ahhh, going back to a topic I’ve been over dozens of times already. I got started thinking about it after listening to this interview:
A short background- Azealia Banks is currently beefing with Iggy Azalea. I haven’t followed all the reasons why, but I gather it has something to do with Azealia taking issue with Iggy having a similar name, having success in rap despite having dubious ability and Iggy’s history of racist statements. And Iggy appears to be just goading Azealia and accusing her of being a whiner about not having Iggy’s level of success:
“Special msg for banks: There are many black artists succeeding in all genres. The reason you haven’t is because of your piss poor attitude. Your inability to be responsible for your own mistakes, bullying others, the inability to be humble or self control. It’s YOU! You created your own unfortunate situation by being a bigot and don’t have the mental capacity to realize yet. Probably never will. Now! rant, Make it racial! make it political! Make it whatever but I guarantee it won’t make you likable & THATS why ur crying on the radio.”
Make rap racial? Make it political? Uh, Hip-hop has always been both. You couldn’t take those two out of hip-hop anymore than you could take rural identity out of Country or class politics out of punk rock. That’s pretty stupid on Iggy’s part.
But anyway, the interview with Azealia is fascinating, and it’s kind of put some of the things I believe in perspective. I’m a bit older and maybe I’m too detached to be thinking about this constructively- no one is trying to take anything from me culturally. I’ve been back and forth on the concept of cultural appropriation before, but in the end, I kind of think that if you’re upsetting a lot of people, then maybe you shouldn’t do it. Or just be careful, because not every white rapper gets the same treatment that Iggy Azalea and Macklemore get. But I’m about to embark on a tangent.
Latinos and Cultural Appropriation
So far I’ve mostly been thinking about cultural appropriation in regards to black culture, and I think that’s useful, because black people in America get a different experience than any other group. Yes, people can be racist and mean to other minorities, but there’s a special level of hatred that is directed at black people. But I don’t want to start an oppression ranking system here, so let’s move on.
I had a question that I may be able to answer, or maybe not, let’s see what you think.
Why is Latino music so appropriation proof?
I mean, sure, people do it every now and then:
But listening to Mr Cash, I hear someone who’s probably heard some Mexican music and wants to pay tribute. What I can’t imagine is some white dude even taking over Latino music as its heard on pop radio and especially not becoming the guy you always hear on Spanish radio. Maybe it’s happened already and I’m too lazy to find out, but I doubt it.
One reason I suspect is that Latino music has its origins in other countries. Hip-Hop is American music. I suspect that makes some people angry- both because they don’t like Americans making music that calls into question a lot of what Americans believe, and because the makers of said music are explicitly reserving it for a certain type of people, based on color*. People like to insist that all opportunities be available to everyone, even if they’re willing to ignore that some opportunities are not actually available to everyone.
But Sambas or Corridos or whatever do not belong to Americans, and so we can borrow them, but no one is going to claim a right to play them.
There’s also the obstacle of learning another language, which is going to deter an awful lot of American musicians.
I wrote this post like a week ago. I’m not sure it’s all that great, but I was starting to get that feeling like I have to post something or I’ll just quit entirely. I have some other stuff coming.
*Again, I don’t really have a problem with this. Black people have had to deal with so much bullshit in this country that we can allow them to have a few things to themselves. It’s literally the least we can do.