For the past week Senator Bob Dole has been waging war against Time
Warner for selling rap albums by artists like Snoop Doggy Dog, Tupac
Shakur and Dr. Dre. In a sidebar to a front page article in
yesterday's (June 5) New York Times Dole, while continuing his
verbal attacks on Time Warner, was quoted as saying that he would keep
the $21,000 in political contributions made to him by Time Warner. "I
think it demonstrates that they didn't buy anything with Bob Dole," he
told NBC's "Meet the Press." This is, like all of Dole's actions,
convenient for the senator. If he really had a problem with rap music,
how could Dole take money that came, even indirectly, from the sale of
rap albums? Would that be taking "blood money?" But then it's
interesting to note that it's now, with Dole running for president,
that he has belatedly joined the chorus of right-wing dingbats who
think censorship is somehow All-American. Where was Dole over a year
ago, when Snoop Dogg released a blatantly sexist debut album? If the
timing of Dole's remarks is suspect, so is the very premise of his
arguments against Time Warner for dealing rap albums. Artists like
Snoop and Dre, The Roots and Cube, Ol' Dirty Bastard and Ice T (and
many, many more) have created a new American music. Rap is now as
unique and identifiable a style of music as country, blues or, for
that matter, rock.
Time Warner is in the music business. They sell
albums. They sell rock albums, pop albums, country albums, jazz albums
and rap albums. Artists like Snoop and Dre and Tupac are important for
a number of reasons. First, they clearly speak to America's youth.
From the ghetto to the hillside Hollywood mansions, teenage America
loves gangsta rap. Has it turned them into gangsters? Don't think so.
From where we sit, we see the same teenagers listening to the latest
Cube cut getting ready to head off to pricey private liberal arts
colleges, then on to jobs running this country. One wonders if Dole
ever watched a western movie. Or an action flick. Did he leave the
theater and mow down 6 people? Did he walk into a bar and challenge
anyone to a duel? This smacks of opportunism. Dole jumping on a
bandwagon to get front page attention from the New York Times
and all the rest. MTV News even reported on the controversy yesterday.
Mike Watt made a good point when he told MTV: "Personally I was
insulted. The man should get to have his say but he didn't say
anything about Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone....upstanding
republicans who make violent films." We recommend that Dole take a
look at the rap satire, Fear of a Black Hat , and get himself a
good dose of "Booty Juice" and "Kill Whitey." Yo!