; Tangled Up In Blue: My Rap Confessional

Monday, August 29, 2005

My Rap Confessional

I hated rap. Any exposure I had to it was to violent, atonal and misogynistic rhyming packed full to the brim with almost indecipherable AAVE . If you said 'rap', I immediately thought of cop killaz, b!tches and bling. Not my scene in the least.

Spike Lee converted me after midnight one night. Indiana girl that I am, I was compelled to watch He Got Game on HBO. The story was good, the b-ball scenes were great and the characters compelling. Oddly enough, Lee's soundtrack mixed standard rap with gospel and Copland's Fanfare For The Common Man . It was a wonderful musical descriptor for the conflicting social pressures facing Jesus Shuttlesworth throughout the movie.

Then came the two-note electric guitar intro to For What It's Worth, another favourite of mine. No Stephen Stills, though. Instead it was Chuck D., and instead of tuning him out I actually listened.

my wanderin' got my ass wonderin'
where Christ is in all this crisis...keep more than your eye can see and ears can hear
year by year all the sense disappears
nonsense preserves prayers laced with fear

I was so captivated by that song I bought the soundtrack and have listened to it repeatedly over the last 6 years-->always out of my husband's earshot. The raw poetry speaks to me at times as strongly as Eliot and moves me as deeply.

God takes care of ol folks and fools
While the devil takes care
Of makin the rules
Folks don’t even own themselves
Payin mental rent
To corporate presidents
1 outta 1 million residents
Be a dissident

I said those words to myself when I made the difficult decision to quit my last job, and promptly went home and spun the album again.

I still hate most rap, especially the songs about raping women. But this baby I'll keep after I toss that bathwater.


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