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Monday, April 14, 2008
12:52 AM

What Kind of Cluckery Is This?


If this is a preview of the next album (no doubt she's going the Marvina Gaye route), she might want to work on her approach.

In a new interview with Blender magazine, Alicia confirms every suspicion that I've ever had about her. When I first heard about this, I was hoping it was some sort of twisted joke. But apparently, the joke is on Alicia Please's publicist.

In her cover story, the would be second coming shares her views on a certain subgenre of rap as well as the deaths of Biggie and 'Pac.

On "gangsta rap" (I hate saying that), Alicia says:
“‘Gangsta rap’ was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other,” she says, putting down the sandwich. “‘Gangsta rap’ didn’t exist.”

Come again? A ploy by whom?

She looks at us like it’s the dumbest question in the world. “The government.”
And on the deaths of Biggie and Pac:
This Alicia pores over Black Panther autobiographies (“I’ve read Huey Newton’s, Assata Shakur’s, David Hilliard’s …”). This Alicia says Tupac and Biggie were essentially assassinated, their beefs stoked “by the government and the media, to stop another great black leader from existing.”
Not to be outdone:
This Alicia wears a gold AK-47 pendant around her neck, “to symbolize strength, power and killing ’em dead.” (“She wears what?” her mom asks Blender. “That doesn’t sound like Alicia.”)
Alicia sounds like someone that smokes too much weed, and whenever they get high, tries to sound "deep." Y'know, the kind who, when around her other weed heads will listen to her, smile and nod and say, "Yeah! Damn right!" Then when the high wears off, they all get together and say, "Yo. The f*ck was that crazy bitch talking about?"

Biggie and 'Pac are not and were never anything close to being Black leaders. The idea that the government purposely worked towards having them killed in an effort to thwart a Black leader from emerging has got to be one of the stupidest things I have ever heard in my entire life.

I love Biggie, but outside a handful of songs (and that's being generous), he talked mainly about drugs, money, sex, and violence. That's not exactly fervor for the revolution. If anything those are the themes you would want championed among a downtrodden faction of society.

As for 2 Pac, well, the comparison to Malcolm X always bothered me, and I'm really tired of people trying to make him out to be more than what he was. His rhymes were typically themed around what was hot at the moment. When social conscious rhymes could still put you on the charts, he told women to keep their head up. When the "money over bitches" mantra became the dominating theme in rap, he was a complete misogynist. After Suge Knight got him out of jail, he spent the rest of his life re-playing the role of Bishop.

They were both good entertainers, and suggesting that they were anything otherwise is insulting and sounds like it comes from the short yellow bus school of thought. It's a shame 2 Pac gets more credit for qualities embodied more so by emcees like Chuck D.

Maybe Alicia's been too busy digging through old soul records to find melodies to jack for her next album, but someone might want to tell her we have a Black presidential candidate right now, and last time I checked, Barack isn't known for spitting hot 16s.

As for that 'gangsta rap' was started by the government nonsense: There are indeed social factors at work that contribute to the themes found in the music she's referring to. But do people really think the government told Ice Cube, Easy E, and the rest of NWA to use their records to destroy Black people?

I'm more afraid of people being able to buy oatmeal and a gun from the same place than I am of a song called "Fuck The Police." No Child Left Behind gives me nightmares. If you're going to worry over the government's role in society, focus on issues like those.

Besides, does no one want to have any personal accountability anymore? Is it always someone else's fault? I wholeheartedly agree with the notion that there are people in positions of power that want to show only one jaded view of Black men and women that perpetuate age old stereotypes. At the same time, we need to own up to our hand in this.

I actually like when artists share their views about the world, but not when they sound like they just finished free basing. Not to the Alicia stans sure to leave hate mail: If she's so hard pressed to counter negative imagery in Black music, then why would she theme some of her videos around her man ending up in jail? And if she truly believes thinks the government is that active at using cultural mediums to attack Black folk, why participate in a song called "Gangsta Lovin'?" Way to lead by example.

I've really tried to like Alicia Keys, but this interview didn't help. She sounds like one of those people standing outside of CVS on Saturday night's standing on a crate telling people to start the revolution and buy a bean pie.

Between that, and her own mother calling her out on her AK-47 pendent, she comes across as just another poser who's not nearly as deep as people would have you believe.

Let me try and be nice: I honestly think she meant well. Maybe she'll explain all of this better once she gets back from vacation. Now if she only ends up sounding crazier than she does in this interview, someone should find that muzzle I once suggested Beyonce try on.

The Cynical Ones.
posted by Michael at