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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Accidental Racist

So LL Cool J is making music headlines for a song he featured on by country artist Brad Paisley called "Accidental Racist" and the reaction has not been good at all. I finally got around to listening to it and I am no country music fan so it felt like nails on my ears for the most part. But I soldiered through to get to LL's verse.

Dear Mr. White Man, I wish you understood
What the world is really like when you're livin' in the hood
Just because my pants are saggin' doesn't mean I'm up to no good
You should try to get to know me, I really wish you would
Now my chains are gold but I'm still misunderstood
I wasn't there when Sherman's March turned the south into firewood
I want you to get paid but be a slave I never could
Feel like a new fangled Django, dodgin' invisible white hoods
So when I see that white cowboy hat, I'm thinkin' it's not all good
I guess we're both guilty of judgin' the cover not the book
I'd love to buy you a beer, conversate and clear the air
But I see that red flag and I think you wish I wasn't here 


Now, these lyrics aren't that bad, they damn sure aren't great but in regards to the reaction that has been throughout message boards and social media, these don't deserve that kind of hatred or criticism to me, with the exception of that awkward 'Dear Mr. White Man' beginning, and the use of the word conversate which doesn't actually exist. The best line is probably the new fangled Django part that is alluding to the new 'racism' that isn't as obvious as klan rallies. The big problem LL ended up having a set of ad-libs that were a bit ridiculous and what happens when you try to just rhyme something and don't consider what you're saying (hello Rick Ross you seeing this?)

 "If you don't judge my gold chains.... I'll forget the iron chains... The past is the past, you feel me... Let bygones be bygones... RIP Robert E. Lee but I've gotta thank Abraham Lincoln for freeing me."

That last little extra part is what everyone has been blowing up about because honestly, it's just stupid. I could try to spin that, but nah, it's clunky, simplified and not well done at all. Just like I don't think Ross was literally advocating rape , I don't think James Todd Smith thinks gold chains and slave chains are equal but it seemed to fit and was a very poor attempt to juxtapose two things that are similar in the sense of word (chains) but different. It just is more than awkward, it's bad rapping at a time and on a song when every thing coming out of your mouth will count.

At the end of the day, it's bad, but it isn't as bad as Rozay's 'rapish' lyrics. The subject does deserve more discussion because in a country that is more polarized and more secluded every day by technology and the ability to stay in your comfort area and live without ever being introduced to people who aren't like you, we do need to think about ways to start this discussion. The only way to move past this is to talk through it.

Now the aim of the song is a noble one to try and move race relations beyond where they have been and quit the blame game because at some point we all need to be responsible. With that said, it's still too soon for some and thus why you will have such a vitriolic reaction to this song. We are still struggling with overcoming racism and the effects of Jim Crow, and yes it will take time...maybe a lot of time, I hope not.


LL should have just jacked Louis C.K. for this clip from the Leno show for the ad-libs. (skip to 9:15 for it)



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