hip hop music

June 17, 2009

Ironically-White Hip Hop Is Dead

Jody Rosen says what most of us were probably thinking. There's always a place for comedic raps, but in 2009 you need more than just "isn't it funny that I'm a white person rapping!!" Or to put it another way: there's a thin line between making a rap with jokes, and taking rapping for a joke © KRS.

White and Nerdy: That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore

I had high hopes when I learned that Taylor Swift and T-Pain were performing together on last night's CMT Music Awards. Two of the most world's most appealing pop stars, mashing up hip-hop, country, and teenpop? A lil' bit of pedal steel, a lil' bit of Auto-Tune? I canceled dinner plans. I switched off the Mets game. And I put myself way out on a limb: I tweeted my excitement.

Bad move. Instead of a live performance, the CMT broadcast opened with a video, "Thug Story," in which T-Pain crooned auto-tune-swathed backing vocals while "T-Swift" flashed a diamond grill and rapped about knitting sweaters. It was, in other words, the latest—the millionth?—example of the White Folks Can't Rap novelty tune, that ubiquitous sketch comedy routine that hammers home a single punch line again and again: Check out this honky rapping—isn't that a riot?

Well, maybe it was in 1983. That was the year of "Rappin' Rodney," in which Rodney Dangerfield reeled off a series of borscht-encrusted one-liners over a thumping beat. Shortly thereafter, Doonsbury creator Garry Trudeau masterminded "Rap Master Ronnie," a mildly—very mildly—amusing spoof of President Reagan.

In other words, this joke is almost as old, and precisely as funny, as "Why did the chicken cross the road?" Yet it continues to get told and told again... continued..

White and Nerdy: That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore

Posted by jsmooth995 at June 17, 2009 7:33 PM

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