“Fundamentally, both crack and rap are conceived of similarly — as ways to create spaces of non-humiliating work in the face of severe social disruption.” – pg. 38
As I was trolling through my Twitter timeline, I came across an announcement by @BlackGod917 that Grammy award winning and Duke instructor 9th Wonder had remixed United States of America Democratic Presidential Campaign Contributor Jay-Z 2007 “American Gangster” album. As an aficionado of 9th Wonder’s production, I immediately sought out a link, and after receiving it, I proceeded to nodding away. While listening to the music, I considered Sean Carter’s initial statements regarding his inspiration for writing the scores found on the piece.Relating that after watching Denzel Washington’s performance that immortalized New York City herion dealer Frank Lucas that was not suppose to immortalize Frank Lucas, the Brooklyn Nets investor decided to pen the lyrics that appear on the tracks that I was listening to.
Being the Black media analyst and critic that I am, I began wondering which lines about drug dealing were metaphor, hyperbole, or unaffected. I also allowed my mind to drift to an age when I thought crak dealing was a means to buy the things the children I went to school with that mocked me had. Of course, I also thought about the feeling of having of those things, the nights sleeping in homes owned by adults but designated and operated by teenaged youths as narcotic storefronts. I allowed my ruminations to drift with the hypnotic beats to the memory of my peers who had become incarcerated, addicted, homeless, professional criminals, and slash or murdered. And then I thought about the United States President’s vehement position on gun violence while being financed by a guy that reminds me of the most violent times of my childhood. Possibly not much different than those dying in the streets of urban Chicago alongside the suburban upscale neighborhood of Hyde Park where United States President Barack Obama resided peacefully with his family not far from Nation of Islam National Representative, Minister Louis Farrakhan.
Although I am not a fan of Abraham Maslow’s heirarchy of needs, like most popular psychology conceptual frameworks, it has its meritable ideas. One of those ideas is the need for financial security as a foundation for self-respect. The development of a socialized capability to harness such a foundation often cannot be found in the classrooms where much of urban Black USA finds itself. According to a report compiled by research conducted by The Council of the Great City Schools in October 2010, 30% of Black males are attending schools in urban areas. Interestingly enough, the report contains evidence that supports a growing notion that Blacks in urban areas are doing better than Blacks being schooled in other areas.
I often wonder when I am debating the impact of media and media influence why people think that Parents and Teachers that are forced as authorities in this country should have more influence than those adults that children and teenagers choose to listen to. Maybe I am asking too much from the critical thinking facilities of those that voted for a man without considering his voting record, but influence happens. And what one adult considers an overly embezzled “story”, a young impressionable mind may consider a long term goal.
I wanted to examine the idea of the Metaphoric drug dealer further. I am not always sure what the age is for the understanding of a person that says they are selling crack as a metaphor for selling albums or just working hard begins for a person that has exposure and access to the lifestyle of the drugs. For myself, it is essential to question whether Rick Ross was shot at 20 times by someone that actually wanted to kill or hurt him, or was it a means to add credibility to an image most agree he has concocted. At want point does the 12 to 15 year old urban market that Jay-Z refers to in his Oprah’s Master Class interview as the “white hot” demographic? At what point do we become appalled by the fact that a man in his 40s considers 15 year olds his target audience for music depicting the US Black urban underground market and lifestyle as sport? As well, what does it say about Barack Obama and the national numbness of the violence US Black children are met with daily when none of Obama’s tears are able to cause his conscience to look past the money Jay-Z contributes to his campaigns that Jay-Z claims is rooted in the same drug money that causes so much violence in the neighborhoods of urban Chicago alongside the suburban upscale neighborhood of Hyde Park where United States President Barack Obama resided peacefully with his family not far from Nation of Islam National Representative, Minister Louis Farrakhan?