West request denies right to rapWritten by Michael Miller | Editor in Chief Emeritus | firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s Note: This column incorporates slang as defined by the Bay Area Hip Hop Dictionary. Good luck!
Hip-hop superstar Kanye West must be out the frame. He recently decreed white people should only use certain slang terms when they become out of style for black people.
“White people are allowed to say ‘bling.’ They are allowed to say old-school black slang, like ‘hottie’ and ‘homie,’ ” he said. “I do not think that [white people] are allowed to use slang until it is at least a year old. If you say a slang word too early, it’s like you’re trying to be black. So as long as the slang is a little played out, you’re all good.”
That’s savage like a runner on shards. Smell me?
West, who is stackin’ weebles and stunnas fo sheedo, may be choppin’ it like he’s ridin’ in da mobie, but his message is bammer.
Of course white people pick up on black slang and use it to be cool. That’s what we do; assimilate/annihilate cultures.
“Nice culture,” we’ll say. “We’ll take it!”
From Eminem on one end of the spectrum to Paul Simon on the other (with Elvis in the middle), absorbing black culture is as Caucasian as Wonder Bread.
My first exposure to black culture was my sophomore year of high school at Libbey. I grew up in the Saltine-white town of Walbridge, so being dropped at Libbey wasn’t just a culture shock; it was a culture tsunami with an atomic bomb chaser.
The black people I knew, from classes, student government and football, twisted phrases laced with terms from the birth of rap, with a cadence, rhythm and vocabulary beyond my experience. I respected my friends’ culture, but I never tried to emulate it. A long-haired suburb kid might enjoy “The Message” and “The Show,” but he was wise to refrain from parroting the slang, lest he appear to be mocking (That may be the whitest sentence ever written; I’ll have to check what George Will wrote today).
The cultural stereotype of the white guy pretending to be black is so prevalent, it has its own word, one not appropriate for this forum, and has inspired a commercial for cell phones in which a group of white kids are so whack, they provide a running punchline.
Despite such lame cultural cross-pollinations, Americans should be free to borrow from each other’s sub-cultures; that’s what the melting pot is all about.
How would West feel if an equivalent prominent white spokesperson, such as Jim Belushi or Tara Reid, said black people shouldn’t use white slang, such as “nerd,” “Weezer,” “Antiques Roadshow” and “Ottawa Hills?”
Editor’s Note 2: The American Heritage Dictionary credits Dr. Seuss with inventing the word “nerd,” in his 1950 book “If I Ran the Zoo.” Maybe you can use that on “Jeopardy!” sometime.
I will draw the line at adding the Snoop Dogg/Jay-Z “-izzle” to words, ever since the inexcusably famous Fran Drescher used “My shizzle’s gone fazizzle” in an Old Navy commercial and Bob Newhart, the poster boy for white people, said “Fo-shizzle, my izzle” in “Legally Blonde 2.”
I just read on www.wikipedia.com that “The phrase ‘fo’ shizzle my nizzle’ roughly translates, ‘With absoluteness, my African- American brethren,’ ” which means I just lost the crown for whitest sentence ever written.
Anyway, West’s manifesto is already the de facto standard. By the time the average white person hears a new black slang phrase, it’s already 10 to 12 months old. I remember when I first heard “blow up” as slang for “succeed on a large scale.” By the time I figured out what it meant, the new phrase was “cavi,” which was also speeding toward linguistic oblivion.
What can I say? I’m just a 5150 cuzzo, flossin’ and saucy. Pixx.
Editor’s Note 3: The Bay Area Hip Hop Dictionary defines “Blade” as “a sucka,” which is funny, but I couldn’t work it in.
Michael S. Miller is editor in chief of Toledo Free Press.
He may be contacted at (419) 241-1700 or by e-mail at email@example.com.