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David Cameron and Rhymefest

Posted By Sunny On 19th October, 2006 @ 12:51 am In Party politics, Race politics | Comments Disabled

CameronTory leader David Cameron is planning to [1] have tea with US rapper Rhymefest to discuss issues around rap music and crime.

Hmmmm. The discussion is framed badly from the start because it equates hip-hop with violence. But I have a few other problems with this traditional stance taken by politicians. Partly because I’m a huge hip-hop fan of course.

1) Tories are meant to be about minimal government intereference and have libertarian tendencies (though admittedly they are frequently confused over this) so I see as any interference in trying to ban music as very statist and illiberal. A prime example is Labour MP Keith Vaz, who is hated within the vidogames industry for constantly trying to ban games based on uninformed premises. But then when did Keith Vaz ever show any sign of intelligence?

Anyway, for Tories to continue down the banning path would not only show a disregard for freedom of speech but would be pandering to populist and illiberal prejudice.

2) There is still no definite evidence to show that violent lyrics leads to violence. I grew up on NWA and yet I’ve never taken a word they’ve said seriously. A culture of violence can flourish or decay with or without music containing violent lyrics; at most the music simply reflects reality. The most violent gangsters of Mumbai love listening to serene Bollywood music; in Vancouver people [2] perceive Indians and East-Asians to be the most violent.

The real link is between poverty (or income inequality), [3] diet or [4] family relations and crime. Yet most politicians prefer to overlook such obvious correlations, preferring instead to start moral panics over music or videogames.

3) Hip-hop is much more than rapping about guns and hoes. Some of the biggest stars invariably do glorify violence and misogyny but guess who their biggest customers are? Erm, suburban white kids. Anyone with cursory knowledge of the industry would know that hip-hop purists always diss the likes of 50 Cent and Lil’ Jon et al for their lame lyrics.

4) Is it racism? I’m undecided. I viewed the short-lived moral panic about ‘British black music’ inciting violence (remember So Solid Crew?) as idiotic. But the media has also greeted other genres with a moral panic in the past. Remember when Marilyn Manson was [5] blamed for the Columbine massacre?

5) Whether David Cameron will take any of this into account after meeting Rhymefest is unclear. It is more unlikely he will come out and admit to all this because politicians are less likely to say sensible things and more likely to make populist statements based on people’s prejudices.

6) As you can see I get quite defensive when people link listening to Hip-hop with violence.

Comments Disabled To "David Cameron and Rhymefest"

#1 Comment By Vladimir On 19th October, 2006 @ 1:15 am

Interesting post Sunny, however in regard to taking the NWA seriously I have always thought that when Ice Cube said, ‘Are you the kind that think you’re too damn fly? Bitch eat shit and die!’ There is somthing quite poignant, and meaningful about the expressed words.

I don’t think that David Cameron, is attempting to do anything meaningful here though. I just think it’s anorther way of headline grabbing like his previous attempts with getting Zach Goldsmith on a conservative enviromental task force and Bob Geldof becoming an adviser on global poverty to the scum that are the Conservative political party.

#2 Comment By Sunny On 19th October, 2006 @ 2:19 am

There is somthing quite poignant, and meaningful about the expressed words.

Heh. I pity the fool who takes Ice Cube (or Ice T) seriously.

#3 Comment By Vladimir On 19th October, 2006 @ 2:54 am

I would agree with Sunny, the idea of taking everything that Ice Cube seriously, would be quite foolish. However that is not to say that if you are to place what was being said by the NWA and other artists in it’s cultural and historical context, that there wasn’t an important side to it all, it’s about more than merely looking at the lyrics of such artists.

#4 Comment By ZinZin On 19th October, 2006 @ 9:19 am

I don’t take gangster rap seriously i have always believed it was made by black middle class kids for white middle class kids so they can feel tough and enjoy some vicarious violence. Its a reaction to their dull surroundings and comfortable settings.

50 cent is famous for being shot nine times not his music.

Sunny have any of your PP homies driven you to violence.

#5 Comment By Katy On 19th October, 2006 @ 9:22 am

Well, I rather like Mr Cube’s music on the basis of the one CD my little brother permits me to borrow, On other CDs he is quite antisemitic. But then again on this CD he is also strongly antiwhite. I think there is a danger of children being influenced by lyrics like that, but I also think that if their parents aren’t raising them to be open-minded about other ethnicities and cultures and to be critical about what they hear then they would probably have ended up prejudiced anyway.

Or, to put it another way, I don’t really want to stop listening to Mr Cube. He is great company in traffic jams.

#6 Comment By Sahil On 19th October, 2006 @ 10:00 am

Sunny I’ve always wondered about the point that you made about conservatives, telling people what they should listen to. I can imagine a left-wing government banning rap, but conservatives, that’s odd. I think, they are in confusion as to support freedom of speech VS family values. I think there’s that line between being economically libertarian, but socially conservatives i.e. family values, yada yada.

BTW I don’t know whether any of you guys have seen this, but it’s called the political compass, and it measures where you lie, whilst separating your economics, and social preferences:

[6] http://www.politicalcompass.org/

My scores:
Economic Left/Right: -5.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.67

I’m with the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, and Neslon Mandela, :)

#7 Comment By Leon On 19th October, 2006 @ 10:33 am

Wayhey a Hip Hop thread! You’ve just made me and Jagdeep’s day Sunny.:)

On a serious note, putting my cynicism aside why doesn’t Cameron go speak to a Brit rapper? How about Cameron sitting down and chatting with Sway or Roll Deep?

Anyway, Ice Cube, his early stuff was excellent (grew up with NWA as well)…

…Ghetto Bird still is an excellent tune.

#8 Comment By Sid A On 19th October, 2006 @ 10:44 am

This move kills two birds with one stone for Cameron. It looks like he’s being responsible by addressing the young male Black violence issue. At the same time he piles on brownie points in the hipness departmment, something Cameron never misses an opportunity to do.

Now we want him to play the next one in the word association game:

Will involve Cameron meeting up with young Pakistani youths from Leeds to talk about Islam’s propensity to nurture young British terrorists.

He can play all the word association PR games he wants, he’s still the bastard child of Thatcher and Michael Howard.

#9 Comment By Sid A On 19th October, 2006 @ 10:48 am

You want rap music? Forget the mainstream pap. Tha’s dope man. Currently listening to the underground hiphop rhymes of MF Doom (The Doomilation Bootleg). Also check out Madvillainy.

Incidentlly 2 weeks ago I went to the Stones Throw 10 year birthday party and checked out my man Madlib. Went straight from work, so there I was in a business suit, smoking fatties and bopping with the kids. Fuckin’ great.

#10 Comment By Jagdeep On 19th October, 2006 @ 11:08 am

I have doubts about whether you can form a link but I’m open to question — however I wish more rappers today were less like bitch-ho-pimp all the time.

#11 Comment By Jagdeep On 19th October, 2006 @ 11:12 am

Leon that’s true he should have linked up with some of the British rappers and hip hop artists. Anyway I read an interview with Rhymefest in the Guardian and he was saying the same that he was dissatisfied with the way hip hop was all pimpin’ and bitch-ho shoot you in the face these days.

#12 Comment By Jagdeep On 19th October, 2006 @ 11:19 am

Here’s an article by an African American woman on why she gave up on hip hop - Too much sexism and misogyny!

[7] Why I Gave Up On Hip-Hop

Also - from the Observer, an article on exactly this subject and relating it to British Hip Hop

[8] Gang videos glorify violence

Rappers are using digital TV music stations to glamorise gang culture as police say that turf wars are spiralling out of control in London

I don’t know how sensationalised the report is, but it’s worth reading - especially because of the links it makes with Channel U which is a Hip Hop station for British rap.

#13 Comment By AsifB On 19th October, 2006 @ 11:37 am

Some interesting comments. Being old and decripit, I don’t understand what’s in it for Mr. Fest to meet David Cameron. Is he just crap and has he ever done a lyric as good as Tracy Marrow (that’s Ice to you)

1991 end of OG
…Fuck the police, Fuck the FBI, Fuck the DEA, Fuck the CIA, Fuck Tipper Gore, Bush and his crippled bitch this is Ice-T I’m out of here, told ya…
shoulda killed me last year..

#14 Comment By Nyrone On 19th October, 2006 @ 1:38 pm

Why Not have tea with Immortal Technique, Lupe Fiasco, Mos Def and Common?

or even better, get Zach De La Rocha down….

#15 Comment By Parma Violets On 19th October, 2006 @ 2:01 pm

Probably because Mos Def in particular would talk rings around him and make him look a total chump, Nyrone. Then again, I suspect that question was asked rhetorically.

Wasn’t there an episode of Armando Iannucci’s Time Trumpet where an elderly David Cameron talked about trying to win votes by rapping the Five Pledges of his manifesto? Reality Pwns Satire, Part 94.

#16 Comment By Nyrone On 19th October, 2006 @ 2:24 pm

Fo da Kidz!

These politicians make me laugh…

#17 Comment By Sunny On 20th October, 2006 @ 2:01 am

Rhymfest is pretty good. He did a dope track with Kanye West called Brand New. He’s not your Lil Jon or 50 Cent types.

Jagdeep - the second article is a typical example of media sensationalism over something journalists know very little about. I’d say anyway. I read the first article though and liked its sentiments.

#18 Comment By bikhair aka taqiyyah On 20th October, 2006 @ 3:40 am


Wink Wink on the Ice Cube. Death Certificate was crazy.

#19 Comment By Leon On 20th October, 2006 @ 10:31 am


Yup although Lethal Injection is my favourite.

#20 Comment By sonia On 20th October, 2006 @ 12:51 pm

yes - the usual moral panic surrounding media. we still haven’t heard the end of violence and films.

Does hip hop music make gangsta life look glamorous? Some would say that it does.

In any case, I didn’t see any reference anywere that Cameron suggested the possibility of ‘banning’ anything. Where did that aspect come out from?

Where does racism come in? - well i think katy had a good point up there in no. 5. How is it they get away with all that is what i want to know!

Perhaps the Conservatives need a change in name - it appears to confuse all sorts of people extremely - including themselves and their voters. Are they conservative with a small c - to some extent of course - definitely in the old days — that’s definitely the origins - now who knows - so naturally there will be lot of voters who will want to ban all sorts of things. The question that started all this off was from the editor of Good Housekeeping magazine - on how Cameron would tackle gun crime.

No surprise there! ha ha. there are plenty of people trying to ‘ban’ things all over the place - generally those sorts of people appear to be interested in party politics - my cynical dystopian sort of mind suggests so they can get into power one day to lord it out over everyone else. isn’t it lovely how our so-called democratic model allows for that sort of dictatorial hegemony for a term of x years. How Lovely. :-) A toast is in order I think.

#21 Comment By sonia On 20th October, 2006 @ 1:03 pm

In any case - some thoughts ( possibly off topic) on the term ‘minimal government interference’. As far as i can see it is articulated very selectively in very specific contexts. (i.e. when it suits them - e.g. public spending that might benefit individuals!)

It’s hardly as if the Tories ever suggested that as Governnment they weren’t going to carry on enforcing law and order, property rights and ‘creating an environment for Business to flourish’. { and think big business - not just some little corner shop) ( and anything else that takes their fancy whilst in power)

[even the so-called laissez faire economy is hardly without ‘intervention’ it depends on how people view intervention in any case - if from a conventional viewpoint on regulations affecting trade - then perhaps = but in my opinion even then its bollocks. Bretton Woods was ‘interventionist’ enough to ensure it worked in favour of certain groups - all a national govt would have to do is float along with that ]

Anyhow, back to the point at hand: Minimal intervention my foot. a Funny term if i ever heard one referring to central bloody government. Shape the whole damn thing - the social institutions and funding for the ones they’re fond of - and cleverly sit back and prattle oh but we didn’t intervene honest.. Of course ‘minimal’ can mean all sorts of things can’t it. oh we ‘mimimally’ intervened to slaughter all sorts of people elsewhere/to keep up our Nation-State. oh it was so minimal..i hardly noticed it - did you? Oh we threw all sorts of people into jail/. oh it was a minimal role. why we hardly did anything.. :-)

The Tories may be confused but they aren’t the only ones. We are all confused by the sound of things. Clearly we don’t as a society understand much about social dynamics. we think ‘legislation’ and injection-style social effects. Ha Ha.

So: All those things - property rights; laws allowing business corporations all sorts of rights individuals do not have; institutions disseminating normative positions (generally masquerading as fact) on the so-called free-markets ‘actually-highly-unfree-but ‘free’-from-the-point-of-view-of-my-nation- state’-style -’markets’-which-by-the-way-don’t-involve freedom-of-humans-apart-from-our-citizens-of course->
( ha) : didn’t involve “govt”. intervention? Are we really expected to believe that? ‘Oh of course honey, it all depends on who you define as ‘govt’. Right. As long as the ‘govt’ let some other institutions do all the work , that has nothing, nothing at all to do with what the Govt wanted and helped to achieve, isn’t it. Of course. How cunning.

We are encouraged by economists and politicians to think in terms of ‘legislation’ as written down - and disregard power and unwritten influence when it lies within social institutions, corporations, influential groups. One can have no obvious legislation and still have a hell of a lot of ‘intervention’ - through strong institutions which wield a great deal of ( generally unaccountable) power.

And encouraging big business corporations and strengthening/supporting such institutions with (nowdays) global influence - is something we people normally don’t seem to think of when referring to this ‘minimal government interference’ term. Like we’ve heard time and time again from the so-called Washington Consensus crew. Oh right - and then we have nice big strong institutions like the IMF and the World Bank and the WTO who can do all sorts of things to ‘ensure’ a lot of other things. Ah yes they aren’t ‘government’ institutions. well there you have it. Even better that way - they’re not accountable then are they. Ha ha. How Very Clever. who’s going to join the dots in any case.

I have to say one can applaud them for their cunning. Doing their best to push the world in ways they want to move it in and at the same time making everyone think ‘oh it’s market fundamentalism’ of course - ‘we’ didn’t interfere at all! nothing to do with a bit of forceful human agency and strong insitutions. Ho ho.

And of course not thinking about the ’social’ aspect of so-called markets plays right into the hands of this sort of thing. And we can thank some economists for that of course - and politicians for taking an academic subject out of its context where it is clear what the assumptions involved are - to a world were there appears to be no recognition of those assumptions.

At least let’s call a spade a spade. All these so-called political parties will end up doing the same old conventional thing. It’s not called Central Government for no good reason! All we ever hear are differences on what various policies will be planned - they’ll all still be centrally dictated - no change there. It’s the what flavour ice-cream will you have - you have 3 choices we’ve given you - tick the box.

yes no doubt my rant has gone out of the ‘thread’ and no doubt ive rambled so much with so many typos it doesn[’t make any sense to anyone. apologies for not having the time to look back and fix it - i sit in an open plan office!

#22 Comment By soru On 20th October, 2006 @ 1:41 pm

sonia: you can tag every conservative, more or less by definition, with a particular point in time they want to use as an ideal model for the present, with only the minimal necessary adaptations.

Really reactionary ones want to go back to the era of a Christian monarch ruling his loyal subjects.

Free traders want to go back to the era of tea-clippers and coffee-houses.

One-nation types want to go back to the 1950s, when everyone knew they had a place in society, and most knew what it was.

Cameron wants to go back to 1997, and specifically to the party where Blur and the Gallagher brothers were invited along to Downing street.

#23 Comment By Jagdeep On 20th October, 2006 @ 1:53 pm

Cameron would invite some rappers as well, though, that’s the difference.

#24 Comment By sonia On 20th October, 2006 @ 2:07 pm


#25 Comment By sonia On 20th October, 2006 @ 2:08 pm

to be fair to the man, he probably fancied having afternoon tea with someone whose music he probably likes ..hyuk hyuk

#26 Comment By Anas On 20th October, 2006 @ 2:22 pm

David Cam’ron

#27 Comment By Jagdeep On 20th October, 2006 @ 2:23 pm

Yo MC Cameron in da house!!!

I’d laugh if Rhymefest raps about meeting Cameron on his next album.

Dig Rhymefest if you will his music is good.

[9] Fever!

[10] Brand New!

Although to be honest Rhymefest has some consciousness to him, so MC Cameron isnt so dangerous, and the 50Cent of the UK politics scene at the moment is Charles Kennedy, who pulled out of a speaking engagment the other day because he was pissed and had fallen off the wagon and couldnt read the autocue — although that’s more like Axl Rose than fiddy —- Rock and Roll MAN!!

#28 Comment By Jagdeep On 20th October, 2006 @ 2:25 pm

Although I shouldnt make fun of Charles Kennedy and his alcoholism though — I feel bad now. Sorry Charles.

#29 Comment By Chris Stiles On 20th October, 2006 @ 3:45 pm

Tories are meant to be about minimal government intereference and have libertarian tendencies (though admittedly they are frequently confused over this) so I see as any interference in trying to ban music as very statist and illiberal.

Conservative ideology is associated with the land, Liberal ideology with the moneyed classes and Socialism with labour. That summary has many faults, but points to the historical roots of the various parties and a reason for some of their policies.

The problem the Tory have always faced is arguments over what they should actually be conserving. As a result, the libertarian and conservative are constantly fighting like two cats in a burlap sack.

Any day now a Redwood or Tebbitt is going to say something obviously silly.

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URL to article: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/846

URLs in this post:
[1] have tea: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6063276.stm
[2] perceive: http://www.indolink.com/displayArticleS.php?id=032806033241
[3] diet: http://www.guardian.co.uk/food/Story/0,,1924119,00.html
[4] family relations: http://society.guardian.co.uk/drugsandalcohol/story/0,,1924398,00.html
[5] blamed: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbine_High_School_massacre#Aftermath_and_the_search_for_rationale
[6] http://www.politicalcompass.org/: http://www.politicalcompass.org/
[7] Why I Gave Up On Hip-Hop: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/13/AR2006101301426_pf.html
[8] Gang videos glorify violence : http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1922887,00.html
[9] Fever!: http://youtube.com/watch?v=CzdUtu5Aigk
[10] Brand New!: http://youtube.com/watch?v=lWgPm3-5H9Y
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