Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Pimpin' Ain't Eazy ...

And so, in a moment of evening solitude roasted by wandering thoughts liquidated by a 24/7 news cycle, we've got to stoop so low as to put our pence and bit in the controversy over Oscar winner Three 6 Mafia. Is it a public policy issue? On some levels it might be, based on the dominant society's perception of what we do and how we handle what we do.

In our title above, we drop back and reminisce a little on someone who really had lyrical, poetic talent beyond his time: Big Daddy Kane. Pimpin Ain't Eazy was true urban grit so foul that it received little to no radio airplay, only daring late night DJs on college stations who were willing to play hip hop at its finest - when the FCC censors weren't listening. Anyway, Kane captured the essence of Pimp in this heralded underground favorite, a true hip hop artisan and skilled wordsmith of fantastic proportions who respected the art. You may not have agreed with the content, but you knew this cat could flow verses like Aesop wrote fables.

And, hip hop today? Maybe we sound really old and near geriatric, but we're not certain the controversy has so much to do with the blaxploitation dynamic of "It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp" than with the pure foolishness of it. That's where we get slightly irritated by this pick and the staged performance on Sunday night: as long as hip hop has been a steadfast global phenomenon for nearly three decades, it takes this particular song and this particular group - of all groups, emcees and acts - to have it formally recognized by the most prestigious awards show in human history. Why this group? Why this tasteless brand of skeezed club music wrongly portraying itself as "hip hop" or "rap?" And we could produce a vast, almost infinite list of emcees and DJs of immense talent who could have solidly represented the artform before an unschooled audience: from the Gurus, to the Chuck Ds; from the DJ Premiers to the CL Smooths; from Q-Tip & Fife to the Jungle Brothers; & De La Soul to Common; Dilated Peoples to The Roots; oh no - and out there in Southern California, you mean to tell us Hollywood hasn't tapped into the production genius of multi-dimensional Madlib and his alter ego Quasimoto? Peanut Butter Wolf and Lootpack blown across the Santa Ana winds? Couldn't Nas or even big-headed Kanye have sufficed? A Rawkus record re-union, get Mos Def and Talib together on stage and blast the dripping Botox hanging from the faces of uptight forgottens? Even Eve or Lil Kim could've been somewhat tolerable ... Busta could've pulled another liqour ad, but we would've loved it. Enough of these uncreative, moronic, one-hit-wonder, ghetto-fabulous & favored slang-of-choice catch phrases that sound insanely funny for a moment when skipped on a cheezy, cheaply produced digital beat. Enough already; our ears are a popped and bloody mess. Come on, now - couldn't we have done better than this?