June 27, 2005

Is the Black Eyed Peas' "Monkey Business" appropriately titled, or is it just indefensible crap?

Critic: With the release of Monkey Business, The Black Eyed Peas have finished what they began with Elephunk: transforming into a completely substance-free, modern-day hip-hop version of the Village People, donning completely unreasonable outfits and designing every track for heavy rotation on ClearChannel. The criticism that everyone will levy at them, validly, is that they’ve sold out. But the problem with selling out is that it also exposes your earlier work’s shortcomings. Pre-Fergie, the BEPs were never short on potential, but their weaknesses were primarily the fact that 1) they were (at best) merely serviceable lyricists, and 2) they didn’t have much to say besides calling out mainstream rap for being mediocre. Well, as the saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join them. Monkey Business may very well top the list of 2005’s mediocre, radio-friendly, vacuous hip-hop records.

Clubhead: I was once rolling in my car with a girl. BEP’s Bridging the Gaps was on the stereo, the joint was “Weekends” featuring Esthero. The girl in my passenger seat--you know how I do--said to me, “Oh, I like it when the girl sings.” This girl was white. Esthero was white. BEP went on to add Fergie to the group, who is white. Suddenly the Peas had found their audience: party girls and the guys who get with them. I am one of these guys. I am also white.

Critic: I agree with you--it was a savvy business decision for the Peas. But the way I see it, the real reason we go “clubbing” is because our day jobs are boring, and we spend every weekday knee-deep in it, with pleated slacks, a tucked-in shirt, and possibly even shoes with tassels. So after 40 or more hours of shuffling papers and engaging in brain-hurting activities like thinking, the weekend comes around and people want to forget about it and move their hips to something stupid. And BEP provides that stupidity.

Clubhead: Did you get a degree just so you could figure out stuff like this? They have a track titled “Let’s Get Retarded.” And you’re saying they provide stupidity? You think?

Critic: What I’m trying to say is, in an ideal world, there would be no need for the Black Eyed Peas, because people wouldn’t have terrible day jobs that make them want to “get retarded” in the first place.

Clubhead: That’s true. But in an ideal world… you would also get laid. What did you say? If you can’t beat them, join them.

Critic: Yes, but I stand for something in my life.

Clubhead: Do you see that blonde girl right there in the abercrombie jean skirt? Notice that I said “Abercrombie” with a little “A.” She's grown, but she buys her skirts at abercrombie kids, dude. You can ALMOST see her ass. Where do you stand on that?

Critic: …

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2 Comments

The BEP, Fergie, Esthero thing is part of a larger door that has been opening for some time now and revealing something very interesting, something that most people are aware of but will never acknowledge.

The first interesting thing just touches the surface of what stands behind the door and it deals with the word "token". The word "token" usually precedes the description of some sort of minority group (e.g. black, asian, hispanic etc.). Examples of this usage can be found when talking about movies and any type of political function. But, what BEP has been revealing for us is that "token" is now being followed by “white girl”.

Second, underneath this surface lies what is of most interest to me. White girls want the brothers. Do not forget all the tokens that came before Fergie. Remember the Britney Spears remix of "Hit Me Baby One More Time" (back in the day) with some thugged out rapper (and does it really matter who, as long as he was thugged out and black). Remember Christina Aguillera (do not let the name fool you...she is white) when she did "Dirty" with some some thugged out rapper whose name ended in "man" (who I beleive went on to do a *successful sitcom featuring a token white women formerly of "The Daily Show). And pay close attention to the titles of this family favorites, is there not a blatant hint of lust.

*huge failure

Now you might say that the rappers in these songs were the tokens, but I beg to differ. It was merely the early stages of a larger campaign to create one of the rap games most valuable resources: white chicks (coincidentally, also the name of a movie where the Wayans brothers dress up as white chicks…could it be more clear?)

So I will say it again; white girls want Blackness (and by White Girl I mean the stereotype of the Abercrombie-Aeropostale-Gap-wearing, MTV-Simple Life- Real World (post second season)-watching, Top 20-BEP-listening, not-legally-allowed-to-do-it-but-do-it-anyway-drinking, white girls). You see, despite all their claims of racial blindness, there still exists a deep-seated Whiteness (aka Daddy) that forbids them to delve into the Brotherhood. The only way this can be overcome is if they are served the rap game, pseudo hip-hop culture, ready-to-serve blackness that they know is in large part controlled by another white Daddy, Mr. MTV.

Paul Moonie spoke the truth when he said, “The Black man is the most copied man in America” (I would add the whole world). He went on to say, “Everybody wants to be a nigger but nobody wants to be a nigger.” The evolution of token white girls has created a formula that makes Negrodamus’ conundrum possible. White girls can now spit irrelevant easy-to-learn lyrics about the “less than mediocre rap scene” or some form of partying (or in some case transform meaningful lyrics into a state of irrelevance by spitting the rhymes without listening to the words or learning about their origin). White girls can go to the clubs, wear the short skirts, do the dances, dance with the brothers (or if still too apprehensive, the white guys who sip from a similar formula), because they know that the voice on the other side of that thumping speaker looks just like them.

The desire has always been there in Whiteness because Blackness is cool (blues, rock, jazz, hip-hop, rhythm in general). But with deep-seated Whiteness being defended by Daddy, a slow and steady, marketable, exploitative path needed to be charted. Is there a leader in this hike through the path of the entertainment industry crawling with weeds of racial and sexual exploitation? Depends how you look at it. Some might point the finger at the person who sets up the hike and flies overhead in a helicopter taking pictures and selling them at the finish line: the old white guy who writes Shaq’s check. But I think it may be more complex than that.

All I know is that the key to understanding this whole formula rests in the hands of one person: Jessica Simpson. Her Daddy in the literal sense (the guy who helped raise her and whose sperm helped create the physical body that is Jessica Simpson) is a perfect example of “Daddy” in the metaphorical sense (deep-seated Whiteness). Daddy might approve of Nick Lachey (however you spell his name) but he forgets that Nick has been sipping from a formula similar to the one that Jessica will suck down in due course (the one I’ve been talking about all along). Nick was part of a boy band (white term) which, with all boy bands, are, in some twisted disturbing way, connected to all the r&b groups (black term) that came before them. So ‘ol sperm-having, white-loving, exploit-the-Christians-for-monetary-gain Daddy will inevitably lose to the formula being passed around White America as we speak. We shall see how long the newlyweds last because waiting in the next music video, in the next recording studio, in the next celebrity party, lies a brother…and this I swear.

July 14, 2005 at 3:19PM, Edited September 4, 10:12AM

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Daryn