"Just another day for the Smithsonian: The place unveils a new project and some guy at the news conference recalls his days forcing women into prostitution.
'I decided I really wanted to try this pimp thing, so I went into the street and started getting me some 'hos.'"
David Segal - Washington Post on Ice-T's appearance and commentary during the opening of "Hip-Hop Won't Stop: The Beat, the Rhymes, the Life" at the Smithsonian
American culture continues it's rapid descent and depressurization, heading for a seemingly inevitable fiery crash. We are now rewarding street criminals with a place in what used to be the guardian of all that was treasured by our society. Yes, Hip-hop and Rap are now a part of "The Smithsonian Experience."
"Washington press conference etiquette is pretty clear: Keep it clean and keep it brief. The hip-hop press conference etiquette is, ah, different. Ice-T might have been the most profane, but he was positively succinct next to Grand Master Flash."
Grand Master Flash?? What in the Hell is a Grand Master Flash? Beyond the sickening sound and noise that is hip-hop and rap; beyond the lyrics that glorify everything from murder, rape, and a general disdain for civilized society, the names these "artists" assume for themselves are quite possibly the most ridiculous aspect of the whole thing.
And I bet I know how this all started. I bet someone at the Smithsonian's regular meeting to discuss potential candidates for enshrinement in the hallowed halls brought up the possibility of a hip-hop wing. Twenty five years ago such a suggestion might have been greeted with a collective stare and accompanying silence, followed by a reevaluation of the fellow's credentials to be affiliated with this institution. Today? The suggestion of a hip-hop wing gets floated, and the following dynamics come into play: A third of the board is so frightened of being politically incorrect that they wholeheartedly agree a hip-hop section is deemed worthy. A third of the board believes that any group's values, including street thugs, are just as valid as any other group's values and so they second the motion. The other third think that by endorsing the project, the will look "cool and hip," extremely important in the circles in which they travel, so they love the idea.
So now, after you have seen the Air and Space wing of the Smithsonian, after taking in all the inventions, ideas, and pioneering spirit that helped to advance this nation, you can stop at the hip-hop exhibit and listen to the soothing sounds and reassuring lyrics that make up this relevant and worthy "purely American" genre of art. Just make sure you aren't wearing any gang colors or you may get shot.
PS - Yes I do realize the irony of this post being written by someone with the pseudonym "The Notorious B.I.L."