Genres, Music, Politics, Reviews, Video

This Week in Grindin’: Dizzee Rascal, Bun B, and IL plate #115 0430

First up, for all who haven’t seen this: Google Maps Drug Deal! Right here in beautiful Chicago, Illinois. There’s a license plate number and everything. Here’s a screen shot, for when Google eventually gets this removed.

There are all sorts of webbernets nerds buzzing about this pic and how it relates to our PRIVACY and PERSONAL FREEDOM and OMGZ GOOGLE IS TAKING OVER OUR LIVES and BIG BROTHER and all that, but really I think all that can be avoided by operating on a simple principle that has served me well throughout the years: “don’t sell drugs in the street when a car covered in cameras rolls by”.

In related news, Dizzee Rascal has a new video, with Bun B from UGK. It’s called “Where Da G’s”, and it’s filmed in Houston, and it’s all about what an accomplished crack dealer Dizzee Rascal & Bun B are, and how you (and all those other “fake” rappers) claim to be accomplished crack dealers when you really aren’t. It’s full of shots of a specifically American vision of ghetto life: windowless bungalows with spacious, grassless lawns; giant American hoopties; craps games; etc. Take a look:

[youtube A3ZZ7lRsUdI]

I find this pretty revolting for a few reasons:

1) Could Dizzee possibly be trying any harder to blow up in America? This really looks painfully forced..it reminds me of when The Prodigy came out with Firestarter.

2) Maybe this makes me a bigot (or maybe I’m just rooting for the home team), but I just absolutely refuse to believe that any Englishman is as hard as your worst (or even average) American thug. I’m not saying that the British are weaklings or anything, and I certainly don’t think American gangsters are the toughest on earth, but the very fact that Dizzee talks about KNIFING somebody in his track is telling–KNIFING somebody? really? Stabbing is a crime for hoboes, prison inmates, and Europeans–here in the western hemisphere we SHOOT people, thank you kindly.

3) COKE RAPS ARE SO PLAYED OUT. Can we pleeeease PLEEEEEEEEASE move on to an era where hip hop is either a) dead or b) interesting again or at the very least c) not ethically reprehensible? Don’t get me wrong, I have always been one of those bleeding heart free speech ultra-liberals who thinks crack should be legal and people should be able to say just about anything in any format they want (including on radio, FCC guys) and I’ve always laughed at the crusty right-wing culture terrorists who think that rap and video games are the downfall of society, but at a certain point I have to admit that songs like this fall into the same category as torture in films and television–certainly these artforms are reflections of endemic problems with our society, but at the same time they are helping to glorify and lionize a lot of harmful, dangerous, and unethical behaviors, and I can’t help but believe that an absence of such treatments of this subject matter in hip hop would be a positive thing.

Ok, enough of me and my soapbox.

10 thoughts on “This Week in Grindin’: Dizzee Rascal, Bun B, and IL plate #115 0430

  1. dude u got this seriously twisted
    1) painfully forced? this song was a natural collabo bun n diz are good friends and have been for years now no money exchanged hands to make this song they traded verses and diz appears on the ugk song 2 types of bitches (cue misogynistic rant from u)this song is the best most natural uk us collabo ever…
    2) yes what a ill informed bigot you are a thug is a thug regardless of geography the games the same the murder rate in london is higher than it ever was at its peak in the bad old days in new york right now and as far as im aware the general concensus amongst gangsters is that stabbing a man to death is a much more personal and difficult thing to do than shooting someone though plenty of people get shot in the uk too we were murdering and extorting in the uk when the native americans were still running things in the states and most of your famous gangsters are from euro stock anyways…
    btw the only place dizzee talks about stabbing someone is right before he talks about shooting someone too “you aint robbed nobody shanked nobody you aint bust no gun you aint seen no ghetto action whod’you think youre fooling son?” so what are you talking about?
    3) youve totally and utterly missed the point of the song which is glaringly obvious so i must assume you are either one of those crass hipster yanks who just write shit for the sake of seeing your words in print or youre one of those pseudo cerebal ONES WHO think your intellectual and dont realise that youve been fucked over just as much as all the other yanks you sneer at and feel superior to
    THE SONG IS ATTACKING THE WHOLE CULTURE OF GANGSTER RAP AND ITS APPROPRIATION BY IDIOT MIDLECLASS SUBURBAN RAPPERS WHO VIEW IT AS A CAREER OPTION AND WHO GLORIFY IT HAVING NEVER LIVED IT YOU FUCKING JERKWAD

  2. Gotta agree with you on many of these points. It’d be nice if urban music moved on from cashing in on violence, masogyny, and that whole “I’m just expressing what I see” mentality. Isn’t an artist/musician/creator more than just a reflection of his/her environment? Much of this could be addressed in other ways and the musician expressing it could still come across as being a bad-ass (i.e., exactly how most of these dudes want to be perceived), but I suppose that would take more time and foresight, self-reflection…and might not reign in as much cash money.

  3. First of all:

    Nice tune! Great combo of grime and southern rap. Was bound to happen at some point, and seems to be a bit of a theme on this blog over the past week. See:

    Squincy Jones; Nintendub

    and Whoa-B’s Welcome To Grimerock mix on this post ->

    Second:

    I agree with Umuggycunt. The video shows what seems to me (an outsider) to be a more true picture of ghetto life than the blinged-out, bently-having, fur coat-wearing “Ganstaz” in your average rap video. That gives me the impression that they’re dissing what gangster-rap has become. Or at least an aspect of the image.

    I don’t personally know Diz or Bun so I don’t know what their backgrounds truly are, but let’s assume that they both grew up in the ghettos of their respective cities. Then the struggle was real for them and they probably had to do things to survive that insulated blokes like me don’t understand, and they sure-as-hell should be allowed to talk about that.

    Yet there’s still something troubling about glorifying gangster life which, in the end, I think this video does. It perpetuates the cycle that these guys seem to be railing against. Here they are, making their money by selling their music to those pseudo-thugs they’re dissing. I guess it is kind of like selling drugs innit?

  4. 1) I’m not going to get in a ghetto pissing contest with you, “umuggycunt”, but suffice it to say that I grew up in a pretty grim part of the United States, with close relatives who lived the life that these songs survive, and my mother really struggled (as I continue to struggle) to get an education and get out of that economic position. I now have a Master’s Degree in American Studies, and while I don’t consider myself to be some lofty intellectual or academic, I do know my facts when it comes to discussions of ghetto life in the states vs. abroad–both from experience and from research.
    2) Your crime stats are wrong. Show me some DOCUMENTATION and we’ll talk statistics.
    3) Your tone is uncalled for.
    4) and this is to you too, DJ C–there are plenty of us who come from horrible neighborhoods and piss-poor families and it DOESN’T make us into crack dealers or murderers. We aren’t “insulated blokes”, but just like you we can’t understand how these people do these things. We do our best to fix our lot in legitimate, ethical ways, and we don’t think that any degree of poverty or oppression is an excuse to sell crack and kill people and then brag about it in a song. It’s disgusting.

  5. Not that it’s anything to be proud of, but the US is way more murderous than the UK:

    The (murder) record: New York’s 2,245 in 1990

    New York’s murder rate per person: 6.9 per 100,000, making it it the safest large city in America

    London’s murder rate per person: 2.4 per 100,000

    From http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article407900.ece

    Also not to be proud of: Dizzee’s recent efforts, including this song. Seriously, what happened to him? Spending too much time with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I guess.

  6. Yes, I think it’s relevant to address dark topics like these in music, especially if it’s an unavoidable part of ones every day experience. But in terms of subject matter, this is the same shit we are force fed on a daily basis with MTV and pop radio. And why is that? Because the fuckers who run the big game, the CEO’s, politicians and other hi-level “blokes” in positions of power, eat this shit up. Not only does it add fuel to the fires of racism and white superiority but simultaneously perpetuates a cycle of servitude. Is a guy selling crack and killing people in his own neighborhood really gonna get ahead through these means? Of course not. They are, however, going to influence a new generation of children to live EXACTLY THE SAME as they did. A child that escapes repeating the mistakes of his/her parents is unfortunately a proven rarity in these environments. God, I’ve spent the last 15 years of my life trying not to repeat the mistakes of mine…can’t say I’ve been completely successful.

    As far as I’m concerned NWA and Dr.Dre already went there, proved the existence of this life to the mainstream, harped on the negative and exposed what it takes to get by. Can we organize ourselves and move on so that the next life-cycle has it a little better than we did?

  7. Aside from the question of ethicality here and the incongruity of transplanting Dizzee into the Houston ghetto, this is one of the most phoned-in performances I’ve heard from either of these guys. Dull beat, dull rhymes. “Liar, liar. Pants on fire.” That’s some scathing shit.

    Gotta love the “gangsta-vision” sunglasses Diz picks up towards the end which he uses to distinguish the real gun-toting thugs from the posers.

  8. for real, right? PHONED IN!

    I mean, when I heard about this tune I was really excited, and truth be told I’d be happy to overlook the awful message if it was BRILLIANT (I play ghettotech, after all), but it just seems like a lazy track to me…

  9. well seems he is the mums boyzin the video..I guess he aint forgotten about the genius the one his car was bugged and all he said was radio frequencied ..point is even essex related the main situation based on right wing..lets about the crews on the street and learn more from dem.soilder boy afterall wsnt useless in all cases..but damage is damage i guess..and forgiveness is forgiveness tooo..lets put it this way look on the street and see the light of God …look around london bend down and try to pick up a grain of stone ..how many did u pick..I guess the different between stone and tarred road is wide..but seek God first and all shall be urs ..Hope u realized maths and english was discussed in the red rover ..the lil mac couldnt make it in Gcse but got seven A in other subject..maths and english …from words to cover so brillant i love that ..so much ..kilburn base never found any thing to hold me down wiv..mim mac gave his drug money on trust from pro and i return it safely ..they we lookin for a loop hole to knock me down down with ..well am still here …please am highly affect by the ppl used in music /churches/and street mockery / is it some kinda ritual…peace still me

  10. “but I just absolutely refuse to believe that any Englishman is as hard as your worst (or even average) American thug.”

    Haha…. ive been to america… none of ur ‘thugs’ were like the english…. maybe u should experiance it before u believe sumthin… stupid americans mann :\

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