Monday, March 3, 2008

White Women Can't Dance...

When I was at USC, I took a course with Todd Boyd that studied the emphasis and expression of hip-hop culture through film. One day he stood up in front of the lecture hall and announced—without a sense of irony—that he was looking for the next big thing in hip-hop: a white female rapper. My hand would have shot up in my seat if I thought I had even a slight sense of rhythm, but sadly I do not, and I did not want to waste his time on a lost cause. It has been years since I have bumped into Mr. Boyd-- though I am his friend on MySpace-- and I can't help but wonder if he ever found anyone (at the university or otherwise) to bring up into a polished artist. I also wonder what he thinks about the fact that he might be too late because Julia Louis-Dreyfus (of all people!) may have stolen the thunder of any protégé of his who might come after.

Self-proclaimed Seinfeld fanatic and D.C. underground artist Wale has announced plans for his "Mixtape About Nothing," paying homage to the infamous nineties sitcom by sampling some of Jerry Seinfeld's stand-up that appeared in the opening credits of particular episodes. Now word has leaked to Entertainment Weekly exclusively that Wale's team has recruited Elaine Benes herself to record a skit to be used as a bridge between two songs on the album. It's an odd and unexpected turn for Dreyfus, who is notorious for her (lack of) rhythm.

Hip-hop has always been about storytelling-- usually focusing on hardships and obstacles the young men and women have overcome to rise above their social situation and make something of themselves for their community. In recent years, it has become much more theatrical, with artists such as Eminem, Common, and Immortal Technique especially creating almost mini-movies, complete with fictional characters and situations in individual songs, ultimately reinventing the expectations of the genre. Let's hope for the sake of Wale's street cred that what he is trying to do is the latter because nothing about Dreyfus' infamously gawky nature screams bitchin' mic skills!

1 comment:

DC said...

I just hope the mixtape is an enhanced CD that has Elaine dancing on it. I took that hip hop class too... my sophomore year? Now I think most hip-hop is real silly and I grew up listening to it.