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Chance the Rapper, Phil Mushnick… And Me

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“Last week, the Chicago White Sox were revealed to be forming a paid partnership with Chance the Rapper, assigning him to become the team’s “Ambassador.”

Chance’s real name is Chancelor Bennett; he’s 22, unmarried with a child, grew up in suburban Chicago. His father had been a political operative for Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, then for Illinois Senator Barack Obama and now for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Chance, who often wears a White Sox cap, was selected to throw out the first pitch in this year’s White Sox home opener.

Beyond that — and far below — Chance records and sells pro forma, no-upside, can’t-expect-better-from-us, women-denigrating, blood-on-the-breeze rap.

It was suggested that I choose from random any of Chance’s songs to get a sense of whom the White Sox would choose as their first “Ambassador” — as if such an appointment by an MLB team is now essential.

I spun the Google wheel and landed on “Smoke Again,” which begins, “l don’t even talk to them on the phone again. Leave in the a.m., on the road again. So, b—h, let’s f–k so I can smoke again. I gotta smoke again, I got s–t to do.”

From there it “grows” more vulgar and, as per the genre, more boastful. Standard dehumanizing gangsta rap — young black men are N—-s”, he’s especially fond of dope and regards young women as a sub-species in over-and-out service to his immediate libidinous whims, especially oral sex.

Don’t take my word for it; look for yourself.

One wonders how MLB’s domestic violence policy, issued just last August, would read in juxtaposition to Chance’s work and his candidacy as payrolled “Ambassador” for an MLB team.

Would Mayor Emanuel, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and Chicago Rev. Jesse Jackson recite his lyrics in public?”

That’s Phil Mushnick, my favorite sports writer and cultural commentator,  whose New York Post column “Equal Time” eviscerates mass media, especially the vapid in the extreme  Mike Francesa and the far more vulgar than Chance The Rapper, ESPN. He is like James Wolcott meets Bob Woodward, a man who exudes pure common decency and speaks truth to power.

But he doesn’t get rap and he absolutely doesn’t get  Chance The Rapper, perhaps the best natured hip hop performer in the business. However, as you will see below, it is my initial claim that was simply wrong, Still. the truth remains that what Mushnick considers vulgar and crude is open to a different interpretation depending upon which lexicon you are using. I once wrote about hardcore racist rap bands, and there is world’s of difference between between someone  singing “six niggers heads in the freezer”” and someone else singing “Ain’t no nigga like the one I got, no one can fuck me better”. Words get meaning through context.

At the end of out email, Mushnick suggests that either Chance is this good guy Gospel singer or a foul mouthed rapper, one of the two is a con. An interesting concept, but is he right? Are the kids being hyped? Stay tuned.

 

I am a music blogger who has been writing  about contemporary music since 1979. While I believe you are not aware of  ebonics, I’ve felt your opinions are your opinions and left it like that.  But your comments about the Born Again Christian Chance The Rapper were simply mistaken. The man’s current album “Coloring Book” mixes Gospel with songs of thanks for his newly born baby girl,  while treasuring his “baby mama” and begging her to be his wife.  “My daughter couldn’t have a better mother, if she ever find another he better love her…” may be many  things but it isn’t misogyny. He has used the “n” word, though I only see it in one song and it isn’t at all on his current album, I haven’t seen the “bitches” and “ho” stuff. Would you please explain the discrepancy before I write about it? Thanks,

 

 

Iman – I inspected eight of his songs prior to writing that column. All were beyond vulgar, including one that began, “Ladies loving my music is like some sex shit. Niggas trying to grip up my mic like it’s my dick.” Thanks – Mushnick 

 

Blessings Lyrics

[Hook: Jamila Woods + Chance The Rapper]

I’m gon’ praise Him, praise Him ’til I’m gone

I’m gon’ praise Him, praise Him ’til I’m gone

When the praises go up, the blessings come down

When the praises go up, the blessings come down

It seems like blessings keep falling in my lap

It seems like blessings keep falling in my lap

 

[Verse 1: Chance The Rapper]

I don’t make songs for free, I make ’em for freedom

Don’t believe in kings, believe in the Kingdom

Chisel me into stone, prayer whistle me into song air

Dying laughing with Krillin saying something ’bout blonde hair

Jesus’ black life ain’t matter, I know I talked to his daddy

Said you the man of the house now, look out for your family

He has ordered my steps, gave me a sword with a crest

And gave Donnie a trumpet in case I get shortness of breath

 

[Hook: Jamila Woods +  Chance The Rapper]

I’m gon’ praise Him, praise Him ’til I’m gone

Don’t be mad

I’m gon’ praise Him, praise Him ’til I’m gone

When the praises go up

(Good God)

The blessings come down

Good God

When the praises go up (Good God) the blessings come down

When the praises go up, the blessings come down

(It seems like blessings keep falling in my lap)

The blessings come down

When the praises go up, the blessings come down

(Good God)

 

[Verse 2: Chance The Rapper]

They booked the nicest hotels on the 59th floor

With the big wide windows, with the suicide doors

Ain’t no blood on my money, ain’t no Twitter in Heaven

I know them drugs isn’t close, ain’t no visitin’ Heaven

I know the difference in blessings and worldly possessions

Like my ex girl getting pregnant and her becoming my everything

I’m at war with my wrongs, I’m writing four different songs

I never forced you to forfeit it, I’m a force to be reconciled

They want four minute songs

You need a four hour praise dance performed every morn

I’m feeling shortness of breath, so Nico grab you a horn

Hit Jericho with a buzzer beater to end a quarter

Watch brick and mortar fall like dripping water, ugh!

 

  • Chance The Rapper

 

So what’s the point? He’s a man of God who calls black men niggas? Raps vulgarities?  He’s a good candidate to be a ballclub’s youth ambassador? Look up his lyrics, Iman. That’s called Keepin’ It Real. 

 

I spot checked a dozen lyrics and only found one, then went back and found more, so my apologies. And obviously  I won’t write about it because there is no story.  However, it  is sophistication to take black people’s use of the “n word” and the culture that goes with it (ebonics as a whole) out of its natural context to condemn good people as bad people.  If I was to use that language, I would be a racist, if Chance The Rapper does,  he is writing rhyme in the language of the world in which he lives.  To translate the quote you used into English:  women love my music and so do men. The offense is not the meaning but the words used to convey it.  Finally, I am a huge fan of your column and very happy to believe your writing about rappers is misguided while finding you correct about nearly everything else.

 

But maybe that IS the story: how such entertainers play both sides! At least one of those sides must be a con! 

 

 

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