The rest of the time we see Señor Cinquenta Centavos himself bobbing to the beat outside a four star bungalow complex. The video appears to have some kind of underlying story involving contraband exchanges with Mexicans of the dodgy persuasion, but I can't quite work it out. Musically the track sounds like an out-take from an early scoring of the far catchier Candy Shop.
Mexico's Presidente Vicente Fox has immersed himself in a big bubbly jacuzzi of agua caliente this week with his observation that his nation's long-term visitors to the United States do the jobs that "ni los negros harian". (that even the blacks wouldn't do)! He thereby spectacularly dispensed with the kind of obsessive caution that enfeebles almost any American journalist attempting an opinion piece with a hard-to-miss racial angle. Take for example the New York Times' recent ill-judged editorial rant about rap music:
"African-American teenagers are beset on all sides by dangerous myths about race. The most poisonous one defines middle-class normalcy and achievement as "white," while embracing violence, illiteracy and drug dealing as "authentically" black. This fiction rears its head from time to time in films and literature. But it finds its most virulent expression in rap music, which started out with a broad palette of themes but has increasingly evolved into a medium for worshiping misogyny, materialism and murder...Trends like this reach a tipping point [groan] when business as usual becomes unacceptable to the public as a whole. Judging from the rising hue and cry, hip-hop is just about there."
Is it? Why would people who make a fine living acting like perps be any more likely to toss away their handguns than the real thing, and just because the NYT tells them to?
The "hue and cry" (villagers with pitch forks?) loves to emphasis that rappers like Snoop Dog and 50 cent are former pimps and dealers. Yet would they prefer that they vacated the cultural mainstream and went back to their old trade?
This kind of high minded claptrap spreads it's own poisonous myths - that you can have useful things to say about specific aspects of the mass media without addressing their links to the wider cultural and economic set-up or indeed their relationship to specific groups within society.
Is the problem here life imitating art, art imitating life or the fact that the NYT doesn't think hip hop is art anyway?
"Greed and lack of self-control" are not uniquely African American attributes. It's just that a certain subculture within that particular community has found that the best way to grab a share of the goodies and move into that dream crib with the pool table, home cinema and fridge that makes little ice cubes is to simulate criminality through the medium of pop culture.
Yet please tell me - would there have been any quicker route to market for the individual that the NYT pompously refers to as "Mr Jackson" (50 Cent) and is it really such a bad thing that you can now make a better living pretending to be a drug dealer than actually being one?
In reality pop culture is a nexus of self-reinforcing relationships between artists, consumers and the media. The sluttier Christina Aguilera is accused of being by the tabloids, the sluttier she has to become to perpetuate her celebrity. Perhaps the problem as such, is that for many teenagers the images that these stars publicise themselves with are never pure signs that can be donned and un-donned like costumes. The blonde that goes to a frat party dressed like slaguilera won't have a team of minders around to ward off the rapidly forthcoming opportunities for living the lifestyle implied by the image.
Yet you won't make the problem go away in a hurry by sending out cease and desist notices to the symbols that we have collectively established through our interactions with the media.