Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hip Hop, News Media, Racism, and White Denial | Hip Hop as a "Sign" of Black Immorality and a Justification for the Murders of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin

The following is an excerpt from the introduction of my forthcoming dissertation on hip hop, the culture industry, and systemic racism. You can access my masters thesis version @ academia.edu

Negative Framing of Black Victims Through Associations with Hip Hop and Gangster Rap

In the past two years, two killings of unarmed black teenagers, Trayvon Martin (February 26, 2012) and Michael Brown (August 9, 2014), have ignited national debates and commentaries about racism in contemporary America. 

In each case, the defendant, George Zimmerman (Trayvon Martin’s killer) and Darren Wilson (Michael Brown’s killer), claimed that race was not a factor and that deadly force was required as self-defense. Many citizens, journalists, politicians, and public personalities justified these killings on the basis of self-defense, denied the role of racial prejudice, and vilified the victims by portraying them as “gangsters,” “thugs,” and “wannabe gangsta rappers.” 

Martin and Brown were framed, through identification with “gangsta rap,” as violent, aggressive, criminal, and dangerous. 

As evidence that George Zimmerman’s shooting of Martin was justifiable self-defense, Ted Nugent claimed that Martin was a “dope smoking, racist gangsta wannabe” responsible for “his bad decisions and standard modus operendi of always taking the violent route.” 

Geraldo Rivera claimed that photographs of “Trayvon posing as a ‘gansta’ rapper, holding weapons and sporting an elaborate grill on his teeth” were proof that he was a threating individual. Rivera also argued that the hoodie sweatshirt worn by Martin warranted Zimmerman’s suspicion because it made Martin look like “every 7/11 robbery suspect ever caught on tape.”

"And so it was for a few weeks until the race-baiting industry saw an opportunity to further the racist careers of Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, the Black Panthers. President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, et al, who then swept down on the Florida community refusing to admit that the 17-year-old dope smoking, racist gangsta wannabe Trayvon Martin was at all responsible for his bad decisions and standard modus operendi of always taking the violent route." (Ted Nugent, Rare.us, 7-18-2013)

"That image of Trayvon as a non-threatening, harmless youngster was later muddled by photographs released by the other side showing Trayvon posing as a ‘gansta’ rapper, holding weapons and sporting an elaborate grill on his teeth. Additionally, store surveillance video from earlier on the evening Trayvon was killed showed the young man wearing a hoodie and looking like every 7/11 robbery suspect ever caught on tape." (Geraldo Rivera, Latino.foxnews.com 8-15-2014)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Rhymin Slow Down South in Dallas | A.Dd+ - Nawf Ep (Slowed-N-Chopped)

Them boys from Dallas have been busy making quality music. A.Dd+ dropped their new Nawf EP in August and then hit us with the chopped & screwed version a few days ago as a free download. 

Stream and download below and then support the homies on their grind by picking up the EP on Itunes.

For more A.Dd+, check out their dope 2013 mixtape DiveHiFlyLo: Every Man is King.

Chopped & Blogged,

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cincinnati Hip Hop Performed as a Story Book | Sleep - Branded: The Damon Winton Story (Free Download)

Not to sound like a broken record (or blog), but Cincinnati is producing some of the most innovative, artistic, and culturally and politically powerful music. 

Now add to that list the rapper story teller Sleep (one half of the duo - 2 Man Cypher) to that list. Frank, the new WUW? Cincinnati correspondent, sent Sleep's new album Branded: The Damon Winton Story over to our main office today. We have had the album on repeat all day. 

Not at all like most hip hop albums (or any music for that matter), this concept album is more of a story book than a music album. Channeling storytellers such as Nas, Public Enemy, NWA, and Rakim - Sleep narrates the story of young Damon Winton, the troubled youth growing up in a more troubled environment. 

Each track begins with a question about Damon as the social worker assigned to the case attempts to make sense to the tragic ending to the story. Sonically, the production of Dope Antelope is haunting and melodic, not necessarily following the rules of traditional hip hop production. Lyrically, Sleep pulls you into the story and paints a visual picture that places the listener at the center of the story as an intense observer.

At a time when pop culture is flooded with simple lyrics and formulaic production and the most commodified and one-dimensional messages, Sleep's biography of Damon Winton reminds us of how hip hop remains a powerful tool of social critique and imaginative creativity.

Take a moment to listen and make sure you follow Sleep Twitter and head over to Bandcamp to listen to his previous albums.

From the Nati Underground,