Here’s where we’ll start:

Essentially the problem with most bloggers like yourself Brandon is that you’re a geek behind a computer who doesn’t do enough research prior to posting. So you sit home (b/c your really a geek who doesn’t have anywhere else to go) and you write about a topic such as hip hop and illustrates you don’t really know anything about it. First of all you’re from B-More, and without any disrespect towards my homies from the B-More/D.C/Maryland area you know nothing about real hip hop music or the culture. Who was the last hot rapper to come from B-More??? Furthermore judging by you last name you’re a white guy, again without any disrespect to my white homies…who was the last hot white rapper after Eminem??? So why you choose to post a warped opinion across the World Wide Web about hip-hop I have no idea. Shouldn’t you focus your attention on blogging about banking, a topic that a black dude from Brooklyn like me might actually trust your opinion about? I stumbled across your ridiculous articles by accident and they are so out of touch that it’s actually counter productive to “our” hip hop culture. Can’t you just remain a fan and only discuss your dumb opinions on hip hop in your tight circle of white IT geek friends while eating 7 ounce crab cakes…and YOU PEOPLE wonder why people like Slav Kandyba want to “break your jaw?” Now just out of curiosity, it seems like you listen to a lot of rap music…do you actually sing along when a rapper uses the “N” word, or do you skip those parts?
-Moe Negro

This charming young man is responding to a post by Dart Adams over at Poisonous Paragraphs, a blog on “hip hop, film and urban culture”. I came upon it over at GRANDGOOD, where the commentary on this post is worth a read.

As I’m shifting into the end-of-days of my sabbatical, and thinking about teaching the hip hop course in the fall, I’m filtering hip hop stuff through the teacherly sieve. And I think I might have my students read Moe Negro’s comment toward the start of the semester, just so that they get a sense of how authority and race are interconnected within rap, rap fandom, and rap scholarship. I think I’ll have them do a little writing response where they tell me all the claims upon which this argument rests. Want to start the list for my fine, fine students?

1. Real hip hop music and culture are not made in Baltimore. At least not recently. And Baltimore is somehow reflecting badly on the state of Maryland and Washington D.C. Apparently, real hip hop music and culture are some kind of disease with a short half-life.

2. Black men from Brooklyn, like Moe Negro, trust white nerds to be good bankers. Or to know a lot about banking, at least. Unclear if this is genetic, or social conditioning.

3. People who make claims on the Web and are out of touch are dangerous to hip hop culture. Again, with the viral sh*t.

etc.

I share GRANDGOOD’s frustration. I have a lot to add. For now I’ll point out just one hypocrisy: Moe Negro’s final move is to challenge whitey: Do you sing the verse? The question suggests MN thinks whitey doesn’t see his privilege, and/or doesn’t see his exclusion from spaces and verses where blackness is required. In doing so, MN spits back a form of racial exclusion, no less historically-based, or bounded by the idiotic politics of the contemporary binary racial system than the one he seeks to critique. Is insisting on the black right to rap the word nigger (and then use that awful euphemism ‘n-word’) really such a good thing, dude?

[and co-inki,dink: if you don’t care about rap but care about metal, take a gander at a similar conversation at tinyluckygenius. too bad i can’t get a link to the particular post. once it gets archived, you’ll find it as “tell me what you want what you really really want” on April 23, 2008. UPDATE: the conversation continues, over there.]

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  1. As far as Moe Negro statements went, whatever validity they might’ve had where lost at the moment he attacked one of my blogging brethren. One of us equals many of us. I’m not an internet thug but I can put together a few paragraphs and crush some worlds right quick…on to the issue at hand:

    I’m a Black Bostonian and an ex emcee and while there are loads of groups and emcees in the Metro Boston Area, there are pretty much no venues for them to perform in the actual city itself. Save for a bunch of venues in Cambridge and further out into Massachusetts and near colleges that are promoted by pretty much the same heads that rarely let “hood” acts rock. There is a serious divide in our scene because of that so I understood what Moe meant.

    As far as the rest of his comments, if you want to critique Hip Hop then DO IT. As a kid I was pissed at the portrayals of Black folks in certain films and other forms of media. One day, I stumbled on a foreword or a coda in a special edition of Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”.

    He told the story about how one Black reader wrote him a letter and said that the Blacks in his book “The Martian Chronicles” were Uncle Toms and one female reader complained about the lack of depth in his female characters in “Fahrenheit 451”. He wrote them both letters and said the solution was simple..buy a typewriter and start writing your OWN stories. I read that back in 1991 and I’ve been writing nonstop ever since.

    Moe needs to become part of the solution and address the REAL problems in Hip Hop in a REAL WAY rather than attacking my peoples for no damn reason.

    One.

  2. slavismyname

    Hey I just came across this. My name is mentioned in Moe Negro’s piece. I’m going to try and find a way to contact you privately, perhaps you may interested in the full context of Moe’s e-diatribe.

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