Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dangerous Games

Since I didn’t have any immediate ideas on what to blog about, I suppose I’ll just post my initial thoughts on one of the questions Krzyz posed us in his email:

The Wire tells us we are all players in a dangerous Game. Why is it dangerous? Partly because we are not in control of either the rules or the other players. How does N.W.A. play the game? How does Bob Dylan play the game?

Applying the theory that “the game is dangerous because we are not in control of the rules or the other players” to N.W.A., it follows that their game is dangerous because they cannot control the laws that govern their land, the market that sells their music, or the other players: government officials, police, their competitors in the rap game, record label executives, drug dealers, and all the women only interested in them for their money.

So now that we know why N.W.A.’s game is dangerous, how do they respond? They play by their own rules. They sell, use, and rap about drugs, in spite of the rules set out by the law. They rap about fighting back against the police, attempting the redefine the rules on what players of the rap game are allowed to do. Their album was and is very controversial, ignoring the traditional rules on what subjects rap could discuss. They openly criticized the police, drug dealers and users, and the materialistic nature of American society and the music industry. Instead of watering down their music to make it onto a big label or increase sales, instead they recorded tracks about the importance of free expression (“Express Yourself”) and against censorship (“Parental Discretion iz advised”) and formed their own record label to distribute it. N.W.A. are important as artists because of their insistence on saying what they wanted to say, “’Cause [they didn't] give a fuck about radio play”.

[Yeah yeah, I didn’t answer the part of the question about Bob Dylan, but hey this a blog post, not an essay. I play this game by my own rules.]

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