hip hop music

September 19, 2005

NY Times on Hip-Hop and Katrina

David Banner made a great impression on me when I interviewed him last year a few months ago (damn it's been a long year) for this very rushed piece on rappers with college degrees (note: I did not write the headline). I'm glad the world is getting to know this side of him (I am quite fond of parentheses):

Rapping for a Hometown in Hurricane Crisis

"I lost my house," said one victim of Hurricane Katrina, although this particular victim was equipped with some wildly refractive ornamentation and, more importantly, a very loud microphone. The crowd fell silent. "I lost my cars," he continued. "But it ain't about me." Then, without pausing to acknowledge the absurdity, he delivered an exuberant, bare-chested ode to the shiny rims on the wheels of vehicles he no longer had.

This was, in a twisted way, one of the most moving moments of Saturday night's concert. The victim was the New Orleans rapper (and reality-TV veteran) known variously as Young City or Chopper, an aspiring star who joined loads of established ones inside the Philips Arena for a concert called Heal the Hood, a hip-hop fund-raiser for - and, in a few cases, by - victims of Hurricane Katrina. (A New York hurricane relief benefit is to be held Monday night at 10:30 at the B. B. King Blues Club and Grill in Manhattan.) On Saturday, Atlanta's famously competitive hip-hop stations had joined forces to promote an event that would be, as the jocks constantly reminded their listeners, historic.

And they were right. The night was organized by the tireless Mississippi rapper David Banner. He had corralled an impressive lineup of rappers, especially Southern rappers: Young Jeezy, T. I., Big Boi from OutKast and many others. The cause had everyone excited, but the "because" had everyone even more excited: the night was made possible by the extraordinary continuing success of Southern hip-hop.

No other event has ever mobilized so many rappers so quickly. Just about everyone heard Kanye West's impassioned claim that "George Bush doesn't care about black people." Fewer know that some stars (like T. I. and Fat Joe) hit the radio airwaves for impromptu telethons. Others, like Paul Wall, led clothing drives. And yet others, like Eminem, wrote sizable checks. Rappers from the fertile New Orleans hip-hop scene responded particularly gracefully: Juvenile was one who lost his home, but he plays down his own story, focusing instead on those who lost much more...

Posted by jsmooth995 at September 19, 2005 2:28 PM

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