Monday, November 28, 2005
Bad Blood Means Big Business
A screenshot from 50 Cent's new video game Bulletproof - a fully interactive revenge fantasy.
Guess what. Black people are killing each other over chump change and somebody higher up is eating cake. So goes the age-old story in today's SF Chronicle A deadly tale of underground rap. This sordid little piece of ghetto pulp pulls back the curtain on a world where revenge, murder and retribution have created cycles of violence and vendetta; and exposes the links between beef and bank in the world of Hip-Hop marketing.(Case in point Fat Joe & 50 Cent Beef For Record Sales.)
Since the "music" by itself probably wouldn't interest anyone, producers fabricate feuds between crews - and the faux fighting supports the sale of both sides of the dispute. Fat Joe, who has "beef" with 50 Cent in the above linked article, freely admits that it's all just "entertainment and is helping the pair get bigger sales." That may be true for Joe and Fitty, but is this the way youth read the situation? Are they fooled by the fake feuding - probably not. But it does valorize vendetta - and contributes to the cycles of violence that are engulfing communities.
Most likely, without the side show of counterfeit controversy, the 50 Cent's and Mac Dre's of the world would disappear from view. Instead, the marketing machines continue to crank out cultural heroes fabricated from gangsters, crack dealers and two-bit rappers. And all done up so slick and bulky so the girls go "ahh" and the guys go "Yeah!" If you didn't know it already, Corpo-Hip-Hop culture has become completely infected with a sneering and leering brand of machismo, gangland codes of violence and vendetta, and a voracious hunger for bling and thing that is corrosive to Black culture in general and deadly for those that buy into the bullshit. Wake up people! Wake up!