In case you’re not familiar with “Bangs the Great,” the Sudanese-Australian “rapper” who’s been an internet sensation a la “It’s So Cold in the D” and “Why Must I Cry” for the past couple of weeks, then watch the video below:
Every now and then, awful videos that aren’t made bad on purpose pop up on the web. It’s the reflection of the fact that we need more damage control. Tons of people should be told the truth but part of the problem is that people don’t know how to communicate effectively. There’s a way to criticize without being cantankerous, an emotion that only causes people to get defensive and unreceptive to what might be valid points. Mocking someone and telling people to kill themselves will only end up in said antagonist being labeled a hater.
I’m guilty of it. Hell, if you read this blog then you know I have several moments where I go in on something. In my defense, it usually is worthy of the ridicule but I digress. I posted Bangs’ video on Roc4Life a few weeks ago and straight clowned him because I initially thought it was in the vein of “It’s So Cold in the D” (look it up) but in retrospect, Bangs really isn’t that bad (*dodges eye daggers). Before I go in on my theory, check out this audio clip of him interviewing with an unknown radio show somewhere in the South. (Sorry for the vagueness but you can blame whoever posted this video with no real info):
I’m not sure whether the radio hosts were poking fun at Bangs or not (though, that’s what I’m leaning toward) but the people calling in were absolutely ridiculous. In Bangs’ case, the song does suck (albeit still catchy)–bad lyrics, bad hook and bad audio quality. However, “Take You to the Movies,” if revamped with better production, would probably blow up Stateside if Bangs were an American rapper–say Soulja Boy, Boosie, Gucci Mane et al if they dropped the same exact song, which isn’t far fetched considering the music they already make. (Side note: I get sent music of this caliber all the time but choose not to put it on blast).
The real problem isn’t so much that the song is bad. It’s that Bangs isn’t American. Aside from the fact that his accent hinders the song for American listeners making it more comical (that’s American arrogance for you), even worse is that he’s using slang that neither Sudanese nor Australians use. He’s playing a character. From the way he’s dressed to how he raps, he’s mimicking what he sees in pop-culture. In case you forgot, American culture–especially hip-hop–is the dominant force in the media around the world. (Side note: Bangs mentioned that he learned English in 2003 and I commend him for that because poetry of any kind, especially in a secondary language, isn’t easy contrary to popular belief).
I have a problem with everyone who called in. The folks who made comments like “Americans don’t know about that” express the general ignorance that exists amongst non-American Blacks about African-Americans–that we are ignorant and trite which only renders them ignorant and arrogant for being so presumptuous. Then again, the music business isn’t developed in other countries (they’re pretty much still in the 50s as far as rules, politics and equipment in some cases) so what they see in Bangs is the same character that Bangs sees in American hip-hop. Need more proof? When you get some spare time, look up “Beyonce vs. Rihanna” + “Nollywood” + “Movie” on YouTube.
As far as the American folks calling in telling Bangs that they would “waterboard” him or that he should kill himself–mark my words, they would not say those things to a signed American rapper (like the ones I previously mentioned) had he put out the same exact song. Even worse is that one of the radio personalities tried to soften the blow by saying that the negative comments are probably because people in the south aren’t feeling it but Southern hip-hop is still the dominant force in the mainstream and that sound and formula are exactly what Bangs was trying to accomplish. Even American rappers in other regions try to emulate the same sound. Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black. The moral of this story is: If you don’t like what he’s doing then stop doing the same thing at home.