The Carnival Coon Cruise: Top 100 Coons of 2016 Part One of Two (100-50)

2016 has been quite a coontastic year. i’m talking vintage.  So much so that we had to trade in the coon train  for a vessel much larger to accommodate all of them.  Cooning has become an epidemic in America and it is important that we in the non-cooning negro community collectively rebuke such behavior whenever it occurs. As with anything else there are levels to coonery. These first set of 50 coons are what we call somewhat redeemable coons. Particularly the first 20-30. The closer to the number one spot they get the less redeemable they get.
So with out further ado here are your top 100 coons for 2016 (the first 50)
 Coontestants# 100-91: Mainstream black media members Donna Brazille, Al Sharpton, Karen Finney, Toure, Jonathan Capehart, Eugene Robinson, Harold Ford,  Joy Reid, Don Lemon and Juan Williams
The black members of the mainstream media serve a very purposeful role and that is to correct the myriad false narratives bantered about in the ether and more importantly to  better inform black people so that as a community we’d be able to make the best decisions possible–particularly at the ballot box. All of these members of the mainstream press checked their journalistic integrity and intellectual honesty at the door and for the most part became defacto campaign surrogates for Hillary Clinton. They did not challenge any of the false narratives, half truths or out right myths surrounding her coronation  to the Democratic nomination  which in turn fed her false sense of invincibility in the general election. These ten members of the mainstream media as much as anyone else in media are responsible for the incoming idiot in chief. In 2017 lets not rely on these characters to bring us the news we need. In the very least look at each of them with a more cautious eye while holding them to higher standards as I believe they all could do better.
Coontestants#92-83:  The  Seahawks response to Colin Kapernicks national anthem protest
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Built as the perfect response to the all the illogical acrimony directed at Colin Kapernick for taking a stand these dudes came out with the ultimate all lives matter gesture. We’re not going to ding the entire 55 man roster but I’m certain at least 10 brothers on that squad co-signed this bullshit.
Coontestant #82: Fantasia
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Fantasia’s went all All Lives Matter on us. Even after Anthony Hamilton and the other entertainers on this list rejected the naming and intentions of this flier for the canceled project she and her husband doubled down on why the failed venture was not a failed idea.
Coontestant#81 Mary J Blige
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Mary sang the blues to Madam Secretary.  The only thing more cooney than her singing Negro spirituals  to Hillary would be if she broke out into her famous crispy chicken jingle.
Coontestant#80: Laila Ali
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Laila too went all lives matter on us and was unabashed about it. I suspect that there was heavy wind when that apple fell off the tree.

“Yes, black lives matter. Yes, white lives matter, asian lives matter. All lives matter…And that’s kind of what my focus is. But it’s hard because, you know, you’ve got sponsors and you’ve got this and you’ve got that. And you don’t want to step on anybody’s toes. And you’re trying to be politically correct, but at the same time trying to uplift your people.~ Laila Ali

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Coontestants#79-73 “The Mothers of the Movement”

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I know I’m wrong for calling these women out because they have suffered immeasurable pain and paid the ultimate sacrifice. I’m just going to have to be wrong because their chitterling circuit tour for Hillary during primary voting throughout the south was blatant and obvious cooning. The irony of Miss “Bring those super predators to heel” herself co-opting the BLM movement for the sole purpose of winning an election is too egregious an offense not to make mention of. I don’t have the receipts but I’m willing to bet my last dollar that these women were paid for their endorsement and subsequent hyperbolic statements touting how much of a friend and ally to the black community that Hillary and Bill have been.  Take solace in the fact that these women remain in the redeemable category.
Coontestant#72 Sage Steele
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As if this shirt was not enough to land her at least honorable mention in a non vintage coon year. She’s laid her black card on the line quite a few times to justify her ticket for the Carnival Coon Cruise. Instead of elaborating on her many offenses to black sensibility I will let her pretty little mixed twitter fingers make the case instead. 
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This particular brain fart of hers was in response to Mike Evans taking a knee during the National Anthem due to his displeasure with America electing the first Man Baby to the Oval office.
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Thankfully Black Twitter was on the job and they let her know real quick that she was barking up the wrong tree.
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She needed more than 140 characters to explain away her social media faux pas so she took to Facebook to pen a response but…
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…Black Twitter was not trying to hear it
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…Black Twitter was still not having it. 
Coontestant#71 Jerry Rice
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Even though he walked back the wayward tweet it’s pretty clear that he has some strong coon proclivities. If this was 2014 or 2015 the following tweet would have placed this old washed up D list celebrity in the top 10
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Of course Black Twitter had something to say
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He was forced to walk that comment back almost as far as his hairline. 

Coontestant# 70 Victor Cruz

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As Giant fan it pains me that this dude does not get it. I’m comforted to know that he will be a salary cap casualty in the off season.

Coontestant# 69 Dennis Rodman

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Dennis makes the list for being a Trumpet…
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😦

And to that the Donald sent thanks

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…and for being so damn forgiving and forgetful. It was only 2 years ago that the Twitter Troll Elect called him a drunken fool. 

Coontestant# 68 Fat Joe

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Joey Crack obviously forgot about his humble beginnings. Having more love for an inanimate object than you have for the plight of the community is so not hip-hop.

Coontestant# 67 Tiki Barber

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“I agree with his desire to continue the narrative…There are issues in this country. That, you have to commend him for. But I don’t commend him for sitting and not honoring this country and our flag.” ~ Tiki Barber

Coontestant# 66 Michael Crabtreeinthebucket

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Upon being asked about the ongoing National Anthem protests started by Colin Kapernick and this was Crabtree’s response :

“I just play football, I ain’t no Martin Luther King.”~ Michael Crabtree

Coontestestant #65 Rodney Harrison
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Rodney Harrison gave perhaps the most cringe worthy response to Colin Kapeernicks National Anthem protest

 

“Obviously he has the right to stand up for what he believes, but he has to understand there are consequences and might be backlash for what he said. You know a lot of people are criticizing him — I think his heart is in the right place, I just think he was going about it in the wrong way, If he really wants to make change, sitting his butt down [during the anthem], that’s not going to change, that’s going to get people very upset and he has to understand that. If you think sitting during the national anthem, a lot of people really served before his time, now, trying to give him the freedoms and the liberties that he has … and I tell you this, I’m a black man. And Colin Kaepernick — he’s not black. He can not understand what I face and what other young black men and black people face, or people of color face, on a every single [day] basis. When you walk in a grocery store, and you might have $2,000 or $3,000 in your pocket and you go up in to a Foot Locker and they’re looking at you like you about to steal something. I don’t think he faces those types of things.” ~ Rodney Harrison

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Of course Black Twitter was fast and furious with a response

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Even coontestant #72 Sage Steele took umbrage with the level of coonery that he had on display. You know you ran afoul of the black sensibilities when a fellow coonite calls you out for cooning. #coononcooncrimeforthewin
Coontestant# 64 Charlemagne
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“Would be dope if a young black or Hispanic ‘WOKE’ woman used social media to create a Platform to be a voice like Tomi Lahren did.” ~ Charlamagne The God Gump
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As one would expect such an errant tweet directly into the belly of the beast created a firestorm of clap backs aimed straight for the jugular.
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As evidenced by how resonate the #blacklivesmatter hash tag has been since its inception black women have an extremely powerful presence on twitter and throughout the social media stratosphere. Perhaps if Charalamagne and his Breakfast Club Cohorts  coonhorts would extend invitations to more of these black female movers and shakers their intellectual properties could as well permeate the mainstream media and be monetized as is the case for his bff Tomi Lauren who herself is a halfwit. 

Coontestant# 63 DJ Envy

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As if Charlemagne’s fixation with the bigoted blonde bimbo was not bad enough, his partner in coon went even harder against the grain of black struggle in AmeriKKKa. After Donald Trump in the national debate the night before extolled the virtues and worth of the racist ‘Stop & Frisk’ policies practiced by NYPD DJ Envy co-signed him and its use.

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Did I mention that I love Black Twitter?
Coontestant#62 Stephen A Smith
stephen-a-smithStephen A Smith who cracked the top ten in years past was not even supposed to make the list this year because for the most part in 2016 he practiced reasonably responsible journalism. That was until he lost his mind over the fact that Colin Kapernick did not vote. Here’s a dude (Colin Kapernick) that donated over 1 million dollars in 2016 to causes that help uplift the poor black and brown and this coon is brow beating him because he did not vote for either of the two candidates that have more than proven to not have the best interest of the community in heart mind and agenda.
in his own words:

“As far as I’m concerned Colin Kaepernick is absolutely irrelevant, I don’t want to hear a damn word about anything that he has to say about our nation, the issues that we have, racial injustices, needing change, et cetera, et cetera…He comes across as a flaming hypocrite as far as I’m concerned. I’m not interested in a damn word that he has to say and quite frankly I hope he goes away, He’s lucky to be in the league right now…And Colin Kaepernick after all this noise that you’ve made, even though you didn’t intend to do so by offending our military service men and women. And pointing out about how you wanted to bring attention to racial injustices and beyond that’s in this country. To turn around and not to even take your behind to the polls to vote for a particular candidate–it is shameful. Absolutely shameful, Him of all people, because of the position he took, because of the attention he brought to the issues, the fact that he doesn’t have the decency to go to the polls and activate yourself in this election (as our president said) is a damn shame…I don’t want to hear another word from Colin Kaepernick. It’s a waste of time. [As] a matter of fact, I would personally make a request to the media in this nation: Wherever he is, if he ain’t on that football field trying to throw another damn incomplete pass, do me a favor and make sure of one thing, take the camera away from him. It means nothing. Because for him not to vote, as far as I’m concerned, everything he said meant absolutely nothing. Absolutely nothing. I don’t want to hear another damn word from him. Nothing.”  ~Stephen A Smith                                                                                                                                                                           .

Coontestant#61 Venus Williams
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After her sister Serena took to Facebok and penned a heartfelt missive about her concerns about the ongoing injustices  dealt to black people at the hands of police and municipal governments Venus was asked her thoughts. And lets just say her opine was not Black Twitter approved..
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Coontestants 60-58 Elijah Cummings, James Clyburn and John Lewis
These three “distinguished gentlemen” underscore the fecklessness and ineffectual direction that the Congressional Black Caucus has long been going in. Once billed as the conscience of the congress the CBC just like these three bozos are bought and paid entities of America’s corporate overlords. No longer are they in congress to serve the people. They are there to enrich themselves and hold on to their seats. It’s high time they all be replaced by some new blood.

 

Coontestant#57 Lil Bow Wow

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Read from the bottom up to get the full gist of his coonery
Coontestant#56 Dorsey Montgomery
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This natural born coon was unfortunately the only hope that black people and people of good conscious had to get any semblance of justice in the State of SC vs Michael Slager. Needless to say he was a failure. As the jury foreman his job was to corral the jury members and lean on the letter of the laws of the state to find justice. It has become crystal clear that he had neither the wherewithal nor intention of doing such a thing . The talk show circuit tour that he went on post trial was as confusing as it was bemusing.
Coontestant# 55 Young Thug
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After this roach impersonator arrived after the 45 minute cut off to board his flight he offered the two black female ticket agents 15k to accept being terminated as they broke protocol and allowed him on his flight. They rightly refused and he went on a tirade berating the young women calling them Africans, peasants and more. He did all of this while filming it for Instagram. 
Coontestant# 54 Kevin Gates
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On the heels of all the protests surrounding the murders of Alton Sterling and  Philando Castile, this is what Kevin Gates had to say:
“We kill each other. I’m talking about we lay up under each other’s cars, lay behind each other’s houses then whip by, boom boom, kill everybody in the car…but as soon as a white boy kills one of us, everybody go to hoopin’ and hollerin’ and all that old stupid-ass shit …That’s bullshit. When you stand for something, you’ve got t[o] stand for it all the way, not half way.” ~ Kevin Gates
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That was all of course before he was sentenced to six months for a brutal stage kick to the face and chest of one of his young and misguided female fans. Who just so happened to have been black.

Coontestant# 53 Trick Daddy

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Trick daddy set the internet ablaze with a viral video rant about how black women were losing their footing and needed to tighten their shit up less they be passed over for white and Latina women. And boy oh boy the clap back came fast and furious.

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Coontestant#52 Tommy Sotomeyer

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Tommy has been cooning for clicks for quite sometime  and has made honorable mention more than a couple of years. He’s a black man that has built his brand on berating black women on Youtube and other social media spaces.

Back in July he got into a fender bender with a black woman and after the sister questioned why he was recording her he says this:

“That’s the problem with Black women right there, they talk, “This is why nobody likes these Black whores. Look at her. Black whores. Black whores. Get out my face, though, bitch. I’ll whip yo muthafuckin ass…I don’t like Black bitches, anyway. Bye, broke bitch. My car cost more than your house, bitch. My car cost more than your house, bitch. You don’t know who you talking to. Watch when you find yourself online.”~ Tommy Sotomoyer

The video went viral as he intended but the blow back for his cooning for clicks shenanigans was too much for him to handle hence he used his platform for the first time to speak highly of black women where he pulled the “I never had a father” card. Of course we all know that the apology was bullshit but that is a testament to how much of a bully pulpit the Twitter verse can be when properly leveraged. Another win for Black Twitter but I will say this. It really is time to start giving eye jammies to these brothers out here that think it prudent to be so overtly disrespectful to black women as he and a number of the coons that made this list have been.

 

Coontestant# 51 Rza

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The Rza who we now know is anything but a genius had this to say regarding the on going problem of police killing unarmed black people:
 “If I’m a cop and every time I see a young black youth, whether I watch them on TV, movies, or just see them hanging out, and they’re not looking properly dressed, properly refined, you know, carrying himself, conducting himself proper hours of the day — things that a man does, you’re going to have a certain fear and stereotype of them…I tell my sons, I say, ‘if you’re going somewhere, you don’t have to wear a hoodie — we live in New York, so a hoodie and all that is all good. But sometimes, you know, button up your shirt. Clean up. Look like a young man. You’re not a little kid.” ~Rza
What makes his statement so eggregious is the fact that as one of the founding members of the Wu Tang Clan and the so-called genius of the group he made his living off of urban wears and urban vernacuilar. Now that he’s hanging out with Russell Crow and the Hollywood Click he wants to go all rescpctable Negroe on us.
Coontestant#50 Wendy Williams
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Jesse Williams after winning the Humanitarian Award from BET gave a moving and memorable speech about social justice amd social activism. His speech and sentiments trended for miles. Wendy Williams who has absolutely zero depth of thought and even less consciousness had these jewels to share regarding Jesse Williams and his speech trending:

“His speech was very poignant, on one hand. On the other hand, you know, I would be really offended if there was a school that was known as a historically White college. We have historically Black colleges. What if it was the National Organization for White People only? There’s the NAACP.”~ Wendy Williams

 After a noticeably silent gasp of her normally gregarious audience she goes:
“Look everybody’s quiet. You’re leaving me out here to dry by myself?”
 Now a normal dummy, even with coon tendencies would take that silent queue as a hint that they should probably quit while they are ahead and switch up the conversation. But not Wendy Williams. She’s a special kind of stupid. She goes on to say:
“National speeches like this always rub people the wrong way. Just like White people will be offended because Spelman College is a historically Black college for women. You might feel funny about that. I know I’d feel funny like I just told you. If there was a White college or whatever.”

Twitter eat her ass up so bad that that Chevrolet who previously helped underwrite her show dropped her.

 

5 Reasons why we should bury the term GOAT along with the GOAT (Muhammad Ali)

As we say  goodbye to the greatest for good we should also say goodbye for good to the term GOAT (save for conversations about Ali). Muhammad Ali embodied the term and it’s less than respectful to his legacy to bestow such a hollowed moniker on any other athlete or entertainer–especially those who have done little outside of their master craft to measure up to what the champ did outside of his day job. So in honor of the GOAT’s passing here are five (of many) reasons why no one should ever be refereed to as the greatest of all time ever again…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. He created the term

I shook up the world

On February 25, 1964 after the artist formally known as Cassius Clay stopped the heavily favored Sonny Liston in seven rounds he took to ring center and proclaimed that he was the greatest and that he shook up the world. Little did anyone know that this young brash 22 year old was not just smack talking and would go on to embody both the term “I Am the greatest” and the act of shaking up a world in need of shaking. Ali through the years had trials and tribulations that put to test his greatness and at every turn he would remind friend and foe alike that he was indeed the greatest of all time. You will be hard pressed to find an utterance of that  verbatim prior to Ali saying so. Therefore he’s the standard bearer of what the GOAT should look, sound and act like.

2. His convictions were not compromised by public opinion, monetary gain or even peer pressure from his contemporaries

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Muhammad Ali’s refusal to be drafted into the Army during the Vietnam war and the revocation of his title for it is well chronicled. One of the more poignant photos from that period of his life is the one where he is surrounded by some of his contemporary greats including Bill Russell, Jim Brown and Lew Alcinder. The misconception is that they were there to support Ali and his defiant stance against the war. The truth is they were actually there to do the opposite. The private meeting was to convince him to enlist and to assure him that he would not be going to war but instead would serve as an ambassador to it and a morale booster to the troops in much the same way that Joe Louis was used during World War II.  Ali who was far less educated than all of the men in attendance  (in a formal sense) had a rebuttal for each and every point they brought up. He went on an almost two hour filibuster going into great detail why he would not be supporting the Vietnam war or enlisting.  He won over the well meaning yet naive greats and forced them to reexamine their tacit support of the war. So much so that Lew Alcindor followed the path of Cassius Clay and retired his slave name a couple years later.

3. Ali Spoke truth to power instead of seceding to the powers that be.

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There has never been an athlete before or since Muhammad Ali that has had the courage to speak truth to power. He did not shrink, bow or take a back seat to white supremacy. He confronted the white supremacist construct with as much confidence and zeal as he confronted his opponents in the ring. His defiant stance in media gave a nation (within a larger more hostile nation) of millions courage and pride. It inspired protest and affirmed the fact that we as a people are great. He was not worried about endorsement dollars. In fact he knew that it would be more lucrative for him to go along to get along just as pretty much every athlete today does but he remained steadfast and fearless.

4. He was not trans-racial and did not transcend race. He was unapologetically Black.

 

Jackie Robinson, Joe Louis,  and Jesse Owens were phenomenal athletes that paved the way for Muhammad and others to thrive in the sports arena. By extension they paved the way for black people to more equitably integrate in to all levels of sports, entertainment, business and academia because they humanized blacks in the minds of millions of white Americans that saw (and treated us) as less than. Jackie, Joe, and Jesse were not a black mans black man though. At least not publicly. They were the white mans black men and while I completely understand the precarious line that they had to walk they lacked the intestinal fortitude of Muhammad Ali who made the conscious decision to be the black mans black man. Before him on the national sports scene there was none and sadly no such an athlete has come after him. Muhammad Ali’s embrace of his blackness was so real and so authentic that white people loved and respected him for it (the ones that did not hate him for it).

Michael Jordan  is widely considered the GOAT in basketballcentric conversations. However he was as bad off the court about being a strong black man that took strong black stances as he was good at dominating the league over the span of his playing career. Michael Jordan was arguably a greater basketball player on the court than Ali was a boxer in the ring but his sheer cowardice as it pertained being a black mans black man exempts him from legitimately  holding the GOAT title. Micheal Jordan was famously asked in 1990 to endorse a black man running for the US Senate by the name of Harvey Gantt. Gantt at the time was trying to unseat one of the most rabidly racist and regressive US Senators since reconstruction by the name of Jesse Helms (NC). Michael Jordan’s response to the endorsement request was “Republicans buy sneakers too”.  MJ was the closest athlete to reaching the world wide recognition as Ali. Black America could have really used from MJ in the 80’s and 90’s the kind of unapologetic blackness that Ali gave to black America during his prime. He chose to do the opposite therefore he’s much closer to being a goat than the GOAT.

 

5. He is the father of rap music and by extension the hip-hop culture

 

DJ Kool Herc is the father of hip-hop. Muhammad  Ali however is the father of rap. The only thing missing from the punch lines, similes and analogies inherent in his prophetic and poetic proclamations were bars and hooks.  The precocious and braggadocios rhymes  that Ali spit was primordial hip-hop. In fact it was hip-hop (LL Cool Jay) that actually coined the acronym GOAT. And while LL is not the GOAT he is Ali. Jay Z is Ali, Ice Cube is Ali. Scar Face is Ali.Biggie was Ali, Tupac was Ali. Fuck being like Mike, Be like Ali. The one and ONLY GOAT.

 

 

Hip Hop is not dead but it does have Cancer: top 5 carcinogens in Hip Hop

“When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.” ~ Stuart Scott

I was born in May of 1973 in Brooklyn New York at Down State Hospital. A couple months later and roughly 20 miles away at a Bronx Community center basement party, Hip Hop was born.

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I say all of that to say that Hip Hop is literally and figuratively the sound track of my life. Due to it’s story telling nature and keen ability to capture the times it could easily be  construed as the back drop of not just my life but the lives of most inner city and suburbanites from generation X to generation to generation Z and beyond. There is a shared sense of ownership and loyalty to hip hop and the culture that it has spawned by generations of black and white. So it is with great sadness that I report that the cultural construct that has enveloped my existence is cancer stricken. The good news is that the immortal words of Stuart Scott, one of the great ambassadors of the culture is spot on when he surmised that death from cancer does not equate to a loss to cancer. And that in order to avoid taking an L to the big C the collective has to come to grips with the fact that the culture is ailing. The culture itself  has to reexamine how we are living, why we are living and the manner in which we are living. In other words it’s time to re-calibrate, and in order to do that we need to peer deeper into the asbestos like elements that are giving rise to the malignant tumor growing in hip hop. Due to the genres  ubiquitous reach to say that black culture is synonymous with hip hop culture is to speak the unvarnished truth. So the malady that besets hip hop is indeed one that besets much of black America.  There are myriad carcinogens that actively contribute to the malaise that is hip hop. The following 5 are in my humble opine the biggest contributors to the demise of the culture and if we can remedy them at least in part it will go along way into seeing this culture survive.

CB4 Gusto

Carcinogen #1: The Gangster Rap subgenre 

Street life and the inner workings of the hood has always been a major component of hip-hop. In fact the very definition of hip-hop could be summed up and defined as being a mirror to what’s going on in the streets of America’s ghettos and urban dwellings.  For this reason there has always been a rebellious– anti-establishment edge to the the culture. It was and still is the single most expressive outlet for the most marginalized demographic in America– Black youth. It was and still is this particular demographics only outlet available to express the collective joys, pains, poverty and frustrations with life that both bonds the community as well as what tears it asunder. Before  a category such  as “gangster rap” was invented there were rappers that spoke about their dalliances with street life while painting vivid pictures with their words of what life was like for them in their particular projects, borough, county, state or municipal dwelling. They were relate-able stories that had wide spread resonance from state to state and hood to hood.  They (nor their audience)however did not get hung up on the violent elements and negative optics, nor did they stake their claim to fame on being drug king pins, mass murderers and  outright menaces to society. They were nuanced in their subject matter and story telling. The gangster rap sub-category was coined by outsiders that were hostile to hip hop culture from the beginning. They had a flawed understanding and tainted interpretation of the almost esoteric form of urban mass communication known as rap music.  To the outsiders Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five’s ‘The Message‘ was just as gangster rappish as Easy E and NWA’s ‘Straight out of Compton‘.  It was all “gangster rap” to them, and since those outsiders had the ability to make labels stick,  those labels stuck and  served as self fulfilling prophecies. This point was ironically made clearer by none other than the former Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke most recently when he said:

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“Take a look at Gangster Rap…Take a look at constant media, chronic media. Talking about Gangster Rap elevating and making exciting Black criminality, thuggery, promoting drugs, promoting all sorts of sexual abuse, abuse of women. The videos for Black rappers and so forth show women at their feet, sucking their toes or God-knows what else. Just being practically slaves to Black males. You take a look at it, the media in this country—and it’s for white people too, European-Americans are affected by it too, but Black people have been really affected by it. This Black, so-called Gangster Rap and this other disgusting and degrading degenerate music which is the most popular music among the Black people and a good sector of the white people—just look at the Nicki Minaj. I don’t even want you to look at it it’s so horrible. You will never hear more of the ‘n-word,’ more words about ass—God knows I’m not gonna say all the things they say. Every kind of filthy word. Every kind of filthy, violent drug-promoting material. It’s just absolutely sickening. It’s the most amazing thing you ever heard. And the guy that produces all that, one of the Jewish producers, in fact, the entire music industry is absolutely controlled by the Zionists, the Jewish extremists, the same ones in the media that support Israel and basically pervert our country and the interest of America for that of Israel…One of the Jewish producers was boasting about the fact that every one of the Top 10 Billboard songs were those he controlled. So, I tell ya, even Rap music is not something that Blacks really were responsible for. It was the Jewish record producers who promoted this degenerate and sick music.” ~ David Duke

While Duke indeed makes some valid observations  in his long winded missive, the single stroke brush is emblematic of how the art of hip hop was perceived by the masses (outside of the hood) from inception so he as well underscores how the outsiders contributed to the problem. But since we know the guy to be an avowed white supremacist it’s fairly easy to parse this particular musing to extract the relevant facts to corroborate just how bad the creation of the “gangster rap” sub category  has been for hip hop, black music and the black community as whole.

Hip hops addiction to the crack game is perhaps one of it’s most  self perpetuated  self defeating attributes.The “trap music” trend started in the late 80’s and reached a crescendo in the 1990’s. Today sadly it’s almost a prerequisite for any young aspiring emcee to hear his music on the radio. And it’s not just the youngins that are beholden to the commercialized thug culture.  Former corrections officer Rick Ross is a 40  something year old rapper mimicking the style, likeness and subject matter of a 20 something year old rapper that died almost 20 years ago.  From Rick Ross co-opting the name of one of the most notorious exporters of cocaine in urban American history  to Bobby Schmurda playing the starring role in an episode of “when keeping it real goes wrong” the incestuous relationship that hip hop has with the crack cocaine trade  has been as regressive to the genre as it has been to the communities where it has served as a 30 year staple.

MTV BET

2. Carinogen #2: Viacom

There was a time that MTV would not play rap videos. In fact MTV did not play any videos made by black artists. It took the king of pop to break the video music television color barrier before we were able to boast of seeing the likes of Fab Five Freedy and Yo MTV Raps.  At the time it was something to celebrate. Generations later hindsight suggests that we integrated the genre into a burning building. The advent of the gangster rap subgenre coincided with the introduction of rap music being brought to life in video form. Being able to see what was vastly becoming  the trend in hip hop (studio gang banging) in visual form made it that more attractive to the lay person and subsequently that much more potent a cancer. The optics had indelible affect on the ethos of the culture. Not only were we able to hear about the imaginary gangster chronicles of the young and misguided. We were able to watch it in motion picture form. It was reality television before reality TV. As a matter of fact you can probably credit the marriage between MTV and hip hop for birthing that garbage industry as well because if my memory serves me correct it was the Flava of Love show that made popular the kind of rampant disrespect and disregard for black women that seems to be the most common theme of all of these shows.

BET prior to being bought by Viacom was at least halfway decent. They had Video Soul, Teen Summit, The BET News, and the Tavis Smiley show–all of which gave the network, genre and black culture a positive if not fair and balanced presentation. Shortly before the merger all of those programs were canceled and in its place came more of the same that was offered on MTV with even less creativity, thoughtfulness or balance. BET Uncut was born into existence and it codified and cemented the already burgeoning sexist and misogynistic  trend within the music. And while it’s been almost a decade since BET Uncut was canceled, it has been replaced by a series of what seems like tri-annual award shows that serve only to further impugn black people and black culture.

1-BET-Awards-feat

The BET and MTV hip hop awards are analogous to a minstrel award show. If there were an awards show for the performances given by Amos and Andy or Steppin Fetchin back in the day it would have no doubt looked a lot like the BET Awards. I’m actually surprised that they have not posthumously given  them lifetime achievement awards since cooning, shucking and jiving is what they all seem to strive for at these award shows anyway.

budget cuts

Carcinogen#3:School budget cuts and forgoing music and arts education

When I was in school I was nothing close to being musically inclined. And I’m still not. That however did not stop the mandatory music classes that I had  to attend in elementary and junior high school from playing a role in how I appreciate music today. Being introduced to the tonal scale was much more than simply learning about “do-re-me”. It was about planting the seed of musical discernment in the young and  malleable  subconscious mind. One that could be relied upon from youth through adulthood to make and appreciate the music, art and culture of their time for posterity. The birth of hip hop unfortunately came during the same period that birthed the current anti-intellectual  bend that has engulfed much of America.

Ronald Reagan would be proud at what has become of his America
Ronald Reagan would be proud at what has become of his America

The Reagan years started a trend whereby austerity at the expense of posterity was the order of the day. They cut services and funding to the schools for extracurricular and even even primary curricula activity– Art and music education being the biggest casualties of this assault on public education. With all manner of artistic expression and discernment stripped from the preceding generations (post 80’s babies). The genre and more importantly the impressionable youth that serve as it’s target audience were primed for maximum exploitation by corporate owned radio. No longer did the rap audience and fan base decide what and who was hot. The corporate radio via the new 5-6 song rotation format dictated to the fan base what was good music and absent their own music sensibilities they are today rendered powerless when it comes to abating the harmful imagery inherent in the music or even when it comes to seeking out and finding alternative choices to mainstream and make hot. What was hot in the 80’s and much of the 90’s were well versed lyricists that were creative with their word play–even if what they said bordered the negative. Today what’s hot are ‘ring tone rappers’– emcees that I have no lyrical talent or skill. In most instances they don’t even have a command of the English language so they compensate by relying on a hot beat that has maximum resonance that they simply mumble on in between a catch phrase or cliche for a hook with a few inaudible southern drawls thrown in. Straight garbage!

clear2

Carcinogen#4:The Telecom Act of 1996

The telecommunications act of 1996 signed into law by Bill Clinton was largely remembered for the sweeping changes that it brought to the telecommunications industry. The lesser known but more viscerally felt changes that came as a result of this bill were in the music, radio, television and print media.  The bill that the FCC boasted would create more competition did the exact opposite. At least as it pertained to radio. With the FCC removing the cap on spectrum ownership they all but eliminated competition and diversity. Before the 1996 Telecom Act a single corporation could own no more than 40 radio stations nation wide and no more than 4 in a given market. The idea was basic and sound economics–you know the anti-monopoly type. Once that new act was signed to law the cap on FCC spectrum for national ownership went from 40 stations nation wide to an unlimited amount of spectrum ownership nationwide. The cap for local market ownership also went up from 4 stations to 8. The actual results of this dynamic are even more astonishing:

  1.  Just over a week of that bill becoming law over 700 million dollars in buying and selling of stations ensued. There were station mergers left and right.
  2. In less than 5 years the the number of radio station owners dropped 25 percent (5100 owners of spectrum to 3800).
  3. By 2001 two companies, Clear Channel and Viacom (Parent company to Infinity Broadcasting) laid claim to 42 percent of the commercial radio listening audience and pocketed 45 percent of the profit from the industry.
  4. The biggest single owner of radio stations nationwide in 1996 was 39. By 2003 that number ballooned to over 1100.

The affects of these corporate takeovers reverberated throughout the industry because of how wide and deep their corporate tentacles reached. Clear Channel for instance is today the preeminent owner and controller of radio. Well they also own about 100 performance and amphitheaters. And even more clubs and arenas around the country. This means that they have unprecedented, unchecked and most importantly undue powers in the industry to make or break artists. They are controllers of the manifest destiny that is hip hop in ways that are dangerously untenable.

studio

Carcinogen #5 Studio Technology

 The fifth carcinogen is perhaps the hardest pill to swallow in so far as accepting that which is wrong with hip hop. Any lover of the culture or lover of music period whose ear buds date back to the days that vinyl was the standard could appreciate all of the advantages inherent in going from an analog world to a digital one.  Expedience with standing, this digital age has in addition to making the average emcee rather lazy brained due to people being much more enamored with a hot beat than lyrical skill,  has removed one of the primordial and quintessential components of hip hop from the equation–the DJ.

Im the rapper

I’m the Rapper he’s the DJ was not just a Will Smith album. It was the codec of the culture. The DJ was part and parcel (in a major way) to the foundation of hip hop. Were it not for the wide spread misogyny, rampant promotion of drug use and drug selling the most sacrilegious aspect of hip hop today would be the manner in which the DJ’s importance has been downsized and swept under to the side. Jam Master J, Africa Bambatta, Scott La Rock, DJ Premiere, Spindarella and the list goes on, were all pioneers in hip hop. None of them get the due that they deserve.

If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to attend a party with a Kid Kapri or Ron G on the ones and two’s than you know the importance of what a DJ is to the culture. You would also be able to better understand how and why DJ Cool Herc is universally seen and respected as the father of this great culture.

Perhaps if we bring the father back into the fold the family unit could begin to self repair.

Coolherc