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Four-Letter Words: Rap & Fusion

We should not care if some rapper claims to be influenced by jazz. We should laugh at those who make artistic claims for fusion.

Rap is finally being recognized as the minstrel update that it is. Threatening Sambo. Cursing Sambo. Whorish tramps who get cases of the wiggles any time money is mentioned. Its popularity among white suburban kids has nothing to do with “hip-hop culture”; it has to do with what I have called “audio safaris.” One can get to the urban jungle and be among the savages merely by going to Tower Records. One can always be sure, deep down, that one is far superior to those jungle bunnies hip-hopping along. For at least a hundred years, there have always been whites willing to pay Negroes top dollar if they dedicated their careers to proving the inferiority of black to white.

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Originally Published

Stanley Crouch

Stanley Crouch (1945–2020) was one of the leading American cultural critics of the late 20th and early 21st centuries—and one of the most controversial. A poet, educator, and aspiring jazz drummer in the 1970s, he became a writer for the Village Voice and an artistic consultant to Jazz at Lincoln Center in the 1980s. In subsequent years, he regularly wrote essays, columns, and reviews for a variety of publications, including (from 1999 to 2003) JazzTimes. He was the author of 11 books, including the 1990 collection Notes of a Hanging Judge: Essays and Reviews, 1979-1989 and the 2000 novel Don’t the Moon Look Lonesome.