The "song" is "This Is Why I'm Hot." It has topped the charts for the last 15 weeks. Here's a taste of the lyrics that young men and women are cranking up in their cars:
This is why I'm hot Catch me on the block Every other day Another bitch another drop 16 bars, 24 pop 44 songs, nigga gimme what you got…
… We into big spinners See my pimping never dragged Find me wit' different women that you niggas never had For those who say they know me know I'm focused on ma cream Player you come between you'd better focus on the beam I keep it so mean the way you see me lean And when I say I'm hot my nigga dis is what I mean
Here's my qualm with choosing now as the best time to make a scandal of the latest platinum records: It's defensiveness masquerading as outrage. Malkin may clear her throat by saying that she has no love for Don Imus or anyone else who spouts vile, racist remarks, but why is the thoroughgoing nastiness of rap suddenly worth condemning all over again? Because it must be demonstrated that angry, reactionary white men aren't the only ones with sloppy tongues. If Imus thought he'd get away with sounding like Ludacris, we have only Ludacris to blame…
This is conservatives' form of moral jujitsu at times of cultural combat, yet they never seem to land a palpable hit. Now, Stanley Crouch hardly goes a week without pointing out how what he sees as neo-minstrelsy damages black identity in America and, agreed with or not, he's taken seriously as a public intellectual. Crouch requires no display of Jim Crow antics from an overrated shock jock to renew his license on commentary.
Moreover, Malkin's case suffers from a slight category problem. Had Imus referred only to "bitches and hos," it might have been seemly to immediately broach the subject of rap's degenerate influence on the wider discourse. But Imus gave the game away by calling the Rutgers players "nappy-headed," which is no different than making allusions to flat noses, watermelon or fried chicken. Imus is someone with a history of thinking that indecency is coterminous with political incorrectness, so he deserved to be accorded no benefit of any doubt. Good for MSNBC for canning his television show. He should also lose his spot on the air.
But rather than take a perfect opportunity to ask why it is that radio remains a playground for such masters of verbal diarrhea, the Right's conversation automatically turns to how blacks have brought this upon themselves. This reeks of bad faith.