www.nettime.org
Nettime mailing list archives

<nettime> hip hop digest vol. 5 [Guderian, Wark]
nettime's digestion on Tue, 7 Jan 2003 21:20:55 +0100 (CET)


[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> hip hop digest vol. 5 [Guderian, Wark]



Table of Contents:

   Re: <nettime> hip hop digest vol. 4 [sonar radar, eyescratch, mcgee]            
     Carl Guderian <carlg {AT} vermilion-sands.com>                                       

   Re: <nettime> hip hop digest                                                    
     "McKenzie Wark" <mckenziewark {AT} hotmail.com>                                      



------------------------------

Date: Tue, 07 Jan 2003 15:28:08 +0100
From: Carl Guderian <carlg {AT} vermilion-sands.com>
Subject: Re: <nettime> hip hop digest vol. 4 [sonar radar, eyescratch, mcgee]

Why did anyone think hip-hop would be immune to Sturgeon's Law (90% of
everything is crap)? Anyway, there's so much of it, that you'll never have
time to hear even the good 10%. Bennu's lament sounds like an intellectual
heart being broken yet again; another vicarious revolution frittered away.
Cop-Killa' Ice-T did at least work with Jello Biafra, and the cover to "Home
Invasion" nailed gangsta rap's appeal for white boys (and for awhile I was
treated to 20-something guys saying "beeyotch" in the office).

Punks let the intellectuals down, as did rockers before them. If it's Marxism
you want, there's always The Coup. If you want revolution, do the revolution
first and let the soundtrack come later, not vice versa. That's intellectual
pedophilia--hanging around angry young musicians and hoping to refine their
raw lyrics into correct theory, thus sparking the revolution. It was
entertaining when Greil Marcus did it (though Lester Bangs was more fun to
read), but in the nend it's just creepy.

If Bennu's had it with hip-hop, then good. The sooner intellectuals write off
hip-hop, the better. Then it can be itself, for better or worse.

Carl
(occasionally DJ REX84)

nettime wrote:

> Sonar Radar <intothegloaming {AT} yahoo.com>
>       Re: <nettime> hop hip digest [fusco, williams, porculus, butt]
>
> eyescratch <eyescratch {AT} terminal.cz>
>       Re: hip hop is dead
>
> Art McGee <amcgee {AT} freeshell.org>
>       Re: A Eulogy to Hip Hop
>
> ------------------------------------------------------
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> #  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
> #  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
> #  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
> #  more info: majordomo {AT} bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
> #  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} bbs.thing.net





------------------------------

Date: Tue, 07 Jan 2003 10:26:50 -0500
From: "McKenzie Wark" <mckenziewark {AT} hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: <nettime> hip hop digest 


I would like to juxtapose something Art said: "we created
it... we feel a sense of ownership" with something Paul
asked: "who speaks through you?" and Coco's concluding
remarks about the "performance of blackness" under the
imperative of commodification. One thing i find interesting
is how the regime of intellectual property intervenes
directly in the process by which an organic form of creative
expression within a community becomes a performance for
the other. At a certain point, artists are selling themselves
not to businesses that emerge out of their own community
(Sugarhill, Tommy Boy) but to the media business in general.
This may be direct or indirect. There are black-owned and
operated labels, studios, management companies. But at some
point these become mere subcontractors for the industry in
general.

One might pursue the intellectual property question in two
directions: 1. who is it sold to? Who ends up in possession of
culture as commodification? And specifically a music based on
sampling: 2. who is the raw material bought from? What could be
more emblematic of the new regime of information slavery than
Moby making hits from Alan Lomax's field recordings of field
hollers and press-gang chants?

Rather than dispense with the category of 'authenticity' altogether,
why not turn it around? In the 80s, the intellectual trend was
to deny authenticity to everything. Why not reverse it (as Missy
Ellot says) and look for the authentic expression in all cultural
artefacts? What i hear in mainstream rap (in New York stations
like 105.1) is the final stage in the transformation of communal
cultural possession into dispossession and privatised intellectual
property. Which is entirely of a piece with the performance of
Blackness for an other, as filtered and selected for its usefulness
for a white audience.


This process of filtering and selecting a Black performance for a
white audience seems to me to have a long history. But perhaps it
has different stages. I'm not entirely sure that rap had the same
process of commodification as, say, jazz and soul. The digital
technology of the sample and the massive tightening of the
intellectual property regime of the last 20 years seem to me to
catch it in a pincer movement, one opening up new possibilities
for expanding creativity and the other closing it off. Just listen
to the difference between early Public Enemy, with thousands of
uncleared samples in each track, to their later stuff, which like
everyone else is taking a bare few samples and looping them. Their
early claim to repossess all of Black music as its cultural
inheritance (indeed all of music, period) gives way to the
constraints imposed by the $1500 per sample fees of major labels).


So who (or what) speaks through rap? Its polyphonic, like all
popular culture, but perhaps one can hear a very contemporary
sound of racial oppression that is not only expressed in, but
now *takes the form of* the commodification of information.
One of the things i hear in it is a discourse on its own
process of production. Missy Elliot may be rapping about her
sexual prowess, but it is also about her prowess as a producer
of herself as commodified information, her auto-vectoralization.

It's OK to perform yourself for another, she says, so long as
you get paid for it. The sense in which one can take that is
sexual, racial, or vectoral -- or all three at once.





___________________________________________________



http://subsol.c3.hu/subsol_2/contributors0/warktext.html

                   ... we no longer have roots, we have aerials ...

___________________________________________________






_________________________________________________________________
MSN 8: advanced junk mail protection and 2 months FREE*. 
http://join.msn.com/?page=features/junkmail


------------------------------

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo {AT} bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} bbs.thing.net