Friday, March 5, 2010

Jay-Z Sizes Up the Situation Room

I love hip-hop. I find the driving double/triple beats and harsh rhythms of language thrilling and interesting.* That makes me a benighted off-kilter-middle-aged right-wing bohemian (© Ruthie Blum Leibowitz) white chick, but I don’t mind. Some people think this is Art. As a big fan of rapper Jay-Z, especially The Black Album (2003) and American Gangster (2007), and as an admirer of his gifted and bountifully beauteous wife, BeyoncĂ©, I was delighted to see the two of them enjoying a parlay in the White House Situation Room with some of their friends today, and especially so to see Jay-Z sitting in the chair the president of the United States sits in when he makes an appearance for a top-secret, principals-only meeting with his national-security staff.  

Were Jay & Bey & Co. issued the relevant security clearances? Do we even care anymore? Dems in the White House flout the rules, some of them with abandon. Reverence for the office of president takes wing, along with the observance of protocol. But never mind the politesse: Is an amazingly successful businessman-slash-rapper who rose from the mean streets of Brooklyn to world-wide fame and fortune less qualified to deal with the vicissitudes, the obstacles, the demands, the crises of foreign policy and national security than Mr. Obama’s little coterie of Chicago-pol friends who’ve been running it so surpassingly excellently thus far? Who’s to say?

*My raps: One’s here and one’s below. The one about Al Sharpton may be a little dated, but the language that’s in both of them is perfectly G-rated.  

by Li’l RayRay

It’s amazin’ Revren’ Al you think you all that phat—
With that marcel-hair and that Rolex-wear you thinkin’ you all that?
When a black man get shot down, you talkin’ ‘bout race and disgrace,
Talkin’ ‘bout the black man always put down in his place—
Amadou, Mumiah, Treyshawn, Donte, and the rest.
But you don’t care ‘bout no justice when it’s the white man’s quest.
What about justice for my man Lantz?
Shmulik, Yossele, Yonkel, Feivish,
Gunned down in the street ‘cause they be wearin’ payis.
What’s the matter, Revren’ Al, you not feelin’ their race?
What’s the matter, Revren’ Al, don’t like no yiddishkeit playas?
No Talmud, Rashi, Rambam, Hebrew Bible?
You not feelin’ the man ‘cause what’s black is his shtreiml?
‘Cause he crackin’ the Cel-Ray and eatin’ knishes from Schimmel’s?
It’s a shondeh, Revren’ Al, you thinkin’ you all that!

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