Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Home / Featured Post / Rap is a relative evil

Rap is a relative evil

Evil sure is relative.

Just compare the case of convicted cop killer Demeatrius Montgomery to the Miami Heat’s entrance theme at their preseason opener against the Detroit Pistons.

Montgomery, Mecklenburg County prosecutors said, got juiced up on liquor and played Pastor Troy’s “Murda Man” before embarking on a stint of brief, sudden and devastating violence that resulted in the deaths of two Charlotte police officers.

The Heat – including their trio of superstars LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade – got juiced up on Gatorade and played C-Murder’s “Down for my N – – – as” before embarking on a stint of jump shots and dunks en route to a 105-89 victory.

Prosecutors read lines from “Murda Man” in their opening and closing arguments in Montgomery’s September trial.

It didn’t prove he killed anybody, but it showed he was juiced up for killing and had killing on his mind.

C-Murder’s lyrics were omitted from the start of the Heat game. Only the music played, and even if C-Murder’s verses had been allowed to flow, the roar of spectators and cheerleaders clapping, cheering and bouncing to Murder’s beat would have drowned him out.

Apparently “Down for my N – – – as” is party music, whereas “Murda Man” is murder trial music.

C-Murder makes theme music for the NBA. “Murda Man” is central prison’s latest life-without-parolee.

Is there a disconnect? Is rap so socially accepted that it is played as theme music at NBA games, or is it “emblematic of a hip-hop culture that is ignorant, misogynistic, casually criminal and often violent,” as Thomas Chatterton Williams wrote (of rapper Lil Wayne) in the Wall Street Journal on Oct. 6?

Williams criticized President Obama for telling Rolling Stone that his rap palate had greatly improved – from Jay-Z predominating to “Nas and a little Lil Wayne.”

Williams called Wayne “a modern-day minstrel who embodies the most virulent racist stereotypes that generations of blacks have fought to overcome.”

Were those “virulent racist stereotypes” employed to convict Montgomery?

Only if you discount the testimony of numerous eye witnesses who saw someone resembling Montgomery running from the scene with a gun, as well as DNA and gunshot residue evidence allegedly linking him to the murders.

The case against Montgomery was purely circumstantial. Jurors who spoke to the Charlotte Observer called the evidence against him “overwhelming.”

But the prosecutors still needed “Murda Man.” Why would they bring it up if it didn’t help? Why make the reference if no inference was intended?

Apparently prosecutors thought jurors would find Montgomery’s affinity for “Murda Man” as disturbing as Williams found President Obama’s affinity for Lil Wayne and Jay-Z.

Williams wrote that “[n]aming thuggish rappers might make Mr. Obama seem relatable and cool to a generation of Americans under the sway of hip-hop culture, but it sends a harmful message. …”

According to Williams, Obama “undermines his own laudable message and example when he associates himself with a hip-hop culture that diminishes blacks.”

Williams treats the notion that at least an element of hip-hop culture “diminishes blacks” as paradigmatic. He should know, he wrote a book about it called Losing My Cool: How a Father’s Love and 15,000 Books Beat Hip-Hop Culture.

But does the kind of rap propagated by Jay-Z and Lil Wayne really “diminish blacks”?

Certainly Mr. Williams would include C-Murder in that element of hip-hop culture he sees as “diminishing.”

C-Murder, who is serving a life sentence for of all things murder in a Louisiana prison, raps that “Make ‘em bleed is the motto that I live by / If you f- – k with me it’s a must you die.”

In another verse he raps about doing “a drive by with my .45,” pointing out rivals and leaving them “all on the street bleeding.” He brags that “the cops is scared to come and get me” because “they know / I got a bunch of thug n – – – as with me.”

If that is so diminishing, why is it theme music for the Miami Heat?

I’m not trying to pick on the Heat. It is fair to say, I believe, that the “diminishing” form of hip-hop culture Williams cites has saturated mainstream American culture.

I am not prepared to blanket that form of hip-hop expression with the “diminishing” moniker.

Perhaps I am a product of my generation, but like Obama, I happen to like it.

So does that mean, like Montgomery, I am inclined to murder?

 

By PAUL THARP, Staff Writer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*