I crush out hard on Azealia Banks because her potty-mouth lyrics make me little-kid giggle. And her visual world isn’t an intentional stab at big-D diversity or that dreaded p-word (“post-racial”), but a place, I think, more people live in than the media–be it a fictive universe or the real world--would want us to believe or give us credit for.
I know her jam, “212,” is the It Track now. But it’s not the song that I like so much as the video: there’s something just so performance-school Black fun seeing Banks bouncing in front of the camera with her male pal (which is a rare moving image to see in rap videos), rapping hard in the ear of that Everything-Is-Illuminated-Elijah-Woods-looking white guy, and then licking her lips with a “yeah, I did” sureness (video after the jump):
Beyonce might not completely run the world, but she’s certainly dominated the blogosphere news cycle since the release of the video for “Run The World (Girls).” Rather than each of us having a go at analyzing the song and the video, we decided it best to get together online and talk about not just the message Beyonce’s song is promoting, but how it fits in with other representations of Girl Power, as well as the song’s problematic backstory. Continue reading →
I’ve been following Diplo for some time, observing his work with appreciation, other times disappointment, and sometimes both at once. Back in the early days, when he was throwing warehouse parties in Philly, and later profiling DJs from around the world on his Mad Decent podcast (now a full-on record label and official site), Wesley Pentz was brazenly admitting to pirate-everything, right down to the clandestinely operated podcast itself. There was something refreshing and almost alluring about the nature of backpacking around the world with a passport and a tape recorder. Often considered a modern-day, musical Columbus, though his reputation for “discovering” new musical worlds would be one that would soon bite him where the sun doesn’t shine, Diplo made a name for himself by appropriating a variety of music and presenting it all with chameleon-like efficiency.
Some of you may know him for his production work on MIA’s first, albeit bootleg, album Piracy Funds Terrorism, a mashed up, remixed set of tracks which would later find themselves cleaned-up and repackaged on the official studio album Arular, or later for the Clash and Wreckx-n-Effect sampling “Paper Planes.”
However, he ultimate climax in Diplo’s fame has been in recent years, arguably months, with his promotion for Blackberry…
…and his collaborative work with UK producer Switch (producer for M.I.A. and Santigold) for the dancehall outfit Major Lazer.
But this month, Diplo’s spike in popularity came from a place slightly removed from his music by way of scathing criticism by a DJ named Iceberg Venus X. You see, much like other forms of appropriation (see: imperialism, colonialism, and popular use of cultural artifacts), a backlash always follows. Continue reading →
Race, Culture, and Identity in a Colorstruck World