Alicia Keys Calls Gangsta Rap a Ploy?

I don’t know if I can believe this but apparently Alicia Keys told Blender magazine that she thinks gangsta rap “was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other. ‘Gangsta rap’ didn’t exist.”

Now, the marketing of gangsta rap is certainly a topic for debate and the methods and messaging employed are ripe for a harsh look, but to suggest that some honky in Washington D.C. developed the genre that shook the 90s as an attempt to keep black folks in check is preposterous.

The lyrics from classic disses like “No Vaseline” (lyrics) that implied a controlling force over his actions aside, Eazy-E can probably lay claim to having the most influence over the genre that has enraged parents while entertaining teens for nearly 20 years. Jerry Heller may have rigged the pay structure but Eazy had the flow!

Keys is also said to wear a gold AK-47 pennant on a necklace “to symbolize strength, power and killing ’em dead,” which is oddly similar to the sentiments expressed in the gangsta rap that she reportedly said was concocted by others who mean to control the African American community.

There’s no mention of the quotes in this excerpt from Blender’s site and GLONO hasn’t read the entire article in print yet, so who knows if she’s actually quoted saying any of this.

So, what gives? Is this story bunk or is Alicia Keys about to go all Angela Davis on our asses?

10 thoughts on “Alicia Keys Calls Gangsta Rap a Ploy?”

  1. On Woody Paige’s board this afternoon on Around The Horn..

    “Rap is to music as etch-a-sketch is to art.”

  2. kooky. to each their own. at best i will mark her statements up to the impetuousness of youth.

    i give a lot of leeway to conspiracy theorists, but there’s a line where reality has to snap people back to sanity. ms. keys is soon approaching that line.

    the insular lives of celebrities sure does lead to a lot of interesting bunk to read about these days.

    listen, if the government had a lot more say into destroying culture, we would all still be bowing to the new kids on the block.

    wait a minute, aren’t they reuniting?

    i take it back… ms. keys is a genius!

    viva revolution!

  3. It’s preposterous to suggest that Whitey created gangsta rap, but the Man certainly doesn’t have any moral dilemma with raking in the money from it.

    Chuck D said it best in a 2003 essay on the PE website: The 50 CENT PHENOMENON; RAPS CLIMATE OF ANIMOSITY and THE PIMPING OF BLACK DEATH IN AMERIKKKA

    I can’t help but wonder how INTERDOPE RECORDS prez JIMMY IODINE sleeps at night. With the latest 50 CENT “GET RICH OR DIE TRYING” phenomenon sweeping the nation, again I’m amazed at the selling power of black death and the masters who pimp it. There’s a lot of blood in IODINE’S bank just as BRYAN TURNIP, formerly of CALIFORNIA RAISIN, launched gangsta turned PRIORITIZE RECORDS wayyy back in the 90s, courtesy of the west coast. I actually dug 50 CENTS’ original take on ‘fake gangstas’ and the idea of bringing some cats down to the reality of the harshness of the ‘real streets’ instead of studio imagery. As I dug NWA’s early rebellious take on how a brother couldn’t get ahead in society. But in the case of the swirl around 50 I can’t even say its entirely his fault, that his take on the road to rap is along the BIGGIE “Born to die” steez.

    It’s the usual suspects that cash in at the end, that resonate the statement of the amazing profit of black death. There are glaring facts about this contribution to this millennium cointelpro of the rap game. From DJ SCOTT LAROCK to JAMMASTER JAY and everyone KILLED in between there hasn’t been a murderer found yet. Number two, in the case of TUPAC selling 5 million records while living and at least 30 million in his death. The case of the white exec hiring and doing business with the negro so he can create, recreate, cultivate, endorse then sell n—-s doin ‘niggativity’ has never been more apparent. These execs would never do business with a ‘black man’, whereas a black man would draw a line on what would be said about his people. A man would tell another man that he couldn’t compromise a people for the sake of some false god named ‘profit’ and his son named ‘bottom line’. The charge to the top of suspicious chart is paralleled at the same time by R KELLY who again has found love from peeps. The picture drawn here is that anything can be said and done against black people, and the damage that appears to be self inflicted is none the less assisted by cats lurking in the shadows. The blood banks are spilling over at this time as it’s the easy way out to cover the fact that 50 has already been shot at point blank range, so that’s the story that INTERDOPE’S marketing team sharply rolls and promotes their head to. Now everywhere he goes it’s covered the fact that he sleeps in a bulletproof vest and there are ample heapings of bodyguards in surround sound.

    It brings to question… what makes a cat hate another brother who looks and talks just like him whereas they never even met? Radio, hype and video talk to all folks on behalf of the perceived and conceived opinion of black people, masterminded by the thought of ‘the streets’. Problem is that this NY-LA pimp biz mentality didn’t ask ALL the streets, they’re telling and programming them. At the tail end of those same streets are the businesses of jail and death. They could care less about the streets in betwixt.

    Read the whole thing. Chuck rules.

  4. Wow. Well, the Keys is kooky, but I used to think Chuck D was smart. What a big baby.

    [i]The case of the white exec hiring and doing business with the negro so he can create, recreate, cultivate, endorse then sell niggers doin ‘niggativity’ has never been more apparent. These execs would never do business with a ‘black man’, whereas a black man would draw a line on what would be said about his people. A man would tell another man that he couldn’t compromise a people for the sake of some false god named ‘profit’ and his son named ‘bottom line’.[/i]

    So he (Chuck, the man who distinguishes between black man and “nigga”) is maybe bitter about his own records not selling, because maybe gangsta rap crowds his market? Okay, that’s legit, but say it outright.

    Wait, wasn’t gangsta rap “street journalism” before, but now it’s “niggativity,” because (I guess) Evil Whitey Record Exec ™ forces these talented gentlemen (who would so much rather be uplifting people) to play up the violence so *gasp* their business can turn a profit instead of (I guess) provide some sort of a public service?

    And these guys are killing each other (I guess) because whitey is laughing all the way to the bank instead of jumping in front of the bullets.

    This shit is absolutely outrageous on almost every level, but because we’re nostalgic for what our image is of Chuck D, we just take it in stride?

    Grow the fuck up, Chuck D.

  5. Alicia can lie in my bed and tell me her conspiracy stories anytime! I would just nod lovingly in her arms and say, “you are so cute when you spout out angry black panther rhetoric!”

  6. OK, I’ll bite. What is the difference between how N.W.A and Fiddy is marketed, and why should we care?

  7. NWA was a word-of-mouth thing from the ground up, originating with selling tapes out of the back of Eazy’s car at the Compton swap meet. (I realize there’s some mythologizing there, but still…)

    50 is a brand that Interscope pours millions of dollars into promoting. It’s just like Gatorade, Nike, or Apple but instead of exploiting people’s desires to be athletic or hip or whatever, Interscope is exploiting people’s desire to be “gangster” or “street” and all that goes with it (bullet proof vests, surviving gunshots, prison, etc.). This is a major corporation engaging in lifestyle branding.

    Yes, there is a market. People buy 50 Cent cds. However, advertising creates markets for shit people never even knew they wanted. That’s the whole point of advertising.

    I mean, anybody who works in corporate America (especially in an ad industry hotspot like Chicago) knows a million people who spew this kind of malarkey for a living. But the advertising industry exists (and makes so much money) because it fucking works!

    I realize this argument is not as cohesive as it could be, but I guess my main point is that I don’t think Chuck D is wrong (and definitely not stupid) when he suggests that Interscope is exploiting 50 and the black community in order to sell products (i.e., minstrelsy), and that the Interscope executives do not care either way if 50 gets rich or dies trying. A dead 50 is just as marketable as a living 50 (just ask Tupac’s estate).

    I’m not quite prepared to go all Bill Cosby and suggest that hip-hop is destroying black America. But it’s hard to argue that the glamorization and glorification of “thug life” has done anybody any good…

    And I don’t think NWA and the OGs (ha ha) glamorized it.

    I don’t have the answers. But I don’t think Chuck is being crazy or particularly outrageous. Yes, his style is inflammatory and hyperbolic and sometimes preachy, but there’s a lot of truth, honesty, and experience in there, too. And I’m not just cutting him slack out of nostalgia. The shit he’s saying there is the same shit he was saying in PE (“Burn Hollywood Burn,” etc.), and I loved it then and I love it still.

  8. I see what you’re saying, but that’s how business operates. A dead anybody can be extremely lucrative: Look at Elvis. Look at Nirvana.

    See, Chuck knows talking about “sellout niggas” and “white execs” always gets the most vigorous ‘amen’s; he can’t help but throw them in. But in doing so, he becomes part of the problem. It’s his facile use of the race card and disingenuous victimology politics to which I object. People make choices. They are not helpless. Is Chuck unhappy with the content, or with the business, or with the audience? He is right that there’s a “problem,” but he is confused about the cause(s).

    There’s plenty of movies I wish weren’t being made. Hell, I got rid of cable because I didn’t want my kids watching anything outside PBS. Let’s take this further: If you and I and Chuck were any kind of significant demographic, maybe there’d be a lot less shitty product coming out of Hollywood–because there’d be no demand for it.

    I would happily join Chuck in calling for less garbage culture and more artistic integrity in entertainment. But you can only tell people “You shouldn’t do this” to an extent. Rather, you have to show them “Here’s why the alternative is better.” And the audience needs the tools and influences to discern that.

    It is a problem of which the sellouts and Hellers are only symptoms.

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