African-American music once filled radios with the lament of the poor. In the 1930s, Billie Holiday sang, “Them that’s got shall get, them that’s not shall lose.” In the ’60s, Stevie Wonder sang that he was “a poor man’s son from across the railroad track.” In the ’70s the Temptations sang, “Money, I ain’t got none. Job, can’t find one.” In 2010, Lloyd Banks rapped, “Beamer, Benz or Bentley, my jeans are never empty.” African-American music is now a song of conspicuous consumption and product placement.
Why can’t even the very good takes on American life, like this lamentation on the shame of turning away from poverty that Leonard Pitts writes, be free of stultifying errors like these? Does anyone, Lloyd Banks included, think that Lloyd Banks is on par with those other titans of black music?
Is “Beamer, Benz, or Bentley” even an analogous song to the other three? “God Bless the Child” (not released until 1941) is among the most treasured songs in the American songbook; “Uptight” was No. 3 on Pop Singles and topped R&B Singles for more than a month; “Masterpiece” went to No. 7 on the Hot 100. “Beamer” got all the way to No. 49 on the Hot 100 and peaked at No. 5 on Rap Songs.
This is really not much different from any of the many asinine “OLD MUSIC > NEW MUSIC” Tumblr macros, except that Pitts uses this as fact to buttress an argument that needs making. Even those crusaders clearly on the side of the angels ought to also have the inclination and ability to line up the facts behind them.
- thehitpit said: he could’ve easily named a track off WTT.
- thehitpit likes this
- ironstring reblogged this from occupythedisco and added:
- occupythedisco reblogged this from ironstring and added:
- ladymisskate likes this
- jakec likes this
- occupythedisco said: I also don’t buy that there are no songs being put out by African-American artists which articulate issues of poverty nor do I get why that job falls on them to begin with.
- occupythedisco likes this
- screwrocknroll said: If you grew up with holes in your Zapatos, you’d celebrate the minute you was having dough.
- murkytimeistimeschool likes this
- andyhutchins posted this