It Ain't My Fault -- Hip Hop vs BP
The HBO series Treme is ending its first season next week and I'm sad about it. Set in New Orleans in the months after Katrina, Treme, all at once, provides a look back at the struggling city as it's residents coped with the rebuilding and foreshadowed the BP Gulf Oil spill.
The genius of series is it's music filled storytelling -- New Orleans is the birth place of Louis Armstrong and Jazz and an innovative center of all of jazz's children: R&B, Funk and Hip Hop. "The greatest rapper alive" Lil' Wayne’s current home is Riker's Island but he hails from The Crescent City. Treme celebrates music. The tunes are their own characters, mirroring the emotions of the people whose fictional lives are elevated to poetry on the small screen.
Hip Hop has always confronted the issues of the people that create it and the BP spill is the latest muse for our traditional source of pride and power -- our musical legacy -- to make some sense out of the senseless.
While the lifeblood of capitalism continues to ejaculate it's toxic obscenity into the gulfs innocents -- Mos Def and Lenny Kravits teamed up with some legendary New Orleans musicians Trombone Shorty and Dr. John (both are featured in Treme, playing themselves) and many others to do a tribute to the gulf.
The tune is called "It Ain't My Fault" (riffing off of New Orleans native rapper Silkk the Shocker's hit -- of the same name -- recorded over a decade earlier
Other rappers from the Gulf region and beyond have expressed their frustration at the spill in interviews and public appearances.
The Hip Hop duo Reflection Eternal released a song a few months ago Ballad of the Black Gold about oil and the oil industry that quickly puts into perspective the world wide might of the oil industry and the impotents of governments that attempt to regulate it.
NOLA has been featured in a Disney animation movie and another HBO series 'True Blood' takes place in a fictional Louisiana town. Pop fascination with the Gulf is almost supernatural in it's coincidence. As if the above ground graves in New Orleans gave up the souls they housed and the now oil stained swamps have released the countless ghosts and apparitions hidden beneath the murk to a TV set or radio near you. It is what it is -- no ones fault.