Friday, September 23, 2005

Slogan spotted on a rap kid's T-shirt:

"It's Not Where You're At, It's Where You're From"

Seeing that on the subway gave me a rush.

(Then almost immediately thought of the acrimonious debates earlier this year about a certain mud-hut dwelling young lady whose publicity shots invariably depict her crouching on a jungle tree branch; that bizarre net-spectacle of folks who disdain the concept of authenticity engaged in frantic authentication!)

I wonder if the T-Shirt creator actually had Ian Brown's famous "it's not where you're from, it's where you're at" catchphrase in mind as something to be refuted?

Either way, the slogan beautifully captures the rockism at the core of hip hop.

Don't ask me to say which of the two statements I agree with though; I take things strictly on a case-by-case basis. Both propositions have their merits, their utopian/counter-hegemonic/libertatory potential, depending on context. Pop-rock-whatever is a tissue of realness and fantasy, of roots 'n' future, of the earthy and the outerspatial. Wood and plastic*. Where you're from and where you're at.

*a micro-critique of Morley's Words and Music, which exalts plastic and demeans the importance/allure of "wood"/woodsy etc in the history of poprocketc. But why do we have to choose between The Band's "Whispering Pines" and Kraftwerk's "Neon Lights"?

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