Saturday, March 8, 2008

Bigger than religion?

Erykah Badu has said a lot of crazy shit over the years but on her "New Amerykah" album (which, by Badu standards is a C+. I submit "Mama's Gun" remains her masterpiece. Note to E: Don't string a bunch of overlong interludes together and call it an "album") there's a nice cut called "The Healer" in which Erykah proclaims "hip-hop is bigger than religion."

Now, as someone with tons of hip-hop and no religion, you might expect me to agree with this statement except that it makes no fucking sense. To illustrate, I have come up with three reasons why hip hop is NOT bigger than religion.

3. We will elect a president who doesn't have any hip-hop affiliation (in fact some might insist). We will NOT elect a president who doesn't have a religious affiliation.

2. Israel and Palestine would not be engaged in the holy clusterfuck they are in now if the dispute were over the birthplace of hip-hop. (Unless Shug Knight ran either country and then, yeah, there would be war -- and lots of people wearing red leather jumpsuits).

1. Nobody gets in trouble for taking the Lords of the Underground's name in vain. (Youngsters look 'em up. "#1 Chief Rocka" was the SHIT!)

I understand that Erykah's bigger point is that music, quite arguably OLDER than any organized religion, holds sway over EVERYONE and definitely has an affect. And that's not to say hip hop hasn't had an effect. I mean, without hip hop do you think Maury Povich would know the brother handshake/hug so well -- check him out when he greets the next potential "baby's father." He's got that shit down pat! Without hip hop, do you think it would be acceptable for journalists on CNN to talk about giving each other "props" (and not in an ironic "isn't this funny cause I'm white?" kind of way either)?

But in terms of sheer power to mold the social landscape of human history I submit that nothing competes with that old time religion and the fear of hell.


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