Archive for November, 2011

COMPLEX: Who Killed It: A Lyrical Analysis of Childish Gambino’s “Outside”

Nov 23 2011 Published by under Uncategorized


The autobiographical song is a critical part of hip-hop. Most good MCs are constantly sprinkling autobiographical elements throughout their work—listening to your album I should be to learn about your neighborhood, your background, your favorite stores, your troubles, your friends, your ethos. But I love it when a song is a full-on memoir, like Jay Electronica’s “Exhibit C” or Biggie’s “Juicy”—or Childish Gambino’s “Outside.”

These audio autobiographies often fit within the Black literary tradition (books like Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Manchild In the Promised Land, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Assata, Black Boy, and Monster). So many of those classics could be subtitled “My Rise Up From Hell.”

In a hip-hop context these songs often serve to confirm an MC’s hip-hop bona fides—that he’s from the street and has fought through tough circumstances and proven his mettle and his character.

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NY Times: No Such Place as ‘Post-Racial’ America

Nov 08 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Dear America,

Please, I beg you, stop using the bankrupt and meaningless term “post-racial!” There’s no such thing as “post-racial.” There’s no place that fits the description “post-racial America.” There’s no “post-racial era.” It’s a term for a concept that does not exist. There’s no there there.

We are not a nation devoid of racial discrimination nor are we a nation where race does not matter. Race and racism are still critical factors in determining what happens and who gets ahead in America. The election of Barack Obama ushered in this silly term and now that he’s begun running for re-election, I’m here to brusquely escort it out of the party called American English because it’s a con man of a term, selling you a concept that doesn’t exist.

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