The Heartbreak of Crazy Hormones

Well, I don’t listen to [gangsta rap] a lot, because my car speakers aren’t big enough, but I do listen to it, because I love it when people redeem the vernacular. I love the prosody — those physical, classical cadences. Jesus, I heard something the other day and the weighted syllables just marched along. They were positively Virgilian—like Latin hexameters, you know. Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! And I always find myself thinking, when I listen to this stuff: is this meaner and more cynical than Exile on Main Street? Is this worse than “plug in, flush out and fight the fucking feed!?” One of the few enema lines in rock and roll. (laughter) How does this anomie compare with Lou Reed, with Street Hassle, for instance? Of course, when you’re dealing with popular music, you’re always dealing with the Heartbreak of Crazy Hormones at some level, (laughter) but I’m not shocked by it. The last time I was shocked was by a poorly-grounded Stratocaster. (laughter). I mean, gangsta rap is dangerous: it’s at the edge of being deadly, but, for all the death around it, it’s not deadly. It’s so desperately American. Just the act of speaking it, you know. Just the idea that these kids from fucking nowhere would work their butts off to remake the language and make it speakable, just stand up and speak it—that betrays a level of innocence and aspiration that breaks your fucking heart
Dave Hickey, by Saul Ostrow, BOMB 51/Spring 1995

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