Tuesday, February 15, 2011

90's Hit Parade #88

Brand Nubian - Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down

How do I resolve a song like "Punks Jump Up" with my own morality? I have no desire to be the PC police,* and I listen to plenty of politically incorrect music, but the homophobia on most rap records, or on punk songs like The Angry Samoans' "Homosexual" (they attempt to let themselves off the hook by crediting it to "Jerry Foulwell") or The Descendants'"I'm Not a Loser" is mostly of the playground taunt variety, and a song like The Meatmen's "Tooling for Anus," with even more violent gay bashing lyrical content than this one, is (at least in my mind) sung with ironic detachment from the homophobic character to whom the words belong. But when Sadat X raps "fuck up a faggot, don't understand their ways, and I ain't down with gays," there is no sense of irony, no excuse. How do I justify bobbing my head to such a threat? And yet, how can I resist a track this rousing? The music is as intriguing as the lyrics, powering it with a sample of the triumphant Rocky theme, yet never allowing it to reach it's crescendo, resulting in a musical track that's as frustrating as it is exhilarating.

*I'm all about examining whether a piece of art has disturbing messages, but that's not my definition of "political correctness." PC means rejecting a piece of art because you find a disturbing message in it, rather than engaging with it.


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