the big payback-dan charnas

“Ironically, most of today’s young hip-hop fans came of age after the decline of overtly political hip-hop. Twenty years have passed since Public Enemy’s sonic manifesto, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. Political calls to action were drowned out long ago by more insistent urgings of weed, guns, girls, and champagne. But Russell Simmons, hip-hop’s sophomoric sage, has it right: Hip-hop succeeded not by being correct. It suceeded by being. In its materialistic ubiquity, hip-hop won. While hip-hop’s critics bemoaned the text, they forgot the power of the subtext: Twenty years ago, no rappers in the top twenty. This year, they are ten of the top twenty. In 2003, for the first time in history, every artist in the Billboard Top 10 was Black; most of their fans were White. This isn’t crossover anymore. It is takeover. America has officially been remixed.” (637)

it was hard to pull a passage here, but i’ll just say that i love the way the writer here tells the story in a way that even if you know it, you’re still on the edge of your seat to see what happens next. if you don’t know, now you’ll know. yes, after a million years, i will write about this for pound.



2 thoughts on “the big payback-dan charnas

  1. This was on my list to check out as i was curious to see how he spun things. I still get roused up with the whole Billboard marker thing but the rest i guess is worth a check. CT

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