Thursday, September 13, 2012

0 Preliminary Thoughts on Yeezy's, "Mitt Romney don't pay no tax"

(Via Politico)

Yeezy is getting ready to drop his newest album, Cruel Summer.  After My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Watch the Throne (with Jay-Z), fans are undoubtedly excited to see the next project to come from the mind of Chicago's tortured-douchebag-rapper-producer-musician-artist-"voice of a generation".

In a refreshing turn toward politics for Yeezy, he drops a line in his second verse that calls-out Republican candidate, Mitt Romney:
These niggas tryna hold me back.  I'm just trying to protect my stacks.
Mitt Romney don't pay no tax, Mitt Romney don't pay no tax.
A few weeks ago,  Kiese Laymon published a story on Gawker called Kanye West is Better at his Job than I am at Mine (But I am way Better at Being a Fake-Ass Feminist), which was more so an examination of the author's own relationship with women in his life and his commitment, or lack thereof, to be the feminist he fashions himself to be.  However, Laymon uses Kanye West as a focal point because Kanye West has never been afraid to demand more, call bullshit, or amplify his voice and his experience.  Laymon writes:

Poor black folks from New Orleans deserved more so Kanye said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people." 
Beyonce deserved more so Kanye said, "Taylor, I'ma let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the greatest videos of all time." 
Queer brothers deserved more so Kanye said, "I been discriminating against gays … and I wanna come on TV and tell my rappers, just tell my friends, Yo, stop it, fam ..." 
Black kids in Chicago deserved more so Kanye said, "Man, killing's some wack shit." 
Listeners of American popular music deserved more than formulaic noise so Kanye West offered us eight years of GOOD music. In those eight years, Kanye managed to collapse, carve and distort disparate sounds rooted in the black musical traditions into newly shaped inescapable musical experiences. His work did more than challenge conventional composition. Whether it'sCollege Dropout, Late Registration, 808s and Heartbreak or Watch the Throne, Kanye's work literally dared us to revise our expectations of sound.
But Kanye West, for many reasons, is exceptional -- and I mean that with the positive and negative implications in tact.  I think he is one of the most talented musicians and producers that my generation will have to offer -- especially in the realm of hip-hop or pop music.   He is also exceptional in the sense that he stands among a select few musicians, athletes, and celebrities who are willing to offer their voice and their experience to the political discourse and our national conversation about what values our country should stand for.

Don't mistake me.  I don't believe that T-Pain needs to stand behind Dennis Kucinich or that Kevin Durant needs to wear a hoodie to every game in honor of Trayvon Martin (though imagine how powerful it would be if he did).  I just feel like Kanye shouldn't be an exceptional figure because he speaks out against what he thinks is unfair treatment of blacks, of poor folks, of people, in essence.

I'm trying to rack my brain for the musicians who dedicate real estate in their verses to causes that matter to normal people -- to the people buying their music and funding their lifestyles.  Some of us sip Ciroc with the copious number of women we have sex with but, I would wager, there are even more folks out there who don't.  And maybe that isn't even really the point.  I think the point is that had Lil Wayne or Ke$ha laryngitis around the time they were "discovered" their lives would readily be as marginalized and subject to misappropriation of resources and structural abuses as any other poor person-of-color or woman.

I guess the point is this, and let me apologize now for moving hastily through this because my computer is near dead and I am nowhere near a power outlet.
It isn't just strange to me that so few musicians, hip-hop artists in particular, engage the political discourse, at least tangentially; it's irresponsible.  Their music both supports and exploits the lived experiences of marginalized and oppressed groups in society.  Their success was due, in large part, in people legitimizing their retelling of those experiences and the willingness of their communities and similar communities to endorse them.  But when these rappers finally have the opportunity to amplify the struggle and plight of their neighbors and friends back home -- their often saluted, "homies" -- they don't take the chance.

I'm going to try to put this into a longer piece -- perhaps in the style of Kiese Laymon and use Kanye West as a focal point.  Until then, though, props to you: Common, Kanye, Lupe, Jay-Z, Nas, Game, Beyonce, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, et. al. who have used the hip-hop microphone to speak at one time or another in the defense of yourself, your communities, and your friends.

To the rest of you, you're part of the reason why Mitt Romney may still never pay no taxes.


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