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Drake and Bounce Music: The Upside of Cultural Appropriation?

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What happens when someone appropriates a culture but does it so well, you have to give it props? We spend a lot of time arguing about the usual cultural appropriating suspects (who shall remain nameless here), and who, in some instances, should be called out for their blatant disregard of what another culture holds dear.  Although cultural appropriation is often discussed as problematic because the violators misrepresent and misuse artistic materials and styles from people who have been historically marginalized and continue to be socially marginalized, there is an upside to appropriation. What I’m saying is, it ain’t ALL bad.

So, Drake who is well-known for appropriating regional musical sounds, dropped Nice For What last weekend, which by the way, I have to give a side-eye to because that was Cardi’s weekend, but, that’s neither here nor there. The point is, the song is flame emojis across the board. What makes it so hot, honestly, is that he sampled the Bounce music sound, an underground musical genre most closely associated with New Orleans-based hip-hop and dance music. Drake, certainly not a native to New Orleans or even the U.S., in essence, appropriated the musical culture of a Nah’lins. And I love it. He took an underground sound that isn’t often played outside of that region (yes, we have seen Big Freedia with Beyoncé and on his own MTV show, but still!) and brought it to the big-screen.

It reminds me of what Spike Lee did for Go-Go music in 1988 with the release of his movie School Daze that features popular D.C. Go-Go band E.U. Anyone not in the DMV area probably doesn’t know what Go-Go music is – it is a distinct musical style with lots of drums and instrumentation and some call and response created and mostly played in the D.C. area. Spike Lee, not a native to DC or a cultural insider, appropriated the sound for his big-screen debut and I can’t find anything wrong with that. Maybe you remember Jill Scott’s song It’s Love? That’s Go-Go too.

What happens when someone appropriates a culture but does it so well, you have to give it props? Enter Drake with Nice For What. Click To Tweet

Anyway, not to get all academic on you, but cultural appropriation is predicated on defining and dividing the cultural insiders from the cultural outsiders, and this has the potential to lead to cultural essentialism which is exclusionary. The foundation of cultural appropriation requires that one make the distinction between cultural insiders from cultural outsiders based upon criteria required for cultural membership as determined by the cultural insiders, and the criteria for membership (in most pop culture arguments about appropriation) is race. If you think about cultural appropriation this way, it becomes a cousin to the “stereotype” and it upholds the monolithic view of a culture -Blackness in this example – which we all claim that we don’t want.

Listen, its America and our proximity to people of other cultures and ethnicities makes it nearly impossible to refrain from borrowing and mixing cultures to enhance one’s identity development, whether consciously or unconsciously. And no place is this more true than in music.

via GIPHY

I’m not trying to make excuses for any cultural appropriating violators nor am I discounting any of the eloquent and well-articulated points made to critique cultural appropriators. What I am saying however, is this – that got damn song is hot and so are the visuals and Drake has my permission to appropriate anything he wants because he does it so well.

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DJ D-Nice Has Spun His Way Into the Living Rooms of Thousands

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Every day, legendary DJ D-Nice (a.k.a. Derrick Jones) spends countless hours helping thousands of global citizens forget about the coronavirus pandemic and financial woes with his “Homeschool” parties.

Initially jumping on Instagram Live to cure his boredom while “self-isolating,” D-Nice had an audience of a few hundred, mostly friends. As word began to spread, it grew to a few thousand. By Sunday, over 160,000 people joined his live for a virtual party that included the heavyweights such as Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lopez, Jada Pinkett-Smith, 9th Wonder, Jimmy Fallon, and Vice President Joe Biden. 

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I never would’ve imagined that the best party I would create and DJ would be from the comfort of my own home. Homeschool is a thing! Yesterday was absolutely insane. The amount of artists and friends that virtually partied with me far exceeded my expectations. I’m feeling nothing but gratitude. 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 Thanks to all of you that supported. This has been a great way to keep our spirits high. Blessings! Sending some love to my family. Shout out to all of my industry execs! Much love to all of the artists! JLo, Drake, Naomi Campbell, De La Soul, Black Thought, Diddy, Bun B., Keri Hilson, Will Packer, Gabrielle Union, H.E.R., America Ferrara, Donnie Wahlberg, Uncle Luke, Russell Simmons, Dapper Dan, Rob Morgan, Mary J. Blige, DJ Khaled, T.I., Kelly Rowland, Common, Lance Gross, Queen Latifah, DJ Clark Kent, Rich Medina, DJ Tony Touch, Stretch Armstrong, Traci Ellis Ross, Ne-Yo, Usher, DJ Premier, Swizz Beatz, NO I.D., Yvette Noel Schure, Erykah Badu, Fat Joe, Jay Electronica, PNB Rock, Nile Rogers, Fonzworth Bentley, Marisa Tomei, Michelle Williams, Victor Cruz, Karruenche Tran, Ciara, Daymond John, Angie Martinez, Groove Theory’s Bryce, Tank, Cam’ron, Ludacris, Fabolous, Dorian Missick, Yvette Nicole Brown, Tasha Smith, Jadakiss, Kwamé, Chris Spencer, Royale Watkins, Estelle, Bresha Webb, Jermaine Dupri, Vanessa Williams, DJ Aktive, Lee Daniels, Affion Crockett, MC Lyte, Ro James, D-Dot Angelette, Kenny Burns, Tika Sumpter, Marlon Wayans, Lauren London, Loni Love, Dallas Austin, June Ambrose, April Walker, Just Blaze, Kangol Kid from UTFO, Omar Epps, Keisha Epps, Roland Martin, Big Tigger, DJ Trauma, Lil Jon, Dule Hill, Jazmyn Simon, DJ Cassidy, Marsai Martin, Lance Gross, Anthony Hamilton, Young Guru, Lalah Hathaway, Carl Payne, Damien Hall, Denyce Lawton, Lennox Lewis, Niecy Nash, Mashonda, Erick Sermon, Jairobi, DJ Envy, DJ Enuff, Miles Brown, Lamann Rucker, Mark Brown, DJ VLuv, and more. Wow! #DNiceHomeschool #DNicePhotography #SelfPortrait.

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During a CBS This Morning interview, D-Nice shared, “I literally just played what feels good. I wanted people to feel good. I wanted their experience to be lifted through music, just one song at a time.” And he’s done just that. While on live, his comment section is a constant stream of cheers, shout outs, and music-lovers asking, “Where the drinks at?” It feels like the best VIP section you’ll ever experience but from your living room. 

“No matter what your problems are, you can put on a good tune and it just takes you away and I was trying to do that,” he explained. “It wasn’t just the music, it was the whole experience and everyone escaping what’s going on today just for a few hours.”

While some of his neighbors have complained about the noise, D-Nice is committed to keeping the party going as the universal language of music is playing a vital role in keeping us all connected. 

Artwork by @chuckstyless

We have DJ D-Nice to thank for that! 

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Jay Electronica & Joe Budden Used Their Twitter Fingers to Exchange Insults

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It took 10 years for Jay Electronica to release his highly-anticipated album, A Written Testimony. While some are singing his praises, others are incredibly disappointed. One such person is former rapper turned media personality, Joe Budden. 

Budden used his platform, The Joe Budden Podcast episode Dry Snitching to express his disappointment. Budden proclaimed, “You’ve been missing for ten years- which is cool, ’cause you’ve been living life. But that confidence that I thought you might’ve been living life with is suppressed…that lens that I’m looking through paints the story of a different MC. And that MC is one that would get smacked around by Hov on every song.”

In response, Electronica took to Twitter and posted a video clip of DaBaby saying “fuck it,” directing the tweet at Rory, one of the co-hosts on Budden’s podcast.

Shortly after, Budden responded referring to Jay-Z’s performance on A Written Testimony, where he appears on eight of ten tracks. “I never got absolutely mopped around on my own project either… @ me, not Rory.”

Here’s how the rest of that conversation went:

The tirade ended with Electronica demanding credit for “lighting up” the podcast episode.

Electronica released A Written Testimony on Friday, March 13th. It’s his first solo album after more than ten years of delays with features by Jay-Z, The-Dream and Travis Scott, with additional production by The Alchemist, No ID, Swizz Beatz and Hit-Boy.

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Wendy Williams Believes Nicki Minaj Damaged Her Brand By Marrying Kenneth Petty

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We all know Wendy Williams is not one to hold her tongue during “Hot Topics.” Tuesday’s episode was no different as she addressed the recent headlines regarding Nicki Minaj’s husband, Kenneth Petty. During the segment, Williams discussed Petty’s current legal issues, which include a recent arrest for failure to register as a sex offender in the state of California. After briefing the audience on what transpired over the last few days, Williams pretty much implied that Minaj damaged her brand by marrying a convicted attempted rapist and murderer.

“You should’ve never married him, because now you’ve ruined everything about what your brand could be, again,” according to Williams. “You’re never gonna stand a chance when you’re with a man who pulls a knife at rape point … a molester … a registered sex offender. You’re never going to stand a chance with John Q. Public. Because there’s only one thing worse than touching children and pulling knives, and that’s murder. By the way, he did go to jail for manslaughter.” Williams then instructed her staff to “get to digging.”

According to TMZ , 41-year old Petty has officially taken care of the matter by registering as a sex offender following his arrest on federal charges for violating California’s Megan’s Law. However, that won’t keep Williams from dishing on the topic as she vowed to address it further on Wednesday’s show. 

Petty’s sex offender status is connected to his 1995 conviction of first-degree attempted rape for which he served a four year sentence. In addition to the 1995 conviction, Petty also served time for manslaughter in connection with a shooting in New York in 2002. He was released from prison in 2013. 

While some feel Williams should remain silent on the matter following the abrupt end of her marriage to ex-husband Kevin Hunter, others feel like its all fair in love and entertainment. 

What are your thoughts? Should Williams be the one to voice her concerns regarding Minaj’s marriage? Has Nicki damaged her brand?

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