listen to this album. For now, check out Joey's latest video, for "LAND OF THE FREE".


Monday, April 3, 2017

OOTW

   Here I am casual grown-up chic, I think. Mom jeans thanks to Urban Outfitters and long button down top from H&M and Payless shoes, yes Payless. This look is complete with a Silence + Noise longline bomber jacket from Urban as well.






Saturday, April 1, 2017

and the backlash is real, Colorism, Misogyny, and Hotep-ism.


   Though damn near having broke the internet, Kendrick's latest "HUMBLE" has received negative responses, especially from Black women/femmes. There is a bit in which Kendrick states:
" I'm so fuckin' sick and tired of the Photoshop
Show me somethin' natural like afro on Richard Pryor
Show me somethin' natural like ass with some stretch marks". 
    This comes off as policing womens' bodies and telling us what to do. Many are interpreting this as him saying "stop wearing weaves and stop modifying your bodies!!!". However, in my opinion, it only sounds like Kendrick is stating his preference. Which a lot of male rappers do in regards to the women they like, all the time. Usually it is oppressive, so it is interesting that Kendrick is receiving criticism for stating a preference that actually opposes societal standards which have ostracized Black women and people for centuries. He seems to be addressing the media, not us Black women personally. I do agree, however, that even in sounding "positive" men can still be misogynistic. Misogyny and patriarchy, the oppression, degradation, and restriction of women on the part of men has molded the way we interact as a society completely. Our music, television, media, consumerism, and even what we teach our children from birth are all deeply rooted in patriarchy. It is how we function on a daily basis. Is Kendrick misogynistic when he chooses to state that he "Still will take you down right on your mama's couch in Polo socks" ? Possibly, maybe, very much so. Is he telling women what to do with their bodies? No, he is stating his preference. Is he stating it in way where it seems that women are objects to be purchased off of a shelf? Yes, much like most to all other men.

    Now, what people these days refer to as a "hotep" is usually a cis-gendered heterosexual Black man who is extremely afrocentric yet his pro-blackness often overlooks women and queer Black people. Their values are often rooted in misogyny and homophobia although they think they are helping the Black community. Think the dude in the dashiki in "Don't be a Menace to South Central Wile Drinking your Jucie in the Hood", stereotype and all. A "hotep" will probably tell a woman who wears make-up, synthetic hair, lots of jewelry and designer clothes to tone down her style a bit and be more natural, which is in fact oppressive and dismissive. I do not believe, however, Kendrick is taking on that tone whether on "HUMBLE" or any other track.




     The problem I have is the imagery. Which I think is the driving force behind all the back lash. The woman he has to represent his anti photoshop comments is light skinned with multi-racial features and long soft hair. Yes, her hair is natural, however it still the desired texture. Her image still promotes society anti-Black beliefs that dark skin + nappy hair = Ugly. What make sit worse is the juxtaposition. Immediately afterwards, the image paired with Kendrick stating that he would like a booty with stretch marks, is in fact a booty with stretch marks. However, it is only an ass, a dark skinned ass. We do not see this woman's face, we cannot even tell that this body is that of a woman. It is literally just an ass. Light skin girl gets to be the pretty face, representing natural beauty. She is the acceptable Black girl, the marketable Black girl, the digestible Black girl. Whereas the dark skin girl is only a body, only objectified and sexualized, only the stereotypical seductress or jezebel, less than human.


     Juxtaposition is the oldest tool used in film and this music video fucked up. That in my opinion is the main problem.

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