Friday, August 1st, 2008

Luda Could Use Some Education

The hum on the opening day at the National Hip-Hop Political Convention was that Ludacris had played himself. Badly.

Green Party vice presidential candidate Rosa Clemente put it best, “I have no love for Hillary’s politics and what it’s done to our folks, but I could feel her going through all the stuff she’s had to go through as a woman.”

Rap can say whatever it wants, and right now it wants to talk about the elections. That’s cool.

But Ludacris seemed to want to reduce serious politics to stale old battle rhymes. Come on, man. You got a degree from Georgia State. Rap deserves more than that.

We know that these days it’s gangsta to be political. But if you really want to battle on that level, step up your game, else you’ll just become another tool for the right-wing talk-show circuit.

Shoot, even Jeezy came with it when it was his turn.

Oddly enough, all this came on a day that the National Hip-Hop Political Convention focused on the educational possibilities of hip-hop. Hip-hop artists, teachers, professors, grad students, folks from the Hip-Hop Think Tank, and not a few young heads from the street came to UNLV yesterday to get into the ability of hip-hop to open minds.

Among the talks, rapper Asheru presented curriculum he had put together, using hip-hop songs by Nas, Common, Lauryn Hill, and even his own work for The Boondocks. He showed how you could take one song–say Mos Def’s “New World Water”–and break it down for english teachers, social studies teachers, and science teachers, using it to teach lessons about everything from poetry to hydrology. All of this was news we could use.

Listening, Luda?

As Marc Lamont Hill put it in his rousing closing address yesterday re: Lupe, right now is no time to dumb it down.

posted by @ 7:53 am | 4 Comments

4 Responses to “Luda Could Use Some Education”

  1. Foundational Reading Program says:

    I’m sure all of the rappers/hip hop artists could use some education. haha

  2. WestIndianArchie says:

    Rather than call out Obama for his Sista Souljah moment (like all the other blogs), you go the Republican way.


  3. Zentronix says:

    Not equivalent. How’s it even close to a Souljah moment? Clinton tried to win white voters by stirring up a racial and generational backlash.

    Obama’s been consistent on where he stands with rap lyrics. I happen to think we can hold our folks to a higher standard, including not being sexist.

    I said Luda needs to get real with his audience the way Jeezy did. Is it Republican to call rappers to talk about why they really ain’t voting Republican? Really?

    Maybe all the other blogs are wrong.

  4. The Nightshift Chronicler says:

    Jeff, I agree, and in fact think you’re being generous in your critique. Ludacris clearly knows better, or at least he should know how to play the game better by now. You wouldn’t find either Jay-Z or Diddy cutting a song like that because they are well aware of their crossover appeal. Ludacris has worked to put himself in conversations that extend beyond rap. He’s got his gig on the Discovery channel, he had a prominent role in an oscar-nominated movie, and for the most part has managed to stay above the fray during his rap career. His lyrics sometimes crass, clearly misogynist, are often smoothed over by his charisma, and ability to show that he has larger goals than being a rapper.

    Now, to come out with this rhyme, it shows a lack of forethought, aimless bravado, and an ability to understand what’s at stake for his career much less Obama’s if this does not turn out well. Sure, Ludacris has an audience of devoted followers, but I would venture to guess that I know a number of his fans, and his song is a poor reflection of them and their political sentiments.

    Luda’s song, as with a lot of the pro-Obama tom-foolery going on these days has very little to do with the candidate, and a lot to do with how people are either trying to make a buck or get their name out.

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