NY Times Explores Talk Radio and Rap
In one of the more talked about verses on 'Blueprint 3,' Jay-Z takes some serious aim at conservative talk radio (and TV) hosts. He raps, "Please tell Bill O'Reilly to fall back/Tell Rush Limbaugh/To get off my balls/It's 2010, not 1864." While this is one of the more direct rap-to-radio disses in some years, it's no secret that conservative entertainers also find beefing with rappers to be a financially viable rabble-rousing technique. Remember O' Reilly vs. Ludacris?
Lucky for us, the New York Times came to the rescue with an analysis of the odd push-and-pull between these two camps. The paper's comparison breaks down into four categories: ego, haters, feuds and verbal skills. Let's check out ego to see if there's any merit to the argument.
"Extolling your greatness is nearly as crucial to rap as it is to talk radio," writes David Segal. "One consistent theme of Jay-Z's lyrics is the genius of Jay-Z's lyrics. He claims a charisma that is almost mystical and skills on the mic that make him the "Mike Jordan of recording," "the Bruce Wayne of the game," a "god."
"Rush Limbaugh peppers his show with self-adulating incantations that would seem right at home on a Snoop Dogg track, calling himself "Chief Waga-Waga El Rushbo of the El Conservo Tribe," "doctor of democracy," and "a weapon of mass instruction." Both he and Jay-Z have referred to themselves as "a living legend."
Despite only quoting Jay-Z from 'Kingdom Come,' Segal does make an interesting point. Rappers and conservative radio hosts are both speaking to somewhat marginalized subcultures that seek strong, authoritarian voices to follow. The difference comes in what these egos give the fans. Jay-Z presents a hopeful, ambitious success story - a blueprint for followers to emulate and gain inspiration from. You can be your own superhero. Limbaugh is more contrarian. His ego and notoriety is based on transmitting (usually hateful) opposition to millions who seek that voice.
Read the full piece over at the New York Times website, and feel free to let us know what you think.