Like most UK/NZ/Aussie ‘our man in America’ columns, The Economist’s ‘Lexington’ is generally pretty fawning and awful. This week they’ve hacked out an unintentionally hilarious Reply to Hip-Hop, earnestly fact-checking miscellaneous lyrics. First up, Lil Wayne:
But if Lil Wayne is to be taken seriously, it needs to be pointed out that his “one in nine” figure is inaccurate—it is true only of black men aged 20-34, not black Americans in general. And his analysis is simplistic: the government’s spending priorities are not the sole determinant of whether you break rocks or read books.
Then the Roots get the beat-down:
But crime and starvation are hardly the only options. Even without a high-school diploma, a black man can probably find a job if he looks. And some manual jobs, such as plumber or cable technician, pay quite well. “It may well be that you can’t write much of a rap about training someone to fix heaters or air conditioners,” sighs [other book-writing hack who is such a fan of hip-hop that they “liken the group OutKast to Stravinsky”].
However, worried readers will be reassured that there are also these other rappers called ‘conscious rappers’ who even Bill Cosby might approve of. Dead Prez throw apples into the audience to encourage healthy eating among black folk (though Lex doesn’t approve of all their hating on capitalism) and P. Diddy fronts voter registration drives.