Have four minutes and two seconds to spare? Even if rap is not your favorite popular music mode, try this one...
Every visit to Tenured Radical (see blogroll at left), I need to get there more often. Usually Claire Potter's writing and thinking educate me. This time it was the unexpected headline above this video, "WWII Vet Stuart Hodes Headed to Top of Rap Charts at 87."
Reminded of Hodes' rap (and how I'd thought about posting it) on reading Saturday's miscellany at TGB where Ronni Bennett asks for viewers' take on Randy Newman's new political song, "I'm Dreaming." A longtime fan of Newman's earlier work, I was disappointed with his result though appreciated his message: there is rampant racism toward Obama by right wingers.
Back in 1977, we'd lived in Baltimore for a decade when Newman's song of the same name created some much controvery with its dark lyrics--
“ Beat-up little seagull
On a marble stair
Tryin' to find the ocean
Hard times in the city
In a hard town by the sea
Ain't nowhere to run to
There ain't nothin' here for free”
Speculating on why the song was written, Cenarth Fox and Shawna Hansen Ortega gather several theories from simply random to my own favorite, "Remember, this was ... 1977, when Baltimore, like much of the country, was suffering through a crippling economic recession."
Yes, those days seem similar to the present-- though more hopeful that things would improve. And they did-- until unresolved issues of "rampant capitalism" (apt turn of phrase from yesterday's Up! with Chris Hayes) came charging back again.
I may relate more to Stuart Hodes' "Mitt Romney Rap," in this beleaugred moment, but I'm still waiting for another Randy Newman effort. One with his own lyrics like "Baltimore" or the whimsical, "Short People" (1978). He was on quite a creative roll in the 1970s (many of us now-old people were likewise).
And then there were his words and music for "Louisiana, 1927," composed in 1978, referencing his knowlege of the state's abandonment in an early devastating flood. Few people knew this history until Katrina (personal link to New Orleans) happened. Then we heard Newman's elegy over and over in the days after the flood. As the New York Times' Geoffrey Himes, said, "...it has become the state’s unofficial anthem in the wake of the 2005 tragedy."