View Full Version : Alicia Keys: Gov't sponsors gansta rap

04-19-2008, 04:52 PM
Alicia Keys Clears the Air—Kinda



Listening to Alicia Keys on Ryan Seacrest’s KIIS-FM radio show this morning felt like watching someone wake up in the arms of an ugly, ugly stranger after a night of Midori shots.

After her recent sensational Blender article, Keys has had to do some pointed damage control, explaining that she’s not a government-hating, media-bashing conspiracy theorist. She was just “misinterpreted.”

Right. Because there are so many ways to interpret the quote “Gangsta rap is a ploy to convince black people to kill each other”:

To clarify that statement—what I was saying at the interview—the term gangsta rap was so over-sloganized during that time... and that in so many ways, everyday people, as well as the government, could have done so much more to really obliterate and eradicate things that were going on in the community at that time that forced the artists to talk about and discuss so strongly what they saw, what they lived with every day.
That's great, Alicia. If only it made any sense at all. Still, we like the singer, so we're going to give her another chance.

Back to you Ryan...

Ryan: There's a quote in the magazine saying you said Tupac and Biggie were assassinated, quote, "by the government and the media to stop another great black leader from existing." What did you mean by that?

Alicia: OK again, just so everything's clarified, in regards to Biggie and Tupac...I feel like during that time, some people in the media definitely—overall, it was just an oversensationalized situation, and I think that what happens is when other people are telling stories, and two grown men as in 'Pac and Biggie—I don't feel like they were able to really communicate with each other and really tell each other what they meant. Instead, it kinda came through different outlets and different people, and it might have gotten misconstrued or misinterpreted, and therefore, all of the information that came back, I feel, led to some negative consequences.

So I am not implying we don't know who killed Biggie and 'Pac. It's sad that we don't still, to this day, and it's been over 10 years. But I do feel like, had more communication been done between the two of them, I feel like, more likely than not, that result would have not happened. I think that we just need more communication.

Actually, Alicia, in your case maybe we need less communication. Like a lot less.

Original article in Blender:
There’s a knock on the hotel-room door, and a minder enters with a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich: lunch. We’ve been talking about Keys’s early jones for the Notorious B.I.G. “My favorite Biggie song is ‘Me & My Bitch,’” she says, licking a stray globule of jam off her finger. “That title doesn’t make you think he’s speaking about the love of his life, but he is. She throws his shit out the window, she flushes his drugs down the toilet—she’s crazy! But if you grew up like that, then you understood, that was love in that world.”

We ask what other gangsta rappers she liked. And that’s when Keys drives a steamroller through the wall.

“‘Gangsta rap’ was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other,” she says, putting down the sandwich. “‘Gangsta rap’ didn’t exist.”

Come again? A ploy by whom?

She looks at us like it’s the dumbest question in the world. “The government.”

Add another line to her résumé. Alicia Keys: piano stroker, budding actress… and conspiracy theorist? This is the side of her that doesn’t square with the media-trained pro—the side your mom probably doesn’t know about when she hums “No One” on the way to Walgreens. This Alicia pores over Black Panther autobiographies (“I’ve read Huey Newton’s, Assata Shakur’s, David Hilliard’s …”). This Alicia says Tupac and Biggie were essentially assassinated, their beefs stoked “by the government and the media, to stop another great black leader from existing.” This Alicia wears a gold AK-47 pendant around her neck, “to symbolize strength, power and killing ’em dead.” (“She wears what?” her mom asks Blender. “That doesn’t sound like Alicia.”)

No matter how many records she sells or Super Bowls she opens, Keys still doesn’t feel she quite belongs in the mainstream. She likes to think talent transcends prejudice, but she knows that if her skin were darker, she’d have a much harder time crossing over. “I’ll always be an outsider,” she says.

This might surprise the Grammy committee: Last year, the New York Police Department declassified documents revealing that they’d put Keys under surveillance prior to the 2004 Republican National Convention. The department released a statement explaining that they’d targeted “those openly talking of anarchist actions.” Keys, who had spoken publicly against President Bush and donated $500 to the Democratic National Committee that year, was suddenly labeled an enemy of the state. “Hell,” she says. “Someone’s gotta be an anarchist.”

Comments like these, even said in jest, reveal the sawed-off passions and intelligence roiling beneath Keys’s genteel surface. But, while she idolizes Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin, proclaiming that “some of the greatest artists did their best work when they got political,” she has recorded no “What’s Going On” or “Respect.” Now, she says, she’d like to find a way to balance the two Alicias. “If Malcolm or Huey had the outlets our musicians have today, it’d be global. I have to figure out a way to do it myself,” she says.


04-19-2008, 05:10 PM
Gangsta Rap as a genre certainly existed. That was about 15 years ago. I'm not completely sure what her point was, but I can say a lot of rap gets thrown under the umbrella of Gangsta Rap when it's not. Maybe she's talking about Gangsta Rap being used to stereotype all rap. There's a point to be had there.

But back on topic, Alicia Keys is my baby.

Baby Lee
04-19-2008, 07:23 PM
"the side your mom probably doesn’t know about when she hums “No One” on the way to Walgreens."

It's amazing how often I'm in the mood for that song. Just hear a couple bars, and I'm off to my media player to fire it up.

Is that gay?