hip hop music

April 24, 2006

Mitch Albom on Proof's Death

Did we really need to hear from Mitch Albom on this one? Yeesh. This is one of those "not completely wrong, but just a little off" sort of pieces that I find the most annoying. The seed of a valid point is there, but by my reading it gets drowned in his lazy reasoning, condescending tone (note the scare quotes when referring to rap as "art"), and his general not-quite-getting-it.

One could argue this piece is not too different from Khary Kimani Turner's, but there's a world of difference in how they each resonate for me. Is it -to paraphrase Jalylah- a case of social location, relative to the subject, informing assumptions of intent? Or is this piece just kinda wack?

MITCH ALBOM: Lesson from Proof: Rappers heal thyself

They say the first stage of grief is denial. And at the funeral of the rapper Proof, some folks were apparently in severe denial -- about what he contributed, the world he celebrated or their own part in the culture of violence that killed him.

Let's begin with Proof himself (legal name Deshaun Holton), who died not serving his country or saving a child but after a Detroit bar fight at 4:30 in the morning. Although police say his last act on Earth was pistol-whipping then shooting another man -- before he himself was shot and killed -- Proof was nonetheless hailed at his funeral for his friendship, his aura and, ironically, his love of people.

And his music, which includes these lyrics:

You got a gun on your waist,
I got (one too)

Or this:

We gon' ride till the wheels fall off
Or God wanna kill us off (gun sound)
I don't duck when you pop that gat.

Love of people?

One other note: Is it just me, or are those lyrics awfully mild, to prove what Mitch is trying to prove here?

Posted by jsmooth995 at April 24, 2006 12:11 AM

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