Keeping it Unreal

My previous post contains a track by a Panamanian artist who has named himself a word that has its origin in a deep-seated legacy of oppression and is understood very differently outside the artist’s cultural context. While this is unfortunate, depending on your viewpoint, it may also be hilarious.

Nigga holds up his Latin Grammy. He’s was 26 at the time of his hit single’s release.

While it’s all well and good to sample the imagery, language, and music of cultures you don’t understand and use it for source material in your own projects, an educated artist is wary of the potential to embarrass him- or herself. Consider the following example:

Timbaland – Indian Flute

Despite Timbaland‘s undeniable mastery of production, he never really took off as the star performing over his beats. In addition to subjecting us to the indignity of having his nonsense syllables passed off to us as something more than the most basic, uninspiring form of creativity, the above track contains another, more subtle insult to the listener’s intelligence.

What’s the insult, you ask? The flute isn’t Indian. It actually comes from a track by Colombian folk singer, Totó La Momposina.

Totó La Momposina – Curura

Beenie Man demonstrates the proper use of the n-word in his track, Girls Dem Sugar (prod. The Neptunes):

For those of you outside the United States who don’t understand how offensive the word is to some people, check out the radio edit (“nigga” has been edited out of it):
http://youtu.be/sW_ePQRvrKI

Just for fun, here’s a version with some pretty decent rhymes over the top of it by Young Dizzle and Ripset:
http://youtu.be/fi84_y9wqe8?t=1m

And since you can’t get enough Nigga, here’s a version of his hit with Thiaguinho singing on it with him in Portuguese:
http://youtu.be/TCyCbuCXgtY?t=57s

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