Consider the argument: Donald Trump was gifted with a surname that already sounds like a rapper’s nom de microphone (though the savvy street poet would amend it to something like Trump the Don, so as to conflate the first name with a mafia honorific.) He is the only person in the 2016 Republican field to have appeared both in a commercial endorsing the Wu Tang Clan and the Russell Simmons episode of “Behind the Music.” Trump’s combativeness and overt egomania may induce cringes in the G.O.P. establishment, but this is precisely the behavior we expect—nay, demand—from hip-hop artists. Ditto his tendency to accessorize with beautiful women, a habit that surely motivated his purchase of the Miss Universe pageant. This was not simply a means of burnishing his public appeal by proximity to beauty but also a brilliant means of monetizing male insecurity in a way that has long been painfully apparent within hip-hop culture. Moreover, he’s the only Presidential aspirant with his own clothing line, an atypical venture among real-estate magnates but a virtual requisite for the brand-conscious music impresario—Jay-Z, Diddy, Russell Simmons—looking to diversify his revenue and tastemaking opportunities. It’s no coincidence that when Trump stepped away from his reality show The Apprentice, rumors swirled that Jay-Z would serve as his replacement.
It’s unusual to see violence like this on the well-patrolled Las Vegas strip; even more surprising is the shooter got away.
Along with the apparent intended victim two bystanders—a cab driver and his passenger—were killed in a fire resulting from the incident.
Aspiring Oakland rapper Kenny Clutch (born Kenneth Wayne Cherry Jr.), 27, was shot and killed on Thursday in Las Vegas after an unknown assailant fired shots into Cherry’s Maserati.
According to CNN, Cherry was among three people killed in the incident, in which someone in a black Range Rover fired several shots into the rapper’s car approximately one block from the spot where Tupac Shakur was fatally shot in 1996.
After his car was hit, Cherry kept driving, ran a red light and collided with a taxi, which caught fire and killed the driver, 62-year-old Michael Boldon. A passenger in the taxi was also killed in the fire and a passenger in Cherry’s Maserati and six others were injured in the ensuing pile-up. Police said the Maserati passenger was hit by gunfire.
Authorities have not yet identified the shooter or shooters or revealed the cause of the deadly incident.
I’ll be careful when I’m out there next for NAB
Cologne-based rapper Najafi has drawn the wrath of Shiite Muslims after publishing a song that appeared to make fun of the 10th imam. Following a fatwa by an Iranian ayatollah, he has received death threats, and there is a $100,000 bounty on his head. Now he is under police protection but insists he will keep making music. By SPIEGEL Staff
It’s every rapper’s dream: You stick it to the world, not caring what people think or say about you. If they hate you, they should go ahead and diss you, the more the better. No one can tell you what to do. After all, isn’t that what rap is all about?
That dream came true last week for an Iranian rapper living in exile in Cologne. But in the tough reality of life, the dream has turned into a nightmare for Shahin Najafi. Najafi rapped about a man who has been dead 1,143 years: the 10th imam, Ali al-Hadi al-Naqi. He implored the imam to return to modern-day Iran to sort out the regime there. Of course, to a certain extent he also poked fun at the imam — the sort of thing a rapper does in a world that’s becoming more and more difficult to provoke. Najafi also designed an image for YouTube: a dome of a mosque in the shape of a women’s breast, with the nipple at the very top.
He wanted to be provocative. It was rap, after all. The song’s message was hard-hitting and crass.
What he provoked, however, was not the usual outcry on the Internet, but a response from the Grand Ayatollah Lotfollah Safi Golpayegani in the Iranian city of Qom. It was a religious opinion, one that Persian newspapers have turned into headlines, albeit with a few weeks’ delay. The ayatollah expressed himself in broad terms, not even mentioning Najafi by name. But anyone who wants to can easily interpret the ayatollah’s opinion as a call to murder. And that is now Najafi’s problem, because there are many who want to read it that way.
Remember back during the bailouts? Wingnuts were ranting about how Obama was running the industry and that GM was government motors and that taxpayers would never, ever see that money again. Now that the loans are paid back and the industries have come back miles and miles on the road to recovery you would think that wingnuts would back off of their insane claims. No such luck.
Late Monday, Eastwood said any implication of politics was baseless.
“…There is no spin in that ad. On this I am certain,” Eastwood said in a statement to Fox News late Monday night. “I am certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama. It was meant to be a message about job growth and the spirit of America. I think all politicians will agree with it. … If Obama or any other politician wants to run with the spirit of that ad, go for it.”
CNNMoney: Chrysler is king of the Super Bowl spots
The commercial, shown to more than 111 million Americans watching the game Sunday and which has since received more than 550,000 views on YouTube by Monday evening, was similar to last year’s Super Bowl commercial for Chrysler featuring rapper and Detroit native Eminem.
Shortly after the ad ran, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer sent a tweet: “Saving the America Auto Industry: Something Eminem and Clint Eastwood can agree on.”
Media critic Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times quickly tweeted: “As Clint Eastwood hails a Detroit that’s up and fighting again in Chrysler ad, is Repub indirectly endorsing auto industry saver Obama?”
Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin jumped in on Twitter with her take: “Agh. WTH? Did I just see Clint Eastwood fronting an auto bailout ad??? #SuperBowl”
Fiasco was responding to a question from host Shira Lazar about political content in his popular rap albums. He continued, “For me, I’m trying to fight the terrorism that’s causing the other forms of terrorism. You know the root cause of terrorists is the stuff the U.S. government allows to happen. The foreign policies that we have in place in different countries that inspire people to become terrorists.”
Fiasco’s extreme political views are partly what fuels his rap and intrigues his 600,000 Twitter followers. On a track from new album, “Lasers,” he raps, “Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn Beck is a racist, Gaza Strip was getting burned, Obama didn’t say sh-t, That’s why I ain’t vote for him, next one either….”
In fact, Fiasco told Shira that voting is meaningless. “I don’t vote. No I don’t vote. I don’t get involved in politics. It’s meaningless. To be honest,” he said. “If I’m going to say I stand behind this person and write on a piece of paper that says, ‘yeah I stand for this person,’ then I have to take responsibility for everything he does cause that’s just who I am as a human being. So politicians aren’t going to do that because I don’t want you to bomb some village in the middle of nowhere.”
Well, not really but something just as strange. Skip to 5:45 to hear him talk about his chosen name.
Skip to 9:00 on this one:
This final video has the rapper outside of the congressman’s office:
Even though it’s 2011, we’re still litigating whether rap music in and of itself is a societal corrosive or an artistic expression that channels raw experience and expurgates emotions in the form of a catharsis. It’s really the old Plato versus Aristotle rap battles over the artistic merits of tragedy — at least we can dance to it, so there’s that.
But the news today is that Michelle Obama is having some poets over to the White House to read some poetry, and that one of those poets is Chicago rapper Common, and OH MY GOD did you know he’s rapped about violence? It’s true, and the Daily Caller is beefing about it.
As always, it’s important to remember how stories like this come together. Some political figure likes some artist. If the artist is worth his or her salt, then chances he or she has probably done something outre or controversial. And, wow, a rapper? That means there’s probably a chance here, to anger up the anger-prone, and manufacture some ire, and suggest that art or music was much more refined and non-controversial back in the 1950s or something.
Of course, Common is a pretty hard sell when it comes to striking the right divisive note, and while the Daily Caller could have mined his most recent album Universal Mind Control, for some dirty-ass songs that encourage some athletic sexual activity, it doesn’t really contain the short, sharp shock of those gangsta rap classics about running drugs and capping police officers. But they dug and dug, and found an example of what they’re looking for, in the form of a poem called “A Letter To The Law”:
In my opinion, Michelle couldn’t have invited a more talented and intelligent artist than Common. I’ve been listening to his music for years, and it’s on a completely different level than most hip-hop. Here’s one of my favorite songs by him.