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Dude! Once again, this reads like it was ripped from my skull! Awesome taste!

Wouldn't it be weird if you woke up one day and realized that you had actually written all of the Music of the Weak columns? And it played out like the movie scene where you realize that you are actually the killer?

Let me begin my fly ass comeback with a Hemingway reference.

In 1950, Across The River and Through The Trees, Ernest Hemingway’s fifth novel, was published to a perfect storm of critical derision. To a generation haunted by War, Hemingway created a colonel who bragged of killing 122. To an era still traumatized by Hiroshima and Dresden, he wrote of war in scenery flowery enough to be obscene. To a culture grappling with the experiences of blacks and Jews, he name checked a confederate general and forgot the most significant reason World War II was fought. It was one of those epic failures that scar a career, the literary equivalent of Bob Dylan’s Self Portrait or Lauryn Hill’s Unplugged, something so bad it changed the perception of artist work for the rest of his career.

Even with The Old Man and The Sea, a novella IMO as good as anyone has ever written, Hemingway never regained the place in the public’s consciousness. If Papa had rendered his brand of War fiction lifeless all by his lonesome, Joseph Heller, Thomas Pynchon, and Tim O Brien killed it dead. The raised consciousness that came from the feminist movement shed more than enough light on his grotesque sexual politics. The explosion of Jewish and African American writers that saw this country from a new set of eyes rendered his heroism, his philosophy, and even his prose style, away from public consciousness.

So what does a Nobel Prize Winning Novelist and Mult Platinum crack rapper have in common? Bear with me.

Both men were know for their technique and technique only:
Jay’s fans rightly talk about his flow, yet can’t talk that much about his content, because, save his cautionary tales, there isn’t that much to talk about. Always shoving his ideology down his characters throat, Papa took everything he could from Tolstoy and Crane save the reason they wrote in the first place.

Both men were known for their self absorption
Hemingway created a Frankenstein’s monster of masculinity, a monster that eventually did him in, a monster whose damage we are dealing with today. Jay started his career yearning to be the crack trade’s answer to St Paul, and the duration of it being yearning to be the second most hateful frat-pimp next to George bush.

Both men had a few central romantic themes

Hemingway: War, Battle, Bravery
Jay: Sorry for being in the crack game.

Which leads me to my thesis for this post. Both men had the country pass them by before there time
Let me specify, Elaborate, and Make my Charge. Jay Z had has America, and especially black america, Pass him by. I taught inner city kids on and off for a semester in Tacoma. This is not the same generation that banged Big Pimpin. This is not the same generation that even loved Reasonable Doubt. This is the second generation of black kids who were damaged by the crack game, child abandonment, and the project industrial complex. They listen to a hard scrabble hyper realist version of R&B that sounds more like Theordore Dreiser than T.I. They listen to Alicia Keys. The worship Mary. The pass around Anthony Hamilton CD like I used to pass around Vancover red blunts. They buy a troupe of flawed yet sensitive brothers who make their living solely by singing to them( Trey Songs, Ne-Yo, Raheem Devaughan, Lyfe Jennings)But if you try to tell them a sentence about crack rap, they will want to fight you.

Like the change or not, ( and I kinda do) we have to admit that this is a different generation, an generation that, Especially this year, is making itself known. The reason Obama has galvanized young Black America is that he is the first person to tell them that their experience matters. When Barack talks about absent fathers and the need for black men to take responsibility, the hip hop generation and the civil rights industrial complex hear rhetoric that hurts their feelings. You wanna know what these kids, hear, marty? They hear your pain is real, your anger is real, your wants, needs and hopes have meaning.

The juxtaposition is driving me nuts this year. Almost Every day I hear 18 year olds talk about the war and 28 year olds talk about the Clipse. Almost every day I hear kids talk about the election and adults talk about Lil Wayne. Almost every day, Marty, I hear kids haunted by their future and gen-xers delighted with Young Jeezy. Is Hov’s responsible for black folk’s problems? hell no. But no matter how great we both think Reasonable doubt is, he was the one who started this crack fetish shit. He might be the perfect unreliable narrator to us, but to them he is the symbol of every motherfucker who haunts their corner. And beneath the press, beneath the fan fare, beneath all the image and mythmaking of the man, they hate him for it. If our generation doesn’t give them a little more than “bitches, money, and crack” they will hate us too.

Peace out, homie.

Brotherman, that was, indeed, a fly ass comeback. And one that leaves me mostly speechless.

I will say that it's no coincidence that crack rap really reached its peak over the last 6 years of the Bush era. I will also say that, from my vantage-point, the constant buzz about Lil' Wayne, T.I. and the Clipse has more to do with their publicity machines than anything else. Yeah, those guys have become kinda icky fetish points for some late-20's white critics (Jesus, for all I know, I might be one of them.) but I also think that it's exciting that albums like The Roots' Rising Down or Erykah Badu's New Amerykah or Wale's Mixtape About Nothing are getting more coverage than is proportional to their publicity. I've heard more people talk about New Amerykah as album of the year than anything else at this point.

At any rate, there are artists out there who ARE giving us more, and even Jay-Z's American Gangster (which was my favorite album last year) finally gave me the hope that he's not just a genius sociopath. When our collective consciousness starts turning away from the attitude it's had for the last, let's say 8 years, which I hope it's doing, the market will follow.

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