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Thread: What are you listening to these days?

  1. #41
    I still have no idea why this is supposed to make me angry.

    The artist's vision as described in Rolling Stone Magazine seems pretty clear to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rolling Stone Magazine
    The Nina Simone-sampling clip, directed by the rapper and Mark Romanek, plays off and subverts traditional African-American stereotypes. The style of the cartoon is a direct nod to the racist minstrel animations of the early 20th century where many black stereotypes that continue to pervade culture originated from.

    The clip centers on a character named "Jaybo," a tweak on the "Sambo" character from the children's book The Story of Little Black Sambo, a reference that's long-running shorthand for racist portrayals of African-Americans in the media. "Light *****, dark *****, faux *****, real ***** / Rich *****, poor *****, house *****, field ***** Still *****, still *****," Jay-Z raps as trenchant images of cotton fields, burning crosses, slave ships and lynchings appear on-screen.

    Speaking on the song to iHeartRadio, Jay-Z said, "'The Story of OJ' is really a song about we as a culture, having a plan, how we're gonna push this forward. We all make money, and then we all lose money, as artists especially. But how, when you have some type of success, to transform that into something bigger."

    [...]
    http://www.rollingstone.com/music/ne...om-444-w490544

    Now, are people saying that:

    1. He shouldn't be allowed to do that
    2. he should, but the way he did it reveals self-hatred
    3. hey look this reminds me of something hateful, time to get offended


    because I can't figure it out.
    Last edited by Reverend Jones; 07-23-2017 at 02:32 PM.

  2. #42
    Do people really think that Jay-Z is unironically spreading hateful anti-black propaganda? Because I was assuming the benefit of the doubt and that he had a subtle artistic reason for juxtaposing it with the song's indended meaning. I admit I didn't fully understand it and that Jay-Z could be out of touch or being careless, but maybe someone can help me out here?

  3. #43
    I mean, if I am to believe this Slate article about the video, this is all pretty kosher (with the exception of the inclusion of Jewish stereotypes), and is dealing with this stuff in a meaningful and heady way. As far as I can tell, people are just going nuts because of the literal associations with what they are seeing, rather than the indended meaning. Analogy: it is "too soon" for Nazi symbolism to even see the light of day in art in modern Germany, but overseas one can always get away with it if the meaning is clearly not endorsing actual Nazi's or their fans.

    I guess Jim Crow is too recent for this kind of stuff to be used artistically, then, and that including this stuff would be the equivalent of putting Nazi flags in an anti-Nazi music video released in Germany?

    Quote Originally Posted by Slate
    With her visual album Lemonade, Beyoncé sampled and recontextualized centuries’ worth of imagery of black women. Now, with his new video for “The Story of O.J.,” released shortly after his new album 4:44 early this morning, Mr. Carter is taking on a whole other history of representations of black people.

    “ ‘The Story of OJ’ is really a song about we as a culture, having a plan, how we’re gonna push this forward,” Jay Z (who is now styling his name JAY Z) explained on iHeartRadio for his new album’s premiere. “We all make money, and then we all lose money, as artists especially. But how, when you have some type of success, to transform that into something bigger.”

    This framing informs the animated “The Story of O.J.” music video—the full version of which is, for now, only available to Tidal subscribers. Update, July 7: The video is now available to all on YouTube.

    The animated video plays on America’s long history of racist cartoons from Fleischer Studios, Warner Bros., and Disney, among others. In the video, Jay voices the cartoon character Jaybo, whose name is a reference to both the racist Little Black Sambo books and cartoons from the early 20th century and (as the second half of the video, which features Jaybo flying by flapping his ears, makes clear) Dumbo, a Disney movie with its own set of racist caricatures.

    In the four-minute video, Jaybo walks through Brooklyn and uses the lyrics of “The Story of O.J.” to narrate images of such racist archetypes as mammies, pickaninnies, and Uncle Toms, which the video mashes up with more realistic imagery of slave auctions, lynchings, and burning crosses. A number of images in the video also directly echo specific old racist cartoons, such as when a rendering of Jaybo eating a watermelon closely resembles the image in Walter Lanz’s Scrub Me Mama With a Boogie Beat of a caricature of a black man happily eating a thick slice of watermelon. Meanwhile, the song samples Nina Simone’s own examination of black stereotypes, “Four Women.”

    Unfortunately, the song also engages in some stereotyping of other groups. In the second verse, Jay holds up Jewish people as an example of how to make better investments, saying, “You wanna know what’s more important than throwin’ away money at a strip club? Credit./ You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it.”

    But in the end, the video, co-directed by Jay himself and his longtime collaborator Mark Romanek (who previously directed Jay’s “99 Problems” and “Picasso Baby” videos), underlines the song’s not-so-subtle message that no matter how successful a black man becomes, America will always see him as lesser. Jay contrasts with O.J. Simpson’s notorious idea that—as others quoted him as saying in last year’s excellent documentary O.J.: Made in America—“I’m not black. I’m O.J.” As the video’s pitch-black final images make clear, and as LeBron James recently said in his emotional statement after his house was reportedly spray-painted with racist graffiti, “No matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you are, no matter how many people admire you, being black in America is tough.” Or as Jay’s old collaborator Kanye West once put it, “Even if you in a Benz, you still a n---a in a coupe.”
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/..._cartoons.html
    Last edited by Reverend Jones; 07-23-2017 at 02:45 PM.

  4. #44
    I did some searching and read the Reddit threads about this, and the sole piece of this song and video that seems to be bothering people is the Jewish stereotype. And in this case, people are rightfully indignant, especially seeing how lazy and unnecessary it was to include it.

  5. #45
    I'd be interested to hear some of those "awesome opinions", or settle for the Twitter rage screepcap.

    I reluctantly had a look at a few tweets, but all I was reminded of was that twitter is almost completely populated by morons feigning fake outrage or trolling people into having it.

  6. #46
    Actually, I even waded further into the garbage that Twitter churns out, and I even had trouble finding this outrage you are talking about. Most of the tweets were positive!

  7. #47
    Okay, from what I am gleaning from YouTube comments, the people who are getting offended (and said people are only being referenced, since I have yet to see a SINGLE offended comment that Reid seems to have seen) by this are mostly White folks who seem to think that a black artist can't send a positive message to members of his own community about not blowing money on stupid ****, without being demeaning to blacks.

    But hey, talk about demeaning!

  8. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post

    This apparently caused a ****storm on Twitter and I bet we could have some awesome opinions on this.
    Okay, I just realized that I probably misread this. But in the future you should make clear that by "****storm", you are talking about a positive reaction. Next time instead you could say tsunami.

  9. #49
    Positive, intelligent review of the video


  10. #50
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    I just saw some random Tweet. Lol didn't think you were gonna search so hard for controversy.

  11. #51
    Well that's the thing, there was none, but that's what the word ****storm means, right? I never saw controversy but since you pointed it out, it sort of behooves me to look for it right?

    There were a very small minority of people who got angry briefly, but this was because they didn't understand the video. Literally the only people legit pissed off at it are Jewish.

    That's interesting though, because it says that Twitter is a new low for intelligence. I mean, even YouTube comments were more intelligent than whatever person you saw misinterpreting it.
    Last edited by Reverend Jones; 07-23-2017 at 08:05 PM.

  12. #52
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    Twitter has always been a low for intelligence. I guess I was misinformed on how controversial it was.

  13. #53
    And I never even saw that on Twitter. Literally the only person who I saw get uncomfortable was some old white dude (in one of those "group X reacts to Y" videos) who was uncomfortable with the N-word, and even he understood it at the end when it was explained to him.

  14. #54
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    Lol well I only really wanted to comment that the video is hilariously capitalist. "You're all poor because you're not capitalists. Just own capital!" Thanks JayZ.

    Though I like the song, I disagree with the message.

    Also that was an impressive amount of research. I saw a tweet like "white people shouldn't like this video" and a couple hostile replies and just kinda assumed it carried over. Maybe I'm just not used to this newfangled Twitter thing.

  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    I'm guessing that because there were weird contradictory images of terrorists in it I am supposed to feel uncomfortable? But all I see is a black dude being a bit edgy and surreal and it's not at all obvious he's arguing for the genocide of his own people.
    Also not sure what you mean by surreal. I see concrete racist imagery and a pretty clear message. Doesn't seem very surreal to me. Also who are the terrorists?

  16. #56
    Actually your critique of the video is exactly in line with the one legit criticism of the video: the trope that Jews are "good with money", and that the African-American community ought to try to emulate Jewish covetousness. This is disturbing on a few levels, given the historic mistrust between Blacks and Jews, that it feeds into anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and not the least because Jay-Z once compared Hitler favorably relative to Stalin.

  17. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    Also not sure what you mean by surreal. I see concrete racist imagery and a pretty clear message. Doesn't seem very surreal to me. Also who are the terrorists?
    Honestly that comment of mine was much less well thought out at that point, and I was vaguely trying to find a reason to be offended.

  18. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    Also who are the terrorists?
    The KKK, although interestingly enough there were no white people in the video (maybe this counts as sureal-black KKK members).

  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    Actually your critique of the video is exactly in line with the one legit criticism of the video: the trope that Jews are "good with money", and that the African-American community ought to try to emulate Jewish covetousness. This is disturbing on a few levels, given the historic mistrust between Blacks and Jews, that it feeds into anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and not the least because Jay-Z once compared Hitler favorably relative to Stalin.
    Huh. Yeah that does seem to be a fair criticism. Didn't know there was any history there but that's curious to hear.

  20. #60
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    This song never gets old.

  21. #61
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    Also not sure what you mean by surreal. I see concrete racist imagery and a pretty clear message. Doesn't seem very surreal to me. Also who are the terrorists?
    Also, as far as the message goes: yeah, he is telling Black people not to blow their money on stupid ****, but as far as the tweet you saw about White people being pissed: the more salient point of course is that every black person is still a n***** in a White society, even "I'm not Black" OJ, and that his suggestion to be more frugal (while perhaps futile), was simply meant as a band-aid for that terrible truth.

    It was whites who pointed to OJ and his success as token evidence of a post racial utopia that would have been pissed, but honestly I think those folks are a dying breed.
    Last edited by Reverend Jones; 07-24-2017 at 12:20 AM.

  22. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    Maybe I'm just not used to this newfangled Twitter thing.
    "I'm not used to doing quantum electrodynamics with my head stuck in a blender, but maybe I'll get used to it"

    Folks, when people (spuriously) quote Churchill as saying that a five minute conversation on the street with the common man is the best argument against democracy, he was talking about the people who you never knew existed until twitter gave them a voice. I call it the long tail of stupidity.
    Last edited by Reverend Jones; 07-24-2017 at 12:26 AM.

  23. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    Also, as far as the message goes: yeah, he is telling Black people not to blow their money on stupid ****, but as far as the tweet you saw about White people being pissed: the more salient point of course is that every black person is still a n***** in a White society, even "I'm not Black" OJ, and that his suggestion to be more frugal (while perhaps futile), was simply meant as a band-aid for that terrible truth.

    It was whites who pointed to OJ and his success as token evidence of a post racial utopia that would have been pissed, but honestly I think those folks are a dying breed.
    I agree up to the point where he brags about how his art was a good investment and lamented not buying the building. In particular those lines were the most capitalistic. Of course the jew line falls under that. The rest I totally agree.

  24. #64
    I mean I don't think the logic should be taken too far, but it sure beats blowing money on yaughts and strippers (which is exactly what rappers like Jay-Z have been glorifying for years).

    Yeah, it would be a huge mistake to take saving money as a panacea (the exponential function is not kind to Johnny-come-lately's, hence Jay-Z's nod to accumulation of capital by Jewish people), but you gotta start somewhere!
    Last edited by Reverend Jones; 07-24-2017 at 12:32 AM.

  25. #65
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    I mean it's just a bit different to say "if you have millions try to get a return on some investment" and "live frugal if you're poor". Poor people obviously can't get the money to earn money so it's kind of a slap in the face to suggest that. I do see the point, it's that I think he chose a bad way to express it.

  26. #66
    I am open to the idea that he could express deeper ideas in his songs. Then again, that sentiment applies to pretty much every rap song ever made, when you start to analyze them beyond the overarching message. It's the feeling that counts bro.

    I don't know how many rappers went to college, but I am guessing the percentage is near zero.

  27. #67
    White boy tellin` the black millionaire how to better express his feelings on the topic of money vis-a-vis his brothers and sisters. Hmph!

  28. #68
    Poor people obviously can't get the money to earn money so it's kind of a slap in the face to suggest that
    Probably not, but they can easily spend it before hesitating long enough to open a savings account.

    Also, did you just equivocate blacks with poor people?

  29. #69
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    No I just generalized the statement. Probably a side effect of studying mathematics. I guess you're right though that it's not worth nitpicking that point. I'll just forget he ever said it and appreciate the song.

  30. #70
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    To be clear I'm trying to read class politics into the song/MV and am ignoring the racial politics. Even then it's a bit pretentious to be speaking like I am.

  31. #71
    Don't worry about it. But the song is less about deeper questions of political economy than it is about race

    Of course I'm totally with Jon`C in bringing things home to issues of economics again (since racial disparities are foremost amplified by capitalism itself, and working within it is gonna have its limitations), which inevitably ought to at least be informed by Marxist thought. It's just that you really can't expect that in a rap song, it's not sexy or accessible!

  32. #72
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    More 80's cuz why not.

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