And The Beef Goes On: The “Voice”/Hip-Hop Debate Continues

Dec 11th, 2006 // 7 Comments

Last week, we pointed you in the direction of a post on about Village Voice blogger Tom Breihan; at issue is whether Breihan (who is white) deserves to be earning cash money (which is green) writing about hip-hop in a particular voice (which may be interpreted by some as “black”). There have been some fiery back-and-thoughts in the comment section, including a few communiqués from Penn himself; we urge everyone to check out the post and keep the comments coming, because for a site that traffics in Mariah Carey gags and Rolling Stone pot-shots, this may be the closest we ever get to having a semi-intelligent discussion about race and music criticism.

(Oh, and for the record, Sasha Frere-Jones is white)

Earlier: Hip-Hop Blogger Has A Beef With “Village Voice”


  1. janedark

    Seriously, I’m pretty sure that, in the sentence “(Besides Toure, Sasha and Kelefah — who else is on the list?),” dude probably means Sacha Jenkins, distinctly African-American founder of Ego Trip, Spin/Vibe/RS contrib, etc. Nah mean?

  2. rad_matter

    Wow. I thought the gossip blogs wore out all the Mariah Carey gags already. At least the Village Voice is keeping the candle burning.

  3. Furman P. Slothra

    Even though I don’t quite understand what exactly the particular problem Dallas Penn or his boy Combat Jack have with Breihan, I’m all about this beef. Now it’s at the point where Breihan has to decide if he’s gonna respond. He’s probably not going to, playing Hov to Combat Jack’s Cam’ron. Although that’s probably a good move in terms of a wider audience who just stumbles upon Status Ain’t Hood while looking for the latest Porn review on the Village Voice website, its a very bad move in terms of rap nerds who read all the blogs all the time. It’s gonna come off as sackless and aloof to the kids in the trenches (I’ve recently noted people referring to blog comments sections as “the trenches,” which is apt as fuck), reinforcing the provocations of Combat Jack and galvanizing the internet rap crowd against him.

    Does he care about this? Maybe not. But he should, because as evidence by the sheer deluge of comments here, at DP, and at Status, lots of serious rap fans care about this issue, even if it’s unclear exactly what the issue is (I’m have no idea). One thing’s for certain, though. If he keeps writing about Ian Maykaye, the heads not gonna be happy.

    By the way, this is funny. Pitchfork writer Peter Macia via Riffmarket, Nick Sylvester’s blog: “I thought I liked Clipse and Wayne, but the internet called me a gay hipster.”

    Indeed they did Peter. Now the question is, can Breihan reclaim your masculinity? Or will the real hip hop fans see you as perpetually reenacting a botched, co-opted mafia greeting?

    Ball’s in your court, Tom.

  4. Hamm Beerger

    Until yesterday I thought Sasha Frere-Jones was a woman. For an hour or so I then knew he was a white man, but after that comment I thought he was a black man who looked white, or maybe a black gay man with lots of pictures of his white boyfriend on his blog, and then I thought again that maybe he was a black woman with a white boyfriend.

    I’m very confused, and his sharing his first name (bonus: awkward double last names!) with that Borat guy isn’t helping at all.

  5. brianp

    For many I years I had no idea regarding the race/gender/ethnicity of either Sasha Frere-Jones or Kelefa Sanneh. This despite the fact that the two have been and remain my two favorite music critics. I think the thing with this Breihan guy isn’t so much that he’s white, it’s more that he’s prone to writing stupid things.

  6. the earl grey

    cant believe they fired christgau & hired the “down in front” guy. boy does he suck

  7. DrewRicketts

    I don’t think it boils down to simply race. My race disclaimer is that I am black and hip hop is fundamentally a black art (according to us mostly) so we feel we can claim it (rightly or wrongly). I wrote this blog decrying Breihan’s blog around when this issue started to swell up. T’ain’t all about the skin though…

    Read more here…and lend your thoughts.

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