Friday, April 13, 2007

Don Imus is hip-hop's savior

During Nas’ performance at the Neighborhood Theatre on Wednesday, he took shots at President Bush and rapper 50 Cent. He also lamented the commercialization of rap music, and how MTV contributes to that.

But Nas didn't go overboard on his criticism of MTV, probably because the network had a camera crew there to tape his performance.

I get the feeling Nas’ "hip-hop is dead mantra" is more for publicity than it is to actually make hip-hop better. It reminds me of his inane feud with Jay-Z a few years ago.

This publicity ploy is worse because hip-hop really does need help, and it may get it in the most unusual place - Don Imus.

Thursday’s firing of Don Imus is going to reverberate throughout radio. If black leaders can rally enough to prompt CBS fire Imus, imagine what they could do if they really decide to unite against misogyny and violence in gangsta rap?

In announcing the decision to fire Imus, CBS President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves said: “There has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in this society.”

Bryan Monroe, president of the National Association of Black Journalists and editorial director of Ebony and Jet magazines, said: “Something happened in the last week around America. It’s not just what the radio host did. America said enough is enough. America said we don’t want this kind of conversation, we don’t want this kind of vitriol, especially with teenagers.”

Monroe and Moonves are making a pitch to clean up the airwaves, and if others follow suit, the 50 Cents, Nellys, Snoop Doggs, Akons and similar artists -- who are getting rich degrading women -- will need to sing a new tune or watch their pockets get thinner.

Do you think Imus’ termination will affect hip-hop? Or do you think it’s a double-standard (that is, a rapper can call a black woman a derogatory name, but a white man can’t) with no lasting affect? Post your replies below.

Charlotte represented well for Nas

If hip-hop is dead, no one told the more than 1,000 people who crammed into the Neighborhood Theatre on Wednesday night to see Nas.

Bodies filled the aisles and every seat (upstairs and downstairs) inside the main area. The side stage was crowded as well, and unless you were packed up front, you couldn’t see anything.

With lights dimmed, Nas stalked out on stage reciting his eulogy for hip-hop, and then he lyrically resurrected the culture he so dearly loves. Sporting bright pink hair, Nas’ boo Kelis sat on the side of the stage and watched for several songs as he traversed through a set that included both hits and obscure songs that only hardcore fans know.

Of course, he performed “Hip Hop Is Dead,” along with “If I Ruled the World,” “Hate Me Now,” and “N.Y. State of Mind.”
It was a rare club appearance for Nas, and Charlotte represented well with a sold-out show.