They Live It…

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9 thoughts on “They Live It…

    • I love Weird Al, he’s one of my all time favorites and Amish Paradise is one of his bests. I grew up listening to “I Lost on Jeopardy” and “Like A Surgeon” and “Eat It.” We still sing “Eat it” to my kid who’s a picky eater 😂

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      • I grew up listening to him as well. My dad had cassettes of all his early stuff, and then later we moved to CDs. I actually was kind making a bit of a joke because of the controversies of the last week, and I was pleasantly surprised at your very human response. I understand and share your concerns about the CONTENT of many rap songs, but to paint the entire art form with a broad brush of hate would also paint Weird Al’s humor song with that same brush. I want you to know that I work with and interact with Polynesian people like James every day, and most of them are proud of their culture but have no desire to “destroy” or alter our culture in any way. Most of them just want the same things the rest of us want: faith, security, love, acceptance, community, and opportunity. These things don’t have to come at the cost of our European culture, but rather we can “rise the tide” of our society and lift all our boats together. And if a crusty old white Quaker like me can enjoy the content of James’ music, I hope you’ll lovingly consider at least tolerating it and realizing that – while it doesn’t speak to you or I – maybe it’ll help some Polynesian youth decide to be motivated to work hard and find the kind of success that America gives us all an opportunity to find through hard work and motivation, rather than follow a more destructive lifestyle as sadly so many youth do. Peace and love. 🙂

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  1. I can understand that it’s not part of their historical culture. But many young Polynesian-American kids enjoy the art form, and it speaks to them. And I understand why – rap music has a poetic prose and humans have long enjoyed poetry. But my point is that when we attack the art form and the skin color of those that listen to the art form, we miss the mark of the problems we really want to solve. We fail to address the true concern: the messages of glorifying crime and violence, or encouraging hedonism, etc that appear in many rap songs are the problem, but not the entire art form itself. But these aren’t the messages of artists like James. We aren’t going to stop Polynesian-American kids from enjoying rap by taking away James’s music or trying to discourage him from making it. Instead we’re only going to take away the positive messages he conveys through that art form. I know this because my parents took the same approach with me when I was growing up, and that only drove me to listen to more rap. (Luckily, I was into more political “hip-hop” artists than into the gangster stuff.) And so then the only rappers these kids will listen to will give them the messages we don’t want them hearing and taking to heart. I hope you’ll lovingly consider these thoughts, and I thank you for giving me the space to express them even if you don’t agree with them.

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    • I’m not attacking their skin color I’m referring to black rap culture the same as one might say “The Asian Art Museum” or “Rednecks” or any other title which labels a specific group you’re trying to refer to.

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  2. Here is an interesting ‘form and content’ discussion! What I’m hearing from both of you (if I may) is that there is the musical structure of hip-hop itself, and then there is the lyrical content which changed dramatically once the ‘gangsta’ style came along. A ‘gangsta’ lyric does not have very much to do with the musical structure (which can easily be fitted with different words) and it was not original to hip-hop.

    There was a kind of ‘last stand’ for non-gangsta hip-hop in the first half of the ’90’s with group like Arrested Development, PM Dawn and my personal favorite: Digable Planets. After that gangsta rap took over and the genre changed dramatically in just a couple of years.

    The form remained largely the same but the content became almost unrecognizable with early hip-hop, which had always had a bragging style and references to partying but nothing even close to the amount of violence and sex as became all-too-common years later.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents…

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