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spanishbuddha

This is America (What do you think of this?)

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Note to Alistair & Moderators:  Had thought to post this in general music conversation originally but then gave it more thought.  Don't know about any of you but the subject matter, the issues, the message and the graphic video drown out (at least for me) any semblance of afterthought on the music itself.  Have a look. See what I mean and if you think it belongs in general music conversation, then by all means, feel free to move this thread to that forum.

 

For Everybody: Hip Hop/Rap artist Childish Gambino has a new song and video out that has already reached 100,000,000 views in its first week. Yes, it's controversial.  Granted the music is not my thing. Any thoughts on the video and message from this are welcome.  Click on the link below to play the tune in question. It's really being promoted and all over the web there's talk about it debuting at number 1 on the billboard hot 100 by next week.  

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYOjWnS4cMY

 

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Not seen it before but it seems to be a well-choreographed, powerful and beautifully shot video of an OK song. Whether the song itself deals successfully with the subject matter (gun violence and racism), I'm less sure (but I do get what it's about).

 

I also notice there is a mash-up floating around (Call Me Maybe) and it does fit very well (but that seems controversial).

 

I'm not sure what there is to comment on. Whether you want a discussion here or in General Music is fine (but I'm guessing here may be better because I sense some politics discussion is in-coming).

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Posted (edited)

I think the song goes way beyond guns. Not sure it even touches racism but definitely depicts a lot of chaos and violence. There is a street or hood lingo that is used readily in the lyric that takes this in my view to a whole new level beyond gun violence and racism and not only that but there is so much going on in this video as well that leaves a lot to think about. It would be interesting to hear what anyone thinks of the content and how the message projects to you the viewer.

Edited by spanishbuddha

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The New Yorker did an article on Donald Glover a couple of months ago, which provides some good insight on his views of America.  I'd say race/racism is very much on his mind and a focus of his creative expression vis a vis this song.

 

I think the videography and especially the choreography are really interesting, but I don't care for the graphic violence and I'm not sure it tells anyone anything new and insightful about America.  Unless I'm missing something. I'm afraid that some younger listeners may take it as a celebration of violence, racial separateness and materialism, instead of being critical of these things which is, I think, the song's true intention.  Hopefully I'm wrong about that and I'm just not giving people enough credit.

 

 

 

 

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Watched it last week. As a whole package it was amazing in my opinion. I probably wouldn’t listen to the song on its own without the video. I believe it was intended to be listened to while watching the video. 

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17 hours ago, Short Order Kook said:

The New Yorker did an article on Donald Glover a couple of months ago, which provides some good insight on his views of America.  I'd say race/racism is very much on his mind and a focus of his creative expression vis a vis this song.

 

I think the videography and especially the choreography are really interesting, but I don't care for the graphic violence and I'm not sure it tells anyone anything new and insightful about America.  Unless I'm missing something. I'm afraid that some younger listeners may take it as a celebration of violence, racial separateness and materialism, instead of being critical of these things which is, I think, the song's true intention.  Hopefully I'm wrong about that and I'm just not giving people enough credit.

 

 

 

 

 

It sounds like you assume that other people, especially young people, are kind of stupid. I'm voting in the "just not giving people enough credit" column.

 

If someone is itching for entertainment content that glorifies violence, there's a tsunami of it every day pouring out of your TV. I don't think anyone would mistake "This Is America" as part of that wave.

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Well that's a bit of a leap, but you are entitled to come to that conclusion.  You have me all figured out after reading a couple of sentences, don't you?  I said some younger listeners and I specifically made mention of younger people because younger people can be impressionable.

 

What do you think about the video?  After all, that's the question that's being asked in this post.  🙂

 

 

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No, I don't have you "all figured out." I can't imagine what part of my post would have made you think so. All I did was paraphrase your own statement... you said you were worried that some young people might take this as a celebration of the very things it satirizes, and frankly, from MY perspective, you'd have to be dumb as a bag of hammers to miss the point. Sorry if I ruffled your feathers.

 

Think the video is brilliant, a superb example of multimedia art, and I don't think it's solely about racism and violence, although that's obviously the foundation. I think it's communicating the idea that we are all so easily distracted from the horror that occurs daily in the U.S. that we fail to act.

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Well I guess I don't see it as clearcut satire, which is my point.  I don't think you have to be as dumb as a bag of hammers to miss the point.   As you say, there is a tsunami of violence pouring out of tv, so much that it is normalizing violence.  I think it's easy to overlook the point of the satire under this backdrop of normalized violence.  How different is the video really, from any random tv show or movie or gangsta rap music video that you watch?  What are the elements of the music video that make it satire?  I guess I think its subtle enough that people could miss the point.

 

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Satire may be the wrong word. He's critiquing America, obviously, but if there's loads of humor in the video, I sure missed it. I normally think of satire as involving humor even as it's critiquing. I'd say the part where he takes about half a second to mow down the choir is a huge statement and is something you're unlikely to see normally even on a violent TV program. I didn't count the number of singers to see if there were nine but it immediately made me think of the Charleston church massacre from a few years ago. It's the casual way he does it and then moves on that is the most chilling, which I'm sure is the point he was trying to make. People get killed every day and we just move on like it's OK. I'm sure the choice to make all the choir singers African-American was deliberate as well since the Charleston killer is an avowed racist who carried out his shooting in hopes of starting a "race war."

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Oh, I think every scene and every shot was carefully worked out to represent something, right from the Jim Crow stance at the start. That's what makes the video quite remarkable, I think - a real work of art. 

 

220px-Jimcrow.jpg

 

The song? I'm less sure. I think it's interesting that he went for trap lyrics and I think that was a deliberate choice (he could have gone down the "conscience" route), but I suspect there are a bunch of messages in there that I miss, being an old fart (so any nuances are likely to pass me by).

 

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4 hours ago, Alistair S said:

Oh, I think every scene and every shot was carefully worked out to represent something, right from the Jim Crow stance at the start. That's what makes the video quite remarkable, I think - a real work of art. 

 

220px-Jimcrow.jpg

 

The song? I'm less sure. I think it's interesting that he went for trap lyrics and I think that was a deliberate choice (he could have gone down the "conscience" route), but I suspect there are a bunch of messages in there that I miss, being an old fart (so any nuances are likely to pass me by).

 

I agree that this is a real work of art. It’s one of the best pieces of art I’ve seen in a really long time. This is something you gotta dig in and really think about the message. I’m not saying I know the exact message that this was shooting for. Pun intended. But I think I have a good idea. 

 Short Oder Cook mentioned “younger people can be impressionable.” I would say think about that exact statement while watching the video. 

 I believe that’s a big part of the video message. 

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         This isn't the America I know but I recognize that it is for some unfortunate people. Rush Limbaugh famously said a while back that America has become bipolar. I'd say multipolar. There are multiple realities taking place simultaneously in America at the same time. This video depicts an exagerated version of one of those realities. As Gil Scott Heron once said.... just another movie. 

         #California James  when we were kids we used to imitate things we saw on tv or in movies. I remember when I was a teenager the movie theater a block away was showing those so-called black exploitation movies and later the kung fu movies and as kids walked home afterwards they were copying every move and celebrating who could do it the best. A lot of damage to the neighborhood back in the day and this was before lots of kids started carrying guns. Busted up cars, etc. 

        Some kids today will be imitating the guys exagerated strut or the "cool way" he mowed down the choir or capped the guy in the chair. The social commentary / satire aspect will be completely lost on them.  It's just entertainment to some. 

         This artist here produced a very intelligent video that is provocative by celebrating violence-- but relax everyone cuz it's satire so he gets away with it.  I would bet that just as many people under the age of 21 saw this as over 21. Perhaps a large number of viewers are under the age of 16. Some movies are rated PG.  but internet videos aren't restricted. I hope nobody copycats him. I suspect some will. 

           Because that what you celebrate you promote. And in America far too many people celebrate violence. 

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The culture of gun violence is not because of the gun it is because of those who glamorize killing for the sake of killing. Some see this video as art, I see it as what actually happens in real life.  Blacks murdering blacks - how easy it has become. I believe I've read a stat where 80% of blacks are murdered by other blacks. This video is representative of that stat and, perhaps, was created as a wake up call. 

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7 minutes ago, Barneyboy said:

The culture of gun violence is not because of the gun it is because of those who glamorize killing for the sake of killing. Some see this video as art, I see it as what actually happens in real life.  Blacks murdering blacks - how easy it has become. I believe I've read a stat where 80% of blacks are murdered by other blacks. This video is representative of that stat and, perhaps, was created as a wake up call. 

Interesting take. However, you should maybe ask whoever gave you the stats why that particular stat is important - after all, more than 80% of whites are also killed by other whites ( https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/expanded-homicide/expanded_homicide_data_table_6_murder_race_and_sex_of_vicitm_by_race_and_sex_of_offender_2013.xls). It does say something about society, but maybe not what they wanted to use it for?

 

I do agree that the casual attitude to this violence is part of the message.

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Wow. I was hoping to find a smarter, gentler place to discuss music (the guitar forums are filled with stupidity) back here among the Musettes. It was certainly nice to see you all, but I can't hang here.

 

The culture here, of praising hobbled, half-baked writing to the skies, never telling anybody that they're wrong.... I can't hack it.

 

None of you are getting any better. And presenting the racism above as "intellectual" discussion is a load of crap. Instead of jumping through hoops to try to make this video into something it's not (celebrating violence? WTF?), why don't you just come out and say what you mean... black people in tandem with violent words or images scare you spitless, and so you can't like it, or even take a shot at understanding it.

 

I'm done with social media of all kinds.  It's brain poison, and besides, what with playing in two working bands and writing my own songs, I don't have time. Have a nice life of continuing to kid yourselves in this hermetic vessel, where every lyric is "a great write" (god, how that phrase irritated me, and still does!) and every member should publish their "poetry."

 

So long, kids.

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Don't know about any of you but the subject matter, the issues, the message and the graphic video drown out (at least for me) any semblance of afterthought on the music itself.

To be brutally honest, I'm only interesting in viewing "music videos" IF I like the music...or at least find it tolerable.

In this case, I do NOT :blush:

Sorry, but I absolutely detest this type of music!

I doubt that's news to the creators, as my demographic isn't part of their target audience.

If and when they become interested in marketing the message to me, they'll need to package it in a way that I find appealing/interesting.

 

For me, it's that simple.

It's a music video & I don't like the music...'nuf said.

 

Tom

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Jim, I hope you'll stay.

 

You are free to say what you think and be the change you want to see. There are all sorts here. It's important to engage with them or we live in a bubble. Mind you, it's also important to be realistic about the degree to which we can change how others think - but at least we can challenge and brings facts.

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No offense, but it is what it is Jim. ^_^

Like every other listener on the face of the earth, I like what I like.

Don't need a reason, doesn't even have to make sense...I simply like some things & don't like others.

If we've reached a point where personal taste is no longer an acceptable reason, I must have missed that memo.

 

Tom

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I should probably add a couple things...

  • I view lots of documentaries, but they're packaged & marketed "as documentaries", NOT as music videos. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is produced "as a music video".
  • I already despise the proliferation of weapons, racial polarization, religious intolerance & the death of decency in modern society. So what is it you think "I'm Losing out on"?

If the creators of this were more interested in conveying their message than raking in millions, it wouldn't be viral...wouldn't be set to this genre of music & would be non-profit.

To the best of my knowledge, it's none of those...it's a music video set to music that I personally dislike.

 

Tom 

 

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1 hour ago, Alistair S said:

Interesting take. However, you should maybe ask whoever gave you the stats why that particular stat is important - after all, more than 80% of whites are also killed by other whites ( https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/expanded-homicide/expanded_homicide_data_table_6_murder_race_and_sex_of_vicitm_by_race_and_sex_of_offender_2013.xls). It does say something about society, but maybe not what they wanted to use it for?

 

I do agree that the casual attitude to this violence is part of the message.

What am I missing? Aren't all the people in the video black? What does white on white have to do with this video? 

\

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2 hours ago, Barneyboy said:

What am I missing? Aren't all the people in the video black? What does white on white have to do with this video? 

\

No more than the random stat you quoted.

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I feel very culturally ignorant after reading all the comments about this. I was eagerly anticipating watching the video and talking about it in muse territory. the perfect place to critique the song.

 

 

So many people are talking about this on social media etc... 

 

I am missing it. My observations were

 

1 ) Intriguing because it wasnt a series of cut-scenes, but (mostly) a long single-scene sequence

2 ) I was reading an article saying that I-III-V songwriting is in serious decline in modern music - this song made me think of this article

 

The whole thing was quite a disappointment  - perhaps a disappointment in myself

 

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It's great to get so many weighing in their thoughts without attacking each other.  The video is certainly attracting attention, but as I said early on the music and maybe even the lyric too have been drowned out. 

 

In fact, I think the lyric has taken a backseat. 

 

Here's the lyric minus the video, but yes if you watch the video the lyric is played along the bottom of the viewing screen. Does it have the same affect or different minus the video?  I've watched the video multiple times and even played it without sound or music (if you can call it that) and without reading the words on the bottom of the screen in order to see what I think, but I am wondering what anyone thinks of the lyric standing alone and its meaning vs being written out in the video? Any difference as to one's interpretation of the song's meaning?  If the words were not written out, spelled out in the video would any of the words stand out in the video after hearing them vocally from the singer?   As far as the content in the video, I firmly believe a lot more is going on in this than what most thus far have already said.  Still digesting however. There's so much symbolism. Anyway, here are the words on their own.  Would words like this conjure up such a video (in your imagination)? Video is shocking & disturbing to me yet very clever in that it certainly gets one to think. Words wouldn't survive on their own in my estimation and to me seem to have escaped any scrutiny thus far.  Note: Lyric is in quotes and acknowledgement is established that this is Donald Glover's lyric below.

 

"This is America" - By Donald Glover
 
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
 
We just wanna party
Party just for you
We just want the money
Money just for you
I know you wanna party
Party just for me
Girl, you got me dancin' (yeah, girl, you got me dancin')
Dance and shake the frame
We just wanna party (yeah)
Party just for you (yeah)
We just want the money (yeah)
Money just for you (you)
I know you wanna party (yeah)
Party just for me (yeah)
Girl, you got me dancin' (yeah, girl, you got me dancin')
Dance and shake the frame (you)
 
This is America
Don't catch you slippin' up
Don't catch you slippin' up
Look what I'm whippin' up
This is America (woo)
Don't catch you slippin' up
Don't catch you slippin' up
Look what I'm whippin' up
 
This is America (skrrt, skrrt, woo)
Don't catch you slippin' up (ayy)
Look at how I'm livin' now
Police be trippin' now (woo)
Yeah, this is America (woo, ayy)
Guns in my area (word, my area)
I got the strap (ayy, ayy)
I gotta carry 'em
Yeah, yeah, I'ma go into this (ugh)
Yeah, yeah, this is guerilla (woo)
Yeah, yeah, I'ma go get the bag
Yeah, yeah, or I'ma get the pad
Yeah, yeah, I'm so cold like yeah (yeah)
I'm so dope like yeah (woo)
We gon' blow like yeah (straight up, uh)
 
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, tell somebody
You go tell somebody
Grandma told me
Get your money, Black man (get your money)
Get your money, Black man (get your money)
Get your money, Black man (get your, Black man)
Get your money, Black man (get your, Black man)
Black man
 
This is America (woo, ayy)
Don't catch you slippin' up (woo, woo, don't catch you slippin', now)
Don't catch you slippin' up (ayy, woah)
Look what I'm whippin' up (Slime!)
This is America (yeah, yeah)
Don't catch you slippin' up (woah, ayy)
Don't catch you slippin' up (ayy, woo)
Look what I'm whippin' up (ayy)
 
Look how I'm geekin' out (hey)
I'm so fitted (I'm so fitted, woo)
I'm on Gucci (I'm on Gucci)
I'm so pretty (yeah, yeah)
I'm gon' get it (ayy, I'm gon' get it)
Watch me move (blaow)
This a celly (ha)
That's a tool (yeah)
On my Kodak (woo, Black)
Ooh, know that (yeah, know that, hold on)
Get it (get it, get it)
Ooh, work it (21)
 
Hunnid bands, hunnid bands, hunnid bands (hunnid bands)
Contraband, contraband, contraband (contraband)
I got the plug on Oaxaca (woah)
They gonna find you that blocka (blaow)
 
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, tell somebody
America, I just checked my following list and
You go tell somebody
You mothafuckas owe me
Grandma told me
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man Black man)
Black man (one, two, three, get down)
 
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, tell somebody
You go tell somebody
Grandma told me, "Get your money, " Black man
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Black man
 
You just a Black man in this world
You just a barcode, ayy
You just a Black man in this world
Drivin' expensive foreigns, ayy
You just a big dawg, yeah
I kenneled him in the backyard
No proper life to a dog
For a big dog"
Songwriters: Donald Glover / Ludwig Goransson
This Is America lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
 

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Hope it's not an issue to post someone else's work. Lyrics appear posted on the net independent of songs all the time. 

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44 minutes ago, spanishbuddha said:

It's great to get so many weighing in their thoughts without attacking each other.  The video is certainly attracting attention, but as I said early on the music and maybe even the lyric too have been drowned out. 

 

In fact, I think the lyric has taken a backseat. 

 

Here's the lyric minus the video, but yes if you watch the video the lyric is played along the bottom of the viewing screen. Does it have the same affect or different minus the video?  I've watched the video multiple times and even played it without sound or music (if you can call it that) and without reading the words on the bottom of the screen in order to see what I think, but I am wondering what anyone thinks of the lyric standing alone and its meaning vs being written out in the video? Any difference as to one's interpretation of the song's meaning?  If the words were not written out, spelled out in the video would any of the words stand out in the video after hearing them vocally from the singer?   As far as the content in the video, I firmly believe a lot more is going on in this than what most thus far have already said.  Still digesting however. There's so much symbolism. Anyway, here are the words on their own.  Would words like this conjure up such a video (in your imagination)? Video is very clever. Words wouldn't survive on their own in my estimation and to me seem to have escaped any scrutiny thus far.  Note: Lyric is in quotes and acknowledgement is established that this is Donald Glover's lyric below.

 

"This is America" - By Donald Glover
 
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
 
We just wanna party
Party just for you
We just want the money
Money just for you
I know you wanna party
Party just for me
Girl, you got me dancin' (yeah, girl, you got me dancin')
Dance and shake the frame
We just wanna party (yeah)
Party just for you (yeah)
We just want the money (yeah)
Money just for you (you)
I know you wanna party (yeah)
Party just for me (yeah)
Girl, you got me dancin' (yeah, girl, you got me dancin')
Dance and shake the frame (you)
 
This is America
Don't catch you slippin' up
Don't catch you slippin' up
Look what I'm whippin' up
This is America (woo)
Don't catch you slippin' up
Don't catch you slippin' up
Look what I'm whippin' up
 
This is America (skrrt, skrrt, woo)
Don't catch you slippin' up (ayy)
Look at how I'm livin' now
Police be trippin' now (woo)
Yeah, this is America (woo, ayy)
Guns in my area (word, my area)
I got the strap (ayy, ayy)
I gotta carry 'em
Yeah, yeah, I'ma go into this (ugh)
Yeah, yeah, this is guerilla (woo)
Yeah, yeah, I'ma go get the bag
Yeah, yeah, or I'ma get the pad
Yeah, yeah, I'm so cold like yeah (yeah)
I'm so dope like yeah (woo)
We gon' blow like yeah (straight up, uh)
 
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, tell somebody
You go tell somebody
Grandma told me
Get your money, Black man (get your money)
Get your money, Black man (get your money)
Get your money, Black man (get your, Black man)
Get your money, Black man (get your, Black man)
Black man
 
This is America (woo, ayy)
Don't catch you slippin' up (woo, woo, don't catch you slippin', now)
Don't catch you slippin' up (ayy, woah)
Look what I'm whippin' up (Slime!)
This is America (yeah, yeah)
Don't catch you slippin' up (woah, ayy)
Don't catch you slippin' up (ayy, woo)
Look what I'm whippin' up (ayy)
 
Look how I'm geekin' out (hey)
I'm so fitted (I'm so fitted, woo)
I'm on Gucci (I'm on Gucci)
I'm so pretty (yeah, yeah)
I'm gon' get it (ayy, I'm gon' get it)
Watch me move (blaow)
This a celly (ha)
That's a tool (yeah)
On my Kodak (woo, Black)
Ooh, know that (yeah, know that, hold on)
Get it (get it, get it)
Ooh, work it (21)
 
Hunnid bands, hunnid bands, hunnid bands (hunnid bands)
Contraband, contraband, contraband (contraband)
I got the plug on Oaxaca (woah)
They gonna find you that blocka (blaow)
 
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, tell somebody
America, I just checked my following list and
You go tell somebody
You mothafuckas owe me
Grandma told me
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man Black man)
Black man (one, two, three, get down)
 
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, tell somebody
You go tell somebody
Grandma told me, "Get your money, " Black man
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Black man
 
You just a Black man in this world
You just a barcode, ayy
You just a Black man in this world
Drivin' expensive foreigns, ayy
You just a big dawg, yeah
I kenneled him in the backyard
No proper life to a dog
For a big dog"
Songwriters: Donald Glover / Ludwig Goransson
This Is America lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
 

This is why I don't care much for rap. It's a foreign language. 

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No rap expert here but I did go to the trouble, mainly out of curiosity to decipher some of the lingo used in the song.

Links provided may give more than one meaning to the words I posted I suspect many could run into trouble understanding.

Source = Urban Dictionary  Check out the links below if interested regarding a word in question.

 

slippin' up  https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Slippin' Up

 

whippin'  https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=whippin

 

whippin' up  (used in a specific context) https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=whippin up a brick

 

trippin'   https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=trippin

 

strap    https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=strap

 

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California James, 

         What part of this discussion scares you so?  Is it the diversity of opinion? And what's with the insults?  You think you are somehow smarter than the rest of us? It's possible but I've seen no evidence so far.  Quite the contrary. 

           The video is a marvel in that it was shot apparently without splicing. That aspect is awesome. At the end of the lyric the author indicates he's doing it for the money.  Could be kidding but I'm not one of those people who thinks someone has to apologize for earning a living. 

          The multiple levels of meanng that people want to assign to what message is intended by the video is a matter of opinion, as is an individual's enthusiam for this style of music. Last I heard we could decide this kind of thing for ourselves without some Calfornia elitist telling us what kind of reactions are appropiate and which are not. 'I'm voting in the "just not giving people enough credit" column.'  

           As far as what kind of feedback we give each other please post something so we can all practice being brutally honest. 😂 But then again we've all given honest feedback on this particular song/ video, with plenty leaning negative, while acknowledging positive aspects. Nobody held back so far. I think the real problem is we don't all fall in lockstep with you, and rather than  articulate  your POV better, you dismiss people who disagree with you as dumber than a bag of hammers or some other idiotic insult. Really? Is that the best you can do? 

            

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The beauty in the responses is that we're all going to see some things alike and some things that perhaps are worlds apart.  My perspective may be a bit different from many of the posters thus far (I work in the hood in a large urban school district), but again still digesting the video and words to the song.  I'm honest in what I say even if I don't get it right but reserving my thoughts for now. In my view this is not about racism even though it references gestures from the past and a choir scene.  So come on folks, weigh in! Plenty of room. The subject matter matters even if some of us or none of us get it and who's to say?  There are plenty of media analysts out there spewing their opinions that to me are no different than anyone else's and they are nothing to be held above the crowd set in stone just because they say so, have something in print on the net or any other place for that matter.  

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It makes a statement and uses shock value to do it. Agree or not it is a very intelligent presentation. 

 

I find it an intriguing spectacle. It's like performance art I think. Or it’s just a rap song that makes a statement. Those have happened before. Bring the noise... 

 

worrying about the “violence” in this compared to what is represented in TV and movies everyday for well over the last decade... that ship sailed a long time ago. Dying on the hill that is this video feels a little to “get off my lawn” for me. 

 

To each their own. It was an interesting watch to me. Not so much a song but a moment. Cool to create a moment I think. 

 

As as for the artist he was very funny in community. Does stand up, acts and does music. He’s going to be in the latest Star Wars movie solo. I feel like most people know who he is but seemed like most around here didn’t. That says something about our demographic maybe...

 

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10 hours ago, Scotto said:

It makes a statement and uses shock value to do it. Agree or not it is a very intelligent presentation. 

 

I find it an intriguing spectacle. It's like performance art I think. Or it’s just a rap song that makes a statement. Those have happened before. Bring the noise... 

 

worrying about the “violence” in this compared to what is represented in TV and movies everyday for well over the last decade... that ship sailed a long time ago. Dying on the hill that is this video feels a little to “get off my lawn” for me. 

 

To each their own. It was an interesting watch to me. Not so much a song but a moment. Cool to create a moment I think. 

 

As as for the artist he was very funny in community. Does stand up, acts and does music. He’s going to be in the latest Star Wars movie solo. I feel like most people know who he is but seemed like most around here didn’t. That says something about our demographic maybe...

 

That sums it up nicely for me too. A "moment". Yeah. I like that.

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1 hour ago, HoboSage said:

 

 

 . . .and, if you slow it down and reverse the play, you can hear someone saying "I buried Paul,"  which might be a nod to how rap killed off white rock music.  :)

I think this is a pretty solid explanation of the video. At least from my perspective. 

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I've seen the video on the thread above and others like it with their analysis.  I don't completely buy it. In my opinion, that's what those who initially post these videos want the pubic to think and believe. I didn't find anything satirical about the video for the song.  Repeating myself, yes it's very effective and clever,  but my initial reaction is still the same. It's sick.  What's also interesting is how this song rockets to number one in its first week on the billboard hot 100. Yes, it's been done infrequently before but  I was told by a college professor in a course I took on the music industry that songs are pushed and promoted until they reach the top 40. From that point on, if a song sinks, swims, or floats depends on how it does in the public eye in terms of radio airplay and (at the time) sales in terms of tape cassettes which largely replaced the 45 record at that time and then CD's.  I would imagine as I think I read, that billboard now takes into account youtube hits or views on a video for a song when making their chart calculations, because without youtube and the video, I can't imagine the song breaking top 40 radio in the states on mainstream pop stations. I surf and listen to a variety of stations daily. Have yet to hear this song on terrestrial radio, at least the pop stations.  Anyone hear it yet on the radio?  So, to me it's youtube and social media that is propelling the promotion for this song in addition to the social media analysts & marketing muscle all helping to of course fuel the video and spread the interest. Yes, all about making the money and tapping into the zombie consumer mentality with something that will go above their heads or does it?  It will be interesting to see how long it remains at number one.  My guess is the song itself falls flat and if it remains high for some time then its popularity is riding solely on the video's power.

 

Oh yes, forgot to mention... It's official that this tune has made it to number one on the billboard hot 100 for week ending May 19th, 2018.  First week on the chart.

 

 

Edited by spanishbuddha

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I'm sure that contributed. Marketing muscle helps. 

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It's pretty clear to me that this is being pushed on the general public & of course as said before promoted. 

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Yes, it's about making a big hit that uniquely rides on the video's graphic power to do just that, but beyond that. What is the purpose or the intent and the affect on the viewer?  What is the message?  Is it up to the viewer to interpret in his or her own way or are we supposed to accept the social media and other media analysts views as the gospel on this? Even if some of the analysts on this one are correct in some of the historical references, what are we being told?  Are we held hostage by the past? Is it supposed to be a mirror on us?  Is this depicting the American culture in general? I don't think so or perhaps certain psychologies within specific communities of the country? Quite possible.  Come on people, have we lost the ability to express and think here?  Can't imagine anyone seeing that video and not wondering about it.  The lyric too. It's a shitty lyric. How does it impact on you?  Keep in mind I'm no fan of rap but occasionally there are a few tunes in the genre I like and even if I don't I'm open to listening to them and even discussing them if the opportunity presents.  

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38 minutes ago, spanishbuddha said:

Is it up to the viewer to interpret in his or her own way or are we supposed to accept the social media and other media analysts views as the gospel on this?

I think that is one of the points the artist was trying to make. To me it was more a critique of the effects of social media on America, and the way it's playing out you can't help but laugh.

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Donald Glover is the creator, writer, executive producer and star of perhaps the best show on television - Atlanta. He is a creative powerhouse and stunningly original and insightful. But it appears as if the great majority of people on this site are unfamiliar with him and his work... must be attributed to the greying demographic on this site. If you have time you should watch season 1 & 2 of Atlanta. You'll appreciate the wisdom, tone, humor and pathos of the series and you'll see how his creativity and observations on being born black in America have been shaped.

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I thought the song was great - very creative and well produced.

Loved the bass synthy stuff.

The video is just normalized gratuitous violence.

Alfred Hitchcock didn't need to show this graphic shit to make good art.

 

Oh yeah, and that guy needs a man-bra. :)

 

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Alfred Hitchcock was the Harvey Weisnstein of his time.

11 minutes ago, PaulCanuck said:

The video is just normalized gratuitous violence.

Yeah, like being choked, shot, lynched or profiled because you were born black... just normal gratuitous violence, no biggie. Suck it up, black man, and quit complaining.

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3 minutes ago, FrankeeLeeFabian said:

Alfred Hitchcock was the Harvey Weisnstein of his time.

Yeah, like being choked, shot, lynched or profiled because you were born black.

Yeah and this video is going to change all that

 

6 minutes ago, FrankeeLeeFabian said:

Suck it up, black man, and quit complaining

Your words, not mine.

Dick

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20 minutes ago, PaulCanuck said:

The video is just normalized gratuitous violence.

"Yeah, that video is a really crazy confluence of tone changes — that’s the premise of the whole video and the song, in a way. Even the violence, though it’s harrowing, there’s a part of it that also feels cartoony. There’s “Looney Tunes” logic in there somewhere. Obviously we’re dealing with very provocative images, so it’s a total tightrope walk."

 

Seems the director thinks part of the violence feels "cartoony" above is the quote, below is the article it came from.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/10/arts/hiro-murai-atlanta-finale-this-is-america-interview.html

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Yeah and this video is going to change all that

I'm afraid this video will change only one thing...the financial status of those with a stake in it. :blush:

It's good to remember that no one's trying to cure cancer here...it's about generating something controversial & viral for the purpose of making money.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Based on what I've observed in this thread, they absolutely nailed it! :) ...my 2 cents

 

Tom

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       Rolling Stone online covers this video pretty well. Glover explains what he was trying to accomplish. His message, if you will. To be honest, after hearing the explanation, I thought "Jeez, that's only as deep as you got?"  Wow, what a waste. 

         As far as the get off the lawn mentality, yes I admit to some of that myself. I saw my first doper get killed by the cops right In front of me back when I was 12. I cheered because 3 hours before this doper shot at me with a shotgun.   The dope and the violence and the music and videos celebrating it holds no fascination for me.  But I was fascinated with the dope culture back when I was twelve. In part, thanks to music and media. 

             Did you notice in the video that kids grab his weapons after he is done using them? Notice the other kids recording things in the periphery? Notice the kids dragging the body away?  This video has a lot of kids in it. His explanation is so blame it's lame. 

             I made this video glorifying violence to show how society more or less forces us to live this way. Bullshit. Each adult in American society is responsible for his or herself and the children they brought into this world. I don't need to wallow in crap to know it exists.  But the kids are stuck. And hurray!  Now they have a cool new video to celebrate and imitate. And so another generation grows up fascinated with violence carried to the extreme. 

             And don't tell me that some eight or ten or twelve year old kid watching this video over and over is sophisticated enough to understand that this video celebrating violence is actually condemning it. 

             The Cosby Show demonstrated that there is as much money to be made building up the black community as there is celebrating its slow self destruction. Yeah, I know Cosby is a POS but his show at the time presented another alternative for kids. Fathers in the house. Good jobs. Focus on school. Focus on good successful futures not involving drugs or gangs or violence or ironically, misogyny. 

               It's absurd to have to go back 30 plus years for an example of an alternative to the reality presented on this video. Maybe that's part of the problem. It really comes down for me to what effect this has on kids. If it helps I applaud it. Does it? 

Edited by kuya
Clarity
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10 hours ago, kuya said:

And so another generation grows up fascinated with violence carried to the extreme

What gets me is - if this video showed something sexually explicit, there would be myriad trepidations as to whether there should be warnings on it, its suitability on a songwriters forum, the risk of children viewing it, etc. etc. But show someone tied in a chair being shot in the back of the head at point blank range and the content police go silent. :(

 

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I’ve been pulling random grey hairs out of my head and beard lately. I’m 44. I don’t recall ever seeing this guy before watching the video. I did see The Martian. But it’s been awhile. I’ve definitely heard the name Childish Gambino but I am unfamiliar with his work. I also listen to pop music as my almost 16 yr old stepdaughter listens to it. I don’t recall hearing a CG song anywhere before. I showed her this video. She said she likes CG. She seriously didn’t give it 10 seconds and moved on. Ironically I thought one of the messages in this video was about how young kids have very short attention spans. Anyway. Yeah we’re a bunch of oldies around here. I would guess most of us don’t know much if anything about this guy. In the end. I viewed this as a great piece of art. Not knowing who this guy is. 

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This video in my opinion is propaganda at its best.   In my thoughts also I see the video as a statement that many on the web have analyzed to be motivated by racism. I think that's bullshit.   The video of course is meant to shock but it also plays on fear.  I also believe the target audience is very young.  It's interesting how the video uses what appears to me to be South African students in uniform doing a South African dance in what appears to be some kind of fun for them.  Why the correlation between South Africa and the U.S.?   I thought this was America and I am left wondering what the artist is trying to say. The artist portrays a drug addict, who looks and appears fucking crazy. Perhaps there are multiple ways to look at this, but I see the crime and violence in the video as black on black despite the posturing and the choir.  Guns are used to kill, but what about the people?  If the viewer is blind to the graphic shooting and this one is not, then what about everyone in the video?  They don't appear bothered by it.  Video illustates the graphic violence within certain segments of communities in urban areas.  To me, the video is meant to incite particularly the very young. Many but not all school age kids will unfortunately look at what's going on in this video as something cool. Some are angry, troubled and easily influenced and have weak minds that are hyper-reactive to things said or done. This video doesn't help.  Also said before that it's being promoted. And what about the lyric?  If many are blind to the shootings in the video then what about the words? I don't see anybody here, thus far, even commenting on the words to the song.  Grandma said, "black man get your money, you're owed" or something like that.  Owed?  As in the money culture haze, inequality on a pay scale or reparations for slavery?  The ending is interesting as the singer runs off with what appears to be a bunch of people chasing him, black and white in my thoughts.  If the shootings are supposed to be symbolic of whites killing blacks then why is he running?  The character is a bad seed and is running because he has killed.  I also think the singer doesn't want peace. The choir scene although possibly symbolic of Charleston, depicts to me mainstream culture and this guy doesn't want peace, so he shoots them up.  The white horse scene could depict some sort of a confrontation. I'm not Christian but the horse symbolism calls to mind the apocolypse, though I know very little about this.  Still, it's interesting as the figure on the horse looks like death.  From kids on bicyles, to dancing school kids in uniforms, to a lone chicken, to guys waving their fists of black power in all those 1980 and 1990 cars in the background, this looks like a call to arms for some sort of anarchy to me  and I'll stand alone here to say it, I think there is a hidden message that among some is understood.  This video isn't about the blackman's plight it's about self hatred and getting even. Where we go from here with this one lingers disturbingly.  I teach, and I see the chaos and mindsets like the ones in this video on a day to day basis. 


One other thought on the ending.  The main character runs off with what appears to be both blacks and whites chasing him. Maybe, just maybe he intended to offend both sides, both sides meaning blacks & whites.

 

The only loser in this one is the audience. 

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