Moira Burke's Reviews > Award Winning Songs of the Country Music Association

Award Winning Songs of the Country Music Association by Hal Leonard Publishing Company
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Feb 21, 10

Read in September, 2006

"A collection of Touré's essays published in places like Rolling Stone, the New York Times, and the Village Voice, primarily on hiphop culture. He has a smooth chameleonic style, making you think he's equally comfortable in a New Yorker staff meeting and smoking blunts with DMX. The majority are interviews, arranged thematically, e.g. \sensitive thugs\"" (ex-drug-dealing rappers with homicidal histories talking about their families) and \""Icaruses\"" (celebrities who rose quickly to fame and then crashed). His comparison of Condoleeza Rice to an Old South house slave (a traitor to her people who's leaching off white privilege yet not changing things \""from the inside\"") is thought provoking and funny. Sections 9 through 11 are particularly moving reviews of the state of the Hiphop Nation and its inhabitants. Recommended. Quotes:
[Rapper DMX's] life is often little different than a high-school summer vacation with money. Wake up late, hang out with friends, experiment with substances, go to the mall, stay up talking till all hours, play little pranks, do it again the next day. But instead of sleeping on someone's couch and driving Mom's Volvo station wagon, you're bling bling.
The murders of Tupac, Biggie, and Jam Master Jay hit the Hiphop Nation like a neutron bomb, and the reverberations have been long and loud. Their names and images remain part of the hiphop zeitgeist to this day&emdash;you can't listen to hiphop radio or watch BET for long without hearing or seeing some reference to one of the three of them, and you certainly can't walk down 125th Street or any of the MLK Boulevards in this country without seeing some rendering of the dead triumvirate, often surrounded by Eazy-E, Aaliyah, Left Eye, and sometimes Big Pun. I always felt that hiphop would never be fully mature until we were rocked by tragic death just like jazz (Charlie Parker) and rock (Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Kurt Cobain) and R&B (Marvin Gaye). A human isn't fully mature until they've had to grapple with death, and neither is a culture. But even though the sadness remains, I sense no substantive change has come over hiphop as a result of those deaths, and I think it's just a matter of time before someone else joins the gang in Hiphop Heaven.
When I tell you it was a Black [tennis] club, I don't mean just that damn near everyone in there was Black. I mean the fabric of the place was Black, the rhythm was Black, the fucking air felt Black if you can believe that. And not white-sweater-vest Black. Not So-nice-to-see-you-again-General Powell Black. The place was ghetto.
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