I've got a whole city to hold down

January 18, 2005

Clarence comes around a bit

In March we had a spirited dialogue with the Chicago Tribune's Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Clarence Page over a tirade he published attacking hip hop as a dangerous influence on black culture.

This Sunday Page returned in print to rap, and while he again took a negative tone, at least this time he was careful to draw distinctions, singling out gangsta rap as the target of his ire rather than broadly condemning all hip hop.

"[T]oday's rap world has swung away from the gangster rap of the 1980s and '90s," Page writes, "and is now moving toward the political and social 'consciousness rap' [sic] of, say, Talib Kweli, Common (formerly Lonnie Rashied Lynn of Chicago) or Kanye West, the Chicago producer-turned-rapper whose debut album The College Dropout with the religious hit 'Jesus Walks' scored 10 Grammy nominations."

Baby steps.