A petition to replace the n-word with “Inca” in hip hop

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Reclaiming the n-word has been one of the few successful projects of our lifetime, and most of the thanks belongs to hip hop. The n-word used to be a word white people said to black people. Now it is a word black people say to one another, while white people hope silently that a black person will say it to them. This situation is better in all regards—except, ironically, for hip hop. The prevalence of the n-word in rap poses a major problem to its largest audience demographic, white people between the ages of 18 and 35. Now that the work of reclamation has been achieved, we should agree to replace the n-word in music with the word “Inca,” so that when we are rapping along with “Pass Dat,” we don’t have to choose between saying the n-word fifty times and delivering an inferior performance.

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Ben Carson’s rap ad makes the wrong kind of sense

"I got a six-figure check for separating twins / I got a [bleep] this big for putting them in."

“I got a six-figure check for separating twins / I got a [bleep] like that for putting them in.”

By now you have heard of Ben Carson’s rap ad, which is playing on urban radio stations across the southeast and in waiting rooms throughout hell. You can listen to it here, or just wait to hear it bumping from a Buick Lucerne. It’s possible Carson should not have made a rap ad. The circumstances that led him to do so seem fortuitous: self-described “Republican Christian rapper” Aspiring Mogul, aka Robert Donaldson, sent a song to Carson’s campaign manager after seeing the biopic Gifted Hands. The Carson campaign put Asp-Mo’s song on its Facebook page, and from there it was a logical step to collaborating on a rapping campaign spot that goes like this:

Vote and support Ben Carson / for our next president to be awesome. / If we want to get America back on track, / we gotta vote Ben Carson, a matter of fact.

Those are the two couplets by Aspiring Mogul that made it into the one-minute ad; the rest is sound bites—I guess samples—from Carson’s speeches. There is also a flute loop. From a certain perspective, it makes sense that Carson would release a rap ad. But from another, better perspective, it makes no sense at all.

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Pittsburgh rappers arrested for lyrics

Jamal Knox, Rashee Beasley and another unidentified person, in a grainy photo with no cutline courtesy of KDKA Pittsburgh

Jamal Knox, Rashee Beasley and another unidentified person, in a grainy photo with no cutline courtesy of KDKA Pittsburgh

Remember when Johnny Cash went to prison for confessing to a Reno-area murder in “Folsom Prison Blues?” I’m joking, of course: Johnny Cash was white. In unrelated news, two Pittsburgh rappers have been found guilty of intimidation of witnesses, conspiracy and making terroristic threats on the basis of a rap video posted on YouTube. Jamal Knox and Rashee Beasley are rappers in the same sense that they are adults, which is to say technically. But they did rap about violence against police officers in a song that mentioned two Pittsburgh cops by name. Both were sentenced to prison by Judge Jeffrey Manning, in what the Times calls a nationwide trend of prosecutors using rap lyrics as evidence in criminal trials.

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This Newt Gingrich rap is of inferior quality

"I'm the hypest lyricist / while you're like 'what type of beer is this?'"

Today is the Florida Republican primary, when grandmothers across the state will vote on whom they like better: Mitt Romney, who looks like the hedge fund manager their granddaughter married, or Newt Gingrich, who looks like the guy who tried to finger them in the hot tub. It may be a tough day for Newton.* Fortunately, he has a comprehensive plan to expand his appeal beyond just, you know, munitions factory owners. Speaker Gingrich is for everybody, and everybody enjoys hip hop. Seriously, there is a pro-Gingrich rap song now, and that’s it—he was the last one. Props to Ben al-Fowlkes for the link.

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