Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dancehall Music is Not Reggae

Dancehall music is not Reggae. Bob Marley never said drop it like it's hot! He may have pleaded us to drop the guns, the violence and the self-hatred, but his songs of protest and social consciousness had nothing to do with bump n grind, gyrating for the cell cam or smoking dye. (Blunts, by the way, are not cigars. They're brown paper bag made to look like cigars; and the color of blunt comes from dye, so you're smoking ink which causes dark purple lips. Dummy! Mix that up with cheap, toxic beer and now you're ready to wile out!) Reggae isn't supposed to make you wile out. Dancehall, maybe, but not Reggae. That's why it's called message music. A word record heads use when they can't package you in a way that makes sense to them; in a way that satisfies their racist impressions of poor Black folks. Yea, I know you just wanna get your drink on. And I've done my own sexin in da corner of a club, but it wasn't to the tune of a Marley message. I can tell you that!

Some of us have a habit of twisting consciousness and history around to make them fit into our points of reference, if not our tendency to be too lazy to think more critically. Remember them X caps we used to wear when we thought we were honoring Malcolm? But if you stepped to most bruhs and asked them what the X stood for, they'd look back at you with a blank stare and laugh that dumb nigga laugh some of us make when we know we just got called out on our nigga sht-- I just like the hat, son. Why you sweatin me?! Or you'd hear our boys say 'By any means necessary', but when you'd ask them to complete the passage from Malcolm's autobio they'd admit to never having even read the book. So this is what I'm talking about, people. Our tendency to skip the accountability altogether and push for what's easier to handle, as in calling Dancehall message music when you know there's no brain to rubbing your sex organ on someone. It's your way of avoiding any type of serious reflecting about your community, the world at large, your role in it and even more threatening, yourself!

So what is a young wanna-be gangsta gonna do, now that Nas is back from his self-exile from Hip Hop and dropping knowledge all over again? This time alongside one of the sons of a global phenomenon, Damien Marley who was on The Monique Show just last night encouraging all young people to ig what their punk ass teachers don't or can't teach and just go on the internet to find out about African history and how it can help explain the current condition of Black peoples, whether in Zimbabwe, Haiti or right here in da hood. What's a young kat to do now that he's forced to decide which path to take-- Lil Wayne's or Ol' Cool? And big ups to Monique, by the way, for providing a platform for Black artists we typically wouldn't see on tv if it was up to the other networks. Her show can get a bit buffoonery at times, but Black is all kinds of melanin. From vaudeville to congress; from gangbangin to PhD; from all about me to pan-african. It's still all Black and all good! We just need to make the lines clear, at least; tell each other it's cool to define what Black means to each of us but that in the end we' still Fam. Dancehall, Reggae. We still, after all, Family.

Even when I'm trying to teach a young bruh the difference between being a Black man, a god and just another nigga?

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