Hip Hop Culture for Grown-Ups
Remember a couple of years ago, when it seemed that White guys were taking over rap music? Mac Miller, Macklemore, even the oft-putting Yelawolf were all descending upon the Hip Hop culture at breakneck speed and even though there were voices against their imminent contact, they landed with relatively no damage done. Everyone is still safe. Years later, after the proverbial smoke had been comfortably settled, the Internet’s trolls have struck again, this time targeting new
White kid on the block, Post Malone.
Malone is best known for his internet hit “White Iverson,” and as surely as his nominal celebrity stock began to climb, there has been an attempt to pull him back down a few pegs. It never fails. A clip has been “leaked” of him saying nigga as he watches cute kitten videos with a questionably overstimulated friend.
The 7-second clip has been looped below so you don’t misinterpret what Young Malone is muttering.
Right on cue, the sanctified Hip Hop nation sank their claws into Post Malone, even though the clip is some odd years old, condemning him for doing what he’s probably been doing for God-knows-how-long: appropriating Black culture to the point of recognized actuality. What that means is that he’s likely been “acting Black” for so long that he’s on a Rachel Dolezal level of self-awareness. Augmented reality in a sense. He said “nigga” because in his world, he is a nigga. Just look at his presentation. He perceives the Hip Hop culture as what he projects, and before we blame anyone for his seemingly intrepid identity crisis, realize that we aren’t the first group of African-Americans to witness his routine, if I may call it that. He’s passed hundreds, if not thousands of brothers and sisters over the years who assumedly had numerous opportunities to pull his coattails about his Blackface lifestyle. Nope. Didn’t happen. And by my calculations, it won’t happen. I doubt he’ll ever say I the n-word again publicly, but it won’t be because he’s been socially rehabilitated, it’ll be to avoid all this hassle. (But hey, all publicity is good publicity, so there’s that.)
I don’t see what the problem was to begin with. Obviously he was accepted by Hip Hop with open arms, like many Black-washed rappers before him, so why cry over spilled milk? No pun intended. These are the children of the Hip Hop Internet. Our babies.
I’m more concerned with the rap community’s lack of public support for the Black Lives Matter movement than I am about this kid calling some kittens nigga. I’m more disturbed by the number of BLM-inspired anthems and protest songs than I am about Post Malone emulating Jay Z or Schoolboy Q. For the Hip Hop nation to light up with scathing backlash toward Malone but continue to remain relatively quiet on what is arguably the second coming of the fight for civil rights is nothing short of mind-blowing. And for what it’s worth, I don’t expect rappers (or any other artists) to become activists or politicians for convenience, but as the issue of police brutality evolves into an issue of human rights, people who are blessed with a platform should at least grant others the access to it if they don’t want to use it themselves. It isn’t necessary for one to make waves to make a statement. All you have to do is make a move.
Hip Hop has always had its own freedom fighters, and aside from the astute X-Clan/Public Enemy/Poor Righteous Teachers/Paris days of rebel rap music, the rapper has always been more of a social standout than a purported political spokesperson. Ask any rapper that gets paid for his skill and he’ll quickly tell you that there’s no money in fighting the power, however there are still pockets of artists sprinkled throughout the rap game who decide to hunt for truth and justice.
Overall, it seems the message has gotten to burdensome for the messenger to bear, so it goes uncarried. Meanwhile we’re calling Post Malone a racist, which he clearly isn’t, and his braids are proof of that.
And shout out to Macklemore for helping the old school eat while those that truly benefit from their door-opening have no idea who they even are.