Tuesday, May 21, 2013

TNR: 'The 21 Greatest Conservative Rap Songs'

Conservative pundits seem especially fond of a type of filler article: the list of works in some form of entertainment that argues for a Republican bedrock that is the foundation of our art. Forget a story of marginalized immigrants creating a mirror government to protect them when they're shut out of the real one, The Godfather is actually about family values. Look, they all eat dinner together! And it's always positive. Except with Turk!

None of this is necessary. In music, while country and southern rock are hardly homogenous, they teem with red-blooded red-state fare. In TV and film, while "issue" episodes/movies might trend toward the liberal, it takes little effort to find a procedural or thriller with police abuses of searches and good cops who just want to hug kids who sleep with an under-pillow holster, dreaming with exquisite trigger discipline. In traditional art, Thomas Kinkade is not just a painter but a painter of light. Conservative work abounds; if you have to go looking for it, you're probably reading your own beliefs into what you encountered.

Such is the case with the American Enterprise Institute—home of countless slam-dunks on the Iraq War—and Stan Veuger's list of the "21 Greatest Conservative Rap Songs." His piece is a weightless exercise, devoid of context, expropriating meaning to serve his cause when he's not simply making things up. While he surely wants to provide a short list of handy GOP talking points so that vampires in Brooks Brothers and blonde haircuts can seem "rap-positive," he also implies that he has the right to define a demographic in the absence of that demographic's will. It's disgusting.

Because I don't know half as much about rap as some of my friends, I enlisted my buddy Jay Friedman, a/k/a Satellite High, to help break down everything wrong with (at the time of writing) Veuger's first nine entries. (You may remember Jay from his awesome diss track on the Birther rap group "Wolverines.") Together, we worked up a good guide to how thoroughly wrong the list is.

Continue to The New Republic...