Monday, December 22, 2014

Alas, Poor Bobby- He Never Stood a Chance.

So word has it Bobby Shmurda got arrested 'bout a week ago...'



My apologies for that tacky intro; but if you know anything about Bobby, then you can understand why that opening was the perfect set-up for any cultural pundit writing about him.

You know what else was a perfect set-up? Shmurda's incredible rise and inevitable fall. Despite the illusion of authority with which rappers of Shmurda's calibre take to the mic, they are mere creations of a profiteering machine whose interest in them lasts only as long as their foolery is lining the machine's pockets.

20 yr old Bobby raps about 'selling crack since like the 5th Grade' and gang-related shootings. On the surface, it only makes sense that he has been charged with, among other things, possession of a firearms and drug paraphernalia.

Sadly, Shmurda has been doomed from the beginning, and the charges are the mere culmination of a well-constructed, intricate system that perpetuates the decadent state of inner-city, lower-class and largely minority communities. Why? Because, more than anything, mainstream society not only has a fetish for seeing 'the other' make a mockery of themselves for its entertainment, it also profits immensely from the foolery. After all that is said, they turn around and say 'look and listen to them: they don't know how to act; why did you expect?"

Despite claims of 'keeping it real' and that everything Shmurda and others like him say is 'straight facts', the reality he portrays has been manufactured by the machine from the onset. The type of environment in which selling crack at like 5th Grade is 'straight facts' is not accidental. On the surface, it is easy to look at it as a product of an immoral and apathetic community that leaves its welfare up to fate. It is also absurd to assume such: any elementary anthropologist will tell you that no society would routinely sabotage itself in this way, unless it was left with little choice. So before we look at the kids as being bad, we need to look at the inner-city school districts which are fast-tracking its students to perpetual poverty and a life of crime; before we condemn the fathers who are not there, there is need to understand the lopsided legal system that largely disenfranchises and emasculates brown and black men.

So Shmurda and friends grow up doing what they do in communities that, although they understand the behavior is destructive, also realize that there is little to no options in these concrete jungles: it's a virtual survival of the fittest.

If, however, what Shmurda says are 'straight facts', the facts only tell one side of the story; there are several other stories to the community, as with any other. How, then, does Shmurda's become the overwhelming narrative? Glad you asked. It is at this stage that the sadistic machine I mentioned earlier rears its ugly head again.

Because the self-destructive elements voiced by Shmurda are so entertaining and profitable for middle class America, they deliberately choose to put their weight behind such a voice. Anyone who has ever been in hip-hop communities knows that the crime-glorifying lyrics of the likes of Shmurda are only complemented by several other ones that promote social uplift by other rappers. The fact that a song like Shmurda's 'Hot Nigga' emerges as the most memorable rap song in a year that the communities hip-hop represents have been through so much is proof that external forces decide what gets heard. As the numbers have shown consistently, the overwhelming buyers of rap music are White middle class teens: that's the buyer. Those who stand to profit the most are the mostly white middle class industry executives: that's the seller. If we follow the simple laws of commerce, we begin to see that the hip-hop and thus, hip-hop artistes, are a mere commodity that is modified by the seller to appease the buyer.
A forlorn Shmurda is led off in cuffs

It is also worth noting that the financial gains that are often touted as evidence of parity in the game are often minimal or virtually non-existent for the likes of Shmurda- not like they would have us believe. One look at this video, which shows Shmurda performing for the Epic Records staff on the day he got signed, draws eerie parallels between the modern industry and yesteryear coonery wherein slaves and other Black people have been put on shameful platforms for the gratification of the Powers that Be. Think the scene from Django Unchained in which Dicaprio's character's slaves fight to the death for the entertainment of the master and friends, and the winner is rewarded with a pat on the back for winning and earning the master a pretty penny. When the slaves could not fight anymore, they were (literally) fed to the dogs. You change the fight, the rewards, and the demise, and it becomes clear that there is a continuing elaborate trend that has decimated Black communities from this nation's inception.

Thus when I hear that Shmurda has been arrested, it does not surprise me; he is a commodity, and his purpose was served. If he came to our attention with his hit song earlier this year, and the cops say they have been watching him for a while, it means he was a marked man from the moment he blew up.

Alas, Bobby never stood a chance. The story of his demise was written well before he was a "Hot Nigga'.

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