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A (Somewhat) Problematic Essay about Mac Miller, Exclusion, and Hip-Hop Culture

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Considering that we tend to treat a person’s death as a sacred occasion above reproach, what I am about to write might be problematic. Next, in writing this, I mean no ill will towards Mac Miller; I’m merely making an observation. While I recognize that I may be crossing a line, this has been on my brain for days, and I have to write it down, get it out, see if I’m the only one who sees this.

On Friday, September 7, hip-hop artist, Mac Miller, went on to glory. He was a young man, who by all accounts struggled through the first quarter of his life. I admit that I have no special connection to Mac Miller; I didn’t know his music or his life, and the only reason I even recognized his name is because he happens to be a White man in hip-hop, a distinctly Black site of cultural production. In the same way that all the executives at a corporation might know Chuck, the only Black guy in their elite corporate spaces, I knew Mac Miller because he was one of few White men in a Black cultural space.

Since his passing, I have been introduced to his political views via clips of his monologues which seem to lean towards his belief in Black lives mattering. I’ve watched his Tiny Desk performance maybe 68 times in 3 days because it’s that damn good. I’ve downloaded his last album (like everyone else obviously because it’s currently the number one) and it is very, very good. I’m mad at myself that I didn’t catch on to him sooner.

I have also become acutely aware of his reach in hip-hop over these past three days as several influential Black hip hop artists – Big Boi, Chance the Rapper, J. Cole – have posted their heartfelt twitter eulogies dedicated to Mac Miller. I would expect nothing less. And some of the younger people I follow on Twitter have posted their own connections to Mac Miller. The outpouring of love reminds me of how I felt as a 17-year-old learning that Tupac died and then six months later, waking up to hear that Biggie was gone too.  I said all of that to say, I get it.

 

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Sigh. I remember you pulled up to my studio in 2010 in an old Volvo packed to the rim. You, Treejay, and Q were on tour, just starting out. You went from that old Volvo, to multiple tour buses, sold out concerts, a TV show….everything man. It was amazing to watch you grow. You always treated my Jamla family like your family, and helped anytime you could. It was YOU that was the FIRST rapper to call me and say…”hey man I wanna take Rapsody on tour with me…she’s fire….” in 2011. Always smiling when I saw you, always love, always good energy, always showing respect……..Always Hip-Hop. Today is a sad day man….a very sad day. Rest Easy Mac Miller….. Gone too soon, lil bro. Love you always. #MostDope

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More than anything, Mac Miller’s death reminds me of how accepting Black culture – hip hop specifically – is of people outside of Blackness, yet it remains exceptionally “gate-keepy” about people within Blackness who happen to be outside of the “acceptable” heteronormative standards. Ugh. I know I shouldn’t be connecting Mac Miller’s untimely death to the upholding of heteronormative standards within Black culture, but it is just so blatant at times like this. So many of the people who shared photos of personal stories and pictures of Mac Miller have also said some extremely homophobic lyrics and remain intent on ascribing specific, stereotypical gender roles to women.

Young MA Photo by Santiago Felipe / Getty Images

I think about how Young MA, who in my opinion can kill any male rapper’s career with 16 bars, sits down for an interview in 2018 and has to answer questions about her sexual identity.

Big Freedia Source: Maarten de Boer / Getty

I think about Big Freedia and how she has been responsible for dragging Nah’lins bounce music to mainstream radio, yet, she is still begging for 10 seconds in a video with more than 119 million views. The LGBTQIA community is pushed so far from the center, pressed up against the margins, that I cannot even name any other LGBTQIA artists except Big Freedia. It’s sad.

The most beautiful thing about Black culture is that we embrace everybody and anybody, no application needed. We just leave the door open and let them all come in. Click To Tweet

Recently, Tony Yayo, former member of 50 cents’ G-Unit rap clique, was ranting online because some blog dropped a story that maybe he might have been involved with a transwoman. The trans identity is still so stigmatized in 2018 that a rapper we haven’t heard nor discussed in at least ten years can become the leading story on gossip blogs because he maybe, might have, allegedly had some kind of interaction with a woman who happens to be trans. Y’all don’t think that’s crazy? I mean Black lives matter right? Africans got loaded on ships, and Harriet Tubman took us to freedom, and we overcame, and Dr. King had a dream, and Rosa Parks didn’t give up her seat, and Malcolm X said Black women are the most disrespected, and Marsha P Johnson started the Stonewall riot, and Angela Davis got arrested, and Lebron, Serena, and Colin are the faces of Nike. It’s us, all of us right? So, how come it doesn’t feel like that?

The most beautiful thing about Black culture is that we embrace everybody and anybody, no application needed. We just leave the door open and let them all come in. We let Miley Cyrus twerk across the stage. We let Justin Timberlake go multi-platinum, even after he did Janet Jackson like that, because he wore those braids that time. We let Iggy Azalea sell records after she confirmed she’s a runaway slave master. We let Veronica Vega say nigga multiple times and still watched Love and Hip Hop Miami. We let them moonwalk, dougie, hit the superman, millie rock all over our blocks, and that’s what makes us special.

Except, we only do all that when they’re not Black and gay.

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Entertainment

Gunfire at Tekashi Video Shoot

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Tekashi surrounded by security
Tekashi surrounded by security

Tekashi surrounded by security

Tekashi and Kanye West were at a video shoot in Beverly Hills when shots rang out at 10:25PM

At the stage for the video, a rented $80 million estate,  approximately 8 shots were fired. Although no one was injured, there was damage to the home. At least one bullet destroyed a bedroom window.

Production was halted immediately and Kanye left the scene unscathed. Nicki was supposed to be at the shoot as well but she had not yet made it to the site.

The attack was allegedly a drive-by.

This is the 3rd shooting targeting Tekashi since his post-sentencing celebration. The rapper was charged with the use of a child in a sexual performance. Having only received a sentence of four years probation, it appears someone is unhappy with the judgment.

It is suspected that the shooting could be the result of a beef between Tekashi and YG. The two have been at odds since a video surfaced of Tekashi asking a fan to name a YG song.

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Flop or Bop?: Blac Chyna Releases Single

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Featuring Yo Gotti and Jeremih, Blac Chyna makes her Rap debut and fans are undecided.

When Chyna posted a photo of her in the studio a year ago, we all thought she was just posing for the gram. Let’s be honest. We’ve known Chyna as a staple in hip-hop but never on the opposite end of the mic. After suffering through some of these Soundcloud rappers, it’s hard to be excited about any new music. In interview Chyna did with XXL a year ago, she stated:

“When I do drop my music, I just don’t want it to be like ‘Okay, Chyna’s taking this for granted, she’s not serious about this.’ I want people to know that I am serious about this and I want to show my progression and my growth and whatnot.”

Many thought that maybe after dating so many rappers, Chyna had picked up a bit of their skill. Unfortunately, most of Twitter seems to agree that Chyna’s debut track is not it. Check out her verse below.

I’m not going to lie, she has potential. Her verse is pretty on brand. After all, she is rapping about scamming:

Talk that talk, but when it’s time to pop a band

You hop up here and you shook

Nothing better than them dollars, man

I fuck up more than your retirement

Chyna has tracks in the works with Swae Lee and has producers lined up to collaborate with her. Showing no signs of disappearing anytime soon, this single is not the last we’ll see of her.

Check out the rest of the song here.

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YG’s Uber Slams into Someone’s Front Yard

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The “Big Bank” rapper is lucky to be alive after his Uber crashes into a San Fernando Valley front yard. TMZ was able to capture footage of YG standing outside of the car looking confused and pictures of the SUV after the crash.

YG was riding in the backseat of the vehicle and didn’t sustain any injuries. No other vehicles were involved in the crash and there is no knowledge about how the driver got off the road or what was wrong with him.

As far as we know no one is injured.

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