Music News

Critical Fatwa

All hail Dr. Dre, who has spent his life lying down with dogs but never catching fleas (or bullets). Unlike so many of those around him, Dre has always known that gangsta rap is music, not life. But there are so many others who foolishly think that they are somehow less cartoonish than Alice Cooper, yet at the same time get angry when anyone takes their boasts seriously. For the most ironic gangsta-rap moment since C-Murder was convicted of murder -- i.e., Ja Rule accusing the government of racial profiling for pursuing his bosses, the (fake) Gotti Brothers -- we fatwa you, Mr. Rule!

Oh, Ja Rule (né Jeffrey Atkins), you posturing, puffed-up 21st-century Stepin Fetchit! You run around like a hooting, shirtless and semi-literate criminal thug. Your catchphrase is "It's murder!" (Not exactly "We shall overcome.") Who's hurting black men more, Jeffrey -- money-laundering probes or you? (You know how the government is always accusing black men of money-laundering!)

We love gangsta rap, if not the weak tea put out by Ja. But we also don't go around wondering why the feds might be interested in men who change their last name to Gotti and found a company called Murder, Inc. You don't have to be a racist pig to remember what happened over at Death Row Records. Or the murders of Biggie Smalls, Tupac Shakur, Jam Master Jay (or the many more obscure murders reaching back to Scott La Rock). Face it, Jeffrey: If people weren't afraid of being called racist for agreeing with you that you are a thug, there would be congressional hearings on your industry.

Fatwa! May the charges stick next time, and may 50 Cent (a man much more comfortable with his contradictions) continue to spank you in your lopsided feud. It is written.

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The Ayatollah of Rock