hip hop music

May 20, 2003

Is There Room for Right-Wing Rappers?

Our DJ 3D (who is going out on tour this week with Prince Paul) played a nice little instrumental on the last show, by a group named Ugly Duckling. I hadn't heard of them before, so I did some googling to see what they are all about. The answers I found were not very pretty:

Ugly Duckling's Politics Are Even Uglier

Where I'm from—that'd be the German port town of Hamburg—Long Beach's Ugly Duckling are one of America's more noteworthy exports. Their videos are all over TV. Music magazines compare them to the likes of De La Soul, Black Eyed Peas, Jurassic 5 and Black Star...

...Ugly Duckling has toured most of the U.S. and hit 20 other countries. Here, Andy Cooper, one of the band's two MCs, joined Young Einstein and me in the abandoned garage beside the house. Taking note of the derelict surroundings, I asked if they've ever thought about leaving.

"Never!" Einstein said. California is home, and that seems a natural enough reason to stay, along with family, friends and the sun.

But why not move to Europe, where the band's fame might bring them big euros?

This is where my conversation with Ugly Duckling, a band I've admired from another continent, went suddenly south—or rather rightward. It turns out Ugly Duckling are standard-bearers for conservatism.

"I don't want to pay 50 percent of my income to the government. I don't want to be controlled by the state!" Cooper said.

I was taken aback. I paused. I looked around. My English isn't perfect, and I wanted to diplomatically point out that the band doesn't have much to show for its reliance on the American marketplace.

Wouldn't it make sense, I asked, to pay more taxes for a better social welfare net and an innovative health-care system?

"No, it wouldn't!" Cooper said. Innovative health care? When Americans are sick, they go to "the doctor and pay him cash!" Social welfare? "Why should the government give unemployed people an apartment and some money to stay alive?" Cooper asked. "It just makes the people unproductive! They should get out and find a job."

Well, I offered in halting English, maybe it's harder for people to find a job once they're homeless. Ugly Duckling didn't want to hear it. "You can just write down the address of your homeless shelter on the job application," they offered...

Are any of you guys familiar with this group? Hopefully somebody can tell me this is some sort of Onion-style joke.

But if this is really what they are about, do these guys have any chance of being accepted with these politics? Should they be accepted? Would it be wrong for them to get reverse dixie-chicked by hip-hoppers because of their politics, if the music itself is on point? Or do they deserve to get dissed?

Posted by jsmooth995 at May 20, 2003 6:49 PM

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