Have you ever wanted an album to be treated like a true work of art? Instead of it suffering mass produced, only one copy would ever be made and the only way you could hear it it would be in the confines of an art gallery? Wouldn’t this bring respect to its character? Wouldn’t this be grand?
If you found yourself agreeing with those statements, I’ve got good news for you – there’s an album on its way that meets those qualifications. But I also have some bad news – it’s a hip hop album. And not just any hip-hop album, it’s a Wu-Tang Clan album.
Yes, the same Wu-Tang Clan that once featured a rapper named "Ol’ Dirty Bastard" before said rapper departed the Earth following a crack overdose. Currently living members include "Ghostface Killah," "Masta Killa," (apparently killer changes its spelling between members) and "Raekwon."
Modern art has truly come full circle with this development. And just like the kindergarten finger paintings of Jackson Pollock, the Wu-Tang’s new cultural artifact will later be auctioned for millions of dollars:
“We’re about to sell an album like nobody else sold it before,” says Robert “RZA” Diggs, the first Wu-Tang member to speak on record about Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, in an exclusive interview with FORBES. “We’re about to put out a piece of art like nobody else has done in the history of [modern] music. We’re making a single-sale collector’s item. This is like somebody having the scepter of an Egyptian king.”
Wu-Tang’s aim is to use the album as a springboard for the reconsideration of music as art, hoping the approach will help restore it to a place alongside great visual works–and create a shift in the music business, not to mention earn some cash, in the process.
There’s a couple of things to take away from this latest artistic enterprise.
One, this reaffirms that the high-art world is literally insane and our culture is too when it considers this a reasonable idea. Here’s just a sampling of some of Wu-Tang’s lyrics to prove my point:
I rip it hardcore, like porno-flick bitches / I roll with groups of ghetto bastards with biscuits / Check it, my method on the microphone's bangin / Wu-Tang slang'll leave your headpiece hangin / Bust this, I'm kickin like Segall, Out for Justice / The roughness, yes, the rudeness, ruckus / Redrum, I verbally assault with the tongue / Murder one, my style shot ya knot like a stun-gun / I'm hectic, I wreck it with the quickness / Set it on the microphone, and competition get blown / By this nasty ass nigga with my nigga, the RZA / Charged like a bull and got pull like a trigga / So bad, stabbin up the pad with the vocab, crab / I scream on ya ass like your dad, bring it on...
Bring da motherfuckin ruckus / Bring da motherfuckin ruckus / Bring da mother, bring da motherfuckin ruckus / Bring da motherfuckin ruckus
I’m sure not Goethe could relate with the line “I rip it hardcore, like porno flick bitches,” but the new guardians of high culture consider this to be poetry.
The thought of pretentious SWPLs gathered in a fine art gallery as they listen to over an hour of “nigga,” lurid tales of inner city violence, bestial sexuality, and negro machismo through special headphones is beyond parody. The art world now has an event to announce that they have officially jumped the shark.
Another thing to take away from this is how it fits in the tradition of our current cultural elite’s fetishization of the Negro. Stretching back to jazz, the image of the negro as the ultimate embodiment of the noble savage has been a trademark among certain strata of society and that their creations are somehow superior to that of “uncool” whites owes to the notion that they are closer to man's primitive state. Oswald Spengler noted this all the way back in 1933 when he observed that “jazz and Negro dances as the spiritual outlet in all circles of society.” The choice of a rap album indicates that appreciation of this genre is now seen as a sign of sophistication among the members of the Culture of Critique, just like jazz and Langston Hughes.
Lastly, it’s important to realize how white paternalism once again informs the actions of the white liberal elite. They all believe that blacks, given the right chance by understanding whites, could all become Miles Davis and be just as articulate and smart as they are! Letting negro music play in a high-end gallery lets them indulge in their fantasy and lulls them into believing that this could still one day become a reality, all while congratulating themselves on their progress of achieving this goal.
Then they will turn around and look at their fellow attendees in the gallery and realize that they are in a room full of goofy white people just like themselves.