Sunday, April 14, 2019

Hip-Hop, Avoiding the Lawn Mower and Some Resemblances


Facing the Music - Musically

The music the Millennials, Generation X, the Baby Boomers and what’s left of the “Greatest” Generation enjoy is ancient.  Rogers, Hart, Hammerstein, Gershwin, Kern, Porter, Lerner, Lowe, Andrew Lloyd Weber, Sondheim, Springsteen, Billy Joel,
Frank Sinatra
Sinatra, Streisand, the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones and even the Beatles are, to today’s listeners, out of the distant past.  They don’t communicate with 2019 other than from a nostalgic or historic standpoint.  They were popular before most of  today’s listeners were born.  







Beethoven
To them, they’re back there with the likes of Mozart, Beethoven and Verdi of whom, surprisingly, some may have heard.  Contrary to what listening to the music they like might suggest, they are not dumb.  


But with that in mind, I frequently listen to a local (Miami) FM hip-hop station, “The Beat” at 103.5.  What they play reflects what’s going on today in the music business.  Lin Manuel Miranda drew upon it modestly in “Hamilton,” but its real mainstream is in expressing the emotions of the Black and Latino community, from which most hip-hop artists come.


To my ear, other than a strong background beat, hip-hop is tuneless.  It cannot be hummed.  It isn’t really sung.  It is usually recited in a rhythmic monotone.  It will survive but not as music, but as poetry, which is what it really is.  There cannot be an instrumental version of a hip-hop hit.  The lyrics, the poetry, are its essence.


21Savage
With that in mind, here are some excerpts from a current (released in 2018) hip-hop hit, “A Lot,” as sung by 21Savage and J.Cole.  Read it as poetry even though millions of younger Americans accept it as a song.  (Accept the fact that to this poet, words like ‘beast,’ ‘streets’ and ‘beats’ rhyme.  In his world, and in that of his tuned-in listeners, they do.)

A Lot

How much money you got? (A lot)
How much money you got? (A lot)
How many problems you got? (A lot)
How many people done doubted you? (A lot)
Left you out to rot? (A lot)
How many pray that you flop? (A lot)
How many lawyers you got? (A lot)
How many times you got shot? (A lot)
How many niggas you shot? (A lot)
How many times did you ride? (A lot)
How many niggas done died? (A lot)
How many times did you cheat? (A lot)
How many times did you lie? (A lot)
How many times did she leave? (A lot)
How many times did she cry? (A lot)
How many chances she done gave you?
Fuck around with these thots (A lot)

Every day that I'm alive, I'ma ride with the stick
I'd rather be broke in jail than be dead and rich
Told my brothers take my breath if I turn to a snitch
But I'm 21 4L, ain't no way I'ma switch
Break it down, I break it down
I break it down, I break it down
I break it down, I break it down
I break it down, I break it down
Penitentiary chances just to make a couple bucks
My heart so cold I could put it in my cup
Gang vs. the world, me and my dawg, it was us
Then you went and wrote a statement, and that really fucked me up
My brother lost his life and it turned me to a beast
My brother got life and it turned me to the streets
I been through the storm and it turned me to a G
But the other side was sunny, I get paid to rap on beats

How much money you got? (A lot)
How many problems you got? (A lot)
How many people done doubted you? (A lot)
Left you out to rot? (A lot)
How many pray that you flop? (A lot)
How many lawyers you got? (A lot)
How many times you got shot? (A lot)
How many niggas you shot? (A lot)
How many times did you ride? (A lot)
How many niggas done died? (A lot)
How many times did you cheat? (A lot)
How many times did you lie? (A lot)
How many times did she leave? (A lot)
How many times did she cry? (A lot)
How many chances she done gave you?
Fuck around with these thots (A lot)

Songwriters: Anthony White / Dacoury Natche / Jermaine Cole / She'yaa Abraham-Joseph / Sheila Young
A Lot lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group


If you want to hear the full version spoken (it really is not sung), it is available on many online music sources such as Spotify.com, but you can always hear it on old fashioned radio where stations featuring Hip-hop are playing it repeatedly each day.


To give you an idea of where I am coming from, according to a quick visit to the internet, the three top song hits from the year in the distant past when I was born were “Night and Day  (Fred Astaire and Leo Reisman),” “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime” (Bing Crosby) and “All of Me (Louis Armstrong).”   Moving thirteen years up to the year of my Bar Mitzvah, the top three were “Sentimental Journey” (Les Brown and Doris Day), Rum and Coca Cola (the Andrews Sisters) and “Till the End of Time (Perry Como).”  I still like all of them but I try to listen to today's music as well.


Les Brown and Doris Day

  
And speaking of today’s music, according to Billboard, the top three songs right now (and these include more than Hip-hop) are “Old Town Road” (Lil Nas X), “Sunflower” (from the film ‘Spiderman’ – Post Malone and Swae Lee) and “7 Rings” (Ariana Grande). I have not heard any of them.  By the way, “A Lot” is number 22.


Jacj Lippman


Facing the Music Politically - Bad News, Good News and a Lawn Mower

What’s up with Donald?  (Trump not Duck).   Well, accept the fact that we are not going to see his tax returns.  You can see mine anytime you want.  I have nothing to hide.   If we saw his, however, we might see some things Donald might be wanting to hide.  And I do not know what those things might be.  (The claim that they are “under audit” is bull.)  Perhaps they would show he is not so rich as he claims to be?  Perhaps they would show to whom he owes money?  These are not criminal acts, but they certainly would attack Trump’s vanity. We just don’t know.  If Congress subpoenas them, it might end up in Court, even eventually going to the Supreme Court where, incidentally, two Trump appointees sit.  Such litigation can stretch out for a long, long time.


As far as the Mueller Report goes, whatever is finally released to Congress and to the public by Mueller’s boss, the Attorney General,
Attorney General Barr
will be so heavily redacted that the basis for Mueller’s decision, whatever it actually might be, and not as reported in Trump’s skillful Attorney-General’s two letters, will be unavailable.  That’s the reason Barr came out of retirement to be the Attorney-General, to save Trump’s butt. Collusion (actually conspiracy) and obstruction are extremely difficult charges to prove.  Strong evidence alone is insufficient for that purpose.  There must be something ironclad, such as Nixon’s Watergate tapes which did him in, regardless of other evidence.  But such evidence might be more than sufficient to convict of lesser crimes.  And just as with the tax returns, if Congress subpoenas the un-redacted Report, the matter might end up in Court, even eventually going to the Supreme Court where, incidentally, two Trump appointees sit.  As I said in regard to the tax returns, litigation can stretch out for a long, long time. 


The point of all of this is that Trump and those Republicans who depend on his base of support to avoid primary challenges and to get re-elected want to keep this information under wraps until after the 2020 election.  Litigation can easily be stretched far beyond that date.  Why?  Because Donald knows that if he loses in 2020, and a Democratic President and Congress take over, the tax information and Mueller Report will come out and he knows that, in street language, his ass will be grass (and guess who will be driving the lawn mower?).  Donald needs to win re-election to postpone that day of reckoning.  


 

That is why he is actively cementing the loyalty of his base, chiefly comprised of economically threatened older white voters whose jobs have been changed by technology and low-cost overseas labor, and who voted for him in 2016.  He is doing this every day. They see new immigrants around them working for minimum wages, low enough for them to also qualify for “welfare” and believe they are the cause of their misery, and Donald uses this as his tool to keep their loyalty.


This is why Trump is increasing his usual attacks on immigrants, his insistence on a wall on our Southern border and his diverting the United States Army and the Department of Homeland Security from their full responsibilities to become part of his election campaign.  That’s why the “Generals” and most recently the top officials of Homeland Security have disappeared from his Administration, leaving him personally in charge, his finger frozen on the panic button.


Here’s some good news and some bad news.  The good news is that Donald will not get away with it.  History is not on his side. Americans know better. The bad news is that it will take the 2020 elections for America to get him out of office, and subject him to the actions of our judicial system.  It won’t happen any sooner.


And reminding the Democrats:  They must register voters, recruit workers and offer programs which will create jobs for those economically threatened older white voters and provide reasonably priced health care for all.  That is the only way to succeed.  Attacking Trump is a waste of time.  It’s like punching a pillow.  With that in mind, be sure to read Charles Blow’s recent New York Times column about the “legend” Trump has become to his followers (Read it by clicking right here) and the National Review’s senior editor Jonah Goldberg’s column on Trump’s “good cop – bad cop“ tactics, which you can read by CLICKING RIGHT HERE.   Both point out the futility of attacking Trump personally.

JL


Joe, Roy, Donald and Stephen 

Joe McCarthy, G.O.P. Senator from Wisconsin during the 1940's amd 50's, made a career of viciously attacking Communists whom he linked not only to the Democrats, but to the U.S. Army as well.  He went down in flames, a disgrace to the Senate and to his country, except in the eyes of those on the extreme right.  At his side during his Senate hearings was the late Roy Cohn, an unscrupulous attorney who constantly fed Joe the fuel of his vituperation.  Later on, before his death, Cohn became a personal adviser and attorney to Donald Trump, preceding Michael Cohen, prescribing the shady tactics he followed in his rise in the real estate world and his entry into politics.    

       
McCarthy and Cohn - in the Fifties




Years later, an older Cohn with a younger Trump





Trump and Miller today



















Today, the President seems to be getting advice from unscrupulous right-winger Stephen Miller, who prescribes Donald's authoritarian approach to immigration.  Has Miller, in Trump's mind,  even sub-consciously, replaced Roy Cohn?  They certainly look alike.
JL




HOW TO BE ALERTED TO FUTURE BLOG POSTINGS.

Many readers of this blog are alerted by Email every time a new posting appears.  If you wish to be added to that Email list, just let me know by sending me an email at Riart1@aol.com.

HOW TO CONTACT ME or CONTRIBUTE MATERIAL TO JACKSPOTPOURRI.com 
Contact me by email at Riart1@aol.com.   YOU ALSO CAN SEND ME YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO BE PUBLISHED IN THIS BLOG AS WELL AS YOUR COMMENTS AT THAT ADDRESS.  (Comments can also be made by clicking on the "Post a Comment" link at the blog's end, though few followers of the blog have done that lately.)

MOBILE DEVICE ACCESS.
DID YOU KNOW THAT www.jackspotpourri.com IS ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUR MOBILE DEVICES IN A MODIFIED, EASY-TO-READ, FORMAT?   

HOW TO VIEW OLDER POSTINGS.                                                
To view older postings on this blog, just click on the appropriate date in the “Blog Archive” midway down the column off to the right or scroll down until you see the “Older Posts” notation at the very bottom of this posting.  The “Search Box” in the right side of the posting also may be helpful in locating a posting topic for which you are looking. THESE FEATURES, ALONG WITH OTHER VALUABLE “SIDEBAR” ITEMS, INCLUDING ADVERTISEMENTS, MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE ON ALL MOBILE DEVICES.  CHECK THEM OUT ON YOUR DESKTOP OR LAPTOP COMPUTERS.

HOW TO FORWARD POSTINGS.
To send this posting to a friend, or enemy for that matter, whom you think might be interested in it, just click on the envelope with the arrow on the "Comments" line directly below, enabling you to send them an Email providing a link directly to this posting.  You might also want to let me know their Email address so that they may be alerted to future postings.

Jack Lippman 


No comments: