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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 09:21 AM
Original message
Appropriation of the Confederate flag by black rap artists
I know little about the modern rap scene, but as I was channel surfing last night I went through a show called the "Classics of Crunk". There was Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz, as I think they are called proudly perfoming their crunk classic in front of a huge Confederate flag. Lil Jon also had two Confederate flags draped over his shoulders. Lil Jon is an African-American who appears to wear the flag as a symbol of identity and honor.

I don't get it. I just did a little online research and came up with other Southern black artists who do the same thing. I also discovered that this and other videos featuring the Confederate flag are four years old, which shows how current I am.

here is a quote from one article on the subject.

http://www.sfbg.com/AandE/fullcircle/82.html
Southern men

by mosi reeves

quote, refering to BET:

There you'll see Pastor Troy's hit "This tha City," in which black children and adults in Atlanta, Ga., proudly wave the Confederate flag; or Lil' Jon and the Eastside Boyz' "Bia' Bia'," in which a dreadlocked former Rastafarian screams the chorus, an abbreviation of the word "bitch," in front of a massive Confederate flag. The group also use the flag two burning and one draped over Lil' Jon's shoulders on the cover of their debut, Put Yo Hood Up, claiming it as a representation of their Atlanta "hood."

Predictably, longtime hip-hop observers are celebrating this new trend. Britain's Hip-Hop Connection magazine posits the Confederate flag as stars in the eyes of Ludachris (of "Southern Hospitality" and "throw dem bows" fame), while Vibe breathlessly reports in its September issue that Andre from Outkast, Lil' Jon, and Pastor Troy have adopted the Confederate flag as a fashion statement. In the Vibe article Andre explains that he wears the flag on a belt buckle "for Southern pride and to rebel," adding, "I don't take the Confederate flag that serious as far as the racial part is concerned."

end of quote.

Excuse me for sounding and being old-fashioned, but am I offended for no reason over this? It is like the n-word controversey.

to quote Reeves again:

I want to call Lil' Jon, Pastor Troy, Outkast, Ludachris, Snoop Dogg, and anyone else who exploits racist iconography a stupid fucking idiot. Why would a black man wrap himself in a symbol America's Southern states adopted in 1861 as an assertion of their inalienable right to enslave black people and keep them as property?



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rogue emissary Donating Member (380 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 11:46 AM
Response to Original message
1. A lot of people still and should have a problem with the Confederate flag.
I guess they use it to identify themselves as southern. Something I never understood or accepted when whites did it. Even if you put racism on the side. The flag is still a symbol of a treasonous insurrection.

There are better symbols in America that one could identify with. It's interesting that those rappers mentioned in the article aren't flying or using the Black Panther's flag. An organization that stood for strength, determination and unity in the African American community. They also don't use any of the symbols or flags of organizations that fought and died for improving civil rights for minorities.

They seem happy just to link themselves to the southern movement no matter how offensive it is to many Americans.
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msgadget Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 02:34 PM
Response to Original message
2. Wow...
Hey, could it mean history and symbols of history are dead to this generation - have no meaning? I thought it was ignorant awhile back when rappers took on mafia names and now this 'Southern Pride' thing...is it ignorance or truly regional pride? See, I'd have no problems with the latter if I knew everybody who championed it felt the same way regarding, say, the Civil Rights movement.

Damn!

Thank you, Kwasss
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 02:42 PM
Response to Original message
3. I've concluded that most rappers are truly ignorant ... or worse
I can't tell whether they are genuinely that stupid or (and here I have to put on my tin foil hat) they are actually employed to create as negative a stereotype as possible for some nefarious, conspiratorial reason.

All you need to know about this trend is that the real KKK approves. As the article says:

...Vibe breathlessly reports in its September issue that Andre from Outkast, Lil' Jon, and Pastor Troy have adopted the Confederate flag as a fashion statement. In the Vibe article Andre explains that he wears the flag on a belt buckle "for Southern pride and to rebel," adding, "I don't take the Confederate flag that serious as far as the racial part is concerned."

The article then quotes Rev. Jeffrey L. Berry, the national imperial wizard of the Church of American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan: "If they're making money, then they're not niggers."
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SemiCharmedQuark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-06-05 06:02 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Tinfoil hat off, perhaps...
It's more like those in charge of promotion pick those who conform to the stereotypes that those in power wish to see.
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-07-05 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Having spent years in the
Record bidness, your latter speculation is a hit with a bullet. ;-)
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TroubleMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-07-05 08:58 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. The corporations promote the ignorant ones on purpose, and put down
Edited on Fri Oct-07-05 09:00 PM by TroubleMan
the brilliant ones. There are a lot of extremely smart and politically aware rappers out there, but the corporations won't promote them because they don't want to hurt their sales to white teenagers - who buy more rap records than anybody.

I think I'm the only white person who listens to X-Clan, Dead Prez, and The Coup (that's why most people never have heard of them - white audience won't buy it). Anybody hear from KRS-One lately? I have - he's still putting out great albums, much better than that crap on BET, MTv, and the radio....you won't see him though unless you look. Mos Def....he's the best rapper out there right now, and he's just to good for them to put down. They sure as hell try their best to not promote Talib Kweli, though. Other intelligent rappers like The Roots and Common have to work hard to get some airplay. Every Common or Roots song on the radio has to be absolutely brilliant for the media not to ignore it, but Lil' Jon, Nelly, and the other "bling, bling" rappers can put out the same song over and over again...just change the title and the hook, and they get all the air play.
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wildeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-07-05 10:13 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. I am no rap aficionado,
but the first time I heard Kweli, I was stunned. Previously, all I knew of rap was what I heard on the radio. Hearing guys like Kweli and Mos Def was a whole new experience. They are socially, politically and spiritually aware in a way that is balm for my soul right now. I will give a listen to some of the other groups you recommend.

I do like Outkast, too. :hide:
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TroubleMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-07-05 10:44 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. The Outkast are very good, too.
Edited on Fri Oct-07-05 10:52 PM by TroubleMan
They mix in positive rap along with party music....much like it was in early rap (think Melle Mel, Grandmaster Flash & Furious Five, BDP). Also, no two Outkast songs sound alike. They're not afraid to be different. I'm very disappointed by them wearing the confederate flag.

The one album that I can recommend over all of them right now is "Kill My Landlord" by The Coup. This album was so obscure I didn't even know about it until somebody on DU told me about it. It came out in 1993. The social commentary on "Kill My Landlord" is so insightful and biting, it's recently become one of my favorites of all times.

One lyric from that album is, in fact, a perfect commentary for the confederate flag rappers. From the song "Not Yet Free":

Niggaz, thugs, dope dealers and pimps
Basketball players, rap stars, and simps
That's what little black boys... are made of
Sluts, hoes, and press the naps around your neck
Broads pop that coochie, bitches stay in check
That's what little black girls... are made of

But if we're made of that, who made us
and what can we do to change us?
The oppressor tries to tame us
here's a FOOT for his anus!
Well since the days when I was shittin in diapers
It was evident the President didn't like us.
Assassination attempts I'd root for the snipers
My teacher told me that I didn't know what right was
Well she was wrong cause I knew what a right was
And a left and an uppercut, too
I had a hunch a sucker punch is what my people got
That's why I was constantly red, black, and blue


Also, in the same vein are any Public Enemy albums, and one brilliant, but overlooked album: "To The East Blackwards" by X-Clan.

More recently Dead Prez and The Roots put out great albums. The Roots play live instruments.

Actually there's a whole lot of rap like this out there, and I can't cover it all in one post....but the bad apples get all the attention, and apparently all the money and radio time.
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wildeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-08-05 07:37 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. I looked The Coup up on Amazon.
I like the sample tracks very much. It appears the CD is out of print. There are 4 used CD's available, starting at $40. Not listed on iTunes. Any idea where to buy the album without spending a mint?

I listened to early rap, along with 80's punk and a DC specific genre called Go-Go (best live music in the history of the universe!) when I was just a sprout. Then I got older and kind of faded away from the alternative music scene. Or maybe everything just started to suck so much that I lost interest. But I have been getting back to exploring new music in my old age. Thanks for the tips!
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TroubleMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-08-05 09:09 AM
Response to Reply #10
12. I'm a big Go-Go fan myself. I lived in the area for 8 years.

I used to go the the Go-Go's a lot. My best friend that I had in the Marines was from Northwest, and he knew the guys in Backyard. Man, those were some good parties - some of the wildest I've ever been in, and that's saying something coming from me. We were stationed in Quantico, but we'd stay the whole weekend in DC at his grandmother's house. We'd go to DC a lot on the weeknights, too. Those were some of the best times of my life. :)

As far as getting "Kill My Landlord," to be honest, I had to DL it on Soulseek. The Coup's not going to get any money out of it if you buy it now anyway. Hell, they even made a CD called "Steal This Album." If you like the album, then you can buy some of their other albums. "Steal This Album" is worth it just for "Me And Jesus The Pimp In A '79 Granada Last Night."

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wildeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-08-05 09:29 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. Yeah, another go-go fan!
Edited on Sat Oct-08-05 09:30 AM by wildeyed
:woohoo:

Who was Backyard, though? I remember Junkyard Band, but no Backyard. Or maybe it was Backyard Band and I mis-remember? The band I remember were a bunch of young kids who played homemade instruments. They played halls and clubs, but also on the street, so if you were lucky, you could catch them that way, too.

Rare Essence was big, and then there was my all time fav, Trouble Funk. Gawd I loved Trouble Funk.
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TroubleMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-08-05 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. There was both a Backyard Band and a Junkyard Band
Junkyard probably had more hits when I was there (92-95, 97-2001):

"Sardines"

"One Leg Up" (put your one leg up and put your booty on the floor)

"Tiddy Balls"

"Ruff It Off"

"Hey Ho (Pop That Coochie)"


Backyard's most famous songs are:

"91 Dope Jam"

"Skillet"

I have a few old tapes of them live, and some of Junkyard, but a lot of the songs just flow right into another and I don't know the names. A lot of them are just go-go covers of rap and r&b songs.

My favorite was the Huck-A-Bucks ("It's Time," "Get Down" "Stop Take A Step Back"). However my knowledge is probably outdated. I haven't been in the area since 2001.

Trouble Funk....now you're going way back. He was retired by the time I was in DC. I have a Sugarhill Collection Box set, and he's on it with "Hey Fellas." But other than that I know he was one of the original pioneers of go-go along with Chuck Brown. I really don't know a lot by him.
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wildeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-08-05 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. Trouble Funk was the single best live band I ever saw.
Go-Go with a lot of other influences. They have some rap influence. Trouble Funk Express was a take off on Kraftwerk. Absolutely irresistible groove. They played constantly in DC so I saw them dozens of times, lucky me.

I found this a few months ago. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00004Y35...

A walk down memory lane. Weirdly, it was only $14 when I bought it. Now it is up to $30. Must be having a run on the classic stuff. My husband played it at work, and everyone was like, what is this! This is great! So maybe the time is right for a popular resurgence of DC go-go.

I have no memory of Backyard. I moved in and out of the city in 90's, and haven't lived there at all since the late 90's, so I must have missed out. Too bad we can't post songs on DU like we post pictures!
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bliss_eternal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-26-05 02:42 AM
Response to Reply #6
19. I'm VERY late getting to this--
just had to say how much I miss having KRS-one around in the more 'mainstream'--public sense. It's ridiculous considering the rap artists that get promoted by the establishment. Talentless, yelling idiots.

Love Mos Def, too--he's really talented. He and Common...
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TroubleMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-07-05 09:26 PM
Response to Original message
7. From chains of slavery to chains of materialism-MLK's rolling in his grave
Edited on Fri Oct-07-05 10:07 PM by TroubleMan
Just like the house slaves, these "bling, bling" rappers are good little slaves for their corporate masters.

They promote everything that black people (or any people for that matter) should not be striving for: big cars, exorbitant materialism, and a lust of gold and diamonds.

I wonder if Lil' Jon knows how many African children suffer because of diamond and gold trade? Does he care? How many young African-Americans value a new Escalade over a college education?

The chains of materialism are just as insidious as the chains of slavery. In fact, in some ways it's even worse, because you make yourself a slave. The way to freedom is right in front of you, but you refuse to set yourself free. Gold, diamonds, expensive clothes, exorbitant automobiles....all of those things were derived from the suffering of minorities, and the profit goes right into the pockets of a bunch of rich, greedy assholes. As soon as black people were throwing off the iron chains, the corporations put them in gilded, diamond-studded chains.

This wearing of the confederate flag is just a showing of their true colors. They have always been shills for the man, now they're just being a little more obvious about it.

Early rap was not only party music, but political protest - mostly against Reagan. Now rap has been bought wholesale by the corporations to benefit people just like Reagan. Also, they promote the "black stereotype" to reinforce racist views. Instead of striving for the top, they strive for the bottom.

It's fucking sad.

As a person who loves diversity, and has been a life long fan of hip hop (over 20 years), this is depressing. I used to eat gourmet food every night - now my only choice is McDonalds: mass-produced, unhealthy content in disposable packaging.
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wildeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-08-05 08:44 AM
Response to Original message
11. Could this be an effort on the part of the rappers to neuter the symbol?
I mean how many of those (lying) confederate flag supporters who claim it's about "heritage, not hate" are going to want to use the flag if a bunch of young black men have co-opted and redefined it?

Year ago, there was also NuSouth Who put this on all their clothing: Instead of the blue criss-crossed bars with white stars, an image that often stirs up frightening visions of Ku Klux Klan rallies and radical secessionists, this new flag has stars and bars that are red, black and green the colors of the African-American liberation. http://www.va-interactive.com/inbusiness/editorial/bizd...

So maybe this new trend is an extension of the NuSouth thing, too.

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TroubleMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-08-05 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. Good point, but use of the "n-word" in hip-hop hasn't kept racists from
Edited on Sat Oct-08-05 12:27 PM by TroubleMan
using it. The point you make was somewhat addressed by Q-Tip in this song from the ATCQ album Midnight Marauders:

http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Sucka-Nigga-lyri...

In other words, you take a symbol or tool of oppression and turn it around in defiance. While I can understand the premise, I don't think that's it's been effective. Racists still use the n-word quite a lot, and seem to get a kick out of it when black people address each other as such. It reinforces their view of blacks. They think that if black people think of themselves as n-words, then it's okay for them to think of them that way, too. I often hear people say, "If black people call themselves that, why can't I?"

Concerning African-Americans wearing the confederate flag, I equate it to young Jewish kids suddenly adopting the Nazi symbol as a sign of defiance. I just think it's like giving up or something, or a "can't beat 'em, join 'em" attitude. I know that's not what it is - it's more for shock value and publicity than anything. However, to me it's like showing off that they're tools of the man, completely bought and paid for like cheap corporate whores. It tells me that they have no sense of history or justice, and they are now empathizing with their oppressors instead of fighting against them.
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fortyfeetunder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-05 10:25 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. On the flip side...suppose it has this effect --
the hip hop world adopting the Confederate flag and the redneck world decides not to be associated with it, wouldn't that be something?
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TroubleMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-11-05 10:27 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. Sure, that's the theory.


However, that tactic hasn't worked with the "n-word." IMHO I don't think it will work with the confederate flag. The people who fly it now, either out of ignorance or racism, will now be empowered by it. They can now say, "It's not racist. Look! The black people are wearing it, too."

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Aimah Donating Member (598 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-26-05 09:29 PM
Response to Original message
20. It probably ticks off people who love to confederate flag.
If you ponder that many who fly it want to separate themselves from black people and black culture the last thing they want to see is black people flying a red black and green colored confederate flag. It's kind of a "HA!" in their face. I haven't seen Lil' Jon use the confederate flag in years though.
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