A few days ago, one of our commenters pointed us in the direction of a lengthy post on hip-hop blog DallasPenn.com regarding Village Voice hip-hop writer (and blogger) Tom Breihan. The missive takes specific issues with some of Breihan’s writing–that he uses the n-word proxy “ninja” a little too frequently, that he prefers Lil’ Wayne over Jay-Z–but it all comes down to whether or not a white guy like Breihan should be writing about hip-hop to begin with. They even label him a “wigster,” short for “wigger” + “hipster.” And just in case you don’t get the point, there’s also a minstrel headshot. Subtle!
In the last three days, the comments on the post have blowing up, both pro and con: The Breihan bashers seem to have a long-simmering frustration over the fact that hip-hop writers for mainstream periodicals are often privileged white guys, and feel Breihan is arrogantly assuming that he has the right to interpret and criticize black culture; the Breihan boosters claim that while they have their own problems with his writing, the post plays the race card to cover up its weaker arguments.
Anyway, Breihan hasn’t yet responded on his Voice blog, Status Ain’t Hood. And while this is normally the part of the show were we work in some tie-it-all-up-with-a-joke kicker, we know when we’re out of our element, and it’s hard to riff when people are comparing writers to trigger-happy NYPD officers. So instead we’re just going to send it to the boards: Take a look at the post, the replies, and some of Breihan’s work, and mull it over.
COMBAT JACK Runs A Check On TOM BREIHAN’s ‘Hood Status… [dallaspenn.com]
Status AIn’t Hood [Village Voice]