A collection of thoughts ... from a boy in Toronto.
“Released 47 years to the day after the assassination of Malcolm X, Yasiin Bey offers the video for his counternarrative to Jay-Z and Kanye’s luxury rap, club-banger. … the emcee formerly known as Mos Def goes line for line and concept for concept as he reps/raps for the conditions faced by the “Niggas in Poorest” who couldn’t make the trip to France with the two multimillionaires.
Kanye and Jay-Z’s “Niggas in Paris” is itself a tale of how two “niggas” invaded the decadent world of the ultra-rich, learned to speak their language of power, engaged in similar entrepreneurship, learned to spend money just as extravagantly, and brought “the hood” with them. It’s a subversive ode to a certain type of Black empowerment, and “keeping it real” while doing so.
Congruently, “Niggas in Poorest” is, at its essence, a diss record: medicine for Kanye and Jay-Z, wrapped in the bacon of Yasiin Bey’s social consciousness and pro-Blackness. Bey reminds them – and the rest of us – that while it may be cool to invade the realm of the ultra-rich and “bring some niggas” with you, the real revolution, the untelevised one Gil Scott-Heron rapped about, comes from the margins and from the marginalized. Kanye tells us that he has his “niggas in Paris and they’re going gorillas”, and Yasiin Bey counters with the warning that the “niggas in poorest” are the ones who “be them rebel guerillas”.
Kanye and Jay-Z want to watch the golden throne and maybe even occupy it, while Yasiin Bey wants to melt it down into gold coins and share the resultant wealth. … what happens when one group of “niggas” actually comes to sit on the throne while another group is trying to tear it apart?”
1) I never was a huge Mos Def fan, but I definitely appreciate him more now.
2) I was reading someone’s bio and their two greatest heroes were ~”Jay-Z because he’s a self made man, and Kanye West because he has style and is outspoken.” I think this is appalling.