Wednesday, April 25, 2007


"No Snitchin'" Is Worse Than "Bitchin'"

Russell Simmons and Ben Chavis' declaration of their intent to clean up rap is fine as far as it goes in the post-Imus world:

"We recommend that the recording and broadcast industries voluntarily
remove/bleep/delete the misogynistic words 'bitch' and 'ho' and the racially
offensive word 'nigger,' " Simmons and Benjamin Chavis, co-chairmen of the
advocacy group Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, said in a statement.
"These three words should be considered with the same objections to obscenity as
'extreme curse words,' " it said.
This may be something of a start, but the cultural corruption sparked by hip-hop has spread far beyond uses of the B-, H- and N-words. That was clear from the truly eye-opening segment on 60 Minutes last week, on the breakdown of basic social norms such as helping police solve crimes "Stop Snitchin'"):

The truth is, people having been walking away for years. In 1996, rapper Tupac Shakur was gunned down in Las Vegas; the crime remains unsolved. So does the 1997 shooting of the rapper Notorious B.I.G.

Rap star Cameron Giles, known as Cam'ron or "Killa Cam," got shot in both arms in 2005. The shooting occurred in front of members of Cam'ron's entourage, but to this day, neither they, nor he, have cooperated with police.

Asked why, Cam'ron tells Cooper, "Because with the type of business I'm in, it would definitely hurt my business. And the way that I was raised, I just don't do that. I was raised differently, not to tell."

"If I was shot, I would want to know who did it. I would want the guy to get caught," Cooper remarks.

"But then again, you're not going to be on the stage tonight in the middle of, let's say, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, with people with gold and platinum teeth and dreadlocks jumping up and down singing your songs either," Cam'ron says. "You know what I'm saying? We're in two different lines of business."

"So for you it's really about business?" Cooper asks.

"It's about business but it's still also a code of ethics," Cam'ron replies.

Asked if he thinks there is any situation when it's okay to talk to the police, Cam'ron tells Cooper, "Yeah, definitely. Say 'Hello, how you feel, everything alright?' Period."

"That's it?" Cooper asks.

"There's nothing really to talk about with the police, I mean, for what?" Cam'ron says.

"If there's a serial killer living next door to you, though, and you know that person is, you know, killing people, would you be a snitch if you called police and told them?" Cooper asks Cam'ron.

"If I knew the serial killer was living next door to me?" Cam'ron asks. "No, I wouldn't call and tell anybody on him. But I'd probably moveā€¦ But I'm not gonna call and be like, you know, 'The serial killer's in 4E.'"
The segment also touches upon how Busta Rhymes has adopted the same credo by refusing to help the cops track down the murderer of his own bodyguard.

And so, crimes remain unsolved and killers get to go on and kill again. All the banning in the world isn't going to address this sort of metastasizing nihilism. If this attitude is adopted by the heroes of hip-hop, what's the effect as it sinks down to the young people in the 'hood?

Your move, Mr. Simmons.

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