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In this edition: Hip Hop is new human technology!
Is it fair to compare Drake to Walt Whitman?
It can definitely be instructive to compare, say, a writer like Guru to a writer like Saul Bellow; or perhaps confer the cachet of a Walt Whitman to a modern American troubadour like Drake. But there is some risk, especially if those with only a passing familiarity with the art and culture assume the role of instructor.
For example, in the case of Drake & Whitman. If you truly respect the craft of hip hop lyrics, and the evolution of our human species, then drake is more like whitman five million thousand. times titties. and i'm not saying titties casually. stop and think what titties mean as a metaphor for life or the human condition.
… titties are fun, but they're no joke. even if they're small titties.
now take those titties and times that by five million thousand which is also not a jokey transpose-bigger-and-smaller semantic gag. if you count high enough you will eventually get to five million thousand. multiply that number by the enormous import of titties. and then take that as a coefficient of walt whitman. you should have something that aesthetically looks like this:
whitman (5,000,000,000 titties) = Drake.
but feels even bigger in your head.
now we're getting closer …
but by definition of the "coefficient", either whitman or the alchemy of five million thousand and titties needs to be a constant. obviously that's gonna be the titties. or, at least it's not whitman. whitman is a much more vaguely variable concept, despite being a person's name.
are you following this??!?!!??
hmmm, maybe a easier way to put this is in the all of Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" I don't think any section will sound as good as this couple of bars from Drake:
i'm still myself
i kill myself
charge it to the game,
i bill myself,
and i don't feel y'all
but i feel mysellllf. "
we'll get this all sorted out over time, but hip hop is new human technology. you'd sooner glean insights comparing whitman's chapbook to ipads than drake to whitman with regards to their respective poet technology (ipad's just a moleskine update right?). so yeah, it's all good to generously bequeath the conceits of your western canon to us rappers (us rappers = ya boy, nietzsche, biggie, anne sexton, susan sontag, grand puba, etc) … BUT RESPECT THE EVOLUTION IN YOUR BIG-UPPING OF HIP HOP, WHITE PEOPLE!!!
don't be backhanded/sketchy. drake is poppin' capitalism in the club, and y'all gonna sweat some old dude who was still waiting for the invention of the gillette mach 5 razor to do something with his beard? MIND YOU, I'M OLD SCHOOL. i usually have facial hair. i ain't even on twitter. you gonna have to break out parchment and people on horseback to holla at me. so i'm with you on the old school love. the 19th century was bananas!! and i stay throwing my W's to the sky! Walt-Walt!! but i also fully enjoy the fruits of our evolved assimilation, i.e. Now, and don't forsake our future for reviving the past. or something. i'm just sayin'….
anywhit, i'm descending from the mountain tops to help out with all this 2010 america-needs-to-catch-up business, so it's all good. a little time-release elucidation will get all the cultural phlegm out proper. but just a reminder, here and now, to keep perspective on these 8-track to ipod comparisons. word.