33Jones | Store | Music | Reviews | Featured Artists | Contact Us
 
33jones.com
 
 

News:




Still working on that clothing deal, keep the faith. Blog ain't going anywhere.

Top Articles:
Papoose vs. Mense...
7 Live Crew -- Miami F...
Kool Moe Dee vs. Busy ...
Hip Hop Mixtape Interl...
Five Deadly Venoms of ...
Dipset / Junior Mafia ...
Let the Lox Go!...
Cam'ron has something ...
Mark Mcgwire of the Mi...
Star Wars DJ Battles...
50 Cent, Joe Budden an...
K-Fed Does Brazil...
Tribe Called Quest - C...
The Clipse -- The Fune...
Schwarzenegger Gone...
Big L -- Abducting Emc...
Em and Dre Forgot abou...
Ron Artest Freestyle...
Jay-Z got 99 Problems ...
Fabolous / N.O.R.E. Fr...
Biggie and Mister Cee ...
I Know Rick Ross...
Cristal Controversy...
Rules of the Industry...
Juke Music...
5 Percenters...
Lord Tariq...
DJ Drama vs. RIAA





Download Bring Me the Remix of Zilla Rocca
(Free Mixtape!)
Daily Hits:
Hip Hop's 9/11?:

Over the past few weeks, as I've read blog after blog and article after article promoting the release of Kanye's Graduation and 50 Cent's Curtis, I've had a growing sense of unease about the whole thing. At first it was just a general disinterest in either album, but as September 11th has drawn closer and closer, that feeling has turned into something bordering on disgust at the decision, whether by them or their labels, to promote the albums around 9/11.

For the sake of full disclosure, let me say up front that September 11th had a huge impact on me personally. It's the one day of the year that I wish I could just fast-forward through so that I don't have to rehash 2001 over and over again, through the overwhelming amount of newspaper articles, t.v. segments, memorials and every other reminder of what happened six years ago. Several of my friends died in the Trade Center and for a few hours I thought my father had been killed as well. He worked in the Twin Towers but had taken a flight out to San Francisco from Newark Airport that morning (as it turned out, his flight left about 10 minutes after the infamous Flight 93, though it was impossible to get confirmation at the time from the airline that he was not on board UA93 - I didn't get a call from him until about three hours later, at which point I had to break the news to him that the WTC no longer existed). I mention this as a concession that I am undoubtedly more sensitive to this anniversary than the average hip hop fan, and I admit that it's entirely possible that I am overreacting. I am still surprised, however, that no one (that I'm aware of) has called out Kanye or 50 for their choice of album release dates. Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised, though, looking back at how hip hop reacted to 9/11 in the first place.

When Snoop, Daz and Kurupt knocked over replicas of New York skyscrapers in their video for New York, it generated several responses from NY rappers, further escalating the increasingly violent East Coast/West Coast "beef" of the time. Some people got so emotional about it that they drove down to the video shoot in Times Square and let off a few rounds just to let Snoop know how disrespected they felt by the song.

But when New York was quite literally attacked and two of the city's greatest buildings got knocked down in real life? The reaction from the hip hop community - a community born and raised in New York, let's not forget - was almost nonexistent. A couple of weeks after 9/11, Jay-Z dropped a freestyle for DJ Clue, bragging that even Osama Bin Laden couldn't affect the sales of The Blueprint (an album that "dropped the same day as The Towers"). Soon after that, Paul Cain released his own freestyle for Clue with the line that he "had more A-K clips than Bin Laden," generating a day's worth of controversy on MTVNews, but not much more than that. Perhaps the most lasting legacy that 9/11 had on hip hop was the fact that Biggie's Juicy had to be edited to remove the line, "Blow up like the Word Trade."

That's an amazingly small response to what has defined the politics, and a fair amount of the culture, of America over the past six years. The fallout from 9/11 has left a wealth of material for any politically-minded rapper to cover - kids (hip hop's main demographic!) going off to fight in Iraq, the government's increasing abuses of power and racial profiling, to name just a few potential issues for any aspiring Chuck D to draw upon - yet you don't hear anything about it in mainstream rap. Perhaps it's just another sign that hip hop, a genre of music that was once the bogeyman of Middle America due to its outspoken political views, is no longer politically relevant. Sure, hip hop briefly embraced its roots once again when Katrina came through, with Kanye and Juvenile speaking out however ineffectively, but in hindsight that seems to have been just a momentary spasm of political awareness. I'll never agree with Nas that "Hip Hop Is Dead," but it sure ain't what it used to be.

All of this is my way of saying that, while I'm well aware of the impending release of what are proclaimed to be the biggest hip hop albums of the year (at least until December) - the unrelenting exposure on tv, radio, magazines and blogs have made Graduation and Curtis all but unavoidable - I can't say that I'm the least bit interested in either of them. I don't think I'd be all that excited about the prospect of seventeen more tracks from the lyrical mastermind behind Ayo Technology regardless of its release date, but under different circumstances I'd probably be running out to buy Kanye's album. As it is, though, I can't get past what has to be one of the most arrogant marketing ploys by any artist (let alone two). And I'm aware of how ridiculous it would be to expect low key promotions from either Kanye or 50 Cent - they wouldn't be what they are today if it wasn't for their almost cartoonish levels of arrogance. Yet to build their promotions around "Hip Hop's 9/11," as if their album releases were an event somehow comparable to this tragedy, is something I just can't get behind.

R.I.P. Kev, Al, WC, Brian, Amy

(Share on Facebook)
9/11/2007 12:01:29 AM posted by Fresh

Comments:
Wow, I didn't expect the kind of response this got, both through the comments and people linking to it. So thanks to everyone who's come through. To clear up a few things:

@Eurok: I agree with you that statement only applies to mainstream hip hop, and that's what I was trying to imply (but admittedly did not do a good job of it). About 50% of what I put up on this site would fall under the category of "non mainstream hip hop," so I do appreciate what's going on outside of the major label releases.

@Tray: I listen to a new mixtape or album every single day, so I wouldn't say that my problem is that I don't listen to enough rap. Admittedly I don't listen to Dipset (other than Cam's first two cds) a whole lot, though. But please show me a Juelz track that has an actual political message in its lyrics. And I don't just mean singing a hook about "The Place of the Lost Towers," but something that has a meaning behind it. I'm not saying that he hasn't, but if he has released a song like that I've never heard it.

@eskay: True, Immortal has released a ton of political tracks, but I wouldn't label him "mainstream" by any means. Again, going back to what I said to Eurok, I admit that I may not have made the fact that I was talking about mainstream hip hop entirely clear. Also I wrote this late last night off the top of my head from my memories of that time, so there may be some tracks I overlooked, but can you really argue that there was a significant response in (mainstream) hip hop to the event?

In regards to Jay and Cam's track (I'm assuming you're talking about Welcome To New York City), ok sure, part of the hook is, "The Home of 9/11, The Place of the Lost Towers." So yes, that references 9/11, but what do they actually say about it? Jay drops a verse about stabbing Un at the Kit Kat Club and Cam drops a verse about selling drugs and carrying around a 9mm. It's a dope anthem for New York, but if you took out that one line from the hook does the song have anything at all to do with 9/11? My point was that (again, mainstream) rappers have had nothing relevant to say about September 11th, or really much of anything lately.

As for their albums being tied into 9/11, let's keep it real. Every last detail of an album release as big as Curtis or Graduation gets analyzed and configured to have the biggest impact possible. Do you honestly believe that the significance of having 9/11 as the release date wasn't taken into consideration? It's disingenuous to suggest otherwise. Do you think Curtis' promo team just randomly chose that date? Also, it's not like I made up the phrase "Hip Hop's 9/11." It has been used on radio promos for the two releases, it's been used on several websites and I get p.r. releases referencing that phrase.

But more to the point, just a few years after September 11th people do hold the date of "9/11" to be significant, like it or not. Whether that date should be sacrosanct or not is up for debate. Obviously I would fall on the side that it is to some extent (at least right now, maybe in a few years my opinion may change). But if you release an album on a date as significant as 9/11, a date that is still raw in the minds of a lot of people around my way, and you promote the hell out of that date, you are most definitely associating the two events.
9/11/2007 4:02:04 PM posted by fresh

Didnt Wu say something along the lines of "yo who the f*ck knocked down our towers" on Pinky Ring?

Is this the sense of normalcy that we all said we needed after 9-11-01? Big events on the Sept 11 date? Maybe 6 years out we're still not there.
9/11/2007 5:33:36 PM posted by CommishCH

@eskay: No, I realize that this situation will come around again in a few years, and it's certainly a valid point. That would put a full decade in between, however, and I assume it would be less of an issue for me. Similar to the way I imagine people felt after Pearl Harbor...was 1947 too soon to start acting like December 7th was just another day?

I accept that there's something irrational about attaching significance to a calendar date, but that's just how I feel.

And yeah, I accept the fact that capitalism isn't going to slow down for sentimentality, but I don't have to like it!

@Tray: I guess ultimately what I'm hoping for is some level of awareness or acknowledgment of current events that seems to be lacking these days. Take the current cause du jour on the blogs, the Jena 6 case - if that happened, say, 15 years ago, can you imagine the noise Public Enemy, Ice Cube, Ice-T, etc., would be making about this? But today, the only mainstream rapper (that I'm aware of) that has had something to say about the case has been Mos Def (Kool Keith is one other, though he's not exactly a mainstream name these days).

And you make an interesting point about the "mythologized super-criminal," and I do understand what you're saying. It just seemed kind of sad to me that hip hop, as a community, seemed more outraged -- from my point of view -- by Snoop disrespecting the city in a video than by someone who did it in real life, and killed real live people. I grew up listening to these cats proclaim that they were repping NY to the fullest, yet when something significant actually goes down in the city it didn't seem like they had anything to say.

This is one of those rare situations where I feel like hip hop is completely disconnected from my own life and experiences, and it frustrates me. I guess that's ultimately my point in all of this.
9/11/2007 7:52:04 PM posted by fresh

I don't think you can dismiss this so easily:

Bootleggers, bombin', bin Laden
I'm still crackin'
I will not lose, I simply refuse
I drop the same date as the twin towers
I show power
Still I show compassion for others
Sent money and flowers
Devote hours
I live in the struggle
I'm addicted to the hustle
I'm conflicted because, du'(de)
America, this land of mine
Is filled with prisoners
With the same plans as mine
So I'm a walking contradiction
On one hand I love my position
But easily I could have been in that prison
And no, I am not a Christian
Though I believe in God
But I don't believe in the devil
My beliefs are odd
If we the people was given freewill from God
How could He give the people freewill
Without giving you E-vil?
We will hold it together
Believe in the Roc
Long after you leave the spot
Long after my breathing stops
My spirit remains vibrant
I will lead the flock
And that's the tip of the iceberg
You might hear Christ's words in my scriptures
But I only write it for my niggaz
9/11/2007 11:41:59 PM posted by Kwis

First of all, Fresh, this must be the first time you even approached a back-track and it's straight up unnecessary. No apologies or clarifications necessary. Only a fool needs that.

Tray and Eskay (hot tags, for real...)- which promoter is paying you less than minimum wage to come up with that garbage (this more at "Tray" perhaps than Eskay - especially after the last post by Eskay, but still...)? You are either deliberately ignorant or paid off - and on the cheap. I shudder if you actually believe what you just wrote. 9/10, 9/11 - yeah, that's totally coincidence. You got Fresh nailed on that one.

Why don't you stick to TMZ/Perez Hilton, where you might actually be appreciated.

For those who care, I follow 33 Jones but never post and mostly have no opinion on those that do. Free speech is everything, but ignorance is no longer bliss.
9/12/2007 12:11:43 AM posted by you must be kidding

@Kwis: Yeah, that was the Clue freestyle I was talking about.
9/12/2007 6:42:16 AM posted by fresh

i really don't think eskay's point about if 9/10'd been a Tuesday is unreasonable at all "kidding" guy.
9/12/2007 6:15:16 PM posted by Trey Stone

@Tray: I don't entirely agree, but I do understand where you're coming from with that.

@mannish: I'll admit I haven't been following all of the details over the Plies controversy, but I'd imagine his liberal use of the word "cracker" is the source of the offense. Also, the song seems to imply that all whites are somehow complicit in the justice system's abuse of power. I can see how someone might take offense at that.
9/12/2007 10:35:17 PM posted by fresh

I don't think you can dismiss this so easily:

Bootleggers, bombin', bin Laden
I'm still crackin'
I will not lose, I simply refuse
I drop the same date as the twin towers
I show power
Still I show compassion for others
Sent money and flowers
Devote hours
I live in the struggle
I'm addicted to the hustle
I'm conflicted because, du'(de)
America, this land of mine
Is filled with prisoners
With the same plans as mine
So I'm a walking contradiction
On one hand I love my position
But easily I could have been in that prison
And no, I am not a Christian
Though I believe in God
But I don't believe in the devil
My beliefs are odd
If we the people was given freewill from God
How could He give the people freewill
Without giving you E-vil?
We will hold it together
Believe in the Roc
Long after you leave the spot
Long after my breathing stops
My spirit remains vibrant
I will lead the flock
And that's the tip of the iceberg
You might hear Christ's words in my scriptures
But I only write it for my niggaz
9/12/2007 11:19:57 PM posted by Kwis

Thanks e
9/13/2007 7:11:16 PM posted by fresh

I don't think you can dismiss this so easily:

Bootleggers, bombin', bin Laden
I'm still crackin'
I will not lose, I simply refuse
I drop the same date as the twin towers
I show power
Still I show compassion for others
Sent money and flowers
Devote hours
I live in the struggle
I'm addicted to the hustle
I'm conflicted because, du'(de)
America, this land of mine
Is filled with prisoners
With the same plans as mine
So I'm a walking contradiction
On one hand I love my position
But easily I could have been in that prison
And no, I am not a Christian
Though I believe in God
But I don't believe in the devil
My beliefs are odd
If we the people was given freewill from God
How could He give the people freewill
Without giving you E-vil?
We will hold it together
Believe in the Roc
Long after you leave the spot
Long after my breathing stops
My spirit remains vibrant
I will lead the flock
And that's the tip of the iceberg
You might hear Christ's words in my scriptures
But I only write it for my niggaz
9/13/2007 11:30:41 PM posted by Kwis

@Kwis: I can't tell if you just keep reloading the page by accident and resubmitting that comment, or if you want me to respond specifically to it. As I said, that verse is part of the Clue freestyle that I referenced in the initial post, so I don't think I entirely dismissed it.
9/14/2007 6:53:28 AM posted by fresh

@Major: No, you're right, most rappers (on the major labels anyway) stopped being political once Bad Boy and Death Row started running things. I'm sure initially it was a decision based on sales, but now it seems like most rappers actually are that unaware of what's really going on.

I will say that P.E., though they certainly focused on issues with black youth, they also were aware of the general politics of the time as well. (And I know every time we talk I end up telling you to go dig up old records, but if you haven't heard It Takes a Nation of Millions, I think you'd be into it)

And that's an interesting point about competition aspect. I'm sure it made both of them step up their games. Jay Smooth made an interest point that we may all suffer in the end because of it, though.
9/16/2007 2:32:02 PM posted by fresh






To reduce Spam on this site, I'm testing out Disqus.
You'll need JavaScript turned on to see comments (if you're using NoScript, add 33jones.com to your list of trusted sites).
Let me know if you like it/dislike it.


Sections:

Our Mixes: October Mix is now up!


Fam-a-lams:
Clap Cowards
Bless 1
He's Hers
Smog City
SouledOnMusic
BloggerHouse
unkut
Weed Carriers
bsp
Ig'nant Rap
Slushy Gutter
Passion of the Weiss
DallasPenn
Different Kitchen
33Jones@Myspace
33Jones@Facebook
33Jones@Twitter

Grindin Fam:
Analog Giant
Big Stereo
Electric Zoo
Electrorash
Fluokids
Hipster runnoff
iheartcomix
Panda Toes
Pinglewood
Soul Sides



33Jones is looking for models to be the face for our new product line! If you are interested, please e-mail your portfolio by clicking here.
33Jones | Store | Music | Reviews | Featured Artists | Contact Us