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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Rap and Conservative Talk Radio

A relatively recent New York Times article in the "Week in Review" argued that rap music is an awful lot like conservative talk radio.  I don't think it's especially convincing, but I suppose it identifies a few connections one might not otherwise have seen.  Here's a sample:

Even beyond simple matters of style, rap and conservative talk radio share some DNA. Once you subtract gangsta rap’s enthusiasm for lawlessness — a major subtraction, to be sure — rap is among the most conservative genres of pop music. It exalts capitalism and entrepreneurship with a brio that is typically considered Republican. (Admiring references to Bill Gates are common in hip-hop.)

Rappers tend to be fans of the Second Amendment, though they rarely frame their affection for guns in constitutional terms. And rap has an opinion about human nature that is deeply conservative — namely, that criminals cannot be reformed. The difference is that gangsta rappers often identify themselves as the criminals, and are proud of their unreformability.

Finally, rappers and conservative talkers both speak for a demographic that believes its interests and problems have been slighted and both offer stories that have allegedly been ignored.

Posted by Adam Kolber on October 7, 2009 at 07:15 PM | Permalink


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Another example of unimpressive writing in the NYT?

I'b be very curious, then, to know how many of the g-rappers vote Republican. If there are relativley few, and if in fact many g-rappers' political views actually align with Republican values more closely than Democratic views, then I'd be curious to know why that would be.

Posted by: anon | Oct 8, 2009 6:54:26 PM

"rap music is an awful lot like conservative talk radio. "

I don't listen to much conservative talk radio, but I'm very well versed in rap verses.

They Schools by Dead Prez, 911 is a Joke By PE, FTP by X-Clan and NWA - are pretty much descriptions about the failure of "big" government. Much like the conservatives, they are long on pointing out the problem, but short on suggesting realistic solutions.

There are more than a few songs out there belittling the concept of trading in your guns for toys. Pro NRA? Although I have a sneaking suspicion if a population of people who look like rappers were to show up to your average gun show complete with table of Nazi memorablia, they're might be a change of heart wrt to guns for everyone.

Generally in keeping with the African/Latino American's generally conservative/Christian outlook on social issues
- lots of homophobia
- lots of anti-choice advocacy

With regard to Taxes, a few mc's have quipped lines like the Clipse, "Voted for Barack, McCain was my tax bracket ". Many in verse and in real life want lower taxes.

In terms of the Protestant Work Ethic/Bring yourself up by your bootstraps/No one is really looking out for your own interests

There are plenty of songs in g-rap about the value of waking up early to serve crack to drug fiends.

WRT to foreign policy, a handful of mc's have come out against the patriot act, but more than a few (mostly NY mc's) were for the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. Ghostface of the Wu Tang Clan was so enthusiastic that on Wu's "W" lp, he said that Bush should sit down, because he was in charge of the war.

25+years of listening to rap music, from underground to the most commercial, east to west to south to international - I can pretty much tell you most of the positions on the political spectrum have been espoused by people you wouldn't think would support them.

Posted by: Anonymous Frustrated Lawyer | Oct 8, 2009 1:17:04 PM

it strikes me that rap music extols the old pagan virtues; grab whatever cattle, women, and fame you can, defend affronts to your honor, and be loyal to your clan (posse).

Posted by: old fogey | Oct 7, 2009 11:14:37 PM

Blacks tend to be...

Liberals tend to be...

Country musicians tend to be...

Check out "Blame It On Gangsta Rap" by Ice Cube

Again, cheap tripe for the masses. If you are at all interested in serious analysis of rap music, read Bradley's The Book of Rhymes.

Posted by: James | Oct 7, 2009 9:07:24 PM

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