Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Friendly Rap

A couple friends have asked me for some examples of friendly rap.

I'm new to this, but here's one I love, the friendliest, upbeatest, sugar-poppiest, peace-loving rap imaginable: the incredibly catchy World Cup 2010 anthem by Somali-Canadian rapper K'Naan.
It's a remix of his Wavin' Flag.

K'Naan usually looks pretty dapper, but I chose this picture of him in Minnesota's goofy unofficial state hat (we're on the border of Canada, of course, so he's close).

Here's the official Arabic version of K'Naan's song, featuring Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram. (Sponsored by Coke, as you will see.)

I wish we could replace political violence with sport competitions.
K'Naan said of the World Cup, "It's about the one time that we all get together and the world forgets its conflict and its problems and we focus on this unity and celebration."

And here's the original version of Wavin' Flag, which has a slightly darker, more political cast (but also shows him in his ear-flap hat).
As of today, it has 11,581,805 views on youTube.

Then, Fismo raised the question of the B-word in rap. Here's Queen Latifah on it: U.N.I.T.Y.
The lyrics go:
"Who you calling a bitch?"
You gotta let 'em know,
you ain't a bitch or a ho."

Now I have to don my hat with ear flaps and go out in the cold. It's -3°F (-19°C).


Rudyinparis said...

As for misogyny in hip-hop (or rap, which is what I've found people who have never actually listened to hip-hop call it)--I get pretty exasperated with that. There's plenty of misogyny in MUSIC--does that mean you condemn all music? There's plenty of misogyny in the visual arts--do you, then, not go to museums? Some music is woman-hating. I chose not to listen to it, genre is irrelevant. It's not rocket science. /rant!

I've been very interested to read these posts as you listen to hip-hop.

Some of it's great, some of it's only okay. Some of it's lame--just like all genres. To dismiss (or accept) it as one whole piece is odd to me.

Years ago, we were at a show at 1st Ave that had a slew of performers. One of them, MC Supernatural (I think) asked the audience to hold up random objects and then he paced in front of a packed house, incorporating each object in a cohesive, melodic rhyme. It was mind-boggling. (This tells you when that show as--someone held up a Nader/LaDuke bumper sticker.) You want to try and do that? Oh, and there wasn't one "bitch" or "ho" in the mix.

It's weird how conversations about hip-hop bump up against racism. And, no, if you don't like hip-hop, you're not racist! It's valid not to like it. One time Sascha was listening to Blackalicious at a job site. It was a song--"Chemistry calisthenics" maybe it's called--where he breaks down the entire periodic table of elements. A guy on the site sneered, "That's how Black people learn chemistry." Um, no. Oh, and let me get this straight--hip hop is full of gansters and hos, because Black people are stupid. And when it isn't, when there's a song describing the periodic table--it's because Black people are stupid. Pretty convenient.

Oh, I'm cranky today!

bink said...

I wish a song could help me understand the periodic table! Duh!

Love K'Naan... and he makes us look fashionable in our goofy hats.

Rudyinparis said...

Well, here you go, Bink!

Sound quality is only okay.

bink said...

Thanks Rudy, it's a fun song! Unfortunately I can't say it made me any smarter... maybe if I listened to it about 1,000 times so I could memorize it... thank God, I'm not in a position where I need to know this stuff!

momo said...

The K'naan World Cup song with the words Arabic means something more with what is going on in Egypt! thanks for posting it.