July 20, 2005

"Hustle & Flow"

"Hustle & Flow" -- The much anticipated Sundance hit will be out Friday. From my review in the upcoming American Conservative:

Hip hop first hit the Top 40 way back in 1979 with the amusing "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang. At the time I thought, "What a cute novelty record -- I bet that style will be around for a year, maybe even two!" Little did I anticipate that decades of stylistic innovation by African-Americans were coming to an end, and that rap would turn out to be the black hole that entrapped black talent for, apparently, all eternity.

Hip-hop kept its goofy aura through the mid-80s (when the biggest selling rap record was "The Super Bowl Shuffle" by the Chicago Bears NFL team).

Then, gangsta rap emerged from Los Angeles and New York. By promoting the drug dealer's code of what a boy had to do to be a man, it helped spread the crack wars across the country. By 1993-94, the murder rate had quadrupled among black 14-17 year-old-youths born in the late 70s (which was after Roe v. Wade, as economist Steven D. Levitt conveniently forgot to mention while pushing his abortion-cut-crime theory in the bestseller Freakonomics).

Fortunately, the generation born in the 80s started to grasp that they could listen to gangsta rap without living it, but the damage had been done. In New York City today, there are 36 percent more black women than black men alive.

It says much about contemporary values that the Audience Award at the Sundance film festival was won by the indie crowd-pleaser "Hustle & Flow," the purportedly uplifting story -- "Everybody gotta have a dream" -- of a pimp striving to find redemption by becoming a gangsta rapper.

Perhaps we will next be treated to a heartwarming movie about a Gestapo agent aspiring to qualify for the Death's Head SS. If, as the hype claims, "Hustle & Flow" is the new "Rocky," well, then "Jeff Gannon" should be pitching Hollywood on his rise, such as it was, from militaristic manwhore to Bush Administration shill.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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